we saw a capek exhibit up at the prague castle a few months ago. it was awesome, but they wouldn't let us take any photos . . . there was a quote I would have photoed too, if I coulda, about how "we are all robots" . . . reflecting his philosophy . . . the selection here is not as good . . .
So, we flew into PHX, got in late-ish, dealt with lost luggage, car-rental, and hotel . . . flopped into bed with a bottle of red wine we picked up at an Albertson's off scottsdale road, and viddied a little late-night american inanity. I had an early morning t-time with Mr Science at Palmbrook. Then Mrs and I ran-and-I-mean-RAN-errands all over town, in preparation for moving our stuf back to TX and stocking up on want-s but-not-needs-not-available-in-PRG-but-plentiful-in-SCX. Dinner that night was with Mr Science n Miss Vicky at Pappadeaux, which Mrs still considers over-priced and slightly un-authentic, but OTOH, the supply of cajun food in PRG is extremely limited, so . . . OK!
Miss Vicky is from the Great Northwest, and had ever had fried Alligator, so Mr Science insisted . . .
Mrs and I tho', wanted nuthin' more than a cup o'gumbo -- seafood gumbo -- that looks like the gulf on day 45, but tastes like Poseidon's Ambrosia . . . we said, we don't know if there will even ever BE gumbo no more . . . mm-m-m-m-mm
I tho't I could handle a seafood kebob. I was wrong. Jesus what an orgy.
Miss Vicky had Blackened SeaScallops
Mr Science had something - I forget - from the Snapper Ponchatrain family of excess . . . blackened snapper coveed with crawfish etoufee or sumthin'
Mrs had a caesar salad they make at the table. . . I thought I'd gotten a picture of it in preparation but it looks like a ride at 6flags . . .blurry.
Miss Vicky had Drowning by Chocolate or something . . .Beyond Sinful . . .
So the next day we hit all the bases we missed the first day, picking up papers, arranging for he cars, then went to see a movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. Honestly, if this doesn't win 3 oscars (Best Foreign, Best Pic, Best Actress), the whole oscar thing is in the dumpster.
Dang, missed a picture of our Gyros on 5th st in Old Town scottsdale . . .We were so excited about the movie, and rushed because of all the run-around we just forgot . . . but after the movie we rushed over to Phuong Dong on Roosevelt for some Vietnamese -- they close at 7pm on sunday so we just made it . . . the gyros place is an excellent hole-in-the-wall type place with good food, but Phuong Dong is the kinda place that makes you worry about all the other places you might have passed-by because of the exterior . . .
I had the classic B4-bun with BBQ pork, spring rolls, and grilled shrimp over noodles with fresh herbs & peanuts . . . not quite up to Mai's on South Main or Van Loc in Houston, in the old days, but d-a-a-a-a-a-a-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g. Washed it down with a, um, Thai Tea, just to cool the fire after I added the hot sauces.
Monday morning, we breakfasted again at Starbucks . . . yeh, it's over-priced, over-rated, and over-hyped, but . . . the do maintain the quality and it's the only place I can reliably get a soya milk cappucino, and American starbucks usually have the banana nut muffin, which european's do not.
We hit the bank, picked up the cars, got the mustang taken off for donation, did our last minute provisioning, stopped and relaxed just for lunch at Tandoori Times . . . a place we desperately miss for economical fine dining, and a spice-of-life very rare in SCX . . . the food itself is Authentic (say the Hindis that visit) and awesome, but the chutneys is what drives us made. Mrs goes for the Lemon-Jalapeno-Ginger-Garlic crudite style chutney . . . she has even talked them into giving her some to go when we take a doggybag . . . 8^D . . . but I love the chili and the mint chutneys . . . sometimes I get such a burn going between the food, the chutneys and the hot chai I can't stop shovelling it in until I have wiped the plate clean with the last of my naan. I try always to get a seat in back where my glutony will be less apparent . . . 8^D . . .
Then hit the road . . . Adios Arizona . . . farewell We-Ko-Pa . . .
So we made tracks into NM. Stopped off 8ish in Gallup at the old El Rancho Hotel for dinner. Usta be a hot spot for celebs crossing the great american outback . . . they have rooms titled Lucille Ball Suite or Willaim Bendix Suite, and all the menu items are named after the faded stars of the 40s and 50s . . . it's all very deshabille . . . but we always stop there for lunch or dinner . . . never overnight . . . youre only 2 hours from ABQ by then it seems crazy to stop . . .but we did stop overnight this time in Grants, so I could play golf at the Coyote del Malpais.
So I hustled around in 2.5 hours and we headed on into ABQ. Checked into the HI Express right off the freeway, near LJs house . . . kinda hungry by then, so we dashed over to Rudy's BBQ and got a couple of sliced beef sandwiches . . . Rudy's is a chain, but it puts everyother BBQ joint in the world to shame, chain or not, if their still in business . . . The old Boerne Stage Post BBQ outside SanAntonio was the best we ever had, but it's long gone.
After a while Big C & LJ came over and we headed out to dinner . . . went over to the new Sadie's -- the old place was mind-blowing-good before . . . this was not, so much, but it could have just been we got off-put with Luther's too soon before . . . still recommend it, as long as the parking lot is full . . . nevermind negative reviews from easterners and californians, they wouldn't know good mexican food even when it bit 'em on the ass the next day, if you know what I mean . . .
After dining sensibly at the hotel continental breakfast, Big C went with us while Mrs shopped for less at Ross . . . somethings she wants are apparently only at Ross, and only certain Rosses . . . none in SCX, none at the first 2 in ABQ we went at, but the third one back over across the river did. So we stopped off at Old Town after that for a little walkaround and lunch . . .
You may laugh but I bot a copper bracelet there on the Plaza . . .came from the front row of this blanket . . . s'got Mountains and arrowheads on it meaning "looking for higher purpose" . . . I started out wearing it on my left wrist, but it made me tired, so I switched to my right and that seems better, medicinally, if you see what I mean . . . I love it . . . for Lunch we went to La Hacienda . . . it was great . . . I read some of the reviews on like TripAdvisor or whatever and I can't believe they went to the same place . . . it's like Sadies, you just can't trust Californian, Arizonan, Texan or eastern opinions on this. I don't know what they think they should get, but La Hacienda delivered us to what we wnated, even tho' I didn't know what to expect, as it turned out.
Mrs had Frijoles Sopa and guacamole.
Big C had the Chilis Rellenos
but I had Flautas Adovada, that is Carne Adovada rolled up and deepfried as a flauta . . . never had I dreamed of such a thing . . . this was wild stuff, and awesome. The carafe of sangria went down real easy, too. and it was just pleasant sitting their outside on the verandah facing the plaza talking with Big C. Can't imagine a better deal. Cheap too.
Incredibly, we had dinner to-go from Rudy's . . . .but no pictures . . . but it was awesome . . . .
So we drove all the next day to Abilene. What a whole lot of nuthin'. . . for dinner we went to Rosita's Cantina . . . we stayed at a La Quinta because one HI-X was full and the other was on the other side of town . . .Abilene is no Houston, but it's still spread out . . . so we stayed where we were and we ate near there, tho' that meant real mediocre mexican fast food . . .
at least the margarita had enough tequila to make me sleepy . . .
So, the next day we drove the rest of the way into Fredericksburg. Nuthin' would for mrs, then but we go into town for some german food . . . at the Fredericksburg Brewery . . . we hadda wait for 45 minutes for a table, but at least we could wait in the Oktoberfest room with a big screen tv showing the world cup and the excellent boutique beers there. I usually get for dinner there a flight of beer samplers and the sausage sampler, if you see what I'm going for there . . . but after the orgy in PHX and ABQ, I just went simpler . . . a burger . . . I was full of beer and popcorn by then anyway . ..
Mrs had a very nice looking grilled salmon, tho' . . .
with red cabbage and pumpernickle . . . hah! the only place in the world!
Since this was Sunday we were calling it a day-of-rest before our furniture arrived for re-storage. So I rested . . . Coulda been the lunch at Mamacita's . . . Tho' I had a margarita (it seemed only right) I also had the fish, a snapper, I think . . .
The thing about Mamacita's: the food isn't bad, unless you compare it to a really, really good place, like the old Ninfa's in Houston, or Meridas, but they have this green salsa there, a pale imitation of Ninfas tomtatilla salsa that took the world by storm 20 years ago . . . this is a shade of green, I have said, that Nature did not Intend . . .
My BIL, that is, the husband of Mrs' Sister and Mrs had the Tacos al carbon (also a ripoff of Ninfa, IMVHO), but not bad, they say . . .
SIL had a chicken-taco salad kinda thingy . . .
it's a day of rest, but I talked the peeps into going over to Kerrville with us to visit with WillieMc at his sculpture garden . . . He has a new B&B he's working on, to go along with the Elm's Cottage and a little place he calls the Canyon House . . . to be called the Star Gazer, up on the rim of his box canyon, with an unobstructed view of the Firmament . . . be awhile yet . . . .but it will be awesome, too . . .
I helped peel those cedar logs but Willie has dragged them up the mountain on his own, somehow.
So, on Monday, we got our furniture delivered . . . we were pumped up and ready for a full days' slave labour, going into the night . . . but the storage people bringing the stuff from AZ had packed the van so well that unloading it (the driver and two helpers) and re-storing into a air-conditioned storage compartment only took 2 hours. We didn't lift a finger . . . when we did we got in the way . . . by noon, the BIL said, "Well, who's hungry?" and we buzzed off, ebullient in our efficiency. . .8^D . . .
We went over to Oma's Garden, to eat outside, a pleasant alternative to spending all day humping boxes, if you see what I mean . . .
Mrs. Lover of Good German Cuisine had a sausage
BIL had a sandwich, with home-made chips
SIL had another taco salad . . .
I had a chicken fried steak . . . hadn't had one this trip, and I knew I ought-not, but after a hard morning of watching men work, I felt entitled . . . I only put chives on my bake potato, which gave my waitress a big laugh: "Look around! This is ALL health food," she chortled.
I been gone long enough I'm not sure I'm a good judge of CFS anymore,but it seemed awfully good to me, crispy even under the gravy, and very tasty.
We went down to WillieMc's again for some yoga that night, and Tuesday morning. After so much restraint we hadda go big for lunch, so Willie directed us to Bella Vista . . . used to be Kathy's on the River, which we liked, but this is better. Great Italian Food. I had lasagne.
Willie had Marsala -- I forget whether it was chicken or veal . . .
Mrs had some sort vegetable pasta . . .
Ms Mc had the shrimp linguini . . .ummmmmm.
We spent the rest of the day just lounging on WillieMcs porch, looking at these figs.
Willie has experimented with some bamboo varietals . . . I keep telling him They're going to come after him and lable him Gardener Zero, when the bamboo gets out off his property on to his nieghbors', but it IS cool looking. . . .this is a sorta rare black bamboo . . .
Wednesday we went back over to Fred, to see what was left needing doing. Didn't find much, but we worked up an apetite running around and Mrs picked Friedhelms for lunch -- more German --
I had another CFS, but since I had red cabbage with it instead of a potato and the gravy on the side, I felt righteous . . .
Mrs & BIL had Jaegerschnitzels . . .
SIL had some sort of Schnitzel with onions . . .
This would have been another one of those "short days", if you see what I mean . . .
Now that will work up an appetite, all over again. So we had to try this place that BIL & SIL like: The Peach Pit BBQ . . . naah, they don't use Peachwood or anything to cook with, it's just a name, and, no, it doesn't touch Rudy's, but OTOH, this is the 3 meat special, with Brisket, Chicken, and Jalapeno sausage, beans, green-beans, draped with onions, jalapenos, pickles and a pretty good BBQ sauce . . .
They didn't have beer, so I made do with a Dr. Pepper . . . don't have those in the Czech Republic, so that was ok, too...
Mrs's picture of just the brisket plate shows off even better than the wretched excess of my dish . . .
That was that. The next morning BIL & SIL drove us down to SAT to fly back home.
Didn't have time to hit the Riverwalk and Marios or Little Rhine House . . . dangit . . .