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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Avoca, Fort Worth's Newest Independently-Owned Coffee Shop

A few people stand at the coffee bar ordering multiple shots of something hot, dark and delicious. They look satisfied as the owner explains what they’re drinking. Then they try another. More people walk in to do the same. They don’t take a seat, rather they just stand at the bar consuming multiple shots of coffee and talking with the baristas/owners behind the bar.

“That’s our business model; it’s to teach and help people learn about coffee,” Avoca co-owner Jimmy Story said. “We want people to know what they’re drinking and where it comes from.”

Some of us have to work, so I take a seat. This place is cool. It has a peaceful, friendly and local feeling about it. Maybe that’s because it IS friendly, local and peaceful. It is open with high ceilings, concrete floors and sliding glass garage-like doors that I assume they will roll open on a beautiful day. The music is not cacophonous either. 

Story and his coffee companion, Garold LaRue, opened Avoca March 17 on Magnolia just across from Spiral Diner. That's a mere 12 days ago, and this place is busy! LaRue has been in coffee for 14 years as a barista, and his family grew coffee in Nicaragua long before that. He’s known coffee his whole life, and has been brainstorming this place since October 2009.

Like a stalker I would drive by wondering when it was going to happen because the sign has been up for a while. I work mostly from home and am always looking for a great place to pitch my work cubicle tent for a few hours. I’m sure coffee shop people are like, “Great, here she comes. [I walk up to the counter] Will you be having the same today, Miss?” I wonder if they make bets on how long I’m going to occupy their valuable space. Dang! But I’ve found a new coffee shop victim that has bright, open space and phenomenal coffee. By the way, the latte was magnificent; it took me back to my old study abroad days in Rome.

After talking to LaRue and Story for a while about coffee, I became excited about my next experience there. Story explained how I should begin my java journey, which is to select a coffee origin first: Mexico, Peru, etc. Then select a roast and how I want the coffee prepared. Would you like the press pot or pour over method? Would you like steamed milk? How much? Would you like the milk poured over the top or blended into the coffee? Adding water will change the coffee notes too. Sounds overwhelming, but the owners are there to happily guide you through the coffee conundrum.

“Coffee has more notes than wine,” LaRue said. And each process changes those notes.

A customer may come up and say, “I want to try something new.” LaRue surprises them. He asks the patron to pay attention to notes in the coffee and to what they like and dislike. It reminded me of being fitted for a wedding gown (or a mountain bike for you men out there).

To the left of the coffee bar is a huge warehouse full of material where LaRue and Story roast their own coffee, which they sell as well. The warehouse also serves as a barista training center … like a culinary school for coffee or something. He said one day they hope to offer classes on roasting, brewing, frothing and steaming coffee. Sign me up.

LaRue has hopes for his new place — to bring in more customers and teach them about coffee and support local providers. “There are a lot of local businesses doing excellent work,” LaRue said. All of their goods are brought in from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Co-owner Jimmy Story at the end of a long day
So where did the name Avoca come from? Story said they originally had 253 potential names for the shop but settled on Avoca, which means “great mouth” in Gaelic. And I expect your mouth will have a great experience when you try this coffee. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Gallery Night at Artspace 111 (a photo essay)

Events at this venue are always a good time. I'm always impressed with the art and the turnout. Here is a peek at the evening. All art and music was from local artists.

Artist Nancy Lamb getting her photo taken from over head. Her paintings  are behind her. 

A peek at Cindi Holt's Big Bend series. 

Dennis Blagg

Daniel Blagg
Oh Whitney and the Assisted Livers

* This band is fantastic. I love hearing them play. Keep checking their website to see when they will be in Fort Worth next. They play somewhat often here because two members of the band are from here. 

The band's sound according to their website: "Listening to Oh Whitney is like taking a ride through a wormhole. In one song, they harken back to the hard-hitting style of Led Zeppelin, speak to the likes of Wilco and The Black Keys, and still resonate a distinct sound all their own. In another tune, the band will subtly draw you into an elegiac acoustic number reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt or Fleet Foxes, before Oh Whitney itself goes electric, reinforcing its unique place in the aural landscape. Their unique sound and versatile recordings stereophonically surround you; from a harmony whispered in one ear to a loud guitar passing like a plane overhead, it’s hard not to lose yourself in their music."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bistro Louise ... and other fantastic brunch places

At my age (29) it is so difficult to get a group of girls together, so I've organized a brunch at Bistro Louise this Sunday with six of my good friends. And yes, I started rounding them up weeks ago to make sure it happened.

Why did I choose such an expensive place? Because it's worth every penny of the $27.95 they charge for the extravagant buffet. Here's why:

I went there a few weeks ago for the first time and it was the best brunch experience I've had in Fort Worth. I say "experience" because it's also about atmosphere and your convivial cohorts.

You start with the exotic and fresh, imported farm cheeses and hors d'oeuvres. After a plate of the rich and creamy cheese I felt like Meg Ryan in the movie French Kiss (it wasn't pretty). It truly was memorable because that cheese was so good. And the hors d'oeuvres include things like mushroom tarts, shrimp tostadas, asparagus ham and cheese strudels, spinach galettes and more. I managed to fit one of each on my plate, and then went back for more before I even hit the main course. As comedian Chris Rock would say, "it's the two plates of food I eat before I eat my food." Mr. Rock, how would I explain that to a Third World country?  Ugh. But it was so good.

If that's how the meal started, then I don't even need to tell you how good the rest was. But I will indulge so I can revel in the memory. The assortment of roasted chicken, quail and the tea-smoked duck were so tender they fell apart on my plate. She also had a chicken chilaquiles that melted in my mouth. The only other time I've had it this good was at Cochineal in Marfa, Texas (Cochineal's is the absolute best ... but more later on dining in Marfa).

Atmosphere is almost as important to me as the food, and this cozy cottage takes you out of Fort Worth and into another world. When you pull up to Bistro Louise it is a little off-putting that it's in a strip mall surrounded by mortgage-related companies. But when you enter the building it's another story.

After the brunch (a few days later): The price of the brunch did not include bottomless mimosas. They were $7 each. The food was good, but they kept running out of items this time around. I would have to keep checking in to see if they had something that looked good, thus I never got to try the crab cakes or the soufflé. The time with my friends was awesome. We laughed so loud telling old stories that I feared we would be asked to leave ... but we didn't.

(Click on name for brunch menu)
* Taverna
* Café Modern
* Jazz Café (byob)

Places I want to try for brunch that I've already tried other meals and were great!
* Cantina Laredo
* Tillman's
* Park Hill Café
* Fred's

Places I've never been to at all but want to try.
Cowtown Diner
* Cat City Grill

Upcoming posts ... stay tuned!

Favorite Fort Worth Runs

Getting Hitched in Marfa

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend on Caddo Lake

The mysterious tall trees Caddo Lake is known for remain hidden in the early morning darkness. Our fishing guide, Billy Carter, is supposed to meet us at 7 a.m., but the sun has yet to rise. The tired family gathers around the breakfast table grabbing Marie Calendar’s cinnamon rolls and Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits discussing our potential catches for the day.

As the sun peeks through the cypress forrest, I remember how uniquely beautiful it is here. Rumored to be five hundred years old, bald cypress trees grow 60 feet out of the water. The angelic Spanish moss delicately hangs from the trees’ limbs — it doesn’t rustle in the wind like leaves do, rather it quietly dances and floats like individual notes in a harmonious composition. In the dark when the wind is still, they look like stalagmites in a cave.

Legendary Billy Carter
Billy pulls up a little after 7, and six of us pile into the boat. Billy’s roots run as deep as the ring-dated 400-year-old bald cypress trees that tower all around. He’s been a licensed fishing guide for more than 35 years, and according to one article that hangs in his house, he was the youngest guide on the lake at one time.

"My first paid trip was at 12 years old and I made $5; however I became 'licensed' at 24," Billy said in an email.

The lake and town are his life. He was born a few miles away in Marshall and started fishing Caddo when he was 4 years old. He now owns the more than 100-year-old Johnson's Ranch Marina with his wife, Dottie. According to the website, it's the oldest inland marina still operating in Texas opening in 1908. Even the creatures on the lake are family — Billy and his wife have a pet raccoon named Beady Bear (for his beady eyes) that is house-broken. He said that his life and the lake "are one." An old article in Outdoor Life called him the product of the swamp. Another article called him the unofficial garbage collector of Caddo Lake. "I resemble both," Billy wrote in an email. It is apparent when you spend time with him and watch him fish.

We speed into the rising sun through hundreds of small, black duck-like critters called coots that bob on the water like bath toys. Billy points to an eagle overhead, not a hawk or buzzard, but the real deal. I'm in awe. He probably knows almost all 240 species of birds and the 71 species of fish that populate the lake. The coots fly off into their never never land and the sun peaks through statuesque pillar-like trees as we fly to Billy’s secret destination where the fish bite like mosquitoes on a humid night. Six of us throw our lines in the water and four of us get watch our neon orange corks sink within minutes. Fish on!

For three hours we pull dozens of yellow bass, crappie and brim from the water. Dinner is served. We have planned a fish fry with two methods of frying — panko-crusted and beer-battered filets. We will also have hush puppies and sweet potato fries, oven-baked waffle fries and a green salad with pears and blue cheese.

After a full morning of fishing, I decide to take a break and sit on the back porch by myself while the rest of the crew went fishing for the afternoon shift. A cool breeze, a view of the lake, a glass of wine and my journal made the afternoon complete. Soon we will have a fish fry.

But just before dinner, my husband and I decide to jump in a canoe and explore the eerie shallow water. Being this low to the water and this close to the trees is a much different experience than riding on a motorized boat with seven people. In the silence our senses pick up more around us. The Spanish moss is backlit by the setting sun, which looks like a witch’s glowing garments hanging off of her bony limbs. The trees seem even taller and somehow more magnanimous. They become characters in the story of Uncertain, Texas bringing hundreds of years of history back to life. I want to know what they’ve seen. I wondered at these mystical giants for almost an hour before it was time for dinner.

After the family set off the smoke detector three times, our fried feast was finished! We added Cajun hot sauce, lots of salt and garlic to the beer batter. This experiment made the meal. There was a 50/50 opinion on which breading was better. I personally loved both the panko and beer batter. After dinner we sat on the porch and talked about the fishing and outdoors at Caddo. Some of us were transfixed on the large, golden moon that night. It was the closest it has been to Earth since 1993, which made it appear 30 percent larger than usual. It was the perfect ending to a simple, quick and wonderful family trip.

I recommend a trip to Uncertain, Texas for a weekend getaway with friends or family, because it’s only three hours away and there isn’t much else to do but enjoy loved one’s company against the unique backdrop of Caddo Lake.

Fishing at Dawn

A Perfect Cast
A Road Through Caddo

Billy Carter
P.S. A great place to stay is Spatterdock, but if you're going there for spring break you need to book way in advance. If they're booked we stay at the Hodge Podge cabins. And there aren't really any good places to eat breakfast that we've found, so I recommend bringing your own groceries. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Upcoming Events (things I've done before and enjoyed!)

March 26: Spring Gallery Night
Get to know a few local artists while gallery hopping. It is a great way to get to know the art side of Fort Worth a little better and knock it out in one night ... like speed dating but with galleries. Ugh. Most places even provide free wine and cheese! (PDF booklet of events that night)

April 3: Big Taste of Fort Worth 2011 
A great way to find out where you should eat next. With all of Fort Worth's growth and development, there are so many new places to try.

April 3-23: Jubilee Theatre — The African Company presents Richard III
The one time I went to see a production at this theatre I absolutely loved it. I get antsy quick, but this show kept my attention until the very end. I laughed, I cried and even better, I got to peek into another world. I was still in Fort Worth, but it was such a unique experience I felt I got to leave the bubble for a bit. After the show we went to the Reata rooftop for a snack and drink. It was a fantastic night.

April 16: Modern 'Till Midnight
This makes for a great evening of art and live music. Tickets are $15 for nonmembers and free for members. What I remember loving about this night was being outside on the second floor of the Modern Art Museum with a phenomenal view of Fort Worth. The music always seems to be good, too.

April 16: Fort Worth Zoo Run
Although I've never run in this event, I absolutely love running FW races every chance I get. A bad shin splint from the Cowtown is keeping me out of this one. Races are fun for the whole family and promote health and fitness. The money to register usually goes to a great cause in Fort Worth. Proceeds from this run will go to conservation efforts around the world ... and you usually land a cool shirt.

April 14-17: MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival
I've purchased some great items here. The food is pretty good as well; I'm partial to the turkey leg. Click here for a list of artists that will be attending. If you don't like crowds, this is not the place for you.

I also love going to almost anything at the Bass Hall. There is always something going on there. Click here for their calendar of events.

I'll add more events as I think of them. Have any ideas? Post them in the comment section of this blog. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Day Trip to France (I meant Dallas)

 My friend and I both teach thus both get to celebrate spring break. She lives in Dallas, and I never get to see her so I decided to drive to Dallas and find a spot where we could sit on the patio for hours, eat good food and sip on Chardonnay as we dive into what’s going on in today’s world. I had a place in mind already.

I lived in Dallas last year. A few evenings a week my husband and I would jog the Katy Trail and pass by this place called Toulouse. I can’t describe the herb-frites-butter smell that exited out the back of that building and interrupted my runs, but was offensive and delightful at the same time. I envied the people who dallied on the bustling patio for long hours drinking wine and solving the world’s problems while I jogged past in pain. My friend and I were going there, and the jogging attire was left at home. 

There was one tiny table left on the patio, which seems to be the most popular spot in the place. The atmosphere inside and out felt European (for lack of better words).We each ordered a fresh, cold glass of the Acacia Chardonnay and perused a menu full of items like Trout Almandine, quiche, Dover Sole Meuniere, Filet Au Poivre et Cognac, crispy calamari and mussels prepared five different ways — the type of stuff you eat before a sieste.

I ordered the Mussels Mariniere prepared with garlic, white wine, butter and shallots. My friend ordered the bacon, asparagus quiche with a side salad. We both tried each other’s food, and I can say it was all wonderful. Her quiche was piping hot, had just the right amount of salty flavor and was fluffy. The mussels were merely warm, but carried the flavor of the buttery bath they marinated in. My friend isn’t a mussel person, so when she tried a large one I was worried she was going to lose it. She didn’t. Whew.

Even better than the food was the French bistro atmosphere and great company. The hours slipped passed us as we slipped into another world. So if you ever decide to take a day trip to Dallas, I recommend slipping away to Toulouse on Knox Street with a good friend. 

p.s. The shopping on that street isn't bad either. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

"The Ethicist" Visits Fort Worth

I think we can all agree that the massacres in Cambodia, Rwanda and the German Holocaust were wrong. But not every ethical question is as clear, and that's where Randy Cohen's New York Time's column "The Ethicist" came in. 

Is it ever OK to lie to your child? What if you're protecting him/her? Cohen tells a group of Cowtown gals last week, yes, it is OK sometimes. 

How important are ethics in today's society when Wall Street giants are dumping on Main Street midgets, Northern Africa's leaders are being exposed and politicians private lives seem more and more inconsistent with their lives of public service?

Cohen helped keep ethics relevant in today's secular world for 12 years, but he isn't actually an ethicist by training. He has never received a degree in philosophy or psychology. Rather he was a three-time, Emmy-award winning writer for the Letterman Show and funny guy.

"I was an accidental ethicist," Cohen said. "Cat Fancy magazine isn't written by a cat."

But I think those who read his column every Sunday at the breakfast table with their family would say he has helped explain why some things should or shouldn't happen. The lack of credentials may have worked to his advantage — he was able to lean on experts for advice, remain humble and approach each situation with an open mind. The word he used was "raw."

He said he typically didn't need to tell people what was the right or wrong thing to do, rather his job was to tell them why they shouldn't do things like shoot their dog because it barks all night and urinates on couches. People generally have an instinctual knowledge about what they should do, but he said they need help to understand how they got there.

Cohen said he never heard from giants such as Bernie Madoff in all of his years as "the ethicist." He said those who needed the most ethical advice never usually ask.

"The people most in need of being beaten up are always enormous," he said. The room roared with laughter. It's so true.

 The New York Times gave the columnist's job to new writer a mere two weeks ago after twelve years clearing up muddy issues for people all over the world. But before Cohen moves on to his next chapter, he came to Fort Worth March 11 to speak to a Fort Worth group called the Lecture Foundation.

I got to meet Cohen after the speech and ask him a few questions about ethics. As a philosophy major I studied ethics a bit and really enjoyed his speech. I enjoy that I could have this intellectual experience in Cowtown thanks to the Lecture Foundation!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

There's Nothing French About Fort Worth's Paris Coffee Shop

Nestled at the tail end of the newly trendy Magnolia Street in Fort Worth is the old and not-so-trendy Paris Coffee Shop. The diner is known for its old fashioned, home-style breakfast and lunches. It has stayed true to its original ambiance (minus the cigarette smoke) for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been going there since I was a little girl in the 80s.

The place is always packed on Saturday mornings. A long line inevitably forms inside, but don’t let that deter you — the hostess manages the seating arrangements like the Swiss manage their train system. In other words, the line moves fast.

After we were seated I looked at the open room of eclectic patrons and wondered how many people they serve breakfast to every Saturday. So I asked. The owner’s wife, who works the room with a coffee pot in each hand, went back into the kitchen and asked her husband for the golden numbers. He serves about 500 people and goes through roughly 120 dozen eggs on an average Saturday morning. That is 1,440 eggs, folks.

And I don’t remember a time when one of those eggs wasn’t prepared to perfection. Side note: It’s hard to find a place that doesn’t look at you funny when you order fried eggs cooked medium well. They get it there. All of the food is great at Paris. The huge omelets are served with crispy edges and filled with creamy processed American cheese. No Gruyere, brie, goat cheese or feta here!

If the owner isn’t on the floor visiting with his loyal patrons, it’s because he’s in the back baking his renowned pies and other popular goods. He’s always there working and his warm and familiar face is definitely part of the experience.

Next time you’re in the south side of Fort Worth, turn onto Magnolia, drive past the modish and swanky bistros and stop at the modest Paris Coffee Shop. They also serve lunch during the week if you’re ever in the mood for collard greens and fried chicken. There’s nothing French about the place.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Road Map Through Austin

I started to feel sorry for my friend as I headed to the Texas state capital last weekend to visit her. I'm a busy body and every minute of my visit is tied to a tight itinerary starting at 7:30 a.m. the following morning. I'm not very good at lounging around the house on the weekends, and besides, exploring new territory keeps things interesting. Not a minute will be wasted!
My friend lives in the Travis Heights area of Austin, which is a neighborhood just off South Lamar. The typical Austin hood is as perfectly disheveled as the hippies and blended pups that sit on their porch and frequent the local dog park. In fact, the dog park was our first stop. I've never been and I don’t have pets, so this was a new experience.

The Dog Park
I noticed the proud owners of the gregarious and diverting dogs acted differently than people in most other social situations. They introduced their dogs to Grace and vice versa, but not themselves. They swapped stories about their dogs’ personalities and redeeming qualities. It was a curious to me that they seemed less interested in us than our convivial companions. It wasn’t like, “so what do you do for a living?” It was more like, “so what does your dog do for a living? What breed? It’s character and personality?” There was no exchanging of names with the other people, but we knew every dog's name in the park within 15 minutes.
They behave as parents at a playground do: bragging about their pup’s good manners, what they achieved at training camp, how social they are. One pair of dogs got in a vicious fight, and just like every other delusional parent, everyone was pointing fingers. “It couldn’t possibly be little Scout's fault!” The two owners snarled at each other cussing under their breath. 
And the dogs’ personalities were as colorful as the purple, green and blue houses that lined the park. One overweight old Saint Bernard sat fat and happy next to the water fountain until a pack of trim younger lady dogs ran past. He thumped heavily behind them until he literally couldn’t move. His non-attentive owner was doing some sort of Tai Chi motions with the occasional drop to push ups. “He’s just stretching,” Grace said. “No he’s not,” I thought to myself.
Another cunning dog, a black Australian shepherd mix, kept bringing the ball to Grace that his male owner threw for him to retrieve. If you don’t know Grace she’s often compared to Sharon Stone, so to sum it up she’s gorgeous. This dog knew what he was doing.

Friday Night Lights ... dance on the water.
Hula Hut
After I was introduced to the dog park, Grace and I headed to Hula Hut for some margaritas and queso on Town Lake (it seems more like a river but whatever). It was a perfectly cool spring evening in Texas and the Mexican Martinis we ordered helped the long drive go down easier as the sun set over the lake. The menu was large, but we each ordered an item and had a bite of each other's food. The coconut shrimp were huge, sweet and crunchy. Casey ordered one cheese enchilada that looked like the size of two burritos. Excellent. I think the atmosphere and being on the water was what made the experience at Hula Hut. We didn’t accept the after-dinner invite to hear live music because we had an 8:30 a.m. appointment at my favorite breakfast place in Austin.

Breakfast and More ... food
Kerbey Lane always has a line at the door no matter how hard you try to beat the breakfast crowd. It’s that good. We met some of Grace’s Austin friends for breakfast and it turned out to be an awesome foursome. Don’t laugh, but I daydreamed I was in the show Sex in the City. I do that from time to time.
We all bonded over a shared appetizer of green chile, Gruyere and mozzarella macaroni and cheese dish perfected with penne pasta. For breakfast I ordered the traditional scrambled eggs and bacon with two pancakes. The bacon was a little puny but tasted amazing … none of that fatty business. And I know it’s a safe order, but trust me, it can be screwed up. Twelve cups later I think everyone was pleased with the strong, rich coffee as well as the cozy atmosphere. The restaurant is nestled in a small wooden house on … what’s the name of that street? Oh, Kerbey Lane. The only complaint was that our bearded waiter took a while to bring my coffee, but he was great with everything else. Although it may have been another waiter taking care of us because they were all bearded. Keep Austin weird.
Kerbey Lane
I don’t know about you but when I travel I love to be outside as much as I like to eat (weather permitting). So Grace and I picked up her two pups — Sasha and Cooper — and headed to Town Lake for a long stroll and good people watching. A bitter cold front blew through the night, but the rain and clouds later opened up to a luminous mid-morning. It was so bright it seemed as if glitter danced on top of the water. Austin is made beautiful by its green rolling hills and bodies of water. The city has great walking, biking and hiking trails, so it's good advice to take advantage if you have time. We walked and talked until we were hungry for more … food that is.
Next stop: Sandy’s Hamburgers on Barton Springs. Sandy’s is a maude-colored walk up/drive through burger joint with combo special that totaled $3.89. A line of cars piled up at the drive through. The burger was OK, but fitting for the price. The meat was thin and not very hot, but that's how some like it. We sat outside on picnic bench behind the restaurant and the dogs curled up under the table. We needed to eat all we could for our next adventure — kayaking!

At Sea
Grace and I were so excited to try kayaking in Austin. It's something you always see people doing there and wonder if it is as fun as it looks. We found a spot that rented us a “couples” boat for $15 an hour. We giggled like little girls as we tucked ourselves into slender, bean-like craft. Trying not to let the chilly 40 mph wind gusts deter us from this new adventure, Grace and I started rowing. We tried to row in unison to make the ride as efficient as possible, but instead floated sideways up the river splashing each other silly. Grace is an extravert (that may be an understatement), so she made friends all over the choppy pond. She challenged everyone to a race, which seemed funny considering we moved an inch per hour (iph). A few kayakers passed us on their way home holding up their paddles in victory.
Grace's Victory
After a new blister and two sets of burning arms we stopped. But that was when the real beauty of the day happened. We floated back to base in the silence of the whipping wind, rattling tree limbs and bustling leaves. The water sparkled under the cloudless, baby blue sky. I think we can both agree by the looks on our faces that we felt like little kids again. We remembered the feeling of joy after our new adventure.This is always the goal when I travel. Doing something new and adventurous gives people a sense of wonder that children embrace with ease but adults tend to forget. The key to happiness is to not lose that wonder of the world, which can be found in small things like a weekend trip or in even our own backyard.

P.S. The day ended at Enoteca on South Congress with Grace’s fabulous boyfriend. I think the company is as important as the food, because food can be spoiled by bad company. That was the best pizza and pasta I’ve ever had, except for when I lived in Rome. There was a sfizzi in a tiny place called Due Santi (Two Saints) about 10 miles outside of Rome. They had fresh mozzarella di Bufala from the region and mushrooms from their garden that they put on their pizza. Nothing has ever compared until this place. Everything from the mozzarella to the pasta is made fresh at the restaurant. The atmosphere was warm, inviting and trendy. The wait was more than an hour, but if you’re willing to sit at the bar and grab glass of red and a salad, you’re set.

Introduction to This Blog

So I decided to get back into blogging, but with a focus. Just like I decided to get back into my life … but with a focus.

There are four things I love to do — eat, travel, jog and WRITE. They say when you travel you should do things that you love to do at home, so all of these things go together as necessary parts of my body do. I wouldn’t function properly if I were missing any of the parts.

With a Masters in Journalism and undergraduate degree in philosophy, I spend most of my time over-thinking, digesting everything around me (figuratively and literally) and inquiring. I’m that annoying toddler that is always asking “Why? Why? Why?” except I’m in my late 20s. After two glasses of wine I once politely asked a man why he was missing half of his face. I’m lucky to still be alive.

I used to be a full-time newspaper writer and currently teach an intro to mass communications course as well as a media writing course at the local community college. This keeps the devil from working on my idle hands, which keeps my husband happy. Now that I'm happily married and hanging on to a journalism job with dear life, there is only one thing missing from my life since I quit the newspaper — writing. It's what keeps my joints lubricated and the blood moving through my veins. So here I am writing about things I love to do. If nobody is reading, that’s OK. At least I’m writing again. Here it goes!

Big Bend Fall 2010
P.S. I also believe it is possible to travel in your hometown by doing things that are out of your routine. It keeps the mystery and adventure in your life. I was born and raised in Fort Worth, and am finding awesome and new things to do every weekend. So this blog will be about my adventures in and away from Fort Worth and places I love to eat along the way. Most of my trips are weekend getaways in Texas because my husband doesn't take much vacation time from work. Most of you are probably in the same boat (as most working people are), but this doesn't stop us from hitting the road and having the time of our lives at home! Follow me and I’ll give you ideas along the way.