For "Travel Tuesday": Let's visit an event in San Antonio, TX, in the Texas Hill Country region.
"The Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Rolling hills, spring fed rivers and lakes, diverse art and music offerings, specialty shopping, and the state's capital city make the Hill Country a favorite destination for Texans and out-of-state visitors alike. Discover the beauty of the Texas Hill Country Region."
Saturday, December 7, 2013. Noon-6pm
Pearl District, 200 E Grayson St, San Antonio, Texas 78215 210-212-7260
"The Annual Tamales! Holiday Festival began in December 2010 as an event centered around San Antonio tradition with tamales, culture, music and fun for the whole family. With more than 30 different tamales vendors, a kid’s craft area, and live music and entertainment Tamales! is a celebration of family, food and fun that San Antonians have come to associate with the holidays." http://atpearl.com/tamales/
"Pearl, located north of downtown San Antonio, provides a unique experience as a top culinary and cultural destination. The mixed-use space features retail, dining, picturesque green spaces and paseos, a riverside amphitheater, educational institutions such as the Aveda Institute and the third campus of the Culinary Institute of America.
As a former brewery operating from 1883 to 2001, Pearl reflects a vivid past while embracing the future with LEED-certified complexes mixed with historic architecture.
The 22-acre Pearl site is home to the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio and Aveda Institute San Antonio and the year-round Pearl Farmers Market. Pearl restaurants include Il Sogno Italian Osteria and the Sandbar Fish House and Market, both by CIA graduate and James Beard Award-nominated chef Andrew Weissman, La Gloria Ice House by CIA graduate chef Johnny Hernandez, NAO New World Flavors, from The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio featuring Executive Chef Geronimo Lopez and, Blue Box Bar featuring craft cocktails from Olaf Harmel. Pearl is also known for its shops including Melissa Guerra Latin American kitchen store, the Twig book shop, Adelante Boutique, Lee Lee Loves Shoes, Dos Carolinas, Run Wild Sports, The Synergy Studio and Bike World.
The Center for Architecture houses the AIA San Antonio and the Architecture Foundation of San Antonio. Office tenants at Pearl include the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber, the Nature Conservancy, the CE Group, WestEast Design Group and other creative firms. The Can Plant offering urban contemporary apartments with a place in history. Event space includes the Pearl Stable, the Pearl Studio and the Pearl Park, a community gathering space, which includes amphitheater seating overlooking a stage alongside the San Antonio River Walk. For more information go to atpearl.com "
"San Antonio’s annual Tamales! Festival, which takes place this year on December 7 at the former Pearl Brewery complex. A 22-acre site that now boasts restaurants, shops, apartments, and—soon!—a boutique hotel. With free admission, free parking, and more than 40 vendors offering treats ranging from tamales to kettle corn, Tamales! is a great kick-off to the December holidays. I attended the event last year in preparation for this year’s story, but first—to get an idea of the hard work involved in making tamales—I attended a tamales-making workshop at the Witte Museum hosted by longtime tamales queen Gloria Solis.
Gloria walked us through the labor-intensive process, showing us how to make beans (for bean tamales), season and mix the masa, spread the masa on corn husks (I never imagined that husks had a “good” side and a “bad” side), and steam them until they’re done. (I will admit to feeling a bit deflated when I posted a photo of my tamales to Texas Highways’ Facebook page, only to read comments from a reader whose tamales turn out far prettier than mine. Upon seeing my stack, he suggested that I should depart immediately—and permanently— for another state.)
So it’s funny what we hold close to our hearts, culinarily speaking. At the same tamales class, I encountered a family from Pennsylvania who didn’t know what tamales were, and then confessed that they weren’t even sure what pinto beans were. So I got to thinking about food items that we take for granted.
For example, I’m always surprised when non-Texans find the idea of a breakfast taco unappetizing—until I realize they’re thinking Taco Bell instead of fluffy scrambled eggs wrapped in a flour tortilla, hot off the griddle.
What are some of our regional specialties? I always think of a neighbor who claimed that a favorite treat in Wichita Falls is a dish of vanilla ice cream with Fritos. I tried that combo, and actually liked it (sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy)—but I’ve never been able to find anyone else in Wichita Falls to corroborate that “regional specialty.”
Orange Dip at the Old Mexican Inn, Corsicana
But recently on a trip through Corsicana, I encountered a mysterious and apparently widely praised sauce known as “Orange Dip,” which might take the cake. There’s a restaurant in Corsicana called The Old Mexican Inn, which has been owned by the same family since the 1940s and has a basic, straightforward Tex-Mex menu full of things like taco salads, tortilla soup, and multiple combo platters featuring tacos, enchiladas, and Mexican rice. The service was prompt and friendly, and my bowl of tortilla soup proved savory and well-balanced with chicken, vegetables, and melted jack cheese. But The Old Mexican Inn is famous for two things: Its $1 frozen margaritas and its Orange Dip. I’ll have to return sometime at cocktail hour to try the margaritas, but I DID try the Orange Dip. And I’m confused.
Is it mayonnaise with ketchup and perhaps some juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños? Corn oil mixed with Thousand Island dressing? I tried to figure out the ingredients but couldn’t. And while it’s certainly worth tasting, I wouldn’t drive out of my way for the Orange Dip. Although plenty of people do. Later in my trip, I met a young girl and her grandmother on a boat trip in Jefferson, and sometime during our small-talk, they mentioned they were from Corsicana. I asked them about the Orange Dip, and their faces lit up. “Oh yes!” the older stranger commented. “I’ve been eating the Orange Dip since I was a teenager!”
On This Day:
Bush and Gorbachev suggest Cold War is coming to an end, Dec 3, 1989:
"Meeting off the coast of Malta, President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev issue statements strongly suggesting that the long-standing animosities at the core of the Cold War might be coming to an end. Commentators in both the United States and Russia went farther and declared that the Cold War was over.
Despite the positive spin of the rhetoric, though, little of substance was accomplished during the summit. Both sides agreed to work toward a treaty dealing with long-range nuclear weapons and conventional arms in 1990."
In the late afternoon, as I started to write this, I began to feel kinda weird. I didn't want to drink juice or eat, but I fed my critters. So I thought that I would lie down for a bit, but I just couldn't get comfy. Then I realized that as I was feeling nauseous, clammy, having difficulty breathing, and had a pressure feeling in my chest radiating to between my shoulder blades, that I had better call 911. Ray came over and waited with me until the ambulance arrived. They did an EKG right there in my living room, and said that I wasn't having a heart attack, which was my worry. I didn't want to go with them, but Ray insisted that I go to the hospital to be checked out.
After having to sit in the cold Emergency Waiting Room with a long line of sneezing, coughing, sick people, I got some coffee, and rolled my wheelchair outside the door for fresh air. So, I was starting to feel better, I was all ready to check my self out, called Ray, and he came to get me in my van. But when he took my armband back in to tell them that I was leaving, they said that they now had an empty exam room. Several doctors came in and talked to me and they did a more thorough EKG, and Ray stayed there and talked to me while we were waiting. Then they wanted to admit me to do more tests. So I sent Ray home.
Getting a room took until about 2.00 AM. Finally, maybe I could get some rest, but no! They velcro-ed some legging things on me, which were hooked to a machine which would massage each leg. They said that would stop me from getting DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) from lying still in bed all night, even for one night! That, and the bed which would undulate every ten minutes was not conducive to sleep. I got cramps in my legs from not being able to move, so I took the leggings off so that I could walk around to exercise my legs, and went back to bed.
At last, I dropped off, only to be woken me up about every 45 minutes to have something else done to me, and they wouldn't let me eat or drink anything. They put a cordless heart monitor on me, X-rayed my chest, did a sonogram of my heart, took vitals, and several blood tests, all through the night. Each time a different person would hook wires up to me they used different patches, so I looked like I was all terminals. They even woke me up to give me an anti-reflux pill, even though I hadn't eaten. Said everyone in the hospital had to take one. I said, 'that didn't say much for your cooking!!'
They said my tests all looked good, but they wanted a cardiologist to see me. By 2.00 PM, I was really hungry, thirsty, and in tears. I hadn't had but one cheese sandwich in the last couple of days. The food trolley would pass my room, wafting delicious smells. Even though I knew that Ray would take good care of the animals for me, I just wanted to go home. No one could tell me when the cardiologist would be in to see me, so I said that I would go to his office instead. I called Ray, signed the discharge papers, grabbed a cup of coffee from the Emergency Waiting Room, and walked to where Ray could pick me up in the parking lot. That was all I could take of that.
When I got home, Ray had done a great job with the critters, so I drank some juice, and warmed up some canned organic ravioli. That was the easiest thing to eat after a day like today.
But now that it is so late, there might not be a post tomorrow. Maybe, I need to take off a day!