Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday's Cowboys/Rangers #'s are in & the Winner is....

It's so funny.  People say one thing and then do another.   Shocking.

I get email after email from fans telling me to shutup about the Cowboys preseason.   The games don't matter.  Give the division-leading Rangers the respect and coverage they deserve.   Those are the tame suggestions. 

So out of curiosity, I asked the good peeps in the Twitterverse what they would be watching  Saturday night.  The Cowboys/Texans and Rangers/A's would be competing for viewers' attention with both games being broadcast at the same time.

Here is a sampling of the responses:
-Rangers in a division game withe second place team most definitely better than cowboys pre season
-100% Rangers no brainer
-which game counts and which is an "exhibition"?
-Both...Cowboys 1st, then Rangers.

I got about 30 responses and it was about 3-1 Rangers over Cowboys, although the Ticket's Sean Bass had the most pragmatic approach tweeting "Tomorrow night is why god created the dvr."

The numbers are in, courtesy of UncleBarky.com, and while the Cowboys were a doormat for the Texans on the field Saturday night, they killed the Rangers in the ratings battle.  The Cowboys averaged 644,698 viewers while the Rangers had 128,940 on Fox Sports Southwest.  Uncle Barky notes it's one of their lowest-watched broadcasts since the the All-Star break.

Interesting.
Share:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Barcelona Food Porn

Entrance to La Boqueria

Paris gets all the love.  No doubt it should, it's home to some of the world's best and most innovative  restaurants.  But Barcelona's cuisine is fresh, flavorful and stunningly executed.  From sampling cheese, fruit and cortaditos in La Boqueria (where I would begin every day) to some of the more elegant and refined tapas bars, there is an explosion of flavors to be found in Barcelona.  There were three spots, though, on my latest trip to the Catalan capital really blew me away and I had to share.

Bar Mut



The first was Bar Mut, a popular wine and tapas bar in L'Eixample.  This is a local spot.  In fact when I got there and tried to order in my bad Spanish, my server told me to wait while he got the one English speaking server in the joint to assist me.  I needed it because some of the menu items needed explaining.

I started with the jamon iberico, widely considered the world's finest.  Before I go any further, I hate ham. Can't stand it.  Yet, I could wear a dress made of the cured, nutty meat and eat my way through it even if Karl Lagerfeld himself hand-sewed it.  It's amazing.  The pigs are fed things like barley, maize, chestnuts and acorns resulting in a slightly sweet yet salty, nutty flavor that is stunning.

Following the ham, we had the razor clams that were simply sauteed in parsley and olive oil.  I ordered the small clams and wish I had gotten the larger ones because they were delicious yet hard to get out of their little shells.  From there it was on to cheese and mussels.     

The particular night we were there was a holiday, the Festival de Sant Joan, that celebrates the summer solstice.  It's sort of  like a non-independence day July 4th holiday: fireworks light up the sky, families celebrate on the beaches or head out to eat.  The tiny Bar Mut was packed with families enjoying the night.  It was quite the authentic, upscale Catalan experience.


La Torreta de L'Escorial
While making the three-mile uphill walk from our hotel to the beautiful Park G├╝ell, my boyfriend and I started to get faint around 1pm.  He noticed this cute little pink building on the right side of the street that I was convinced was a doctor's office.  Wrong again.  It turned out a quaint, charming neighborhood restaurant.

We were the only Americans in the joint.  There wasn't an English speaking server or English menu so my bad Spanish skills were put to the test but I did ok except for dessert.

Both of  us ordered the menu of the day, which came with either soup or salad, a choice of three entrees and a dessert.  Water, beer or a cold carafe of red wine was also included.

Both of us started with the gazpacho which was amazing.  It was a fresh puree of tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers and herbs.  It wasn't the chunky salad-soup I was used to eating.  This was creamy and  unquestionably delicious.

The boyfriend ordered a sauteed chicken dish served with cooked pimientos de padron.  This was the first time I sampled the salty, sweet and almost smoky pepper.  I could have eaten a whole plate of those alone.

I ordered a salad.  It was fresh, simple lettuce salad served with fried fish filets.  I love fish, just not fried.  The flavor was actually quite good but a fried fish is just not my preferred choice.   Bad Spanish, again, biting me in butt.

We had our choice of desserts ranging from a flan to a beautiful cuatro leches cake.  Unfortunately, I ordered the ice cream.  My bad Spanish got me in trouble, again.  I thought I was ordering gelato (hello, helado!) which is served all over the city but, no.  This, however, was a brick of Neapolitan ice cream sliced out of a box. Blech.

What made this restaurant so special was the local flavor of it.  It's the kind of place where 70-year old men solve the world's problems over a full fish and three bottles of wine.  Or maybe it's more of a place where men take their secretaries, who may be a little more than there their secretaries, if you know what I mean.  At least that's what looked like was going on at the table next to ours.

I would go back again and again order the same ice cream out of a box just for the experience of it.

Santa Maria
Real food heaven came when we visited a place in El Born called Santa Maria.  It's sort of a luxury tapas concept run by a chef who is definitely fun.  He shoots YouTube videos of his creations which are definitely television worthy.

We did the tasting menu, which cost €27 per person and featured nine courses.  It was the absolute steal of a lifetime.  The wonderful tempranillo we had that night muddled my what-would-have-definitely-been perfect recall so here are the highlights:

We started with a tiny peach-mango smoothie that was light, refreshing and a great amuse bouche.  Next was one of the most amazing salads I've ever consumed.  It featured shrimp, mint and avocado in a mojito-like vinaigrette.  Simply sublime.  The flavors were fresh, delicate and complemented each other perfectly.  A white fish ceviche followed and then it was hakefish topped with and avocado puree.

Frog legs were next on the menu.  I am embarrassed to say that I had never tried them until that night.  I can't say the cliche´ held true for me: they tasted supremely better than chicken.  They were lightly friend and seasoned in a way that I can only call "Barcelona style".  If you've been there you know what I mean.

A filet with apricots dressed in a whiskey sauce was served after the frog legs.  I can't say that was my favorite.  I am not a steak fan nor do I enjoy whiskey.  It was an interesting marriage of flavors but it was a course that I could have skipped.  Pickled cabbage was served with the filet.  An interesting choice in my opinion.  I would have rather had more frog legs or hakefish.

Dessert was perhaps the best.  The chef proved the urban legend wrong by combining fruit-flavored Pop Rocks with a Coca-Cola foam (a nod to Spain's most famous chef, Ferran Adrian) for a wonderful little concoction they call Dracula.  It was a simple, sweet mixture but fun to eat.  We spent a good five minutes trying to figure out what exactly it was we were eating.  Pop Rocks!  We finally determined.  Needless to say, we lived.

We weren't done.  At this point, my skinny jeans were about to bust.  We closed the meal with two small cookies, chocolate truffles and a little white chocolate, nut concoction that was sort of a better tasting version of the infamous white trash party treat

This was a NIGHT.  An absolute treasure of an evening that lasted a good three hours. We walked the mile and a half back to our hotel at one in the morning satiated but hungry for another dining experience like that.

Anyone who has visited Barcelona knows the food is one of the highlights of a trip there.  From the traditional Catalan pa amb tomaquet to freshly caught mussels or the Dracula dessert, the food there is a study in Catalan and Spanish culture.  It might force you out of your culinary comfort zone because you can definitely run into a rogue calf brain here and there.  But if you just trust the menu and kind of go with it, you will create a food memory that will last a lifetime and will definitely have you longing for more.
Share:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What to Look for at Next Month's Landry Exhibit at the State Fair of Texas

Forget walls.  You will want a door to talk when you're done reading this.

What door am I talking about?  The one that will be on display during next month's State Fair of Texas at
an exhibit called "Remembering Tom Landry: The Personal Collection."

The Dallas Historical Society is compiling the artifacts and many never before seen items in the exhibit which Landry's widow, Alicia, collected over the years.

Their son, Tom Landry Jr., gave me a preview of some of the things you will see.  As expected, there will be a number of fedoras which Landry so famously wore on the sideline while coaching the Cowboys.  One of the more interesting objects is that aforementioned door.  It came from Landry's actual office at the Cowboys headquarters at Valley Ranch.  A Cowboys fan carved the door for the former coach.  Landry Jr. said that was one of his personal favorites. 

No doubt you will find your own if you get a chance to visit the exhibit.  But just imagine some of the conversations that took place behind that door?  Again.....if it could only talk.
Share:

Monday, August 16, 2010

TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium Facelift

Amon Carter stadium is getting a facelift.  


Not this kind. 


The school is working with HKS Sports and Entertainment group, the same folks that did JerryWorld, to renovate the aging complex.  It's a $105 million renovation on the west side and north endzone.


TCU says in a release that "the renovation greatly enhances the fan experience by improving stadium accessibility, seating and views of the playing field".

The renovation consists of:

• Significantly upgraded and new concession stands for better access and reduced wait times
• Elevators and escalators to better facilitate stadium accessibility and crowd flow
• A new, raised seating bowl on the west and north end for enhanced field views
• Upgraded and additional men’s and women’s restrooms
• Suites, club seating and lounges on the west side of the stadium
• A new press box 



I say THANK GOD to the bathroom and press box elevator improvements.  Trust me, any stadium built before 1990 needs help in the ladies room department.  And that TCU press box elevator was like a ride on an aging roller coaster: it would lurch up and down barely reach the press box. We should get hazard pay for riding in it. 


Good for TCU.  They have a great little scene going on over there during football games.  These are some great and much-needed improvements.
Share:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A French Lesson

Jordan and a new playmate at the park!

You know the stereotype. The one that persists that the French are rude, snooty and cannot stand "zeeee Ugly Americans in zeir fanny bags and tennees shoezz". That label is almost as pervasive as the misperception that all Texans drive convertible Cadillacs with longhorns attached the hood, sporting cowboys hats and boots with oil wells and mustangs in the back yards.

Harry's American Bar, Paris | TheGinaMiller.com
Harry's American Bar, Paris
Granted, you could find someone to fit each of the aforementioned stereotypes but both are wildly off the mark. When I was recently in Paris, I didn't encounter one rude Parisian, snooty waiter or anyone who was beaten down with my attempts to recall and actually speak my high school French that would have Madame McBride exclaim "Quelle horreur!"

My crash course in French culture came to life in, of all places, Harry's American Bar. It was dead empty save for the bartender, a Frenchmen named Gerard, and a British man who now lives in Paris. We gave our customary "Bonjour" to both men and went to the bar. We waited for Gerard, who was sharing a glass of champagne with the expat Brit, to come to us at the bar to ask for our order. We ordered our champagne and thanked him.

Gerard and Jim
A couple of glasses later, the expat Brit left for his family's Sunday dinner and Gerard was deep in conversation with us. About this time, an American couple walks in wearing jeans, tennis shoes and, yes, dual fanny bags worn tightly around their waists. Already fitting the stereotype the gentleman barks "two Bloody Mary's!".

"You can always tell the Americans," Gerard whispers to me. "They never say hello, please or thank you."

That was incredibly telling! The French aren't rude or snooty. What they want is politeness. They are overly polite. Think about it: any time you read a French guidebook or watch a travel show on Paris, authors and hosts always advise you to say "bonjour", "s'il vous plait" and "merci" when going into a store or restaurant because the shopkeepers and owners feel as if you are entering their homes.

The French just want us to make the effort: dress properly and offer a simple hello while enjoying and respecting the beauty, history and culture their country offers. It's sort of a throwback to earlier era in the U.S. which is something I kind of like.

Share:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Your Thoughts on Rangers Auction

Some of you want Mavericks owner Mark Cuban involved in the ownership of the Texas Rangers.  Many more of you don't.

Here's a sampling of your feedback via twitter:

bohemianrose: I would much rather see Nolan Ryan as the new Rangers owner... Cuban kind of scares me...

davesteinbach: Hard to deny the turnaround of the team under Ryan. He's building vs. spending. Gimme Nolan.

KyleGathright: best case scenario is right there. Cuban will spend the $ to win and if he listens to Nolan we will win.

57Healey: But, I would rather it be Crane/Cuban as they have the money to invest in the club after the purchase, maybe keep Lee

Gravypan: Not Cuban. Tired of the way he's undermined Greenburg/Ryan in the last few weeks

iamfelipa: for sure Cuban. He makes things fun. I would see alot of fan contests and promotions like he does for the @dallasmavs

MCinDallas: I pick Cuban if Ryan stays. He'll spend but Ryan has shown aggressive moves lately. Just wonder how it'd be if he were owner

fpgiv: Please let the Greenberg/Ryan group win. Can't handle seeing Cubes dancing and wearing RFFL t-shirts behind dugout.
Share:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Gina Miller's Blog | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig