Sunday, January 3, 2010

Z'Tejas: the Phoenix Edition

An entire post ought to be dedicated to the reason we stop in Phoenix every time we drive home from Texas.  There are many places to stop along the way, but this restaurant is what draws us to Phoenix. 
Z'Tejas is a "chain" in the sense that there are many locations around the southwest (and one in Seattle).  But it is truly something special!  It was started in Austin Texas and serves food that is decidedly Texan in flavor. 
This time around, Drew stated, "I hate this restaurant because everything tastes good."  Each time we go we struggle to decide what to order, but because we go so infrequently, we end up ordering the same thing. 
We started with the Texas Trio - a set of chips and dips to put all others to shame - hand-hacked guacamole, queso, and roasted pepper salsa (their house salsa).  Our waitress was generous to bring one of the daily salsas -  green chile with avocado - the best green salsa I have ever had!
For the main course, we got the usual.  Green Chile Barbacoa Enchiladas for Drew, Santa Fe Smoked Chicken Enchiladas for me.  There was ample sharing between the two of us.  The Santa Fe Enchiladas can best be described as "Texas on a plate."  The Green Chile Enchiladas are a very simple flavor combination, but the flavor really works, while the Santa Fe Enchiladas are a complex blend of flavors that leave you hungry for more.  Oh, for three stomachs to try all the other items on the menu in one sitting. 
We also ordered dessert - Cobbler with Ice cream on top.  Superb - loved the ground pecans in the skillet...mmmm.  I think I could just eat pecans and warm fruit from a skillet with ice cream on top and be a happy woman!
Drew also endulged in his customary Margarita trio.  He always starts with their house margarita (6th Street), then moves to another "new" one, and finishes with his favorite.  He would have to tell you all about the flavors because you couldn't pay me to take up room in my belly with anything but the food at this place.
Z'Tejas, we know you well.  Thanks for the great food!

Blizzard '09

Previous to this year, I have never been (to my knowledge) within 100 miles of a blizzard.  So indulge me a little bit, while I share my tale.  I can almost guarantee you, it will be my only one ever!

We set out on Christmas Eve to go to Mamaw's house (a trip of about 2 hours).  About halfway through the trip we hit blizzard conditions (yes, in Texas!) and had to stop for the day.  It was all of 12 noon and we found the only hotel on the way to Witchita Falls for quite a while.  We had to stop a mere 45 miles from our destination and bunk down for the night.  Although I did not throw a fit, like the child in the room next to us, it was the most surreal Christmas I have ever had.  Drew fell in love with the snowy conditions and alternated between looking out the window at the snow and going outside to check out the snow.  I have never been a fan of snow, so I lay in bed most of the afternoon. 

We had a very special microwave dinner for our Christmas Eve feast (ramen noodles and campbell's soup...mmm...good) and did catch most of It's A Wonderful Life.  What memories we have! 
We awoke on Christmas Day and tried to wait for the sun to come out to melt some of the ice on the roads.  We set out about 11:30 AM and commenced our two hour trip to Mamaw's.  Drew drives exceptionally well on ice and I was very thankful for the safe trip. 
I was even more thankful to see family and have a great Christmas dinner at Mamaw's.  This was our debut Christmas as a couple at Mamaw's house and I have many great memories from our time there!  I love spending days and evenings around a table, playing games, and laughing with family.  This is what holidays were made for! 
Since we had been so delayed by the snow, we decided to stay a litlte longer in Wichita Falls!  We set out on Tuesday headed for El Paso.  On the way home, we hit the rest of the weather conditions we had not yet seen on our trip: sleet and fog.  There were a few snow flurries mixed in, but no ice.  This resulted in easy driving conditions the rest of the way home.  We arrived back in the desert to temperatures in the 60's.  How good it is to be home!

Most of the Rest of the Trip

Well, the destruction of the Mavericks by the Lakers tonight presents the opportunity to catch up on my neglected blog.  Sad...sad.  Let's think of the things over the last week or so that have made life not sad at all.  We were in Texas for the rest of the year and made it back to Cali just in time to celebrate New Year's with my parents (a tradition we all enjoy).
To sum up most of the rest of the trip:
Our first weekend in Texas was filled largely with sports and eating.  I think these two things would take up most of our time if we were to move there.  Highlights for the weekend: I Frateli pizza - a knockoff of a much more famous eatery in Dallas (Campisi's) which has a great oval thin crust pizza.  The best part: when I called to place the order, not only was delivery FREE, but they give a discount in the amount of the points scored by the Dallas Cowboys on the day of (or after) the game - 22% discount - if you know the amount of points scored.  Pretty cool!
On Monday before Christmas Mom and I set out to pick up my older two nephews.  We had all plans and intentions of going to an Ice Spectacular at the Gaylord in Grapevine.  We got all the way to the front of the line to find out they were sold out until much later in the day.  All was not lost, however, because I got to have a wonderful conversation with Aidan about the finer points of theology.  Among the questions answered on the way to the Gaylord: "Could Samson catch the fish that ate Jonah?"
Tuesday brought much stress for me as I attempted to drive back to my brother's house (a place I have been to quite a few times and which has not moved).  We got lost and stuck in traffic, arriving there over an hour late and thus decided to go out to eat!  Good dinner at Cotton Patch Cafe - thanks Jordan and Sarah!
Wednesday evening saw the arrival of more relatives (my aunt, uncle, cousins, and my little 2nd cousin)!  We made an easy go of it for the evening - lasagna, salad, garlic bread - and had easy conversation.  I love spending time with family!