Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To Texas For Spring Break 2012

Our trip to Texas 2012

Let me start with our welcome home.

After "roasting" in Texas ;-) , We were greeted with a cool 65 degrees and sunny. Mount Rainier was dressed in her snowy white and wearing a Sunday hat , and soaking in the setting sun.

The next morning was sunny and crisp. I went out to enjoy the fresh mountain air and was buzzed by the Rufus humming birds. They did not like me on the porch and chipped heartily at my proximity. I saw deer in the distance and it saw me. Suddenly it broke into a full trot straight at me from the other end of the meadow. Must be Apples. No other deer would run towards a human. I got some apples slices and fed him.

The chickens were still locked up and they heard me chatting to the deer. I heard them jump down from the roost and they started yelling at me from just behind the closed door. I had read somewhere that chickens only have a memory of a week. I was expecting them to forget me but, they didn't! They recognized my voice and still treated me as their "rooster". They would squat at my slightest movement. I let them out for a long deserved forage in the lawn.

Even with my eyes and head still aching from the miserable head cold, It was a warm welcome. It is good to be home.

Now for the trip and the people and things I will miss...

We had packed up the nite before so we could make a clean go of the trip the next day.
Woke up at 4am and out the door by 4:30am. Parked at the SeaTac airport thanks to a spring break coupon for garage parking. Very convenient!
Checked one bag and through security with no issues.
We had breakfast and coffee in terminal and waited for our flight.
Flew to LAX on Virgin America.

Review of Virgin America:
Great! If I can fly with them again I would. Why?
Seats - Comfy, Leather, adjustable winged headrests make napping easier, larger width and legroom than AA or Delta, entertainment in every seat - pay extra or free options - enough to entertain my 8 year old who didn't pull out her ipod or gaming system - watched disney channel and the flight info the whole way and napped to classical comercial-free radio. You can order from your seat too - food and drinks. Cute and funny safety video.
Planes: newer than most, cool lighting
 Service: friendly - Bonus: one leg even let those with no overhead luggage to board with cabin select (after 1st class). Very nice! Boarding went so fast that time!  I HATE having to wait for overheaders! I am sure 1st class doesn't like it either.
Anyways... just go to their website For all the other perks.

Back to the trip...
My husband firmly punches me on the shoulder as we pass 1st class seating. "That's Kevin Smith! That's Kevin Smith! Oh my god! I can't believe it that's really Kevin Smith!" He says in a restrained, yet extremely excited voice as we move through to our seat in the back. Apparently he saw the actor/writer/producer/director etc..  Kevin Smith on our flight to LA. For those unfamiliar, I have provided this link : IMBD
We ate lunch in LAX in our terminal because you cant leave terminals there without going through security again.
On our way to DFW was a little rougher with the turbulence over New Mexico and the bratty toddler behind us that whined loudly if he didn't get his way immediately!

Soap-box detour : People! How you raise your kids in your home is your business but... When you are in public, in closed quarters, you need to teach your kids to respect you and those around them! Now, I'm not talkin' 'bout those poor babies when their ears get hurt - that is just very sad and I feel so bad for them. I'm talkin' 'bout those one that scream a blood curdling set of "No" because they don't want to buckle. Or, those siblings who whine and fight over the window seat. And, no! It's not just kids being kids... My kid was taught to be respectful on the plane, train etc... and follow the rules and so are the majority of all the other kids we had the pleasure of flying with. If you don't' want to teach your kid to be socially responsible and respectful in public transportation then drive and you can put up with them alone!
Soap-box closed!

Mom & Pop picked us up and we had dinner at Dino's Steak and Claw House in Grapevine, TX.

Review of Dinos': Great again.
Jumbo Sea Scallops - sweet, tender, juicy with a sweet caramelized sear, perfectly cooked - Just YUM
Baby Spinach Salad - good but a little too much dressing for me - i like it on the lite side.
Lobster Bisque - Great again - this time it tasted like caramel soup with sea salt. Usually you can taste the lobster.
We went on a coupon and got half off our ticket - definitely worth it with coupon.
If no coupon, I might reserve this for a splurge due to prices.
Service is always great - if any omissions or mistakes are made they go above and beyond to remedy.

Drove back to Waco

Visited Baylor and ate lunch at one of my Waco faves: Clay Pot. Since I have already reviewed this place on Waco Fork you can read it there ("Little Pink Gem on I-35"). It was a beautiful day so after a visit to the bear pit, we walked to the restaurant via the drainage ditch.  Yeah, but it's a pretty cool drainage ditch - see photo on left.
I was starting to get the head cold my daughter brought home from school and some of Pho' hit the spot!
 We watched the spring storms come in. Something cool to watch but we don't' miss the annual springtime stress of tornado weather. Every spring we used to pack an emergency box with water, snack bar, cellphone, radio, flashlight and other important items and hide them in the shelter closet. The shelter closet stuff would be moved around and relocated. The couch pillows on-call for the sound of the sirens. Waiting in shelter and praying nothing comes of it. Knowing the shelter is just a last-ditch effort to reduce damage. Knowing if you get a direct hit, you most-likely won't make it. 
Today, we just got cool clouds and an oncoming cooler wind. Unfortunately, parts of our old stomping grounds were not so fortunate as parts of Tarrant and Dallas county lost property and lives.

Wookie - brother's dog
We had dinner, watched the Lady Bears basketball team win the national championship game 40-0! Go Lady Bears! Also colored eggs with my brother and his lovely wife.

TX hill country Spring
We went to Brenham to visit my sweet dear Granny and my cousins and aunt.

On the way we stopped at Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor.

Review: Louie Mueller BBQ, Taylor, TX
I am not linking this place because it does not deserve it!
I Really truly don't understand why this place has gotten so much hype!
They must have friend and family of the owners writing into the online reviews to up the scores on Yelp and google etc...
It was NOT GOOD!
Lets start at beginning...
Place has dive charm. The smoke everywhere smells great. Meat market serving is how it should be. Tea - no sweet available - no biggie 4 me 'cause  don't' drink it sweet but this IS Texas - gotta have tx sweet tea at a BBQ joint!
We ordered a bit of almost everything and all the sides and shared family style.
Carvers were nice. But, server ladies treated ya' like you are stupid.
No beer! OMG BIG NO NO! - Beer brand signs all over the place - no beer with Tx BBQ - plainly a sin and false advertizing.
The dive feel was nice but... flies flying all over your food and holes in the screens has to be a health violation.
no smiles at Louie Mueller "BBQ?" in Taylor, TX
  Brisket good - not the best I've had but, good. "Sauce" was basically hot water with some onion and red pepper powder. No flavor and NOT Texas style - that is a mop - NOT a sauce people. serving a mop with BBQ is NOT TX STYLE it is TN style!

That was it - the rest was just really gross. Bland, sides, dry, over peppered ribs.Undercooked, bland potato salad. Beans were TERRIBLE - I love baked beans but these were nowhere near them. They tasted like canned pintos out of a 20 year old can! Truly NASTY!. 
 Summary= don't go out of your way. this is NOT a good BBQ joint! If I were local I probably still would not go there for BBQ.

 Now onto happier thoughts...

We also stopped at the Blue Bell Creamery - Mmmm. Icecream.

Visited my Granny at her apartment and took her to my cousins' house and visited there for a while.


We visited my brother at work and ate lunch at the Homestead Heritage Cafe'.

Review: Homestead Heritage Cafe' Just scroll down to "I agree" on Waco Fork - What is there to review? Everyone else did it for me. The place is great. This time though, the soup was a too salty - couldn't' eat it but was full up on everything else anyway.

Let the kid and hubby walk the shops while I enjoyed a chat with mom under the mountain cedars.

Back at "the ranch" we rested up and I enjoyed the bunnies and moms' garden.

BTW... Mom, your garden looks awesome! I sure would like your gardener to do my place ;-p -  wink!

Headed to Fort Worth. Ate lunch at NYPD, in Euless, Tx

NYPD Review: usually I love this pizza. it was still good but it had changed from what I remember. It was dry and saltier this time. Not the usual NY pizza crust soft and floppy, lots of sauce.

The girls catch butterflies on sat morning
Visited with a few folks around town.

Friend's kitty samantha - mrow
Stayed with some great friends and enjoyed their company and hospitality! Thanks so much! It was great to see you again!

Headed back Sat morning for a long day of flying.

Bummer part - didn't get a chance to eat some good Tex-mex :-(
I'm going into withdrawls - ahhhh!

It was nice to be in the warm and surrounded with green and flowers in Texas (our deciduous trees had just begun budding back home).

I will miss you all!

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