24 posts categorized "Food"


The Sushi Love Continues

I knew it . . . I knew my discovery of sushi that occurred when I was pregnant wasn't a pregnancy-only craving. So when Steph offered to try a sushi restuarant in Fort Worth that she had a Groupon for, I jumped at the chance.

(I think when my family members act like they want to see me, they are really wanting to see Anna. Steph knows that bribing me with a free lunch is the best way to get some Anna time.)

The only problem was this was going to be my first time without Cody at a restaurant with Anna. And anyone that has had a newborn knows how unpredictable they are. She could be really good; or, it could end up bad.


But, she did great! Aunt Stephanie did most of the baby-holding and the bottle I pumped ahead of time kept her full and content. (I just ask the waitress for a glass half-full of hot water and I can easily heat her bottle up.)

The love of (cooked) sushi continues . . .


A Little Tex-Mex Teaser

For those of you not familar with the difference, there is a big difference between "Tex-Mex" and "Mexican" food. Tex-Mex is a blend of Mexican and American foods and is not to be confused with "Mexican," "Mexican-American" or "New Mexican" food.

Really, it's not meant to be confusing, but if you're not from the Southwest part of the United States it's probably not something you hear diferentiated very often.

I was out with my Mom and two of my three sisters shopping in an area East of Dallas. My sister, Steph, went from fine to famished in 2.34 seconds, so we pulled into a local Tex-Mex place, Pancho and Lefty's.


This is not the fanciest restaurant I've ever been too, I'll tell you that much. The building has seen better days and you can totally tell it used to be a Dairy Queen. But, for Tex-Mex, it's pretty darn good.


Flauta's, my go-to dish, with refried beans and melted cheese and Mexican rice.

Tex-Mex through and through.


The Week After Thanksgiving

I look at the pictures from last week's Thanksgiving feast and it makes me so hungry.






I hope everyone had an enjoyable time with family to reflect on the things that really matter.

I'm thankful for a God that gives me grace when I don't deserve it. For being raised by two loving parents among my three sisters. For the love of my life who is an amazing husband. And for our little girl, who I'm so excited to meet.


Spangler Dominates The Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is my thing. I like to cook it every Thanksgiving, although I don't always have the best of luck.

(I first made it in 2005 when we moved up to Illinois and Thanksgiving consisted of just Cody and me. I thought the pie was done, took it out of the oven, and two hours later realized the pie was pretty much 100% still raw.)

This year I was up until 11:30pm Wednesday night so I could get both pies (complete with from-scratch crust) done before taking off to Cody's parents house and left both out on the counter to cool.

We got up at 7:30 Thursday morning and Cody was loading the car while I was blow drying my hair and Cody walked in to see Spangler running from him with a "don't get mad at me" demeanor. He saw this:


I was LIVID, to put it mildly.

I don't know what I was thinking, leaving them both out on the counter where I knew he could get them. He was unsupervised for such a short period of time, but I guess it was all it took.


Luckily, I had one survive, but Spangler better realize that he is darn lucky that I love him so much.

The bad part is though, he didn't even try the homemade crust . . .


Sushi Lover

I'm going to be honest with you. I think pregnancy food cravings are for the birds.

Not to make any woman mad that has ever insisted that her husband drive to a store or restaurant for a specific food, but I'm just not a believer. I got food cravings before I was pregnant, so I'm not so sure it makes sense to say that a food craving I get now is directly tied to being pregnant.

But, with that said, I have discovered a new love over the past few months. Could it be the pregnancy? Probably not, but either way, I'm sure loving the taste of sushi right now.

I had sushi once, when living in Illinois, because a client wanted to eat at a sushi restaurant. I didn't leave with the best impression. (What? Is the Illinois/Wisconsin state border not know for good sushi?)

But, I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago when the sushi man that was passing out free samples made his way over to me. "They" say you can't have sushi when you're pregnant, but I read that you just have to have cooked sushi, so I gave it a try. It was good!

I paid the $6.99 for a roll and ate it the next day for lunch.

Last week when I was in Philadelphia for a last-minute work trip I took the opportunity to hit a really nice sushi place, Nectar, which is in Berwyn, PA. (My coworker and I were considering trying out downtown Philly, but with traffic + me being lazy, we stuck to a place a bit closer to where we were.)


Dang. It was good. For an appetizer we got the Crunchy Vegetable Spring Roll, which was in a mango sauce. For dinner I got the California Jumbo Lump Crab and Shrimp Tempura Roll. I then forced myself to try the Pumpkin Bread Pudding for desert.


We left stuffed, but it really was great food and I ate everything I ordered.

I got home from Philadelphia on Wednesday night and my sister Steph came over Friday for a planned cooking weekend (she knows that if she can get me to cook some food in advance, I'm going to be really thankful those first couple weeks after having the baby).

Cody took the opportunity to go duck hunting (poor Spangler, he's not quite mature enough to hang with his Dad hunting, so he had to stay with the girls) and took off Friday after work, leaving Steph and I with an open evening. She mentioned she was craving sushi. So I let her know that I was JUST the person to fulfill her request!

Steph, the coupon-money-saving queen, had a Restaurant.com coupon for $25 of food at Sushi Zone in North Arlington (she bought it for only $2!) so we made the drive over and enjoyed a HUGE selection of sushi that we ordered.


So, it may be the pregnancy, but I've eaten more sushi in the past few weeks than I've ever ate in my whole life. We'll see if I still enjoy it this much after the hormones go back to normal, but I'm just enjoying it for now.


A Food Tour of The San Antonio Area

I'm always up for a good meal.

When Cody gifted me a weekend trip to San Antonio for my birthday, we spent a good amount of time researching some places to eat. Our research did not disappoint as eating, as usual, was one of the highlights of our trip.

Rio Rio Cantina on the Riverwalk

We stayed on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio and arrived late on Thursday night. We grabbed dinner at Rio Rio Cantina, a short 5 minute walk from our hotel. 


The Riverwalk was hopping for a weeknight! Lots of good people watching and since we were seating right on the Riverwalk, we had a great view.


The service and food wasn't spectacular (although we could have had just a bad waitress). We live in Texas so we have Tex-Mex food everywhere. Definitely not the best I've ever had, but I think the location made up for a lot of it.

And did I mention people watching? Definitely some interesting folks.

Silver K Cafe in Johnson City

After hitting the Alamo on Friday morning we headed out to Johnson City to check out LBJ's "Texas White House." We had seen the recommendation for the Silver K Cafe in Texas Highways magazine and we were not disappointed.


The restaurant is located in the same place as the antique shop we bought our table at. Right in the heart of Johnson City, it offered home cooking with a certain elegance to it.

A good mix of people were there as well. Everyone from tourists (like ahem, us) to the Sheriff's department to business meetings and local retirees.


We both got the prickly pear tea (not too different than regular tea, it just had a dash of flavor to it).


At the last minute we ordered their Soup of the Day, broccoli and cheese. It was the best I've ever had, although I don't think I've ever had homemade. It makes a huge difference as it's not the plastic-taste stuff that you get at your average American chain restaurant.


Cody ordered the Honey Pecan Fried Chicken and I opted for their special of the day, Watermelon Salad. 


I had never in a million years thought to put watermelon on a salad. I would have liked it if the watermelon was a bit sweeter, but the combination of the red onion, cheese and salad dressing offered up just enough flavor.

The best part of the whole meal is pecan sauce that was on Cody's fried chicken. He gave me a little dollop and adding that to the salad REALLY made it good. 

The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant in Boerne

Ah, does Google come in handy on road trips or what? We were headed back to San Antonio Friday night and were passing through some towns so I did a quick Google search on my iPhone for "best restaurant to eat in Boerne, TX" and the The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant kept coming up in the search results. We exited off the interstate, drove through the cutest downtown area, and were sat immediately.


Cody got one of their house beers (brewed right there at the restaurant) and we ordered fried green tomatoes for an appetizer. The sauce, creamy jalapeno cilantro lime, made the dish. I could have ate this as my meal.


We opted to split the "Hill Country Sausage" four link plate (the Texas Hill Country, the area that we were in, is known for the early German settlements . . . there is a lot of German heritage in these small towns). We got one of each, including:

  • Knackwurst (veal and beef)
  • Bratwurst (spicy mix of veal and pork)
  • Jalapeno Cheese (beef and pork with jalapeno and cheddar cheese)
  • Country Style (German style pork and beef)


Oh. My. Goodness. I would highly recommend this restaurant and this plate. They had more "regular" American type food, but a forkful of bratwurst, sauerkraut, cheddar cheese and their tangy raspberry sauce--all together--was amazing.

The Salt Lick in Driftwood

This place almost deserves its own post. Seriously. This is a really well known local BBQ joint that we saw on The Food Network a few times. We hit up Gurene, TX in the morning for some shopping and took the 45 minute drive over to The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX for lunch. We had to wait 45 minutes, outside, but they did a good job of making it a comfortable wait by providing lemonade, popcorn and cooling fans (lemonade and popcorn for a small price, of course!).


Driftwood is an unassuming town. Not a whole lot there but a handful of houses. The Salt Lick is definitely why people head out this way. I'd say there were at least 75 people waiting for seating.


Once you get in you will see that it is a meat lovers paradise. I ordered the chopped beef sandwich thinking that it would be a small plate to tackle, and about fell out of my chair when my order came. The sandwich is twice as large as I would have expected it to be. There was no way I was going to get even close to finishing the thing.


I also got a side of their potatoes and loved that it was not the classic mayonnaise-based potato salad found at most BBQ joints. It definitely tasted as though it had a more German flare to it, similar to the German Potato Salad I ate growing up. Really good stuff.


On our way out we were able to get some good pictures of the cooking process.

Just stop for a second and imagine how it smelled . . .

Iron Cactus on the Riverwalk

Even though we were pretty darn full from The Salt Lick, we still needed dinner.

Back in San Antonio, right across the Riverwalk from our hotel, we tried the Iron Cactus to finish off our weekend. (Okay, we technically ate McDonald's on Sunday morning for breakfast but we won't count that as the last restaurant on our trip. Although you're hard pressed to find better hashbrowns.)


The Iron Cactus has flowerbeds to block off the outside seating from the business of the Riverwalk. We initially thought this would be better, but we found that it was just too hot since we were getting no air movement. (Word to the wise on these 105 degree Texas days.) Don't worry, we survived.


The food was amazing. We got table side guacamole, which we never order but we figured we'd eat like kings this one meal. Cody got the salmon and I got the Chipotle Pesto Lobster Ravioli. Both were delicious.


Maybe the best part was the 2 minute walk from the restaurant to our hotel? Nice!


All Dressed Up With Somewhere (in Dallas) To Go

I've talked about our friend Norm before. He led our trip to Kenya, Africa in December and I guess he liked us enough that he cooked us the longest/best dinner we've ever had. Norm is a total foodie and has continued to show us the finer things in life.

We made plans last month for dinner (finding an open Saturday that worked for everyone was next to impossible!) and he recommended a place called Old Warsaw, located in the "Uptown" neighborhood of Dallas.

It's old-school Dallas. Think oil, big hair and lots of money. Three key things that made us not fit in, yet they seemed to let us in anyway.

We got all dressed up. Cody's tie matched my skirt. Love it when we match.


Okay, these are phone pictures since I wasn't sure if old-school Dallas people would like it if I brought in my big camera . . . But trust me in that it was super good.


The funniest part of the evening was when Jacque noticed the bread knife at each of our plates. In the midst of old, heavy and real-silver flatware, the bread knife had "IKEA" stamped on the side.

All of a sudden I didn't feel quite so out of place!


A Drive-By Tourist in Philly

Last week I was back in Philadelphia for work meetings. Internal meetings . . .Which usually aren't as exciting as client meetings.

We stayed in a suburban Marriott and had our meetings at the same hotel, so my time outside enjoying what Philadelphia had to offer was VERY limited.

This is when I rely on my drive-by tourist experience. The Goal: Take in as much as you can at every opportunity. So, since I was stuck on the interstate driving from the airport to the hotel (because of construction and a pretty bad automobile accident), I whipped out my BlackBerry and took some pictures of things that would have been cool to stop at.


I went on the east side of downtown Philadelphia. I was able to see the skyline with Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies. Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Eagles(even though I'm a Cowboy fan . . .). I also drove right by the Wachovia Center, where the Flyers and 76ers play.


(Taken in between the construction and accident . . . Of course, the more interesting parts of the commute had open interstate!)


Philly is a great location . . . just to my right was New Jersey and the train ride from Philly to New York City is only an hour+. You're close to everything, even rural American and Amish country.


We had a "team building dinner" on Tuesday night. These are always interesting since you can get to know your coworkers as people, not just the voice on the other end of your conference call. The only problem is that we went to Dave & Buster's for dinner. It was fun, but if I'm in a new city, I want to enjoy a bit of the local flavor. I can head over to Dave & Buster's here in Dallas anytime and get the exact same food---you know?

(A side note: I dominated in pool. Okay, not really. I did not dominate. But, I had a handful of shots that were pretty cool. As I told my coworkers, "You don't become 7th grade pool champion without having some mad skills.")

Wednesday night was a better choice for food as we went to Toscana 52. It's a local place in the suburb of Feasterville. Great atmosphere and although busy, it was a good place to hold a big group. I got a fantastic pasta dish, called "Champagne Pear Sacchetti," or a fancy pasta with pears and walnuts. Loved that my post-dinner coffee came with its own individual coffee pot.


I'm still itching to get into downtown Philly to experience some of the amazing historical places. I'm, of course, always up for some good food too.


Free Veggies? Yes, Please!

Cody's parents have an awesome garden every year. There are just people that are talented at growing things. I am not one of these people. But, I will gladly reap the benefits of having people in my life that are.

Every summer we get the hook-up with large quantities of tomatoes, squash, black-eyed peas, etc. This year is no different.

We walked away from a weekend at Cody's parents with lots of veggies and we got to work cooking and eating them.


Note the biggest zucchini ever. I swear this was 15 inches long.

In the bag (or "sack," depending on where you are from) is squash, jalapeno's and peppers.


I loved watching Cody in his element. He was raised on good Southern home cooking, and makes killer squash and fried potatoes. I'm sure if I liked black-eyed peas (don't hate me, but I just don't feel 'em) I would think his are the best ever too.

But, the fried potatoes really are the best part. Small bits of onions and other browned bits + home grown potatoes = wonderful.


We even had to have all four burners going. Free veggie madness.


Cody's plate . . . he forgot to add the grilled chicken we had going on the grill. I didn't have any problems finding a home for my chicken since I added no black-eyed peas to my plate.

But, either way, it's hard to not let the veggies take center stage.


How To Have A Texas Fish Fry

When we lived in Chicago we'd make it home about three times a year: our college homecoming weekend, Christmas, and once in the Spring--usually May. A fish fry was a good way for us to be able to see everyone we wanted to, in our limited time we had.

I had learned early during my tenure in Texas that "cook-outs" (not called "bar-b-que's," which is what I grew up calling them) and "fish fry's" were what you did when you had people over. Cody's parents loved hosting this annual event.

Even though we are back in Texas for good, we still have the fish fry every Spring.


You need to have an insane amount of food, dessert included, since you're never quite sure who will show up. Word spreads 'round here.


The official fish frying cooks need a good place to sit and get access to unlimited sweet tea, preferably made by Mom or Grandma.


You don't need any particular order or organization, as the food will be eaten either way.


Friends are a must, especially those that have funny stories to tell about your husband and how he would disappear into the woods for the entire day and play war games. 

As a high-schooler.


You need to bring your dog, who is recovering from stomach surgery.

(Okay, not really required for a fish fry.)


And then, you've need your sister-in-law who is a texting machine. It's good to have them around because their big brother (Cody, in this instance) always provides good material doing his traditional make-fun-of-my-little-sister routine.

My SIL was originally wearing a large gold necklace with this outfit, but she could only take so many hours of being called "Mr. T Starter Kit" so she changed. I don't really blame her.