Tuesday, February 25, 2014

San Antonio's Riverwalk keep memories flowing

You can buy bottled water, shot glasses and T-shirts at  the very site of  Texas’ most-memorable icon, The Alamo. You may have some magnets, belt buckles or coffee mugs urging you to Remember the Alamo in your home right now.
I just stayed at a lovely Hampton Inn and enjoyed a Texas-shaped waffle basically across the street from the shrine. It may seem a tad commercial around there, but I love how people, from all over the world, are lined up to get in the place every morning.
Of course you can get some great Mexican food and Margaritas on the famous Riverwalk, but if you go early, it’s a great place to watch San Antonio wake up. People jog along there. Balconies get swept and trash cans get emptied for another round of revelers.
I was feeling pretty great about pulling into town and nabbing the final parking place at Pico de Gallo right before the lunch crowd line got really long. I was bragging about fish tacos and flavorful whole pinto beans to a local who told me where he takes out-of-towners. La Gloria is one of the upscale eateries at the refurbished Pearl Beer brewery area. I told him I remember being there as a youth and a stuffed two-headed calf scared me pretty bad. But I also got to make one of those cool star key fobs that you can stamp your name around.
The place has changed, he told me. I loved it. The great part about dining alone is that you get seated very quickly, so La Gloria “street food” of a chicken mole sopa was at my table in a flash. A sopa is like a  flat taco on a thick corn tortilla that has a little rim built up to hold the sauce. I’m a fan, and may have to go back for more, and one of their T-shirts that reads “I “heart” sopas,”
It was all so good I just about wanted to cry, which threw the wait staff for a loop. I think they made a game of sending someone new to my table every few minutes to ask how I was doing. I had a new, emotional response for each one of them.”
The local also suggested Mexican Manhattan, a family diner since 1958, just off the Riverwalk. It’s simple and unchanged and my cabrito was perfecto. The waitress said they were famous for the corn tortillas, which were brown, like parchment paper, with texture.
There I amused a family with small children, who kept looking back over their booth to watch the lady enjoying her food so much. The father saw me taking photos to make my absent husband jealous and he came over and offered to snap a photo of me with my food. Of course, I obliged.
If you’re going to bring home a souvenir of San Antonio, it’s likely to have boots or Our Lady of Guadalupe on it. This time, I’m thinking San Antonio’s residents will remember how much I enjoyed their city as much as I’ll remember my visit. And, as always, Remember the Alamo.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Port Arthur ready for Mardi Gras

Look for me at Courir du Mardi Gras this year. Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas is a big deal and the area is gearing up. While Robert Earl Keen’s Texas folk music is a big draw, people are also talking about Cast in Bronze, a gargantuan array of bells played by a masked man. Look it up, this instrument has a following.
Check out this main stage schedule:
Thursday, Feb. 27
  • 6 p.m. – J.A.G.
  • 8 p.m. – The Stark Experiment
Friday, Feb. 28
  • 7 p.m. American Sons
  • 10 p.m. Robert Earl Keen
Saturday, March 1
  • 3 p.m. – The Port Arthur Playboys
  • 5:30 p.m. – Li’l Wayne & Same Ole’ 2 Step
  • 8:30 p.m. – Harrison Swift
  • 10 p.m. – Casey Donahew Band
Sunday, March 2
  • 3 p.m. – Champagne Room
  • 6:30 p.m. – Travis Matte and the Kingpins
Call the Mardi Gras store at  (409) 721-8717 to get outfitted for the festival.

Ma and Pa Ferguson
“In the Governor’s Shadow: The True Story of Ma and Pa Ferguson” has all kinds of political background that Carol O’Keefe Wilson weaved into a very readable University of North Texas Press release.
Still, I’m drawn toward the social matters of the book, like how the couple chose to spend their allowance on the Governor’s Mansion on things other than heating. A greenhouse was so important to Ma that she seemed pretty perturbed that a stone connecting her to the structure was removed. Just once.

Too hot to wait
SAAS Hot Sauce in original and onion & garlic are mention’s too hot to wait until Culinary Thrill Seeking column. These 11.6-ounce bottles will spice up your Sunday. I like it hot and these full-bodied vinegar/cayenne/habanero concoctions deliver. I cooked up some sliced onions in each version and my mamma said they got hotter as time went by. You read correctly. We’re talking onion-on-onion flavor and it’s powerful. Proceeds from the sauce go to The Earth Center of Maanu Inc. ti preserve indigenous cultures worldwide. Who doesn’t love hot sauce for a cause? It’s dubbed “The flavor that brings you home.”


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Lighthouses of Texas' guides readers to adventure

The cork vest prototype of today’s lifejacket is fascinating enough, but when “Images of America’s Lighthouses” gets lovingly local with bits on The Sabine Bank Lighthouse, the caisson-style project set into the water. Apparently, builders here never got “the bends” as they did on similar projects. Don’t worry, the Sabine Pass lighthouse gets its glory, too. Steph McDougal is one of many lighthouse lovers. Her writings accompany these vintage photos and drawings to convey the awe-inspiring feats of construction and the impact of how these structures saved so many souls. Thank Arcadia Publishing for getting this book out for lighthouse lovers everywhere.
Vemma makes silica taste good
Vemma Nutrition Company announces Vemma Renew, a 45-calorie can of antioxidants that truly taste fruity and good. Plant-sourced silica is for healthy skin, nails and hair, so the market is “beauty-conscious consumer looking for a healthy approach from the inside out.” I found one, and she thought it tasteed as good as I did. Healthy can be pretty cool.
Microbubbles rule
How do you soften tannins instantly and release the fullest flavor in wine and spirits? Aermate does the trick in a flash. The stainless steel tube with the screw-on bulb reminds me of a medical tool. It’s functional and as fashionable as it can be. There’s no question it gets the job done. The little chart  directs you to squeeze once or twice into a glass of red wine, and two to three times for white. Whole bottles get a few more. You can also squeeze your cognac, brandy, tequila, etc. Why would you do that? I can attest the countless bubbles fizzing into your glass stir and deliver air, enhancing oxygen exposure to all areas of the bottle or glass.
I’m no scientist, but I can tell you my $6.99 bottle of  red got microbubbles and then tasted like it cost at least $15. No kidding, all my tasters noticed the difference. www.aermate.com or Amazon.com has the info you need to get those bubbles.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Let me get to my Bed of Nails

Bed of Nails
They had me at endorphins and oxytocin. Sometimes during the day my mind jumps ahead to my  next time on Bed of Nails. I can’t really say that this mat and pillow help with constipation, but I will say it has eased headaches and back tension in my home. Little round plastic discs of super-sharp “nails” are all over this little mat and the pressure evens out when you recline.  My difficult-to –impress spouse said the pillow helped change his focus from headache to rest. The sensation puts me into a restful state and the label lists even more befits, saying that, if used regularly and for a long enough period of time, it may:
* improve circulation
* increase energy level
* reduce blood pressure
* reduce stress and anxiety
* improve sleep and relieve insomnia
* improve heart rate variability
* relieve constipation
* alleviate cellulite
There’s more, but I have limited space. You can roll this up and take it with you to work or in the car. I’m a Bed of Nails mega fan. Just let me finish this column, I want to go lie down.

Karma as fashion
Marrakech, Kenya, Happy Trails? I went Boho with a peacock scarf. I’m calling peacock the new trend. I have my reasons, which I may reveal later. But back to Karma and www.karmagifts.com, where you can browse colors and patterns that will make you feel you have traveled the world.  Bags, scarves and key fobs are just the beginning. The Global Color  has hand embroidered belts and lanterns.  They’re offering a feeling, and I’m buying. The peacock scarf has a message colored into it, and it’s pretty much my little secret. A Russian orphanage is one of the Karma give-back programs.

Hand it to them
Are you practicing your Mardi Gras bead throw? Start healing your hands with the rehydrating Earth Therapeutics Exfoliating Towel and Hand Remedy, a duo to brighten, moisturize and improve skin texture. The towel buffs away outer layers of skin to allow skin to breathe. I have not tried it, but I can vouch for the Hand Remedy, which has a different texture that sets it apart from others. It just feels goad. Must be the shea butter and oatmeal moisture, or the
specially-formulated Alpha-Hydroxy Fruit Acid to, as makers say, get hands a younger look for their spring debut. Winter hands are rough. Hand Remedy makes it all better. www.earththerapeutics.com