Time for the Easter Bonnet Parade

March 31, 2010 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

I can hear the Easter bunny hopping down the street in anticipation of the approaching spring fever holiday. Yes, spring is in the air right now not only in sun kissed Arizona, but in cities all across the US…except the poor states  back east where it’s flooding. I hope the rain fairies let up on you by this weekend. So, pick out your favorite Easter dress and join me in paying homage to three springtime musts. Chocolate, Sunday Brunch and Flowers — you might say random, but I think they define the bunny holiday!

Chocoholics Anonymous

I blame the Easter bunny for the chocolate temptations around town lately. It seems like everywhere I look another scrumptious treat is staring at me, begging me to give it a taste. I don’t want to hurt feelings, so of course I must have a small itty bitty bite.

But, chocolate each day keeps the doctor away, right? Ok, so my waistline might not agree but a little dark chocolate is good for the heart and as a true believer in a heart healthy lifestyle, a tribute to this dark treat is only fitting.

The chocolate pick of the week.

Cerreta Chocolate Factory – Glendale, Arizona

Sadly, Arizona isn’t home to many headquarters, but the ones we have deserve all the desert love they can get! Did you know we have our very own chocolate factory nestled right in the heart of Glendale, Arizona? Cerreta has been in business and family operated for over 40 years. Home to not only delectable chocolate (trust me, the second you walk into the factory you’ll leave with bags full), they also offer factory tours, free and fun children’s activities (like Italian Chocolate Pizza making) and custom chocolate treats for special occasions and parties. As you step inside the factory, you feel like you’re home for Sunday dinner. So, keep our local spots in business and fill your Easter baskets with treats from Arizona’s very own chocolate factory.   Did I also mention the family is about as sweet as the chocolate they serve? In the midst of the Easter Mayhem, Marisa (the wife of Joe, the owner) dropped the yellow Easter bunny she was decorating and created adorable gift boxes for my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. That’s the true definition of customer service. www.cerreta.com

Make it a Sunday Affair

I live for the weekends, don’t you? Whether it’s by taking a road trip, spending time with friends and family, lounging the day away or working on projects that slipped away from you during the week; weekends are your oyster. But, Sunday’s are a day of rest. The Bible says so. In honor of lazy Sundays, why not spend the day brunching. Brunch is a universal concept, so look around your town and find your favorite brunch spots to choose from. Arizonian’s, here are just a couple of my local favorites.

Le Grand L’Orange – This is a post- church hotspot so be sure to arrive early to secure a coveted table outside. I love Le Grand L’Orange because it makes me feel like I’ve left the desert and traveled to a far away European village where the pastries are moist and the fruit is fresh.  Purchase homemade English muffins to keep the experience going through the week! http://www.lagrandeorangepizzeria.com/

Olive and Ivy- I’m not biased. You can visit Olive and Ivy any day of the week (not just Sunday) and nibble on their flatbread pizzas and salads. Try the Mediterranean Salad. I give it two thumbs up. www.foxrc.com/olive_ivy.html

Camelback Inn – Nestled in the heart of the Camelback Mountains, locals and visitors alike will enjoy the breathtaking views, scrumptious food and live music. It’s the perfect stay’cation for a Sunday afternoon. www.camelbackinn.com/

Arcadia Farms Cafe – Salad lovers beware. The menu is so tasty you will want to try everything … at the same time. Arcadia Farm is perfect for a girl’s lunch or even a baby or bridal shower. It’s another gem that’s hidden from the outside world making you feel as if you found the key to the secret garden itself. www.arcadiafarmscafe.com

Postino Wine Cafe– Winos, this is your weekend spot. Panini’s, brucshetta and wine. Need I say more? Ok, I will say one more thing. Great patio. www.postinowinecafe.com

The Flower Children of Phoenix

The jury’s still out on whether I posses a green thumb or not, but I’ll pretend I do until the votes are counted. The good news about the heavy rainfall this year is that the desert actually has some green to it. Not a lot, but as Phoenicians we take what we can get. Take full advantage of the blossoms and visit some of the floweriest spots around town. Hay fever victims, don’t forget the Claritin.

Desert Botanical Garden – Jazz and Flowers http://www.dbg.org/

The desert botanical gardens use their gorgeous grounds year-round and they don’t let us down in the spring. Jazz fans, this is for you.  Fill your Friday nights with music and jazz in a garden of your dreams. Performances run from March-June and include well-known names like Blues musician Big Pete Pearson and Latin Jazz performers such as Fuerza Caribe. Be sure to purchase your tickets early. The shows will sell out! http://www.dbg.org/index.php/plan/calendar/jazzingarden

Wildflower walks at county parks

According to AZ Central, this is a once a year opportunity to witness beautiful wildflower blossoms in Arizona. Visit Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area or Cave Creek Regional Park to partake in a walk on the wild side. The wildflower side that is. Visit AZCentral for more details: http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/events/articles/2010/03/29/20100329wildflower-walks-spur-cross.html

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

When: 8-11 a.m. Friday; 2-5 p.m. Saturday; 8-11 a.m. Sunday.

Where: 44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek.

Admission: $3 per person park entry fee.

Details: , maricopa.gov/parks/spur_cross.

Cave Creek Regional Park

When: 1-2:30 p.m. Friday.

Where: 37019 N. Lava Lane, Cave Creek.

Admission: $6 per vehicle park entry fee.

Details: , maricopa.gov/parks/cave_creek.

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