Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pizzeria Bianco

You will likely wait for an hour and a half, on a good day, but many people will tell you Pizzeria Bianco is worth it. Those people may be drunk, considering they are likely starved and spent that time next door at Bar Bianco sipping on wine. That was me.


When I finally bit into my margherita pizza, which I enjoyed all to myself, I felt it was in fact one of the best pizzas I've had. Was it the wine, or the ingredients?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Grand Canyon hike in 2009

Years ago, I hiked about 13 miles down the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point and back. (This is not all the way down to the river; many people recommend you don't attempt to hike to the river and back in one day, and I'm part of this crowd.)  It took about 8 hours, including breaks and lunch in the Canyon, and my legs were sore for days afterward. But the views I was able to capture were worth it.


Be sure to bring plenty of water and food for the hike! Also, I wouldn't set my bag down unattended again, as an aggressive squirrel tried to tear into my backpack to get to a  protein bar I had inside. I would also recommend good hiking shoes and socks, as well as sunscreen!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NYC: Part 2

Central Park:

NYC: Part 1

I was so proud of myself for venturing out alone to find the Brooklyn Bridge. This required me to take the subway alone, which I had never done.

I spent a sunny morning wandering around the bridge, soaking in the views and trying to stay out of bikers' way.

Looking up at the monumental bridge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wandering around Papago Park

The goal of my day spent exploring Papago Park was to crawl inside Hole in the Rock. I was prepared for quite a hike, but it was more of a walk up.

I stayed to watched the sunset and ponder my next move. Downtown Phoenix can be seen in the background.

Another Fall League Game: Scottsdale Scorpions vs. Peoria Javelinas

My favorite Scorpions player, Burgy:

Beware.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Arizona Fall League game: Scottsdale Scorpions vs. Surprise Rafters

My first Fall League experience was exciting and entertaining. The weather was gorgeous (cool, in the 70s, with a light breeze), tickets were cheap ($6), and we had the pleasure of sitting next to a woman named Sue, an enthusiastic baseball fan who counts baseball players among her acquaintances. She cheers passionately for her team and doesn't let up. Many players acknowledged her as they made their way back to the dugout and seemed to appreciate her words of encouragement. ("You're the best in the universe!," she yelled.) My friend and I spotted Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young in the stands, after he stopped to say hello to her. There was also lots of buzz in the audience about Bryce Harper, who did not play but was set to make his debut. And Josh Collmenter of the Diamondbacks was there!

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Arizona Fall League

Friday, October 15, 2010

Late-night hiking at Hayden Butte Preserve ("A" Mountain)

No matter what time it is, you'll likely find people climbing Hayden Butte, better known as A Mountain. I climb it for fitness reasons, as I'm preparing for a Grand Canyon hike. It's a quick, steep ascent that really gets the heart pumping. Do it two and three times and you're set. But give yourself time to enjoy the view.
Hayden Butte Preserve

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flagstaff, Arizona

It was forecast to hit 115 degrees in the Valley on Wednesday, so I persuaded someone to run away to Flagstaff for a day, where it was in the 70s and beautiful. We left Tuesday and spent the night checking out the downtown area. I especially loved and recommend Collin's Irish Pub, which had a brew from Sedona that my companion liked and great drink specials ($2 pints on Tuesdays!).

In the morning we rode the Skyride at Arizona Snowbowl up to 11,500 feet and took in the views along the way. It was even a bit chilly on the way up, and we could feel tiny raindrops sporadically falling on us. I should have heeded the advice on the Snowbowl's website to bring a sweater, but being a little cold was a welcomed change from the Valley heat. (There's also a coupon on the Snowbowl website for discounted tickets during the summer.)




 

After Snowbowl, we stopped at Alpine Pizza in historic downtown Flagstaff. I loved the charm of the restaurant and the friendly server, who said he had worked there for more than 10 years. I've had better pizza, but it was still worth a visit.

Our last stop on the trip was Lowell Observatory. We took a tour of the facility, met the trustee (William Lowell Putnam, the grandnephew of founder Percival Lowell) and even encountered a deer on the property. It was too early in the day to operate the telescopes, but I hope to go back soon and catch a glimpse of Saturn (the best planet, in my opinion).



Lowell's remains are in a mausoleum at the observatory.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

SanTan Village

SanTan Village is a charming outdoor shopping center near Loop 202 and Williams Field Road. It's home to many of the stores and restaurants I like: Forever 21, Barnes & Noble, Coach, Charlotte Russe, Kona Grill and many more. I would love to visit this shopping center more often, as this is my favorite Forever 21 location, but unfortunately I don't live in the area. But if you're in the neighborhood, check it out!



Complete list of stores: SanTan Village

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Conan O'Brien at Dodge Theatre

I jumped at the chance to see Conan's "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour" at Dodge Theatre. The show was nonstop laughs, of course.

Conan opened strong with a hilarious video of an O'Brien who had let himself go getting himself ready to work again.

I loved that several bits involved local places and people: Andy Richter advertised for the Fry Bread House, Conan joked about Arizona's new immigration law (and LaBamba being deported), and O'Brien opened the show wearing a Channing Frye jersey. He also mentioned his new job as the assistant manager of the Banana Republic at Kierland Commons.

I was surprised at how much music he incorporated into the show. He sang, played guitar and the keyboard, and (sort of) danced. He came back for an encore that involved him running into the aisles, high-fiving and taking photos with a lucky fan.

Some bits I could have done without, though. I've never been much of a fan of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. And the bit Richter did on his own was a letdown.

At one point Conan joked that this was the first time anyone had paid to see him. I'd say it was well worth it.


More pix to come!