We made it safely to my bff's house to camp out for a few days. She had a wonderful roast beef dinner prepared for us...and brownies. She's not my bestie for just any old reason ;-)
Most of the week was spent driving to and fro through the valley...from Chandler to Scottsdale and back several times. We drove around some of our old neighborhoods where we used to live once upon a time, visited with family, we caught up with old friends, and popped in to surprise some others we hadn't seen in years. One day, I even convinced the family we needed to stop in at IKEA...it was close to where we were staying, and I knew it was pretty safe as far as what I would buy while I was there (i.e. I knew there was little room in the trunk for traveling home). We really only had a couple of hours to kill before meeting family for lunch, so we were hoofing it to get out of there. Y'all know how big it is, right?
No trip to Arizona would be complete without a meal at Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert, AZ. We met all of hubby's family there for a birthday dinner midway through the week. On the birthday person's big day, Joe's gives you a free meal, up to $10!
Finally, we managed to get one large group picture of all the Higbys. Sadly, it was at dusk and pretty dark to boot. The iPhone can only do so much ;-).
On to one of my favorite new places to go when we visit the Valley of the Sun. My SIL, Donna, took me to this fun little shopping center in Phoenix with several antique stores and a quaint boutique called Audrey's. This place was awesome! From vintage baubles to sweet burlap bouquets, it was definitely filled with a blogger's eye candy! Not only did it have some fantastic antique doodads, but it is also an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint retailer. This was like chalk paint heaven! They had pieces painted in various colors of ASCP and even had some paint sticks you could take home. Truth be told, I wanted to take at least one of each...but there was a 3 stick limit. I loved this sign that was outside the shop too.
Later in the week, I made it to a favorite restaurant from my college days... Guedos Cantina Grille, located in Chandler, AZ.
I don't know exactly what kind of cheese they put in their cheez crisps, but it, paired with their Salsa Verde, is amazing! Their street tacos are second to none also...so much flavor! Their condiment bar doesn't have lettuce for the tacos, but shredded cabbage instead. With a squeeze of lime and salsa, our tastebuds were having a serious party.
As our week came to an end, my bestie and I went out for pedicures on Saturday afternoon. We left the kiddos and hubby at her house playing Marion Bros. on the Wii. It was a fun afternoon for all!
Sunday morning, we left fairly early to start our journey back to Texas. We stopped in Payson to say goodbye to John's dad and had to snap a few pictures up on the Mogollion Rim as we headed toward home.
There aren't many places to pull over for sight-seeing up on the Rim, but we managed to find a pretty spot to snap some pictures.
As we left Arizona, we opted for a different, even more beautiful route across New Mexico. We even had signs from God pointing us in the right direction!
We had a mission...we aimed to stop in Pie Town, NM. My FIL had told us about this place and we just knew we had to stop. Right about the time we got to Pie Town, a big storm was dumping rain and hail up the road. It was the perfect time for a pit stop.
Once we got there, we had to choose which of the two pie places in town to hit. Fortunately, we went to the right one, the Pie-O-Neer.
As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by the "welcoming committee", a sweet group of locals who hang out at the restaurant, chat with travelers, and even play some live music in an adjoining room. We were immediately directed to to the corner where we were to pick out our pies. What a wonderful selection there was! It was hard to narrow it down, especially since my family is not really to "into" pies.
Anyway, we ended up with a slice of Blueberry Pie (hubby's choice) and a slice of Chocolate Chess Pie with Red Chile and Almonds (my choice). At $5.75 a slice, the kids didn't have a choice. ;-) We shared the two large pieces in the car.
I use the term "share" loosely. I got a couple of small bites of the Blueberry slice before Hubby chowed it down. (I didn't even get a picture of it it was gone so fast.) I made sure to grab a couple of bites of the Chocolate Chess Pie before I sent it to the back seat for the kids to try. As I saw them devouring it, I grabbed it back to snap a picture and a quick little bite. After that, I never got it back. The little vultures ate every last crumb. This pie was AH-MAZING! Sweet chocolate with the kick of chile was pure pie perfection. I see a copycat version of this pie in my future ;-)
Needless to say, we'll be going through this little town again the next time we head to Arizona for a visit. Not only for the wonderful pie, but for a little dose of good old-fashioned hospitality.
Well, that about wraps up the trip. Thanks for taking the journey with me!