4:30pm: Leaving work early to make it over to the Miracle Berry party at La Strada.
4:45pm: In car, on autopilot, listening to NPR like a good white person.
5:00pm: Due to brain’s autopilot feature, have instead randomly pulled up to Grotto, not La Strada, which is on the wrong end of Westheimer. Sighing heavily and slightly annoyed, pull out of parking lot and head towards right end of Westheimer.
5:15pm: Autopilot once again subconciously engages as public radio voices drone hypnotically about the 1968 Democratic convention and Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.
5:30pm: Before I know what’s happened, I have completely left Westheimer and driven over to Shepherd and West Gray in River Oaks, where I have now pulled up in front of La Griglia, which is — once again — NOT LA STRADA. My brain has the weirdest internal mapping features sometimes. It’s like I put an incomplete address into a GPS and the thing is just directing me to the closest match. What kind of weird fumes did I inhale as a child?
5:45pm: Using all my power of extreme focus (which, coincidentally, includes turning off the radio), I manage to make it to the actual La Strada, which is NOT in the Galleria (Grotto) or in River Oaks (La Griglia) but is in Montrose. Yes. La Strada. Finally. For a more spatial representation of how dumb I am, please feel free to click here.
6:00pm: Inside greeting friends and having a pretty good G&T. Good turnout so far.
6:15pm: My word (that’s a trademarked East Texas phrase, folks, thankyouverymuch). This place is getting packed.
6:30pm: There are over a hundred people here??? This Miracle Berry thing has spread like wildfire…
6:50pm: Have eaten tiny berry, noshed on food, been surprised as some, not at others, and am now standing around comparing my tasting experience to others’.
7:00pm: Rushing out to make tail end of dinner party at Mom’s house.
7:45pm: Swing by house to pick up Richard.
8:00pm: At party just in time for dessert: chocolate molten lava cakes with ice cream. Oh, heaven.
8:15pm: Probably due in part to the lasting effects of the berry, this is the best dessert I’ve ever had in my life. Much sweeter and deeper-tasting than normal, without being overly sugary. Bizarre.
8:30pm: Enjoying company of parents and East Texas cousins. My cousin Kurt sounds exactly like Willie Nelson when he talks; my cousin Had sounds like Boomhauer (yes, his name is Had).
10:00pm: Go home, go to bed. I am no night owl, sadly.
8:00am: Sipping grande bold from Starbucks, working on plethora of Houstonist articles to post today, tomorrow and next week. It’s easier than trying to write one every day.
12:00pm: Richard and I are eating leftover crab and corn chowder (with huge chunks of crab, shrimp and crawfish) and beer bread from last night’s dinner party. So good; even better than having it the first time around.
1:00pm: Heading out to Starbucks (again, yeah, shut up) to try the new Vivanno smoothie that Jay wrote about last week. Richard likes the orange-mango-banana blend, but pronounces it “not sweet enough.” I prefer the chocolate-banana, but not enough to want it on any kind of regular basis as it tastes too similar to Slim Fast. We are both very meh about the smoothies overall. My buddy Food Princess appears to have liked it even less, even with a gigantic straw.
4:00pm: Driving to The Woodlands with Richard and my parents to have dinner and go to the Heart / Journey / Cheap Trick concert (listed in order of importance, obviously). Drive to The Woodlands isn’t so bad anymore since there are actually areas up there worth visiting now, instead of just a concert venue stuck out in the middle of a knot of pine trees.
5:00pm: Eating dinner at Cru, favorite place in The Woodlands. Having a wine flight AND a cheese flight. Maybe some people wouldn’t call this “dinner,” but I do. Mother has pear and gorgonzola pizza (delicious), Ralph has chicken with haricot verts and fingerling potatoes (also delicious) and Richard has crab cakes (also, also delicious, although not as good as Raia’s last weekend). My cheese flight is sinfully good, with Roaring 40s Blue, Humboldt Fog and a beautiful, plump carving of Robiola. Served with honey, pears, grapes and “rustic” bread, this could not be a better dinner.
6:00pm: Walking off great amounts of cheese and wine, heading to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell pavillion. Lines take forever. They’re confiscating incredibly stupid things, like OFF!
7:00pm: Sitting on the lawn with family and Ralph’s cousins, watching Cheap Trick take the stage. Meh.
7:30pm: Although, it must be said that “I Want You To Want Me” will never get old.
8:00pm: Sun has dipped below the rear wall of the pavillion lawn, slight breeze has cooled everyone off, pleasantly comforting “concert” smell of beer, cigarettes, freshly-cut grass and a million different perfumes and colognes is permeating the air.
8:30pm: Heart takes the stage. I never thought I’d actually get to see them live; have loved them since I was but a wee thing.
8:45pm: Nancy Wilson is kicking ass up and down the stage. Ann Wilson’s voice is every bit as spine-tingling and heart-shattering as always. I heart Heart. So. Much.
9:30pm: Encore! “Crazy On You” and an absolutely breathtaking cover of Zepp’s “Going to California.” I am more determined than ever that I was born in the wrong decade.
10:00pm: Journey is on, with insane little Arnel Pineda hopping and whirling about the stage like he’s hopped up on a case of Jolt Cola. Close your eyes and he sounds exactly like Steve Perry.
11:30pm: Heading home. Richard has fallen asleep in the backseat of the Tahoe; very cute.
8:00pm: Have resisted the allure of cheap, questionable breakfast food (McDonald’s) but not cheap, questionable iced coffee drink (McDonald’s). One outta two ain’t bad. Right?
9:00am: Working on Houstonist articles yet again.
11:00am: Getting dressed for today’s Chowhound lunch. Yay!
12:30pm: At Blue Nile with fellow Chowhounds. Discussing massive hit that was Miracle Berry party and last night’s tenacity dinner (which I didn’t attend, obviously). Order plate upon plate of food, honey wine and Ethiopian beer.
2:00pm: Stuffed with yessiga wot, tibs, doro wot, injera and fifteen different kinds of lentils, waddle out of Blue Nile. Intend to head over to Houston Center for Photography’s Lens Libs exhibit. Sidelined instead by cursed lower back pain.
2:30pm – 8:00pm: Curled up in miserable ball on couch, popping Advil and Kava Kava to fend off back pain. Reading Nigel Slater’s amazing memoir, Toast, is making life bearable, though.
8:30pm: Watching video that Richard rented: “Untraceable.” It’s awful, but a welcome distraction nevertheless.
10:00pm: Attempt to go to bed. Sleeping will be mostly untenable tonight, I’m afraid.
And I was right. Boys and girls, I am as tired as a whipped mule this morning (afternoon?). Hope y’all had a good weekend. I’m off to get some more coffee…