Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dickey's Barbecue

One of our favorite barbecue restaurants is Dickey's. I have been going to Dickey's since I was about 16. I love the meat, but I am a big side person. When I choose a restaurant that features steak, barbecue or chicken, one of the big factors for me is the sides. If they don't have good bread or sides, forget it.

When I was 16, I used to work close to one of the original Dickey's in Grand Prairie. (They now have several franchises. Some are better than others. The Hurst location is good). I used to go get a quart of baked beans and potato salad to go and keep in the refrigerator to snack on. The potato salad is still on of my favorites of all time. It is very smooth and creamy, a little bit of mustard and very sweet and tangy. I have tried to reproduce it and have not been successful. They also have a baked potato casserole that is very good along with the beans and coleslaw.

The meat is all good. Very juicy, not dry and great sauce. On Tuesday nights, they have a sandwich special. Any meat with 1 side and a drink for $4.99. Can you guess what side I always get?

Dinner at Chipotle

When I first tried Chipotle a couple of years ago, I did not like it. Now I realize I was to blame. I was not choosing the right combinations together. Once I got it down, I love it.

Chipotle is a burrito/taco diner where you choose everything. All ingredients are made in house, so they are very fresh.

I have two favorites. I love the chicken. I get the chicken bowl or burrito with lime-cilantro rice, roasted chili-corn salsa topped with cheese and guacamole. Sometimes I also get a little bit of sour cream. The guacamole is delicious. Very fresh. I usually get it on the side so I can scoop up some with every bite.

Last night I had the salad. I got the same ingredients, but had it put on shredded lettuce with the Chipotle-honey vinaigrette.

The chips are also good. A little unusual. They are also made in house. They are tossed with lime juice and salt. If you are in a hurry, they accept orders online. It will be ready when you get there. I would suggest going through the line a few times until you get the right combination for you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mud Pie

1 Package Oreo Cookies
1 Stick Melted Butter
1/2 Gallon Blue Bell Coffee Ice Cream
1 C. Toasted Sliced Almonds
Chocolate Syrup
Whipped Cream

Crush Oreo cookies in the food processor until finely ground. Add melted butter. Pat into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Put in freezer for about 15 minutes. Spread softened ice cream evenly over the crust. Top with almond. Freeze until firm.

When serving, top with heated chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Surprises! - Some Good, Some Not So Good

I love surprises! I had two yesterday after my lunch at Celebrity Bakery.

The first was terrible. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I HATE geckos. For some reason we have a ton of them around our neighborhood and they frequently like to come inside for a visit. It does not matter to me if they are 1/2 inch long or 10 feet long, I HATE them and freak out.

Yesterday after we got home, Karsyn and I opened the front door to get the mail. When we did, apparently a gecko was on the top of the door and fell down, almost hitting us and running into the dining room under the pedestal of the table. I freaked out!!!! It was about 4 inches long.

I quickly set her down and decided I would get a clear glass bowl out of the kitchen and cover it up until Pops could get home and come to the rescue. I kept watch for about 30 minutes until Karsyn needed a bottle.

I finally made a "trap." I got some packing tape that was real sticky and put it upside down all around the table so that when it came out it would stick to the tape. For extra protection, I even went to Home Depot and bought some Mouse glue traps to set out. My trap didn't work.

When we got home from dinner last night, Pops was going upstairs and saw the monster in the entry hall. After 15 minutes of chasing and much screaming with me spraying WD40 on him, he ran out a tiny crack in the front door.

That was the bad surprise, now for the good one.

Landrie had been playing with her blocks in my bathroom. She left several of them in the shower. After we left for lunch, Pops went to take a shower and found the blocks. Instead of just throwing them in the toy box, he got creative and used them to leave me a message on the bathroom counter. It was a nice surprise after finding the monster.


We very rarely have breakfast around this house. If we are traveling, and up early enough, we will go out for breakfast. Breakfast food is Pops favorite meal, and my least favorite. If a restaurant is serving breakfast all day, he will order it.

This is what we have for breakfast every morning around our house. It is not an option. It is a requirement. The only time I don't have it is if we are traveling and I have an early flight. I do not like public bathrooms at all, especially on an airplane. I will do anything to avoid them. On those days, instead of coffee I have 2 Excedrin Migraine tablets. Sound crazy?

They are loaded with caffeine. That is what I have the coffee for is the caffeine, so it is a great substitute without the disadvantages of the liquid breakfast.

Pops likes his in BIG cups. This is his newest in the collection. In case you can't see the picture well, it says "YES DEAR."

He recently heard the results of a survey about successful marriages. The #1 tip was the two little words, YES DEAR. He has learned his lessons well.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sushi - YUK!!!!

Have you ever noticed that there are trendy foods that everyone eats? I think the new trendy food is Sushi. I can't believe that anyone really likes it. I think they like it because they are supposed to like it. I have tried to be like those people, but I am not succeeding.

About 6 months ago I decided to give Sushi a try. Like I always do, I did my research to find the best place to get it. I chose Cowtown Sushi in Southlake. Pops, Justin and I went. We tried a bunch of different things and I decided that my favorite was the "Mt. Fuji Roll."

Jordan is one of those people. She claims to really like it. I promised her that I would get Sushi with her before she went back to college. We went back to Cowtown. Jordan likes true Sushi, not rolls. She got salmon, shrimp and eel.

I ordered the Mt. Fuji. It is fried crab, regular crab, cream cheese, avocado and several different sauces. (The picture is my actual roll). It was really pretty. The first bite was really good. After about four bites, I was thinking about what I was eating and I just couldn't do it anymore.

I gave it a good try, but I think that is my last. I definitely would never eat true Sushi. It reminds me of raw chicken. Slimy. Jordan and her friend Jeremy had Sushi a couple of weeks ago and he was telling us about the baby octopus. He said he had a hard time with the texture when he was swallowing and he could feel the head separate from the body. YUK!!!!

My Lunch Spot - Celebrity Bakery

I can't believe that after all of this time of writing about restaurants, I still have not written about my usual lunch spot, Celebrity Bakery. When it is around lunch time and Pop's has a break in the day and calls me, his first comment is, "Are you at Celebrity?" We are usually there 3 - 4 times a week.

It has been open for a little over two years. My friends and I made it "our lunch spot" because it was good and convenient and you just don't have to think about where you are going and how many will be there or when they will get there. My closest friends don't live by the same clock that I do.

You order at the counter, so you don't have to worry about taking up the servers table when you have a long drawn out lunch. Normally they last around 2 hours, but they have been know to extend almost to dinner (Jan). I remember leaving one day around 5:15.

Landrie loves Celebrity Bakery. She calls it "Celeberly Bakarey". She frequently asks if we can go for lunch. I usually bring her a "peanut jelly sandwich" or a cheeseburger, but she love to go for the cookies and the action. A lot of people around town have the same "lunch spot." You will usually run into someone you know there. Last week when we went, there were three other tables of friends. It is fun to see everyone and catch up with them.

A trip to Celebrity would not be complete without a trip next door to Penny Lane. Penny Lane is a gift store that is so cute and has a little bit of everything. You can get baby gifts, candles, Dept. 56 stuff, stationery, purses and even shoes! While it is fun to go in to see what's new, the fun is in seeing Penny and her sister Toni and whoever else is working that day. They always have great stories and it is just a fun place to hang out.

Now for the food. I have my favorites. Most of the time I get the "Cranberry Chicken Salad" sandwich. I do not like their regular chicken salad. It is very bland, but the "Cranberry Chicken Salad" is so good. It has a light honey mustard dressing with apples, pecans, celery and dried cranberries. It comes with chips, pickles, an olive, carrot slices and a "muffin of the day." Today it was strawberry. Del

Sunday Night at Pappasito's

Pop's and I decided that we needed a Mexican fix last night. It has been a few days, so we went to one of our favorites, Pappasito's in Ft. Worth. I have written about it previously.

We are trying to be healthy, so we decided that we are going to start splitting meals and save a few calories. We split the "Del Mar." This is really nothing new, because when we order the "Del Mar", we always spit it. It is lots of beef fajita meat served with 4 shrimp that are stuffed with cheese and peppers, wrapped in bacon, and grilled. It also comes with rice, bean, guacamole, pico and lots of hot homemade tortillas. It was as good as always. I hate to admit it publicly, but my favorite part of the whole meal is after we are finished, I get a tortilla and scrape the serving platter to get all of the cooked on steak bits, cheese and garlic butter that are left behind. That is usually my dessert.

Since we are trying to be healthy, we discussed dessert before we left the house. I thought we were not ordering it, but Pop's memory is a little different than mine and he insisted that we get the huge ice cream ball, coated in toasted coconut and pecans with hot caramel on top. I ate about 6 bites and he had the rest. How is that for cutting the calories?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday Night at Fireside Pies

We wanted to go somewhere different last night, so we decided to try Fireside Pies. It was a great choice. We got there around 6:45, hoping to beat the crowd. We did, but still had to wait about 30 minutes. Once we got inside, I realized why. This is a very small restaurant. There is seating at the bar for about 15 people, patio seating (it was full with the 105 degree temperature) and only eight tables inside. The only place to wait is outside, so we got just a little bit warm. I think I will wait until it is cooler to go next time.

We started with a salad called the "Fireside Cheese." It was delicious. It was mostly romaine lettuce with a roasted red pepper ranch dressing and loaded with several different cheeses.

Next we had "Jimmy's Spicy Italian Sausage" and we added roasted Gilroy garlic and Fireside meatballs. It was loaded with cheese. The blend they use is Paula's fresh Mozzarella, Fontina, Fontinella and Parmesean Reggiano. It is so good that I would be satisfied with a cheese pizza.

For dessert, we had the housemade "DMT Blackberry Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake with a Nilla Wafer Crust." Do I need to say more?

This will definitely be added to "the rotation", when it is cools down.

Yikes! I Am So Far Behind

I have had a busy week. After recovering from my Atlanta trip, I spent last week getting Jordan and Janelle ready to go back to school. Jordan left on Wednesday and I drove Janelle's stuff to Abilene on Thursday with Karsyn.

They are so funny. Jordan said that this trip to Abilene was the first in 4 years that she didn't cry on the way there. I guess it is because she knew I would be coming the next day. Janelle made up for it at the gas station. As she was putting gas in her car (with my credit card of course), she stood there and cried as her 3 friends watched. They are now both settled in and excited about the upcoming semester. This will be Jordan's last. She will graduate in December. Yeah!!!!!!!!

I have to admit, I was in pure heaven when I got home Thursday night. Pops was out of town in Vancouver. My cleaning ladies came while I was gone, so I walked into a perfectly quiet, spotless house. It was wonderful.

Now it is time to get back to work. I did go out to eat at several different restaurants that I need to write about. I am a little overwhelmed, so I am going to just start with last night's great dinner.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Family Birthday Dinner - At Home

Yes, you read that right!!! We ate dinner at home and I have a picture to prove it (thank you Jennifer). She took the picture because she knew that no one would ever believe that I would cook again. When I called the family from Atlanta and told them I would cook for Pop's dinner, they just laughed.

We had Lasagna made with Italian sausage, Ceasar salad, with homemade croutons and homemade dressing and garlic bread. It was pretty good even if I say so myself. I made "Mud Pie" for dessert and Grandma made a cake.

Lunch at The Silver Skillet Restaurant

My final review of Atlanta restaurants is The Silver Skillet. This has been open since the 50's. It is touted as being a place where famous people eat when in town and where several movies have been filmed.

Anytime breakfast is an option, Pop's will be ordering it. Since it was still early, and the Silver Skillet boasts about being voted "The Best Breakfast in Town", he ordered a bacon omelet. He said it was good. Being the southern girl that I am, I had to order the "Pimento Cheese Sandwich" with a side of potato salad. Pimento cheese is supposed to be the specialty of the house at all Georgia restaurants and I had not had mine yet.

The sandwich was just okay. It was homemade, but I would not try it again. One of my favorite foods that I always order (only if it is homemade) is potato salad. I was so disappointed. It was very bland.

As famous as The Silver Skillet is, I wouldn't try it again.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pop's Birthday Dinner at Atlanta Fish Market

Oh how I wish there was an Atlanta Fish Market in Texas. I would even drive a couple of hours to eat there if I had to.

This is another Rachel Ray recommendation. The menu was huge. They have several fresh fishes that are served several different styles along with sushi. We started with the crab and shrimp dish with pita chips. It was hot, cheesy and delicious, but not as good as the dip at Hibiscus that I wrote about on a previous post. We also shared a blue cheese wedge that was served with hot crumbled bacon.

Pops had the snapper and I had garlic shrimp with a cream sauce served on top of grits and topped with Texas toast. I wish the shrimp had been a little more cooked (still kind of slimy), but it was really really good.

We were too full for dessert, but it looked good. You could eat here once a week for a year and not have the same entree. If we go back to Atlanta, I would eat here again and more than once.

Happy 49th Birthday Pops!

Sunday Night Dinner at Horseradish Grill

After going to church on Sunday morning at Andy Stanley's church in Alpharetta (will give more details later), we went to Stone Mountain. It is a 3,200 acre park with a huge stone mountain, lakes, hotels, skyride, train ride, etc. We ate lunch at one of the hotels, which was a southern cooking buffet. It was okay. Nothing to get excited about.

After we left Stone Mountain, we headed to the Horseradish Grill, one of Rachel Ray's recommendations. We sat on the patio (listed by Frommer's as the most romantic spot to have dinner in Atlanta). It was about 75 degrees and pretty, but if it is the most romantic, I would hate to see the least.

The food was pretty good. Don't know if I would go back again, but we did enjoy it. I had a molasses glazed pork tenderloin that was so tender I didn't need a knife. It was served with black eyed peas and fried okra (cut lengthwise with a tempura batter). It came with homemade biscuits and jelly.

Without a doubt, the best part of the meal was dessert. We had the "white chocolate peach bread pudding" made with croissants and served with vanilla ice cream. It was so good. I would go back just for the dessert.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Eating Our Way Around Atlanta - Saturday Lunch

Thanks to Frommers and Rachel Ray, we had some great food while we were in Atlanta (aka Hotlanta). We did get lucky while we were there. They had a cool front and it was in the 80's the whole time.

After we checked into our hotel we were starving, so we headed out for lunch. I grabbed a book and realized that one restaurant I wanted to try was just a few blocks away. We ate at Mary Mac's Tea Room. What a treat. It has been open since 1945 serving home cooked food. They had all the old favorites like pork chops, fried chicken, meatloaf (26 main dish choices) served with a choice of 36 side dishes.

While we were waiting to order, they brought a basket of yeast rolls, cornbread muffins and cinnamon rolls. They bring you a order form and you write down your choices. I had the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and ordered fresh creamed corn. Unfortunately the corn was still cooking and I said I would wait, but it never came. The drink of choice is the "table wine of the south", sweet tea. It was all delicious!!!

For dessert, we had the peach cobbler and banana pudding. The peach cobbler was good, but it didn't come with ice cream and you can't eat cobbler without ice cream. The banana pudding was "to die for." It was so good that we got a "to go" order for a snack Monday afternoon and again for dessert when we went back for lunch on Tuesday. Can you tell we liked this place?

For lunch on Tuesday I had my other favorite, meatloaf, dressing and finally the corn. The corn was worth the wait. They shuck it by hand every morning. It was very sweet.

If we go back to Atlanta, this will definitely be one of our stops.

Funny Email from Tina

Tina sent the following email and I thought you might find it entertaining. I am still trying to catch up around here so I can have time to write about the great food we ate.

Yeah! You're back. I kept looking at your blog waiting for the Atlanta restaurant reviews ... so that I would know you were home, safe and sound, you and your Carmex.

I was getting a little worried ... after the "traveling with issues" post I was hoping your next food review wasn't going to be in the Texas Correctional System -- and who knows, maybe the food is good, but I just hated to see my good friend confined to 3 hots and a cot! I just couldn't picture it with your Rachel Ray recommdations and five star hotel accommodations that you are used to!!

Whew... I'm glad you are home!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Great Friend - Rachel Ray

Okay, I have proof that I have been close to her (horrible picture but I needed it for evidence), but I really don't know her. I feel like I do because I have watched her shows on the Food Network for a while, watched her on Oprah, read her new magazine (kind of lame) and I am looking forward to seeing her new talk show. I understand that Oprah will be one of her guests the first week.

It is hard to trust advice about food from someone who is that skinny, but I do like her suggestions. In December of 2003, Pops and I want to New York to celebrate our 25th anniversary. One of the "things to do" on the agenda was to attend the taping of "Good Morning America" on New Years Eve. Pops was not too excited, but after it was over, he really enjoyed it. Charlie and Diane were on vacation so Robin Roberts was filling in. Dick Clark was there and the show ended up with a food segment that featured Rachel Ray cooking.

After the show, Rachel and Robin (who was so very nice) stuck around for pictures. Pops took the picture. Lets just say he hasn't had a camera in his hands very often. I do have a picture with Robin that is pretty good.

So, all of that said, I did use Rachel's advice in Atlanta and was glad I did.

Friday Night at Saltgrass

Justin, Janelle, Pops and I wanted to go somewhere that we hadn't been to in a while, so we headed to Saltgrass. We had a great meal, partly because of our server Amanda. She had just moved to Grapevine from Houston and this was her first day. She was very sweet and we enjoyed talking to her.

I was not real hungry, so I decided to try the cheeseburger. I have never had one at Saltgrass before and it was great. The bun tasted homemade and it was toasted and warm. The patty was not too thick. It came with a side of "special sauce" that tasted like Thousand Island. Instead of the fries that it usually comes with, I ordered the French Fried Onions. Yum. I will definitely get that again.

Janelle had shrimp and chicken and of course, Pops and Justin had Ribeyes. We all left very full.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Dessert at Taco Bueno

My oldest niece Ashley called me yesterday while I was at the mall to tell me about her newest find. She thought it would be a great addition to the blog.

If you tell me about something new, it doesn't take me long to check it out. On our way home from the mall, we stopped at Taco Bueno and ordered the "Cheesecake Chimichanga." It is so new that it is not even on the website.

For those of you who know Ashley, she is the absolutely gorgeous mother of two little boys, with the perfect body of a 16 year old. I couldn't imagine her eating something as unhealthy as a crispy pastry with cheesecake filling that has been deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I am so glad that she did and called me. It was so good. The only thing that might have made it better is if it had cinnamon sugar on it. They come in orders of 1 or 2. To avoid a heart attack, I would suggest ordering just one and splitting it with someone.

My Favorite Mexican Food - Pappasito's

Last night, Pops, Janelle and I headed to Ft. Worth (the Arlington one is not good) to go to our favorite Mexican food restaurant, Pappasito's. Sometimes we eat there too much and I get burnt out and don't ever want to go again, but it has been awhile, so I am okay with it.

Between the three of us, we sampled the tamales, chicken enchiladas (with the red sauce), chicken tacos and tacos al carbon (beef) and a salad (with poblano honey mustard dressing). It was all so good. They have several different types of beans, but our favorite is the "refried black beans." They are so good, you can use them as a dip. They come with just a few of the entrees, so sometimes the waiters don't have a clue what you are ordering. We have had them bring the wrong ones and argue with us about whether they are served at Pappasito's on more than one occasion.

Good as always. Just a little hint, if you are going on a busy night, they have call ahead. Just call and have them put your name on the "call ahead list" and it will cut your wait time down.

Wednesday Night Dinner at Ken's No. 17 Burger Cafe

About 2 years ago, we discovered a new hamburger place in Colleyville. At the time, it was called "Old No. 7". I'm not sure what the significance of the name was. It became an immediate favorite. Shortly after our first couple of visits, we discovered that it was owned by a friend from our church. He would open hamburger restaurants, get them going and sell them. He had his meat processed with special seasonings and had the french fries double fried with special seasonings.

The first time we ate there, it reminded us of a burger place we love in Haltom City called "Clown Burger". The only problem with going to Clown Burger is that they are only open a few hours a day, their hours change all the time, and when they run out of meat for the day, they close. There have been many many times we have fought the traffic to get there and find a hand written sign on a piece of ripped cardboard that says, "Closed, out of meat."

Since Larry sold "Old No. 7", it has now been renamed "Ken's No. 17 Burger Cafe." They still freshly cut the fries (very thin) and double fry them (just like Clown Burger) so that they are dark brown and crunchy. The patties are thin and the buns are toasted. You get a choice of raw or grilled onions.

I had the Chili Cheese burger and it was great. Go early because they close at 8:00.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Lunch at Jason's Deli

Justin wanted to meet us for lunch today so he could give me back the luggage he borrowed. We chose Jason's Deli since it was close for both of us. Jordan, Landrie, Karsyn and my other friend, who I will not mention, joined us. (I have been told that there are other disguises that we might be seeing in the near future). It was extremely crowded. We had a hard time finding a table. I followed the cleaning man around until I could find a table big enough for all of us while they ordered. Karsyn finished her bottle of Enfamil while they were standing in line.

I had my good old standard club sandwich. I got a side of honey mustard dressing from the salad bar to add to it. Great lunch.

Quick Dinner at Pei Wei

Justin called last night and wanted to go to dinner. He was tired of eating by himself, so Pops and I met him in Southlake at Pei Wei. We all ordered our usual favorites.

We had the "Crab Wontons" and "Spring Rolls" and "Honey Seared Shrimp". Sounds pretty healthy, huh? Well as I was looking at the website, I noticed they had nutritional information. Ouch! I really wish all the websites would have that info on them. I might choose differently. The most notable thing on this website is that most dinners are 2 servings. That sure makes you think about what you are eating.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Brinner at Texas Land and Cattle Co.

Yes, you read it correctly. When we go out to eat with Jan, it is never just for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There is so much to catch up with in her crazy life that we have to go out for all three. Jan, Jodi, Tina and I all met up at Texas Land and Cattle Co. last night at 7:00. When we sat down, we told our great servers, Jason and Jared that we would be there for awhile. I'm not sure they realized how long it would be, but they went home before we did. They gave us excellent service and we had a great meal. They were very attentive. I think they were enjoying listening to the crazy conversation that was going on.

How crazy is Jan's life? The "cliff notes" are that after 25 years of marriage, her husband left her, while her mother was dying, for a "girl" that is 20+ years younger than him. Shortly after he left, she found out her 16 year old was pregnant and that his "girl" was also pregnant (and has since had a 2nd baby), and they are still not divorced, even though it was filed 2 years ago.

Anyway, we all decided to have the Monday night special, all you can eat "Smoked Sirloin." It was very good. It came with 2 sides. I had the baked potato and a salad. I was full after the first serving. The sirloin was very heavily seasoned with spices and lots of pepper, smoked and then thinly sliced.

To celebrate Tina's birthday just one more time, we had the B-Bar-A Brownie, which was a warm brownie with a hint of expresso, served with caramel and fudge and ice cream. The brownie was one of the best I have ever tasted.

We left the restaurant around 10:45 and then stood in the parking lot for another 30 minutes trying to finish all of the conversations that were started. (We were also trying to help Tina come up with an alibi for how she got to smelling like "smoked sirloin" while she was supposed to be at work).

Another Birthday Lunch for Tina at the Cheesecake Factory

Pat, Donna, Tina and I have been friends for many years (15+). We always go to lunch to celebrate birthdays. Sometimes we make it on the actual day, but other times it is a week or a month later, but we don't forget.

We took Tina out yesterday to The Cheesecake Factory. I also had my two little favorite lunch companions with me. After we placed our drink order, the waitress brought the bread, my biggest weakness. If you have never been to the Cheesecake Factory, you need to go just for the brown bread and butter. It is warm, chewy and sweet. I could eat the bread and nothing else.

I ordered the "Cobb Salad". It was just average, nothing too exciting. Although my little companions are usually very good, there were a couple of interruptions yesterday, as in diapers that had to be changed during the meal and afterwards. Since I am "bathroom phobic", I take them out to the car to change their diapers. Karsyn was first. By the time I walked the long haul to the car in the 100 degree heat, I no longer had an appetite. That could be why the salad was "just okay."

I have been to the Cheesecake Factory many other times and loved it. Tina had the "Avocado Rolls" and they looked great. I tasted the sauce that came with them and could have eaten that by itself. I will definitely get that next time. We all split the "Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheesecake", and although I prefer plain cheesecake, it was delicious. After the dessert, I had to make my quick getaway back to the car to change another diaper.

Maybe next time my little companions will be a little more considerate with their timing.

Sunday Night at Macaroni Grill

Pops was out of town Sunday night and the rest of the family was occupied, so Janelle and I decided to go to Macaroni Grill. It has always been one of my favorite restaurants until about 6 months ago. I don't know if they have changed some of the sauces or what, but over the last 6 months I have not been as crazy about it. One reason is that I have done the "create your own" several times. When you create your own, you choose the pasta, sauce and "add ons." I have to take the blame if it is not good, because it is my creation not theirs.

Janelle and I both decided to have one of our all time favorite dishes, the "Chicken Scallopini." It is breaded chicken that has been sauteed in a lemon butter sauce with bacon, capers, mushrooms and artichoke hearts, served over angel hair pasta. I changed mine up a little bit. I substituted sun dried tomatoes for the artichoke hearts. Janelle gets hers with only the chicken and bacon. It was very good. They give very large portions. I brought home my leftovers. I had part of it for a snack yesterday and lunch today.

We also had the Caesar salad. Their dressing is one of my favorites. For dessert we had Cheesecake. It was not as good as it usually is because it was not very cold. We will be back, just not creating our own.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Clear Creek Seafood Co. in Keller

Saturday night after church, we decided to go to one of our "new favorite" restaurants, Clear Creek Seafood. We have been there about a half a dozen times over the past 4 months and it has always been very good.

Saturday night, it was a litle on the rough side. When we arrived, we were pleased to see that the parking lot was not real full and we would not have to wait for a table. Once we walked inside, I knew why. There was a very "odd" smell in the restaurant. If it had been my first time, I would have slipped on back to the parking lot.

We "sucked it up" and decided to stay. The food tasted as great as always. The waiter was good, but the kitchen was having major problems. Very slow!!!

We started with an appetizer of hush puppies. Very good. They are the long skinny kind with jalapeno's. They are served with butter. I decided to try something different. I usually get the "Blackened Catfish Layfette", but decided to get the "Brouchette Shrimp." I had 8 shrimp that were stuffed with cheese and jalapenos and then wrapped in bacon and grilled. They were served with melted butter and dirty rice. Pops and Jordan had their favorite, blackened tilapia with the "Milan Sauce", which is a creamy sauce with scallops. Janelle had the crawfish platter, with fried and sauteed crawfish.

The slow kitchen and the "odd" smell won't keep us away. The food was good enough to overcome it. Hopefully next time it will be back to normal.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Thursday Night at the Gas Station

We made it to the gas station last night. It was soooo good. Some of the best food I have ever eaten. You are asking yourself, okay is it really a gas station. Yes it really is. Read here to find out the story of how they began three years ago.

The name of the restaurant is Chef Point. It has become a Pops and Lolly favorite. It is not fancy at all, but the food is wonderful. The prices are very reasonable.

Last night we had the whole family with us. The gas station was packed when we got there at 8:00 p.m. We squeeze all 9 of us at a table for 6. A little crowded. Most of us ordered one of the specials (this is what I always get), Blackened Catfish over a bed of Angel Hair Pasta with a Asiago Cream Sauce. The catfish is not "fishy" tasting at all. Every bit melted in your mouth. It is served with some bread (cold garlic toast) that is not memorable, but the main dishes are all great. They usually have some type of fish special with the same sauce. They also have Salmon and Duck. Janelle had the Chicken Parmesan with Alfred Sauce. Heavenly.

We were all so full, but I wanted to try the dessert. My sister Ellen has told me the "Bread Pudding Smothered in Hot Cognac Sauce" is "to die for." She and Tim will stop by and get an order to go frequently. I have never tasted bread pudding, because quite frankly it sounds really nasty, but since it had been so highly recommended by several people, we gave it a try. Needless to say, I am now a bread pudding fan. It was so hot we could hardly eat it.

Be sure and check out the Chef Point website for their interesting story.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

County Line Bar-B-Q Coming to North Texas

For those of you who have enjoyed County Line Bar-B-Q in Austin and San Antonio, you will soon be able to eat there without the long drive. Just read in the paper that they are planning five locations in the near future, with the first one opening this year in Garland (next to the Bass Pro Shop).

Rumor has it that one might be in Grapevine next to Bass Pro, but it has not been confirmed.

I can taste the bread and butter. Some of the absolute best bread around. Very sweet. Just like I like it!!!

Lunch At Red Robin With Jordy

Since Thursday is "maid day", we had to make plans to leave the house. We have to get the house cleaned before they come, and make our quick exit once they arrive.
Since Lamar doesn't officially start school until tomorrow, the girls stayed home with him, so I had my last "free day" for awhile.

I was going to hang out with Janelle and Jordan, but Janelle got called into work. Jordan and I had a few errands, like a Target run, Bed Bath and Beyond (to check on some curtain rods for Jennifer), and to pick up a couple of presents for Pops, who turns 49 in a couple of weeks.

We got hungry before going to the mall so we decided to do something different and go to Red Robin (I haven't been there in several years and was reminded why).

Michael was our "exciting" waiter. In a very monotone voice, he introduced himself and told us that he was glad we chose to eat at Red Robin. We really felt special because we could tell that he was very sincere. The excitement in his voice never waivered the entire meal.

We each had burgers. They were just okay, nothing to write home about. That will be our last visit for awhile.

From there, we ventured out to the mall. Found Pops two great gifts and I found some shoes at Dillard's for me at 1/2 price. Pretty exciting. Not real comfortable, but after looking at Famous Footwear, Target, and DSW, I was happy to find anything. We have graduation and a dinner tomorrow night and my "brown cheese graters" would just not work. Too painful, even though I will be sitting down most of the night. (This name was given by Jennifer to my brown shoes that feel like they are grating your feet when you wear them. She borrowed them once and has never asked to again).

Haven't decided on dinner tonight, but I think we will have the whole clan. Jennifer has suggested the "gas station." Yes, that is correct, we may be eating at the gas station tonight. I will give details later.

Uneventful Wednesday Night Dinner

I had a really boring dinner last night. I did not have anyone to eat with! I take that back, I could have eaten with Justin if I had driven 10 miles to Southlake and paid for his dinner at 8:00 p.m. By that time, I was getting ready for bed.

Pops had a business dinner last night, Janelle went to church, and Jordan went to church with Jeremy (her best friend). I was stuck at home alone. Since I would never go to a sit down restaurant by myself, I decided to get something a bring it home. Since I am still trying to keep Black Beauty in mint condition, no one (not even me) is allowed to eat in her, so home was my only choice.

By 8:00 I was getting tired, so I contemplated my choices. After much thought and consideration, I voted on:

I had the burger with cheese, mayonnaise and lettuce. I absolutely love onions and really wanted to get them, but decided I didn't want to have "onion breath" for the next three days. In my moment of ordering frenzy, I also ordered an apple pie. When I got home, I noticed they also gave me an order of fries. I can pass on their fries and the apple pie was terrible. Greasy and not near sweet enough for my taste.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Tuesday Night at Palio's Pizza Cafe

Last night we went to one of our new favorite places, Palio's Pizza Cafe. We discovered it about 6 months ago and it has been added to the rotation. Palio's has dine in, carry out or delivery. We always dine in. It is not your typical pizza restaurant. It is decorated very nice and they have the fireplace going in the winter.

There were only four of us, so we ordered our favorite, "Meat & Cheese Deluxe" and Janelle (who always likes to be different and have her own) ordered the "Maria's BBQ Chicken."

The crust at Palio's is very thin and crisp. Janelle's pizza had roasted chicken, cheese and bacon (she had them cut the onions) along with BBQ sauce. Our pizza came with Pepperoni, sausage, beef, canadian bacon, bacon and cheese. Yum!!! It was as good as always.

After suggesting Palio's to my friend Jodi, it is now one of her favorites. She has her own concoction that includes the pink sauce, caramelized onions, roasted chicken and artichokes.

My Usual Lunch Companions

I thought I would post a picture of my companions that usually go to lunch with me (and dinner quite often). Since I haven't taken any pictures in a while, I thought I would fix Landrie's hair and see what we could come up with.

She did not want to get her hair fixed at all. As I held her down on the stool as she was trying to get off, she was crying and saying, "I want to go to Celeberly Bakery (aka Celebrity Bakery)." She is a woman after my own heart. She is learning early. We didn't make it today, but maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Tina's Birthday Lunch at Dixie House Cafe

Today, one of my best friends turned 49. We always celebrate birthdays by going to lunch. On birthdays, you have to go some place different than Celebrity Bakery. We eat at Celebrity (will write about that later) usually 3 times a week, so on your birthday it has to be something different.

Notice, I didn't say "special." Due to time constraints, we had to go somewhere close and quick, so we chose Dixie House Cafe since we have never been there together for lunch. It is a home style cooking kind of place.

Before I tell you about our lunch, let me tell you a little about Tina. Pops went to Jr. High and High School with Tina. Matter of fact, the first girl that ever kissed him was Tina's sister, Julie. I had heard her name, but never met her. Close to 20 years ago, the lot next door to us was sold and a new house was being built. The month before the neighbor's moved in, we met them. It was Tina. She had 3 children that were close in age to mine and we all became fast friends. (My children call her their "Fairy Godmother").

We were only separated by a driveway and a back door. She lived there for about 5 years and moved when she divorced. Those were some of the best times. Although not next door, she lives about 2 miles away and we still see each other several times a week.

Tina's oldest son Matt and my daughter Jennifer remained friends. They each married and now they along with their spouses are great friends. About 2 weeks ago, Jennifer and her family moved to the same street as Matt and Missy. They are now getting to experience all the fun that we had living close together.

I keep reminding Tina that there is a house for sale in our neighborhood just waiting for her and Ted to move into.

Anyway, back to our lunch. We saw that the special of the day was "Stuffed Bell Peppers." We usually don't like to get the same thing (since we like to have a taste of everything), but we did. We also had the "Twice Baked Potatoes" and cabbage. The potatoes and cabbage were good, but we were disappointed in the stuffed peppers. They were pretty bland. Tasted like ground hamburger meat with a few tomatoes and rice.

The rolls at Dixie House are great. They are huge. We couldn't resist dessert (since it was her birthday of course), so she had the lemon meringue (if there is anything lemon on the menu she is going to order it) and I had the coconut cream. The crust of the lemon was perfectly brown, but the filling needed more lemon flavor and a lot more sugar. The filling in the coconut was good, but the crust was pale and soggy.

Even though the food was just average, as always we had a great time and didn't run out of things to talk about. We probably need to have lunch tomorrow to finish the conversations that were started but not finished.

Happy Birthday Tina!