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Monday, June 25, 2018

Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

As you probably know by now, I'm a huge fan of Maynards Market & Kitchen! You can usually see me there for board meetings with Ad 2 in their Market, or enjoying a gourmet dinner from their Kitchen. So, when they invited me to preview their new summer menu for Maynards Kitchen, I immediately jumped onboard with excitement.

One of the things I love about Maynards is how their menu currently consists of 65% local heritage ingredients with the goal to increase that to 90% by the end of next year! Aside from their own organic garden, Maynards Executive Chef Brian Smith utilizes local vendors like Barrio Bread and Top Knot Farms. Continue to scroll below for the details on my personalized menu!


Cocktail
Bee in the Garden
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Maynards distilled their own gin through the help of Three Wells Distillery Company. They crafted the "East End" gin, using botanicals that are pulled directly from Maynards' organic garden. I definitely enjoyed the Bee in the Garden as their take on a Bees Knees.

Starters
Strawberry Beet Salad
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

This salad is a new "favorite" for me at Maynards because I love anything with beets! The sweetness of the strawberries paired well with the creamy, feta cheese mousse. The crunch of the kohlrabi and sunflower seeds were other nice features of the colorful starter. Maynards then used their own garden basil to pull everything together.

Wheat Berry Salad
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Since Alex was my plus one, I was able to take advantage of trying even more food! He ended up selecting the wheat berry salad which was also served in an aesthetically pleasing array of colors. Peaches are such a summer taste to the palette and I loved its use in the salad. The bitterness of the arugula is countered with the subtle honey cues of the tajin vinaigrette.

Entrée
Seared Duck
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Duck is definitely my go-to when I visit restaurants, which is why I was in culinary heaven when I went to Paris over a year ago and was able to indulge in duck on a regular basis! While I unfortunately won't be able to revisit Paris anytime soon, I do love that Maynards offers a duck a l'orange entrée. The Top Knot Farms poultry dish is served with a kale salad that tossed in a duck fat vinaigrette to balance the the dish. A rich, savoriness is achieved with the orange-plum purée that accompanied the pan-seared duck.

Dessert Trio
Maynards Kitchen Summer 2018 Menu Preview

Prickly Pear White Chocolate Torte
The sweetness of this dessert finds the perfect happy-medium with the decadence of the white chocolate mousse and tanginess of the the prickly pear.
 
Ricotta Pie
The fluffiness of the ricotta definitely makes this a light dessert, and the pine nuts add to the buttery flavor.

Mango Chili Sorbetto
This was my favorite! Maynards brought one of my favorite chili mango candies to life in the form of a gourmet dessert. The smooth sorbetto tasted identical to that of a refreshing mango– it reminded me of the sorbet quality I had in the small town of Orvieto (Italy) where they used only homemade fruit purée to achieve their flavor. The garnish of crushed chiltepin biscuits and Mexican candy made it a top dessert.


I look forward to returning to Maynards for my favorites and also to try out some of the other dishes that caught my eye– I'm looking at you, sweet-pea risotto! Thank you again to Maynards for inviting me, well done to Chef Brian and his team. An additional congrats to Chef Brian on being named the Tucson's Iron Chef over the weekend!!


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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon

This Memorial Day Weekend, I was fortunate to receive a sponsored staycation at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort! Alex and I enjoyed our time to fully relax, which mainly included eating incredible food at this luxury resort ahaha.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Food First
I figured I would start with the priorities: food. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort provides various eateries on-site where you won't want to leave! These range anywhere from a $3 street taco to a $150 dinner for two. What's most notable about the culinary options is how the resort incorporates the Flavor by Loews campaign nationally to showcase a destination's best local artisans in the food and beverage industry. To highlight the flavor of Tucson, Loews Ventana Canyon includes the following: Barrio Bread, Dragoon Brewing Co. and Tucson Tamale.

Pastries
Anyone who knows me knows of my giant sweet tooth. Well upon arriving, we received an adorable welcome treat of macarons built into the shape of a prickly-pear cactus! The macaron cactus was crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Krista Owens and her team. We also a bottle of their watermelon, prickly pear water. It was the sweetest welcome!

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon

Vista Barista
After a morning hike at the resort, I wanted a snack since our brunch reservation wasn't until three hours later. I swung by Vista Barista and had a delicious almond croissant. The almond paste wasn't too sweet, as most are, and the croissant I was suppose to share ended up not seeing Alex that morning hahaha.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Sugar Cookie Station
Out by the pool was a sugar cookie decorating station where the pastry team had several sugar cookies ready to be decorated with their in-house icing. Call me a kid at heart, but things like this never get old for me!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Flying V Bar & Grill
Twice for dinner, we decided on the Flying V Bar & Grill. The Flying V is highly recommended and involved in local Tucson events like the annual food and wine festival, SAVOR at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Executive Chef and Food Network's Chopped champion, Ken Harvey, crafted a fantastic menu and looks to localize much of the ingredients to create an authentic Tucsonan experience.

Before we could decide what cocktail to order, we were greeted with warm, green chile and cheese cornbread paired fantastically with an agave honey chile butter. The sweetness and spice complemented each other well. The server also brought out sesame lavosh which was well flavored but the umami of green chile bread combo was too much for me to take my attention to anything else in that moment. Seriously so good!!

Loews Ventana Canyon

For drinks I usually go for a bold red wine, or a Belvedere extra-dirty martini, but since the Flying V has over 70 tequilas I figured a margarita would be the better choice. I picked the refreshing cucumber margarita since I planned to have fish for dinner.

Loews Ventana Canyon

I read a few news stories that considered the table-side guacamole to be quite the experience since the guacamoliere customizes the flavor to your personal tastes. This experience is a must and I enjoyed tasting and adjusting the guacamole as needed. Note the photo below is Alex's hand and not my own ha.

Loews Ventana Canyon

For dinner, I had Ahi Tuna on a spread of horseradish pomme purée garnished with seaweed and a tangy citrus salsa. I particularly loved how flavorful the ahi tuna's blackening spice was! Alex ordered their juicy California Prime NY Strip Steak coated with mop sauce and topped with watercress pesto (we agreed the pesto was incredible!) with the sides of a twice-baked potato and local oven-roasted vegetables. Alex and I both agreed we cannot wait to come back to dinner here.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Blues, Brews and BBQ
From all over Tucson, I heard such a large hype about the renown brunch at Loews in their Canyon Café and I finally tried it! Since the brunch is buffet style, you want to be strategic in what you eat to make sure you're picking what you personally will truly enjoy– whatever that may be. I also made sure I wore a dress I could eat to my heart's content ahaha. Get my brunch outfit details here.

Gen Z Yellow

The stations are broken down into four categories: traditional breakfast, BBQ, seafood and dessert. I took a look around at everything and knew I unfortunately would not be able to comfortably eat everything in sight especially with the bottomless mimosas, so I passed up on the traditional breakfast and focused on the other three stations. If you do love a good ol' traditional breakfast then be sure to check out their omelette station or grab the lox.

BBQ
The outdoor grill features a colorful array of grilled fruits and veggies which immediately caught my eye. Conveniently next to it was prime rib and baby-back ribs. The prime rib is quite tasty and if you love ribs with sauce then you will love these! I was also happy to see delicious BBQ sides like the green chile and cheese cornbread, bacon beans and macaroni cheese. My favorite from this station would be the grilled veggies and fruits!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Seafood
The seafood selection was impressive. I immediately fell in love with the Kumamoto oysters and grabbed about five. Also tasty was the ceviche. For those who want something more simple, you will find happiness with the shrimp cocktail.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Dessert
As I was going through and deciding what I wanted from the two large tables of dessert, I overheard a father tell his daughter to only pick three items. That seemed like a good rule to follow to prevent overeating. After careful evaluation, I picked: banana mousse, berry bread pudding and baked s'mores. I also snuck a bite from Alex's crème brûlée. The best choice? The bread pudding! It was rich and melted in the mouth. I asked the server for a small dish of ice cream to go with the pudding and it made me realize I could eat this dessert every day!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Bills Grill
$3 street tacos are challenging to pass up on. During Memorial Day Weekend they were serving these tacos for two hours in the afternoon and the marinated chicken was delicious. 

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon



Canyon Café
Our last meal of our staycation was at the Canyon Café: Carnitas Benedict and Huevos Rancheros. This was definitely one of my favorite meals from our trip!

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

While both breakfast choices were tasty, I am a huge advocate of the carnitas benedict! The Green chile and cheese biscuit was flaky and light to prevent a dense dish. The savory carnitas were cooked to perfection and I fell the cotija cheese was a great pairing.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Alex is obsessed with Huevos Rancheros and loves to try them anytime we go somewhere new. He loved the rancheros sauce and also enjoyed how much the dish itself varied from the traditional recipe.

Loews Ventana Canyon


What To Do
What I loved about Loews is there's so much to do!! Our room offered a beautiful view of the large Koi Pond and Catalina Mountains. We relaxed and enjoyed the view from outside. Below are some things to check out while you're staying at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort



Koi Pond
This pond has some of the largest koi I have seen and it brought back Japanese honeymoon nostalgia while we admired the fish. To prevent guests from feeding the koi something harmful, the resort provides fish food guests can access to feed the koi.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort



Hike
On a crisp morning, I woke up to catch the sunrise against the Catalina Mountains and decided to do some work for Kendra Scott while Alex slept in. The air was crisp and started at 50 degrees Fahrenheit surprisingly enough! The previous evening I ran into my friend Rachel so we decided to do a hike together. We strolled through the path around the resort that led to a natural waterfall on the resort. It was brief, however, I didn't mind because I had done a large leg day workout and 7mi hike the previous hike.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Outfit Details
Danskin Crop (similar) | Lululemon Visor (similar), Tights (same) | Apple Watch Series 2 (same)


Observation Tower
With all the food we indulged in, Alex and I walked our full bellies off by exploring the resort. We learned there was a observation tower and checked it out. The top of the tower opened up to a beautiful view of Tucson and Loews Ventana Canyon's golf course.

Loews Ventana Canyon



Mt. Lemmon Stargazing Center
Southern Arizona is a well-recognized astronomy hub, and Tucson in particular enforces the Tucson and Pima County Outdoor Light Ordinance throughout the city to prevent blue light pollution. This enables beautiful stargazing in the desert. During our stay, Alex and I spotted Jupiter, Vega, Arcturus and many more beautiful celestial objects. We located the stars with the help of one of the specialists, a retired University of Arizona professor, from the Mt. Lemmon Stargazing Center. The specialist was absolutely engaging and he captivated the interest of everyone.

Loews Ventana Canyon



Poolside
Loews offers two pools, with the main one being the center of the resort with the Catalina Mountains as the backdrop. Bill's Grill is the a food option where food attendants will ask you what you would like to eat and drink. It's full relaxation as you have the Sonoran sun beaming on you!

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Outfit Details
Target Xhilaration Swimsuit (same, runs small) | Kendra Scott Julie Bracelets (same), Elisa Necklace (same), Olive Necklace (same), Kristin Earrings (same) | Ted Baker Sunglasses (similar) | Michael Kors Chunky Sandals (similar) | Straw Tote from Cancún (similar) | Maison Margiela - Replica Beach Walk Fragrance (same) | Sephora Lip Stain (same)


Thank you to Loews Ventana Canyon for this fantastic stay that left us with full bellies! Alex and I can't wait to comeback.


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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Gen Z Yellow for Brunch

Gen Z Yellow

Gen Z Yellow quickly kicked Millennial Pink out of the way and has been popular the past year. Vogue defines Gen Z Yellow as "a shade between marigold yellow and French's mustard." As I've been exploring more colors in my wardrobe, my fabulous find at Target stuck out to me for a number of reasons.

I knew this dress would be the perfect pick to experience the famous brunch Alex and I feasted on during our sponsored stay at Loews Ventana Canyon luxury resort on Memorial Day Weekend. The loose fit of the dress enabled me to eat to my heart's content and I even did my photoshoot afterwards because my food baby was well hidden ha. Anyways for Sunday brunch, I wanted to stray away from the typical red, white and blue, and instead go for a fun summery look to match my mimosas!

Gen Z Yellow

The flounce hemline and bell sleeves made this purchase an easy one. The key-hole neckline, and neck-tie feature in the back further flattered the silhouette. The printed pattern of lilac-colored lilies gave me the perfect styling opportunity to use my lilac mother-of-pearl jewelry from Kendra Scott's summer collection. For those who missed it, designers like Victoria Beckham and Céline incorporated hues of lilac and lavender into their SS 2018 collections which fast-fashion picked up. I love how well the color contrasts with Gen Z Yellow.

I definitely look forward to using this color combo throughout the summer season!

Outfit Details
Tory Burch Tortoise Sunglasses (similar) | Target Xhilaration Dress (similar) | Kendra Scott Justyn Earrings (same), Julie Bracelets (same), Betsy Necklace (same), Naomi Double Ring (same) | Michael Kors Chunky Sandals (similar) | Vintage Dooney & Bourke Crossbody (similar)

Gen Z Yellow


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