Pearl Beer.

Pearl beer always reminds me of my Granny. It was her drink of choice. Well, Pearl Light. Since tomorrow is her birthday—and if she were still with us, she’d be 100!—I thought I would share some news about her favorite beer.

Unless you’re a Texan, you probably have never even heard of Pearl or Pearl Light. It was founded in San Antonio in 1883. I remember well the iconic Pearl Brewery standing tall as a welcome to downtown San Antonio.

Sadly, Pearl Brewing closed the doors to its brewery in 2001–although thankfully the buildings still remain and were converted into (according to the Historic Pearl website):

…a unique experience as a top culinary and cultural destination. The mixed-use space features retail, dining, picturesque green spaces, a riverside amphitheater, and the third campus of The Culinary Institute of America. As a former brewery operating from 1883 to 2001, Pearl reflects a vivid past while embracing the future with environmentally sustainable buildings mixed with historic architecture.

Additionally, that’s not the end of the story for the beer side of things either. In May 2020, Pabst announced that Pearl beer would be making a comeback when they released their new Pearl lager. You can read more about it here.

Granny always complained to me THE WORST thing about getting older was that her meds kept her from drinking her beloved Pearl Light except on very special occasions. What better way to celebrate her 100th birthday than with some Pearl? Sadly, you can’t find it in NYC—but you better believe that the next time I’m home, I will be trying the new Pearl…in honor, of course, of Granny.

Sunday Comics: Cooking a Turkey

The countdown is on to what has become over the years my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.  I mean, how do you not love a holiday dedicated to food and family and friends and football?!?!?

Of course, it is all too easy to go overboard and completely stress yourself out: how to prep the turkey, how to bake the turkey, whether or not to brine the turkey, what sides, how many desserts, which wine, comparing yourself to that one person in your life who goes over & above so much they make Martha Stewart look normal, and on and on…


All you need to know is in this video from Mary Risley (Tante Marie’s Cooking School) (namely don’t stress and pour more wine!). It is on the longer side, but you definitely get the gist in the first few minutes!  Also a word to the wise: if you’re listening to this at work, perhaps you want to put in your headphones.

Happy cooking!

60 Questions.

Happy New Year!  Okay, okay I know I’m a taaaad bit late, but…it’s still January, so I’m not that late, right?!?!?


In an effort to not scream down the house or throw things at the television during today’s Cowboy game, I thought during halftime I might share one of those “getting to know you” quizzes circulating around the inter webs.

And because I know that 98.76% of the population hates filling these out, I won’t tag anyone…but I love reading your answers, so if you’re in 1.24% who also loves them, feel free to share 🙂

The original quiz is 100 Getting To Know You Questions (but I thought I’d spare you all 100 questions!  okay, okay, I just got tired of answering all of them…halftime is only so long, after all)

60 Questions About Me:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Italy or Hawaii or a beach somewhere (not that they’re mutually exclusive, so perhaps a beach in Italy or Hawaii!) 
  2. What is your biggest fear? Disappointing those I love
  3. What is your favorite family vacation? Going to visit Family & Friends and Going Somewhere I’ve Never Been
  4. What would you change about yourself if you could? I would ban the nagging, negative voice in my head
  5. What really makes you angry? ignorance, injustice, and hypocrisy 
  6. What is your favorite book to read? I don’t think I could even narrow it down to 10, but here are a few The Jungle Books, Children of Men, I Know This Much is True, Harry Potter (all of them, of course), To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Parasol Protectorate Series., The Spellman Files Series..
  7. What makes you laugh the most? My friends
  8. What did you want to be when you were small? Pediatric Surgeon (yes, I was that specific).
  9. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Road Trip!
  10. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? Football, of the American variety.
  11. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? It depends how far I’m going, as I enjoy all three of those modes of transportation
  12. What would you sing at Karaoke night?  Nobody wants to hear that…and I’d like to issue a blanket apology for all those who have
  13. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house? It’s a draw between wash the dishes and mow the lawn.
  14. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? Cleaning and de-Addy-hairing my life (if you have a labrador, you understand)
  15. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? TACOS!
  16. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? A nickname?  Try many nicknames: Shez, Shezza, Fezza, Sheshie, Sherbear, Sherrybelle, Sher, Hey you
  17. Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not? I do because I think it takes a lot of work to pull off a surprise and I’m always appreciative of that
  18. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?  Hawaii.  No diss on Alaska, it’s beautiful and I enjoyed visiting, but I looooooooooove Hawaii!
  19. If money was no object, what would you do all day? Travel the world, eat, write, and pet my dog.
  20. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I don’t know about a specific year, but I think the 1920s would be fun
  21. How would your friends describe you? You’ll have to ask them, perhaps crazy (in a good way), adventurous, loyal, and secretive 
  22. What are your hobbies? Traveling, reading, scrapbooking, not killing people
  23. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? As long as coffee is considered a necessity, I’m good
  24. List two pet peeves. People who don’t pick up their dog’s poop and people who hold the train doors open
  25. How many pairs of shoes do you own?  about 20 pairs of shoes and perhaps 30 pairs of flip flops.  That might be a slight exaggeration….on the shoes.
  26. What would you do if you won the lottery? Pay off my bills, buy a house, make large donations to charity, travel the world, have an awesomely stocked wine cellar/beer cooler/pantry, and help family & friends
  27. What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.) call me crazy, but I love taking the ferry (and seeing the Statue of Liberty twice a day is an added bonus!)
  28. What’s your favorite zoo animal? tigers, elephants, and giraffes (oh c’mon, surely you didn’t expect just ONE answer??)
  29. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be? Not to sound hokey, but I don’t think I’d go back and change anything.  I’d be too scared that if I did, I might miss out on meeting some of the most amazing people ever.
  30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 3…although in total fairness, the cat usually sleeps on one.
  31. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in? uhhhh….I think the Empire State Building
  32. What’s your favorite holiday? It used to be Halloween, however, now it’s Thanksgiving
  33. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Packed up everything and moved to another country….twice.  Oh and I have walked over hot coals.
  34. What was the last book you read? Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni
  35. What’s your favorite type of foreign food? Sushi
  36. Are you a clean or messy person? I’m a clean, but clutter person…aka I like things to be clean and look orderly, but don’t open the closet or you risk dying under a deluge of random objects I didn’t feel like organizing
  37. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Actual getting ready time, about 20-30 minutes, but I need a good hour to sit on the couch and drink coffee before that process can begin or it gets ugly…very ugly.
  38. What kitchen appliance do you use every day? Coffee maker.  duh.
  39. What’s your favorite fast food chain? Sonic, Whataburger, and Taco Villa
  40. What’s your favorite family recipe? Ome’s Peach Cobbler
  41. Do you love or hate rollercoasters? I’m terrified, but I ride them (and usually enjoy it)
  42. What’s your favorite family tradition? Driving around on Christmas Eve, looking at Christmas Lights…of course, this has morphed into going to see the Tree at Rockefeller Center
  43. What’s your favorite movie? The Sound of Music, Steele Magnolias, Miracle on 34th Street (original) and of course, there’s always Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter (and no, you don’t need to comment the last three are series)
  44. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? How did you find out? Wait, what?!?!  Santa’s not real?!?!?!?
  45. Is your glass half full or half empty? If this is an analogy for life, half full.  If it’s an actual glass of wine or beer (or mug of coffee), then half empty
  46. What was your favorite subject in school? Biology
  47. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten? Chocolate covered worms (and no, I don’t mean gummy worms!)
  48. Do you collect anything? Hilarious travel stories
  49. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?  Jeans that aren’t skinny
  50. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Extrovert, who likes a lot of alone time
  51. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? Taste
  52. Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise) Yes…I was very discombobulated for the first few minutes
  53. What do you do to keep fit? hahahahahahahahaha….ahem.  what was the question?  oh yeah, uh…..well, I live in NYC and do a lot of walking, especially up and down subway stairs as well as yoga about twice a year
  54. Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken? The Supreme Commander is always right.  You’re welcome, Auntie K! 😉
  55. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? Do Not Approach Without Coffee…or Wine…or Beer…or Tacos
  56. What song would you say best sums you up? I’ve Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings
  57. On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are? 9.125
  58. What was your first job? A frozen yogurt & sandwich shop….long before FOYO was cool.
  59. How many languages do you speak? Fluently?  One  but I dabble in about 4 more…
  60. What is one thing you will never do again? Due to the gag order, I cannot legally answer this question.

If you’re still reading, you rock!!  Now, back to yelling at the game…

Happy New Year–here’s to a great 2017!




Aloha Summer Vacation!

Sorry for the impromptu month off!  It has been–to say the very least–a crazy summer.  Not that I’ve been traveling, but rather, I’ve been visited by travelers (yay!). Additionally, it has been chaotic at work and there are a plethora of other things not even worth mentioning.  Of course, I didn’t mean to be neglectful in my writing–I just had thoughts of I’ll do it tonight, tomorrow morning, this weekend, definitely for the monthly wine writing challenge…but no…nothing.

I was a little less of a slacker on shezzaspeak, mainly because I’ve just been posting pictures.  When I do write actual posts they tend to be much shorter than here or they feature the princess, of whom I can write about ad nauseam (for the masses, that is–I never get tired of it!).

The ironic thing is that while I haven’t been writing, I have actually been working a schedule of posts for when I am in Hawaii (THE one thing worth mentioning!).

That’s right, I said HAWAII!!!!!  By the way, if I were typing this on my phone I would have totally followed that statement with a slew of rainbow, palm tree, volcano, and surfing emoji.  Not that I surf, but well, I feel like it’s quintessential Hawaii.

This is a trip that has been several years in the making, as we were actually supposed to go last year, but something came up.  Then it was planned for this spring–and again, something came up.  Fearing the trip would never happen, we finally just picked some dates, booked hotels and planes, and viola: HAWAII!!  We are now in the planning everything we want to see, eat, and do stage (which is what really is taking up the majority of my writing time…well, that and random Netflix marathons)!  The great part of this trip is that my friend worlds are converging, as I’m going with April, Christi, and Tracy.  Of course, this means that there won’t be separate trips to see them this year, but IT’S HAWAII (yes, you can expect me to yell that out at least 93 more times in this post!)!!

So in honor of our upcoming trip to HAWAII!, I found an article on Mental_Floss that I thought would be fun to share:

15 Things You Might Not Know About Hawaii

1. There are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet and every word—and syllable—ends with one of five vowels.

2. That apostrophe-like mark you see in some Hawaiian words is called an ʻokina. It’s a consonant that signifies a slight pause. If two words seem to be spelled exactly alike, but one has an ʻokina, you’re looking at two different words. For example, “moa” means “chicken,” while “moʻa” means “cooked.”

3. The state of Hawaii consists of eight main islands, the biggest of which is called, you guessed it, the Big Island. The Big Island’s official name is Hawai’i.

4. The Big Island’s getting bigger—by more than 42 acres each year—thanks to Kīlauea Volcano. It’s been erupting for 30 years! Mauna Loa, one of the world’s largest volcanoes, is also on the Big Island. Astronauts once trained for moon voyages by walking on its hardened lava fields. Most recently, six NASA-funded researchers spent months on the northern slope simulating a Mars space station.

5. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that commercially grows coffee, cacao, and vanilla beans. (Also: It can take up to five years to grow a single vanilla bean.)

6. The Aloha State’s also good at growing… people. It’s got the highest life expectancy in the United States (81.3 years), despite the fact that…

7. The people of Hawaii consume the most Spam per capita in the U.S.

8. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve lived in the state, only people with Hawaiian ancestry are called “Hawaiians.” People of non-Hawaiian ancestry—even those born and raised there—call themselves “locals.”

9. One Hawaiian: Thermion grallator, also known as the happy face spider for a great picture–go to the Mental Floss article!

10. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans (38.6 percent) and multiracial Americans (23.6 percent) in the United States. It also has the lowest percentage of white Americans (24.7 percent).

11. In Hawaii, no celebration’s complete without a lei. And the flower garlands come with strict rules. For starters, it’s impolite to refuse a lei, remove it in front of the person who gave it to you, or wear one that you intend to give to someone else. A lei should never be thrown away. Instead, it should traditionally be returned to the earth, ideally to where its flowers were gathered. And it’s bad luck to give a tied lei to a pregnant woman, as it suggests an umbilical cord around a baby’s neck.

12. The state gem isn’t a standard mineral. Black coral is technically an animal, but it’s often used to make jewelry.

13. The Aloha State is one of four that have outlawed billboards. (The others are Alaska, Maine, and Vermont.)

14. Snakes are also outlawed. The only legal serpents are housed in zoos.

15. When you picture a beautiful Hawaiian getaway, you might imagine a black or white beach. They also come in yellow, red, and green.

Snakes are outlawed?  Hmmm….perhaps not just a vacation, but research for permanently relocating??  Ya’ll would come to visit, right? 😉


The Great Squash Debate

A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from Aunt Kathy that read:

OMG, been eating squash for only a week and already tired of it!  Anybody have recipe suggestions?

nothing says delicious like fresh veggies from the garden!

nothing says delicious like fresh veggies from Aunt Kathy’s garden!

Of course, since this was a group text the rest of the evening was spent with my cousin (who lives in IL) and I trying to convince our aunt to ship us some of the delicious veggies from her plentiful garden.  Additionally, everyone was swapping the various ways that we all love to eat our squash, each of us trying to out-recipe the other.  In my humble opinion, Aunt Kathy won that challenge with her suggestion of deep frying them, then topping them with parmesan cheese and serving with a blue cheese dipping sauce.  BTW, if you’re not drooling at this, then you are definitely NOT from Texas or any sort of Southern state.  OR you’re crazy.  Because that’s just delicious!

Still, I can see where it would get old.  Mainly in the prep work.  Proper deep frying is tedious.  And hot.  And slightly dangerous.

That’s why these days, I prefer roasting. Please note: while I love to eat fried foods, I was never a deep frying kinda girl because, well, it is tedious and hot and slightly dangerous!  I will, quite literally, roast almost any type of vegetable. Why?  Because it’s tasty and easy and tasty, but most of all easy.  If you think that you don’t like a particular veggie or are wanting to branch out in your veggie consumption, I would highly recommend roasting as it helps make all veggies (except perhaps celery) taste better.  I completely give my friend Ann all of the credit because prior to living with Ann, I pretty much stuck to roasting meat and a few veggies to put in soups.  Why?  Not sure.  It seems rather silly and small minded now that I think about it.  But I have amended my roasting ways and now I consider myself a bit of a roasting aficionado (self-proclaimed, of course!).

I like to roast my veggies at 400F (about 200C)–it’s hot enough to give them that crispy crunch without worrying about burning them…unless you completely forget you’re roasting something and the smoke detector reminds you.  Not that I’ve ever done that, of course…ha ha ha…ahem.

Then you just wash and chop some veggies, coat them generously with olive oil, add some seasoning and bake for about 40 minutes.  Viola!  Deliciously sweet and crisp veggies with no fuss and lots of flavor!  A word of advice: the more hearty the veggie is, the longer the cooking time, which you only really need to think about when mixing your roasted veggies, like in the recipe below, or if you want to serve roasted potatoes and are trying to time your meal prep so that dinner is served at one time. Speaking of, potatoes are also in the recipe below, which I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetables from an Italian Garden.  Of course, as per me, I immediately tweaked it (what? It needed more garlic!)!  

Roasted Zucchini, Potatoes, and Tomatoes (or if you wanna be uber-fancy: Zucchine, Patate E Pomodori Al Forno):

  • 4 potatoes cut into chunks
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 zucchinis cut into chunks
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a bowl, add potatoes, half of the rosemary (don’t measure–just eyeball it!), a bit of salt & pepper and drizzle olive oil on top.  Lightly toss together until potatoes are covered with olive oil.  Put in a baking dish (which, in theory, you would have gotten out of the cupboard before you got your hands all olive oily!), put into the oven and roast for 40 minutes.  While the potatoes are happily hanging out in the oven, put the onions, zucchini, and tomatoes into your bowl.  Add the remaining rosemary, a bit more salt & pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Again, toss together until everything is well coated in olive oil and spices.  Cut off the top of the head of garlic and sprinkle with a dash of salt & pepper.  After about 40 minutes, pull the potatoes out of the oven.  To the potatoes, add the onion, zucchini, tomato mixture and then make a place for garlic head to sit on the bottom of the pan, cut side up.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil inside the garlic and then pop the dish back in the oven (which hopefully you did not turn off!).  Roast for another 20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and slightly charred (be warned–less hearty veggies like tomatoes easily turn to mush–so keep an eye on them!).  Once you’ve removed the pan from the oven, CAREFULLY remove head of garlic and with a small fork in one hand and towel/hot pad/tongs holding the head of garlic in your other hand remove the cloves from the casings.  Mix the garlic back in with the veggies and dig in!

Of course, you can use any veggie medley you’d like (squash perhaps?).  And if you have an aversion to rosemary *cough* April *cough* then you could substitute another aromatic herb, like thyme, or just stick with good ol’ salt & pepper.

And before you complain about the hour baking time–just know it gives you plenty of time to quality control the wine you want to serve with it, like a nice Viognier, Vouvray, or even a buttery Chardonnay!

Buon appetito!



Fishy Friday

When I was younger, I used to tell everyone that I hated seafood, except for shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters and mussels.  One day, Momma asked “So, you like seafood, you just don’t like fish.”  Oh. Right.  Yeah.  I don’t like fish.  Actually, no.  I hate fish.

Don’t write in and tell me how unhealthy that is for me.  I’ve actually branched out (in large part) to sushi and eat it a couple of times a week, but I digress…

My family loved to have fish fries.  And by that I don’t mean fries made of fish (a la fish sticks, which, I will eat only with an insane amount of ketchup, you know, so that I don’t taste the fish.  STOP JUDGING.  oh, what the hell–judge away!).  What I mean is a fish fry.  But plural, because we had them a lot.  What was served at our fish fry?  Catfish (usually caught by my mother, who LOOOOOOOOVES to fish), fries, coleslaw, and hushpuppies.  What would I eat?  Hush puppies and coleslaw (I wasn’t a big fan of fries either.  I was a weird child).  Once we only had fish and fries and I ate NOTHING.  It was traumatic.

Needless to say (but I’m going to anyway), as I got older I started appreciating fish more and after living in Australia for 3 years, I developed a fondness for fish & chips!

After what was (at the very least) a monthly protest of “eating” fried fish, you can imagine my mother’s shock when on a trip home, I requested it.  There’s a place in town called Catfish Haven.  And it’s pretty darn tasty.  Aside from the fish, they also have fried okra, which is something you CANNOT get here in NYC.  I never look at the menu, except to keep me occupied while waiting for the waitress.  I always, always get the 3-piece, extra crispy, with a baked potato and all the toppings.  Yes, I said extra crispy.  I need to feel that crunch when I bite into it.

Extra Crispy, Extra Delicious!

Extra Crispy, Extra Delicious!

Honestly, the best part of the lunch is going with The Girls:  Momma and her two best friends (and cousins) Jeanie Bel and Carole.  In addition to good food, there’s a lot of laughter, which provides something every great fish fry has to have: a sense of family and of home.

The Girls: Jeanie, Momma, and Carole

The Girls: Jeanie, Momma, and Carole

Cooking with the Kidlets

My favorite morning while I was at home started the night before with my nieces coming home with Momma and me.  Unfortunately for Momma, she had to go to work the next morning, but it allowed me some quality time with the girls.  Being the fabulous Auntie that I am, I let them sleep in (aka more coffee time for me!) but it wasn’t long until they were stirring and Reese with her sleepy eyes mumbles “Where’s Grammers?”  She’s gone to work.  Reese thinks about it for a second and then with a pouty and determined face asks “Well, then who’s going to make me breakfast?” Me.  At that answer, I receive a very dubious glare and after about a 5 second glare-down, she announces “I guess I better help you.”  I appreciate your vote of confidence.

As I’m assembling ingredients and mixing pancake batter, Reese pulls up her Cooking with Grammers Stool to the countertop near the stove to keep an eye on me.  At this point older sister Landri comes in, asks if I’m sure I can make breakfast like Grammers and when I exasperatedly answer yes, also offers her help–just in case.

SIDE NOTE:  When my mother cooks her beloved grandchildren and great-nieces breakfast it’s an all out affair.  But the most special part of breakfast is that she makes everyone their own pancakes in the shape of the first letter in their name.  Of course, this once prompted a discussion between Landri and her mother (Lauren) because teasingly Lauren said that she got all the “L” shaped pancakes.  Landri, who was probably about 5 or 6 at the time, very pointedly informed her that her name was “Momma” and Grammers would make her “M” pancakes and leave her “L’s” alone.  This, of course, brought great-nieces Morgan and Malory into the discussion because they didn’t want to share their “M” pancakes.  Grammers did what any grandparent would do–got up and made more pancakes!  So this is what I’m up against.

On the menu:  Cheesy Eggs & Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Reese is in charge of eggs.  Landri is in charge of putting chocolate chips on the pancakes.  Sheshie (as my family calls me) is in charge of pouring pancake batter into pan, flipping pancakes, and overseeing.  I get the pancakes started and IMMEDIATELY the protests begin (and they were on either side of me so it was in surround-sound!).  “Round pancakes?  But, what?  Grammers makes us shapes!  This is NOT going to be good!”

But you’re getting pancakes with chocolate chips in them.

Chocolate Makes Everything Better

Chocolate Makes Everything Better

Does Grammers make you chocolate chip pancakes?

Landri: yummmmmm…..chocolate!

Reese: No. But she makes us shapes!  Why isn’t Grammers here?

She’s working.  So tough.  Focus on your eggs I don’t want shells in them!

After Reese and I go over the plan: crack 8 eggs, put them in the bowl, and then whisk.  I start helping Landri with the pancakes.  Once I was assured Landri had the chocolate chip dispersing down pat, I checked on Reese, who is just watching us.  “I can’t crack the eggs.”  Why not?  “I don’t know how.”  Okay.  So I show her.  Crack it hard on the counter and then at the cracked part, push in slightly, and pull the shell apart.  It took a couple of eggs and a reminder to crack the egg like a rockstar (not daintily, as she tended to do), but soon she got the hang of it.

Cheesy Egg Maker Extraordinaire!

Cheesy Egg Maker Extraordinaire!

TWO PIECES OF ADVICE when letting a 6 year old crack eggs: 1. Make sure their hands are clean because they will be handling way more of the egg than one would ever imagine.  2.  Check and double check for shells.

After a bit of nail-biting whisking, we pour the eggs in a skillet and throw some cheese on top!  Reese is now in charge of stirring and at this point Morgan has rolled out of bed and–announcing that she feels confident in our ability to finish, Landri went to watch TV with Morgan.  Reese and I soon make quick work of our breakfast–which was a resounding success, despite there being only round shaped pancakes.  The only negative comment: Landri said that the eggs were “too cheesy.”  What the what?  Reese, Morgan, and I agreed: NO SUCH THING!

A Perfect Stack: Fluffy AND Chocolatey!

A Perfect Stack: Fluffy AND Chocolatey!

STOP! Burger Time!

Before I show you the delicious, amazingness that was my bacon, avocado blue cheeseburger (yeah, it was…wow…just simply wow), I have a little story to tell you about the last time I was home.

About 16 miles from Fredericksburg is a slightly-hard-to-find-but-oh-so-worth-it restaurant called Alamo Springs Cafe.

Best Seat in the House

Best Seat in the House

Their burgers and onion rings are quite simply (as the kidlets say today): off the hook!  Apparently everything on the menu is tasty.  People I know, love, and trust with food recommendations will confirm this.  I personally don’t know.  Despite any delusions I may have about menu-ly branching out before I get there, I always get a burger and onion rings.  So when I was home last spring, I assembled the family to go out to Alamo Springs, which requires 2 cars and a 30 minute drive, as the majority of the 16 miles is on a small, winding county road.  So we caravan out there.  Aaaaand…it’s closed.  All week.  For spring break.  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!  After some good humored ribbing while we walked back to the cars, we caravan back to town.  It made for some great family bonding.  What?  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!

Fast forward to this trip.  To avoid the same fate, my sis-in-law calls under the guise to make reservations (a good idea if it’s a Friday or Saturday night!), but I know it was to make sure they were, in fact, open (you can also check on their Facebook page)!  Good thing too, because YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM…YUM to the infinity!

There are so many amazing things on the menu, but how can you ever go wrong with building your own burger?!?!?  Alamo Springs offers a plethora of burger add-ons–almost to the point of being hard to narrow it down.  Feeling extra indulgent, I went with avocado, blue cheese, and bacon.  But I was a good girl and opted for the whole wheat bun rather than the jalapeno cheese bun!  This is what was soon set in front of me.

One all beef patty, mustard sauce, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, pickles, and onions on a whole wheat bun!

One all beef patty, mustard sauce, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, pickles, and onions on a whole wheat bun!



The meat was juicy.  The bacon was crisp.  The avocado was creamy.  The blue cheese was tangy.  Altogether it was magic.

But wait!  There’s more!  You can’t forget the onion rings!!  A looooong time ago, they used to serve shoe-string onion rings, which I prefer ever-so-slightly more than these babies.

Onion Heaven!

Onion Heaven!

But you won’t find me complaining–the batter is fried just enough to give them a satisfying crunch when you bite into one and the onion just melts in your mouth.  The only bad part about them is reaching the bottom of the basket!!

Ultimately, it’s a great place to spend laughing and drinking and just enjoying spending time with the family–and isn’t that what trips home are all about?


Well, that and great burgers…

Granny’s Girl

Today is my Granny’s 93rd Birthday.


The changes that have occurred in the world in her lifetime are truly amazing.  I’ve spent the last few days going through old pictures and one of my favorite is of Granny when she was maybe 2 in the bathtub.  The thing is that the bathtub was actually a washtub that was outside and filled with water (and undoubtedly the water was shared between her and at the very least her older sister).

It does cause one to give pause and think about how the world has changed since 1920, where with my phone I can take pictures at her birthday picnic at the park and post them instantly to the interwebs via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.   And for a bit of entertainment, I can hand her my phone and show her a video of her great-granddaughters acting silly the night before.

Granny has seen the introduction of so many things that we take for granted today: cars, microwaves, cell phones.  But the one thing I don’t take for granted (or try my best not to) is my Granny.  It was her amazing food and patience in teaching me how to cook & bake that turned me into a foodie.  Her hugs still are the best.  And probably her greatest gift was her ability to make all of her 6 grandchildren feel like they were her favorite.  I think, though, at this point Granny it’s okay to admit it’s me!!  🙂

Happy Birthday to THE most amazing person that I know, my Granny.


Happy Birthday Granny