Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I just noticed I spelled Reliquiarium incorrectly in my header file - time to fix that. lol

Drinking through Phoenix Pt 2

Before we go back to where I left off, I'll give you an update on a couple items that have happened since. I tried to make a Dark & Stormy at home with a Jamaican Ginger Beer and was thoroughly unimpressed. I believe that the combination of a -meh- ginger beer and a spiced rum was probably what set it apart from an actual bartender making the drink. It couldn't be my total lack of formula creation.... also, my wife has started our posts on the food of Phoenix. You can catch that over at Seldom Made. You can also vote for her for her Food Buzz challenge!

So back to the fun! We may only be 30, but I guess we have the schedule of a geriatric couple. I believe we arrived at 5pm to sit at the bar.... alone.... and had to wait for the kitchen to open up. Go figure. After having dinner at Bourbon Steak(the food will be at the other blog) at an incredibly early time, we walked over to La Hacienda. It's the Fairmont Scottsdale's on site mexican restaurant and tequila bar. Being a fan of tequila, we thought that I might be able to grab a drink since it was just late afternoon. =\ They state that they have over 130 tequila's which comes down to about 30+ different brands of tequila. For instance, Don Julio has a Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, Extra Anejo, and the premium Extra Anejo. It's a good selection, but slightly sobering when I hold out hope that I might just find the elusive Los Azulejos(yay, for Oklahoma!) brand. Back to it, they do a specialty margarita that includes a house infused tequila with Serrano's and Pineapple. It had a unique flavor and was worth a try, but not worth ordering again. I heard Serrano and instantly thought HEAT! It gives it a slight pepper taste but didn't impose the heat I was hoping for. 

After finishing about half the margarita, Leah talked me into going for a tequila flight. It's a way to test out a few quality tequila's without spending a paycheck's worth of money, or getting tossed. And since it was our anniversary I went with the El Presidente Flight. It's a three tequila fest consisting of some incredibly expensive tequila. 

Just a quick flight recap - you first smell the tequila. It's similar to what a wine lover would do when they go to a tasting. Preferably, you'll smell with your nose and mouth. It sounds weird but it does work. Take a small sip of tequila and wait till your tongue tingles, or you can swish it around. After you have a good "coating" or "feeling" take the rest of the tequila. It should give you a good feel all the way around. 

Herradura Tequila Seleccion Suprema - First tasting - This was a very smooth tequila with a decent burn after swallowing. With any great Anejo, you should pick up some of the different traits in the soil as well as the agave. This one had a caramel undertone. My favourite of the three. 

Partida Elegante Extra Anejo - Second Tasting - Very little afterburn which created a very smooth tequila. If I recall correctly, it also had the least agave flavor out of the three.

Don Julio Real - Third Tasting - for folks that aren't tequila drinkers this would be the last of the three that I would recommend for trying out new tequila's. The afterburn is incredibly strong - it's a little stronger than a tasting of Gran Centenario but the overall taste is better. It's what you'd expect from a 350.00 bottle of tequila versus a 50.00 bottle. 

Overall, it was a good experience, and there are still plenty of drinks to come... well, I think there's a couple more margarita's and a couple drinks at the Valley Ho hotel.  Go check out Seldom Made for day two of the Restaurant Week.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Drinking through Phoenix

From the title, one might think that I am an incredible lush and spend most of my time barely lucid. That couldn't  be farther from the truth. What really happens is that I thoroughly enjoy trying new drinks or tequila's but rarely have the same thing twice. Think Seldom Made but smaller portions, higher prices, and without all that crazy food. So why do we get a new post on my seldom used blog? Because we had an anniversary and most anniversaries mean going somewhere out of our tepid town and into an area full of culinary wonders! nay, LIQUORARY wonders! In honor, the name of the blog shall be theliquorarium.

We went out to Phoenix to partake in a little R&R&F(ood). Every stop in Phoenix requires us to eat at least one time at Z'Tejas. It's a Tex-Mex restaurant originating out of Austin, Texas which gives it one point just for being. The food is always delicious, and the margarita's are muy bueno. I always get a 6th Street Margarita. It's their signature house margarita and one of the best frozen margarita's at a food joint. small fact: the 'rita is named after the street the first Z'Tejas is located on. It's also their chili festival menu! The specialty drink was their Southwestern Margarita. It was special, in the sense that it had muddled cilantro(intriguing!) and raspberries. It was an incredibly sweet drink, and L ended up liking it. The cilantro wasn't really present making the drink good but mildly disappointing. =(

The next night we went to one of the local restaurants at the Fairmont Scottsdale. The hotel is nestled off the main street and inside a residential area. I thought that was a little weird, at first, but got used to it and would definitely recommend staying there if passing through Phoenix. We got a great rate through The rooms are set up weird but very nice. The grounds are quite the sprawl, but it's all very well maintained. But back to the drinks. Right off the lobby, they have a Michael Mina restaurant called Bourbon Steak. Leah request a lemon drop - she's not much of a drinker and is limited to a Midori sour and the occasional lemon drop. I decided to step out a little bit and had a Dark & Stormy made by Kyle, one of our bartenders that night. I guess that it's more of a British drink - it consists of rum, ginger beer, and a lime. I've tried to enjoy basic drinks like this with rum and usually can't get past one sip, but this was a very good drink. It sounds easy so I could make it for parties(yah, like parties would ever happen at our house) as an alternative for tequila.

That takes us through a day and a half of our Phoenix trip and it's already an incredibly long post! I'll let this one marinate out there for a day or so while I write part two! I'm not sure if I'll get done in one more section because we're coming up to a large tequila section and a few drinks that are newish. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tie In: AYB

One of my favourite internet memes of all time. My last blog post reminded me of the intro to AYB. Metro 2033 was a different book in terms of writing style. Perhaps the translation from Russian to English made reading it that much more difficult. But at least I had some fun with it. Prepare yourself for one of the greatest meme's ever.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reliques du cinema: Tim Burton

We are fans of Tim Burton around here.  However, he is not sacrosanct; so this can be funny:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

reliques pour l'undercroft

I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed with the amount of random thoughts. Instead of gushing 4000000000 facebook status updates I thought one underwritten blog post would have the same effect.

Thought Process #1:
A. Listening to "You're the Best Around" doesn't make me feel or want to be the best. And that probably comes back to the fact that Ralph Macchio wasn't the best around. Marlon Brando was the best around. But, you have to give it to Little Mac, hmmm, I mean Daniel. He was the best Karate Kid around... and nothing is going to keep him down.

B. And where would listening to 80's pop songs be without leading into another movie related song from one of my favourite 80's movies of all time? I'll let the video speak for itself!

Thank you, Limahl, for never writing a greater song than the one for The Neverending Story. I know it would be hard to follow up a song that would haunt.... stay with a generation of youngsters like this one has. And be happy that your hairstyle has made comeback. It's a legacy. (note: nice to know that you can now get the movie on Blu-Ray - you have been wish-listed)

C. Oddly enough, it took me years to find out that The Neverending Story is an actual book! I have to assume that it's about four hundred times better than the movie. I have a few other books to finish up, but once I'm done this one is going to be purchased and sitting on my shelves. There is a little fear that it *might* be tainted by the retained images of the actors, but it's worth the risk.

D. Don't see The Neverending Story 2! The actor who played Bastian had the freakiest eyes that I have ever seen! Mind you, I was 10 when that movie came out, but I still find myself just a bit creeped out by Jonathan Brandis' eyeballs. They aren't natural. I will say this though - RIP to an actor that wasn't held back by the creepy eyes he had in one movie.

Thought Process #2:
A. I've been dreaming about my old car a lot lately. It doesn't make any sense because I'll never have it back. Even in dreams, I know I won't have it back. I was in the garage staring at the car and trying to figure out what I was going to do to it. Leah then walks in and says, "You understand that it isn't real." AND I agreed! *sigh* Nor will I have the opportunity to have a similar car for a long while - minus winning a lottery that I don't play.  That being said, it still looks pretty good in my dreams.

B. Thinking about the car made me want to drive cars that I will never be able to drive. Enter Forza Motorsport 3. I grew up on Gran Turismo games, but FM3 has done a good job at filling a rather large time gap for Poly-Dig to get their act together and release GT5! It's fun, but I think it might even be a little easier than Gran Turismo. You level up and get a new car regardless of winning or not... even though winning is pretty simple. In GT, you had to finish a set of races to win a car for your collection. Money seemed to be a little tighter as well. That begs the question, is GT5 going to allow you to modify cars? Hmm.....

C. So in FM3, I *won* a Ferrari FXX.... that's when insanity began. The car is amazingly loud and FM did a decent job of replicating the sound. I cannot imagine what it would sound like in real life. I'm sure I'd be deaf, but at least I'd be smiling. It's also pretty darn fast... check it out:

Go Here First to see the car prior to the FXX.... then Go Here <-- wow.. just wow.

D. So there Ferrari is loud.... really loud. My Z32TT was also pretty loud, but not nearly like that. Call me a little odd, but I took an import and added Flowmasters as part of a custom exhaust. I don't have any sound clips of my car, but it definitely fit between what a turbo-6 and a v8 would sound like. It worked out well. It is definitely an attractive car... I'm not even one for red cars,but this just had a nice quality.

E. You also get to drive pretty fast in FM3... word has it that you can get up to about 160mph in the Z32TT. I wouldn't know anything about it, but if I did I don't think I would do it more than once. If I knew what it felt like, I'm assuming it's just a bit of blur and that objects end up being closer than you would assume.

Hmm... ok.... it's a bit of a ramble, but at least I got it out. Off to see what Leah's up to, and to see about reading a little more.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Melodie ce soir

Last night, we went to LA for yet another concert at McCabe's - our favorite venue in California for seeing live music.  Here are the set list and some thoughts:

Walking Daddy
Rexroth's Daughter
Fat Boy Blues
If I Had Known
You Drive Me Crazy
Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues (cover)
One Wrong Turn
Broke Showman's Blues (my name for this song, a tribute, in part, to Mose Allison
Let My Freak Flag Fly
Whippoorwill (If you Leave)

Way Out in The Country
Folsom Prison Blues

Greg was accompanied by guitarist Bo Ramsey.  Bo and he are obviously simpatico through years of playing together.  Bo plays second to Greg in such a way that adds to and never subtracts from the groove.  That's what the evening could be called: a groove.  The kind of groove you get when you travel up the Mississippi, grabbing all the influences you can, and land somewhere in Iowa, in the middle of a mess of acres.  The groove that only a bluesman could afford.  He lets the audience buy a little off him, and still has plenty for himself.
Greg's most exceptional instrument is his voice and McCabe's is the kind of place where he can show it off.  It feels like you are sitting in on a session with Greg and Bo, as he plays with the low and high of his voice, slides a little phrase in, while Bo slides a little guitar.  It is perfection.  Drew doesn't mind me saying this, it is sexy...purely sensual.  Greg could sing to me all night.  I'm glad he did.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reason to keep the Cable

I have found the one reason we should extend our cable contract beyond the July 15th expiration:

Otherwise, we will have to beg someone to subscribe to Starz and then invite ourselves over on a weekly basis for 8 weeks. Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reliques pour l'undercroft

A tour through the vault (abbrev.):

Saturday, June 5, 2010

cirage poétique

I haven't done a lot of writing lately, but after a quick mention of Keats at Barnes & Noble I've wanted to finish up a couple that I started. That brought around sharing some stuff that I've altered, edited, or just had laying around on the computer. I'll post a few every now and then - probably with a quick note of what it's about if I really feel like it. Enjoy.

Stone; memory-hewn into a picture that betrays the natural.
What more could the Immortal show us about a life together?
Those wind-blown valleys; jagged curves; time so smoothed –
The beauty of emeralds will surface - glimmer in smiling eyes.
Can the current pull us in, leave us floating there forever?
Cold and rushing, enduringly; cutting delicate facets. 

Note: Don't know if I'm done with it or not. It *might* expand, but I'll probably continue to fiddle with the punctuation. It stops where I want it to stop, but might be used more efficiently.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Great Texas Stuff

Curators Note: We do not live in Texas. We were both born there(Leah 99% raised there and I got a full eight years out of it), met in California, but we will always have a special place for our original home. My list will be incomplete as I haven't been or seen everything that Texas has to offer. Feel free to comment to add to the list or email us to have me add something to the next grouping.

Marble Falls - We've driven through Marble Falls on our Wichita Falls - San Antonio trips. It has a great semi-small city feel. In some ways it's a lot like Palm Desert without the California feel. You won't go to Marble Falls and feel like you've stepped into Dallas proper. You can have a bite to eat at the River City Grille that's on Lake Marble Falls. Unfortunately I forget the name of this little design shop that Leah really enjoyed. It's across the 281 from the River City Grille. The folks were friendly and if you needed to get your home done in Texas or California they could be a fun group to work with.

Mineral Wells - Home of the Scariest Derelict Building Ever! The Baker Hotel was an exclusive stop for Mineral Wells at one point. It was a happening place for Hollywood stars and Presidents alike. We didn't know that when we first arrived. It looked like it was a mental institution that was no longer in use, but that the souls of those that lived there still haunted. There are windows busted out in the ominous building. I guess a company has purchased the building to attempt to restore it to it's former glory. I wish them the best of luck as that town does need a face lift. I don't recommend stopping in Mineral Wells unless to take a few pictures. Sorry for any offense. I'll update the page with a few pictures once I get on the repository laptop.

Wiseman House Chocolates - Here's another place that I wouldn't have stopped at if Leah had not seen it and wanted to go in. It's a cute chocolate shop in Hico, Texas that has a very renowned chocolatier helming a great little store. I have no desire to stick chocolate in my body.. the taste has never been something for me, but everyone else on the planet seems to enjoy it. If you are a fan of chocolate go and visit. If you can't visit grab yourself something online. You could tell them I recommended you, but it's not going to make a difference to people that don't know me.

Wichita Falls - The birthplace of my parents! It's where my family resides; honorable mentions of Mamaw and Aunt Nell. I've been going back to Wichita Falls year after year to visit family for reunions or Christmas or just because; except for a small hiatus right after high school where work wouldn't allow me. It'll always have a special place reserved for it. This is 99% for the family I've known that's lived there. The house my father grew up in is now underneath the freeway! But, you can still go by his grandparents dance studio and the school both parents went to. There's a great little BBQ joint called Stanley's - HOME OF THE BEANIE BURGER. It may sound disgusting, but it's the best heart stopping burger that I've ever had. It has beans, nacho cheese, fritos, and jalapeños on it. It's excellent. And where else are you going to get service from a fella' that has his cigarette's rolled up in his shirt sleeve. But family is the important part. I still get excited turning onto Mamaw's street. I'm always a little sad leaving - We always plan X amount of days and by the end of those it never feels like enough time. We love playing Rummy. It's also nice to just sit and enjoy reading a book with family. Perfect vacation time.

Well, I think that's it for the time being. We've worked our way up the main highlights that I found along the 281. In the next grouping, I think we'll go up into the panhandle and possibly down into Dallas - near where I was born.


Reliques du Cinema: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was intended to provide "thrilling horror," "to curdle the blood," "quicken the beatings of the heart."  In a world saturated with torture porn, sadly, the story of Frankenstein's monster appears hackneyed and unbelievable.  It is this way in the book, and even more so in this version of the film, directed by Kenneth Branagh.  The star-studded cast is a who's who of actors and actresses one would want to cast in a film today.  Starting with Kenneth Branagh in the titular role, Helena Bonham Carter as his love interest; John Cleese, his professor; Tom Hulce (most noted for Amadeus), his best friend; and lastly, Robert DeNiro in the role of the monster. 

Most people don't even understand the monster is not named Frankenstein.  This is due, in part, to the previous and earliest incarnations of Frankenstein for the stage and in early film.  This is due, in other part, to ignorance (I too, was once counted in this category). I watched the original movie from the thirties last year after reading the book and was shocked at it's inaccuracies.  This version of Frankenstein was very much more wasn't.  I was rocking along in the movie and then, suddenly, out of nowhere, I found myself in the midst of the ill-advised sequel to Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein.  I am not quite sure why the director and writer wanted to go there.  It makes almost no sense, but there are many things in this movie that make little sense.

It seems this team of adaptors wanted to make sure the audience understood exactly how Frankenstein was able to create his monster.  The novel leaves this very much up to the imagination of the reader, which is the interesting part of the mystery.  It seems the modern day story-tellers wanted to use all the technological theories in their heads (Amniotic fluid, anybody? How about some electric eels? Yes, I said electric eels) to create a living being.  It seems they liked it so much the first time; inexplicably, they did it again.  It seems, they didn't know how to edit. 

All in all this is a faithful adaptation, to a point.  It leaves off many of the plot points of the novel, to it's detriment.  But, the addition of extraneous plot points is maddening.  So in that vein, I guess it was a "horror" and it did "curdle the blood!"  One accomplishment the filmmakers can claim is an Academy Award nomination for best makeup.  It holds up pretty well after 15 years as the makeup for Robert DeNiro makes him al-most unrecognizable.   This is true of John Cleese, as well.  If all of mankind did not know him by the sound of his voice, he would have passed through this movie without notice. 

I think this is the last Frankenstein adaptation I will watch for a while. It is frustrating when a filmmaker loves a novel so much, he wants to make a movie of that novel.  And then, while making that movie, he thinks he can rewrite it to make it "better."  It rarely happens that this is achieved (once, in my recollection: Forrest Gump).  Although the Mary Shelley classic is a tough-to-get-through read, it is still better than the movie versions I have seen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reliques du Cinema: High Noon

Do not forsake me, Oh, my darlin'
On this our wedding day...
I do not know what fate awaits me
I only know I must be brave.
Now that you are well initiated into the world of High Noon, via the lyrics to it's very own Oscar-winning ballad, let's dissect it, modern-day style. The bravery of the main character, Marshall Will Kane (played by Gary Cooper, who won the Oscar for this role), is legendary to the town where he resides.  Unfortunately, no one wants his brand of old-fashioned bravery anymore.  He faces an old we-thought-he-was-vanquished enemy returning for vengeance on the noon train.  He must face him alone, because even the woman he married at 10:30 AM has decided she won't stand by him.  This could be due to the fact that she seems half his age and must have been thinking another man will come along, any minute. 

The device that must have grabbed all the critics and movie-goers at the time is the "real-time" progression of events.  The movie is one hour twenty four minutes in duration.  The action of the movie begins a couple minutes past 10:30 AM and ends at a quarter past noon.  In other words, this is the first "24."  Replete with Jack Bauer, his daughter Kim, and the villain of seasons 1 and 3, Nina; the real time story unfolds much like a really boring season of "24" (i.e. season 7). 

Jack, of course, is played by Gary Cooper. 

Kim is played by Grace Kelly, note the resemblance:


And Nina is played by Ian MacDonald and, like her, is not revealed until the last 15 minutes of the movie.  He remains such a mysterious villain that no pictures are available of him. 
Also playing a big role in High noon, just as it does in "24," is the clock (it appears no fewer than 10 times in the movie).

I won't give away the ending, but you might have guessed it by now, based on the comparisons to "24."

And so, in watching High Noon, we find the original inspiration for "24," with a few tweaks.  I can understand how it was interesting at the time, but the dialogue is plodding.  This is a movie featuring a classic actor at the end of an era.  Soon, Marlon Brando would be successful in his search for an Oscar and would change the face of movie acting forever.  He would usher in an era where actors do not wait patiently for the other actors in a scene to finish their lines before quickly spouting their own line.  Thankfully, the big screen has changed for the more realistic in that area.  What remains of the legacy of High Noon is the thrill of real time action.  Also remaining is the classic good guy Marshall who gets his man.  In short, what remains are Jack Bauer and a race against time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Reliques du cinema: A Starting Point

After being offered the position of co-curator of this strange, little museum and humbly accepting, I set about thinking what would I offer.  What would be of interest to our reader(s)? 
Thus, the starting point: a semi-regular post about the movies I should have seen because they are acclaimed in some way, but never did.  In the interest of preserving my opinions, I will be watching these and reviewing/recapping them here. 
The reason:  I tend to forget all the movies I don't like.  I forget all major plot points, all major character names, and most importantly, the ending.  I do remember, however, the fact that my eyes and ears were active during the movie and information passed into my brain.  It is an amazing phenomenon to me.  I have always considered myself to have an amazing memory in most things personal, but I cannot for the life of me remember anything about AI (from what I understand from my co-curator to be a great film).
So all future posts regarding movies not currently playing at a theater near you will be tagged with this title.  When I can convince my co-curator to watch with me, we might comment together. 
I would use some great line from a movie like: "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship," but I saw that one and don't remember anything about it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My first at-home tasting

We had the pleasure of having a small dinner party at our house Sunday evening and some good use out of a new cookbook magazine that Leah and I found at Target. It's strictly for Mexican cuisine, but what piqued my interest was the section on Tequila. For more information on the food and how that turned out please go to Leah's blog SeldomMade. The link will take you directly to that specific post. If you want to browse through other recipes/dinner just click through to the main page - I would highly recommend this method.
But back to the review, the food was excellent. While Leah was working on creating dinner, I was working away at making Sangrita. It has nothing to do with Sangria so don't think this is some type of watered down alcoholic beverage. It's a wierd combination of items that you wouldn't think worked well. You use 2c Tomato Juice, 1/2 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup orange juice(fresh squeezed for sure), 2tbsp Worcestershire, 2tbsp Grenadine(yup, wierd one), and then salt, pepper, and chili powder. I added a little cayenne pepper for safe measure since we didn't have any hot chili powder. What you end up with is a decent v8 like drink that's used as a palette cleanser. Add a little salt on the side to give a little more to the senses. I used it in conjunction with a little lime juice to add more flavour.
 I was planning a good sampling out of my tequila cabinet. We have Gran Centenario Anejo. I learned about this one from a bartender at Z'Tejas in Phoenix, AZ. After finishing off one of our favourite meals, Leah asked the bartender if he knew of Los Azulejos Anejo( which he didn't), but recommended this as his favourite. It is very good and I ended up with a bottle of it after we finished our vacation. The second is Los Azulejos Reposado. I "settled" for the reposado in hopes that would be as good as it's older brother, the Anejo. That's the tequila that my cousin introduced me to in Oklahoma. The Anejo is the best I've ever had! This one is good, but it's on a different level. The last one on the list is Tonala Suprema Reserva Anejo. I was out looking for an extra aged Anejo and came across this one. It's a very inexpensive bottle compared to other Extra Anejo's out there, but came highly recommended.
The tasting would be with dinner so no one is actually going nuts with the tequila. This is only to taste and find out what you like. You use about 1/2 oz. of tequila per taste. To be honest, I don't care what kind of glass you use. Some folks use snifters for sipping tequilas, but I am just as happy with a caballito - tall, thin shot glass. Before you down the tequila, you'll want to smell it first. You do this through both the mouth and the nose. Surprisingly, it does add something to the mix! You'll then want to take a small sip and leave it on your tongue for a few seconds. Then take a larger sip and swallow. Depending on the type and manufacturer of the tequila  this could be smooth or have some fire at the end. Also, most reposado's and anejo's are at room temperature with a silver/blanco tequila chilled. You can see that I tend towards the room temperature types.
The tastings certainly went well. This was my first time using any of my store bought tequila to do this. I think it does add a little more complexity to drinking. This isn't to get drunk. It's to enjoy the beverage and the social interaction that comes with it. You actually have more to say about each tequila than just making a drink and saying that's good. You can talk about smell, feel, taste, and enjoyment. So if you're looking to do something like this you certainly don't need to get the same items as above. You can also get some mini's and spend less money to see if this is something you'd prefer. Be smart with it.


P.S. - no need to go overboard on explaining how the tequila's tasted. That's for the more adventurous that are willing to go out and try this method out.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Great Things in Texas - Or Stuff I can't live without - Part One

Yah, I know that I don't post much on my blog right now. It's tough to stay motivated when I'm also doing a book blog with my wife. So far that's been going pretty smooth. We have a lot more content on that one. But in the meantime, I feel like posting stuff that's great about Texas and the book blog isn't the proper spot for it.

Locations: - Music/Drinks. I'm putting this up there without going in Gruene Hall. I spent my time outside staring at it while I was getting prepared to go eat some good food. I needed food more than the interior of a bar. Others may differ with that belief, but I'm sticking to it. It leads to the next location: - Great food, Great Location(on the Guadalupe river), and excellent architecture. Used to be the Gruene, TX cotton gin until it became one of the best restaurants for casual food. Go there, take a ton of pictures, eat the wings and a burger, and be happy. - Yah, I know that this is also the home to my interstate rivals, the Spurs. It also happens to be one of my favourite places to just chill out. You will have to walk around, but you get to be below street level and on the river. Plenty of places to stay and eat at. They've also increased the length of the Riverwalk since we've been there so I am uber-excited to be there. - Lockhart is on my list of places to see before I die.... in Texas. I mainly want to go b/c it's the BBQ capital of Texas. Smitty's, Kreuz, and Black's are renowned. I imagine myself going for two days so I can get BBQ twice in one day, and then the final one on the way out of town(probably going down to the Riverwalk). I love BBQ! - Mystic Shores, but really all of Canyon Lake. This is the hill country and one of the most beautiful parts of Texas. The folks have land down by Canyon Lake. The land is gorgeous, reasonably priced, and close enough to those places I mentioned above. I wish I had 30,000 laying around to purchase 1-2ac of land down there. - I'm sure you're seeing a trend here. Some of the best places in Texas involve great food. It'll get worse as this list grows. =D Cooper's was introduced to the family by the parents through my Uncle(I'm pretty sure). They have one down in Mason, but also a new location in New Braunfels; which is where Gruene, TX is. You can order Cooper's online. I would recommend the brisket.

The 281 - It's a beautiful drive from San Antonio, TX to Wichita Falls, TX. It might be a little slower than taking the 35, but you just see some great Texas. It's amazing to be driving through the hills just full of trees. It's like nothing you get down here in Southern California. There are plenty of little towns along the way that just remind you of what life used to be like. And a few favourites that i'll mention in a bit.

So this is part one - I need to head for bed and I'll take us up through the 281 and maybe a couple stops off the 20 West Side

Sunday, January 10, 2010

All things Steaclectic

I guess it takes sickness to get me to write on my blog. I wouldn't say that it's because I haven't been wanting to write.... well, I've just found other normal stuff to do with my time. Most of it not important, but that's what happens. But today I am doing a guest cooking blog appearance! My wife has not been feeling well this week, and today wasn't any better. This afternoon I went to Target and picked up some filets and decided that I would do dinner rather than picking something up.

I wouldn't say that it's pretty, but I decided to do a steak trio. Each steak was rubbed with a different spice. Starting on the left: Williams Sonoma Coffee Rub(I know), Cracker Barrel "Mud" rub(w/ Brown Sugar), and a pepper blend w/ smoked sea salt(my creation - the rub, not the salt which is from Williams Sonoma). Two new and one tried and true.

I rubbed down the steaks and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes prior to putting them into a cast-iron skillet. Make sure to put a little olive oil in the skillet while heating up just to give it a nice surface so you don't really burn off the rub. I like a medium-rare steak - I'll have you know that my wife didn't know the greatness of the medium-rare until she met me. She has tasted the light. - which is about 4 minutes per side. You don't want to turn more than once. Take the steaks off the skillet, and cover with tin foil for 10 minutes to allow the meat to rest. It'll still cook a small bit while resting.

Now for the run part, EATING! Leah and I were in agreement on steak order. In third place was the Mud Rub from Cracker Barrel. The crust created by the brown sugar in the rub was the best crust that I've seen on a homemade steak in a long while. It caramelizes down to a nice brown color. While that was nice the taste was not the best. Leah didn't like one of the spices in the rub. I believe that there was a fennel taste in the background. For me, if I had added salt I believe the taste would have been ten times as good.

In second place was the Coffee Rub. We've done this one before so we knew what we were getting into. The rub creates a good crust, but doesn't have the same texture as the Mud Rub. You don't taste the coffee that's in the rub, but it does add a flavor to the meat. If you know me, I absolutely HATE coffee! I've been through the account of Genesis more times than I can count and there is not a mention of coffee anywhere to be found. BUT, if you read closely in Revelation you'll find that coffee was thrown into the lake of fire along with the demons. It's in the original Greek, trust me.

In first place....... uh..... well by deduction, the pepper blend and smoked sea salt won out. Those simple ingredients create one of the best tastes. It also allows the meat to shine through. The pepper blend includes white, black, red, and red pepper flakes. Williams Sonoma has hit a home run with their sea salt selection. The smoked just melts into the meat and adds a hint of sophistication. I can't explain it, but it gives it almost a sweet flavor when you taste the salt. They also have a few other salts that look excellent!!! I would recommend this one to anyone wanting to try something new.

So there it is! It's not as good as my wife's food blog, but you'll have to make due until she starts cooking again.

Enjoy! -D