Thursday, November 15, 2012

Five Guys Who Got it Right

This will be a quickie. But, I just have to recommend Five Guys Burgers & Fries!

A few months ago, the family and I headed over to our neighborhood Five Guys. I had never eaten there before and I'd been reading such rave reviews.


All the feel of a Fifties-ish diner and one of the best burgers you'll ever eat. Cheesy, meaty, savory excellence on a bun.

Try the jalapenos on that burger... guess what? They're fresh! Not the soggy, pickled things you usually get.  Onions are the perfect size and flavorful.

Fries were good, (not perfect,) and they sure don't skimp on the serving size.  My baby sure liked them.  We had an order of regular fries and an order of seasoned fries.

 The family was happy.  I was happy.  Great place.  Certainly a stop everyone needs to make eventually.

Happy kiddos. 

If you've eaten here... let me know what YOU thought!  If you haven't yet... make sure you try it soon!

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 12, 2012

Delicious Cake as Easy as ABC

A little over a year ago, I attended a friend's baby shower, (our little girls are less than a month apart.)  The dessert she served was an ENORMOUS and beautiful cake.  Those who know me are well-acquainted with the fact that I LOVE a good bakery cake... especially if it's slathered in decadent buttercream frosting.  I know, I know... "a moment on the lips and eternity on the hips."  Well, there have been countless of those lip-smacking moments in my life and yea... I have the eternal evidence on these hips.
But, I digress.  This cake... Oh my goodness!  This cake!  It was heaven on a fork.  It was pure bakery genius.  Half marble and half red velvet; the entirety coated in thick, yet light, buttercream.  I HAD to know from whence it came.


Yes, yes... it was then clearer than a cold, mountain stream that this was the place from where all other cakes in future MUST BE PURCHASED!

My husband was a darling a few weeks later when he surprised me with a giant red velvet cake from ABC.  It was perfectly decorated for me and just as delicious as it had been at that shower.
Fast forward a few months and we visited ABC once again.  Our lovely and very intelligent daughter was accepted into a brilliant private school.  As a reward, we promised her a cake from ABC.
Step through the doors to the bakery on any given day and become overwhelmed with the sugary smells and friendly faces welcoming you to sweet paradise.
The process for ordering is simple and creative.  Along one wall are some internet-active computers where one may find ANY image at all or find a cake they like and like a magic wand is being waved... it shall be done.
I spoke with a girl for quite some time and we perused the net together finding the exact specifications for what I needed and even bargained on a fair price.  Warning:  this bakery is NOT CHEAP, but you WILL be happy with what you get for the price.  No money is required at the time of ordering but we decided to put down half... my thinking is that with a deposit the work is most-assuredly going to be good.
I was right.
Emily had no idea WHEN her cake would be delivered, but upon her return from summer vacation... there it was.

 Gorgeous, fine-tipped piping!


Perfect colours!

EXACTLY what I ordered...

 And worth EVERY penny.

The taste... was out of this world!  (Inside was marble cake.  Of course... buttercream icing.) 

This is a HIGH recommendation.  You MUST turn to this establishment when in need of a special-order cake.

1830 San Pedro Dr. NE
Albuquerque, NM  87110
(505) 255-5080

ABC Cake Shop & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Katy Perry's A Part of Me" REALLY Was a Part of Me

Another girl date with my eldest and her choice for the day? Katy Perry: Part of Me; a docubiography chronicling Ms. Perry's rise to super stardom and revealing in detail her worldwide California Dreams Tour of 2011 and 2012.
Showing only in 3D, we had to plop down a whopping 25 bucks at the local theatre. Whoops. I'm starting to rant about money... Which is silly, because almost as soon as the movie began, I couldn't remember anything like money.

I was immediately swept into another world, another time, when I, too, had a remarkably similar dream. Seeing the stunningly gorgeous Katy in all her glittery glam emerging from beneath the stage, decked out in a peppermint-themed cocktail dress complete with spinning peppermint candy discs before thousands of dedicated, cheering fans, rhinestone encrusted mic in hand... well, there was no hope for me then. The tears began within the first ten minutes and there were many more to come throughout the next hour and a half.
Why tears? Was I simply overcome with starstruck fanaticism? Not really. Although I do adore Katy Perry and have followed her career for a few years, the tears were not a result of seeing her on the big screen in all her 3-dimensional spectacularness. No. The tears were for me. Remembrance of a past life, another place in time, when I had magnificent dreams of performing in sparkling splendor for the masses, came rushing at me before I even realized what I had done to myself in coming to see this film.
The parallelisms between her and me were stupefying. From the sheltered, charismatically Christian childhood to the unequaled vision of image she always saw for herself. The costumes, the sets, the wigs, the bejeweled microphone! The similarities were uncanny.
For those of you who don't know about my past... yes, there were many years of my life spent in great anticipation and grueling hard work all for the dream of becoming discovered as one of the world's greatest vocalists/entertainers. Six years went by with nothing but this goal as the center of my, (and my family's,) focus. Was I any good? Ask anyone who knew me then. I fear tooting my own horn may come across vainly, but the answer is very much a "yes." I was good. I had the "it" factor. Of course, this was before the emergence of the plethora of opportunities for youth seeking fame in music, i.e.: American Idol, America's Got Talent, The X Factor, etc. Why didn't I make it? Shamefully, I admit... I quit. I lost the dream somewhere along the way. I lost sight of the true goal. I missed reality and I crashed back to Earth with the new dream of "just wanting to have a normal life."
Regrets? Plenty. But, would I do it differently if given the opportunity again? I don't really know. I would love to see what I could have become, yet at the same time, I think, "How could I change anything?" If I had changed the course of my life, I wouldn't have had my lovely children, learned the life lessons I needed to grow up and become the woman I am today. I look at my baby and when she laughs with her wide, gummy smile, waving at me and saying "mama" with a drooling grin, I have to admit that I wouldn't have it any other way. My two pretty girls were created and ready to enter this world exactly when they did. How could I have pulled that off unless my life had followed the path exactly as it did? *shrugs*
Back to the movie... A wonderful documentary... truly. It didn't JUST bring about regretful memories of a long-gone past, but also made me desire to see this lovely young woman in concert... or ANYWHERE!
Her show looked fantastic! A divine wonderland embracing the true beauty of the female spirit. Candyland and Cirque du Soleil had a baby and it's offspring is Katy Perry's stage show.  Almost all of her costumes are some sort of candy-themed, candy-inspired masterpiece and she's the only one who could ever really pull that kind of extremity off.
The movie-going audience gets to see her perform almost every song from the album "Teenage Dream," and I must tell you that this gal can REALLY SING!  There is no lip-syncing.  There is no extreme pyrotechnics or loud, computerized bass to hide an off-key voice.  She is the real deal.  She can dance AND sing at the same time and her voice never wavers.  She has a perfect figure, a classically beautiful face and an incredible, strong voice.  She writes ALL of her songs.  She plays the guitar.  She is simply, in the least simplistic of ways, amazing.
There were some moments of genuine sadness as the movie did not leave out her relationship, from start to finish, with Russell Brand.  Yes, I cried about that, too, especially seeing Katy so very downcast and depressed during that time after just seeing her so unequivocally happy and ever-smiling in all the footage prior.  I admit, I was a huge fan of their romance and was absolutely so disheartened when hearing the news of their split.
In the end, all one wants to do is give her a hug and wish her "good luck" as she takes the next steps in her life journey.  Katy Perry: Part of Me is inspiring and fun.  I recommend it mostly to the girls, but also for anyone who ever doubted this woman as a true talent deserving of her credits.  I dare you to think she isn't incredible after seeing this.

**One last note:  The song playing at the end with the rolling credits is her new single "Wide Awake."  It is an epic song that reaches inside of me and strangles me with so much truth and beauty, I get teary-eyed each time I hear it.
Watch the video here:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Plenty Filling: Zea Rotisserie & Grill

About a week ago, I decided to take my husband and baby out for an early dinner/late lunch.  The hubby couldn't decide what he wanted, so I ventured over to my urbanspoon account to remind myself of my restaurant wishlist.

Surveying the choices, my eyebrows were knitting at the potentials... apparently I have expensive desires.  Then I saw it.  Bingo! Zea Rotisserie & Grill!  I have been wanting to try this place for a year, having driven past many times and having read plenty of rave reviews from local connoisseurs of Albuquerque establishments. 

Arriving in the late afternoon, (before the dinner rush,) we were immediately seated by the man who was also our server.  We were asked if we preferred a table or a booth and, as usual, we both said "booth."  Let me tell you... the booth was HUGE!  I wasn't too pleased that our server chose to seat us at the one booth in the joint that had a major dip in the cushion and had been sloppily repaired with industrial tape.  (I had to scoot way in to avoid the broken spring.)  All that aside, however, and not wishing to complain, we ordered our soft drinks and scanned the menu while our server, Mike recited the specials of the day.  (He was very sweet but his voice was unnecessarily loud.  So loud, in fact, he woke up the baby, who had been sleeping pleasantly in her carrier until then.)

Continuing an optimistic view and ignoring the booming sounds of our server, (even echoing throughout the fairly empty restaurant as he went about his serving duties with us and his other tables,) Michael and I continued to look at and discuss the items on the menu.  What a meat lovers dream!  Every kind of grilled and roasted meat you can imagine priced anywhere from reasonable to down-right riDONKulous.

Asian Almond Shrimp
Remembering other reviews I had read which lavished about the giant portions, the man and I decided to order two things and split them, but first... an appetizer.  The waiter recommended the Hummus or the Asian Almond Shrimp and I had also read about the Asian Shrimp being pretty tasty... So, we ordered the shrimp.  It was indeed delicious; large, crispy-fried shrimp on a bed of crunchy, fresh cabbage and topped with almond slivers, green onions and a spicy-sweet sauce.  (The "sauce" was more of a glaze and although yummy, it was a tad bit sticky for my taste.  Too much corn starch.)

For our main courses, we ordered the Sweet & Spicy Rotisserie Chicken with Zea Potatoes and Roasted Corn, and the Honey Island Chicken Sandwich with Fries.  (When we ordered the sandwich, the waiter asked if we'd seen one before and saying, "no," he said we were in for a treat.)

Boy, were we ever!  It was gigantic!  We could have just shared the sandwich...

Honey Island Chicken Sandwich - Fried breast, bacon, Jack cheese, honey mustard, lettuce & tomato 
The french fries were quite thin and very crispy, (reminded me of Steak N' Shake's shoestring fries.)  Bridgett really liked them, too.  The chicken sandwich was killer!  And, it was only $9.95!  I didn't like their version of honey mustard though... too vinegary.  Good thing I ordered mayo on the side. 

What was really nice was how they split our chicken dish for us onto two separate plates.  The roasted corn was to die for!  I will return just for that!  The Zea Potatoes were heavily and deliciously seasoned chunks of potato... I wasn't sure if they had been fried or roasted, but they were good.  The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, but I was highly disappointed to see that same, sticky glaze from the shrimp appetizer now smothering my chicken as well.  Like I said before, it was tasty, but way too sticky.  My hands were so messy by the end of the meal, I had to use a baby wipe to clean them.  (They should bring moist towelettes with the check.)
Sweet & Spicy Chicken with Roasted Corn and Zea Potatoes

All in all, the food was quite scrumptious, the service was fast and our drinks were never empty.  If you order smartly, you won't spend a fortune.  Portions are large; sharing is not a bad idea.

The broken booth, the overtly-loud server, the too-sticky glaze and no changing table in the men's restroom, (a MUST for any modern eating establishment.)  Also, we were seated near the servers' station and could hear EVERYTHING they said to one another, and a lot of it was NOT family friendly.

I WILL return, but not any time soon and I positively will NOT be ordering anything with that glaze on it.

All this food for less than $25, (excluding the appetizer and drinks.)

Zea Rotisserie & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon: A Thrilling Experience

After a few days of watching a marathon of Season Two of HBO's Game of Thrones, I was genuinely ready to enjoy something a bit more lighthearted.  Over two years I've wanted to see How to Train Your Dragon, I finally had the chance, and now... I have a new favourite!

The animated film starts you right in the action; a thrilling scene of a town-full of Vikings having to fight off their pesky adversaries, dragons.  It's narrated by our hero, Hiccup, voiced by the very funny, monotone Jay Baruchel, known for his roles in The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Knocked Up.

A story of hope and change, showcasing beautifully-animated, fantasy creatures and a special world right out of a child's imagination, How to Train Your Dragon has all the elements of a true classic.  The animation is, of course, spectacular; to be expected from a Dreamworks production.  The perfect voice cast includes: Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and Craig Ferguson.
Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson) & Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler)

And, from the moment you see those amazing, feline/canine-like, as-only-animation-can-portray, green eyes of the main character dragon, Toothless, you're hooked in to his plight- a completely loveable, albeit misunderstood animal, now injured permanently by some of Hiccup's early shenanigans, who just needs a friend and some guidance and instruction to help him fly again.  After Hiccup finds Toothless, the friendship which follows is epically charming and will have you saying "awww" more than you realize.
Toothless and Hiccup

This movie has some hilarious and touching moments and some very thrilling flying scenes, (which made me super regretful that I didn't get to see it on the big screen in 3D.)  The climactic ending is full of action and will have you on the edge of your seat, gasping and wide-eyed.  A bittersweet turn of events in the last scenes will make you like this movie even more, offering a cool lesson of integrity and acceptance of things we may not understand but cannot change.

Toothless in one of his cat-like moments, sneaking up on Hiccup
There is no doubt I will be seeing this again VERY soon and I just know when you do, it will become an instant favourite for you also.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and a definite 4 STARS!  Rent or buy it today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Girl Date; Mirror, Mirror

Emily and Mommy headed to the Movies
Growing up in a family where a trip to the cinema was an anticipated, weekly event, I am still majorly a childlike fan of the silver screen.  And, I haven't been able to go but once since the birth of my newest daughter in November.  Naturally, for my oldest daughter's and my first bi-weekly girl date, what should I suggest?  Why, a jaunt to the movies of course!

A couple of stops first: convenient store for sodas and candy then Wendy's for their new $.99 cheesy cheddar burgers, (they're truly the perfect movie munchies.)  Last stop... Cinemark 8, our local $1 movie, (well, $1.50-$2.00 movie nowadays.)  Giant purse stuffed with our goodies in hand, we buy our tickets and go in.  

I still get a little rush of deviousness as I sneak food into the movies, fearing the thought and consequence of getting caught, especially after the one defined event in my movie-going life when my parents and I sneaked in giant Styrofoam takeout containers full of fresh Chinese food... and were almost made when the smells wafted through the theatre like a delicious song.  Several staff members came hunting for us the culprits, flashlights in hand, scanning the aisles.  I don't even know HOW we got away with it that time.

The building is old, has a less-than-well-kept black and white checkered floor and smells of stale popcorn... but that's another blog entirely, isn't it?  Fortunately, our movie was playing in the larger theatre where the seats rock and have padded, moveable arm rests, but none of the theatres are stadium seating, thus the affordable ticket price.

We took our seat and eagerly awaited the lowering of the lights so we could bust out our stash of smuggled-in indulgences.  The theatre was fairly empty.  Much to my consternation, an elderly man sat just a few seats from us on the same aisle; there were so many other seats available.  One never knows if a neighboring movie-goer will rat you out when they see your secret bag of bought-elsewhere food.  I was put at ease almost instantly, however, when I saw him reach into his backpack and retrieve his own brought-from-home bag of popcorn in a giant Ziploc.  Whew!  

Finally, the movie began.

 I had thought going in to see this movie that it would be cheesy and a story already overdone hundreds of times.  .....................I was wrong.

What a marvelous picture!  One I am going to recommend highly to ALL audiences.

Perfectly cast.  Julia Roberts plays The Queen; shallow, vane, jealous, wicked, and in denial about her true age- how suiting this role is for her.  She sincerely is a very spoiled brat of a woman in real life with about as much true depth as a shriveled pinto bean.  (Disagree?  Ask me about her rabbit fur coat.  I'll explain gladly.)  Nathan Lane is cast as Brighton, the Queen's page, (sort of taking up the role of the "Huntsman" from the original story.)  Mr. Lane is hilarious as ever... never disappointing and sure to always fetch laughter.  Armie Hammer plays Prince Alcott, and is adorable.  He's handsome, charming and not without several humorous quips.  (Mr. Hammer is currently IN New Mexico filming The Lone Ranger in which he plays the title role.)  

Lily Collins as Snow White
And, last but certainly not least, Miss Lily Collins is the P-E-R-F-E-C-T Snow White.  (It's a right shame she isn't cast in the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsmen; a movie I am surely anticipating but with a regrettable casting choice in Kristen Stewart as Snow.  Lily auditioned for the role but I suppose someone in casting must have been a Twilight fan.  *gag*)  Miss Collins was a blissful breath of beautiful, fresh air.  She stole the movie, really.  Her smooth, ivory skin, huge brown eyes and raven-black locks were only trifles of her perfection befitting the role.  Her look has a haunting resemblance to Audrey Hepburn and a familiar, heavy-browed, defined face like that of Jennifer ConnellyDid you know she is Phil Collins' daughter?   **The character of Snow is a true delight.  She is hardly the simpering, helpless lass as depicted in previous versions... but virtuous, brave, talented, strong and determined; an admirable role model for our young girls who look up to every storybook character, especially princesses.

I can't forget to mention the 7 dwarves... oh no!  They were all loveable and each had unique characteristics.  An unexpected twist, however, was that they were not the virtuous, hard-working miners of other "Snow White" tales, but actually bandits/thieves.  Of course, later in the film we find out why and there is a definite change of hearts thanks to Snow.  The most pleasing aspect for me of these little guys was that I recognized two of them from one of my favourite television shows: "Pit Boss."  That's right... Ronald Lee Clark and Sebastian Saraceno finally achieved their dream to be cast in a major motion picture.  (After watching that show for years and seeing their determination and struggles to make it in Hollyweird, it was nice to see them in such a cute movie.)

Snow White and the unique Seven Dwarves: Left to Right- Napolean, Grubb, Wolf, Butcher, Half Pint, Grimm & Chuckles
There were many lovely qualities of this film.  One strikingly obvious one would have to be the costumes.  Such beauty!  And the sets!  From the first few moments, one is transported to a fantastical land reminiscent of true Fairy Tale tradition, but with modern elements of not only style but dialogue, making it an instantly likeable and easy-to-relate-to story.

In the end, the customary storyline is replaced with a more realistic version complete with a surprising role reversal, once again making the character of Snow even more loveable and noble.

This film is sure to be a classic favourite in your movie library.  I know it will be in mine.

WANA112 Daily

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Movie(ng) Afternoon: We Bought A Zoo

Friday night.  Homemade sour cream, chicken, green chile enchiladas.  Hubby's work compadre expected for dinner, (our first non-family dinner guest in our new house.)  Awesome playlist created and dancing on the fragrant, evening air.  Some tasty, local brew and Captain Morgan, (apple soda for Emily.)  ...  Phonecall.  Vehicle trouble.  Lots of time passes... waiting.  Another call.  Company not going to make it tonight.  Bummed.

Trying to lighten the mood, I sent the daddy/daughter duo to pick up a movie while I popped the enchiladas into the oven and cooked up the refried black beans.  All would not be lost!  Yes, we were all pretty disheartened at the loss of our amigo joining us for dinner, but no need to feel down.  Redbox to the rescue again!!

We Bought A Zoo in hand, my beloveds returned to a warm house filled with delicious smells of corn tortillas, cheese and cilantro.  We stuffed our faces and due to the now-late hour, we had to retire for the night and decided to embark upon our film journey the following day, (after all, it was a three-day weekend.)

The next morning was a delight.  Seeing how excited my eldest daughter was to be going on her date with Daddy brought an unexplainable joy to my indubitably sappy, mother's heart.  Their bi-monthly planned day consisted of a trip to the park and an intermission for ice cream before returning home to learn a "routine" that would be performed for me later.  (Emily just loves choreographing cheers, dances and plays to perform with friends... but this time... Dad.)

After my very full morning with the baby and a little extra "me" time to take a hot bath then play with some long-overdue and stagnantly-awaiting art, I was ready to settle in for a little movie watching in the mid afternoon, (as was the ol' man after quite the eventful day with the energetic little imp.)  I laid the little one down for a nap, put out some Club crackers and Tillamook Cheddar and we were ready for our trip to the Zoo.

I love it when I am watching a film and suddenly there is a major point with which I can seriously relate.  Like the main character, Benjamin Mee, I too lost a spouse to illness.  It's a bumpy, scary and LONG road to recovery.  Matt Damon portrays the struggling partner left behind with a hefty plate of two children, (one a troubled teen,) and full-time job to nurture/maintain in the wake of tragedy.  As per usual, Mr. Damon plays the part masterfully and believably.  From the start, I was empathetic and feeling his every, conveyed emotion.  Seeing his late wife everywhere... everything a trigger to frustrating sadness, his 14-year old son falling deeper and deeper into a dangerous, downward spiral of trouble and depression, quitting his job and refusing to take his journalistic talents online versus the field, (where he loved and lived to be,) this man needed a desperate change.

Deciding to relocate and just "start over," he and daughter Rosie, tag along with a real estate agent in search of the perfect new beginning,
Rosie Mee played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones
finding what he thinks to be the exact location of said fresh start in a beautiful fixer-upper ranch-style home set on a lush, scenic plot of 18 acres.  Little does he know in all his eagerness and immediate desire to purchase the property that it's not just a house on some lovely land... but a Zoo.  After this news becomes known and that the sale of the house also includes the animals, (or else their unfortunate demise is imminent,) Benjamin's hopes are dashed.  But, after witnessing the unquestionable light in his 7-year old's eyes at the idea of living on and owning a Zoo, he feels he is seriously being led to buy.  And, he does.

Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee with Spar the tiger
The tale is weaved with strands of humor, laced with very realistic elements of truth, love and sorrow and made complete with a rather wonderful, charismatic cast.

Scarlett Johansson as Kelly Foster

One rather refreshing surprise was Scarlett Johansson, who normally just rubs me the wrong way, (an absolute stunning beauty but boring actress.)  Well, I am never one to remain silent when my opinion is altered.  I had forgotten she starred in this film and the soddy smirk on my face was definite evidence as to my lack of enthusiasm for this fact when the movie started.  HOWEVER... what a nice change from her usual bimbo-ish, I'm-so-freaking-gorgeous-I-don't-have-to-act-well roles.  She seriously made me like her in this single afternoon.  Playing Kelly Foster, the head zookeeper, she nailed the character.  Even her more masculine, outdoorsman-type walk suited the part.  I was shocked and impressed.

In conclusion, I am recommending this movie to ALL.  It was beautifully made and well acted and terrifically scripted.  My husband liked it so well, he raced over to the computer afterwards to do some more research.  (That's how I always know he liked a movie; he dives in deeper.)

The REAL Benjamin Mee with Matt Damon
Oh!  And did you know it's a true story?  Yea!  Based on actual events and a real-life place called Dartmoor Zoo in the Southwest region of England in Devon.  That's right... and the real Benjamin Mee wrote this charming little story, (the book, not the movie, but what this movie IS based upon.)

It's a comedy.  It's a drama.  It's a family film.  It's an animal lover's mantra.  It's fun.  Just watch it.  You'll see.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Never Disappointing: Sadie's

True-to-form and ever-faithful Texas girl that I am, finding the perfect Mexican cuisine to suit my Tex-Mex-spoiled palate is anything but an easy task here in New Mexico.  I have lived here in Albuquerque a little more than year now and have noshed at many a proclaimed "authentic New Mexican" restaurant.  As much as I have come to admire, enjoy and CRAVE the regional staple: green chile, (which is available everywhere here,) there still seems to lack a true understanding of quality Mexican food among the plethora of "Mexican" eating establishments.

There is, however, one amazing exception.  Sadie's.  Certainly not a Tex-Mex eatery, but Sadie's was the official mind-shifter responsible for allowing entry into my head the possibility that New Mexican cookery can be just as delectable.

Last Saturday evening was my 10th visit to this now-beloved restaurant; 8th visit to my personal favourite location: Sadie's East.

My husband and Mother-in-Law in front of Sadie's East.

From the very first moment of entry, Sadie's East welcomes you.  The front doors, obviously handcrafted, complete with whimsical red chile handles bring you into an inviting entryway dressed in Southwest textiles and Mexican decor, the distinct and tantalizing aroma of corn tortillas and chiles pulling you in with a smile.  Friendly and accommodating staff await you promptly, seating you either instantly or within minutes.  (Sadie's on 4th is a hit or miss when waiting and service are concerned.  I have been there twice and must say it's an entirely different vibe, one I don't care to repeat.)

Each and every visit to Sadie's has been a memorable, fun and FILLING experience.  All waitstaff are incredibly amiable.  We've yet to have a repeat server, yet each one has seemingly been better and more pleasant than the previous.  One thing I greatly appreciate is their abundance of staff, each table not only having a server but also a "helper" of sorts who takes care of your drinks exclusively for the entirety of your stay.

Is this ALL there is?  Great staff, traditional design, inviting smells of classically-favourite foods?  Oh nooooooooooooo, my friend.  

The Food!

Hungry?  Sadie's.  "Nuff said," as my little brother states often.  The inconceivable amount of food per portion can be intimidating to any who prefer to lightly pick at their meals or dieters.  Prepare to be full beyond full and almost always have to leave with an accompanying "doggie bag."  They are definitely not stingy; no portion control here.  

Keep in mind, however, that you will indeed pay for such beastly-sized dinners.  After our first couple of visits, the hubby and I got wise... especially once our eyes found a heaping MOUNTAIN of piled-up deliciousness.  We inquired to find that the mound was actually their famous Sadie's Nachos.  And not only are these humungous, (will feed anywhere from 3-6 people,) but they are unequivocally scrumptious, too.  The half order is just shy of $9 and the full order is a mere $10.99!  Where else can you feed so many with ONE dish at such a reasonable price?

Sadie's Nachos.  My FAVOURITE!
Photo courtesy of

As I have already stated, these nachos are not only unprecedented in their massive size, but also beyond delicious.  They can be topped with chicken or beef, (I recommend the beef.)  The deluge of toppings also includes refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole (always yummy,) cheese (the finest,) and FRESH jalapeños (not the pickled kind either... these are hot and good!)

Another favourite here is the Sadie's Chile Relleno: a huge green chile stuffed with cheese and deep fried.  As with all Sadie's dinner entrees, the relleno is surrounded by a veritable moat of frijoles and papitas, (small cubes of pan-fried potatoes,) and is smothered with your choice of red or green chile, or as my husband orders- Christmas, (meaning both red AND green.)  After tasting one of these fine, fried peppers stuffed with cheese, my Dad proclaimed it to be "the best relleno he'd EVER had," and he is actually from New Mexico and had always shown allegiance to a family friend-owned hideaway in Clovis where he grew up.  (This place is now closed, owners have retired, but even I have had their famous rellenos and found them to be quite lovely.)  Never in a thousand years did I think my father would announce a NEW relleno favourite.

In addition to splitting the nachos with whomever may be dining with me, I usually order a beef taco a la carte.  It's never been disappointing; shell freshly fried, the ground beef spicy and more grated cheddar than you'd think legally possible.  Sometimes, I also order a side of guacamole, which is invariably fresh, but isn't the cheapest for the size you get.  The chile con queso is another smart order, but get ready to pay entirely too much for this savory dip.  (I have to admit my own queso blows this one out of the water... and I'd never charge over $7 for a tiny bowl.)

A simple substitution:
Try the refried beans instead of the traditional frijoles.  They are LOADED with flavour.

One last endorsement...

 Please don't discount the salsa!  Absolutely and without question some of the tastiest and HOTTEST salsa you'll ever eat.  It's genuinely spicy to a degree that will leave your mouth ablaze all while teasing your taste buds with its unmatched flavour.  You'll drink plenty of water and swear it's "just too hot," the same time you're reaching for yet again your 50th+ chip to dip into it.  Every guest I've brought along has quite verbally and figuratively made their appreciation of the salsa known.
*You can also purchase this famous salsa in a jar... and while it is indeed better than any standard off-the-shelf-mass-produced hot sauce, the jarred product pales in comparison to the fresh.

Photo by: Eric Williams,
Come hungry... leave MORE THAN full.  Sadie's will leave you content, happy and craving it within a week.   I guarantee it.
I just went Saturday, and I'm already planning another trip.

Been to Sadie's?  What's your favourite menu item?  Haven't been... what's your favourite 
Mexican food place?


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WANA112 Daily

Saturday, May 19, 2012

An Adventurous Ride with Tin Tin & Redbox Customer Service

On occasion, I will deem it necessary to make Friday night a movie night for the family. Since going to the actual cinema costs just about everything shy of your blood and firstborn, renting is the obvious, most economic choice. Redbox to the rescue!

I have been curious to see The Adventures of Tin Tin for a long while now and as it wasn't sold out on Blu Ray, since I didn't wait too late in the day to visit the notoriously red kiosk that's now seemingly on every corner, that's exactly what I got.

After getting the little one fed and happy, we all sat down with our steaming bowls of chicken, potato, corn chowder and french bread and prepared to be entertained.

From the first few seconds, one's eyes cannot be torn away from the phenomenal animation; so life-like, you almost forget you're watching a cartoon. This movie has, undoubtedly, the best and most realistic CG animation I have seen to date. No detail was left unconcerned. The textures of the skin, the shine in the hair, the actual, properly-conducted, humanistic movements and expressions of the characters. The only things to continuously remind you that it isn't real, are the exaggerated, caricature-style noses on a majority of the characters, which added comical flare.

The story was just starting to pick up and we were all intently watching, (the movie was only 21 minutes in,) when suddenly the abominable happened... the ugly, dreaded multi-coloured squares began to mar our perfect picture. Pixels. Sound: gone. Skipping?? I had cleaned the disc before putting it into the Blu Ray player as it had been abundant with sticky, child-sized fingerprints, (the drawbacks of renting "Family" films from an unmanned source. My theory is there are plenty of parents out there who rent these movies for their kids and just leave them in charge of the disc, off to whatever adult activity keeps them away from their children as much as possible.) But, I digress...

We eject the disc and hubby cleans it even more... but there it is: a scratch. Tiny and barely noticeable, but enough to ruin our Family Movie Night indeed.

Naturally, I was promptly on the computer to retrieve Redbox's instructions on what to do in this tragic circumstance. After searching their site and deciding on the Chat with a Representative option, I wait, and wait... and wait, (even though the chat dialogue proclaimed I was 1st in line.) FINALLY, a human-posing bot named "Larry" comes on the screen to assist me in my crisis. After explaining my situation and directed to clean the disc, as I'd already done... then asked if I'd tried playing it on a different player, (RIGHT! Like we all have an extra Blu Ray player lying around,) I was finally offered some consolation in the form of two promo codes worth $1.20 each. This was certainly welcome, but I inquired as to my responsibility for the remainder of the price for renting a Blu Ray. (Blu Rays cost $1.65; DVDs cost $1.20.) After all, the offensively-scratched disc in question WAS a Blu Ray. It was then a REAL person must've replaced the bot, because I was offered yet another promo code as an apology for the inconvenience. Cool. Now I was appeased.

Without delay, I was off to the nearest Redbox to make my exchange. I was back home in a jiffy and our adventure with Tin Tin was underway yet again.

*deep breath*

What a thrill ride! As only Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson can deliver, The Adventures of Tin Tin was a veritable, on-the-edge-of-your-seat journey complete with an engrossing plot line, Indiana Jones-esque action, explosive cinematography, and witty, comedic banter as only the British can most-assuredly deliver.

The title character, Tin Tin, is a loveable bloke; an intelligent-beyond-his-years investigative reporter/journalist with a baby face appearance recollective of the likes of Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe. Captain Haddock is just as loveable with his jocose antics and inebriated prattle. Voiced by the ever-so talented Andy Serkis, Haddock adds hilarity in all its forms to this already amusing film.

At one point, my 9-year old daughter stated that she didn't see how this movie was "for kids." In agreement with this, I replied, "Just because it's animated, doesn't mean it's for kids." And, it really wasn't actually. The plot was a tad difficult for her to follow in places and there were several jokes/references which only cultured and knowledgeable ADULTS would understand. Michael and I were enjoying it exceedingly.

In summary, I recommend it highly... but not for the youngest of audiences. I'd say 10 or 11 and older. Be prepared to be amazed at the beyond-stellar animation and intensely surprised at how enthralling this film really is.


What films have YOU seen lately that you'd recommend?

WANA112 Daily