Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What's Shakin' in Katy ~ Al Caliente

Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be another Mexican restaurant in Katy...  there's another Mexican restaurant in Katy!  Al Caliente opened in January in what was Bennigans, then it was the 59 Diner, then it was Bennigan's again, but now it's Al Caliente!

If you're jonesing for some Bennigan's, there is still a Bennigan's in Texas - but you will have to take a road trip to Tyler.  I think I'll just leave my Bennigan's memories back in the 80s where they belong. Lets just say, I don't really like talking about my flair. 

Tyler is 182 miles away, and that's a long journey.  Before you go, you might want to fill up on some delicious Tex-Mex at Al Caliente, located at 20210 Katy Freeway, phone 832-321-5232.  They serve breakfast, which is what we came for.  They also serve all the traditional Tex-Mex favorites.

The breakfast tacos are awesome!  They're also good sized and quite filling.  Two will fill you up.  We tried the chorizo, the bacon and the sausage - with no cheese because cheese just messes up the flavor of the eggs in my opinion.  All were quite good but the bacon was my fave.  The sausage is not ground meat but sliced sausage links, still delicious.

The service was good and relatively quick.  The prices were quite reasonable too.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Stick Figure Families

Lately I've noticed some rather unusual stick figure families.  Unfortunately I can't always take a picture while I'm driving too closely behind someone but I saw this in a parking lot recently.

Obviously, the family riding in this car are fans of Dr. Who.  I assume from the bow on the top of the second Tardis that the family consists of a Dad, a Mom and two sons (no small bow so it must be sons) and a dog.  Aw, cute and clever.

Another one I saw was while driving at dusk so the quality of the photo is not the best.  I tried to jack with the contrast so it would be clear enough.  Take a look.

It appears that the father is into archery, a potentially dangerous hobby for a man with 6 kids and a large number of pets.
The mother likes to shop and talk on her cell phone, how stereotypical is that? Unless that's not a purse in her hand, it could be a weirdly shaped green skull.
Son #1 is a fisherman.
Son #2 likes to skate board while carrying a butterfly net and a bag of some sort.  Maybe a bag for butterflies he catches while skateboarding.
Daughter #1 has a megaphone in one hand, no doubt so she can be heard over her siblings, and a small purse in her other hand, I think, it's hard to tell.
Daughter #2 is a cheerleader.  The pom pom in her left hand is obscuring Baby #1.
Baby #1 is comparatively nondescript but what do you expect form a baby who is clearly overshadowed by his/her sister?
Baby #2 apparently likes to play soccer.  Another scary thought.
6 KIDS!!!  But, that's not all.  Lets not forget the pets.  There is a bird, a fish, a dog that is missing it's head (maybe that's what the Mom is carrying) two cats and another dog.
That is one big family and I don't think they will all fit into the SUV.  If I were that Mom, I wouldn't be carrying a green skull, I can tell you that much.  I would be carrying a large glass of wine, or maybe some ear plugs.  Maybe the cell phone is so she can call a babysitter so she and her hubby can go out for a night of bow and arrow action.

Anyway, it occurred to me that I must be 10 or 15 years behind the times because I have never had a stick figure family on the back of my vehicle.  I never felt the need.  Also, I have never seen them for sale anywhere.  I must not shop in the right places.  I looked on Amazon and you can get a variety of stick figure decals doing a variety of things.  They're cooking, playing golf, dancing, shopping, - and generally having a lot more fun than I am.

If I had a stick figure family it would consist of two over-worked parents and a couple of teen girls still trying to sell girl scout cookies.  Oh, and two cats, each still in possession of their heads.

Monday, February 22, 2016

What's Shakin' in Katy ~ Uncle Julio's

There's a new dinner destination in town, Uncle Julio's at 20526 Katy Freeway between Fry and Westgreen on the North side of I-10.  This stretch of the Katy Freeway is rapidly becoming the Food Corridor instead of the Energy Corridor (see what I did there?)

Uncle Julio's opened in Katy on February 8th.  And, as usual, when there's a new restaurant in Katy, the wait times are horrific.  There's even a 15 minute line just to put your name on the list.  Ofcourse, this could only be at peak times.  The wait on a Thursday evening was one hour.  We gave up on that one and came back on Saturday at 5pm.  The wait then was only 30 minutes.  This is why, you should make a reservation.  Phone:  832-464-8946.  Even better, you can make a reservation on their website at UncleJulio'sKaty via opentable.

Question number one - Is all that hassle worth it?  Short answer, yes?  The food is superb.  However, the place is loud and crowded and you will have to wait.  

Question number two - Is it expensive?  The prices are no higher than other nice Mexican restaurants such as Chuy's or La Finca.  

Question number three - Is it better than Chuy's or La Finca?  I won't say it's better than my two old favorites, but some things are better.  The flavorful la charra beans with ground pork are a remarkable addition to your Tex-Mex plate. 

As you can see here, we created our own little Mexican buffet by ordering mixed fajitas and a combination plate that included a tamale, a taco and enchiladas.  The fajita meat was marinated and mesquite grilled and tasted soooo good.  It does rival the chicken fajitas at La Finca (I feel so disloyal). The tamale was spicy but not too spicy.  All in all, it's a great place to go.

The flour tortillas were light and fluffy. The salsa was top notch, just the right combination of spices. And hey, there's no vegetable medley mixed in with the rice, which is a plus.

I should also mention, that if you don't want to wait, go further down the frontage road for Chuy's or get on Westgreen and go to Jimmy Changa's, which is also excellent.  When it comes to Mexican food in Katy - we've got a lot of choices.  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Bad at Crafts - Jar of Inspiration

Here's a "craft" project that isn't really a craft project.  It meets the criteria of not having to be pretty - although it's not ugly either.  If you like jars and color then you might find it pretty.  It also meets the criteria of not being something you have to keep forever.  You can throw the strips of paper away after you read them. And, if you get tired of the whole idea after a few weeks or so, just throw out all the strips of  paper and use the jar for a candle.

Basically, it's a jar of inspirational sayings on colored strips of paper.  You draw one out every morning to get a little encouragement before you face the jungle out there.  It's daily inspiration in a hurry.

I got the idea for this at the local YMCA where there's a bowl of Bible verses written on colored papers waiting at the door as you exit the building.  So, you get to feel good about working out and you get the added benefit of a randomly chosen Bible verse that is always just what you needed at that moment. At least that's how it works for me.

You will need a jar of whatever size you like.  I prefer one large enough to stick my hand into.  You could also use a fish bowl, a glass bowl, a square glass vase that flower arrangements come in, or whatever you might enjoy pulling paper out of.  Don't get too complicated with this.

You will also need some colored paper.  I like lots of different colors.  You can use colored typing/copier paper, the margins of flyers you found on your door step, envelopes from Birthday cards, note pad paper etc. If you don't like your own handwriting, you can type them up and print them out and then cut them into strips.

Now comes the fun part - you can write anything you want on the papers.  Bible verses, famous quotes, words of encouragement, whatever.  Anything you think you will appreciate reading in the morning.  (or the evening or whenever you feel like drawing out a paper).  It's a little bit like a fortune without the fortune cookie.  In fact, I've also thrown in a few favorite fortunes which I have kept after dining out on Chinese food.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made, We will rejoice and be glad in it.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Inspiring Quotes:

  • Where there is love, there is life ~ Mahatma Ghandi
  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Song Lyrics:

  • Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans ~ John Lennon
  • You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need ~ The Rolling Stones

Movie Quotes:

  • Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get ~ Forrest Gump
  • Have fun storming the castle ~ The Princess Bride
  • Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~ Ferris Bueller

Humorous Quotes:

  • Don't look back, you're not going that way
  • Life is about making an impact, not making an income

Notes to self:

  • Put on your best earrings today and wear your favorite perfume because you are special
  • Remember to listen more than you talk

Random Thoughts of My Own: 

  • Today is a no-brainer day - don't think too deeply
  • Be kind to someone today
  • Remember to smile and make eye contact

Literally - you could write anything on these strips - and whenever it looks like the jar is getting low, write out a few new ones.