Dog Burglars

Our dogs are becoming criminal masterminds when it comes to food.

Court Docket # 101D 

Defendant:  Daisy

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Crime:  Sneaking the poached eggs off of her male human’s plate when the humans weren’t looking, and then messily devouring them on the female human’s nice kitchen rug

Sentence:  Fifteen minutes in her room, loud voices yelling at her and no pig’s ear treat that morning before the humans left for the day

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Court Docket # 101S

Defendent:  Sammy

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Crime:  Eating an entire bowl of dark chocolate-covered cranberries that a female human unwittingly left out on the coffee table while the humans were away for the evening

Sentence:  A very bad stomach and three, elaborate wretching sessions which produced three, gigantic piles of sick

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And Mayor White says that our city’s crime rate is down…

59 Diner

59 Diner (Town & Country location), Houston, Texas
January 1, 2008

I hope you all had a fun, relaxing and — for some — quiet, Advil – and – bottled – water – filled New Year’s Day!

For my part, I spent a good hour and a half parked in front of a mouthwatering Texas Grilled Cheese sandwich and a butterscotch malt at 59 Diner. I was in comfort-food heaven.

It was initially a tough debate between the meatloaf with sides of baked squash casserole and mustard greens and the Grilled Cheese, but here’s what ultimately swayed me: two kinds of cheese, with tomatoes (!!!), all grilled together on thick slices of jalapeño-cheese bread. Oh, you sweet, sweet cheese. You’ve got me by the heartstrings.

The 59 Diner at Town & Country took the place of a Macaroni Grill that — thankfully — vacated a strip center which was once anchored by a Best Buy and a large pet store, up until about four years ago. The entire Town & Country/west Memorial landscape has changed so much in just the last five years that I’m sure someone returning to their childhood home would hardly recognize the place for all of the freeway expansions, demolitions and stucco monuments to conspicuous consumption.

While I certainly don’t miss Macaroni Grill, it was heartening to see 59 Diner take its place after it was eminent domained out of its prior west Houston location further up I-10. Nothing will ever replace the original 59 Diner of my childhood and adolescence — one of the few warhorses still left around Greenbriar — and its funky charm. I have many fond memories of devouring Rings of Fire (am I the only one who remembers those? they were like an Awesome Blossom, but incredibly spicymmm…) along with my ubiquitous butterscotch shakes, crammed into a booth with friends at ungodly hours of the night, laughing and people-spotting and scarfing down plate after plate of greasy, onion-based diner food. Continue reading 59 Diner

G/M Steakhouse

G/M Steakhouse, San Antonio, TX
December 16, 2007

Having barely slept the night before (due to a combination of very bad stomach cramps and being stuck in a room right next to the elevator shafts on one side and some aggressively loud French people on the other), Richard and I blearily stumbled out of the St. Anthony Hotel on Sunday morning in search of a cheap yet hearty breakfast.  He was insistent on going to the McDonald’s next to the Rivercenter Mall, but my stomach and the dimly-lit parts of my brain protested.  I simply couldn’t tolerate the insipidness or the grease of an Egg McMuffin after the night that I’d had.  Besides, eating at McDonald’s just feels like giving up. I needed real food.

We walked, semi-aimlessly, towards the Alamo.  And within five minutes, we stumbled across this, directly across from the Alamo itself:

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Richard was sold on the $3.50 breakfast special; I was sold simply on the word “breakfast.” Continue reading G/M Steakhouse

On Scones

One of my favorite things to do on weekend mornings (and one of Richard’s favorite things for me to do) is to bake scones.

Growing up, my mother made fresh buttermilk biscuits on the weekends and sometimes even during the week if we were lucky.  Her biscuits have layer upon delicate layer of melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  They are little, delicious dollops of true Southern comfort food baked upon a seasoned iron skillet.  And I remain unconvinced that I’ll ever be able to make anything as perfect.

What I can make, however, are scones.  Richard, being English, prefers this — his own little nook of food-induced comfort on the weekends — so I revel in preparing them on Saturday mornings, before anyone else has gotten up, when I can open the windows and hear nothing but the soft sounds of wind through the pine trees and the chirping of sparrows.

I’ve tried many different scone recipes in the pursuit of something that I’m truly proud to present in the mornings.  Some recipes turn out scones that are too hard; others are too light and crumbly; still others are too cake-like.  One day I found a recipe that called for strawberry yogurt in lieu of milk or eggs, in an attempt to make the scones fruit-based without using any actual fruit.

That sounded rather disgusting to me, and I didn’t have any strawberry yogurt anyway.  But I did (and always do) have a large tub of vanilla yogurt on hand and decided to give it a try with a few modifications.  What emerged from the oven after ten minutes were the best scones that I’ve ever tasted.  What’s better, they were the best scones that Richard had ever tasted.  And if that isn’t a seal of approval, I don’t know what is.

Here’s the recipe:

Continue reading On Scones