Friday, September 30, 2011

Trip to Phoenix -- Great Time and Amazing Dinner!

Last weekend, Chris and I went to Arizona for a whirlwind weekend of fun.  It was everything we expected and more.
Lexie was excited to be going... here she is making sure we don't forget her.

Here is Lexie in the car...
We saw my grandmother and we all went out to lunch.  She told us lots of stories about her 35 years of marriage to my grandfather including their bribing a game warden with fish when they didn't have a fishing license.  She just glows when she talks about my grandfather who died at the age of 100, ten years ago.  We took her to the mausoleum to visit my grandfather's crypt, and she told us that she considered having "Col. Milton V. Sanden" engraved, but instead she went with "Milton V. Sanden".  She said that when we get to heaven and we're with Jesus, none of the titles matter anymore.  I thought that was a really sweet and profound statement, especially given how proud she and my grandfather were of his military service.

Decades and generations apart, it amazes me how similar engagement and wedding rings have remained over the years.

My grandmother always called my grandfather her "Goldfish".  She was from a very small village in Germany and my grandfather was a US Army Colonel who was stationed in Germany after World War II.  He was 20 years her senior, and when she and my grandfather got married, all of her family said she has landed, "The big fish!"  Below is a wall hanging that her brother made that shows grandmother catching a goldfish.

We listened to stories, told her about our wedding and introduced her to Lexie, who she LOVED.  Grandmother has already been a cat person -- every cat she and my grandfather have had was named "Kitty-Gal".  She insists that my grandfather spoiled every Kitty-Gal, but something tells me they both had a fair hand in the spoiling.
We got to see old friends of mine from Vanderbilt and their beautiful little red-headed baby, Naomi.

I am so inexperienced at holding babies... but Naomi and I did okay, what with the red-head bonding at all.
Then, we saw the Arizona Diamondbacks play the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field.  The Diamondbacks had just won the National League West Championship, so fans were VERY excited and incredibly friendly.  I think these were the most friendly fans of any ballpark Chris and I have yet visited.

In the bottom of the 7th, all the field lights went out.  It was a fun experience to have the big screen tv working, music playing, neon signs all around the park shining bright... and a very dim field -- an unplayable, dim baseball diamond.

 These girls were fun to sit near.  They are the ones who recommended Oregano's for dinner.

This corn dog was a "good deal" according to ads... I think it was worth about 2/3rds less than we paid for it, but Chris was excited.

The All-Star game had been at Chase Field this year, so there was All-Star paraphernalia around.

After the game (that the Diamondbacks won 15-2), Chris and I took the recommendation of a friendly fan to go to Oregano's for dinner.  This dinner was THE MOST AMAZING MEAL Chris and I have had since our honeymoon.  I think it was a combination of SERIOUSLY being the best meal we have had in months, and the fact that there are no good restaurants in Rifle.  We have explored them -- they are not good.
The story of the restaurant was printed on the back of the menu, and it is adorable.  The founder's father gained his cooking skills during the Great Depression by selling pizza dough door-to-door.  Eventually he gained the name "Lawrence of Oregano"
I am still thinking about the meal we shared at Oregano's.  I had a thin crust bbq chicken pizza -- SO AMAZING and Chris had the shrimp scampi called "The Lady is a Scampi".  For dessert we had a chocolate-chip cookie cooked in a small deep dish pizza pan with small scoops of vanilla ice cream on top.  This dessert was UN-BELIEVABLE!

The menu's were made to look like record labels.

I am looking forward to my next trip to Phoenix JUST to eat at this restaurant again (and there are like 11).  I'm wondering if my craving will get so big that eventually I'll convince Chris that we should drive the 11 hours back to Phoenix JUST to eat at Oregano's again. YUM!
We didn't eat outside because it was really hot, but they had a neat outdoor eating area -- maybe it will be cool enough outside the next time we eat there.

One thing that made this dinner so amazing (in addition to the food being A-MAZING), was that Chris and I started laughing SO hard.  When we were at lunch with my grandmother, Chris was trying to stab his green beans with his fork... and suddenly his fork slipped out from under his hand, and his hand went SLAM into the mashed potatoes.  My grandmother didn't notice, so Chris and I just tried to awkwardly not giggle about his mashed potato-covered hand.

Well, when we started talking about the incident at dinner, we were laughing HYSTERICALLY.  Laughing about the mashed potato-hand led to our laughing hysterically about something from the ballgame... our sides were hurting and I was starting to tear up -- then a waiter tripped up a step right in front of us.  Usually, this is not something I would find hysterically funny -- but that that moment, SIDE SPLITTING LAUGHTER!!!  Thankfully the waiter wasn't hurt, and he was laughing himself about it.

Oh, I want to go back to Oregano's.  YUMMY!  and FUNNY!
After all the fun, we headed home.

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