Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sharing A Snow Cone - True Sisterly Love

Landrie is so sweet and a great big sister. Last night, they stopped by our house with their snow cones. Landrie was so good about sharing with Karsyn. Karsyn has never had a snow cone, but once she tasted it, there was no turning back. They had a "green one" and not only did Landrie share, she fed Karsyn.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Food, Glorious Food

This past week, I have had some of the best food that I have had in a long time. If I lived in California, I would be in trouble. One of my favorite foods is crab. I went to San Francisco for the first time about 13 years ago. The first restaurant we went to after we arrived was Scoma's. I had the Dungeness Crab Louis Salad. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was the best crab I have ever had. There was so much crab, that I couldn't finish it all. That has never happened to me before.

Two years ago, we went back to Scoma's. The salad was just as large and every bit as good as the first time. This week, when Pops picked me up from the airport, the first place we went to was Scoma's. He had a seafood pasta dish that was just okay, but of course I ordered my $30 salad. It was so good! So good in fact, we went back again just before we headed home and both had the salad. I have definitely had my fill of crab for awhile. There was over a pound of crab on the salad.

One of the neatest cities outside of San Francisco/San Jose is Los Gatos. It is street after street filled with old buildings and shops. A one bedroom small house goes for about $2 million.

When we went to Los Gatos a couple of years ago, we went to Forbes Mill Steakhouse. We had one of the best meals we have ever had, so Forbes was on our agenda this time. The only bad part was that with the traffic, it took us 2 hours from San Francisco. I was a little irate from the drive, but it was well worth it.

We were greeted at the door by one of the owners, Dean. He could not have been any nicer. He quickly engaged in conversation with us and called us by name like we were old friends. Several times during our meal, he sat at the table with us and we talked like we had known each other for years.

When I saw the menu, I quickly remembered what I had the last time I was at Forbes and ordered the same thing. I had the Blue Cheese Wedge Salad and the Braised Asian Pear Short Ribs with Teriyaki Barbeque Marinade. It was SO good. Pops had the Blackened Ribeye with Caramelized Onions over Blue Cheese Compound Butter with Cabernet Demi-Glace. It had been marinated in the spices for 36 hours. It was great. The bread was also good. There were two different types, one being a dark sweet bread which is my favorite.

For dessert, we had the Kona Coffee Creme Brulee. They also have a dessert sampler with four different desserts. We have had that in the past, but were too full to try it again. Just before we left, I visited the bathroom. I am not fond of public bathrooms. When I am out of town I do not drink so that I can avoid them. This was so nice, I went twice. They had everything in there from mouthwash to hairspray and even deoderant.

When we left, Dean was not at the front door. We headed down the street to shop and as we were going back to our car, we saw Dean walking down the street. He was looking for us to say goodbye. We exchanged handshakes and hugs. I gave him my blog website and told him to check it out. Dean, if you are out there, thanks for the great meal and conversation. We really enjoyed it!

Heaven On The West Coast

It doesn't get much better than this. Although I do not like traveling by car, I spent a lot of time in the car last week, but I was looking out the window at this. When we turned the rental car back in, we had gone almost 600 miles. Besides the driving in town, we drove from San Francisco to Santa Cruz with the view much like the picture all the way there. I would love to retire in California if it wasn't so expensive. Great views and great food.

And You Think Gas In Texas Is Expensive?

It has been quite painful lately to fill my car up with gas. When you get 14 miles to the gallon, it does not go very far and it costs a fortune.

After seeing the prices of gas in San Francisco this week, it doesn't hurt quite so bad to be in Texas.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Travel Time Tuesday - My First Post

Annie over at "My Life as Annie" has started "Travel Times Tuesday," where bloggers dig into the past. Her charge this week is to go back to your first post and post it again, and tell how you started blogging.

Here is my first post about one of my favorite restaurants:

Since we were going to be alone for dinner (for the first time in a while), we decided to make it a special night and go to Pops new favorite restaurant Hibiscus. Diego was our waiter. He was funny and not stuffy and waiters at these restaurants sometimes are. We started out with an appetizer of "Baked Dungeness Crab Dip with Wood Oven Fried Crackers. This was my favorite part of the meal. The dip was full of crabmeat. You can eat the homemade crackers by themselves. They are so good. For anyone who has been to New York, it reminds me of the flatbread served there.Next we had salads. I had a dinner salad with ranch and Pops had the Caesar. Of course, I tasted his. It was very good. Next time I will order the Caesar. For our entree, I had the "Crispy Cracklin' Shrimp" and he had the "Three Pepper Crusted Prime Ribeye." The shrimp were huge. Pops said that his steak was one of the best he has ever had. We had "Pt. Reyes Bleu Cheese Glazed Spuds" and "Bourbon Creamed Corn." Pops loved the potatoes. I thought they were very good, but you need to love bleu cheese because it is very strong. The corn was sweet and had a good flavor.Those of you who know me well, know I love anything that is sweet.We finished the meal off with the special dessert of the day, Peach Cobbler with Lavender Vanilla Ice Cream. It was served straight from the oven. The ice cream had an interesting flavor, but it was delicious. I would definitely order it again.Writing this is making me hungry!! I am ready to decide where we will eat tonight.

Here is my post on why I started blogging:

I can't believe I hit 100 today. A year ago, I didn't even know what a blog was.Justin was looking for a Home Team for our church and he saw that one of them that he had been invited to had a website. He told me to look at it. I started wondering if other Home Teams had websites, so I googled "Fellowship Church" "Home Teams." Lots of hits came up and I started reading them. Several of them were blogs. That is when I got hooked.I started reading blogs of people I knew, and then one let to another and another and another. . . and I was hooked, and I am still hooked. You feel like you know these people after reading their stories. Some are just everyday life, but others are blogging about their tough times with tragic events and illnesses. I find myself praying for these people, and although I have never met them or even corresponded with them, I feel like I know them.I thought I would blog about restaurants because that is something that I know well, but it has turned into a family blog with a little bit about restaurants. I started my blog on July 30, 2006. I love looking back at the pictures of my little girls. If this is still going 20 years from now, I hope they will have a great time looking back at their lives.Thanks for reading.

Although she doesn't know it, Sarah at "In The Midst of It" was my first real inspiration to blog. I started reading her blog in May of 2006 and quickly came upon the blogs of her mother and aunt. They are all phenomenal writers and I have continued to follow their life stories. I am constantly amazed how I can read a new blog by someone hundreds of miles away and then realize that they are somehow connected to another blog I have read for months.

TV Land Update - Holding My Breath for Tonight

Well, two down and one to go. Andy ended up picking Tessa and I was happy with that. I do think he seemed to have more chemistry and fun with Bevin, but Tessa is more wife material for someone who has a structured medical career in the military.

I was happy with Apollo winning DWTS. He is a great dancer and they definitely have chemistry. I am willing to bet that it is off screen as well as on. You can't be that close to someone for hours and hours each week and dance like that and "just be good friends."

I thought Blake performed well in his first song, but if you had your back to the TV, or were listening to his songs on the radio, you would be saying, "Who in the world is that?" He just did not sound that great and was a little flat at times.

Jordin did a great job and if she is this good at 17, can you imagine what she will be like with all of the writers, producers and coaches? She is definitely my choice for the next American Idol.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Celebrities At Celebration

As I posted a while back, Celebration in Dallas is one of our favorite restaurants. It is not fancy at all, just good old down home cooking. Celebration had a location in Ft. Worth several years back, but closed it and kept the original Dallas location open. We make it over there every couple of months.

I was just doing my daily reading (People magazine of course) and read that on May 6th, Luke Wilson took Kate Hudson to Celebration to introduce her to his parents. I wonder what she ate? Probably not chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy or hot biscuits with butter and honey.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fortune Cookies

Pops and I are going to San Francisco soon. When we were there the last time, I went to the fortune cookie factory. There were three ladies sitting on stools putting fortunes in the cookies and folding then up. You can buy cookies by the bag.

One of the funniest things was that after I told the lady I wanted 2 bags, she kept saying, "You want sexy ones?" I kept saying no and she kept insisting. Needless to say, since I was taking them home to my children, I didn't get the "sexy ones."

I was just reading up on San Francisco last week and there was an article about the fortune cookie factory. They now will let you bring your own printed and cut fortunes, and they will put them in the cookies for you. I think that would be fun, but I don't know what to put on them. Any ideas?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Best Brunch Ever - Blue Mesa

We just got back from Sunday Brunch at Blue Mesa. It is my favorite. I don't go often, because I make such a pig of myself.

I signed up for the Blue Mesa Chilehead Club a couple of years ago. It is a great deal. Every month, they send you a coupon for a free appetizer. On your birthday you get a free brunch. Mine was expiring this week, so we took advantage of it.

They have all types of Mexican dishes, omelets, fajitas, waffles, egg dishes and lots of dessert. It is only $16.95 and that includes drinks. We think it is the best deal in town.

We discovered this over 10 years ago. We first went to the Addison location and then Ft. Worth. They opened a new one in Southlake a couple of years ago, and they just can't get their act together in Southlake. We have tried it several times and it just does not compare to the other locations.

When you are in a restaurant and you see an email sign up, be sure and get on the list. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I have been bombarded with free stuff from Blue Mesa, Maggiano's, Chamberlains and The Keg. I have a coupon I need to use at The Keg this week for a FREE Steak and Lobster dinner. You can't beat that.

Oh, and don't forget Pancho's. I haven't been there in years, but they used to have a free meal. Somehow that does not compare to The Keg.

Big TV Week

This is a big week in TV and. Tonight is the last night of Desperate Housewives. Tomorrow night on The Bachelor, Andy picks the love of his life. Tuesday night, is the big dance off on Dancing With the Stars, and finally America picks its idol on Wednesday night. In my opinion, they voted off the best idol last week, so the big week officially ends on Tuesday. What will I do until fall?

Server Can Put Damper On Your Dinner

Last night, we went to Al Biernat's with Badger and Amy for our monthly dinner. We really look forward to catching up and we had lots of that going on last night. We had a reservation at 9 so it was a late night.

When we sat down, our server greeted us. (I am granting him grace as God as so often granted me and not giving his name, even though I know it well). I will call him Bubba. When we told him we didn't want bottled water or anything from the wine list, the descent started. I did do him a favor and "ordered from the bar", a Dr. Pepper.

Since it was about 9:30 when we were eating, and I didn't want to have a miserable night of sleep becauce I was miserabley stuffed, I ordered a salad (wedge with 1000 Island and blue cheese crumbles sprinkled with bacon), crab and corn chowder and Pops and I split a dessert (moulten chocolate cake with ice cream). Pops had the fish special, and Badger and Amy split the lamb chops and had salad and shrimp cocktail and a side of potatoes and split a dessert.

Well, when Bubba found out we were not all ordering entrees along with no alcohol, things went from bad to worse. Amy had a great description of his expression - "He looks like he just smelled cauliflower." I wanted to say, "Hey Bubba, we are very generous people and we will tip you very good if you don't act rude to us."

Our food was all very good. Bubba got miffed again when we asked him to split the check. While he was at the table next to us cleaning up (and obviously listening to our conversation, Amy thought she would be funny and ask me when I had to get my review of the restaurant submitted. Bubba was very friendly and thanking us as we left. . .I wonder why it took him so long to warm up?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I Am Liking Taco Diner

The first time Pops took me to Taco Diner, I was not happy. He had been several times for lunch and really liked it. I thought it was bland and I didn't like the stark atmosphere at all. I told him I would never go back. Every time he told me he had gone to lunch at Taco Diner, I would tell him he was crazy.

When they opened a new Taco Diner in Southlake, I decided to give it another try. Each time I go, I am liking it more. They have two hot sauces (red and green) that I add a little sugar to that are really good. A little sugar in hot sauce is my new thing, and it makes all hot sauces good. It takes away the acidic taste and really perks up the flavor. The chips are not anything to write home about.

I had the Chicken Tacos Al Pastor. They bring you a plate of condiments that include cilantro, lime, finely chopped onion and jalapeno honey paste. All of that can make any taco good. The tacos are served on fresh soft corn tortillas. Pops always gets the cheese enchiladas with a bold red sauce with grilled chicken on top. I took a bite and I actually really liked it.

I am becoming a fan.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kids Eat Free

I recently came across this information and I thought I would share it with my friends in Bloggerville. My kids are now grown and want to eat the most expensive meal on the menu along with appetizers and dessert.

Things were different when they were little. This is the point in my life where I quit choosing what I wanted off the menu and sacrificed for the family.

When they quit eating baby food, I would order something off the menu that I knew they would like and share with them. From there, we went to ordering "kids meals" and they would share because they didn't eat very much. Then they got their own "kids meal." After they turned about 12, the oldest started ordering off the adult menu. That is when it started getting painful to the wallet. It quickly changed to all four ordering off the adult menu. I would choose the cheapest thing or just a salad because I knew that their eyes were bigger than their stomach and they would have plenty left over.

Now, when we go out with the whole family we have to take out a loan. We have 7 adults and 2 children. But, we love every minute of it.

If you have little ones, this list of free meals might help:
  • Sundays - Dickey's Barbecue Pit
  • Tuesdays after 5:00 p.m. - Black Eyed Pea
  • Tuesdays 4 – 8 p.m. – Beef O’Bradys
  • Tuesdays 4 – 10 –p.m. - Dennys
  • Wednesdays after 4:30 p.m. - Lubys
  • Thursdays – Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen (99 cent kids meals)
  • Saturdays - Lubys
  • Saturdays - Hooters
  • Everyday all day - Ritzys (as long as the child wears the Ritzy's t-shirt in to eat. You buy the shirt at the restaurant for $1.99).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cafe Italia

First post on my new laptop. I love it! Nice to be in the kitchen and not have to share with anyone!

Saturday night after church, we went to Cafe Italia on Grapevine Highway with Jim and Kathy. Although the service was a little rough due to what I believe was a language barrier, we had a great experience.

The bread was just average white loaf bread served with butter. The salad was very crisp and green, much better than served at most restaurants. I ordered Ranch dressing, but was served the house Italian. It was tomato based, tangy and good. I ordered the special of the night which was great. It was 2 pieces of chicken rolled up with spinach and cheese inside and served with a pink sauce with mushrooms and shrimp. I hope it is a regular because I would definitely order it again. It was served with a side of pasta with red sauce and I requested just plain pasta to soak up the great pink sauce.

For dessert we split the cappuccino pie. It was great. Great food, great company.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

Yesterday was the first anniversary of many birthdays to come. I will be 49 from now on out, just having anniversaries of my 49th.

Pops and the kids did great!!!! The kids all got together and got me a hot pink IPOD with "Lolly" engraved on it. I can't wait to get it set up. Pops got me the newest Paula Deen book and the newest Rachel Ray.

My big surprise, was a new laptop. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. We have the big computer at home and Pops has his laptop, but I feel like I am always having to share with someone. I am really a perfectionist and I like to keep my files in order. When other family members download files off the Internet, they put them in the first folder that opens up and that drives me crazy! Can't wait to have my own that no one else can touch.

We had a great dinner last night at Hibiscus. We had the crab dip with homemade lavosh, blue cheese wedge salad with bacon and a crispy onion ring loaf on the side, braised short rib with buttermilk mashed potatoes and creme brulee. I was so extremely satisfied as I drove off. It was great!

I was pampered like a Queen and I can't wait to see what is in store for Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Celebrity Bakery

Karsyn and I had our standing Thursday lunch date with Kathy and Tina. We meet every Thursday at 12:30 at Celebrity. Today, Whitney, Chase and Holly sat with us. Karsyn and Chase had fun sharing their crackers and yelling.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Another Bad Meal - Planet Burrito

Yesterday afternoon, Pops and I were on the phone trying to decide where to go to dinner. We have not had Chipotle in a while so we decided to go there.

He got home early last night and we were in the car at 6:30. We have this rule (which really applies more to the weekend) that we can't come home before it is dark. Since Chipotle would be too quick, we decided to try something new along the same lines, Planet Burrito. It was our first and last visit.

I got the chicken that sounded so good. It was marinated in a citrus sauce with lots of spices. It was so bland. It didn't taste like it even had any salt on it. The rice didn't have any seasoning or salt either and it was supposed to be tomato chipotle rice. The guacamole was also bland. We are not sure what kind of meat Pops had. He asked for the steak, but it looked more like shredded beef. It actually had a pretty good flavor. Lots of choices, but nothing looked fresh like Chipotle.

Can you guess where we are going tonight?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Worst Meal In A Long Time

Pops had a speaking engagement in Arlington Friday night, so we decided we would forget the reception and go eat someplace new. We decided on Piccolo Mondo, an Italian restaurant that has been open for about 25 years. According to the website, they have won several awards, but it looks like they were all in the mid 90's.

We ordered the special appetizer scallops. They were mushy and in a tasteless broth. I had the Lasagna and Pops had a stuffed chicken breast. His chicken was very bland. My Lasagna tasted like gooey noodles with unseasoned ricotta cheese and a bitter tomato sauce. The meat was textured mush. I think canned Chef Boyardee would have been better.

We decided to skip dessert since everything else was bad. Not a great experience.