Sunday, October 14, 2012

Epic Anniversary Extravaganza

I've always been big on celebrating events for at least an entire week, not just the day.  My birthday is always a "birthday week", partly because my mom and I have birthdays a day apart.  We have always extended the celebrations for as long as we can get away with it.  So, it was fitting that when K and I had something to celebrate, it turned into a week long affair.

People have been surprised to find out that K and I celebrated our one year anniversary last week.  "I thought you guys had been together longer than that!"  is what I heard from many people.  Well, yeah, we did move in together nine months ago, and we did move to a new state together four months ago, so it makes sense that people are a little surprised.  But when you know, you know?

Anyway, to get the celebration started, we decided to go out for a nice dinner.  K did his manly duties by picking the restaurant, and in true form, the one he picked was amazing.  He does know how to make a girl feel special. 
Arizona has some beautiful sunsets
I wasn't sure what to wear, but he let me know that it was pretty fancy - four dollar signs fancy!  Time to pull out my "Opera Dress".  I call it that because in another prince charming moment, K bought me this dress so that I could wear it when he took me TO THE OPERA.  But I have not had an occasion to wear it since then.  I picked him up from work early so that we could go home to get all prettied up.  On the way home, he mentioned that the Black Keys were coming to Phoenix.  I LOVE The Black Keys.  It's also kind of our band - we burned 4 CDs before our road-trip(s) from PDX to PHX and one of them was Magic Potion.  We will probably never be able to listen to that album without thinking of 14 hour drives through the desert.  Despite this, my Dan Auerbach station is usually our Pandora station of choice.  When they came to Portland, the show sold out before I even knew about it.  Knowing that we are supposed to be saving, not spending, I didn't want to get excited, but as soon as I heard they were coming to PHX, I wanted to go.  And I didn't have to wait very long, because K thought it would be the perfect anniversary present for us.
View from the patio
But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's get back to dinner.  We had to leave early because we had a six o' clock reservation and this place is about as far across town as you can get.  We drove through Phoenix, and I was stunned, as always, at the juxtaposition of low-income neighborhoods next to upscale developments.  After driving through areas where the run down homes have bars on the windows, and an intersection with more than one payday loan "store", we drove another block into a different world.  The restaurant is at a resort style hotel in the hills, complete with a golf course.  We drove up the winding road, until finally reaching the top.  The name of the restaurant is "A different pointe of view" - I might have gone with a different name, but after seeing the view, the name fits.  What makes it a different point of view?  Well, when you build a city on the floor of a valley, you don't have many opportunities to view the city from anywhere except, well, the floor.  K remarked that he was pretty sure it was the first time he had driven up a hill since we moved here.

View from our table!
After the valet took the car, we climbed the stairs, and then took an elevator to the top of the building to the restaurant.  We arrived early so that we could see the sunset - and also because the first 10 parties get the tables at the window.  I didn't want to feel like a rube by pulling out my camera, but K assured me that this is the place to take photos.  He wasn't wrong.  I noticed that as other people arrived, they went out to the patio to take advantage of the photo op.  We soon followed suit.   The enormous city of Phoenix stretched before us, looking gilded in the distance.
K's Filet Mignon

My Hanger Steak

After taking as many photos as our hearts desired, we went back inside to order dinner.  We started with a bottle of wine.  Since we had recently visited the Arizona Stronghold tasting room, I thought it would be nice to order a bottle of their "Nachise"- a highly recommended red.  More on that for Wine Wednesday.  We went with the crispy seared pork bellies as an appetizer, and both decided on steak for the main course (Hanger Steak for me, Filet Mignon for K), and for dessert shared creme brulee garnished with fresh berries and a buttermilk blue cheese cookie (wow!).  As one would expect, the service was top-notch, the food was amazing, but the view is really what makes this place what it is.  After finishing dinner, we headed back out to the patio to soak up the view one last time.

After dark

 Full and happy, we set out on our journey back to our little 'burb, where we stayed safely, until Tuesday.  What happened Tuesday?  The Black Keys happened.  Oh, yeah. 

Tegan and Sara
Once again, we journeyed into the city, this time to downtown and the US Airways Center.  We arrived early, so we decided to stop in at the Hard Rock Cafe across the street.  The only other time I have been to a Hard Rock is when I was in Spain.  We might have selected a different bar, but Downtown Phoenix is surprisingly not rich with selections of bars and restaurants.  Plus this one was just steps from the venue.  After enjoying some adult beverages, we crossed the street and found our seats.  The opening band was Tegan and Sara, a girl band that I've harbored a love for since I was in college.  Thirty-somethings are the original hipsters, only because we went to high school in the '90s.

The Black Keys

Being at this show was exhilarating.  So many plaid shirts and mustaches!  We couldn't help but wonder - where do all these hipsters come from?  I almost felt like I was in Portland again.  And the high that comes from being in a dark arena, with the only light coming from the stage, and music resonating in your core - it's transcendent.

K and I were having a ball, dancing and singing and loving every minute.  Apparently the rest of Phoenix doesn't really know how to attend a rock show.  Granted, we were in assigned seating and not general admission, but I was appalled at how bored the people around me seemed.  The guys on either side of us stood with their arms crossed for most of the show, and the guy sitting in front of me actually sat down during the entire show.  He was clearly there for his girlfriend, but still.  How can you not enjoy a Black Keys show???  How!?!  I think even The Black Keys noticed Phoenix's lameness.  They kept saying things like "OK, Phoenix, are you with me?"  and "Come on Phoenix!"  to which I agreed "Yeah, come on Phoenix, it really isn't that boring!"  I think I was the obnoxious crazy weirdo of our section.  But really, these people...

After the concert ended, we were starving - and apparently Downtown Phoenix closes at 10pm, so our only option was....Hard Rock Cafe.  Well, beggars can't be choosers, and we gladly gobbled up our nachos and hot wings before once again heading back home.  So ends the epic anniversary celebration, and an epic first year together.  Can't wait to see what the next year brings. 
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