Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vacation, part 2: Tastiness of yum, etc.

Another reeeeeally long one, with a mess of photos to boot. Hang on, here it comes...

Tuesday: Always on the lookout

I'd considered heading out to some botanic gardens, but the Too Damn Hot (high 90s, fully saturated air) state of the city made that sound like crazy talk, even in the early morning. So I took my time getting up and around, shot the hell out of my birth-daisies, and finally stepped out for lunch at Thai Bistro.
It's a small, beautifully decorated, quiet place with shy, friendly wait staff. I picked out my standards – tom kha gai (milky chicken soup) and pad see ew (flat rice noodles with broccoli in brown sauce). Everything was incredibly tasty, and while my server seemed a bit bemused at my camera, she was unfailingly nice and I was sure to tell her I'd bring Bryan back with me.

My own little slice of heaven:
From there, it was on to the Center for Contemporary Craft to check out the Craft Texas show. No photos were allowed; the best I could do was in the garden outside:

As for the show, I'm left to imitate Unphotographable a bit. There were quite a few unique, stunning, and fascinating pieces – here's the three that stuck with me the most:

- Game Table – a carnival-colored table that first made me smile, and then made me laugh out loud. The artists made use of dice, double-nine dominoes, and much more to give the feel of a family game night. The best part? Tongue-in-cheek sayings spelled out in Scrabble letters. "NO FIDDLE FARTING" was my favorite, but I think "ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW ADVENTURES" summed it all up.

- Earth Robe – a seven-foot-high mobile suspended from a bamboo pole, created out of origami sheets (some printed from photographs by the artist) and bookbinding thread. This was the first piece at which I gasped out loud – scale, detail, and color left me simply in awe.

- Crossover – a subdued but colorful quilt that drew the fiber artist in me right over to it, but initially made me wonder what it was doing here. At length, there was an optical impression of a cross that appeared to be composed of semi-random patchwork pieces – advanced quilting, sure, but why Craft Texas?

It didn't hit me until I moved closer...and when I saw, I nearly fainted from shock. Every millimeter of the fabric – I think it was about 3 feet x 4 feet – was covered in small hand stitches.

The patchwork appearance was created solely by color changes in the embroidery. I got a mental image of long days spent planning, longer days spent threading and rethreading and putting every color in just the right place. It's enough to make a hobbyist want to take a knee.
After a spin through a gift shop filled with more wonders (including some awesome charm jewelry made in part from drink cans), I headed to Café Rustica for sweets and blogging, plus free wi-fi. It was at this point that I decided to start photographing my iced tea*...
...and that I was finally going to join in on 365 (this is day 2).
After a couple of glasses of Blackberry Sage and a few bites of a tasty chocolate chip bar, I headed back home for Bryan and we trekked out in a rainstorm to Phoenicia. What with the rise of Spec's and World Market, there was quite a bit that was actually familiar – and even more that wasn't. Spices, legumes, grains, convenience don't realize how small your world actually is until you branch out.

Since I suffered camnesia at Phoenicia, I tried to make up for it at Raising Cane's.Some of the best chicken fingers anywhere, and what we're convinced is crack-laced Cane's sauce for dipping. (Completely addictive, and a bit of a mystery.) Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with sticking close to home.

Wednesday: Casual

This day was spent doing something I like to call "knocking around." I gave some further thought to my 365, had some quality time working on the Lace Knitting of Semi-Mystery, and enjoyed plenty of mutual cat harassment.

If I wanted to remember in more detail, I probably should have blogged it sooner.

Thursday: Toes and thunderstorms

This day started out with further knocking around of a more productive nature. I made a tres leches cake** that had been planned for the previous weekend - narrowly avoiding disaster, but getting the crucial message that my oven runs a bit hot.

Some time later, when the cake was finally cool enough to cover, I made my way out under gathering clouds for a long-overdue pedicure. Hooray!

On my way out, I was very nearly felled by a massive thunderclap, as the sky opened up just before my toes were dry. Fortunately, I survived long enough to make it to Thai Pepper (my third Thai meal of the week) to meet Bryan, then stopped to grab a cupcake on my way to SnB.

Laura offered me a belated birthday brownie, but I was too stuffed with pad see ew to accept; still, it was summertime, and the knitting was easy. So worth it...and so vacation-worthy that I suffered camnesia (except for my 365) all day long.

Aaaaand, part 3 (the Fort Worth portion), coming sometime. (Since obviously "soon" means nothing to me.)

* Hell yes, I'm weird. But on a side note, it turns out that June is National Iced Tea Month. Why didn't anyone tell me this sooner?

** Verdict: very easy, but waaaay too sweet. If you do this one, I would strongly recommend cutting or eliminating the added sugar. Still, the sweetened cream topping is perfect (especially when your husband adds Bailey's to it), and ripe strawberries made it heaven.

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