Posted on Leave a comment

The Republic of Texas: Another Good Place for 'Ritas and Fajitas


So, if you go to southeast Texas, actually anywhere in Texas, I’d say you’d find a lot of good Tex-Mex cuisine.  And so invariably, we had our share of lots of fresh and tasty meals with a strong Tex-Mex flavor during our recent holiday in the lovely city of San Antonio, Texas.  Like the fajitas we found at this little restaurant called the Republic of Texas.  With an outdoor dining option on the edge of the river, it happens to be yet another popular place, especially in the evenings.  The fresh tortillas and the accompanying meats, veggies, and all the condiments that came with it (fresh salsa and sour cream) made for gloriously mouthwatering fajitas.  Oh, and the margaritas weren’t too bad either.  See for yourself in the slideshow below:

Posted on Leave a comment

The Kitchen is the Heart and Soul of the Home (A Book About Kitchens– I love it!)

conrankitchenbook5.jpgThe book covers everything you would ever need to know about kitchens, and nothing extra. The first chapter offers a rich history of kitchens going back to the Roman kitchens of Pompeii. There is a section on small kitchens loaded with clever design solutions for people who actually cook out of their small kitchens. The Kitchen Design section at the end is jam-packed with thoughtful ideas and advice on how to make the kitchen the beating heart of the home. Even the lists of types of tiles seem to point to a shared goal of creating a kitchen that not only work and is beautiful, but has the right energy for cooking well.


conrankitchenbook3.jpgEven though the volume is twenty years old, very little of it feels dated, save for the yellow pages. Though styles change in terms of interior design (some of the textiles and artwork in people’s homes have a definite 1980s feel to them) mostly this book is filled with timeless ideas: what works and what doesn’t; what to consider when designing from scratch; what to consider when renovating; detailed descriptions of materials from flooring and countertops to shelving and lighting.


conrankitchenbook4.jpgWhat was so exciting about this discovery is that this is the very same thing we’re trying to do now on The Kitchn and Apartment Therapy with our tours and other posts about design, materials and organization. Conran’s work reminds both Maxwell and me of what our goals are at Apartment Therapy, almost twenty years on.


conrankitchenbook6.jpgThe Kitchen Book also inspired me to go through the last year of our Kitchen Tours and see if I could pull together my own collection of kitchens we’ve shown on that follow this same spirit of the kitchen being the heart and soul of the home. Here are ten of my favorite tours, each of which illustrates the spirit of how the kitchen really is the heart and soul of the home.


01-Paule_rect640 (1).jpg


Adrian and Gregg’s Pacific Northwest Kitchen


Jennifer and Jason’s Earthy Kitchen


Chef Laurent Tourondel’s Country Kitchen


Wes and Brianne’s Adorable Kitchen


Gluten-Free Girl’s Warm Kitchen


Lupine & Dan’s Joyful, Organized Kitchen


Paule Caillat’s Splendid Paris Kitchen


A Gentleman’s Working Kitchen


Frank’s Swift & Stunning IKEA Remodel


Matt and Blair’s Fresh Retro Kitchen


(Try to) Buy the out-of-print but still available book: Terence Conran’s Kitchen Book by Terence Conran



Posted on Leave a comment

Mega Millions Winners Bought Golden Ticket After Getting Cut In Line: Gothamist

Mega Millions Winners Bought Golden Ticket After Getting Cut In Line2011_03_megchecks.jpg
Mega Millions lottery winners, from left: Leon Peck, Kristin Baldwin, Mike Barth, Tracy Sussman, John Kutey, Gabrielle Mahar ad John Hilton. (Mike Groll/AP)

It’s safe to assume that the greatest line cut comeuppance in the history of civilization took place at Coulson’s News Center in Albany last Friday, when an unidentified jerk weaseled ahead of winner Mike Barth and bought a lottery ticket. Barth was reaching for a candy bar when the inconsiderate P.O.S. reached over his shoulder to cut the line and bought the next lottery ticket. “I thought about saying something but decided to just let it slide,” Barth tells the NY Post. “I bought the next ticket—the winning ticket!” The jackpot was worth $319 million, which Barth will share with six coworkers at the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal. The bastard who cut the line gets an all-too-rare serving of JUSTICE.

The winners were identified at a press conference in Schenectady this morning; each winner will get $28.9 million before taxes, or $19.1 million, after taxes. The odds were one-in-176-million. According to the Post, the winners didn’t show up for work Monday and have no intention to returning to work, but it’s unclear if their absence will have any noticeable impact on state bureaucracy.

Still, this must really burn for their unlucky co-workers left behind. One unidentified employee reportedly opted out of the lottery pool that fateful day, telling the others he “didn’t feel lucky.” A woman who knows the winners says, “They asked him twice. They said, ‘Are you sure?’ and he said yeah, he was going to pass this time. I feel horrible for him.” Oh well, we’re sure this won’t haunt him every waking moment for the rest of his life or anything. Back to work, slave!

Gotta love this story!


Posted on Leave a comment

Origins of the word Cappuccino


The richness of espresso topped with frothy milk might not suggest a Catholic order devoted to poverty, but there’s a connection between cappuccino and the Capuchin monks.

Members of that austere 16th century order wore a notably long and pointy hood, called a capuche. This earned them first the nickname, and then the formal name, Capuchin.

The brown shade of that hood inspired the name of the coffee drink around the turn of the 20th century.

My favorite beverage, just FYI.


Posted on Leave a comment

'Ritas On The River (And Lots of Other Tex-Mex Grub)


One very popular restaurant on the Riverfront in San Antonio, Texas, is this place called ‘Ritas On The River.  It is one of many other such similar restaurants– not fancy in the least, and if anything, very basic in its menu of standard Tex-Mex fare.  It was one of our first stops on our week-long holiday last month in the city where we graced many a restaurant for lunch and dinner.  The ‘ritas were certainly very popular from the looks of the waiters bustling around the noisy crowd with large trays of every colored margarita in tumblers and other goblet-like classic margarita stemware. 

Didn’t take long to wolf down the enchiladas and whatever it was that we ordered.  All in all, very nice for a quick and easy meal and a mean ‘rita!  Check out some pictures in the slideshow below of what we found on the menu that evening:

Posted on Leave a comment

Black Eyed Peas: They're So Good FOR You!

Yes, you heard right, I am a big fan of the Blackeyed Peas; always have been since they first came on the scene a couple decades ago.  But I’m also a big fan of the kind of blackeyed peas that you can eat. 

Here’s some I made yesterday.  Called Lobia where I come from, I made these from scratch, meaning, I soaked them overnight and then cooked them directly in a pressure cooker starting out with a tempered seasoning of hing, onions, mustard, and green chillies.  Cover and simmer for twenty minutes, and you’ll have the most delectable blackeyed peas to go with rice or roti.  Or to eat as is like you would a bowl of soup.

There’s a whole Wiki entry on these lovely peas that I grew up calling Lobia.  Check it out here.

And for that other kind of Black Eyed Peas that I also can’t get enough of, check out their Wiki entry here.


Posted on Leave a comment

Pearly Whites Still White: So Says My Dentist


This post was first published in my private blog on December 12, 2008.

So, you’ve heard the expression, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right? And of course, you know what that means, right?

Well, just on the off-chance that you don’t know, or aren’t too sure, what it means is this: the horse’s mouth, i.e., its teeth are a sure indication of its age and its state of health. And so, looking at its mouth would tell you what kind of horse you’re getting, i.e., how young (and healthy) or old (and sickly) it is.

Likewise, teeth in humans are also a good indicator of overall well-being or the lack of it. Age and disease are a sure giveaway if one were to examine a person’s teeth. Well, that is, unless you have teeth like mine!

Uh huhn, you heard right: my teeth are fantastic. So says my dentist.  In fact, I was in his chair just yesterday afternoon for my six-monthly cleaning, and he said what he always does: my teeth and gums are extremely healthy, and are looking great! Of course, he still does what he’s supposed to do, which is give my teeth a good professional cleaning, and then he sends me off with a new toothbrush and toothpaste and a new pack of dental floss.

It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve got a good set of teeth. Even if you’re short by a few like me: I have only 27 while the average set is 32. And I have no wisdom teeth. Not even one. Okay, nothing funny about that, so no exclamation points necessary. 

So, here’s to good dental hygiene, and a great smile always. Speaking of which, here’s one of mine.

Posted on 1 Comment

The Helios Trail In Blue Skies On A Cold Spring-Like Day

You love it or you loath it.  Public art, that is.  I happen to like it; sometimes, I even love it.  It certainly makes me stop and stare.  And sometimes wonder, even.   So, here’s my latest discovery of a public art installation on campus.  Called the Helios Trail, it is a brilliant monument shooting up into the blue skies.  When the skies are blue, that is, which they were today.

I took these pictures just earlier today on a brisk walk across campus, came back to look up information on this monument, and here’s what I found.

Come rain or shine, this is one shiny object, and it is this quality of its consistency which qualifies this to be on a blog titled The Show Must Go On!