Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chowtown Chicks Meet GoGo

Yesterday, I met my friend Christy, one of the Chowtown Chicks, at a restaraunt in Boyd Texas.   I had heard about it from the other Chowtown Chick, Kim, who ate there with her mother the week before.  An unlikely spot for a good food restaraunt, Boyd Texas was a good choice for us to meet, as it is the halfway point from Christy's house to mine, a half hour drive for each of us.  Turns out, it was a good idea.

Inside a small somewhat greasy storefront, our first impression was not great.  A smell of fried food, old, at that, assaulted our sensitive foodie noses.  There was stuff everywhere, a mess of collections of photos, tables with games, just stuff.  No one greeted us.  We were the first ones to sit down, as the doors had just opened.  But I was optimistic.  I trust my friend Kim who is a consummate foodie, and likely even more picky than I am about what I put in my mouth at a restaraunt.  

Given our choice of where we wanted to sit, we chose a booth, and settled ourselves in for a relaxing afternoon meal.  It was four pm.  Our waitress immediately came to our side and offered to open our bottles.  Christy had brought us a nice Prosecco, and I had a creamy smooth red table wine.  She  brought us glasses and we poured and toasted to our friendship. 

Opened the menu.  Ok, this place is called GoGo Gumbo.  So you would expect the cajun flair.   But what we found was more than that.  I would say a sort of mediteranean meets french cajun, which makes sense.  Seafood, of course, but the choices were stimulating and awesome, difficult to choose from.  Prices not overly expensive, reflecting the ingredients and specialty items.  Substitutions are not an option, as the chef has designed these dishes particularly for their flavor marriages.  And it is apparent that they know what they are doing.

We started with appetizers of fried oysters with remoulade sauce and shredded roasted brussels sprouts.  Yes, roasted brussels sprouts were an appetizer choice!  In a society where green thing choices at restaraunts  are often overcooked broccolli or canned green beans, this was refreshing.  We eat brussels sprouts at least once a week at the Shady B.

The fried oysters were served beautifully.  On a long narrow plate, on top of a bed of delicious fresh coleslaw, the oysters carefully perched like brown birds on a nest, with the remoulade sauce drizzled down the side.  Garnished with shredded arugula and drizzled with good thick balsamic reduction.  The first bite was tender and juicy, cooked to perfection.  The flavors combined made it a heavenly way to start a lovely meal, my taste buds exploded and brought a tear to my eye.  I could make this an entree, but there was more.  After that yummy ness, the brussels were only a slight disappointment.  Prepared well, they didn't have the flavor of the brussels I cook at home, mine are a bit more savory - these were lovely, but somewhat boring.  The shredded reggiano parmesan on top helped a skotche.  I did however get a new idea of shredding them - I'll get out my salad shooter and try it this week.  But I must say, it was all so good, we cleaned the plates, and then returned to the menu to order a second course.

Difficult to choose.  So many wonderful things on the menu.  A trout, an alaskan halibut, a baked stuffed lobster, crawfish bisque, crab stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, various salads that sounded delicious, not to mention all the deserts they spend half a day preparing fresh.  And all accompanied by the most delicious sounding veggies, interesting flavors put together.  I wish I could remember them all.  I'll have to go back again and again.

But we were encouraged to try the saffron risotto with scallops, shrimps, and balsamic reduction sauce.  It was pricey, but we split it, and once we saw it, we knew we had made the right choice.  The scallops, though only two of them, were as big as golf balls, perfectly cooked, juicy, a tiny steak sized morsel from the sea.  Four giant shrimps, on top of the most savory risotto, with tomatoes and arugula in the center.  I don't know what the sauce was, but it was perfect and pink, and just the right amount of balsamic reduction.  Crave able.  Which is as good as it gets.

My stomach said it was perfect.  Not overly full, but just right.  But I couldn't resist a creme brulee.  It is the ONE sugar thing I can't resist when I see it on a menu.  Has to be done right.  Thick and creamy, absolutely chilled, with the right amount of brown sugary crust on top.  I want to break it with my spoon, hear the sound it makes, and spoon up just the right first bite.  I want the "creme - sugar - spoonful" ratio to come out just perfect, so every bite has the same appeal from the first to the last.  Then I scrape every last smidgen from the ramekin, and sit back, satiated. A smile of contentment on my foodie face.

GoGo Gumbo is on my top ten list.  Actually, right now, it's my favorite. 

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time goes by

OK, so I know.  It's February already.  And I've not been here since October.  It's just like that when you are in the gift business.  Not that we're making much money at it, but it keeps me running.  This year I vowed to take it easier.  Work on my home a little more.  Practice my fiddle each day.  Plant my garden early.  Finish some projects I've started.  Start some new ones.  And paint.  None of those things make a living, but who knows, they might someday.

I have paintings in my head, sitting on my heart, ready to get on paper and canvas.  Every day, since the decorations went to the garage, I've thought I'd get started.  But seems something else always calls me to do that thing, whatever it is.  As my mother once said to me.  You stay busy Rachel, but all of it is elective.  Yes, I elect (or choose) to do everything, from playing the fiddle, to traveling, to emptying the dishwasher, though that is one of those things that eventually has to be done by somebody.
Any volunteers?

Right now, yes I know it is february, the lawn needs to be mowed, there are four loads of laundry to do, my early planted garden needs attention, my studio needs cleaning, my fiddle needs playing, my new project needs a few hours attention, the RV needs cleaning for the weekend trip planned, I have errands in town to do, a dog that needs a game of ball, and dishes in the sink.  I don't think I'll paint today, or tomorrow.  But I will paint that painting in my head.  Eventually.

And it will be a good one.

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's been a crazy few weeks!

Wow, since I returned from Italy, we've been blowin and gowin' here at the Shady B Ranch.
The band played a gig two days after I got home, and even though I was still jet lagged, it was good
to be back onstage playing music again.  Three weeks without my fiddle or guitar was not easy.
Music has become such an integral part of my life, it is difficult to imagine a day without it.
The very next weekend, the band played again in Corsicana at an old music hall - what fun that was. 

And then I went to Coffee Creek for a bluegrass festival and met the nicest folks in the jams.  So now I'm officially bluegrassed - hooked on it, so to speak.  And you can go somewhere every single weekend and get in a jam somewhere.  These gracious folks are always ready to help teach a new song, or a new chord, or a new lick.  We play till we can't play anymore - sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.
Fortunately Coffee Creek was about 12 miles from the house, so I could come home each evening.  But other events and jams are farther away, and so I found the CUTEST little RV, and purchased it the same day! 

And I took it to Pearl.
Pearl Texas that is.  First saturday of every month, for 20 years or so, the MOST amazing bunch of folks I've ever met in my life.  If it can be helped, I won't miss Pearl.

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Venice, Murano, Burano

Because of weird internet service, my blogging has gone out the window, but I'll try to catch up when I get home.  Just a few photos now......Walked around Venice......
Sat in St. Marks Square.
And fed the pigeons.....

Went to the opera......

Went to Murano......
and to Burano......
my favorite:).....

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

foto fantasma (photo ghost)

This is a photo that Linda took of me in the restaurant the other day.  It is an amazing photograph - I think I will try to paint it......

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lunch in Manarola

We decide to hold out for a good lunch in the quiet city of Manarola, and after a train ride from Corniglia, we begin the hike up, searching for the jewel of a restaurant.
Who would know that the Trattoria Billy would be it.

With a view of the sea, five tables max, we sit and begin the feast.  I am enamored with the bottle of balsamic vinegar they place before me.  It is like syrup, and the sweetest I've ever tasted.....

Weirdly, I am attracted to the item on the menu that says fried fish.
I order this with french fries and a salad.  It is all very expensive, but
Oh my.  SO good!  Fresh sardines, shrimp and octopus.  Except for Nona Tatas in Fort Worth, this is the best octopi I have ever had!  And the italian fries are yummy, crisp and delicious.

Kim and Don share two lobsters with spaghetti.  Afterwards we all need to be hosed down. 

Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE!