Life Lately

I could begin this post by apologizing for being the worst blogger ever, but I’m not because, sometimes, life just gets in the way. And, life is something I have really been enjoying as of late.

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The past few weeks, or I suppose this past month, have been full of lovely moments that have quickly morphed into even lovelier memories.

Last weekend I saw The National perform. The front row experience surpassed any Dallas concert I have ever been to. Matt Berninger’s baritone bravado made me swoon all night. I have been listening to copious amounts of The National ever since. Goes well with dreary weather and red wine, don’t you think? Fortunately, my playlists do not reflect my current mood/ state of mind. Instead of brooding, I have been doing a whole lot of planning. I am going to Pittsburgh in 3 days, and am so looking forward to new sights and sounds, old friends, and the small chance of snow on Thursday.

I primarily spent this weekend doing Texan things. Well, maybe more so things people outside of Texas think Texans do all the time. These things included but were not limited to: drinking beer, eating bbq, and riding horses. ImageImageImageImageImage

Maybe I am just trying to get the Texan out of my system before going up north, though I don’t think this is possible. You can’t take the Texas out of the girl, and I will always have a mad love for Shiner Ruby Redbird & Cheer, tacos, and our big blue skies.

 

Over the Weekend: A Happy Routine

Since moving into my new place, I have begun every weekend spent in town the same way. Saturday morning I wake up around 8:30 AM, sometimes with an alarm and sometimes without, and take Gypsy on a long walk. Shortly after we get back home, Elizabeth and her English coon hound, Elvis, swing by and we make our way to the Denton market. As soon as we walk up, the older ladies who sell homemade dog treats immediately greet us and our pets with a smile and complimentary snacks. We are now regular patrons. I’ve never been a regular for anything in my life, so the feeling of community is a bit overwhelming. In a good way.

After buying my normal dozen of farm fresh eggs and pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, I let little kids pet Gypsy and talk to a local farmer about volunteer opportunities. Before saying goodbye to my dog’s new fan club, I stop by the Earthwise booth to say hello to the owners and chit chat about the produce I really enjoyed from this week’s CSA share. Once I am home, I make breakfast for my self and the pup. Image

Most Saturdays I make up for early rising with a nice siesta. This Saturday I did just that. I needed to prep myself for the extensive pie prepping process! After waking up, I made dough for 4 pies! that’s a whole lot of deliciousness! Like most of my weekends, half of the time was dedicated to baking.

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Saturday night I did something that I feel like I haven’t done in quite some time: GO OUT! I finally checked out a new bar in Denton, the East Side Social Club. Similar to my favorite bar, East Side has a legit patio. I feel almost obligated to drink every last drop of Ruby Redbird before summer ends. Image

Saturday was the perfect night out with my babes. I also discovered that almost everyone looks good in a Brixton hat. Image

After sleeping in, I spent Sunday baking pies and mentally preparing myself for Breaking Bad.

My weekend routine is something I have settled into organically. As much as I like having those spontaneous adventures, having a routine keeps me emotionally grounded. It’s nice that I always have something to look forward to. Having a routine keeps me happy!

Friday Favorites 8.16

Last week, I spent a very sweaty couple of days in my favorite city with my dad and 2 of my 3 sisters. New Orleans, NOLA, the Big Easy, Crescent City, call it what you want, is the land of Creole and crayfish! My favorite place to be..just not during the month of August, haha! Kidding. New Orleans is the home to so many of my favorite things. Things you can’t find anywhere else!

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If you follow me on INSTAGRAM then you probably know alllll about my little Nola getaway. Last week was crazy! The day I got back from the TXSC conference I moved into my new apartment house, went to work for 1 day, then caught a plane. It was so nice to be in “the City that Care Forgot” with the people I love most. Not having to pay for any meals was also swell. Thank God my dad is a foodie! And the food here is the best you will ever have. Seafood and spice and everything nice. Plus poboys. Plus fried chicken. Plus jambalaya. Plus….I could write forever about Nola’s food! Sadly, this time around I didn’t take a shit ton of food pics. I will leave you with my Nola Favorites Top 10 List! instead!

Annie’s Nola Favorites Top 10 List

1. Cemeteries. Fun fact: Did you know that the words cemetery and graveyard are not interchangeable? Graveyards are burial grounds adjacent to a church whereas a cemetery is strictly a resting place. There are churches on pretty much every corner in Nola, but they keep the dead people separate. A few Canal St. cemeteries are in pretty close proximity to churches…So maybe they overlooked the real meaning of the word? Anyway. I love dead people? That sounds weird. Nola falls below sea level so all the dead must be buried above ground in elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums, making the city truly unique. I really want to visit the St. Louis #1 on Basin St. in the Treme….but Travel Advisor says no way, Jose! #sketch

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2. The French Quarter: Mainly Decatur and lots of side streets. Le duh! Bourbon St. is a little too crowded for me, but I am not at the age yet where I will complain. My mom hates Bourbon, Nola altogether really. She thinks it stinks! Double le duh! It’s built on a swamp, the city is constantly drunk, and almost everything in the FQ is covered in frat boy piss. And the roaches. I love and prefer Decatur! Last Thanksgiving I stayed at the French Market Inn, a haunted hotel built in the 1700s on Decatur. Centrally located and awesome! So many of the major sights can be seen here as well!

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3. Cafe du Monde. Need I say more? Always busy. Always fresh. Beignets et cafe au lait.

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4. The National World War II Museum. This is probably my dad’s favorite, and a new one of mine! I am obsessed, no OBSESSED with European history. One of my favorite undergrad courses over WW I&II in Europe. This museum is huge! We’re talking 4+ buildings! We got to watch a doc in 4D hosted by Tom Hanks titled Beyond All Boundaries. Very interesting and interactive! Scroll down to see me covering my ears in a German bomb shelter!

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5. Sno Balls. Forget snow cones! We are not in Kansas (or anywhere else in the U.S. that isn’t Nola) anymore! These powdery, icy treats are native to the city and only really open during the summer months. Where Texas has Shiner Beer, Nola has a sno ball to cool you off! Usually a Plum St. kind of gal, I branched out and tried Hansen’s off Tchopitoulas. We went back  3 days in a row!

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6. Oak Street. That street name will forever hold a special place in my heart. I lived on the Denton version for a few years. It’s also home to my favorite bar, creatively named Oak Street Drafthouse haha! The Nola version is just as lovely. Home to a favorite brunch spot, the Oak St. Cafe, as well as a very eclectic consignment shop where the old lady owners still wear pillbox hats and items are always 75-90% off! Hello vintage Pucci for real cheap! It also turns out that we are the long-lost relatives of the Haase’s Shoes store owners!

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7. FREE Citrus. Well I guess not technically, but I always manage to make it home with a few lemons or limes I snagged from a tree in the Garden District! Locally grown and organic!

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8. Hoods. Treme, French Quarter, Garden District, Mid City, Uptown, Marigny, Bywater, New Orleans is divided into so many neighborhoods! My favorites are the Garden District/Uptown and Mid City. We went to rock and bowl, and then promptly discovered how bad my family as a whole is at bowling. I think my highest score was a 23…. Bumpers, please! Oh yeah, New Orleans definitely has it fair share of ‘hoods’ too. Lil Wayne reps the city! Holly Grove what what?

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9. Magazine Street. So yeah I have a thing for streets. Magazine has so many cool shops and restaurants! Definitely one of my favorites!

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10. THE FOOD!!! I saved the best for last! As you read way up there, Nola has the best food. You also know I didn’t take any pictures. I will leave you with one of my favorites: Parkway! In Mid City! I always get the Reuben….but their poboys are the size of my arm!

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Have any of you guys been to New Orleans? If so, what are your favorite places to visit? If not, please let me be your virtual tour guide! I know so much!

Hope you all have a happy Friday and a lovely weekend!

Citrus and Spice and Everything Nice

(The everything nice being an abundance of cilantro and goat cheese.)

I judge a Mexican restaurant by three things: tortillas, guacamole, and salsa. If your restaurant strikes out on 2 out of 3 of these, chances are 98% to none, that I will no longer patronize your establishment. An example: 7 Mile Cafe in Denton. Old guacamole and marinara sauce salsa? Ummm, no thank you! They have since stepped up their freshness and salsa game, bumping them off my shit list. That sentiment is now semi-directed at Loco Cafe, but their biscuits make up for everything!

When it comes to guac, I am a total snob. I turn my nose up at that previously froze, pre-packaged crap they call avocado dip or guacamole spread. Some places, like Subway for example, disgrace the guacamole name. I may be slightly partial to their 50 cents per scoop guac because I swear it gave me food poisoning. They saying “if it’s brown flush it down” should also apply to avocados. I hate the smell and taste over an overly overly ripe avocado. <end rant>

Guacamole is one of my favorite snacks. Avocados are God’s gift to earth along with central air and <insert hot celebrity here>. Oh yeah, and they are one of those good fats! I’ll take a large avocado sprinkled with sea salt over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked any day as long as I’m not PMSing!

That being said, guac makes for a pretty healthy snack. Something I can throw together in under 30 minutes time. Damn, I can make amazing guacamole faster than I can run a mile? (Sad but quite possibly true. I need to work on that!)

Here is my recipe! I love garlic more than vampire hunters!

Ingredients

2 large, ripe avocados

4 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 yellow or purple onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (seed if you don’t like spice)

a handful of cilantro but more than that would not hurt

the juice of half a large lemon

1/2 tsp ground cumin

sea salt, black pepper, and chipotle powder to taste

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The Process

  1. Deseed avocados and empty the flesh into a large bowl. I like to use the knife method, just make sure your aim is right!ImageImage
  2. Chop and dice garlic, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add to bowl along with stated spices.ImageImageImage
  3. Mash together really well with a fork. Oh my! I think this is the most difficult recipe I have yet to post on my blog!Image

If you like your guac a bit creamier, I suggest adding a tbs of Greek yogurt. I am personally not a fan of tomatoes in my guac either. On top is whole different story!ImageImage

The tangyness of goat cheese accompanied with the smokey chipotle in the guac tast amazing together. Out of tortilla chips, I opted for the sea salt, dill, and olive oil Triscuits. Best decision of the day (besides this blog post).ImageImage

Tomorrow is the 4th of July! I hope you all have a very happy and safe holiday!

Over the Weekend: Family Time

This weekend went according to plan in no way at all. I had originally planned to meet up with my boyfriend in Dallas for dinner and some drinks. Instead, it turned into a quick dinner with close friends  before catching a plane down south. 15 minutes before my shift ended on Friday, I received news that my Papa had passed away.

In an earlier post I joked about only going home for holidays and the occasional funeral. Sadly this is true. The weekend’s events reminded me that time is very precious and to not take a single moment for granted. I was also reminded how much I really do love and miss my family and how I need to make a greater effort to see them more often. At least I can take consolation in the fact that my Papa is now up in heaven. I was also happy that my dad got to spend as much time with his dad as he was able to before his passing. ImageImageImage

The above pictures are of my grandparents, dad, and his siblings when they were living in New Orleans in the early 1960s.

On a much lighter and happier note, my cousin’s sweet baby boy turned 1 over the weekend. (I totally forgot this was happening!) Little baby Thomas Blaze gets bigger and bigger each time I see him! I spent much of Saturday helping set up for his party. It was a super cute nautical theme!ImageImageImageImageImage

His actual party took place on Sunday afternoon. Check out that cake! So cute!ImageImageImageImage

When I go home, I normally have to play musical beds. Fortunately this time around, my sister was house sitting. I go to sleep in a king sized memory foam bed! Though I had to share with my sister, a Klondike like chocolate lab, and a schnauzer. I love dogs so much that I didn’t really mind when Rusty took up my side of the bed. It was also nice to spend time with my sister watching reruns of Friends and Sex and the City.ImageImageImage

Sunday evening I caught a plane back to Dallas. But before that happened, I got to have dinner with my dad at one of my favorite places downtown.

Every time I’m home, my dad and I like to drive around the downtown area. He likes to point out all the places we could have lunch at should I move home. He likes to point out all the places I could live should I move home. He likes to point out all the places I could work at should I move home. I take each of these suggestions with a grain of salt and an eye roll. Eventually I would live to move back to San Antonio (unless I end up someplace cooler) but not anytime soon. ImageImageImageImage

We settled on one of my favorite restaurants in South Town called Taco Haven. They could change the name to Taco Heaven and it would probably be an even better fit! This was the first time for me to eat here during dinner time! I had a puffy taco plate, a classic San Antonio dish, and man they did not disappoint! I’ll have to make some at home soon!ImageImageImage

The best part of dinner was getting to spend quality time my dad. I can not even begin to imagine what he is feeling right now. I can’t wait to spend a week with him hanging out in New Orleans next month. Love you dad!

Can you believe it is July 1st already? Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Image

Over the weekend: Food, Fun, and Friends

It is always a great weekend when great food and even better friends are involved. It is also nice getting out of Denton for a little bit. Combine all of those aforementioned things, and you have my recipe for the last three days. Food, friends, places, and spaces.

Friday night was spent drinking two of my favorite beverages: frozen margaritas and ice cold palomas. My great friend and the other half of Casa Y Cocina lives in walking distance from so many cool places in Dallas. One of these places is Gloria’s Mexican Restaurant on Greenville Avenue. A little more upscale that your typical Mexican eatery, I normally just go for the drinks and patio camaraderie. I ended up trying one of their papusas. It was pretty good, and I am now on the search for an easy yet authentic recipe. Image

Saturday was also spent in Dallas, but before making our way south, our hangovers needed to be cured. Some people swear by a big bowl of menudo, I swear by an overstuffed carne guisada gordita. A tiny hole in the wall restaurant here in Denton specializes in both of these! I think my liberal addition of spicy salsa verde helps me to sweat out all the alcohol. Wash it all down with mango juice and *bam* your headache is gone. ***WARNING*** Taco Lady does induce naps.Image

Later that afternoon I got to patronize a Dallas establishment that’s been on my list for quite some time. The Libertine Bar, also on Greenville Avenue, has a wide selection of local beers, mouthwatering dishes that surprise you as bar food, and the kind of environment that makes you want to stay awhile. I wish I had been in the mood for beer that day. Instead I settled for a decadent Gruyere Mac & Cheese with jalapenos and Sirracha. So spicy! So creamy! Tres riche!Image

It was at the Libertine that my boyfriend brought up that it was our 11 months. I guess I had been so busy with life or maybe it was the night before, but it totally slipped my mind! Ahhh, I felt awful. 11 months of getting to know my best friend & 11 months of cooking wonderful meals together, one more to go and we’ll have a solid year!Image

In light of our 11 months together, Jonathan made me a lovely (and so deliciously amazing) brunch on Sunday. My mouth is still watering over those perfectly seasoned scrambled eggs speckled with peppers, onions, and spinach. Image

After brunch, I satisfied my craving for Mexican pastries and spent some time out in the sun. I hope you all had a lovely weekend filled with food and friends as well. This week, I am excited to share with you some new recipes I have been meaning to try as well as a back burner DIY project! It is also the last week of June! My how time flies! Image

Over the Weekend

I would like to use Monday as a catch-up day; a day to recover from the weekend and regale you with all of my weekend adventures. I wish the entirety of the day could be like this! But unfortunately that page flip in your planner brings you back to reality. At least I have wonderful memories to propel me through the next 4 days!

Friday ended with a bang! And also an estate sale! As I was pedaling home from work, I noticed a bright neon sign. Like an alchy to a bar I was drawn! Oh my! An estate sale on Historic Oak Street could only mean a glimpse into a porch wrapped, 3 storied Victorian mansion.ImageTurns out that it was the baby blue Queen Anne Victorian mansion of my “if I ever win the lottery” dreams. (I would do some serious updating though.) Stepping into that house was like being transported in time. Back to when air conditioner was not a thing, plush green carpet and chandeliers were all the luxury, and cowboys roamed the streets of Denton.ImageLike many estate sales on opening day, everything was overpriced. I could easily find that same depression glass punch bowl at the downtown mini mall for half the price. I did walk away with a few things though: A vintage glass canister and the vinyl soundtrack to The Unsinkable Molly Brown. I loved that movie as a kid!ImageOh yeah! To make Friday even better, my boyfriend surprised me with some sunflowers that he “accidentally” bought. Later on, I purchased a bouquet of treat yoself peonies. My two favorite types of flowers.Image

Saturday was supposed to be dedicated to fun in the sun. Instead it was fun under an overcast sky. My 2 good friends, the self-proclaimed “Tequila Girls”, threw a backyard battle of the sexes luau cookout equipped with lots of field games, delicious kabobs, and even a vodka watermelon (c/o me)!

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Do you even have to ask who won? Babes rule and bros drool!Image

We ended the night up on the roof, enjoying the nice June breeze and a starless sky.

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Sunday was Father’s Day. I was unable to go home to celebrate with my dad, so I spent the day swimming and grilling with my Denton family. It took a day like yesterday to really remind myself how much I love and miss my dad and how thankful I am that I have such a close relationship with him. Can’t wait to hang out with you in New Orleans, pops! Image

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and your Monday got off to a good start. Stay tuned for this week’s posts! 

A taste of home

San Antonio, the land of amazing Mexican food and my crazy Catholic family. I only go home maybe twice, three times a year usually only for a holiday or funeral. When I am home, my dad always treats me to a Mexican breakfast, lunch, or dinner. That being said, a free delicious meal is what will normally ignite the 6 hr journey southward on I35.

Jonathan and I were supposed to go home for Fiesta at the end of April, but due a work scheduling conflict, I had to cancel our flight. Sad sad. I haven’t been home since Christmas and I have not done Fiesta since I was 21! Luckily yesterday I found a little place that will sooth the hunger pains of homesickness a little bit longer.

Casa Galaviz! Their breakfast tacos were great! I am basing my opinion solely on the fact that their tortillas are homemade! Don’t get me wrong, Taco Lady will always have my heart, especially when I have a craving for a carne guisada gordita. Casa Galaviz is much closer to my house, and their barbacoa was oh-so tender!

I also discovered that I love mango Jarritos much much more than grapefruit.

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So until the next time I am able to go home, these little diamonds in the rough will have to suffice.