More black widows soon, but first, something a little more palatable. OK, a lot more palatable, quite literally. Candy!
I didn't used to like toffee. I didn't really care one way or the other about it, I guess. I like the flavor, but the crunchy stuff sticks to the teeth so unpleasantly. It has that sort of texture, that profile, that just sets my teeth on edge (pun intended).
At least, I thought so until last month. I did a brief story on Scottsdale's GoodyTwos Toffee Company that's out this month, and they may have sent me home with enough toffee to feed several football teams. Or, you know, me, until I pulled into the driveway.
Because this stuff was in a new league. (I did manage to share, but it was a sacrifice.)
I remember when I was very young, after tasting semisweet chocolate chips for the first time, I wondered why couldn't they just make a whole candy bar out of THIS kind of chocolate? You can imagine my rapturous delight and shameful degree of indulgence when I discovered Hershey's Special Dark bars.
This was kind of like that. Wouldn't it be great, I always wondered, if they could make toffee, but without it cracking your teeth like, well, toffee?
"They" totally did. GoodyTwos mother-daughter team, Donna Gabrilson and Stacey Barnes, that is.
They won't tell their secret -- it has something to do with bringing the mix to just the right temperature -- but the toffee is crunchy but also kind of soft and delicate. Insert more superlatives here, if you like, but seriously, try this stuff if you get a chance. Their flavors are amazing. My husband favors the traditional and their peanut-butter-cup-topped one. My son loves their nutty twist toffee, made with macadamia nuts and almonds and covered in white chocolate. (I'm pretty sure he also loves telling anyone who will listen that he partakes of something made with tequila, but don't worry. It adds lightness to the toffee but not tequila-ness.)
The shop is just fun. Even the look. I never thought chartreuse walls could be so awesome. (My husband says I should say "bright green" for readers who, like him, recognize about six colors. Whatever. It's chartreuse.) The color blends so strikingly with the chocolate-brown and white accents that it's only after doing a 360 that you register the smells -- and oh. my. god. Before you know it you've scarfed down at least five tons of free toffee samples.
The ladies themselves are an absolute delight. Bubbly but smart, easygoing but professional. And they play off each other in a phenomenal way that struck such a chord with me, and I think I know why. In a million ways (they can cook, they run a business, they're not likely to be the first mother and daughter duo featured on What Not to Wear), Donna and Stacey are nothing whatsoever like my mom and me. Still, do you know how, when the chips are really down and you need a second opinion on a big-time decision, someone who will totally respect and get your take on things but will also tell you how the cow eats the cabbage? Someone who will be, for that moment, not your mom? You know how for most people, those people are not their moms? For Stacey, it totally is her mom, and she's that person for Donna. They haggle out business decisions as business partners -- and then they're right back to mother and daughter.
Countless times I've had a piece of writing I wasn't comfortable showing to anyone -- not my husband, not my writing friends -- but I needed an honest, smart person to argue with me and be right. That person is my mom. All-business, not mothery, but never really not my mom either. I'm not sure how Donna or my own mom do it, but it's a pretty cool trick.
Maybe I'll bring toffee next time I
Go get some toffee. (It's on on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. south of Via Linda, or you can use their website.) Or just stand in the shop and inhale. Tell 'em I sent you. Well, maybe not if you're just standing there smelling stuff. I wouldn't want people to think I'm weird. (OK. Yeah. I totally don't care about that. You can tell them then too.)