Sunday, August 28, 2011

my other new food obsession...





Vietnamese food!

Mike and I have probably eaten Vietnamese food at least 2 times per week this summer... and with a summer like this, you need some light, fresh, goodness like Vietnamese food to soothe the heat anguished soul.  **

We went to a new place about a month ago and re-visited it right before school started.  It's in Addison, which is not too close for me to just hop in for lunch, a lunch date with Mikey is a must if I'm going to enjoy this kind of goodness.

It's called Pho Que Huong.


This is the entry way.  It's in a strip mall on Inwood and Belt Line.



Inside the restaurant.


Here's me.



... and Mikey.

We ordered and our food came out quickly.  One thing to know about Vietnamese restaurants and their culture...  Order everything up front and don't be alarmed if you don't get much service after the meal is served.  The servers will deposit the check after your food is served, and you are supposed to pay at your leisure when you are done, usually at the counter.  They think it is rude to harass the customers while they are eating.





Our apps arrive... pork meat balls and spring rolls with dipping sauce.  The meat balls were OK, the spring rolls, heavenly!  The traditional way to eat the spring roll is to roll it in the lettuce with the carrots and cucumber and pour a touch of the dipping sauce (a mix of carrot, chili, and a sweet rice wine vinegar  with fish sauce) on it, roll it up like a taco and eat!  YUM!!!  (seriously)



We also ordered a Bhan Mhi sand which, which is a vietmnese sand which on a french roll with the cucumber carrot thing, cilantro, jalapenos, and grilled chicken.  Truly amazing!



My spring roll in all her goodness!




 Then we get the Pho!  It's a brothy soup with rice noodles and chicken.  You also get a side order of bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, jalapenos and lime.  We shared the soup.  Each bowl gets some broth, chicken, noodles and fixings.




Here is my bowl about to eat.  Let me tell you something!  I've never had such good Pho!  The broth was amazing and it seems that the noodles were cooked in that broth because they also were amazing!  So flavorful and toothsome!  DELISH!

So, if you can... go eat some Vietnamese food!  It will change your life! (maybe not... but who knows...)


** Unless you've been living in a box, or not anywhere near North Texas, or Texas for that matter, You know that it's been brutally hot this summer!  We are officially at #2 status of hot summers... with 60 days so far of +100 degree heat, and it's not letting up anytime soon.  Today's high was 107!  107, Y'all!  It's the end of August and 107 seems normal now!  Really????  I don't know if I can take it anymore!  UGH!

We normally get 16 days of +100 degree heat.  Just sayin!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

best. crabcakes. EVER!

It was our last day at 'Pier Relief' in Fairhope, Alabama... Liz and Gabe left after lunch.  We went to downtown Fairhope for lunch and found a little 'blue plate special' type of diner and I got the pork chops with greens and green beans... yummo!  Upon our return, Momma took a nap and I was out on our porch when I found this log in the water...



...Looks just like a dragon!  See it???

Anyway... Mom and I decided, instead of trying the fancy restaurant again, and spending much money on questionable food, we'd make crab cakes from the 14 crabs left over from the crab boil.

While Mom was napping, (I'm not a big napper), I decided it was the perfect time to pick the crabs for the meat of our dinner.  If you ever, EVER, questioned the price of good, premium crab meat, let me tell you what!  It took me 3 hours to pick the 14 crabs!  It's a lot. of. work!  But the rewards are unbelievable!  The resulting crab was so fresh, so unpasteurized, so unbelievably good!  Superb, in fact!

Here is the fruit of my efforts!


The claw meat is in the little red bowl, crab fingers.  In the yellow bowl is my lump crab meat, and to the right is some of my crab shells.  We netted about 3 cups of crab meat bliss!  You'll notice a touch of 'the recipe' is in the top of the picture.  I had to finish the crab pickin' after Momma got up and we were having a little toast for sunset.

Here are views of our last sunset in Fairhope, AL.  Beautiful, and on the water!




Beautiful!  I hope we can go back!




Back to my crab cake makin...  I finely chopped about 1/3 cup of each: sweet onion, red bell pepper, and celery, mixed that in a bowl with the crab, gently, and added some old bay seasoning.  To that I added two eggs, and a scant 1/2 cup of bread crumbs made from Melba crackers (I think that's what they were).  I very gently mixed these with my hands and made them into small balls (bigger than a ping pong ball, smaller than a tennis ball).  I arranged the balls on a cookie sheet with wax paper and put them in the freezer for a while to firm up, cause they were tender and loose... I didn't want them to fall apart and I also didn't want a lot of filler in them.  This is all for at least 3 cups of crab.

Here they are resting in the freezer.



Once they were very firm (almost frozen), I brushed an egg white wash on them and rolled em in panko breadcrumbs and pan fried them in veggie oil, just a smidge.

Here is the assembly line...


Here I am cooking...


So, meanwhile, Momma makes a MEAN salad.  We're dedicated mean salad girls.  We can make a mean salad, and keep your bottled salad dressing away from our salads!  And she makes a spicy mayo sauce for the crab cakes.

We plated our salad and crab cakes, Mom drizzled some sauce atop the crab cakes, and we had dinner with a nice Pino Gris!

Here is our dinner table!




OUTSTANDING!!!

It literally was the best dinner of the vacation, and as Momma declared, the best crab cakes she'd ever had!  (me too for that matter!!!!)

The crab was so fresh and clean, light on the breading, and perfect with the panko crust, tender inside, and tasty sauce!  Delish!

With our trip coming to a close... we slept like babies until the thunderstorms came in at 3am, Miss Lucky got kicked out of Mom's bed and came to have her anxiety attack in my room with me, all night long!  We packed up with the rain the next morning, and drove to New Orleans for me to fly home that afternoon.

What a wonderful trip I had!  Thanks MOMMA!

School starts with kiddos tomorrow... I'm excited to see what the new school year brings!

Thanks for reading... If you're reading this, YOU ROCK!

-P

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the beach on a birthday!

While I was in the Mobile Bay area with Abuela and Sissy, we went to the beach in Gulf Shores, AL for my birthday!  YAY!  I was ready to see what this sugar sand beach was all about!

Here are Abuela and Gabey walking out to the ocean.



Here's a picture of my sister with a funny hat on.



OK... so it's not a funny hat at all but a bad photograph by me.  It's a tent in the background, wait, you can see the tent in the following picture of our beach loungers we rented for a few hours, umbrella included...



Liz and Gabey walking in the water...



Me taking a stupid picture of myself... dorks untie!  ... um, unite!




Gabey loved playing in the sand!  We showed him how to use the cups as a mold to build things with the sand.  I don't think he got it though... He did like putting sand in the cups and pouring it out, though!







That's some really nice, clean, not stinky, white sand!






Here is a shot of the beach... It was so pretty!


So, the beach we went to was the Gulf Shores State Park beach.  They had this nice pavilion on the beach...



...and they had air conditioned rest rooms with showers!!!  That was indeed a must as we drove about 45 minutes to get there, were planning on eating lunch after our morning on the beach, and let me tell you, that walk from the nice water with a breeze to the pavilion was friggin hot, yo!  I mean take your breath away you're in a steam shower hot!  We needed to cool down and shower off!  WHEW!




After we cleaned up, we went to the Oyster House restaurant which was featured on Man Vs. Food, which is a show the Mikey and I like to watch!  Here's Me with the poster!  



So, after our beach outing and lunch, we returned to 'Pier Relief' to have a nap... At which time our ding dong neighbors who were renting the next door rental and having a wedding that day (what a great day to have a wedding, on my birthday!) accidentally left the last part of their party at the house with their car blocked in!  I was relaxing downstairs reading my book and they came out in a panic asking for a ride to the wedding!  I got to drive them to the wedding at the pier in downtown Fairhope, AL.  

Later that evening, we had planned on going to the fancy restaurant in a town (can't remember which town it was, Magnolia?  Maybe?  IDK).  My stupid ass didn't make reservations.  We couldn't get in.  So, We went to downtown Fairhope, AL and drove towards the pier where the ding dong neighbors were having their wedding.  There was a restaurant on the pier and we thought VOILA!  What a great place to eat!  

NOT.  I've found the food in Alabama to be not the greatest.  All their food was either fried or boiled.  Or you could get it Broiled.  HMMMMM .... I guess I'll have broiled shrimp.  

BUT... We had Abuela with us! Who could ask for more!?!




Next time... the best food on the beach...
-P

Sunday, August 14, 2011

beach vacation... bait and crab boil

So... Back to my beach vacation (after our news flash regarding the heat wave)...

The first full day at Mobile Bay... after we went to the Foley area outlet maul mall, got home and had our naps, Momma instructed us to go find us some bait so we could fish later that night while she watched Gabey and prepared our crab boil fixin's.  Liz and I drove towards Foley in hopes of finding the bait store we spied on our way back home.  We were driving a while and hadn't seen the bait store that was so close... Me, 'we should have seen the bait store by now...'.  Liz, 'Yeah, we should have seen it... I hope we find something before too long!'  Me, 'let's pull into this service station and ask if there is a bait store near.'

So, we asked at the filling station.  The two ladies that worked there looked at me like I spoke a foreign language.  However, the nice man (about 30 ish, African American) who was buying his filling store sundries, informed us that there was indeed a bait shop right across the cross street of said filling station!  Really? I ask... Oh sure, he informs me.  There will be a little sign.

Hmmmm.  (cue the theme song from 'Deliverance'.)

So, Liz and I, laughing at the hilarity of the situation, proceed into the driveway of this house with this sign in the front.



...um, ok, really??


Here's the back of the house where the entrance is.  We were a little apprehensive about the situation, except there was a car already there with people buying their bait.  When we enter the store, we find this nice man with his son (about 7 years old, telling us of all the fish he's caught on his vacation including a red drum (yum!) and a pompano he caught last night!  Promising!  We visit a minute with the nice bait man, purchase our bull minnows, which is guaranteed to catch us a flounder off the pier at our house.  Then he goes back to get his pet...



POT BELLIED PIG!  OMG!


You can't make this shit up!

So... on we go, with our bait, back to the house to commence on our crab boil.




Here are the 30 crabs we caught!  It was a little difficult catching the crabs out of the crab traps without them freaking you out and going after your fingers or toes.  Woo!  They are elusive little bastards!



Here I am with the crab pot... getting ready to add the goods.



We had some corn, potatoes, and sausage with the crab.  YUM!



Here is the finished product!  WOW!  What a feast, and we had twice as much crab as we could eat... meaning a GREAT crab meal would follow at some point.  It was so delicious!


After dinner was cleaned up, We decided to give our luck a try.  We fished late into the night... fed the fish many minnows, and I actually caught a fish...



Damn croaker baby.  You can see his full size next to my minnow.  Really???  Well, maybe the fishing wasn't so great, but the crabs were out of this world!

More to come tomorrow... the beach and best crab cakes ever!

-P


Friday, August 12, 2011

...breaking news flash... breaking news flash...

Well... It's been damn hot here in North Texas, damn hot in all of Texas for that matter.  Hinges of Hades hot.  Crispy critter your yard hot.  The pool's a bathtub hot.  Dogs won't even go outside hot.

"Oh, but it's a dry heat,"  My ass.  Think surface of the sun hot.

We were giving ole 1980 heat streak a run for her money.  I remember that summer.  I was 10, (yeah, do the math, wise ass), and at summer camp when the mercury hit 113 in Dallas.  I was in summer camp west of here where it gets HOT HOT HOT! So, I'm almost 10 (the birthday is in August), at summer camp, no air conditioning, riding around on sweaty horses and going caneoing.  I didn't really pay attention to the camp counsellors commenting on how hot it was.  They didn't tell us (rat bastards) so we wouldn't freak out.  We just knew it was hot... till I came home and the 'rents clued me in, plus the crispy lawns around gave a hint.  I survived that summer and am proud of it... 69 days of 100 + degree weather with a streak of 42 days.  The hottest summer in record in DFW.

Well... This year has been hot!  We've had a streak going for over a month, 40 days to be exact.  We flew by the second record with full force, with our highest reading so far of 110 degrees.  I'd forgotten how hot that is.  Think of a sauna, dry sauna, and you get the idea.  It takes the breath right out of you in a hot blast.  I'm not kidding.

Check it out...

This is the weather forecast a week ago.   Look at that!  Forecast of 111 degrees!!! Really??



This is the recorded temps throughout the day right before I went to the beach.  I must say though, it's a toss up between which is more bearable, a wet heat of balmy 98 degrees with 55% humidity or 106 with 25% humidity.  Steam room vs. sauna.  Both are miserable, unless you are at the gym or have a pool to jump in, least you scald yourself in the water... could happen!

So, We were supposed to break the record of the longest streak of 100+ days in DFW tomorrow... then yesterday when I went to the school to help with registration for a little bit, as I walked outside at about 2:30, I see this...


WTF???? What are those dark poofy things on the horizon?  What is that cool breeze coming from the north?  What's the temperature?  Oh NO!  We're going to break the streak!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!   (think when Luke finds out he's the son of Darth Vader NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!)

I was so looking forward to bragging rights for this summer. But alas, no.  Oh it got up to 97 degrees yesterday, and sure to form, it's 102 here today and I'm sure we'll have plenty more hot hot days, plenty!

On a refreshing note...

Today Kiki and I went to the FOE to go swimming and they have this contraption that cools the water (gotta look into that!) and it was so nice... think Barton Springs cool... probably 70 degrees.  AHHHHH.

video

That my friend, is the water cannon!  Nice!  We had fun with that.

So, I'll have more beach fun adventures to post about, but I had to share the breaking news before it's not new anymore.

Stay cool, my millions of readers!
-P

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

random vacation pics.

Well... I'm back from my final summer trip, getting ready to start school next week.  I have a few vacation blogs and I was intending this one to be about the abundance of riches to be found in the skymall publications found on airplanes but was beat to the punch by 'Aunt Becky' of mommy wants vodka and I don't want to take away from her awesomeness by blogging about the same thing the same week... so I'll have to wait a bit before I humor my millions of readers about skymall.

So, I will entertain you with some random vacation pictures, and fill in with awesome stories in a future post.

So, Sister, Gabe and I were supposed to fly to New Orleans to rent a car and meet momma at the beach house on Mobile Bay, Alabama.  I was supposed to get on her Southwest airlines plane from Austin en route to New Orleans.  Only, her plane was taken out of flight minutes prior to boarding.  Dallas was able to find an alternate plane for us so we could continue to NOLA, sans sister and nephew.  POO.  I was able to get momma (abuela) to come pick me up in NOLA, as Liz was going to be taking some time getting there due to the flight reschedule situation.


Here's a shot of me waiting for the plane... before I realized that Liz was not going to be on the plane :(



Once we got to Mobile Bay, Fairhope, Alabama, we found our rental house.  It had this lovely pier to the pavilion on the bay where the lovely people that own the house had baited crab traps so we could have a feast of crab boil!


The pier and pavilion.


And here's Gabey!


He's such a fine looking kid with such a fine hat that Aunt P got him at the osh gosh store.



Here is another view of the piers.  Ours is the middle one.



... and a close up of the pavilion.  It's so nice out there!


We did a crab boil the next night.  Here's Abuela getting the crabs out of the crab traps.




Here's Liz and Gabey sitting on the swing on the pavilion.

And we went to the beach in Gulf Shores, AL.

What a beautiful beach with nice white sands!  Glorious! Indeed!



Abuela and Gabey walking out to the beach.



Gabey playing in the sand.



We also did some cooking... Here is the left over crab from our crab boil... about 3 cups from about 14 crabs.  There is a reason real crab is so expensive... It's a real bitch getting the meat out!

We also did some fishing and went to the outlet mall... more on that later.

But for now, Here is some Gabey love!



Gabe looking at a program on Liz's iPhone.



Gabe watching a program on Liz's laptop.  Notice how he is reclining...  He's leaning on his left elbow to watch his show.  He looks like a little man!  Too cute!



... and here is Gabe and I taking a picture... LOVE!

I'll get more up this week... I've got lots.
-P