Category Archives: Dining Out
Recently I invited my daughter and my son-in-love to accompany me to a Reidel wine tasting.
I knew that Reidel made wine variety-specific glasses.
I wanted to find out more.
I admit that I walked into the tasting expecting that “varietal glasses” were simply a marketing ploy.
I could not have been more wrong.
Reidel glassware was founded in 1756 and is owned and managed by the tenth and eleventh generation of Reidels.
In 1973 Reidel began a collaboration with wine growers and its own taste scientists to develop glasses that brought out the best in each variety of wine. All of the glasses are “workshopped” by panels of wine growers, glassmakers and taste scientists. After determining from the vintners what aspects of the wine they hope to present to the taster, the glassblowers and taste scientists create a glass that will do just that.
Important considerations are the shape of the top of the glass. If the chemicals that make up the aroma of the wine (esters) are lightweight, the glass must have a rather closed-in top. The shape of the middle of the glass is important, too. The wine must be delivered to the portion of the tongue and mouth that can best taste the unique characteristics of the wine.
The Reidel staffer had us taste two whites and two reds. We tasted the first white in two different glasses. It tasted like a different wine in the cheap glass! The same thing happened when we tasted the second white in three different glasses (the cheap glass and the two different white wine Reidel glasses). You would never know it was the same wine in each glass! We tasted the first red in four glasses and the second red in all five glasses. Each time the wine tasted different in each glass.
Color me surprised.
At the end of the worksop the Reidel guy showed us a photo of the glass that Reidel had workshopped for Coca Cola. Two workshops were held in Atlanta at Coca Cola headquarters to find the shape of glass that would allow you to best taste “the real thing,”, to allow you to taste Coke the way that Coke is meant to taste. Both guys who know the secret formula for Coke were at each workshop.
The end product is the glass you see above.
Coca Cola Classic and Mexican Coke (made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup) both taste fantastic in the Reidel glass.
BTW, no ice is needed!
I got my Reidel Coke glasses from Amazon.
You can buy the high end Reidel mouth blown crystal glasses or Target has machine made Reidel glasses made in the exact shapes of the fine crystal. Both will deliver the proper flavor of the wine.
A homeless man burst into tears when I said, “It is an honor to serve you, sir!”
It was an honor to serve him and the other men and women at the shelter.
If you are a person of faith, any faith, you know this already.
My church has put on a New Year’s Eve party at the shelter for 20 years. I have been privileged to be part of it for the last 4 years.
I always staff the “bun station”. My church provides “sloppy joes” as part of the party. I put hamburger buns on plates and add a packet of plastic silverware. I hand them to the residents with a loving “God bless you, sir” or “God bless you ma’am”.
I receive so many blessings in return. Explicit and implicit. Some of the men and women I served last night were psychotic. They couldn’t process my words. But their spirits did.
Before this, from 2002-2008, I worked with homeless mentally ill persons in downtown Dallas every Tuesday and Thursday.
On Thursday nights I did a clinic at Austin Street Centre starting at 5 p.m. If it were raining or cold, the shelter would be full and I might work until 10 p.m. If the weather were more pleasant, the homeless would choose to sleep outside and there were fewer patients for me to see.
I loved working with the homeless.
I miss it very much.
There are no atheists in a homeless shelter. There is little pretense.
The homeless have one goal: to get their lives back.
Did you know that 15% of the homeless living in shelters go to work every day? The minimum wage does not allow for luxuries like housing and medical insurance.
Mother Teresa said that the US was the most poverty stricken nation in the world. Not fiscally, but in the poverty of neglect of humans.
Is there someone who you can call today and say that you love them or are thinking of them?
Pick up the phone right now.
Reach out and touch someone.
It will bless you incredibly.
Do you know the Legend of the Starfish?
A woman is walking along the shore at low tide. She picks up every stranded starfish she sees and throws it back into the sea. A man is walking along the shore inthe opposite direction. He comes along side of her and asks her what she is doing.
He scoffs at her answer.
“You cannot save them all,” he says, “it doesn’t matter”.
She looks into his eyes and then throws the starfish in her hand back into deep water.
“It matters to that one,” she replies.
Is there someone in your life who you can serve today with a phone call?
It will matter to that one.
One happy Thanksgiving Day I made my pie from a can of organic pumpkin. The hippie recipe on the can omitted sugar, a fact that I didn’t notice. I kept plunging a knife into the pie to test it for doneness, to no avail. Finally, sure that it was “done”, I took it out of the oven. When the pie cooled the knife cuts separated, forming a Pi: Pumpkin Pi.
I added extra sugar to my homemade whipped cream and all was well.
In the upper left corner of the placemat, you can see a glass salt cellar with five grains of corn in it. Here is a bigger photo of the dish:
The first year in this country the Pilgrims were STARVING. All they had for Thanksgiving dinner was five grains of corn apiece! My family has always commemorated this by putting five grains of popcorn in a little salt cellar at each place. We go around the table and each of us tells five things that we are grateful for.
One year I had so many guests that I put the corn grains on little circles of construction paper.
This year I will be dining at my daughter’s boyfriend’s home for Thanksgiving. He has picked up this gratitude custom and when it is my turn to tell my five gratefuls, you, my dear blog readers will be one of my gratefuls.
My daughter will be making her “Wicked Pumpkin Pie”; she adds double the spices. It is divine. She will, likely, remember to put in the sugar.
When we entered the zoo, we saw a carousel. We love carousels and ride any one we can find. Apparently it is in our blood. When we go to DC we ride the same one that my mother rode when she was a girl. My daughter rode an ostrich and I rode an okapi.
We visited the African exhibit and when the time to see the cheetah cubs came, we moseyed over to the area.
The twin cubs, Kamau and Winspear, were amazingly cute, as you can see for yourself. They are being raised with a black lab puppy, Amani (which means peace in Swahili). He is just their age and the hope is that the puppy will help gentle the cheetah brothers down. We were very sad that the puppy was not present!
You can see a video of the cubs and the puppy here:
Then on to Norma’s Cafe, a South Dallas Institution that had not been on our radar until recently. We asked our waitress to bring our “mile high” slice of coconut cream pie right away, lest they run out of it. It was so fetching that we began to eat it while we waited for our meal. The pie was divine, still a little warm from the oven. I ordered a serving of the home made potato chips to go with my battered cheese sticks. Words cannot convey how delicious and right the chips were. I could not finish either the cheese sticks or the chips.
Later, I will preheat the oven to 500 degrees, along with my baking pan. When they are up to temperature I will add the cheese sticks and a few moments later the home fries.
(I will take this opportunity to offer a tip for reheating fries in a hospital room or a hotel room: blast them with your hair dryer!)
The oven will do for today’s reheating.
Stuffed, with leftovers in boxes, we eased into the car and drove home.
My Fitbit says I’ve walked 5266 steps so far today and that I’ve gone up three flights of stairs. Yes!
My daughter and I visited the Japanese Garden in Fort Worth this morning. Expecting another searing day, we planned to leave at 8 a.m. to enjoy the garden in the cool of the morning. We were delighted to find the region blanketed with cloud and a steady, gentle rain falling.
We had wonderful sharing on the 50 mile trip over. Once in the garden, the rain still falling steadily, we went and stood in the covered area surrounding the bed of raked sand with its islands made of lichened boulders. We stood and talked for 20 minutes, continuing our deep sharing.
Courageously we moved out into the garden. We were delighted to see the rain lightly hammering the surface of the upper pond. It had always been so still on previous visits. We walked past the spot where we’d spent 15 minutes an arm’s length from a great blue heron, still enjoying the memory of that day.
We stepped up onto the porch of the tea house on the lower pond and enjoyed being out of the rain but still deeply in contact with it. We watched, enthralled, as silver droplets of water collected on the surface of heart shaped leaves, tiny droplets joining the larger, until, at last, the large droplet slid off of the leaf.
Later we sat in a gazebo, right on the water, and enjoyed the sight and sound of the rain pattering into the pond. I shared that I often visited a shelter in the park near my girlhood home and sat in a picnic shelter, listening to the sound of rain or snow falling. I called it the Rainsnow.
More deep conversation in a shelter high above the pond, then back to a dry bench near the raked sand.
We lunched at the Modern Museum of Art. I had a fresh tomato tart made with real tomatoes, homemade mayonnaise, homemade sour cream and pepper Jack. It was divine. The side salad was covered with thin slices of Asiago. A glass of dry champagne rounded out my meal.
I am grateful for this blessed time with my daughter. And 3872 steps and 20 flights of stairs (surely I will get a Fitbit badge for those stairs!) And I am grateful for the rain that drenched our parched region.
Some time back I acquired three Yellow Submarine tee shirts from Threadless. I actually started with just one, but got such positive reactions to wearing it that I ordered another two when they went on sale.
Wherever I go people smile and comment about the shirt. Recently, however, they have started singing when they see it.
A few weeks back, on my trip to DC, I was browsing the gift shop of the National Gallery of Art. A super-preppy guy, a clerk in the store, likely a summer intern, saw my tee shirt and burst into song!
The next day, I was wearing another of them and was moving through the security checkpoint at the airport. The guy who had just x-rayed my bags saw my tee shirt and started singing, “We all live in a Yellow Submarine”. Immediately, the woman behind me in line started singing it, too. We three sang it all the way through.
The funniest reaction I ever had to the shirt came in Hot Springs Arkansas. I’d just finished a hike along the “Promenade” in Hot Springs National Park (where I got a half dozen grins and comments about the shirt) and went downstairs to meet my haiku friends for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Only one friend had arrived. He looked at my shirt and started naming all of the gray submarines. Turns out he was a submariner when he was in the Navy. He DIDN’T EVEN SEE the yellow one!
I finally understood the Threadless name for the tee: Know Your Submarines.
BTW, I took the picture after I finished knitting a “brain” hat. I’m wearing it in the photo….
I am a fourth generation native of Washington DC, living in Texas. Recently I jumped at the chance to visit DC with my daughter, who had to go there for some continuing medical education.
We went up early so we could visit museums. The most notable exhibit we saw was a listening device shaped like dog poop at the International Spy Museum.
We visited the Natural History Museum twice, two wings of the National Gallery of Art and the National Zoo.
We also ate at some wonderful restaurants. We had a fabulous Burmese cabbage salad with diced ginger, peanuts and fried lentils. We had an excellent mezza (small portions of many dishes) at a Lebanese restaurant. We had amazing salmon in a puff pastry crust with caper remoulade at a Russian venue. We ate tapas and shared four dishes including one with rabbit; we finished by sharing the best flan we’d ever eaten. We visited an old favorite Afghan restaurant where we also shared four appetizers, including an oldie-goodie with pumpkin, yogurt and red meat sauce.
We walked many miles a day so the entire adventure was weight neutral!