Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jim & The Gin Fizz

I sit here on this sunny Saturday morning, sipping on a Ramos gin fizz, here to tell you all about it!  The most neglected morning cocktail; yet, the most delicious!

It all began on a Thursday evening at the grocery store.  Conor got a phone call from a mysterious number, which turned out to be a good Keenan family friend, Jim Mitchell.  He was at his place in Indian Wells (right next to Palm Desert) by himself for the weekend, and wanted to know if we would join him for a weekend of golf and fun!  Conor & I are always up for last minute adventures, so of course we said we would love too and went straight home to pack for our road trip the next day!

It was supposed to get into the upper 100s in Phoenix that weekend, so I was more than happy to get out of the state!  When am I not?! ;-)  We arrived that Friday evening to a beautiful and welcoming house.  Everything was beautiful!  You enter into an interior courtyard with a small table and chairs and comfy bench (perfect for reading in the morning).  It all felt so relaxing immediately.  Jim showed us the casita where we would be staying, and it was the nicest guest house I've ever stayed in.  This weekend was quickly turning into a little getaway, not just an average road trip!  After we unloaded our bags, we stepped into the main house which was even more beautiful, only enhanced by Johnny Pizzarelli meets the Beatles playing in the background.  Conor & I love this music now, and it has become a dinner & game time staple.  Thank you Pandora!

That night we sat on the deck enjoying a cool breeze and many bottles of red wine!  With a start like that, Jim and the two of us got along just fine!  He is quite the comedian, and I could listen to his stories for hours!  However, we had a 7am tee time the next morning, so around midnight we all hit the sheets.  Jim sent us to bed with individual water carafes and cups per wife Pam's direct instructions...nice touch from our wonderful host!

My 5 am alarm clock went off way too soon, but once in the main house, the coffee and bagels already made and put out, brought me to my senses.  I was ready for some golf!  I still struggle on the golf course ( I see some lessons in my future), but love playing nonetheless.  The Indian Wells Course is on the Top 100 list, so we were in for a treat!  My game really suffered, but it was still such a fun time!  Beautiful course...and no road runners to avoid! ;-)

After our round, we hit the brand new, multi-million dollar clubhouse (which was the nicest public clubhouse I have ever seen!) for some lunch and a beverage.  My bloody mary came with a shrimp in it...nice touch!  Back at the house we all took a much needed nap to rest up for the evening.  When I went to take a shower, I noticed a friend was already in there!!!  I saw my very first cockroach, ick!  Of course I screamed like a little girl (who wouldn't) and woke up Conor up so he could come take care of the situation.  I heard some rustling about in the bathroom....and then 5 minutes later he emerged telling me the situation had been taken care of.  Still a little weary, I took my shower.

That night, Conor & I cooked Jim dinner as a way to say "thank you" for being a great host!  We all enjoyed the caprese and big bowl of salmon pasta, and then made our way to the deck for more wine and great conversation!  Another wonderful, yet late evening. 

Sunday morning we woke up early and made our way to the main house.  The coffee was brewing and Jim had already prepped an omelet bar.  I was so impressed!  I was feeling a little "fuzzy" that morning, and eggs sounded perfect.  But first Jim whipped up a batch of Ramos gin fizzes!  He had been telling us about them all weekend, and how he made the perfect batch!  I was a bit skeptical after hearing the ingredients (raw egg?) and of the gin...since this is something I've just started to enjoy.  But my first sip was heavenly.  The best way I can describe it is to compare it to angel food cake batter: light, fluffy, and just sweet enough!  I don't know how I've been missing out on this Sunday brunch cocktail!  And it's great for a hangover because of the egg...added bonus!  Since this trip, Conor & I have made a batch every weekend.  I got the recipe straight from Jim, so you will have to come visit to get a taste of this treat!

The rest of our Sunday was lazy, yet relaxing.  There was a beautiful marble backgammon board in the house, so Conor took the opportunity to finally teach me how to play.  Apparently, the Keenans are all avid backgammon players so it was necessary that I learn to play!  I'm a quick learner and after only a few practice rounds, I even kicked Conor's butt a couple times!  We have since bought our own backgammon board (although not nearly as nice...maybe one day we'll get a marble one), and now play almost every night.  We're quite competitive!

Sunday afternoon rolled around, and Jim decided it was cocktail hour!  On the menu this time: beer margaritas!  Once again I was a little nervous to try this concoction...I DO NOT like beer.  First sip: delicious.  Second sip: I was in love.  Who knew beer was tequila's perfect mate.  I have been making margaritas this way ever since! 

We finished the day off with an early dinner and then a movie.  We got on the road early the next morning as I had to work that Monday afternoon.  We were both sad to leave and can't wait for more fun next time we see Jim! 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The City of Fountains

Get ready for some serious cuteness!!!
A few weeks ago I traveled to Kansas City (The City of Fountains...who knew), to visit my great friend Christina!  She has a 4 month old little boy named Tommy, and I am in love! :-)  I will get straight to the pictures because everyone loves baby pictures:

I loved Kansas from the minute I arrived!  As we were driving from the airport to the Scribner household, I couldn't get over how lush and green everything was!  I have definitely been in the desert much too long, because I get pretty darn excited about green trees now!  Freshly mowed green lawns, pretty flowers, wooded areas....I miss it all.  So Kansas was just what I needed!  Throw in my oldest friend and a baby, and I was in heaven!

The Scribners were wonderful hosts; I had such a fun and relaxing trip! While Donnie (her husband) was at work all day, Teeny & I spent our time chatting and playing with little Tommy.  It was so nice to be with a good girlfriend and just talk the day away.  It was just like our sleepovers from many years past!  I'm thinking that I need to move to Kansas, so that days like these can happen much more often.

One day, Teeny took me to downtown Kansas City for a little afternoon adventure.  It was such a beautiful city with lots of great shopping and food, two of my favorite things!  Later, we had a picnic lunch in this huge park which reminded me of Manito (for those of you Spokane people).  I could have stayed for months!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the baby bunny that Teeny & I rescued (read: trapped in a box)!  He could barely walk and had no mom, so we took it upon ourselves to help him.  Although it was so precious, Teeny was terrified of the bunny every time it tried to jump out of the box and get loose!  So alas, we let the baby bunny go....and we are positive that it found its mom and its home and is going to live a very long life! Thanks to us, of course. ;-)

I was so sad to leave, but Conor & I are going to make sure The Scribner Family make a visit to Arizona sometime this fall.  I need some more Tommy time soon....