Monthly Archives: March 2012

Restaurant Review: Melis Taqueria

I never was a fan of fast food, and with the recent “pink slime” controversy, I am even less of one now. That said, sometimes, time constraints being what they are in the fast paced world, we need to grab something quick, as we’re headed off in the thirty different directions in which life calls you. It was one of those such times that I discovered Melis Taqueria on Vickery (between Montgomery and Hulen Sts.)

The taqueria itself is a scant step up from a shed, which only adds to the ambiance, in my humble opinion. The emphasis is on the food — plentiful portions, fast service and maximum taste. It has now become a weekly addiction.

It all started off with an order of pork carnitas on a handmade tortilla. Flavorful enough on its own, but enhanced greatly with the verde sauce, fresh lime slice and pico de gallo provided.  I can also heartily recommend their tortas, which is basically a Mexican sandwich. In our case the filling was a thin, breaded piece of beef, with ample lettuce and tomatoes on an oblong telera (bun), which found big enough for two to share for a noon day meal.

What keeps me going back however, are their breakfast burritos. They’ve  become a Sunday morning tradition. They have all the regular fillings such as chorzio, egg and beans to choose from. We go for the bacon, potato and egg combo and are never disappointed. They offer both a red (hot/his) and verde (milder/hers) sauce on the side. A fresh, warm tortilla filled with freshly made ingredients equals my kind of fast food.

In addition to being a quick, authentic option to your standard fast food fare, Melis also beats the competition down with extremely affordable prices. You can have franchise food anywhere, anytime on the planet — let’s support the small independents in our culinary community that give our region a unique flavor of its own, and something to write home about. Help keep the tradition alive.

Melis Taqueria is located at 4304 W Vickery Blvd, in Fort Worth.

Melis' carnitas, my kind of fast food...

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RECIPE: Peach Cobbler

I mentioned making peach cobbler as a way of diverting my attention from the last severe storm warning we had here in the Metroplex and I’ve had a few requests for the recipe. Since there’s a small chance of stormy weather on  Friday, I figured now was the time to oblige. This can be made with any fruit. I love peaches, but the next time around I’ll be using fresh blackberries. In a pinch, canned fruit (drained) will do as well.

Here we go…

Stormy Weather Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup regular flour
2 cups of sugar, divided in half
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 cups of fresh peaches, sliced (or 2 cans, drained if out of season)

Method

Melt butter in an 8×8 casserole dish.
In a bowl combine: flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder and milk.
Mix and then pour batter on top of butter in the casserole dish.
*Do not stir!

In separate bowl mix the fruit with the remaining cup of sugar.
Pour the fruit mixture on top of batter.
*Do not stir!

Batter will seep up around the fruit while cooking.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until the top is browned.

Ready for the oven...

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Daytrippin’ – To The Ennis Bluebonnet Trail

If you love wildflowers, a trip to Ennis' Bluebonnet Trail is a mustThis year, Texas has been blessed with an abundance of tiny, blue-purple flower heads lining its highways and byways.

This year, unlike the drought-ridden Spring of 2011, Texas has been blessed with an abundance of tiny blue and purple flower heads lining its highways and byways. We’d been itching to get a better look at they yearly event first hand, so this past weekend, we gassed up the car, and headed out of the city on 287, to Ennis, the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas.

Our first stop was to the Ennis Visitor’s Bureau, where we were greeted warmly and after signing their guest book we were given a map and detailed instructions on where to find the best locations for bluebonnet viewing along the town’s back roads. Armed with our new found knowledge, it didn’t take long to see what all of the hoopla was about. The vistas along the Bluebonnet trail were breathtaking. The map took us on three separate trail routes through farmlands and small, almost forgotten towns before landing us right where we began.

Although there was plenty to see and photograph this past weekend, we were assured that the best was yet to come. The Visitor’s bureau estimates that the peak of the season will be somewhere between the first and second weekend of April.

The city’s annual bluebonnet festival is scheduled for April 21st and more details can be found on the city’s website.  Don’t be mistaken, however, into thinking that bluebonnets are all that Ennis has to offer. The quaint, picturesque town is a great getaway for those looking for a day trip away from the city.

In May, Ennis will host it’s 46th annual National Polka Festival,  and in the Fall and Winter months they keep the celebrations happening with their Autumn Days (October), a Holiday Celebration of Lights at Christmas time, and in February the town proudly shows its roots, with its annual Czech Music Festival.

Ennis offers views of bluebonnets for as far as the eye can see

Sadly, however, while travelling the backroads we were not  only greeted by a profusion of blue and red from the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, but also a wide spread sea of yellow. The effect was stunning for the camera, but upon arriving home we saw a news report about the invasive bastard cabbage that is threatening the future of Texas’ most treasured flower. I am not a botanist, so I’m not absolutely sure that what we saw, was the dreaded plant shown on the newscast, or a less-threatening variant, but its similar enough that it made me take notice. It was an eye-opening reminder as to just how fragile our eco-system is, and how something so treasured as Texas’ state flower, could be gone so quickly, if we aren’t diligent.

Are the dotted yellow landscapes of Texas a threat to the future of the state's most beloved flower?

After we’d exhausted every back road we could find, and filled up the memory card in the camera, we were famished, and we knew exactly where to go.

The Firehouse Grill had caught our eye when we arrived in town earlier that morning, looking for the visitor’s bureau. Located in the city’s historic fire-hall, the restaurant offers its patrons to soak in visually, while their meal is being prepared. The venue’s ambiance and design is meant to honor the civil servants who place their lives on the line to protect the community and its citizens. Local police and fire departments donated various items on display.

We ordered the chicken fried steak sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries, and even though its been three days, we’re still talking about how great the food was. The service was friendly and prompt and the food, outstanding. We can’t recommend this place enough.

You can find the Firehouse Grill at 219 SW Main in Ennis.

The Firehouse Grill in Ennis is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner.

The Firehouse Grill serves up a appetite satisfying chicken fried steak sandwich, with sweet potato fries for a budget pleasing price

Categories: Day Trips, Food, Places to Visit and Explore, Restaurant Reviews, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

And the Winner Is….

The winners of the 2nd Annual Texas Regional Radio Awards were announced Sunday night in Arlington, Texas

Being in the music business can sometimes be a pretty thankless job. Sometimes those endless nights on the road are nothing but a blur of names, faces and smoke-filled barrooms. Sometimes an artist wonders if he’s making a difference or wasting his time.

This past Sunday at the Arlington Music Hall, some of Texas’ finest troubadours had those feelings put to rest at the 2nd Annual Texas Regional Radio Awards.

Emcees for the event were the lovely Ali Dee and the equally lovely, and effervescent Deryl Dodd.

Emcee Deryl Dodd, performed "She'll Have You Back" from his Pearl Snaps album as well as an impromtu acoustic performance of "You Just Can't Say No to Larry Joe"

Throughout the show the stage showcased some of the nominees as they performed to an appreciative crowd of peers and fans. Aside from a few minor technically difficulties and one wayward drummer – the performances, peppered throughout the award presentations were a top notch, well rounded representation of what the moniker “Texas Music” encompasses.

A clear stand-out was the performance by Zane Williams and Kylie Rae Harris, as they sang Pablo and Maria. Also performing were Deryl Dodd, Ali Dee, Steve Helms, Matt Hillger, Bo Phillips, Blacktop Gypsy, Jamie Richards, TJ Broscoff, Randy Rogers and Brady Black, and the Casey Donahew Band.

The awards during the first half of the show were handed out to the winning nominees in the radio industry categories:

Radio Station of the Year

Super Market – KHYI, Dallas
Large Market – KNUE, Tyler
Medium Market – KRVF, Corsicana
Small Market – KNAF/KEEP Fredericksburg
Out of Region – WDMS, Greenville MS
Internet Radio Station – BigStar97.com
Syndicated Radio Station Show – Texas Red Dirt Roads

On-Air Personality

Super Market – Justin Frazell, KFWR, 95.5 The Ranch – Fort Worth
Large Market – Neely Yates, KJDL, Lubbock
Medium Market – Nash and Carey Dean, KRVF, Corsicana
Small Market – JD Rose, KNAF/KEEP, Fredericksburg
Out of Region – Ashton Taylor, KVOM, Morrilton AR

Festival/Event of the Year – Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Fest
Record Label of the Year – Winding Roads Music

On-Air personality, Justin Frazell won this year’s Humanitarian Award for his efforts to raise funds with his annual “Pickin’ for Preemies” charity event.

There were three new artist awards given to up and coming performers.  Heather Roberts took home the award for New Female Vocalist, William Clark Green took home the New Male Vocalist and Six Market Blvd. took home the prize for New Duo/Band/Group.

Sweeping multiple categories was the Eli Young Band for their hit song “Crazy Girl”, taking home the honors for: Duo/Group, Song, Single and Music Video.

Sunny Sweeney won Female Vocalist and Stoney LaRue took home the Male counterpart.

It was Texas Music scene veteran Randy Rogers and his band, that took home the evenings top 2 awards, much to the pleasure of the audience.  Randy and the band won both Album of the Year (Burning the Day) and Entertainer of the Year.

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Texas Regional Radio Music Awards – this Sunday – March 25 at the Arlington Music Hall

We’ll be there!

Press Release:

THE TEXAS REGIONAL RADIO MUSIC AWARDS ARE THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 25 AT 4:00 P.M. AT THE ARLINGTON MUSIC HALL!

Fort Worth, TX (March 20, 2012) – The 2ndAnnual Texas Regional Music Awards will be held this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at the Arlington Music Hall in Arlington, TX. The show has grown from humble beginnings of small acoustic performances last year to full blown production numbers from the top Texas/Red Dirt artists using their full bands for 2012. The show will be hosted by Texas Country Superstar, Deryl Dodd and Ali Dee, star of CMT’s popular reality show, “Texas Women.”

A very special opening number showcasing the songs up for song of the year will be done by Steve Helms, Matt Hillyer of 1100 Springs and Bo Phillips. The Casey Donahew Band, who has five nominations, will show the crowd why they sell out shows across the country with their full band performing, “Double Wide Dream.” Emcee’s, Deryl Dodd and Ali Dee, will take the stage to show us what it’s like to see them live out on the Texas road. Randy Rogers and Brady Black are preparing a special acoustic performance of a song from their album of the year nominated, BURNING THE DAY. Blacktop Gypsy, T. J. Broscoff, Kylie Rae Harris, and Zane Williams, who all found a new way to get their music out to the public by being picked to be on the nationally syndicated show, Troubadour TX, will be performing.

The presenter line-up is pretty impressive which includes: Casey James, Wade Bowen, Larry Joe Taylor, Phil Hamilton, John David Kent, Stephanie Urbana Jones, Sonny Burgess, Matt Kimbrow, Jerrod Medulla, Rachel Stacy, Bri Bagwell, Chance Cody, Jerrod Medulla, Nick Verzoza, Jolie Holiday and Charla Corn.

There are a few tickets remaining for the public. They can be purchased on-line at www.ArlingtonMusicHall.com. For more information on the Texas Regional Music Association please go to: www.trrma.net

2012 Nominees

Entertainer of the Year
Wade Bowen
Casey Donahew Band
Kevin Fowler
Randy Rogers Band
Eli Young Band

Male Vocalist of the Year
Wade Bowen
Hayes Carll
Kevin Fowler
Stoney LaRue
Aaron Watson

Female Vocalist of the Year
Bri Bagwell
Charla Corn
Kristen Kelly
Rachel Stacy
Sunny Sweeney

Duo/Group/Band of the Year
Josh Abbott Band
Casey Donahew Band
Randy Rogers Band
Turnpike Troubadours
Eli Young Band

Single of the Year
“Crazy Girl” – Eli Young Band
“Double Wide Dream” – Casey Donahew Band
“Kissed You In The Rain” – Matt Kimbrow
“She’s Cold As That Beer She’s Drinking” – Jamie Richards
“Velvet” – Stoney LaRue

Album of the Year
“Burning the Day” – Randy Rogers Band
“Double Wide Dream” – Casey Donahew Band
“Good Luck & True Love” – Reckless Kelly
“This Is Indian Land” Cody Canada & the Departed
“Velvet” – Stoney LaRue

Song of the Year
“Crazy Girl” – Eli Young Band
“Hell Yeah, I Like Beer” – Kevin Fowler
“Lord, I hope This Day Is Good” – Brandon Rhyder
“Texas Kind of Way” – Cody Johnson
“Velvet” – Stoney LaRue

Music Video of the Year
“Ballad of a Southern Man” – Whiskey Myers
“Crazy Girl” – Eli Young Band
“Hell Yeah, I Like Beer” – Kevin Fowler
“Oh, Tonight” – Josh Abbott Band
“Whiskey Days” – JB and the Moonshine Band

New Male Vocalist of the Year
Chance Cody
William Clark Green
Phil Hamilton
Matt Kimbrow
Bo Phillips
Zane Williams

New Female Vocalist of the Year
Ali Dee
Sheila Marshall
Kat Moore
Danielle Reed
Heather Roberts

New Duo/Group/Band of the Year
Blacktop Gypsy
Scotty Thurman & the Perfect Trouble Band
Six Market Blvd
The Damn Quails
The Rankin Twins

Record Label of the Year
Almost Country Records
Average Joe’s
BGM Records
Smith Music Group
Winding Road Music

Event of the Year
Curing Cancer Music Fest – Ballinger, TX
Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival
The Music Fest – Steamboat 2011
Ranch Bash 2011 (Fort Worth)
Tommy Alverson’s Family Gathering

Radio Station of the Year – Super Market
KFWR – 95.9 The Ranch – Fort Worth
KHYI – 95.3 The Range – Dallas
KPLX 99.5 The Wolf – Dallas
KVET 98.1 – Austin

Radio Station of the Year – Large Market
KBCY 99.7 – Abilene
KJDL 105.3 The Red Dirt Rebel – Lubbock
KKCN 103.1 Kickin’ Country – San Angelo
KNUE 101.5 – Tyler
WACO 99.9 – Waco

Radio Station of the Year – Medium Market
KBEST 95.7 – Big Spring
KGFY 95.7 Cowboy Country – Stillwater, OK
KKAJ 95.7 – Ardmore, OK
KRVF 106.9 The Ranch – Corsicana
KSTV 93.1 The Mighty 93 – Stephenville

Radio Station of the Year – Small Market
KFLP 106.1 FLIP FM – Floydada
KITX 95.5 FM – Hugo, OK
KNAF 105.7/KEEP 101.3 – Fredericksburg
KSNY 1450/101.5 – Snyder
KXOX 96.7 – Sweetwater

Radio Station of the Year – Out of Region
KKOW – Pittsburg, KS
KOTE – Eureka, KS
KVOM – Morrilton, AR
WDMS – Greenville, MS

Internet Radio Station of the Year
BigStar97.com
Radio Free Texas
TexasMusicRadioShow.biz
TexasMusicWorldRadioShow.com
The Texas Drive

Syndicated Radio Station of the Year
Big Texas Countdown
Texas Countdown with Chuck Taylor
Texas Country CD Review
Texas Music Radio Show – Gary & Greybeard (TXMRS.com)
Texas Red Dirt Radio – Justin Frazell (TXRDR.com)

On-Air Personality of the Year – Super Market
Charla Corn – KFWR 95.9 The Ranch – Fort Worth
Brett Dillon – KHYI 95.3 The Range – Dallas
Adam Drake – KFWR 95.9 The Ranch – Fort Worth
Justin Frazell – KFWR 95.9 The Ranch – Fort Worth
RJ Scott – KPLX 99.5 The Wolf – Front Porch Show

On-Air Personality of the Year – Large Market
JB Cloud – KBCY 99.7 – Abilene
Buddy Logan – KNUE 101.5 – Tyler
Kelley Peterson – KHKX 99.1 – Midland
Ben Ryan – KKCN 103.1 – San Angelo
Neely Yates – KJDL 105.3 – Lubbock

On-Air Personality of the Year – Medium Market
Mike Crow (The Crowman) – KRVF 106.9 – Corsicana
Brad Heitman – KSTV 93.1 – Stephenville
Zac Grantham – KKAJ 95.7 – Ardmore, OK
Jim Nash & Carey Dean – 106.9 The Ranch – Corsicana
Trailboss Troy & Tumbleweed Toni – KTEX 106 – Brenham
Big Jim Russell – 95.3/1460 KCLE – Cleburne

On-Air Personality of the Year – Small Market
Richard Ferguson – KXOX 96.7 – Sweetwater
Will Payne & Barry Diamond – KITX 95.5 – Hugo, OK
JD Rose – KNAF 105.7/KEEP 101.3 – Fredericksburg
Jeri Smith – KRUN 1400 – Ballinger
Suzi-Q (formerly KSNY AM & FM) – Snyder

On-Air Personality of the Year – Out of Region
Josh Douglas – KKOW 96.9 The KOW – Pittsburg, KS
Steve Neimeyer – KOTE 98.5 – Eureka, KS
DK Pierce – WDMS 100.7 – Greenville, MS
Ashton Taylor – KVOM 101.7 – Morrilton, AR

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Mark Your Calenders – March 31st Ennis Cultural Festival in the Park

What a great way to spend a weekend —

Where? Bluebonnet Park, Ennis, Texas
Date/Time: March 31st from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Bring lawn chairs, picnic basket (no alcohol) and enjoy a wonderful day of live entertainment! If inclement weather it will be at Knights of Columbus Hall, located on 850 S. IH-45

Event includes: Fort Worth Scottish Pipes, Ennis Lionettes, Trinity River Desperados, Salute to Patsy Cline, Cornell Kinderknecht, Bandan Koro African Dance, Salute to the 1940’s, Grupo Pakal Mayan Dance and Tropikal Production.

Conclude the day with a visit along Ennis’ spectacular Bluebonnet Trails — hurry before their gone until next year!

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Top 10 Things to Do this Weekend in FW

We’re going to be out and about the next few days but we’ll be back Monday with a couple of restaurant reviews, a report on the Texas Regional Radio Awards Show, a recipe that promises to spice up any burger and a Day-Trippin’ feature.

Meanwhile – here are our Top 10 personal picks for things to do this weekend in Fort Worth

1. Visit the FW Botanical Gardens and take a stroll through the Japanese Gardens to catch a glimpse of its colorful pink blossoms. Don’t forge the Butterflies in the Garden exhibit in the Conservatory.

2. Visit the historic Stock Yards and catch the cattle drive (Daily at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) More info

3. Visit the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge on Saturday morning and take a hike. Hikes are free and begin at 10 a.m. sharp. Be sure to bring water and dress for the weather.

4. Visit Kincaid’s Hamburgers for lunch.

5. Take a drive out of the city in search of bluebonnets. I hear 1-20 is a great route.

6. Support the Arts in FW and visit a local museum. The Amon Carter Museum is offering a free film screening; a Double Wild West Feature on Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Rango
12:30–1 p.m. Refreshments
1–4:15 p.m. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

7. The FW Museum of Science and History is currently showcasing the Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. They also have a film screening on Sundays – this month’s theme is Mad Scientists.  March 25, 2012 – Who Killed Doc Robbin? (Hal Roach Studios; 1948) George Zucco plays the elusive Dr. Hugo Robbin, a nuclear researcher whose disappearance sends a gang of neighborhood children on a wild chase.

8. This is the last weekend to catch the Sandra Day O’Conner exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum.

9. Visit the Log Cabin Village and experience what life was like in Fort Worth in the 1840’s.

10.  Visit the duck pond in Trinity Park, bring along a picnic lunch – the weather promises to be beautiful!

Visit the Log Cabin Village and go back in time...

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RECIPE: Jalapeno Cornbread

Served warm from the oven, this flavorful cornbread is the perfect sidekick for your favorite Tex-Mex chili recipe

I promised to include some great southern cooking recipes when I started this blog, so today I’m making good on my word and sharing this quick and easy cornbread. Great as a side for those Tex-Mex bowls of chili.

Jalapeño Cornbread 

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 c all-purpose flour
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 c olive oil
3 jalapeno peppers (seeded, finely chopped)

Method:

1) Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

2) In a separate bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, olive oil and chopped jalapenos. Stir until blended and then add to the dry mixture. Beat until well blended.

3) Pour into 8X8 greased baking pan.

4) Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

5) Serve warm.

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Stormy Remnants of Thought

As the clouds moved in and built up over the Metroplex, my anxiety level increased...

Just how does an adopted Texan handle her first severe storm in the her new home?

Not very well.  At least according to those who had to witness my struggle from a close vantage point. In the end my partner ended up taking two days off from work to help me through the experience. Thankfully, most of the severe predictions fell by the wayside as the storm moved over the Metroplex.

I’ve been told that its a much repeated circumstance each Spring, where the weathermen try their best to give the most accurate information possible, while trying to find that balance between keeping people informed of the worst case scenarios but not inciting widespread panic. It’s certainly not a job I covet.

As we drove around Fort Worth the following afternoon, aside from a small amount of debris, the most obvious sign that we’d had a major weather event the day before, was found in Trinity Park. The river, normally calm and serene, the Trinity was now raging, rising and the color of chocolate milk.

When all was said and done, I learned a couple of vital lessons this time around:

1) Worst case scenarios may not always play out, but it is wise to plan for them anyway. Knowing in advance exactly what you would do given all possible scenarios, goes a long way to relieving the stress of major weather events.  Know where you’ll go, in the event you need to take cover. Know where your candles, flashlights and other emergency supplies are. Have enough food and water on hand for a couple of days should you become home-bound and unable to get out to the store.

2) There are a number of ways to keep on top of the weather as it happens in this Age of Digital Technology. There are radar maps that track not only where the storm has been but where it is going. There are online video forecasts and if you can afford $9.95 there are services such as Weather Call, that will text you directly when a tornado watch/warning is occurring in your area. Add your local meteorologist to your Facebook page and check his updates. I found the page of Steve McCauley of WFAA particularly informative and interactive.

3) Stay aware, but stay busy. I made an awesome peach cobbler – it didn’t really stop the storm from happening, but it helped me keep my sanity by providing a tasty distraction from my own anxiety driven scenarios that were playing in my head.

Now, I can’t promise that I’ll remain completely calm, the next time we have an severe weather warning, but I know I’ll be much better prepared. Knowledge can go a long way to relieving the fear of the unknown and unpredictable.

The mocha colored waters of the Trinity River rage the morning after

Categories: The Great Outdoors | Leave a comment

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