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Showing posts from April, 2011

Fort Worth's Japanese Gardens

I haven't felt inclined to write lately but knew I needed to do something before I fell off the writing wagon. Why not head over to the Japanese Gardens and walk around?

I was still uninspired as I drove through Fort Worth's Botanical Gardens and parked. The scenery was beautiful, but I was distracted by my lack of enthusiasm.

All of that changed the minute I paid my $4 fee and walked through the entrance of the Japanese Gardens.

There was silence. I was alone in a new world, and an overwhelming serene feeling took me away from the loud and busy world just moments away. The only sounds I heard were a cool breeze that tickled the never-ending canopy of leaves overhead, and a waterfall off in the distance. I instantly felt calm.

"In Japan, a tea garden or stroll garden offers more than a place to cultivate favorite plants. It provides a place for meditation, relaxation, repose and a feeling of tranquility," the garden's official brochure read.

I couldn't have sa…

My Favorite Happy Hour in Fort Worth

One of my favorite things to do in Fort Worth is grab an affordable drink and a reduced-price snack with my friends. This is also known as happy hour, and below are a few of my favorite happy hour hangouts. Atmosphere is as important to me as price, so these warm places are more than inviting. Click restaurant names for link to place website.

Winslow's Wine Café
This quaint little neighborhood hangout offers a red and white wine selection during their happy hour for $6. The wine changes weekly, which I like because I'm introduced to new wines this way. Cocktails are about $2 off regular price. A Kettle One vodka martini would be $11 during happy hour and $13 during regular hours. The pizza is about $5 dollars off the regular price (which varies depending on which pizza you order). A few other items like their hummus are also discounted. The garlic-truffle hummus on their warm pita bread is my favorite in town.

The patio and restaurant are warm and inviting. I think the atmosphe…

Upcoming Events in Fort Worth

Click the event name to link to website for more information. 
April 28: The Aluminum Show at the Bass Hall OK, I've never seen this show, but it looks awesome! Does it count if I've been to the venue before? The choreographer uses aluminum tubes and dance to create odd visual effects on stage.  Click here to watch a video of the eccentric Israeli dance group. It's 7:30 p.m. April 28 at the Bass Hall.
May 4: Fort Worth Mayoral Candidate Forum If you are anything like me and would like to know more about the FW mayoral candidates, then this would be a good event for you. It's from 5-7 p.m. at TCU's Brown Lupton Union Auditorium.
May 5-8: Mayfest Maybe it's because I've been going to this event since I was in my mom's belly, but I think this is fun to do at any age. I love walking around, eating all of the snacks, watching the performances and playing some of the games. But there's endless activities for the kiddos. Try to avoid tornados.
May 15: Hidden Gard…

Fort Worth Mayoral Candidates

It's time to vote! Early voting began May 2. Vision FW is hosting a Fort Worth Mayoral Candidate Forum 5-7 p.m. today (May 4) at the Brown Lupton Union Auditorium. Click here for more information. I also found this KERA website for you to peruse; it should be a good starting point.

Fort Worth Mayoral Candidates

And CBS is asking you to participate in the election by presenting questions to the candidates via social media. Click here to see the progress.

Who are you voting for and why?

Piola's and Other Great Fort Worth Patios

Spring is making the transition into summer, and people are looking for a great porch to dine and enjoy the weather.

My favorite porch in town is at Piola Italian Restaurant and Garden on the corner of Haskell and Mattison in Fort Worth. The restaurant is inside a little house and tucked in a neighborhood on the west side. It can be hard to find, but is worth the search. (Click for map).

It's even harder to find a place that has great food and a great patio that's not in a shopping center, which is why we love this place. The atmosphere is great inside and out. We went last weekend and enjoyed every bite of what we ordered. We can also be hard to please when it comes to the good-food-to-price ratio.

We started with the giant calamari. It was fried and smothered in parmesan cheese and a sweet, spicy chili sauce. My husband ordered the baked ziti. He gave me some. The noodles were perfectly cooked al dente, and the five cheeses were rich and flavorful. Last week, I had baked ziti…

A Look at Fort Worth Main St. Arts Festival 2011

The smell of turkey legs and pizza was carried up and down Main Street in Fort Worth Friday afternoon by 50 m.p.h. wind gusts that almost collapsed a kaleidoscopic of art booths. 

Despite the wind, it is was a bright, brisk and lively afternoon in downtown Fort Worth. The booths and artists were as colorful as the paint on the pieces that hung everywhere. Artists came from all over the U.S. to showcase their unique view of the world.

The pictures below are some of my favorite bits of art. Click on the artists' names to be directed to their websites.

(Below) Artist Jim C. Brown said he takes pictures of trees every time he travels. Each tree is from a different picture, which he turns into imagined forests. He prints these trees on plaster and then chips away at the plaster to reveal the sky beneath. These imaginary forests are beautiful to see in person. Check him out (booth #150).

(Below) I fell in love with the whimsical art of S.D. Meadows, and couldn't stop smiling the whole…

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

[Click on Event to link to place page]

April 16 (This weekend!): 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 (This weekend!): Fort Worth Zoo Run
Although I've never run in this event, I absolutely love running FW races every chance I get. 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. If you don't like crowds, this is not the place for you.

April 3-23: Jubil…

New Fort Worth Restaurant Makes Sushi Simple

I just found a pocket-sized sushi restaurant that leaves behind all the pretentiousness and complexity of ordering and eating sushi.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I'm in the mood for the highfalutin experience. But if I ever want sushi simple, affordable and fast, I'm going to Temaki on Magnolia. 
That’s the owner’s intention. You don’t have to be sophisticated to get this place. There are five simple panels that hang over the cash register — sides ($3), classics ($5), temaki ($5), nigiri/sashimi ($5) and signatures ($9).
The temaki is my new favorite healthy thing to eat. It is a hand roll that reminds me of a Japanese soft taco-like treat. Brown rice, your fresh raw fish of choice and cucumbers are loosely rolled in this light seaweed thingy. Those of you who haven’t figured out chopsticks can pick this up with your hands.
The most brilliant part of this restaurant is that I had a complimentary appetizer of edamame, one brown rice California roll and the Temaki hand roll …

TCU Hosts Journalism Symposium

Some of us didn't get enough in college, so I appreciate it when a university lets me in to soak up a little more brain juice. Last week — the seventh annual journalism symposium hosted by TCU. I heard from several organizers it was the biggest hit of them all.

“This is one of the largest crowds we’ve ever had for the symposium,” moderator Bob Schieffer said as he pulled up his pant leg and flashed his new purple boots with TCU stitched in white leather. He had bought them at Lusky’s earlier that day. The full room roared with approval of his latest purchase.
Panelists included the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, founder of The Huffington Post, Ariana Huffington and FOX news’ senior political analyst, Brit Hume. Hot issues like Wall Street greed and the fate of journalism darted around the room like a boomerang.
Schieffer started the cordial quarrel. He said he’s never seen the government quite like it is right now. Hume came up to bat and said the …

Laura Bush Visits Fort Worth Bookstore

Since part of my shtick is writing about cool things in Fort Worth, I had to write about this one. First Lady Laura Bush was in Fort Worth yesterday (April 5) signing her national bestseller, Spoken From the Heart. Men and women were lined up for hours to get their hands on the paperback and meet the western beauty.
But there is a better part to this story. Since I had a VIP pass I got to stand in a short line with some fascinating Fort Worth people. (No, the VIP pass is not the better part of this story ... hold on). The only person I knew in the "cool line" was Fort Worth artist, Cindi Holt, so I stuck by her and played solitaire on my iPhone to look like I had people to email. Dang. Why do I get so nervous going to crowded events alone? Probably because I'm normal, despite what the Paxil commercials tell you.

Side note: You may be wondering how an unimportant person like me got a VIP pass. Because people did ask. Ugh. One of my husband’s business contacts in Dallas thou…

Into the Wild West Texas

(One of my favorite trips from Fort Worth)
Monahans Sand Hills. Balmoreah's Natural Spring. Davis Mountains. McDonald Observatory. Historic working cattle ranches. State Parks. We pass all of this on our way into our Trinitarian food and fun Mecca: Fort Davis, Alpine and Marfa. Due to my passion for this raw and simple part of Texas I will write in parts so you don’t fall asleep on your computer screen. I could keep an entire blog just about West Texas.

PART I: The Drive Out There The speed limit is 80 m.p.h. and the sky is as vast as the vaqueros’ vocations that have worked this land for more than 150 years. A smile always crosses my face as I leave the complications of society and the city life behind me. The drive from the Midland/Odessa airport to our destination is roughly 150 miles west and rich with undulating landscape, history and even bigger skies.
I don’t know what it is about the desert, but the drive from Odessa to our Fort Davis/Marfa/Alpine destination has become an es…

Fort Worth's Jazz Café: an oh-so-good, eclectic dining experience

We decided to break away from our usual breakfast place this weekend and went to Jazz Café. I hadn’t been in years and forgot how good it was.  This place is really popular for lunch, but you must try the breakfast if you haven't already.
I went with the S.O.B. eggs, which reminds me of migas (but better). The eggs are scrambled with tons of cheese and tortilla strips.  The fresh cilantro, tomatoes and onions I sprinkled over the top gave it an extra kick. The S.O.B. comes with black beans, sour cream, fresh pico, and two flour tortillas. And I hear some of the ingredients come from the owner’s garden at home.
My husband got the ham and cheese omelet. His exact words: “I don’t say this often, but this was the best omelet I’ve ever had.” He liked the “soft” on the inside and “crispy” on the outside eggs, the big chunky and salty ham, and the generous portion of cheese. His plate came with homemade biscuits. Of course I stole one. It was very sweet and delicious like a honey biscuit.…