Texas: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sundance Square
This Texas work trip was...timed interestingly. There was lunch in Austin, July 3rd fireworks in Arlington, TX, and then more fireworks on the 4th in Fort Worth. And then dinner at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas on a Wednesday.

Fort Worth is really, really lovely. Sundance Square in particular. The whole area of downtown Fort Worth has nice architectural elements. Austin is always lovely, but maybe better in the autumn when walking along the river doesn't make you die of heat stroke. Texas summers are sort of like Canada in the winter - you cannot enjoyably go outside for three months of the year. But at least in Texas, you can enjoy dinner outside after the sun has set.

Ann & Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail
Austin, TX
Congress Ave Bat Bridge
University of Texas Austin
University of Texas Austin

Dallas & Fort Worth
Sundance Square
Fort Worth
Fort Worth Fire Works
Fort Worth Fire Works
Fort Worth
Dallas Wednesday Night

Near Arlington (and, quite conveniently, the DFW airport) is Grapevine, TX. It has a quaint little old school downtown with a weekend farmers' market, lovely brunch spots, and lots of little shops. It could be a nice place to live.

Grapevine, TX
Grapevine, TX
Grapevine, TX

Blue Apron: Week 34

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chicken Steam Buns with French Breakfast Radish & Cucumber Kimchi
These Chicken Steam Buns with French Breakfast Radish & Cucumber Kimchi from Blue Apron were pretty much as good as their beef counterparts from a few weeks ago. The steam buns are a nice touch, and plenty of flavor is mixed into the meat so the filling comes out really good on its own. Made about 2.5 Iris meals.

Spinach Pesto Gnocchi with Sautéed Asparagus & Brown Butter
Holy garlic, Batman! This Spinach Pesto Gnocchi with Sautéed Asparagus & Brown Butter was good, too, but maybe my garlic cloves were oversized as this dish had some serious garlic in it. The gnocchi is very filling and I was able to get about 2-3 Iris meals from this recipe.

Beef Tartines with Zucchini au Pistou
The Beef Tartines with Zucchini au Pistou were also very good. A pretty solid Blue Apron week! The pistou was used to cover up a bit of the greasiness of the shredded beef, and it worked well. This recipe made 2 Iris-meals.

Texas: Arlington on Independence Day

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Elvis Mini Wheelie Club
'Not sure exactly what I expected.

Well. That's not true. I totally expected the "American Heritage Girls", the Texas State Militia, and the Sons/Daughters of Confederates. Did I expect the slightly off color [to a yankee] announcers' jokes about the Civil War era bayonets and how Texas is "Open Carry"? Not quite. Nor did I really expect a troupe of Vietnamese bicyclists calling themselves the "Viet Riders", nor the Sikh community carrying posters outlining the tenets of their faith. The "Tex Annes" dance troupe? Sure. Unicyclists? Why not! 6 different area marching bands and associated alumni bands? Of course.

Being out of my usual environment for July 4th is always interesting. Different parts of the country express their pride for their country in different ways and participating in community events, such as Independence Day celebrations, is a quick way to get a feel for a community's outlook and beliefs.

[Edited to Add: It rained the morning of the parade, putting temperatures in the very enjoyable 70s.]

High School Marching Band
Miniature Horse and Buggies
Carrying a large flag
The Tex Annes
Fourth of July Festivities
Unicycle Club
Shiny Parade Float
Independence Day Fireworks Over Downtown Arlington
Independence Day Fireworks Over Downtown Arlington
Sno Cone Line!

I spent two weeks in Arlington for work, a town that simultaneously calls itself The American Dream City and is also the country's largest city without public transportation. Its university has recently been designated an "R1" university (i.e., top tier research institution), and so the town's identity is acclimating to being an intellectual hub...while also forcing the university to allow closed carry of firearms. It's an interesting place at an interesting time.

Downtown Arlington and Abram Street are really starting to pick up with trendy restaurants, murals, and little islands of landscaping. It's so very close to being a quite nice town. A grocery store walking distance from campus and a spot of public transportation to DFW airport and the Arlington Highlands shopping center would go a very looooong way. I mean, they've got a Torchy's Tacos, it's cruel and unusual punishment to not have any means of getting there.

Downtown Arlington Texas
Babe's Chicken Dinner Downtown Arlington Texas
Geometric Gate
Yellow Flower
Arlington: The American Dream City...with no public transit!!
Downtown Arlington Texas Lone Star American Dream City
Downtown Arlington Texas
Arlington's College Park
Flower Branch

The Last of the Black Tea Subscription

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Darjeeling Sungma Summer
I've been loving this Darjeeling Sungma Summer Tea from Adagio Teas.
A black tea with slightly darker fruit notes. As I drank more of this one, I enjoyed it more. It's not as naturally sweet as some, but it still has bits of sweetness on its own, and it plays with milk and sugar well if I'm in the mood for that. A lovely find from a tea subscription!

Adagio Assam Melody Tea
This Assam Melody Tea from Adagio carries quite the punch! It's very, very different from the Assam TGFOP from Margaret's. Even though the color is lighter than the Assam TGFOP, it's a much darker, deeper taste. I was expecting fruitier, but it's pretty good as is.

Adagio Irish Breakfast Tea
Adagio Irish Breakfast Tea is a pretty standard breakfast tea. Another non-fruity tea that's good for those who really enjoy black tea. It's even better with a spot of milk :)

Pretty Postage Post

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fancy Stamps
Why buy ugly postage, when pretty postage costs the same?! I also work next to a post office, so that's just making matters worse...

In my defense, we've used up the ferns, all but the 4 display DC/Japan sakura, the coastal birds are all spoken for, and two of the floral books are meant for general usage. Really, only the songbirds and bonsai are part of the "permanent collection" ;)

Man do I enjoy putting pretty stamps on envelopes for the landlord, lol.

Pretty Stamps
6 Apply theme-appropriate postcard stamps
USPS Botanical Art Stamps
New Envelope Seals!
And then there's personalized envelope sticker-seals to match your return address labels...

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