Have you heard of Arizona Restaurant Week? It’s a week long event (duh) where a number of restaurants around the valley show off their stuff with a prix fixe (fixed price for my non-French speaking friends) menu of deliciousness. Fun right?! The summer session ran last month, but if you missed out there will be another even this September. I’m already looking to see which restaurants will be participating and what menu they’re offering.
You know what’s better than going out to dinner with the husband or grabbing lunch with some friends? Getting to drive there in style! I was lucky enough to get to borrow a 2015 Lexus RX350 for the week and holy moley kids! I’m totally smitten with this vehicle. I WANT ONE!
Yes it has lots of fun features and the kids thought the DVD headrests in the back were magical, but it’s the little things that did it for me. Power locks and windows (my car had sadly been lacking those things and I was going crazy!), speedometer reflected in the windshield so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road, Bluetooth so i’m hands free when someone calls, and my favorite…keyless entry. Throw that key fob and in your purse and never dig for your keys while two kids are pulling on you and you have a bag of stuff from the store again! It was amazing! I tried to talk Mike into trading the ’55 to the Lexus guy, but he hasn’t having it. *sigh* Men. Kidding. I’d never really ask Mike to part with the car, but it was a fun idea for a second.
So, food! First up, I took the family out to Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Chandler. They did a $33 prix fixe menu with two appetizer, three entree, and three dessert options. Most AZ restaurant week menus are this format. We ordered a couple glasses or wine, and totally lucked out! Monday is half price glasses. SO dangerous. For starters, Mike had a Caesar salad and I had the polenta with roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, and asparagus. It was awesome. I even bridged my distaste for whole tomatoes and found out the I kind of love roasted grape tomatoes. Who knew?!
Next up were our entrees. Mike got the cocoa rubbed pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, and I had the hanger steak with green chile mac and cheese…off our waiter’s recommendation. Never be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress what to get. They’ve probably had close to everything in the restaurant at some point and even mixed dishes up in ways you’d never think to. Trust in them! The hanger steak was so incredibly flavorful. The sauce had a punch and it paired well with the mac and cheese. Mike’s dish was a lot more subtle, but it had good flavor and the potatoes were creamy and delicious.
Dessert was delicious! We got the flourless chocolate cake and key lime pie. You guys. The cake was like a chocolate ganache tart. So rich, so decadent, SO chocolaty. I was in heaven. The pie was spot on too. Tons of bright citrus, balanced with a graham cracker crust, and a mound of whipped cream on top never hurts.
Totally car nerd out moment, since I was jumping up and down like a school girl when the Lexus showed up and Mike made no big deal of it. I told him how smooth the ride was, and he gave me that “you sound like a car commercial” look. But even he commented on how smooth the Lexus was on our ride home from dinner. Like literally. Out loud. Where my ears could hear him. It was a total “ha! told ya!” win for me.
Okay, onto lunch with the girls! Because taking the Lexus out for one night wasn’t enough! This time I met up with Wendy and Janice at Liberty Market in Gilbert. I’ve been dying to go there even since they made that space over. It used to be a corner liquor store, and now it’s an amazing restaurant with delightful food. I’m so happy for Gilbert’s downtown revival! Oh, and if you decide to spend the day in downtown Gilbert hit up Zin Burger too. Get a burger, share some truffle fries, and order a $5 milkshake. Trust me.
Liberty Market is great. NewTimes even called it one of their Top 10 Picks for Arizona Restaurant Week, so we did good. You grab a menu, go through the line, order at the cashier (after ogling cinnamon rolls as big as your adult sized face!), and then your food is brought out to you. Sort of a lunch counter style. We didn’t order off the AZ Restaurant Week menu for lunch, but oh did we get some wonderful things to eat!
I had the Salmon BLT with the hummus of the day, roasted red pepper, and a Sunbru. Because Sunbru was on tap kids! (It’s a kölsch stlye beer from Four Peaks, in case you didn’t know.) Eddie had a fruit bowl and we split an oatmeal cream pie that was almost as big as his face. I’m not even kidding. It was all super delicious! I’ll be going back very soon. Oh! And because Wendy and I are total nerds, we took a picture with our cars together. Yeah.
So what’s the point of this post? To brag about a car I got to borrow (and kind of still dream about)? A little bit. But the real goal is to inspire to you get out. Try a new local restaurant and get familiar with the amazing food around you all the time. Come to Arizona! Hit me up. Let’s get dinner at a new place! Food brings us together and makes us happy. And being waited on and not having to do the dishes after eating is worth the ticket price sometimes. Happy eating!
This post is sponsored by Lexus. All opinions are 100% my own.