Friday, July 31, 2009

Foodie 101

I feel a couple of food blogs coming on. On our recent press trip to Virginia, I started early one morning with a visit to the Manassas farmers' market. Are you old enough to remember the Alan Alda movie "The Four Seasons"? In it, Sandy Dennis plays a photographer obsessed with vegetables. That was me at the market. What gorgeous fruits and vegetables! And look at the size of this berry!

The array was amazing -- corn, eggplant, cantelope -- a rainbow of vitamins! And the tomatoes -- every shape and color.

And they had lots of heirloom tomatoes -- not as photogenic -- my favorites are Cherokee purple. I couldn't help myself; I bought three, not knowing what I was going to do with them. Patty Tracy of Historic Manassas stepped in and offered to take them to Robert Barolin, chef/owner of City Square Cafe where I intended to have lunch.

What a great idea! When we got to the restaurant, the waitress brought out this lovely bowl of tomatoes and we shared them around the table.

For my lunch, I ordered the Southern Shrimp Salad -- grilled shrimp over mixed greens with tomatoes, red onions, corn and a blend of Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese. This was tossed with a chipotle ranch dressing and served with a crispy tortilla shell. And it was as good as it looks!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Iconic Architecture

We turned off the main road and up a curving driveway. There was no hint of what was ahead -- just tall trees and green grass. Then, around another curve, there was this amazing building. It was stunning -- an instant WOW, even before I understood the significance of the design.
This is the Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico in Prince William County, Virginia. A striking shaft 210' feet in length shoots out of the base building at a 45 degree angle. Squint your eyes and it becomes the pole of the flag raised at Iwo Jima. And inside you'll see that flag -- now tattered. This fabulous building is a perfect setting for an impressive museum honoring "the few, the proud." The architect is Curtis Worth Fentress of Frentress Bradburn Architects, Denver. Among his other works are the Denver International Airport and the expansion and renovation of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center here in Oklahoma City.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

The older I get, the longer I like to spread out my birthday. I just had the second day of it. Yesterday I was in Prince William County, Virginia, on a press trip. First big birthday treat yesterday was an email from Jack. Then, at the Marine Museum in Quantico, the press group -- and our Marine docent -- sang Happy Birthday to me in the rotunda of the museum. What a neat surprise. But then at dinner, the restaurant brought out a big dessert with extra spoons and the group sang again and gave me a neat card they'd all signed. So I felt well and truly celebrated yesterday.
I called Jay when I got into town today and he sang to me and he, Carolyn, Austin, Calvin and Alexander came over tonight with prezzies. Tomorrow I'll talk to Zoe and she'll sing to me, too.
I love my birthday!!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

She's Baaaaaack

Ah, I'm having a life! Last Sunday night -- late -- I sent off the last of my 109,000 words about Tulsa. I know there will be more work to do on it but it feels good to have a little break. If I had my way, the book would never be done -- I really worked hard and put a lot into it but there's always more...... What a great town Tulsa is.

So Monday morning early, we left for Texas so I could catch up with some work that got pushed aside during the book. We spent two nights in Salado -- the most delightful little village. People speed by on I-35 -- it's between Waco and Austin -- and never realize what a historic and charming spot they're missing.

Jack and I finally got around to celebrating our 48th wedding anniversary with a sentimental dinner at the Stagecoach Inn. Part of this historic inn dates back to 1860. The recipes are pure 1940s -- they're so popular that the restaurant can't change them! Jack and I ate here the first time about 43 years ago. We were on our way to Padre with my folks. We've stopped a couple of other times -- once when Zoe was showing her horse in Waco over Thanksgiving. Jay and Carolyn were in Austin where Jay was finishing his master's. Mom and Dad were there and of course Zoe and Jack and me.

Honest to goodness, this place has the best hushpuppies in the entire world. We talked to Morris Foster who now owns the place and he told us that the only ingredients are cornmeal, water and oil -- but the water has to be 40 degrees and the hushpuppies must be hand-rolled. Whatever, they had the most delicate crust -- as thin as the first skin of ice on an October pond. And inside, hot, light and wonderful.

I managed to wade in the creek twice -- once behind our bed and breakfast and the next day to get a good photo of Sirena, the little mermaid who sits by one of the springs that feeds the creek. Today I interviewed Kay Campbell at Paint Rock. There are over 1500 Native American pictographs on the bluffs on their property. She and her husband have been married 59 years and they are the most delightful couple. Kay showed me an article Rogayle Franklin wrote about her in AAA Texas Journey. She got a kick out of the fact that the youngsters in California, who edit the magazine, were concerned about publishing an article about someone of her maturity -- figuring she had to be senile or dead! Leslie, no offense intended, but Kay and Fred are probably in much better shape than your staff members will be at the same age! They are a delightful couple and it was a real pleasure to visit with them.

Will you get to see a picture of them? Wish I knew. I'm still having MAJOR computer/photo issues and I couldn't get off the computer long enough to take it back to the guys who messed it up. As soon as I get these Texas articles, plus a Lake Charles/L/Auberge article done for Southwestern Pubs (all due Monday), the computer's headed for the shop!