I went to summer camp every summer every until I was fourteen. Then my mom made me volunteer there. Well, she didn't make me. I thought I was going to get paid. I didn't.
With all that being said, those summer were the best of my life. I made friends I would have never otherwise met. I tried things I would have never otherwise known about. And I went on adventures that were once in a lifetime experiences. Each summer was a different one. Which was why I was so excited to start working at a summer camp this year. But first all, let me say working at a summer camp and playing at one are two very different experiences. Working there you get to see all the behind the scene events and running around that make a summer camp so cool. Besides the very obvious aspect of it being super stressful, it was crazy fun.
I worked at a country club summer camp where the kids were broken up into two groups. Bigs (age 7-10) and littles (3-6). I worked with the littles mostly but occasionally with the bigs. Just depended on who was there that week. And each week had a different theme! Overall, we were looking for Tinkerbell. She had gotten lost. Again. So we were visiting all the Disney characters across the world to help us find her. The first week we went to Greece to talk to Hercules and Phil. Herc was little help. He was too busy trying to impress Megara. However Phil was able to point us the right way. So week two we find ourselves in Ireland with Merida! She sent us to Build-A-Bear so we could all get our own animal guides. Once we had our bears she was able to give directions to China to talk to Mulan. She was pretty busy saving all of China from the Huns and stuff but she did take to the time to point out Tink's path. Apparently, she saw a trail of pixie dust headed to France! So we went to Paris to talk to Remy and Alfredo, and of course have a big plate of
Ratatouille. It was weird eating with a rat but he heard that Tink was Hawaii. She headed back to the ol' US of A. We caught a plane to Kaua'i and sat down with Nani. Lilo was busy trying to keep Stitch out of trouble. It didn't work very well. But Nani heard something about Tinkbell being in London. So we jumped on another plane and wandered into Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher Robin just so happened to be there pulling Winnie the Pooh out of yet another honey jar. Fortunately for us, along with the last drop of honey at the bottom of the jar, Pooh also spotted Tinkerbell headed to Germany. So for week seven we went to talk to Rapunzel. We didn't stay. She had a lot of princess business to catch up on. (You know, from being locked in a tower for most of her life.) So Eugene - a.k.a Flynn Rider a.k.a Prince Eugene Fitzherbert - sent us to Africa. I won't lie, talking with a full grown lion was scary for some of the kids, but while we were there we got to see Simba's epic story on the big screen the day it came out! That really warmed us up to him. Then he sent us Denmark where we spoke the littlest mermaid, Princess Ariel. My my my! She truly helped us. With her aid we were able to find a map to Tink! First we had to fight off pirates and tick tock crocodiles but we were able to make to Neverland. And low and behold! There she was locked in a trunk by those pesky pirates! One of the kids told me that we should have just started here, it would saved us a lot time in hindsight. Did I mention these were really intelligent for their age. But anyway, we had finally found Tinkerbell and we threw a huge party in celebration. I was a fabulous time.
I remember when my imagination was that grand, so immersive that even now in my memory it registers as an actual fairy flying around my head. It was so beautiful to see all those kids so crazy happy and excited. All the work we did to make it happen, however physically grueling and and tiring it was, I would do it all again. Sure, my feet, back, arms, hands and anything that moved on my body ached by the end of the day. And by the end of the week all I wanted to do was sleep. Yet, just to see the glow in their eyes, I could find the energy to do it again.
Friday was my last day, and I was so sad to go. But I'm really glad I have the memories. Oh, and thanks to all my co-workers who were working just as furiously hard as I did! It's been great guys!
Until next summer!
A weeks ago my brother was eating a pie. One of those mini personal ones that you get from Walmart or Safeway. I thought very little of it and continued what I was doing. But a few more bites in, it occurred to me that I've never really eaten a pie. I mean, once like 2 years ago at Thanksgiving but I don't think I've had one since then. So when I found myself in Phoenix, I jumped at the opportunity to try something new.
While on a trip with my boyfriend, I roped him into going to a pie shop with me. It was Mamma Toledo's The Hole Pie. It's a little place located on the corner of a strip mall on 7th Street. It's a family-owned, hole in the wall type. The interior was that of a 80's diner. Polka dots everywhere. But the best part was getting to sit down with the owner's daughter, Sarah Saidi.
According to her, mamma wasn't much of baker at the beginning. But after having to change her career goals, she started baking and selling out of her house. When she started garnering popularity, was when Sarah and her sister were recruited to help out. Now, with so much attention they needed a name to put on the pies. A title people could come looking for and they settled on Mamma's Toledo's. "Why Toledo's?" You must be wondering. "Where did it come from?" Well, they made it up! Mamma was thinking about changing her name for a half minute and from the brainstorming came their family business. And not long after, a food truck was carrying the name all around town. A few years after that so did their current shop. Two before this one.
Of course, there was one final question that needed answering while I was in the shop. "How was the pie?" So before I wrapped up my interview, I asked Ms. Saidi two things.
1. Let's say, for instance, that I've never eaten pie in my entire life and I just find myself here, at Mamma Toledos', what would recommend me?
2. And on the opposite end, let's say I eat pie everyday all day, do you have anything unique that I should try here?
She recommended me their fan favorite, the Brown Sugar Peach for the newbie. She told me to eat it warm with a little bit of ice on top. She also suggested I try the Banana Cream and Raspberry Cream Cheese, which were the two that I got. And for our experience pie man, she suggested their signature Green Chili Apple and Mango Chili Lime. I got the Green Chili Apple and ooh boy! I was excited.
First, I tried the Green Chili Apple. With apple being the only pie I had a reference for it only made sense that's where I begin. Of course, with the spice of the chili it transforms the tradition. One can really catch the inspiration as new age. Something different than what the average pie eater might find. The filling is gooey and soft when warmed up. The crust is a delicious crisp contrast to the soft center.
Then I tried the Raspberry Cream. It's very familiar to Raspberry Cheesecake. It's light and fluffy. It's surprisingly refreshing for being a pie. The whipped cream drop on top is to dir for! It's a nice sweet interruption from the tart raspberry. Now, I must say that I'm not usually a fan of raspberry and I might have came in a little biased. But my mind had been changed. Next time I get a raspberry anything it will be from Mamma Toledo's!
Then finally, I tried the Banana Cream. I knew I was gonna love this before I even saw it. It had a soft pudding-like interior with chunks of banana. The crust was light but spectacularly firm. It held its shape well (even after my boyfriend's job of cutting it).
Overall, the stop is worth it. Two pies up!
Catch the full episode on Youtube very soon.
I like food. A lot. I like how it feels in my tummy. I like how feels in my mouth. And more importantly I like how it tastes.
Now with all that being said, my culinary palette is extremely narrow. What can I say? I like what I like. And that's not a lot. As far as I know. You see, I haven't really tried a lot of things so I wouldn't really know if I liked them or not. I mean, would you believe me if I said I've only ever had apple pie. One time. That's true.
So I made a decision. I was going to eat a bunch of food. New food. I was going to eat a bunch of new food. But then the 'how' came into perspective. Was I gonna make all this food? How would I that? I didn't even know how it was suppose to taste like. Or look like for that matter. Ok, so I would buy it. Where would I go? Where would I start? So I took a day - literally, like 28 hours - and did some research and made a plan. I broke up everything I wanted to try up into categories. Pie, Sushi, Ribs, and the like. And before you ask, no, I have never had sushi. Then I went about looking for places that were close to me to try it. I mean, I couldn't go all the way to Tokyo. I'm a budget! I decided to stay in Arizona. And anywhere in Arizona is fair game. I asked my peers, my co-workers, yelp, and everyone in between for some of their favorite places across the AZ in these specific categories. Apparently, Yuma has some hot topic seafood that I need to try.
So over the next couple of months - probably the rest of the year - I'm going to be traveling around Arizona trying some of the best foods from local businesses. That means they are only in Arizona. And I'll be telling you guys all about it. So if you wanna to try them, you gotta get out here. Can't find it sitting in New York.
*Phew* I'm about to embark on a very expensive adventure.