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My Trip to Port Aransas, TX: Goodnight Summer, Goodnight Beach

My last trip of the summer takes me to the Texas coast. It's time to go after days of play, but I need one last moment on the shore. 

A few others are there doing the same. They stare out at the gilded waves reflecting the new morning sun. Two thoughts undulate in my head—someone bigger than we are had to organize this, and timelessness mixed with newness. Saltwater and waves have been around since the beginning, but the life within is new and ever-changing. Ancient Greek tragedies and comedies, settlers, explorers and travelers find their stories' epicenter in the ocean. I then remember I'm not alone in my adoration. The opening paragraphs of Moby-Dick speak to humankind's shared fascination with water:

"There now is your unsular city of the Manhattoes, belted by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, an…

The First Amendment and NYC

A man with long white hair and a beard leans back against the steps reaching up to Federal Hall on 26 Wall Street. He plays the national anthem on his flute. Like the mild summer air coming off the Atlantic, the anthem ubiquitously floats around the Financial District reminding our small group where it all started.

This site was New York City’s 18th-centry City Hall where you could say the First Amendment was born. It’s no wonder newspaperman John Peter Zenger won his fight to print government corruption in his publication—the United States was born out of an intolerance for authoritarian, monarchial governments. Zenger’s acquittal marked a most important founding moment in our history—the freedom to expose injustices is no small potatoes. After all, the press is considered the fourth branch of the U.S. government, and essential part of the checks and balances system.
It was a great surprise to stumble onto this site during my latest NYC trip.

The New York City Cab Driver Who Changed My Life in 10 Minutes

My last night in New York City the cab driver taking us to dinner asked me where I was from. “Texas,” I said defensively. Everyone thinks Texans are wealthy because we are from the “Land of Bush and Oil,” so I deflected and asked him where he was from. After more prodding, he started to tell me his story, and it moved me to tears.
He grew up in poverty in Bangladesh but left for New York City 25 years ago at 40 years old. His family wasn't able to come to the U.S. until 12 years after his move.  It took him that long to get legal citizenship and safely bring them over.
He labored long hours for years as bussing tables in a restaurant at an age when his body was already tired. His English was broken, but from what I understood, he said the restaurant owner noticed his work ethic, asked him work as a cook. He soon after applied for his green card. He said after five years he took an exam and then got approval for citizenship.

The mere mention of that day un-furrowed his brows and …

My Vote for Fort Worth's Best (New) All Around Restaurant

My vote for best new all around Fort Worth, Texas restaurant in 2014 (never thought I would say this based off the Dallas location in NorthPark) is...wait for it...Kona Grill!

Situated on the corner of 7th and University Drive, this place has great views from the inside out.

The food was fantastic, atmosphere contemporary-chic (whatever that means), and the place kid-friendly. See Tony here? He checked on my son several times. Then the chef came out three times to high-five him.

The place is like a theme park for adults too with their indoor water features, LED-tipped cosmetic trees and fish tanks at eye level. It was loud enough that my 2-year-old could make monkey mating calls and not offend others, but not too loud that I couldn't hear my sister and mother speak.

"My toddler and my tummy were in heaven." 

Then there was the food. It was the best. I got the Miso-Saké Sea Bass with shrimp and pork fried rice and a side of Pan-Asian ratatouille. It was perfectly prepared…

You Can't Beat Yucatan Taco Stand's Happy Hour

While researching for a story about margaritas for a local magazine, I stopped by Yucatan Taco Stand on Magnolia Ave. Little did I know their tacos are $2 from 2-4 p.m., and their house margaritas are $4. I walked away with a tempura fish taco and a grilled vegetable taco topped with their cojita cheese and fresh cilantro, and a margarita. The total bill was $8.

"You can't beat that," said the cashier.

Nope, you can't.


If you're wanting a custom margarita, don't be afraid to ask. They have 103 different tequilas to choose from, and ingredients like cucumber, jalapeño, coconut, cinnamon, mint and more to create your perfect margarita.

Fort Worth's Friday on the Green is Around the Corner

I love everything about Friday on the Green in the hospital district just off of Magnolia—it's family friendly, has great food trucks, local breweries' beer, fantastic music, and it's free to the public! Not to mention it is more fun to be outside any day (unless a snownadocane strikes...or it's August in Fort Worth). This year they kick off their 6th season 7-10 p.m. Friday April 4.





Friday on the Green only runs Spring through late fall on the second Friday of each month. There will not be an event in August due to the aforementioned horrid August heat. I tried to go in August once and thought I just might die, so I am glad to see they canceled this one.

Pizza Snob

It's a good thing you don't have to tip at Pizza Snob (by TCU). It only seems fair to pay for the amazing gourmet ingredients you pick and watch coalesce into a delicious pizza. 
I say this because the service was unorganized, and employees frazzled. I guess that's why they seemed snob...ish.

Maybe they had a bad night.

However, it's a foodie's dream. You get to drool over ingredients like rosemary goat cheese mozzarella, smoked provolone, candied jalapeños, roasted baby portabella mushrooms and buttermilk sauce.

As you move through the line you pick your aforementioned ingredients but are only allowed up to four. Every pie goes for $7.99, and salads start at $2.99 for the tiny one, $5.99 for personal size, and a shared table salad is $8.99. We tried the kale salad, which came pre-dressed. It was pretty good, but a little
sweet for my taste. The ingredients were fresh and tasty even if it wasn't savory. 
You know how I feel about atmosphere—as you can see by …

Silent Films at the Kimbell

If you're looking for something cool to do besides lie around your house on the weekend, check out the Lone Star Film Society's Silent Sundays at the Kimbell's new Piano Pavilion auditorium.

While silent films seem like a hard sell, you can expect a unique experience as you watch history's first films that shaped the industry with the accompaniment of live music. Way Down East will screen 2 p.m. March 16, Strike plays 2 p.m. Sunday, April 20, and first ever Academy Award for best picture, Wings, plays 2 p.m. May 18.

I'm a little late in the game writing about this—the series kicked off Feb. 16. Their first production F. W. Murnau's "cinematic masterpiece" Sunrise had an unexpectedly large turnout. Classical pianist Robert Edwards performed his interpretation of the film live as the audience went back in time. After all, this is how moviegoers experienced film in the 1920s. And if they saw the same film three times, there may be a different musician a…

Bird Café and AF+B...making Fort Worth Cool as a Cucumber (updated)

All of a sudden, Fort Worth is cool. I always thought it was with its Cowtown roots, but now it is in a hip, cool cat kind of way (no...I'm not as old as I sound). With restaurants like Bird Café and AF+B we now have creative menus, fresh ingredients and crazy mixology behind the bar. 

Part I: AF+B


AF+B had a turkey pastrami sandwich special that day. Everything from the avocado and fennel purée and tomato jam to the turkey pastrami was house-made. The arugula was locally grown by
the farmers depicted in the beautiful photography hanging on the tavern's walls. In fact my waiter James said nothing they serve has been out of the ground for more than three days. They make their own ginger syrups, "turn the curd" themselves for their ricotta, and create their own sweetened condensed milk.

The only thing not house-made was the bread, which came from the Black Rooster Bakery. That place is amazing for lack of better words (sorry, I'm in a hurry!). The tomato jam covered …

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo #FWSSR

Bucking broncos and bulls send cowboys flying, tough cowgirls whirl around barrels as their horses' hooves thunder back into a tunnel beneath the stands, and children scramble to catch their calves for prize money. 
All of these things are reminiscent of the past, but the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo remind us city folks that the Wild West still lives right under our nose.

Every winter Jan. 17-Feb. 8, cowboys from as far as France and Australia move to Fort Worth for a few weeks to show us how it's done. They perform daring tasks actually practiced on ranches all over the world to show off their antiquated skills and win prize money.

And yes, these cowboys are the real deal. No show ponies here.

This long-lived North Texas tradition is one I recommend for everyone. I go at least twice every year.

Evening performances sell for $25 a ticket, and matinees $19. The event is held at the historic and beloved Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in the heart of Fort Worth's cultural…

AF+B Opens, Chef Jeff Harris Shares His Story and Excitement

American Food and Beverage just opened in Fort Worth across from the Brownstone and Waters on Crockett Street completing a trifecta of elegant dining experiences. Its open and airy space feels as fresh as its menu.

I caught up with AF+B's executive chef Jeff Harris about his passion for food, his story that ends at this restaurant, and why he left Bolsa in the Dallas Bishop Arts District.

Jeff grew up in East Texas on his grandparents' farm. His grandmother prepared southern meals with fresh vegetables from the garden. His whole family—cousins, aunts, uncles and parents—would often eat these home-cooked meals together. They didn't need a special occasion, they had good food. He loved watching his grandmother throw things together in the kitchen. He said she didn't even use measuring spoons because she knew how to make most things by heart.

Later he went to college changing his major until he finally got his real estate license and a desk job at a bank. But he never sto…

Best New Restaurants (and Best New Food Blog!)

I stumbled upon this beautiful fledgling food blog when researching for a story I'm working on. I loved its best-new-restaurants-in-Fort Worth list. I will definitely refer to this list when trying to think of a new place to try! It has beautiful photography. Check it out.

Food, Fort Worth Blog: Best New Fort Worth Restaurants of 2013
Also, check out Food, Fort Worth Blog's list of most anticipated new restaurants of 2014. 

Cooking Class Fun!

By Jocelyn Tatum 



Ready, set, GO! The big screen TVs reveal the stove top at the front of the room. Chef Christine bellows information to get the class started, and the first glass of wine is poured. It's time to play.

If you haven't guessed yet, I am at a Central Market cooking class. I tried this because it appeals to many passions—my love for cooking and learning new things, and my love for meeting new people and hearing their stories, and my love for doing something different.

Each group of four sat at one of the four assigned tables. That equals 16 people, which means the intimate feeling wasn't lost. We sipped wine, whisked egg whites until they held peaks, delighted in each other's stories, and learned things like "cooking light is about concentrated flavors [and] egg whites must be room temperature and in a metal bowl before they can hold peaks." Who
knew?

Before we prepared each course, Chef Christine demonstrated on the big screen what to do next.…

Coming Up: Marfa in a Teepee

Yet another trip to Marfa, Texas. This time I got to sleep in a teepee.

For 2014, dare to do something different than usual. Stretch yourself. I left my comfort zone when I entered the community outdoor showers and slept in a fabric hut with only a zipper between me and the rest of the world.

I hope to finish my article about this weekend getaway soon and will post. I just need to find the time to write it and pitch it to a travel magazine! Stay tuned...