27 April 2017

No. 90: Twelve New Restaurants in 2017

No. 90: Twelve New Restaurants in 2017
Hopping over to the Fourth One!

I love that I have so many willing partners in crime when it comes to my challenges. Friend Martha is probably the most helpful because A) she is always up for a good time and a new adventure and B) she has a husband that travels so she is frequently alone and looking for company.

Last night we tried a new restaurant in the Rice Village area in Houston. A whole little row of restaurants greeted us but our destination was Hopdoddy Burger Bar.   An incredibly interesting gentleman had been in the office waiting for his buddy and we got to talking. Man, we covered the gamut of topics.  Race relations (He is black and I am not) and the price of slaves in the 1800s, the risk management part of casinos, horse racing, and good restaurants. He had heard great things about Hopdoddy's so I figured it was a good one for the list. Also it's a restaurant that originated in Austin, so that gives it a pretty good pedigree.

Doesn't it looks like fun?

Hmmm. Appears I might be tilting a bit upon our departure.

Even though I'm a huge fan of sitting outside, it was sprinkling a bit so we opted for an indoor table. The set up was one of those "stand in line, they assign you a table while you are waiting, order, and then the food comes out by waiter" arrangements.

It was hard to choose. Every single hamburger looked beyond yummy. They cheerfully make substitutions. Thankfully. 

I ended up with a Thunderbird which was supposed to have grilled chicken but I was jones-ing for a burger.  So they substituted.

Doesn't that look delicious? 
It was. 

 Martha had the Magic Shroom burger. We also shared some of the best french fries con chili con queso.   They were the closest I've had here to my favorite fries from the Fritz in Salida. 
And we both had margaritas.  

Big and Little Larrys. 
Or as my girls would call them "the mama and the baby" margaritas.

For some reason they call the margarita with Grand Marnier "Little Larry". Or off the menu but also available, the "Big Larry". 

It was an enticing cocktail list but we went with the basics.

Fortunately Martha had the Little Larry as she was driving.  They were sufficiently potent, especially considering the waitstaff had already passed out samples of the classic margaritas while we waited in line. Talk about keeping the customers happy while they wait!

A great evening out, a yummy meal and home at a reasonable hour. I even brought the Big Guy a hamburger since I am leaving him to take care of all the animals this weekend while I head to San Antonio. Figure I better butter him up a bit.

And this weekend is Fiesta in San Antonio. I am super super excited. Lots of fun activities in the few days I will be there. Follow me on Instagram @ininnbee to see pics as they happen!

21 April 2017

Not Quite Red Rocks....

Not Quite Red Rocks....
But Outdoor Entertainment Nevertheless
(Number 96: Houston Miller Outdoor Theater- see a show. )
(Bonus: No.71: Plan and execute a picnic)

Happy weekend!!

Number Four on my Sixty by Sixty list was/is go to Red Rocks in Denver for a performance.  For those that aren't familiar, Red Rocks is a an outdoor amphitheater with perfect acoustics in the mountains.  Stone steps make up the seats, the "walls" are the natural red (duh) rocks of the area.   I have been there early in the day when there wasn't a performance, but it is on my list to actually see a performance there, preferably musical, at some point in the future.

 Rock walls

Stone seats

And look! 
Diane, Diana and Lucy.
Can't believe this was so long ago. 

Until then, while I am back in the Houston area and doing Houston things, I hit up the next best thing. Or at least the next best thing locally.  Houston Miller Outdoor Theater, which I made No. 96 on the list. Miller Theater has FREE performances throughout the spring/summer/fall (i.e. most of the year in this part of Texas!) and they can vary from musicals, symphony, ballet, children's performances and more.  While it is outdoors, they do have some covered seating. The remaining seating is on a manmade hill overlooking the stage.

One of the benefits of outdoor venues? 
Beautiful sunsets while you wait for the show to start.

Friend Martha, along with another friend Betsy, headed to see the HITS musical production of Footloose. Side note: I have never seen the entire movie of Footloose. I HAVE seen Kevin Bacon in the dance scene at the end. Not sure where I was or what I was doing in the early 80s but I missed a few of the most popular movies around then.  (Flashdance? Never seen it either. )

Here we go....

HITS is a youth group so the presentation was entirely made up of students. Students who aspire to be real live paid actors. Not exactly Broadway caliber but there were some high points. The lead actor could really dance...very Fred Astaire-like with long legs and long arms and great moves. His singing? Eh. Hit or miss.  The preacher, on the other hand, had a great voice.

Preaching to the choir.

But overall the show was great and I guess I have an idea of how the movie played out now. Still need to watch it.

To make the most of our night, we brought a picnic and were even able to bring our own adult beverages...as long as they weren't in glass containers. (Even though I have already crossed off No. 71 on the list which was to have a picnic, I'm going to count this in the picnic list. No harm doing the fun things more than once!)  I'm sure decanting wine into plastic is the stuff of oenophiles' nightmares but it worked for Martha and Betsy. I stuck with beer in a can. We had a charcuterie platter for our dinner and snacked our way through the entire show. There were some envious glares from the surrounding seats who didn't come as prepared. (Or maybe that was anger and annoyance- we were blocking the aisle a bit.)

Look at that feast! 

So...not Red Rocks but a pretty fun substitute. Although, seriously, anywhere with friends, food and drink? Always fun.

Probably no post next week as I am headed to San Antonio on Thursday. It is Fiesta time in San Antonio and I get to help judge a parade! Talk about a new and different experience. I am super super excited and 200% looking forward to a little break. Can't wait to tell you all about it.

14 April 2017

i love you so much....

i love you so much....

Last weekend I visited my friend Ann in lovely Austin.

It was a quick trip, up Saturday, back Sunday.

But we packed in the excitement.

Saturday we headed to S. Congress to people watch and wander.  All that wandering worked up an appetite. So we ended up at Guero's for a little Tex Mex and maybe a margarita or two.

Honest. It was only a couple of drinks each.
In the middle of the day.
We were having fun. 
I love sitting at the bar to eat. My new favorite.

Sitting at the bar, we realized there were TOURISTS everywhere. Huh?  I guess I have been reading more and more about Austin as a destination but still, it surprised me.  A tourist destination? No, it's where a bunch of friends went off to college and stayed...not a place to go for a bachelor weekend. But apparently it is a place to go for a bachelor weekend as the five guys from New York City sitting next to us explained.

Anyway, after Ann gave the New Yorkers some tips on where to go, we headed off to have our picture taken in front of the I Love You So Much color wall. Such a fun idea: paint a wall bold and bright and watch people line up to have their picture taken in front of it.  Good job Jo's Coffee.

 I love this pic so much. It was a happy day. 

 Bunny ears for Ann. 
Such a good day.

We did a little regroup after S. Congress, and ended up eating dinner nearer to Ann's apartment. NxNW Restaurant and Brewery was walking distance which I always think makes things more fun.  It had a whole wall of brew tanks and somehow, Miss Beer Drinker Me ended up with Prosecco. I seldom miss a chance to try a fun beer, but that night I did.

Really, how could I pass up this display?

We had the waitress take our pic but all it shows is how tired we were. (And that empty Creme Brûlée bowl.) Seriously, why didn't she prompt us a bit to "perk up" or a "sit up straight"?

The Creme Brûlée was gone. 
Surprised those strawberries were still around. 

The food was yummy and I'm counting it as a new restaurant as I've never been there before. I had a fabulous, decadent shrimp pasta while Ann went for the crab cakes. And since I hadn't consumed enough calories for the day, I insisted on Creme Brûlée for dessert. We kinda shared. Not much. I ate most of it.
But the best part of the dinner?   It was prom night. All the cute young things in tuxes and suits and formals and fun short dresses paraded by, teetering on stilettos and awkwardly acting all adult for one night. Ann and I had a blast critiquing the dresses.

And because Ann always takes me to the nicest places, on Sunday she exposed me to Costco.

 I had never been.   I've done Sam's Warehouse many times but never a Costco. I've always heard everyone say Costco is so much better. More fun. Better samples. More random bargains.

Such a selection of premade meals!

 Everyone is right. We had a blast. Sampled our way around the store.  Found some deals. Admired the plants and flowers. Inspected the clothes.

The crowds are starting to gather. 
Time to get out.

And then church let out.  And it started to get crowded. And there were lots of families huddling together in the aisles. And it was time to leave.
I don't really have a lot of patience with crowds anymore.

So, just like on S. Congress, the crowds came and we left.

And the weekend drew to a close and I drove home.

But what a lovely 36 hours.
A good friend, good food, good fun.

06 April 2017

Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning

Right down the street from me, every Saturday morning, there is a Farmer's Market.

Farmers Market and More!

I've only been once.

I mean, this place is literally just down the street. Walking distance.  Yet I've only been one time, shortly after it opened.

So this past Saturday, I made my second visit.

The Farmer's Market is at the old Imperial Sugar Factory.  While the factory has long been closed, the buildings are still there.  (Well, most of them. Some of them we watched get imploded. LOVE to watch a building fall down.) Eventually this old factory will be turned into retail and living space but first the old space has to be catalogued (this is the history of Sugar Land we are talking about) and emptied out and Goodness knows what else. In the interim, some of the main level space has been turned into a Children's Museum and the outdoor area has the farmer's market.

Implosions start early. 
If you've never seen one, you should go.
This was my second. 

"Fire in the hole!" 
They really do yell that. 
And then ....BOOM!



Next comes the white structure.
It took a few tries until....


It's small but fun and you could definitely have breakfast AND lunch there. In addition to the typical  fruits and veggies there are local farms with grass fed beef, bakeries and local honey. Of course there are a few stands with jewelry and candles also.

 Hair bows, chickens, and baked goods. 
All in a row.

 Of course, produce.

Look at that beautiful head of greens. 
Not sure what it is, but it looks healthy.

Well behaved dogs are allowed (So, of course, Carlos did NOT go. He's unpredictable in crowds.)  Music is playing out by the picnic tables. It was a fabulous way to kill some time on a Saturday morning.

No purchases were made, but I still had a fun time wandering.


And I'm sorry about the sporadic postings. Changes are happening around here which have kept me busy.
We had a new roof put on Monday/Tuesday and on Wednesday the hot water went out.  Suspecting they were related, I called the roofers first. Somehow we had lost a vent cover between the roof and the water heater and we were lucky that the pilot light had gone out, also.

This little vent hood had popped off and gotten lost 
while the roofers were roofing. 
They replaced it, I re-lit the pilot light and I can hear that baby percolating away.
Hot shower, here I come!

A rearranged morning and a couple of trips by the roofers and we are back in business. I have to say I am super impressed by this company, Ochoa Roofing, and they have done a super job.

Tonight I'm headed to Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston for a free show of "Footloose, the Musical".  (Can you believe, I never have seen the original movie? ) The weekend will be spent visiting a friend in Austin.

The weather is beyond fabulous and life is good.