Dining on the Road: Scottsdale

On a recent trip to Scottsdale, Arizona I found myself without my camera. Oh no! Not to worry, I figure I’ll try out the camera on my iPhone. Now I still have the iPhone 3GS version. Still a pretty good camera though – impressive.  I’ve heard the iPhone 4 camera is amazing.  Anyway, we found this cute little cafe in Old Towne Scottsdale across from Nordstroms. What a treat! First off, love that there are soooo many non-chain restauranteurs in Scottsdale. Not that McDonalds, Chipotle or Five Guy Burgers aren’t any good.  Those are some of my staples when I’m on the run.  I just enjoy dining at unique little eateries to see what local chefs and bakers are coming up with these days. For lunch, I ordered a curry chicken salad with golden plump sun raisins. Very fresh, very good – nice blend of sweetness and curry spice. Great texture! Tender chicken coupled with the crisp crunch of greens and toasted almond slivers.  And of course, I had to wash it down with a Mexican Coca-cola. My hubby ordered a chicken panini. I would have taken a pic, but by the time I remembered, he’d already scarfed down most of it. He did save me a bite. Tender grilled chicken, melted cheese, roasted red peppers and onions with some kind of aoili sauce all on a toasted, grill marks and all, sourdough bread. Now I know why it was gone so fast. To finish our meal, we split a coconut caramel cookie bar with the biggest dark chocolate chips I’d ever seen, nestled throughout. Quite the treat!

Chicken Curry Salad, Golden Sun Raisins and Toasted Almonds


In My Kitchen… Choco Chip Cookie Bars

I must confess. Despite the title of this post, this is not MY kitchen, technically. It’s my mom’s. We are visiting her for the holidays and my sister offered to make her famous Choco Chip Cookie Bars. As I’ve taken to copying the recipe down for the umpteenth time, she is working with my 9 and 6 year old children on making these simple, delicious chocolate-chip square bars.

While they bake, I take pictures. My challenge in this setting is the light. When they started making the bars, I had wonderful daylight streaming through the kitchen. I LOVE shooting with natural light. By the time the timer rang, daylight had faded and I am left working with artificial light. Everything is orange it seems, so I’m having to play with the white balance to get the pictures to look pretty.  Light, from what I understand, even from the best of photographers can make or break your pictures.  It’s an art to get it right and to have it convey the “look” you want.

Ding-ding!  The bars are out of the oven, ready for posing AND ready for eating!  Mmmmm-mmm, good!

Let’s see… Fresh from the oven, nothing warms the soul as the comforting scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookie bars. This version, lightly sweetened with the perfect blend of “cookie” to “gooey chocolate chip” ratio. The bars are soft, cake-like, and dense, similar to a brownie, without that under-baked texture. The edges are crisp with that classic brown baked flavor.  I also really like that these bars aren’t overly sweet. The sweetness comes from the chips. The whole thing melts in our mouths. So yummy!

Choco Chip Cookie Bars

Choco Chip Cookie Bars

2/3 c butter (1 1/4 stick)
1 1/2 c light brown sugar
3 eggs beaten
2 3/4 c flour (sifted)
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c chopped nuts of choice
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking pan (13×9). Melt butter. Add sugar and blend. Cool. Add beaten egg, vanilla. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt). Add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into greased baking pan. Smooth to edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

We often make this without nuts due to family allergies. But you can add whatever you like. Experiment!

This recipe, according to my mom’s yellowing recipe card, came from her friend and former co-worker Molly. Thanks Molly for all the years of sweet enjoyment!

Below in the gallery are some additional pictures I had taken that day.