Author Archives: Torunn Sinclair

Palavela Home - Scottsdale Living March/April 2011

Former Olympic Skater Finds Success With Palavela Home

Palavela Home, an interior design business run by the mother-and-son team of Ryan and Sue O’Meara, has become a “must-see” along the art walk in Old Town Scottsdale.

A former Olympian, Ryan O’Meara had always wanted to pursue a career in interior design, but succeeding in ice dancing came first.

He describes competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, as a “whirlwind” and an “overwhelming experience.” O’Meara and his partner, Jamie Silverstein, placed 16th at the Games.

“If there weren’t pictures, I don’t think I’d remember it because it went by so quickly,” he jokes.

O’Meara’s Olympic experience has deeply influenced his interior design business. In fact, the name of the firm — Palavela — is also the name of the venue where he competed in Torino.

And this past winter, Palavela Home built its own ice rink, called Winter Enchantment, in its front patio. During the month of December, 15 percent of the skate rental profits and 15 percent of the store profits were split between four charities: Homeward Bound, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Ryan House and the ALS Association Arizona Chapter.

O’Meara, who is the principal designer at Palavela, says business is booming now, but that wasn’t always the case.

“My mom and I started a business at the worst possible time,” he says. “Beginning in the recession was tough, but we’ve been going strong for five years now.”

O’Meara believes Palavela Home’s success is the result of the great team he and his mother make.

“She handles the majority of the office and showroom work and I handle our clientele and going out to work on jobs,” O’Meara says. “We really balance each other out.”

The arrangement is good for O’Meara, because his favorite part of the business is working with the customer.

Palavela Home also sells furniture, lighting, accessories, gifts and fabrics. If by chance Palavela doesn’t have exactly what a customer wants, special orders are available from more than 300 sources.

For more information about Palavela Home, visit www.palavelahome.com.

 

Food, Wine and Art: Sonoma Showcase Festival

Food, Wine And Art: Sonoma Showcase Festival

Two days full of wine, art, food and jazz await you at the Sonoma Showcase Festival. Vistancia is hosting the festival Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fun kicks off Saturday with a performance by jazz star Scott Cossu. Other Jazz musicians playing throughout the weekend are Marc Antonie, Eric Darius, Dulce Vas, Sans Moi, Johnny Rawls, Sillan & Young, Euge Groove, and Nicole Pesce.

While listening to smooth jazz you can sample smooth wines. Wineries from all over the Sonoma area will be hosting wine tastings. Along with sampling the wine, you can chat with the winemakers themselves! They will be on hand if you have any questions about the wine, or how it is produced. If you find that a certain wine tickles your taste buds, you can purchase it right on the spot!

Wine isn’t the only highlight of this festival; several local, celebrity and Sonoma-based chefs will show off their delectable cuisine.

Duskie Estes, a competitor from the Food Network’s The Next Food Network Challenge will be there along with Scott Tompkins and Eddie Matney. They will each be giving a presentation and demonstration on how to prepare their signature dishes.

Finally, if wonderful food, music, and wine isn’t enough, more than 100 vendors will be present, selling everything from wine accessories, to jewelry, to kitchen cutlery, to in-home spa treatments. You will definitely be able to find something that sparks your interest.

    If You Go:
    General admission tickets are $27.50 per day or $49.50 for the weekend.
    General admission and wine tasting is $49.50 each day or $88 for the weekend.
    Vistancia is located north of Happy Valley Road and west of Lake Pleasant Parkway in Peoria, Ariz.
    www.sonomashowcasefestival.com

Zombie Walks

Zombie Walks: Scaring You For Charity

Have you ever heard of a Zombie Walk? I hadn’t, that is until this past week.

A Zombie Walk can be organized by anyone; it can be a city-sponsored event, or put on by a group of friends looking for a fun time. Zombie Walks occur all over the world, but they mostly occur in the United States. The best part about these walks? They all benefit their city’s local food bank. To participate, you are required to donate a non-perishable food item.

Always appropriately scheduled around Halloween, Zombie Walks seem to be very popular near college campuses. In Arizona this year there are at least six planned Zombie Walks including Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson with other, smaller ones, occurring in Tempe, Prescott, and Chandler.

On a Zombie Walk, people get dressed up to look like a zombie, and roam the streets (usually following a pre-planned route, but not always). The “zombies” don’t speak like humans would, instead they grunt and groan, and once in a while moan for a human brain to devour.

Another great aspect of these walks is that no two are the same. In Phoenix, the City Ambassadors and Arizona Ghostbusters planned this year’s event, and it has turned into a Zombie Fest! Along with the walk you can carve and decorate a pumpkin, take a candle-lit tour of Rosson House or participate in a cakewalk. You can also watch silent horror films and listen to live music. These are just a few of the events you can take part in, along with the walk!

In Tucson this year, there was a walk, a horror film fest, and a concert; in Flagstaff, they are having a Zombie Ball after the walk (complete with a DJ of course!) In Tempe, they are really going to work the college atmosphere while parading down Mill Ave dressed in their zombie gear.

No matter where you are this Halloween week, there should be a Zombie Walk near you, if not, create one yourself. Go out, have fun, and get your zombie on!

For more information on the various Zombie Walks:
www.downtownphoenix.com
www.zombiewalk.com

www.phoenixzombiefest.com

Jimmy Woos

Jimmy Woo’s Doesn’t Disappoint In Old Town Scottsdale

If you crave excellent Mexican, Italian, Contemporary American, or even old-fashioned ice cream, Old Town Scottsdale has always been the place to go.  With P.F. Chang’s dominating the Chinese food scene a few blocks down at Scottsdale Fashion Square, there has never been a reason to venture into Old Town for Chinese cuisine … until now.

Jimmy Woo’s Chinese Food will be the new staple of Old Town. With great food and a great atmosphere that runs from lunch until midnight, Jimmy Woo’s is ideal for the curious tourist and late night clubber. With a color scheme of red and black, the restaurant has an indoor and outdoor bar, perfect for casual hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  The low lighting inside provides a great ambience and a social atmosphere. After taking a look around inside, our party was seated outside. I was a little weary at first, thinking it would be loud, with the patio near the street. It was surprisingly quiet.

When first seated, my dining companions were served green tea. Not expecting this, I thought it was very charming. The tea was very good; not big fans of green tea, my dining companions and I were very surprised.

We started off with appetizers, the Pork Dumplings and Wonton Soup. The Wonton Soup was delicious, the chicken broth providing lots of flavor. The texture was also fantastic with a stark contrast between the hot broth and the slippery, smooth wonton, filled with minced pork. Next up, were the Pork Dumplings. Very similar to pot stickers, these dumplings can be served steamed or pan fried. We had them steamed.  They were good – until I tried them in the sauce that came with them. Made of soy and scallions, it made these dumplings absolutely mouthwatering.

For the entrée we were served the Kung Poa Shrimp, General Woo’s Chicken, and Woo’s Noodles. When picking our favorite entree, my dining partners and I differed.  Two of us were thrilled with the shrimp, while the other hogged the chicken the entire night.

I loved the shrimp and thought it had fantastic flavor. It had a very subtle smoked flavor, mixed in with the peanuts, dried chili peppers, and onions. It was seafood without that real fishy flavor. Perfect for my taste buds.

One of my dining companions loved the chicken because it was sweet and spicy. The scallions added an extra kick with the sweet and spicy sauce.

The noodle dish came in third because it just wasn’t spicy enough for our taste buds.  We all thought the egg noodles in a chili bean sauce needed an extra kick. For those of you who aren’t a huge fan of spicy food, Woo’s Noodles would be perfect.

For dessert, we tried Jimmy’s Sweet Puffs. Fried wontons filled with raspberry or chocolate custard, they were very light and flavorful, complimenting our meal.

By the end of the night, I was completely satisfied with my flavorful meal. I recommend Jimmy Woo’s Chinese Food to anyone with an inclination for Chinese food in the Old Town Scottsdale area.