Sunday, July 31, 2011

3 Days of FABULOUS Southern Food


July 28
So Thursday.  I woke up at 4:20 in the morning, so I could make my plane to Austin.  Tricia lives in Austin.  I arrived in time for lunch and we went out for Tex-Mex (LOVE).  We had tamales & veggie molettes (DELISH!!).  And an avocado margarita – yes I said AVOCADO.  Sorry no pics, I was hungry and halfway through our meal, I realized.   

For the afternoon we toured Austin.  We drove through downtown, and stopped at Sugar Mama’s for cupcakes.  The bakery was gorgeous, light blue and red throughout.  It was gorgeous.  We also went to Whole Foods (the original and largest).  It had a number of eateries inside it as well as a bar, a candy island, a bakery, and a walk in beer cooler.  Lovely.  We also tripped it out to the library for books on CD for our trip to Arkansas & Tennessee.  We got 8 books (including Beginner’s Italian).   
Me & Tricia on top of Mt. Bonnell
Then we headed to the house (Tricia is dog sitting two crazy lab mixes). We took the dogs for a walk & then hiked up to the top of Mt. Bonnell for a beautiful view of downtown Austin and the river.  It was GORGEOUS!!! When we got back from our walk through the neighborhood we found that one of the dogs had jumped up and knocked a cup off the counter and then licked the broken grass and left blood all over the kitchen floor.  AWESOME!
one of my favorite houses        

candy apples @ Whole Foods Austin





July 29
Friday was the best.  We woke up early so I could drive Tricia to work, then I went home and went back to bed.  Lovely.  Amazing.  Back up to go have lunch with Tricia.  Thank goodness for GPS – I don’t think I could have done anything without it at this point.  DAMN YOU TECHNOLOGY for making me so dependent on you.  GRRR.  We went out for Chinese food.  On the way back to the house I missed a turn (on purpose) and ended up in a mall (actually not on purpose, I was trying to get to somewhere else).  $60 later with a new dress, belt, headband and 2  rings… whoops, so much for not shopping when I don’t have an income. Oops.   

I went back to the house to hang out and pack the car up before I picked up Tricia from work and we left for Little Rock (halfway to Tennessee & Julie - and also to see Bevin).  It was a very fun drive.  We stopped every hour for a while for iced tea, which meant we had to pee, and we stopped for more tea… and here are the highlights:
 - Waxahachie – it’s just fun to say
 - homes / huts built into the shape of a caterpillar
 - a giant church in the middle of a strip mall
 - beautiful cloud formations
 - a huge thunderstorm out of nowhere
 - fried pie – need I say more
 - the last stop for chocolate (in TX) that had closed
 - a whole stretch of land & time with nothing but darkness and trucks
 - we listened to 3 books.  The Cat who dropped thebombshell (love), April & Oliver (depressing so we stopped), & The Diary (still working on it, but enjoying it a lot)
 - I drove most of the way and that was awesome – Tricia
 - I thought a football stadium was a drive-in movie theater
 - arriving in Little Rock!!!! & getting to hang out with Tricia’s friend Bevin!

 
July 30

live music with breakfast
iced coffee with
coffee ICED CUBES = GENIUS











Tricia's hazelnut french toast
And then there was Saturday.  We slept in way late today (because we didn’t go to bed until close to 2).  Up and moving around 11ish and out to brunch.  We went to The House in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock.  It was amazing!  I had eggs, potatoes, bacon, a biscuit, and fruit.  (Pay attention to the fruit because it was the only healthy thing we ate today).  Then we walked around the neighborhood and found a coffee & tea shop where we stayed for about an hour chatting with the owner.  Then we got another tea & coffee before we left.  I thought about getting a feather put into my hair… but I resisted.  We drove through the neighborhood (really cute with lots of porch swings) and found an estate sale.  We thought – what the hell!  It smelled like death and looked like it hadn’t been renovated since the 50’s – CREEPY!  Both Bevin and Tricia found things to take home, but I couldn’t find anything I could take on a plane – oh well.   
 
Then we went for to Cupcakes on Kavanaugh for cupcakes!!! It had a beautiful bathroom (brown and blue) and we got a half dozen cupcakes to take with us (red velvet, carrot, chocolate on chocolate, buttercream on chocolate with cream cheese filling, margarita, & strawberry).  Then we headed over to the Clinton Library (where Bevin works) & saw the exhibit on Elvis (Bill loved him a lot – although probably unrelated, I didn’t ask).  It was really interesting.  A photographer followed Elvis around right before he made it big and the pictures are stunning and are Elvis in his element.  We also look at the Clinton’s history in the White House.  Bevin showed us the behind the scenes tour where all the extra information and all the paper are stored – it was overwhelming.  Tricia found a list of the trees on the property (not in the stacks), and zeroed in on one, the Farkleberry Tree, and we had to find it. Tricia looked and looked, but was not successful.  But we had a nice walk along the Arkansas River in the sweltering heat.   

chicken fried steak sandwich
Then we headed South – out of the city to Scott, Arkansas.  To Cotham’s Mercantile for dinner.  It looks like it was the general store way back when and now it is a dive on the outside but was a dive on the inside too.  But the food – was all fried and all delicious.  We had a heart attack on a plate… I mean we ate fried green tomatoes, chicken fried steak, onion rings, fried catfish, hush puppies, corn fritters, French fries, & Cole slaw for a vegetable.  Then we had fried sweet potato pie with ice cream for dessert – hey wait did you see another vegetable on that list? 

Back in the car and back to the city.  We drove past the Governor’s Mansion (but there were no good views) and past Central High School.  Central HS is where integration went to hell.  The Governor (at the time) forbid integration and then the President sent armed guards to help escort 9 black students inside.  The school is the hugest public school I have ever seen.  It just kept going.  Then we headed back to Bevin’s apartment to digest.  We ended the night with cupcakes (as if we were still hungry). 



Monday, July 25, 2011

Mid Summer Book Review

I love summer vacation because I have time to read!  Here are the books I have read so far this summer and my thoughts.  Click on the titles to go to Amazon and read the whole review.
  1. I started Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. 
    I started it.  I couldn't get into the storyline at all.  I kept trying to get into the story, and maybe if I had kept going, but I didn't.
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. 
    I read it with Colleen & Sarah for our "book club."  I loved it.  I cannot wait to see the movie.  I hope they live up to each other.  I couldn't put the book down.  It takes place in Jackson, Mississippi during the 60's - right in the heart of race problems.  My favorite part of the book...were the story telling moments.  That doesn't mean much I guess, but I enjoyed the characters talking about their processes for the stories. 
  3. The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE.  It was a story about a family and how it changed, expanded, and survived.  It was a book about a daughter's love and the evolution of that love.  I couldn't put it down to save my day.   
  4. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
    OMG - this book was so beyond intriguing.  The story is similar to the movie 50 First Dates, with Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore.  A woman wakes up and doesn't know who she is or how she got there.  And then she is much older than she remembers herself being.  There is a phone call and a notebook but I am not going to tell you anything else about the plot because it will give away the whole book.  This was my favorite book of the summer!!!!!!!!
  5. Sarah Addison Allen.  Garden Spells, The Peach Keeper, The Sugar Queen 
    I love this author.  Her books, the words leap off the page.  I cannot stop reading them.  I loved loved loved both
    The Peach Keeper & The Sugar Queen and I cannot wait to start reading Garden Spells.  What I have noticed so far is that the supernatural exists in her books and there might be some small tragedy in them as well.  Oh I cannot wait for another one of her books!  
  6. The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean.
    This is my current book.  I have started this and I am loving it.  It starts with a family disaster and goes way uphill from there.  I cannot wait to keep reading it!

and those are my books so far.  not bad.  have to run though, my books are calling me