Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vero Amore - Authentic Neopolitan Pizza

The Good: Delicious Food
The Bad: Small Restaurant for its popularity - fills up quickly.

The first time I came across Vero Amore was an ad on Facebook, which led me to their menu online.  The description of their pizzas sound delicious and I definitely wanted to try it out.  After getting a coupon from and hearing the great reviews from a couple of neighbors, Andy and I finally visited. 

We visited the Vero Amore on Swan.  The location was a bit on the smaller side and in the same vicinity as the Fry's supermarket.  The restaurant was pretty busy when we arrived.  We were quickly greeted at the door by a server and was told that there would be a wait unless we decided to sit at the window.  Since we were pretty hungry, we took the seats by the door.  Our server quickly brought us menus and waters. 

As told by the server, Vero Amore is the Tucson's only certified Neopolitan pizza restaurant.  They use homemade and homegrown ingredients.  The menu is not large, but it had a great selection of salads and pastas if you were not interested in the pizzas. 

We started with the Wood Fired Bread.   The bread came out warm and delicious.  The herb butter that went with it was to die for!

Our pizza came out a bit after we had finished our appetizer.  The pizza was delicious!  The cheese was nice and gooey.  The sausages were perfectly cooked.  The red peppers and tomato sauce were perfectly matched.  This all laid nicely on a solid pizza crust that you could pick up by your hand without worrying about everything falling on your lap, which is how pizza should be eaten!

The dinner ended with the most heavenly dessert I have ever tasted.  It was there homemade chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.  Andy and I decided to opt out of the chocolate sauce because it probably would have been too much.  The chocolate chip cookie was freshly baked in the mini iron pan.  About two scoops of vanilla ice cream was on top of the cookie and it was melting fast!  The combination of the hot freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream was so good that I had to stop myself before ordering another one. 

Overall Andy and I had an enjoyable time at Vero Amore.  We will definitely be visiting again to try other pizzas on the menu.   I would suggest to try this place at odd hours because Vero Amore is quite popular and fills us quickly during lunch and dinner hours.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weekend Food Adventure: The City Yogurt and Beyond Bread

This weekend Andy and I was able to try two new places in Tucson: The City Yogurt and Beyond Bread

Beyond Bread is a local Tucson restaurant.  It's a casual place where orders are taken at the register and then the food is brought to you.  They specialize in sandwiches (especially the breads) and desserts. 

Andy and I ordered the specials of the day, which was the chilled Gazpacho soup and the Turkey Cranberry sandwich.  The price overall wasn't too bad because both portions were large.  The sandwich had plenty of meat and cranberry on it.  Although the gorgonzola cheese was delicious, I felt that it overpowered the sandwich a bit.  The soup was good.  It had nice flavors and a great tang. 

The next place we visited was a new frozen yogurt place - The City Yogurt.  It is actually on the South side of town which was so much closer to where Andy and I lived.  They had only been open for 3 days when we visited and was still fixing up some last minute stuff.  They had plenty of flavors to choose from and plenty of seating.  The other great thing is their prices is a little bit cheaper than that of BTO and Tutti Frutti.
We definitely will be visiting again.  I love frozen yogurt!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Risky Business

The Good: Great menu at good prices. Great atmopshere.
The Bad: Can't think of any

Andy and I visited Risky Business last night for a friends birthday. We haven't been to this restaurant in over a year, so it was like trying something completely new.

We had a hard time deciding what to eat. They had a great selection of food at decent prices. Being on a diet, I chose the shrimp salad and Andy chose mussels from the appetizer menu. We also shared an caramel apple martini.

The mussels were delicious. They had a great mix of spices and the broth was delicious. He finished the rest of his bread with dipping it in the broth. The salad was great with all the feta, corn, avocado, and sun dried tomatoes.

Lastly, the drink was fantastic. There was enough alcohol that I got a slight buzz. The flavors came through and it was hard to not order another.

Being a local restaurant, we will definitely visit again especially since there are four locations in Tucson.

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BTO Self Serve Frozen Yogurt

The Good: Lots of flavors.  Big and Bright Area
The Bad: Not many choices for fruity flavored yogurt.  Not very convenient location

Andy and I have been really into frozen yogurt.  We heard about BTO Self Serve Frozen Yogurt recently from a friend and wanted to try it out. 

BTO was very similar to Tutti Fruitti in Park Place Mall.  BTO had 14 different flavors, such as  cookies and cream, cake batter, and regular vanilla.  BTO also had a large selection of toppings such as fruits, sweets, and sauces. 

The place was nice and bright and has very cool decor.   It was pretty busy when we went there.  We saw kids, adults, and lots of students. 

Andy and I tried a lot of flavors:
  • Peach
  • Raspberry
  • Dulce De Leche
  • Gnutella
  • Taro
  • Swirl of cake batter and cookies and cream

There were a lot of flavors that looked delicious.  One of the nice options was that you could get a swirl of flavors, which was not an option at Tutti Fruitti. 

Overall, the place was great.  The flavors were great and we like the atmosphere of the place.  We will most likely visit Tutti Fruitti more because it's more convenient for us and it's in Park Place Mall. 

We definitely will be visiting again especially if we're in the university area.  :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Something Sweet Dessert Lounge

The Good: Nice and Casual Atmosphere; Great selection of Desserts; Good Service
The Bad: Very small parking area. 

Andy and I wanted to visit Something Sweet for a while.  The dessert lounge has won best dessert place from Tucson Weekly.  Many co-workers have really enjoyed it.

The lounge was pretty busy when we got there.  We were quickly seated by the waitress.  The menus had a large selection of beverages along with a extremely big selection of desserts including pies, cakes, and cheesecakes.  It took us a long time to decide what we wanted and we settled on the raspberry swirl cheesecake and tiramisu.  Along with the desserts, we ordered two teas.

The teas were first served to us.  I really liked the fact that we got our hot water in little teapots.  :)  The desserts came pretty quickly afterwards.

The tiramisu was delicious!  The biscuit layers were extremely nice and went very well with marscapone cheese layers.  Nothing was too over-powering and everything went very well together.  The presentation was great too!

The raspberry swirl cheesecake was delicious.  Having made cheesecake a lot, I've gotten to be very picky with cheesecakes.  The cheesecake had a nice texture to it and the crust was perfect.  The raspberry swirl did not overpower the rest of the cheesecake either.

Overall had a great experience at Something Sweet Dessert Lounge.  The service was great and the desserts were superb!

El Parador Tropical Garden Restaurant

The Good: Nice Decor, Chips and Salsa, Good Service
The Bad: Low Quality Food

We visited El Parador today for a dinner-get-together with people from work. I was excited for dinner after looking at their website that was nicely designed and the food sounded delicious. 

The restaurant was nicely decorated with Christmas lights, shrubbery, and paper flowers.  From the outside, the place definitely didn't look like a restaurant, it looked like an oasis.  

We arrived a little late and had missed the waitress.  The other people that arrived had chips and salsa served to them.  While we waited, we tried out the chips, which were good, not too salty with a decent crunch.  We got some salsa after all the drinks were served and the orders was taken.  The salsa was nicely seasoned and it had a decent spiciness to it. 

One of people at my table had ordered guacamole and it was fun watching it being made table side.  I really enjoy making guacamole myself, and really liked watching it being made.  The guacamole was nice and fresh, and salt was added by the customer.  The overall tasted was fresh and healthy.

Food was served almost right after the appetizers were brought out.  Everyone got their food at the same time, which was great because we all got to eat together. 

For dinner, I ordered the Smoked Salmon Salad, while Andy ordered the Arizona Chicken.  I was extremely glad I asked for the dressing on the side because it had a really bad metal after taste to it.  The salad was served without the avocado and the jicama tasted old.  The salmon and salad was ok and enough to fill me up for dinner. 

Andy's Arizona Chicken was a little better than my salad, but not by a whole lot.  The chicken was very bland and so was the side of buttered vegetables.  The twice baked chile was the most interesting on the plate, which had a good taste to it.

Overall, we did not have a good experience at El Parador and we will not be visiting again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tutti Frutti at Park Place Mall

I've never been much of fans of food courts at mall. Most of the time I feel they are over-priced for the quality I get. I'm not saying that they are bad but they are not something I would rave about. Today might be the change of my view though.
We noticed a new place in the mall. It was called Tutti Frutti and it was a serve yourself frozen yogurt place. Lately I've really enjoyed frozen yogurt because they are good and low calorie sweet treat.
This place had lots of choices of flavors. They had the traditional like vanilla and chocolate, but they also had very different flavors like taro and pineapple. Since it was self serve, we got five different flavors. They were all sooo good! We will definitely be visiting again. :)

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Spectacular and Dandy San Diego!!

Andy and I went to San Diego this past weekend and we had a great time!  Neither of us have been there before and it was quite an adventure.

Friday: Comic - Con

We were noobs at Comic-Con.  There was so much to do and we didn't realize how many people were actually going to be there.  We had printed off the itinerary and highlighted everything we wanted to hit, and we probably only did saw three panels while there on Friday.  

We spent a lot of time at the exhibition where there was a lot from celebrity signings to lots of people in costume.  
Andy and I with Pikachu
Adrianne Curry from America's Next Top Model
For lunch and dinner, we walked a little bit through downtown to find a place to sit and eat.  There were so many options such as Thai, Chinese, Mexican, and American.  

For lunch, we went to Hennessey's Tavern because they had a Comic-Con special - $10 dollars for a beer and a burger.  Overall, the burger was pretty good.  Andy and I had both added guacamole to the burgers and that really made it pretty tasty.  The burgers were served with a side of potato chips and a pickle.  

For dinner, we settled on Rockin Baja Coastal Cantina because they were one of the few restaurants that was still serving food at 10:30 P.M.  Andy and I each ordered from the taco menu - Andy got the Mahi Mahi Tacos and I got the Surf and Turf Tacos.  While we waited for the food, we chowed down on some chips and salsa.  There were plenty of salsas to choose from and each had it's uniqueness to it.  The food came out pretty fast and really good.  The rice and beans in the bowl were delicious.  Both tacos were nice and warm and the tortillas that went with them were great, not too chewy or hard. 

Surf and Turf Tacos from Rockin Baja
Saturday - San Diego Exploration
It took us a while Saturday morning to decided what we wanted to do.  Since we did not rent a car, we were limited on public transportation of San Diego.  We wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo, however, the only way up there was to take several buses.  We decided to save some money and go back downtown since Comic-Con was still going on and we still had the bus passes from yesterday. 

We went near the San Diego Harbor and explored the area there.  When you're from Arizona, the sight of the ocean, trees, and grass are really beautiful.  

We had lunch at the Harbor Greek Cafe.  Andy and I both order gyro sandwiches because the platters just looked huge on the menu!  The gyro sandwiches were delicious!  The sandwich had both lamb and beef and came with a side of cucumber yogurt sauce.  It was so much better than anything I had in Tucson.  
Gyro Sandwich from Harbor Greek Cafe
After lunch we spent a good deal of the day at the USS Midway Museum.  It was such an interesting place.
USS Midway Museum

After the museum, Andy and I went to Coronado Island on a Ferry boat.  We didn't spend a lot of time there because it was getting late and we were tired from all the walking we had already done, however, we did enjoy the great view of San Diego.

For the rest of the night, Andy and I went to the Gaslamp Quarters again.  We had dinner at Taka (Fodor's Choice 2010).  Although the prices were more than what we pay for in Tucson, it was worth it.  We sat at the sushi bar and had the rainbow roll and the shrimp tempura roll.  
Rainbow Roll at Taka
Shrimp Tempura Roll at Taka

We really enjoyed watching the skills of the sushi chefs and the various types of sushi that were being made.  

After dinner we had some gelato from Chocolat.  We got cantaloupe and lemon poppy seed.  The flavors didn't go so well together, but both were very unique and delicious.  Chocolat lets you try as many as you want and there was definitely a large selection. 

As we were walking back to the buses, we bumped into a zombie parade.  There were so many zombies!  Some did a little better at acting and dressing up than others.  These two were the ones that impressed me the most with their makeup and their acting skills.  

Andy and I ended the night with a couple of drinks at the Doubletree Hotel Bar.  We got a watermelon margarita and a tangerine mojito.  The margarita was more tequilla than watermelon and the mojito was more sweet than anything else.  Overall, it wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't anything worth raving about.  

San Diego was definitely a great place to have a mini vacation.  The weather was wonderful!  The next time we're visiting will definitely be next year during Comic-Con or it may be even sooner!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Monkey Burger

After reading a great review in Tucson Weekly, Andy and I really wanted to try out Monkey Burger located on Speedway. We finally tried it out today and left really satisfied and full.

The restaurant was very unique. It had cool looking graffiti wall art. The space was really opened and modern with metal furniture. Although it was dinner time, it was not overly busy.

The menu was not super big but it had a good selection of burgers, salads, and sides. It took Andy and I a few minutes before we were able to pick what we wanted. Andy chose the madness burger with french fries and I chose the south shore burger with a house salad.

The food came out pretty quickly and nice and warm. I forgot to ask for no dressing on my salad but it wasn't too badly dressed. The french fries was very good too and there were a ton of it. Both burgers were great. The south shore had a great mix of spice in it and the pineapple salso on it was great. The madness burger had a great kick to it.

Overall the food was great. In its great location, we will probably visit it again.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Monsoon Time

I've never really seen the monsoons here in Tucson before and today was really bad. There's hail hitting the windows and the winds are super strong. The streets are also flooded! This really reminds me of the hurricane I was in when I lived in Alabama. So weird!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

No Anchovies (870 East University Boulevard)

Andy and I were walking around campus area today. Dinnertime rolled around and we decided to stop at a bar/restaurant named No Anchovies. What really sucked us in was the "pizza by the slice" sign. We really enjoyed pizza by the slice while we were in New York and we can never say no to pizza. :)
When we walked in, we saw a good selection of premade gourmet pies. After some time we decided on three slices .- hawaiian, barbeque chicken, and margherita. For 11, we got so much food. The food was delicious. Each slice had great amount of toppings and the crust was delicious, perfect thickness and not soggy at all.
We will definitely try to come back again. There was plenty of seating area and the bar prices seemed pretty reasonable.
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Malibu (825 E University Blvd)

Andy and decided to stroll around Tucson today. We first explores 4th Avenue and then decided to come to University Blvd. Due to the hot weather we decided to stop somewhere to get a drink. The first place we saw was Malibu. The place had a great sitting area. It was nice and cool and very bright. We shared the berry blast smoothie which came with three choices of fresh fruit, juice and yogurt. The drink came out pretty fast and the price wasn't too bad at 5 bucks. The drink wasn't super sweet and it took care of our thirst. Great place to go just to hangout.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Smart Phones

I finally gave in and got a smart phone. After seeing all the cool ones that came out, I knew I needed one. Andy and I got the new Droid X. Although they are one of the bigger ones, they are pretty nice. I think with this new phone I will be ableto blog a lot more on the spot. :)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Very Lovely Surprise

Flowers I got Today. :)
Originally uploaded by carmenkchan19
Just wanted to share the flowers that I received today from my husband, Andy. :) It was a very big surprise because he woke up early and went out and got them before I woke up. They really do brighten up a place.

I love you Andy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Very Fruity Muffins

Since the last muffin post, I've made two more muffins from the "1 Mix, 100 Muffins" book. 

The first one is Buttermilk Berry Berry Muffins.  Instead of the oven, I used the mini muffin maker that Andy's mom gave me.  The muffins came out really well, moist and perfectly cooked.  I used a combination of frozen and fresh berries.  I took the muffins to work and they disappeared in less than 2 hours.

The next muffin recipe I have done is the Apple Streusel Muffin.  I decided to make the regular size because of the streusel topping that was added to the top of the batter.  I used Granny Smith Apples.  This was also very moist and you got apple in every bite.  :)  

Scrappy Purple Table Liner

I really needed a table liner for the China Cabinet where the liquor sits. I came up with this table liner after finding a lot of purple fabrics in my stash. It took me a while to finish this, but I really liked the overall outcome of it. The other great thing is I made a little dent in my stash. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Return of the Muffins!

It's been a while since I've made any muffins from the book.  I've been on somewhat of a diet and to avoid ruining it, I've been on a hiatus with baked goods.  I went on out of town these past few days and decided to leave my husband with some muffins. 

I made the Brandy and Peach muffins for him:

These muffins were really good!  I had to try one myself because they looked and smelled so good coming out of the oven!  They were not very sweet and had a good balance of brandy and peach in them.  The toughest part was just draining the peach and cutting them small.

I have also made the Jelly doughnut muffins from the book.  I totally forgot and never blogged about them.

These muffins were definitely not my favorite.  The jelly in all the muffins sunk close to the bottom.  It was a pain having to spoon the jelly and then cover it up with more batter.  I am definitely a bigger fan of the fruit muffins.

Wonder what muffin I will tackle next??

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Latest Projects for Myself

I've been really into knitting lately.  Since I've been slowly backing off on swaps, I decided to make stuff for myself.  I made two shrugs that I really like wearing.   

Here is the front of the Unshape Shrug:

Here is the back of the Unshape Shrug:

Here is the front of the 2nd one, Shop Hop Shrug:

Here is the back:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Birthday Celebration At Westin La Paloma Resorts

Yesterday was Andy's birthday. Initially what I wanted to do was take Andy somewhere to celebrate, but due to my procrastination, airline tickets were too expensive to really go anywhere. I decided to settle and take him to Westin La Paloma Resorts in Tucson.

 I had found a great package there that included Champagne when we arrived and breakfast the next day.  It wasn't badly priced and we were able to get away from our cats one night and enjoy each other's company. 

Weather was great on his birthday.  The sun was out.  It didn't rain, and there were no clouds.  Since we were able to stay out of the sun, it was very enjoyable to sit out on the balcony and eat dinner and drink champagne.  The view was also really beautiful.

We spent the rest of the evening out by the pool and hot tub.  The one thing I really liked about the La Paloma resorts was that they had a lot of pools.  They specifically designated some of the pools as adult pools.  It was great because there were no kids throwing balls and splashing randomly as they played.  I wish more hotels did stuff like that. 

Breakfast was wonderful.  The food was great, I didn't have to cook, and we got to sit outside.  :-)  I enjoyed a very delicious turkey, tomato, and mozzarella wrap with fruit.

We had a very great view while we ate also. 

Overall, the stay at the Westin was great.  It was a great way to celebrate Andy's birthday and enjoy a relaxing weekend before going to work.  We will definitely be doing this again.  :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spicy Shrimp and Corn on the Grill

The one nice thing I can say about Tucson is that the weather is great for grilling. I've never really been much of a grilling person till I moved here and Andy and I got a grill of our own.

We've been eatting lots of steaks for dinner lately and it's been great! I decided to change it up a bit because we have lots of meats in the freezer and I really didn't want them to go bad. I pulled out the raw shrimp and found a recipe that I wanted to try.

I did not have cayenne pepper in my pantry so I tried it with chili powder instead and it turned out really good. It was a little on the salty side so I definitely will try with less next time. The original recipe is from, but here's my modified version:


* 1 large clove garlic
* 1/2 tablespoon or less coarse salt
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 1 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
2. In a small bowl, crush the garlic with the salt. Mix in cayenne pepper and paprika, and then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with garlic paste until evenly coated.
3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

I think the shrimp would taste really good on a sandwich with some lettuce and tomatoes. The flavor really reminded me kind of like the South, maybe I'm just a little inexperienced. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mini Cheesecake Bites

I've made these mini-cheesecake bites before.  It started out with being just for me.  Then I made them once for a Halloween party.  This is the 2nd time I've made them for the public.  I attended a wine tasting event with Andy and had to bring a dish.  I really didn't know what to bring because I never really did my research.  I just made something I was comfortable with.  These mini-cheesecake bites are the best for a party.  They're perfectly small and I don't feel as guilty eatting one of these as I do a slice of cheesecake.  :-)   I do have to say they aren't an ideal replacement for cheesecake, but they're perfect for parties!

This recipe is from Bakerella and it is so simple!   You can get the recipe here: Mini Cheesecake Bites.

The ingredients for the cheesecake bites are lemon juice, vanilla, sugar, eggs, and cream cheese. 

The crust of the cheesecake is actually vanilla wafers.  I didn't have the right size for the vanilla wafers, so I had to do a slight bit of modification with a cookie cutter.  The crust turned out much cuter:

They also fit so much better in the little cupcake liners:

Here is the finished product:

The shapes came out a bit wonky, but that was because I didn't let them cool long enough.  To cover it up a little bit, I added a piece of fruit on top of each bite.  Truthfully, I think the cheesecake tasted much better with the fruit.  It also made them look more presentable.  Comments welcomed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My New Dress Form

My New Dress Form
Originally uploaded by carmenkchan19
I've always wanted to make my own clothes. I think it has to do with the fact that I've always had to alter my clothes due to my shortness. :-P

I've bought a few books on how to make clothes. I just need to find the time now. I love watching project runway and hope that will inspire me as I try out this new craft journey.

I will definitely post any creations I come up with. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Steak! It's What's for Dinner!

My new year's resolution this year was to lose weight. For a while, I was just trying to eat healthier by drinking more water and eatting more vegetables. This helped me lose weight for a while and then I sort of hit a plateau. I also went on lots of vacation and the weight just didn't drop anymore.

Since coming back from my last vacation, I've started calorie counting. I'm using as a way to track my weight and calories. It's been tough, but I think it's been working. i'm allowed to eat almost every kind of food including steaks and ice cream! :D I'm learning how to eat smaller/healthier portions.  

Andy is working on perfecting his grilling techniques and I am still able to enjoy them, but just in smaller portions. The picture just shows one of the yummy ribeyes that I've been enjoying these past couple of days. I am looking forward to the rest of the week of more steak!