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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bedroom Intruder: Catchy...

I am a huge fan of the audio and video editing software available to the average home user these days. If only I had a little talent, I might be able to take an everyday newscast and turn a scary situation into something really funny.

First, you have to watch this real news report about a serious incident that occurred in Lincoln Park.

This isn't the funny part, but I have to admit, I laughed when I saw this guy, Antoine Dodson giving his eyewitness testimony.

Now, through the miracle of some cool editing, we have a song that quite frankly, is kinda catchy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dinner Report: Rudy's...

We were flipping through the TV channels the other day and happened upon the last part of some show called BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. Aside from the hoakie "You've been voted off the island" feel to it, the show did feature Warren Sapp and food, so that made it worth watching for a minute or two. The show also made my wife suddenly have a hankerin' for some Rudy's BBQ.
Whenever people are having out of town visitors in our office and they want some good Texas BBQ, for some reason everybody wants to go to Rudy's. It isn't bad - in fact, Rudy's is quite good - I guess I just don't get all giddy the way everyone else does.

Rudy's has branched out to Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and loads of locations throughout Texas, so technically, I don't think that makes them any less of a chain than Bill Miller's or Grady's, right? But I do like how they have kept up the look and feel of an old general store and gas station. And, they still serve you your food on butcher paper carried in a plastic soda carrier.
I think most local readers think of the Leon Springs location when you mention Rudy's, but the Sea World location on Westover Hills is just a few stop lights from our house. You'll find the smokehouse is where you do your ordering and paying and such, then you can either head out to the many picnic tables surrounding the place or inside the general store for rows of air conditioned tables. We opted for inside, thanks.
We went in with the idea of sharing a few meat selections so we ordered a half pound of brisket and a half pound of baby back ribs. We also got a side of creamed corn and some potato salad. That big green thing in the picture is a sliced dill pickle. Along with some drinks, you are looking at $25 worth of food.
Rudy's brisket is good but for my money, you're going to want to add some of their sauce to it. Ditto for the ribs. I do think that the sauce really does work well - and you can buy some to take home, so that tells me that others feel the same way.
I don't know anybody who doesn't like Rudy's creamed corn - assuming you like creamed corn to start with. This picture doesn't do justice, so you are just going to go an order some for yourselves and tell me what you think. Good stuff. The potato salad is fine - nothing to make me crave it, but it certainly was worthy of cleaning my cardboard serving container.

On a high note, as we were dining there was a couple sitting at a table a few rows away from us. A manager was walking through the dining room asking everyone how their food was and this couple commented that their ribs were a bit lacking in meat. She walked back to the pit area and returned in a minute or two with a foil wrapper full of fresh ribs and asked him if this would work. She did it in a very friendly and apologetic way to make sure the couple were satisfied with their order - and they were. I looked down at our butcher paper full of empty bones but decided she might not be as accommodating. Bottom line, that was some good customer service.

What's your take on Rudy's or any of the chain BBQ places? Won't you leave a comment below?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lunch Report: Beef and Bourbon and Done...

I've posted about the old East side regular, Beef and Bourbon before and you may recall on our last trip, there were some definite issues with service and such. I'm sorry to report that on our visit this past weekend, things have only gotten worse - though, best I could tell, nobody was hauled off by the police.
I won't even go into the details about how Eva's family has always loved this place. You just know that at one time, it was probably a regular haunt for lots of folks just wanting to get their steak on and have a few drinks with dinner.
This was probably elegant in the 1970's.

We had taken a drive to the small town of Adkins just east of San Antonio to look at a property a friend has on the market - you can see it here if you are looking to buy - and on the way home driving on Hiway 87 which turns into Rigsby, we thought we ought to stop into B&B. In truth, we would have been better off going the opposite direction and hitting Texas Pride BBQ.

The place was fairly empty and we seated ourselves. One waiter covered us and the two or three other occupied tables, but that didn't slow him down. We got our drinks and ordered in good time and honestly, it didn't take long to get our salads and entrees.

You'd think that all that would add up to a positive experience, but there was something in the air - the floors looked clean but there was a scent of a place that simply needed to be remodeled. How long can you maintain the same decor without replacing the paneling or the drapes or the pictures? Oh, and why not replace the mop head. I wouldn't say that it smelled like the place had been mopped with urine, but there was a clear musty smell about the place. Perhaps it was some old people sitting nearby, who knows?
My wife ordered the T-bone and made the mistake of having it cooked medium-well. In my opinion, that is a crime caused by the victim, not the cook. The steak (of course I had to have a bite) was not bad per se, but it just wasn't something to write home (or blog) about. At least the salad was good.

I decided on fish, and so I asked the waiter what kind of fish it was. Catfish he said.
Yea. Nice catfish. Again, it was not so much that the fish was bad - they certainly fill the plate, but it just tasted less than appealing. I ate maybe half of it, skipped the baked potato and called it a day.

I don't know what the answer is. Do you just tear the place down and start over? Do you bring in new management, new cooks and a new menu? Do you fire the guy who doesn't know that that ain't catfish?
I think the folks at Beef & Bourbon know the answer. They need help. Bad.

Poor Parking in 78250...

I tend to have little routines and one of them is to stop into the Bill Miller's just outside of our neighborhood on the way home from work for an iced tea refill. I pull into the same parking spot, walk inside to the "to-go" line rather than pull into the drive-thru line (because it is usually full) and I order an unsweetened iced-tea and ask the person behind the counter (unless it is one of the people who already know my routine) that I need just a little splash of sweet tea on top. I hand the person at the register my two quarters, return to my truck and drive to the other side of the parking lot allowing me to exit without waiting for the light. This works well.
Until some crazy evil person blocks my parking spot. What the hell? Does this look like a place to have a picnic? I was thinking that perhaps they might have been waiting for a big order from the drive-thru and had been asked to pull forward, but as I drove by I could see some eating taking place.

Look, I don't have some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but if your car broke down or you just decided to have a little feast, do it without blocking my parking spot. This is the sort of thing that throws me off my game, dammit!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strange in Home Depot...

During one of my many trips to Home Depot this weekend I parked next to this brain surgeon.
I always feel a little queasy trying to haul 12 foot boards in my short bed pick-up but it is doable if you mount them right, tie it all down and use a little flag to alert your fellow road warriors of your extended load. In case you are wondering, the boards this guy has are already in as far as they are going. And if you can't read my little captions in yellow above, it shows the length of the bed to be about 6 feet. He easily has another 8 feet dangling out the back.

I eagerly watched the 10PM news wondering if I would see how Loop 1604 was temporarily shut down to pick up scattered lumber, but no such luck. Strange.

GNW Hot August Nights Car Show...

Saturday night we took a quick stroll down to the little kids soccer fields at the Lodge of the Great Northwest and enjoyed the beginning of what is hoped to be a regular car show.
The theme was Hot August Nights - not a bad idea considering the heat and some of the pretty spiffy cars that showed up. Lots of Corvettes and such but a few older classics and even a nice Harley on display.

Need to see more? Why not head on over to the Flickr page to get a gander?

Friday, August 20, 2010

How Many Months Along Are You, Sir?

Let’s be honest. If you have read the things I write about for any amount of time, I could report that I had suffered a massive heart attack and you would probably say, “Yep, I saw that coming.” Well, I didn’t have a massive heart attack, so I suppose you were wrong, this time.

In spite of my reasonable heart, I was recently forced to take stock of another equally believable medical malady that I had been frankly, attempting to ignore for the past several years; that is the fact that like my father and both grandfathers, I have Diabetes. Yes, surely even the most occasional of readers had to see that one coming as well, what with my enthusiasm for enormously decked out greasy burgers, the obnoxiously portioned fries and my love for deep fried things of all flavors. Like many of you, I even like my bacon chicken fried.

And let’s not forget the refreshments. There is a reason why I enjoy San Antonio and that’s because I enjoy a cold beer on a hot day, and brother, it’s hot every day. You have to wonder if Siskel and Ebert could review a movie without the crutch of a huge tub of hot buttered popcorn; right? Well rest assured that more often than not, if I was snapping pictures of a chicken fried steak hanging over the sides of the plate, there was probably a tall Miller Lite sitting nearby.

We intuitively know that these things are bad for us and yet for many, moderation – the answer I believe, to everything – is set aside for just one more day. I think we also recognize when there is something wrong, but if we put off the confirmation by a competent authority – a doctor in the case of illness – life can go on and the burgers, and fries and beers and pizzas and hugely adorned tacos loaded with sour cream and heaven can continue to build one’s girth much to the concern of spouses, friends and acquaintances.

Like you, I could not have been surprised when the doctor who was supposed to be looking at my knee suddenly announced that, based upon blood work I had done last October, I was fully diabetic. I won't even go into the background of how I have somehow floated through the military medical system without this little detail surfacing; at this point it doesn't matter. What was shocking was to see the look on the face of the young lady I had just shown my handsome, manly legs to. It is that look that conveys, "Forget your knee dumbass, you've got bigger problems".

So that was the 4th of August. In the days since, I have dropped at least 15 pounds. That would probably be impressive if I only weighed 175 like I did when I met Eva, but I'm not kidding when I tell you I was only a Lord's Burger or two shy of 260. As my late Uncle Buzzy (He just passed a few weeks ago) asked me a few years ago, "David, what are they feeding you in Texas?", I guess it's safe to say, "Everything!"

But not anymore.

I'm not stupid enough to announce some lofty goal of getting healthy, changing my diet and posting huge "Before" pictures, only to come back a month later and tell you that I'm feeling much better now so I can order a Family size Papa Murphy's pizza and a case of beer. In fact, when I see blogs where people do that, I tend to see that the blog quietly disappears a month or two later. And I also giggle at their public failure.

What I will do is tell you that I just made some awesome ribs tonight and I ate probably more than I should have, but I washed them down with unsweetened tea (which is how I prefer it anyway) and didn't otherwise stuff myself with all the sides that would usually accompany them. Hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

If you only come here to see the food reviews, don't worry. We still gotta eat and I can't eat in a restaurant without taking pictures. I'll try not to come across as healthy or anything like that, because seriously, that sort of thing is just boring. But who knows, maybe we'll visit someplace that is both less filling and tastes great.

And if you'd like to send me your special Diabetic recipes, you can always e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lunch Report: Big'z Burger Joint...

We had put it off and put it off, starting on more than one occasion driving toward Big'z Burger Joint only to find ourselves diverted to another eating locale. I had even convinced myself that the place was simply too popular to enjoy given my distaste for loud, wide open eating places. But following some comments left on a previous post with a reader proclaiming that Big'z must be visited, we set out on a journey that would not end until we had finished wiping the delicious juices of a medium cooked burger from my cheese covered beard. That'll make you hungry, I'm sure!

Big'z is housed in one of those big metal buildings which seems sort of out of place considering it sits at the entrance to a community called "The Vineyard" - unless of course I'm mistaken and it really is a working vineyard back there, then perhaps that building fits right in. None-the-less, think of it as a newer version of Chris Madrid's without all the sweaty t-shirts and frustrating choke point ordering station. There is no questioning the popularity of the place and the many happy faces of folks eating their burgers and fries.
I think another reason the place is popular with families is that fact that they have a huge wide open play area where you can turn the street urchins loose while mommy and daddy sit on the spacious deck sucking down pitchers of beer. I didn't venture out to see what the big party barn was all about, but I suppose you could hold a private little soiree in there if you needed.
So on to the vittles... We both ordered the Big'z single on wheat with cheese and I added bacon. For those of you on a budget, the wheat bread was an extra .75, the cheese was an added .59 and the bacon was .89. In fairness, they do throw in some lettuce, pickles and tomato in as part of the $4.50 single. We also got some onions rings which we just loved. We are fans of the breading used at Clear Springs on their rings, and these seemed like a very similar version. Good stuff.
The most important part you need to know is that they are willing to cook the burger to order. I ordered mine "medium" (yea, I live on the edge like that) and sure enough, I could actually hear it moo when I took my first bite. The result was instant goodness and an immediate need to commence wiping my face with the roll of paper towels conveniently placed nearby. The burger was very juicy and the cheddar cheese was well worth the extra .59 they charge. The bun was grilled though it might have been nicer if they had slathered on some butter just to give it that extra greasy flavor. Then again, I did order wheat, so perhaps they thought I was trying to be healthy or something ridiculous like that.
Bottom line, we were quite pleased with our Big'z singles and the onion rings that came along with them. When it comes right down to it, the price is just about the same as any other place specializing in burgers so I wouldn't let all the added cost for extra ingredients get in the way of your Tasty Treat.

About Your Host

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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