Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Not the Heat...

It really isn't all that hot when you shut all the blinds, crank up the A/C and sit yourself inside until the sun goes down and the temperature drops into the high 90's.  Our weather guy said the 108 was a record for San Antonio on Saturday, but I can assure you, it was a lot hotter than that out here.  I guess I'll put off mowing until the 4th of July weekend.
In the mean time, Adirondack # 3 looks like it might need another coat of stain.  You can see my plan - slowly replace all of our assorted cheaper chairs with the Adirondacks.  I think a dozen would be nice, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

I'm starting on #4 today, and I also need to build some of the foot stools that match the shape.  I think that will be fairly easy.  The other thing we are considering is painting them instead of staining.  Eva saw a picture of four Adirondacks all painted a different color - like red, blue, yellow and green.  I'm not sure I like that idea, but I could see painting them a single color since obviously, my staining skills just aren't there yet.

In other news...

I have a colleague at work who came into the office from a smoke break outside and reported that some jerk had backed his truck right up to his car and used it for a stop sensor. 
The black square thing on the front of the BMW is the license plate holder.  My friend left a note on the truck, something very polite, I'm sure.  No damage was done, but Jeez - that's pretty rude.

I know what you are thinking - the shocking part of this story is that people actually still smoke.

This morning Eva is working on a craft she saw posted on Facebook.  Apparently, everybody has seen the same picture of these glow-in-the-dark planters.  The idea is, you paint this stuff on something and it absorbs the light during the 108 degree weather, then at night, it glows.  We drove around for an hour before finally stopping in a Wal Mart and finding some paint.  The people at Lowe's and Home Depot were all sold out.
I'll post a picture of what it looks like when I actually see them glow at night.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lunch Report: La Tuna Grill...

As they say on the Internet, Oh. My. God.  I just woke up from a three hour nap following the thorough stuffing of my tummy with a wonderfully tasty, perfectly cooked and expertly prepared and presented burger from La Tuna Grill in downtown SAT.
We've stopped into the tree covered picnic table area of La Tuna for an after meal beer a few times but never could seem to make it into the restaurant that shares the property until today.  Eva had it in her mind that we would eat at La Tuna Grill this weekend, and though we had to wait until 2PM, our late lunch was just what our hungry appetites ordered.
Until one of the proprietors told me after we ate, I had no idea that the grill and the ice house were actually two separate businesses.   And now it makes sense that the hours are different.
Inside, the place is obviously much fancier than the beer bottle cap covered rocks and picnic tables that await you outside.  The seating area is tight and within a few minutes of opening, the dining room was full.  Conveniently, and if it isn't 108 degrees like it was today, you could sit outside in the shade if the place is too packed for your tastes.
Someone had suggested we order the fried mushrooms as an appetizer.  This was the half-order, and between three of us, we took half the half-order home.  Get them with the Ranch dressing and enjoy while they are hot!  Good stuff.
My son ordered the Chicken Salad Sandwich which was on special this afternoon.  Loaded with bacon and alfalfa sprouts on wheat toast and plenty of fixin's on the side, he was extremely pleased with the cool selection.  And those look like sweet potato fries, but they aren't.  What they are is really, really good.
Eva had the Cheesy Burger which is a half-pound of Angus beef covered in gooey cheese and served on a grilled bun.  They provide plenty of pickles and lettuce and tomato, etc., so you can build it out the way you want.
I also had the cheesy burger but went two steps further and added grilled jalapenos and bacon.  Somebody, just put me out of my misery now.  This burger was so incredibly delicious that I had to take random breaks to sit there and enjoy it, and to see if I could finish it all. 
That is my face on fire from the freshly chopped and grilled jalapenos.  I rarely leave even a scrap, but my fries had to go home in the Styrofoam box along with the rest of the mushrooms.
The wait staff was Johnny-on-the-spot with iced tea refills and all three of us raved about how good the freshly brewed tea was. 
Do not wait any longer.  Get yourself down to La Tuna Grill and try some of the goodness coming from that kitchen.   If the food and service are anything like what we got today, you'll be in for a Tasty Treat.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Week in Review: Oil, Tacos, Burgers, Rocks...

The Spurs did not win either game in Miami.  That was disappointing but it was a fantastic series and we had a great time watching the games, commenting on Facebook and trading barbs with my nephew Dan, a disgusting Heat fan. 
On Sunday, the Spurs were successful and it was probably because Eva made Bauer Burgers.  What are Bauer Burgers you ask?  Have you not seen the soap opera, Guiding Light?  Oh wait, that went off the air. 
 Anyway, one of the main families, the Bauers would have a party every 4th of July, and they would serve Bauer Burgers.   And, now we make them too.  I'll refer you to an older post from the old blog to refresh your memory, but they are just as good now as ever.

Speaking of eating, the other day we took vehicles to Lytle Oil Exchange to get some oil exchanged.  We thought it would be a good time to grab a bite and one of the ladies suggested a place across the street called Pirates Cove.  The small town of Lytle's High School football team mascot is The Pirate, so this restaurant sort of picks up on the theme.
We have driven by this place a hundred times, but this was the first time stopping in for breakfast.  Nice looking place inside, seemed clean and the people seemed friendly.   We took a seat in a booth and ordered drinks, Iced Tea for me and lemonade for Eva and my son, all in to-go cups.

As we waited for our breakfast, we noticed some of the signs on the walls - they have wings and catfish and other good things.  We really started contemplating return visits for lunch or dinner.
My son ordered the Tejano plate which came with three eggs, potatoes, beans and carne guisada.  He added cheese (as you should).  Looks great.
Eva got a barbacoa with avocado and a bean & cheese.  She commented that the beans had been through a blender versus mashed.  I really don't know it that is good or bad, but everybody ate them!
 I ordered my usual trifecta for any first visit to a taco place.  The carne guisada with cheese, the chorizo & egg, and the country & egg, all on flour.
The country & egg was very good.  I added the green sauce and it had a nice flavor to it.
Next, the carne guisada was also good.  I stared to think that maybe the flour tortillas were feeling a bit hard, but not enough to take away from the carne guisada.
By the time I got to the chorizo & egg, it felt like the tortilla was hard and while the chorizo was tasty, I was losing interest fast.

All in all, we all felt like this was a place we'd certainly like to try again, if not for breakfast, at least for lunch.  And then we got the bill.  $30 (before tip).  This same exact meal at La Pasidita is probably $13 - $15 max.  In retrospect, it was not the food price that got us, it was the extras.  Example:  Lemonade is $3.00 each.  Add a to-go cup and that is another 25 cents a pop.  The cheese for my son's plate and for mine is another .40 each and of course, Eva's avocado was probably at least a buck.

Let's not freak out over $30 for three people to eat, but why would I go back when I can get the same thing but better for half the price?  And then when we went back to pick up the cars at the oil place, one of the ladies gave us an earful about Pirates Cove.  I shan't bother to share the details of that private conversation, but yea, we'll just stick with some of our regular places.   
Did you know that Little Kitty likes the taste of spinach dip?  I did not know that either until she found that I had some dripping from my beard.  I know that makes me a slob.  It also made Eva want to gag and shave me whilst I slept.
Speaking of Little Kitty, she had a fun time with Isabella in her play house.
On Saturday, we did a little yard work.  Okay, a lot of yard work.  One of our projects was to clean up the front hedges.  We had some mulch in there that the exterminator told us was a breeding area for lots of the bugs Eva hates.  We had some mold action going on too.  So, we got rid of all the mulch, cleaned things out, but down some of that weed barrier stuff and put in a yard of river rock.  Gracie approves.
It still needs about another half yard of rock for everything to even out, but we'll do that next week.  Oh, hey!  Is that a turtle? 

I'm off to cut more wood for Adirondack chairs #3 and possibly #4 today.  Pictures to follow!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's Father's Day...

And an opportunity for me to catch up on a few things.  First off, the Adirondack project.
After only a slight miscue, the second chair got glued and screwed (as we say in the Adirondack chair building community).
Next, I was able to get some stain on it in between rain storms.  When I look at it by itself, I like it.  It has a really interesting color pattern to it. 
 The color I'm using is from Olympic called Redwood Naturaltone.  It took one full can to do both chairs, and honestly, I don't know if that is too much or not enough.
 Anyway, sitting next to the first chair, I begin to question my staining skills, though in fairness, I used wood from two different sources on these, so perhaps that is part of the cause.  Or perhaps I need to spend a few hours in front of Norm Abram re-runs and get smart.
On Saturday, we met up with our kids for a Father-day lunch at The Yard House over in La Cantera.  You have to appreciate the large, comfortable set-up of this place.  Lots of TV screens, spacious seating (we easily sat 6 in our booth), and the cool display of beer kegs and overhead pipes transporting said beer to the bar in the center.  I didn't even try one of the 2 pages worth of beers on tap, but there certainly were some that looked interesting.
I am pretty sure this was my first time eating at YH, though everyone else had been there a few times or more.  That was why everyone was really confused about what happened with our order.  We had our granddaughter with us and so the server said he would get her kids pizza out right away (which was a huge bonus).  Sure enough, here comes the pizza (which was huge) and I'm thinking really positive thoughts about the service.
After another 5 minutes or so a server brings out Eva's half-club, half-salad lunch combo.  I could tell by the confusion on the server's face that something was amiss.  After about 10 minutes, first our original server came by to apologize and say the rest of the stuff is on the way, then a few minutes later, a manager came buy to apologize and say there was a computer problem in the kitchen and our stuff would be right out.  Long story short, Eva slowly picked at her food trying to have something left by the time the rest of us were served.  I think we are all casual enough that it was no big deal, but still, can you imagine being on a first date with someone and half the order comes out 15 minutes later than the first?
So when I did get my Pastrami sandwich, I thought it was pretty good.  Throwing in some Jalapenos was a good trick.  Very enjoyable. 
The fries are those skinny type that are okay but you feel the urge to eat with a fork.
My son order an avocado Swiss burger but got something different.  You know the rule, never send anything back to the kitchen, so the server brought him slices of avocado to top it with. 

The food was all good, and in terms of our server being Johnny on the spot with iced tea refills, I was completely happy.  But if I had not had the rest of the people at the table telling me that our little serving glitch was not a normal thing, I'd be prepared to never return.  And I think that in itself is one of the problems about restaurant reviews in general; sometimes shit happens and not everything goes as planned.  I'm happy to go back and see if I can get some fish & chips along with a nice custom brew.

Here is something weird. 
I think Little Kitty is an alien.
Last week we had a yard sale that mostly resulted in me taking a bunch of stuff to Good Will.  And to reduce our income, Eva went down the street to the neighbor's yard sale and bought a little play house.  I didn't think Isabella would have any interest in it, but sure enough, she loves it.  And so does Gracie!

Did I mention today is Father's Day? 
Last October, my dad passed away - you recall the video, right?  Father's Day is just one of those reminders because you aren't scrambling to get a card mailed out in time. 
But Eva has a few years of experience on me in this area.  We lost her father over a decade ago. 

So, I'm not a huge fan of the Hallmark Holidays, but at least take a minute to think about the ones you have and the ones you had.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

He Lives: Reports of Chairs, Food, Links and More...

Just a short note here... I have not abandoned this place for the greener pastures of real life or IRL as the kids say.  But, real life does seem to take more of my time these days and as I promised myself a long time ago, I won't feel obligated to post if I don't have anything just bursting to get out. 

I can tell you that I am almost done with my second Adirondack chair, in fact, I had planned to have it ready for Eva to sit in on Sunday night as we watched the Spurs game out on our patio.  Unfortunately, as I was assembling things, I broke a critical piece that will have to be re-cut, re-sanded and re-glued. 
I was so disgusted with myself that I think it rubbed off on the Spurs and they ended up losing in a blow-out to the Miami Heat.  Let's trust that my vibe will be good in all future games.
We had a really lovely week with our granddaughter, here for a little summer vaca.  She so loves Gracie and the Little Kitty and Panda.  And I'm very happy to report that by all accounts everyone had a good time.  Can't wait for more!

I haven't been to Grady's in a long time.  I've always loved Grady's but since they closed the one on Zarzamora near Military Drive, it isn't convenient to work.  On Saturday, we went to the Grady's off of San Pedro near the Quarry and I had the catfish - good as usual.  I also swapped my fries for a side of onion rings.  Very bland, crunchy, battering that had no taste and required lots of salt and ketchup.  I also ordered a full serving of fried mushrooms for our party of 7 people and honestly, we didn't finish them all.  They were just not as good as the picture.  I like Grady's, but aside from the catfish and the iced tea, it was a bust.  We had to stop into Trader Joe's to buy cheap wine as a consolation.

I will tell you that we tried a new place for breakfast off of Sheperd Road in the small town of Atascosa, in Southwest Bexar County called La Esquinita, which I think roughly translates to The Corner.  It could mean something totally different, but that's what Eva told me it means.  Anyway, the sauce was so freakin' good and hot that it cleared my sinuses and I actually teared up a bit. They need to bottle that stuff and sell it. 

Hey, if you have a spare second, I'd like to recommend a link to a new blog called Universally Speaking.  She has just made her first post which I have to confess, I found wonderful.  Erica grew up with our kids and she had this wonderful ability to read and understand big words and ideas at a very early age.  She shocked us all with her ability to write, probably much better than the adults around her before she was out of the 4th or 5th grade.  I have wanted to her to write things that others could enjoy for so long, and now she has opened up to give blogging a shot.  It's free, so why not take a few minutes to read and offer her some encouragement. 

Okay - I'll be back with pictures of a finished Adirondack, stories of food eaten, adventures had and a picture or two.