Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On the Radio

You can hear me being interviewed on a local Houston Radio show:

The Business Makers Radio Show

Not too bad!

Eat More Rare Pork

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I am the Monarch of the Sea

Last night we went to the Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s performances of Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore.

We started out the evening early at The Glass Wall. We had eaten there before, and it did not disappoint. I started with the Gumbo Broth (smoked shrimp, sausage, brown rice~fried okra) which I paired with their recommended wine; a Rudy Weist, Mosel River Riesling. The Gumbo was a very thick broth, the sausage was outstanding – spicy and firm. The smoked shrimp was tremendously tasty and bold, and the relatively sweet Reisling paired with it perfectly.

My sweet ever-lovin’ had the Maryland crab cake, which had smoked paprika aioli, crunchy pickles and sea salted chips. She paired this with the Starvedog, Chardonnay, from Australia. I had a bite, and the crab cake was about the best I have ever had.

For our main courses, I had the Buffalo hanger steak with frites. I paired that with their recommended Karly Pokerville Zinfandel from Amador County. A big bold, smoky Zin to go with the chewing and flavorful Buffalo.

My dear wife had the Brown Trout (which looked beautiful, and tasted great) that was seasoned with butter and basalmic vinaigrette, served with green beans and (custom) roasted potatoes. She continued with another glass of the Starvedog.

Finally for dessert, we had the fig tart. Fresh figs with mascarpone ice cream.

Since we had some food leftover, we packed it up and drove to our friends David and Lisa’s house which was nearby. They are building a new garage apartment which was just framed. We wanted to see it. It is huge.

Then we went over to the performance.

I grew up listening to the D’oyle Carte edition of HMS Pinafore. I had never heard Trial by Jury.

It was all very much fun, and very, very silly. There is one big number where the final line ends up with “He is an Englishman”. But it goes more like this “He is an Eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh En-glish- man”. With each “eh” the chorus would stroke their hands up and down (holding their hat) in front of their lower abdomen. Riiiiiight…

The choreography overall was quite amusing.

The show was quite amusing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More Food

My lovely wife and I continued my Year of Turning Fifty quest for good food last week with a stop at one of Houston’s newest fancy restaurants – Sabor. It is owned by the same folks who own both Da Marco and Dolce Vita, so we were expecting a lot.

Sabor is located in the renovated shell of an old Houston late night favorite – La Jaliscience. I had spent more than my fair share of late nights there, listening to bad music and having just one more beer. Lately I had met friends there for the very cheap lunch – being able to eat a burrito for next to nothing, and it would fill you up for a week.

The renovation opened up the place with a million windows. The booth and table configuration in the back was pretty much the same, as was the gravel parking lot out back. We went in through the back door, and were only the third table to be seated. Granted, it was early (about 6:15) but Houston is an early eating town.

We each ordered a margarita, seeing how it was claimed that they used only fresh squeezed juice. The chips and salsa were placed on the table and these did not disappoint. Tasty and crunchy (for the chips) spicy and smoky (for the salsa)

The drinks then came and were a bit disappointing. I was expecting them to taste like the ones from Hugo’s, but we were both disappointed in that they tasted like they came from a mix.

We ordered what amounted to Mexican Tapas – three tacos (roast beef, swordfish, and pastor – pork from the spinner), some sopesitos con pulpo (sort of like fat chips with octopus on them) and the guacamole. The food was good (except for the pastor, which was nothing but gristle) but hardly worthy of such an august staff.

We left full, but disappointed.

The quest continues.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stats on Houston

Best Places to Live

I work in one of the best places to Live (Sugar Land)

MONEY Magazine: Best Places to Live 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Third Man

We watched The Third Man this evening.

Worth a watch. A thriller with Orson Wells, Joe Cotten and Valli. It was filmed in 1949, released in 1950. The Russians play a thin part, the black market is really the star.

"Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?"

Does penicillin really do that?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Here is something to do before you turn 50

Anthony Bourdain is stuck in Beirut:


Adventures in eating.

My work life

This is what we see everyday:

IEEE Spectrum: Why Software Fails

and that is ALL we do. I cannot figure out why companies try to write their own software when it is so fraught with peril.

Oh, and our software actually works. Most of the time, anyway.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Height of Taste

The Height of Taste Posted by Picasa


Houston has a plethora of restaurants. We have Indonesian, Indian, Iranian, Irish, and Iberican. And that does not even cover all of the “I”s. So part of this last year in my 40s I have made a pledge to try and be as adventuresome in eating as possible. This is not anything silly like saying I will never eat fast food (who can live without an occasional Sausage McMuffin with Egg?) or that I will only eat ethnic food on Wednesdays.

But when I can arrange a meal with a suitable friend, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, I will try to do something “interesting”

So when a friend of mine said he wanted to get together for lunch and discuss work, I thought this was the time. He suggested the Raven Grill. I was not interested. But I remember seeing a place that served Himalayan food advertised recently and suggested that. After seeing these reviews, how can anyone say no?

I arrived a few minutes early and was greeted by your standard strip center restaurant. A TV blaring in the corner (a special about Anaconda snakes in Venezuela – which I took as a good omen), linoleum on the floor, and your standard cheap Formica tables. The menu was written in black marker on a white board, and showed all sorts of food that looked Indian to me (no surprise when you think about it) and two tables occupied. One was an American negotiating with a South Asian (Pakistani, Indian, or Nepalese, I could not tell) about buying his gas station. The other was a woman in a sari looking sort of sorry.

I read the board and the owner (Chef Lashkari, BS, MS, MRMGT) came around to chat. I told him I was waiting for someone, and he said that their lunch special ($6.99) was comprised of two curries (chicken, lamb, goat, beef [!]) rice, and bread. If you ordered a drink ($1.89 for Ice Tea) you got dessert (rice pudding) for free.

We were in, and ordered the chicken and lamb curries. They came with raw onions, some sort of a thin green sauce, a wonderful huge piece of nan (bread) and white, white rice.

The curries we wonderful. Hot (they made my buddy sweat) and flavorful, I am still able to taste them hours later. The rice pudding was wonderful – rice, almonds, and cashews sprinkled with pistachios. Delicious.

This is one place I will return to. AND it was an adventure.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


We’re just back from Lafayette. We drove over yesterday with my younger sister, and drove back today after the funeral and some visiting with family.

My uncle was a good guy. Sure, he was important, and was a big mover and shaker, and knew presidents and kings, but he was a just a nice guy. He was a dedicated husband and father, and a real true gentleman. He had five daughters and six sisters. (He had one brother as well)

It was fun to see all t he cousins as well. I have not seen many of them for probably twenty years. I saw a collection of cousins from ALL the families – My family (The Piettes) Uncle Pete (the Louisiana deGravelles) Uncle Bob (The California deGravelles) Aunt Peppy (the Moreau girls) Aunt Charlie (The LeBlancs) Aunt Abbie (The McNultys) and Aunt Renee (my Godmother – the Burkes). I also met a bunch of the next generation kids (my first cousins once removed) but I won’t even pretend that I will be able to identify any of them. There are even some in the NEXT generation. (First cousin twice removed)

It was an easy drive. About 220 miles, about 3 hours.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Now THAT is a dinner, and a dinner, and a dinner.

Vinography: A Wine Blog: Wine Dinner of The Century or a Waste of Great Wine?

In the context of this particular blog, I would say that the above dinners are worth considering when you are in your Year of Turning 50. However, I fear that there is nothing but excess involved with such a thing. All those wines they mention, should be savored with a nice meal, not slurped and slugged down in order to get to the next one.

Enjoying life is not about quantity.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Death and sadness

Death is part of the year of turning fifty, even as it starts.

My dear Uncle Pete (PJ deGravelles Jr) passed away this last weekend. You can read his obituary here.

He was quite a fellow. Always nice to the nieces and nephews. He ran a tight ship on his sugar plantation. He was old school, there was no doubt about that.

I am driving over with my wife and sister to the funeral tomorrow.

More from there.

The first week of the year

I turned 49 last week. 1957 was the peak year of the baby boom, and I was born smack dab in the middle of it. So even though the boom lasted form 1946 to 1964, those of us (and there are plenty) born in 1957 are the most typical of our generation.

I am turning 50 on my next birthday. I will be monitoring and commenting upon my Year of Turning Fifty.

I don’t think that it will be that significant of a year, but you never know what will happen until you get started.

The year started auspiciously. I stayed home for my birthday, and my sweet wife and I cooked. We cooked a nice Cream of Tomato soup, and an old Haitian recipe I have for Banana Stuffed Chicken. We shared a bottle of champagne, and a wine Burgundy (a Puligny Montrachet)

Here we go…