Arizona: Day 2

Another lovely day out here in the sunny dessert! We laid low and decided to just relax, cook some food, and catch up. Mariah is a friend from high school, and with MANY states now separating us, we hardly get to see each other. I will note here also that she is one of those rare people where there is, if any, a very tiny bit of awkwardness to get over when we see each other again before it's just as if no time has passed. We pick up where we left off, and we always have the best time. We laugh too loud, dance too much, and deeply appreciate a good cocktail. Love her. She's a keeper.

After some morning coffee, I suggested she take advantage of having a chef in her house and we went to the grocery store to pick some things out for dinner. I wasn't sure what to make, so we wandered around the produce section until something came to me. I surely didn't want to eat anything that wasn't cold and raw in this heat, so I decided on a fresh corn and bell pepper salsa with cilantro lime shrimp on top and an accompanying savory fruit salad with apples, citrus fruit, red onion, and mint.  I've included the recipe for the salsa at the very end of this post. It's a truly multi-purpose recipe- delicious on it's own with chips, great on sandwiches or in a wrap, perfect topping a burger, or as a simple "bed" for a protein!

We figured we may as well make our own cocktails while we were at it, so to keep it simple we just bought some cheap champagne and dressed it up with some lemon and mint leaves.

Chris came home in time for dinner, so we had a lovely meal together. And then he suggested we head out to Old Town Scottsdale for a drink/desserts excursion. I do not have to be asked twice to partake in a dessert, trust me.

First, we headed to 5th and Wine, a Chris-and-Mariah favorite. It was a fun and comfortable spot with brightly colored dog portraits hanging all over and an extensive wine list. Perfect for our first stop! We shared Chris' basket of fries topped with lemon zest, chili flakes, parsley, and pecorino with a side of aioli (YUM!) while I sipped my very delicious amber beer and chatted and chatted and chatted. Even on a Saturday night, though it was noted that it was much more crowded than usual, the space felt open, not-too-loud and had plenty of comfortable/loungy seating.

Second stop was The Mission. This place... I don't even know where to start. Stunning inside, truly. It is modern and somehow over-the-top boudoir at the same time.

They serve very well-reviewed, upscale Mexican cuisine, but we were there strictly for dessert. We ordered the pumpkin bread pudding with scotch, pepitas, and pomegranate, which was moist, warm, filled with comforting spices, and atop an amazing (and bordering savory) sauce. Delicious.

However.... for ME, the second dessert stole the show. Fried Bananas with nutmeg, peanuts, and dulche de leche. The bananas were wrapped in some kind of deep fried wonton or tortilla, covered in dulce de leche and had crunchy, whole peanuts sprinkled alongside. Not to mention the peanut butter mousse and homemade nutmeg ice cream. A perfectly balanced dessert! Crunchy, creamy, gooey, savory, sweet, fruity. Wow. 

Not to mention the watermelon basil mojito and special, surprise drink sample (blueberry ginger and orange creamsicle margaritas). The Mission is definitely Ashley-approved. Ask for Sam the waiter- he's the best!

OK, off to enjoy another sure-to-be-delightful day! Until tomorrow...


1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 red onion, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob
1 tsp chili powder
1 lime, juiced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

After everything is cut and chopped, etc. put all the vegetables (except corn) into a medium sized bowl.
Over medium heat, brown corn a bit (2-3 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add chili powder and a splash of your lime. Add corn (it's ok that it's hot- it helps the flavors meld!) to other vegetables along the rest of the lime, cilantro and salt/pepper.
Stir and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a few hours. It can be eaten right away, but it will taste better the longer it sits and the flavors come to together.