Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Central 214 - The Naughty Kitchen

We have been going to Blythe Beck's restaurants since around the Spring of 2008. We didn't know anything about her, until she came to our table to talk on our first visit at Hector's. We were fans from day one. I still remember when she told us there was a possibility of a reality show.


It has happened. Last week, the first episode debuted. According to Blythe, it was a success and has gotten great ratings. She was in New York last week to tape an episode on the Tyra Banks show and she will be going back to be on the Today Show on Tuesday. I think she has made it and is now a star. It was fun to listen to her stories about being recognized on the streets. She is so funny and has got such a great personality. We are really happy for her.



We ate at Central 214 last night with Mike and Amy and had a great time. She is extremely observant. She came over to talk to us and she even remembered the shirt that Pops had on the last time we were at Hector's. It was pink, her favorite color, but I was so impressed that she remembered. It was great to eat her food again.

One of the most unique items she had was her bread. It was baguette bread, served with great butter, pimento cheese and smoked trout spread. She said it was inspired by her mother from her childhood days. She said she grew up on pimento cheese and tuna fish. She fancied it up a little bit.



All episodes for this season of The Naughty Kitchen have been taped. Hopefully it will be picked up for Season 2. Congratulations to you Blythe! What a fast start to a career in "total culinary domination". I suspect you will be the top chef at a New York restaurant in the near future.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Are You Serious???


I have the best family in the world, and that includes my nieces and nephew. They all live close by and they are like my own children.


A couple of months ago, two of my nieces, Ashley and Whitney started a blog. Their blog is called Shanty 2 Chic and they have a great knack for taking junk and turning it into treasures for almost nothing. They have made the cutest things.


This afternoon, I was over at Whitney's house and we were talking blogs. She showed me an email that she got from the makers of Gorilla Glue asking her if they could send her some of their products.

I knew they had a great following from their comments, but I had no idea what it really was. I asked her how many hits she gets a day, thinking that she had a huge following and might get as many as 300.

She pulled up her sitemeter and showed me, and I about fell on the floor.


30,000 hits a week. I have had this blog for over 3 years and I haven't had near that many hits in it's lifetime. That is incredible.


Congratulations Ashley and Whitney. I am SO proud of you!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chef Blythe Beck

In 2008, we discovered a great restaurant, Hector's On Henderson. The food was great but the chef was even greater. I wrote about our experience here. Blythe was definitely the entertainment of the night.

She has since moved restaurants and now she is at the Hotel Palomar - Central 214. We have not been there yet, but we have reservations for Saturday night. Can't wait. (We are going with our favorite funeral director.)

Blythe has such a wild and crazy personality that she was "targeted" for a reality TV show several months ago. They shot the pilot for it last fall and we happened to be at Hector's that night. It was a fun night to say the least.

Her reality show has been picked up by the Oxygen channel. It premieres Tuesday night. I have my DVR set to record it. Looks like lots of fun. When we were in New York last week, it was crazy to see her picture all over the place. She was on billboards, buses and the shot below is of her on a trash can. Couldn't resist taking a picture.

Can't wait to check out her new restaurant Saturday.


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Monday, September 21, 2009

GREAT Discovery - Smokey's Barbeque

Last weekend, the Star-Telegram had a review of a new barbeque restaurant that looked good. The building has been around for many years, with different owners coming in and out. I have never eaten at any of the establishments, but was aware that they were around. Putting it politely, this is not be best of locations. It is located at 5300 E. Lancaster in Ft. Worth. There are not a lot of great places around it, and some people might be a little intimidated to go after dark. All that said, all I can say is "oh my gosh!"

My understanding is that this restaurant is owned by the "Deen" family of the famous Eddie Deen's Barbeque. Eddie Deen does not have a restaurant location, but does lots of catering and has great facilities for that. A few years ago at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, they had an event where Eddie Deen catered and it was great.

Going to Smokey's, I knew that we were not going to be wowed by the atmosphere, but it was better than my expectations. I looks like an old Dairy Queen that has been converted. It has a nice patio on the front and looks like a dining room added on to the side.

First of all, anyone that knows me know how much I love bread. I could live on bread and Dr. Pepper alone. Smokey's makes homemade buns. Can you even imagine great barbeque on top of a homemade bun? You can see them mixing and rolling out the dough as you are ordering. That alone would have wowed me to come back.

We tried 3 different meats and 3 sides. The ribs were probably the best I have EVER had. They had a dry rub and then were cooked with a sweet sauce until it was crunchy. I have read it described as having a candy coating, and that was a great description. They did not need any sauce and fell of the bone.

I thought the cole slaw was good and the potato salad was "off the chain." I am a potato salad lover and would definitely put that one on the top of my list.

Smokey's is open daily except Monday. They serve a Sunday dinner that sound great too. Chicken fried chicken, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, turnip greens, cabbage, creamed corn, etc - $6.95. Where can you get a full meal like that for so cheap? We didn't try it, but the buttermilk pie is supposed to be great.

Can't wait to go back.

Updated - Well, I couldn't wait to go back and I did, just 2 days later. I was craving it. The ribs were not quite as good this time. They had been taken off the pit and wrapped in aluminum foil and did have the "crunch". I will be sure and ask for "crunchy" ribs next time. The other items were just as good. There was a couple sitting behind us that said they eat there almost every day. They really pushed the buttermilk pie, but I was too full to try it. Maybe next time.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good Morning America

I have been an ABC "groupie" for all of my life. I remember watching Good Morning American from as far back as I can remember. I loved Joan London and David Hartman. When Joan was having babies, so was I. I could relate to her.


Every time I have been to New York, I have always gotten tickets to be in the audience at Good Morning America. We have seen some fun people. The first time I went, Jordan and I went to the "Concert in the Park" series and saw Pink. She is one of my favorite singers. At the time, Tony Perkins was the weather man and Jordan got to talk to him while we were waiting to get into Bryant Park.


The next couple of times, I went with Pops, and we were there for the New Year's Eve show. We saw Dick Clark, Rachel Ray and Ryan Seacrest.


Pops and I got up at 5:00 a.m. on Friday so we could be at the studio at 6:15. The nice thing was that we could see the studio out of our hotel window, so we didn't have far to walk. The bad thing is that it was cool and rainy. My hair reflects that. Oh, I was having a BAD hair day. I almost didn't post pictures because of that, but I decided what the heck. It is what it is.



Robin Roberts is one of my favorites on GMA. I have a picture with her from the last time we were there.


The last time we were there, Pops was not a fan of Diane Sawyer. I will not post what he said about her, but it wasn't very nice, and everytime he sees her on TV, he reminds me of that. This time, she was much nicer. Her days at GMA are numbered. She will be moving to the head anchor spot on World News Tonight in January.


One fun guest that we got to see was Mary J. Blige. She is in a movie that is set to premier soon. She performed the song from her movie. She was fun to see in person.


Pops had to go to work, so I stayed around for pictures and another pre-recorded segment. Here I am with one of my favorites, Chris Cuomo. And YES, my hair looks terrible. I am aware of the BAD hair day and my crooked necklace.

For as long as I can remember, Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, has been around. And, he looks the same. He did a segment that will air later with about 6 different animals. One was a giant iguana. I did keep my distance. Jack didn't seem real thrilled to be taking pictures, but I figured, hey, what the heck, I am going to get one along with everyone else. I STILL have bad hair, but at least the necklace is straight this time.


Fun trip with bad weather in both Dallas and New York, but no flight delays. Yeah!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

From Old Country Roads to Times Square

Last weekend, we were on a lot of deserted old country roads where there was not a person in sight. This weekend, we were in the heart of Times Square. What a change! I am still wondering what would possess someone to choose a 6:00 a.m. flight. That means getting up at 3:00 to be dressed and packed, and leave for the airport at 5:00. That is insane.

The good part is that by 12:00 noon, we were checked into our hotel and on a double decker bus headed around New York. This is the first Statue of Liberty that we saw. He was so nice to pose for us.

We stayed in Times Square, so it was very convenient to be right in the middle of the chaos. There was a special event for mayors from all over the country to help memorialize 9-11. That is Katie Couric speaking along with Mayor Bloomberg.

This is my fourth trip to New York and I always look for The Naked Cowboy. I wasn't disappointed this time either. He is pretty amazing. He wears the same outfit, rain or shine, sleet or snow. The past couple of times I have seen him, it was New Year's Eve and he was right in the middle of Times Square dressed exactly the same way.

It was interesting being in NY for 9-11. There was a lot going on. I didn't get a good picture, but the sky was lit up at night to look like the twin towers. This is a picture of the ground zero site where they were reading all of the names of the people who died that day.


This picture shows some of the service men and women leaving the service.




We did not have the great weather I was hoping for. Thursday, it was cool and windy. Friday and Saturday it was cold and rainy. It didn't stop us though.

Several years ago, when Jordan and I went to NY we went on a "Foodie Tour" in Greenwich Village. We tried to recreate that on Thursday. We went up and down Bleeker St. and sampled cheese, rice balls, fried ravioli, cookies, pastries, etc. That was a fun way to eat lunch.

We didn't get much sleep on this trip. On Friday morning, we got up at 5:00 a.m. so that we could be in the audience of Good Morning America. It was worth it. We got to see some famous people. Stayed tuned, pictures to come.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Great Weekend - Walden Plantation



After being married for 30 years, we are having a little trouble buying gifts for each other. We have all the clothes we need and we have every gadget you can think of. But . . . giving gifts is very important to both of us and we refuse to stop giving them. I had a hard time coming up with something for Pop's birthday last month, so I decided to give him a trip.

I saw an ad in the paper for the Walden Plantation in Llano. It looked really neat. The ad was a full page ad in the Star-Telegram. While Pops was in the kitchen, I quickly tore the page out of the paper and hid it. I knew if he saw it, he would immediately say we have to go there. I made the reservation and wrapped the ad up in a box for his birthday.

We went this weekend, and I have to say, it was a fantastic trip. On the way down, we stopped in Waco and ate lunch at the Elite Cafe. Really good. Walden is way out in the sticks. I was shocked when we pulled up. It was much bigger than I thought it would be. The rooms were nice and very clean. It didn't even look like anyone had ever stayed in our room. The pool was great and it was right on the river. They serve dinner Friday and Saturday nights. We had dinner Saturday night and it was great. At night, we would go sit down by the river. Friday night a couple of deer ran by us.

They have several benches by the river and decks with tables and chairs. Breakfast is included with the room and it was great. We had lunch by the pool yesterday and it was also good. Last night we went to the famous Cooper's BBQ. It was not that great. We will not be going there again.

We will definitely come back to the Walden Plantation, hopefully several times a year. It would be a great place for a group trip or a family reunion. The longhorns in the picture are part of Walden; Tally and Moe.

Looking forward to a great week this week. Will post about it soon.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Present to Myself - 400th Post

I decided a few months ago that I needed a new design for my blog. Perfect timing that it was finished for the 400th post.

Jennisa does a fantastic job and is great to work with. If you need a makeover, go check her out at Once Upon A Blog.

Thanks Jennisa!

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