Topo

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The newest edition to downtown Gilbert is nicely squeezed in between Bergie’s Coffee and Joe’s Real BBQ. Topo is a small walk-up food stall with a huge gopher on the roof (Topo means gopher or mole in Spanish). Leave it to owner Joe Johnston to add a little something fun, unique but weird to the growing downtown Gilbert area. This place draws you in like many of the weird roadside attractions do if you were driving on the Route 66 in northern AZ. What I like most is its very simple menu – burrito, beverage and ice cream. What else do you need in life? You can order a regular burrito (chicken or pork) or have it loco style with elote corn, fritos chips, tomatillo cream and hot sauce. They offer a small bowl of elote for a side. For dessert, they have vanilla or prickly pear ice cream cones that you can dip in chocolate, lime or prickly pear. That’s it – very quick and simple. I came on opening day and it took about 15 min waiting in line to order my food (I’m sure that will decrease over time). Food came out in a few minutes. Joe Johnston greeted people in line and offered us gopher stickers. The kitchen space is small and systems-based. I noticed they weigh every burrito that is made before they serve them. There are a few tables off to the side, but most people use the larger picnic tables next to Joe’s BBQ. This place is unique and fun and opens late. They should get quite a good crowd that just want a quick bite to eat.

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Joe Johnston greets guests on opening day

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Topo Loco

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Elote

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Lime Dipped Pickly Pear Ice Cream

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Prickly Pear Dipped Vanilla Ice Cream

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Topo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Great Harvest Bread Co.

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If you want anything bread, Great Harvest Bread Co. is the place to go. They cater, take online orders or you can just visit the shop itself and grab a bite. Great Harvest handcrafts bread daily using only pure and simple ingredients and never uses any chemicals, preservatives, conditioners or additives. This place is family owned (Ward and Leslie Walston) and has been serving the East Valley for some time now. I stumbled upon this place awhile back after visiting my dentist next door and ordered a pumpkin roll for a Fall party. Now I stop in regularly here and there for coffee and a pastry (they have a coffee and latte bar). The staff is very friendly and they have little store up front where you can pick up various items like jelly, bread mixes, etc.

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Great Harvest Bread Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Old Spaghetti Factory

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I grew up going to the Old Spaghetti Factory here in the Valley. I went to school in Tempe and we dined at the old location (now closed) on Mill Ave quite often. The Dussin family opened the first Spaghetti Factory in Oregon in 1969. It’s a family friendly environment with decor that includes antique lighting, stained glass displays and an old-fashioned trolley car (that you can eat in). One of things they love to boast is that they serve a complete meal that includes bread, soup or salad, and dessert with your entrée. My family came to the Chandler location to celebrate my son’s bday and we had a good time. I really enjoyed the Minestrone Soup and Toasted Ravioli (one of my favorites), but found the pasta a little bland. But being a local favorite, I will for sure come again for the family experience.

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Minestrone Soup

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Toasted Cheese Ravioli

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Chicken Parmigiana

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Spumoni Ice Cream

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The Old Spaghetti Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Christmas

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Our family Christmas card this year

It’s that time of year again. Turkey Day is over and December is upon us. The decorations are up and I’m excited for advent season this year. The boys and I have tons of fun things planned as well as some great serving opportunities out in the community. I’m thankful to have family and great friends here to spend time with and enjoy the holidays with. I’m also looking forward to eating some yummy food!

Thanksgiving

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I love cooking on Thanksgiving. I’ll have the Macy’s parade on in the background followed by some football games while I cook. It’s fun to plan and organize all the ingredients and what to cook first so that everything comes out hot. I just love how cheap all the food is at this time of year. Best advice I heard is to take your list of sides and cut it in half (I have a tendency to make too much). This year I had the honor to cook for several people without family, so I bought an almost 25 lbs turkey. This year I brined my turkey with a killer blend from World Market. Some of the sides I made were a green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. I’m thankful my turkey came out great!

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We had over fifty people show up for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a blessing to serve them and eat and fellowship with them. I saddens me that Thanksgiving gets overlooked because it is such a wonderful holiday. I love spending time with friends and family in community over food.

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Still a classic….

DSC04663I like to Black Friday shop just as much as anyone, but it belongs on Friday…

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Barro’s Pizza

Back in the 1930’s, Angelina Barro started cooking pizzas using the freshest ingredients in Chicago. Her sons have since opened up Barro’s restaurants all over America. There are many locations all over the Valley. I love what they do in the community and for kid’s sport leagues.

Barro’s Pizza is a long time favorite for the boys and I. We have been coming here after their sporting events and for family occasions since they were little. We even had a photo shoot here earlier in the year. It was Jake’s birthday and we had a little party here with his buddies from his church group. There was quite the turn-out and I literally watched these boys devour five pizzas. My Dad, sister and my nephews also joined in for the fun. Afterwards we saw “The Avengers”.

Barro's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast at Chompies

This guy turned 16 today. I flew in just in time to get the family together at the last minute to celebrate at Chompies. I’m happy for Jake and how hard he has worked. Even his driving is improving .. haha. Chompies has a very large menu with food influences from New York. I got corned beef hash and potato pancakes.

Chompie's Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato