Monday, March 31, 2014

Japanese Friendship Garden

Because we are fortunate to have a friend who shares her condo with us on the occasional weekend, we are learning to enjoy the "brightspots" of Phoenix.  This is our second visit to the Japanese Friendship Garden , but the first time in the Spring.  The light was muted with clouds and so Mark's photos are sharp and clear.  Enjoy a small tree of cherry blossoms and the reflective pond, a bubbling stream and sculpted bushes, and (special surprise) a young family of five ducklings and their mom.



Monday, March 10, 2014

Preview of Prep and Pastry Birthday Tea

Due to a bad cold and family issues, it is taking me longer than expected to post the lovely photos of my marvelous 65th Birthday Tea at Prep and Pastry.  Here is one photo that Mark took of one of the four (for 7-8 of us) with myself semi-hidden and my friend, Eileen, in the picture.  I have an album to make of his photos and those two other guests/friends have shared so more will be coming.  The "Downtown Abbey" theme and game that I made up made it fun, the food was fabulous, teas amazing and gifts and love from friends made my heart overflow....

Queen Creek Olive Mill

While on a brief respite weekend and Phoenix, we took a long drive from our downtown location to the far East Valley, discovering groves of still standing (and just blossoming) orange groves.  Meandering through the past agricultural area and more recent urban sprawl development, we reached our destination (45 minutes later):  the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  It was worth the drive.
We took in the Olive Pressing 101 tour, led by a wonderful guide, Sandy (who looks better in her mid 60s than Olivia Newton-John does and had the same perky personality as "Sandy" in "Grease).  We tasted a variety of their products (and olives from the Olive Garden at the Greek Monastery in Florence) and had a great Panini and salad from their Restaurant. 

Here are pictures of the exterior Olive Grove/Picnic Area and the amazing interior/store with products not only from their gardens but other local growers.  The story of the Mill and other photos (plus directions which you will need) are at  We encourage you to check it out and, if the trip is too much for now, their products are also available in Tucson at La Encantada.  We bought their "classic" EVOO for ourselves and our Phoenix condo hostess and our Chef Aron Fonte.