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Now that it’s springtime, Evergreen Walk is one of the best places to shop around. It’s not an “indoor” mall, rather all the shops and restaurants are laid out in a long, circle along quaint, pedestrian friendly streets. What’s considered to be “easy listening” music floats on the breeze as you walk along the shops, Frank Sinatra, Jazz pieces, I think you get the idea. When combined with the warm, sunny afternoons such as yesterday, you couldn’t ask for a better day.

After a winding drive through the back roads and gazing at the gorgeous scenery, Josh and I arrived at Evergreen Walk. I’d spent the half hour car ride pointing out what I thought were beautiful houses and thinking of how amazing the kitchens inside have to be. To have a house so big and not have a marvellous kitchen in my opinion is scandalous, don’t you think? Digression aside– after parking, we made our way through the delightful aroma that hung over the street it seemed, up towards Old Navy; not to shop, but to look.

It was almost painful walking out of the parking lot and towards the rest of the shops, the air smelled so divine, like steaks and vegetables being cooked on the grill. But there would be time to eat in a few. Along the way to Johnny Rockets, Josh and I stopped at a handful of places. Our first stop was Stonewall Kitchen. We know Stonewall Kitchen like the back of our hands. On the right when you walk in it starts of will jams, jellies and marmalades; progressing into baking needs and utensils; followed by specialty kitchen utensils (mice shaped cheese knife, anyone?); the cash registers sit in the middle of the back wall; the left side there are household things: soap, lotions, etc; continuing further down the left wall there’s the kitchen area and cooking utensils; finally– my favourite section: the cooking sauces, oils, and rubs. I left the store with a few additions to my cupboard:

Stonewall Kitchen Espresso Rub

Right off the tin:

An urban cowboy, flavour-enhancing wake-me-up. Espresso locks in flavour and acts as a natural tenderizer creating a crispy outer crust for a roasted, smoky taste when used on beef, chicken or pork; whether your frontier is a city-block or tumbleweed strewn fields.

Tell me, I dare you to, that doesn’t sound like it’s perfect for rubbing on steaks?

Stonewall Kitchen Cacciatore Simmering Sauce

Right off of the jar:

Cacciatore is an Italian word for hunter; its American translation refers to a rich “hunter-style” sauce. We slowly simmer plenty of vegetables like peppers, onions, capers and mushrooms into a hearty tomato base and accent it with an assortment of spices. Our authentic and all natural mix of ingredients creates a rich and zesty sauce to complement chicken for a deliciously easy home-cooked meal.

Definitely cannot wait to see how it holds up against my Cacciatore sauce.

And finally…

Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Oil

The label:

Infused with mellow roasted garlic, this oil is ideal for sautèing shrimp or chicken. Drizzle over fresh tomatoes or add to your favourite dressings and taste the dramatic difference.

Words cannot express how much I wanted this oil and how excited I am to use it.

Once those were in a bag and paid for, Josh and I were back on the street taking in the beautiful day. After a brief stop to window shop at Ganache, Josh and I made it to Johnny Rockets.

As you may know, we’ve been to Johnny Rockets before, Joshua and I. As they were so good the first time we got them, Josh and I ordered the same thing we had the first time we had eaten there: He, a smokehouse double with fries; myself, a bacon cheddar single with onion rings.

When our burgers came, of course I broke out the camera.

The smiles are too adorable (yes, Josh is wearing a San Antonio Spurs jersey)

My burger and onion rings.

The burgers were just as good as we remembered and exactly the pick-me-up I needed after work. Each bite was filled with a symphony of flavours and textures: the crunch of lettuce, juicy tomato, and the pungent bite from the onion mingling with the sharp cheddar and hamburger. On occasion, I would dunk my burger into ketchup (I’m weird like that) and enjoy each taste with that variation.

Halfway through his burger, I stopped Josh from touching his burger or fries and insisted I grab a picture.

"No, don't touch it! It's picturesque!" He couldn't help but laugh and turn his plate towards me.

After eating our fill and declining dessert, we were back on our way. We stopped at Munson’s Chocolates, discovering just why the cocoa bean is said to be endangered: half of the world’s supply appears to be on display in the store.

Passing by Burton’s Grill (and getting nostalgic pangs because it reminded me of an outdoor cafe in Paris), Josh and I made had quite the decision about what we wanted to finish our trip. Ganache cupcakes (one for each of us) and ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery? Or did we want to wait in line for the new frozen yoghurt place? We ruled out the new frozen yoghurt place because of the line, and then surprisingly said no to Ganache, opting with Cold Stone.

Inside it was difficult to figure out what we wanted. Josh waffled between frozen yoghurt or a smoothie. Me? I was torn. I could have coffee ice cream (or better yet, coffee frozen yoghurt) with Butterfingers crunchies all throughout in a dish…or  French vanilla ice cream and Oreo crunchies with caramel sauce all throughout on a waffle cone. Decisions, decisions. In the end, I went healthy, as did Josh. He ordered the Citrus Sunsation smoothie and I, the Strawberry Bananza.

Taking our smoothies, we meandered back along the crowded side walk and found an unoccupied bench to sit on. We sat, sipping our smoothies and talked. His smoothie was more frothy and thick than mine. Mine was tart, the orange juice very prominent against the backdrop of silky smooth strawberry and banana harmony.

Left: Strawberry Bananza smoothie. Right: Citrus Sunsation smoothie.

After our brief reprieve, we visited two more shops, stopped outside of Bellini’s to look at their menu (for maybe a future dinner there) and went back to the car.

In the few hours time that had passed, nothing seemed to change around the car. The sun, however, was setting upon the picturesque afternoon and soon it would be dark and cool. The car sat in the dying sun of the afternoon, surrounded by the amazing aroma that had not changed while we had been out and about; it remained as if we were sitting inside of the restaurant ordering, even though we were a parking lot away.  It was the perfect end to an amazing afternoon.

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