Jun 28, 2008

A Trip to the Hill Country

We spent last week doing a little bit of sight seeing and a whole lot of kicking back and relaxing down in the Hill Country of Central Texas. We stayed in a very cute little place that we found at the last minute...literally - Country Sun B&B Cottages (http://www.country-sun.com/). We checked in on Sunday nite. We met Vera, one of the co-owners, on Monday morning. She did an exceptional job of taking care of us. She brought us a very nice 'European' style Continental breakfast every morning at precisely 8:30 a.m. (our request). It was always very well done w/the pastries warm and in a pretty basket, the OJ was poured into champagne glasses, it also included sliced meat/cheese, little boxes of cereal, assorted jellies and butter - more than enough to fill us up so we were always able to share with Abby of course. On Monday, we went into Wimberly and San Marcos and did a little bit of shopping. On Tuesday, we went into Gruene (http://www.gruenetexas.com/), toured historic Gruene Hall where we made it our job to sit in the bar and drink one of their Texas beers (a Shiner, of course), had lunch at the Gristmill (http://www.gristmillrestaurant.com/) and then more shopping before returning to the B&B. On Wednesday, we went to Shiner and toured the Shiner brewery (http://www.shiner.com/home.php). That was not only fun and very enlightening, but free! They also give out 4 tokens each for free tastings of their various brews. More shopping and free beer - who could ask for more? Our personal favorite was the Shiner Blonde. We weren't done yet though. On our trip back to the B&B, we drove thru Luling (http://www.lulingcc.org/4584868_37583.htm), once known as 'the toughest town in Texas', the home of not only some of the greatest BBQ I've ever eaten, the very best BBQ sauce I've ever eaten (which I plan to order lots of via their website), but also, the home of the big Watermelon Thump (http://www.lulingcc.org/4951471_37583.htm). Yes, you read that right - the Watermelon Thump. Apparently the biggest annual festival in Luling. They have a pageant where all the contestants post signs literally all over the town of Luling - and I do mean ALL OVER! They were setting up for the festival before and during our visit on Wednesday (the festival was to begin on Thursday - it's held the last weekend of June). During this 'big-time', much anticipated (for Luling) festival, this little south Texas town hosts local and not-so-local bigger name bands, beer gardens, a carnival, street dances, cook-offs, a giant parade, craft & food booths, and yes...watermelon eating and seed spitting contests and much, much more. While there, we ate at the previously mentioned BBQ joint, the Luling City Market (http://www.lulingcitymarket.com/) and it was as good as promised and better than anticipated. Very primitive, as their are no plates or utensils so to speak, but between the brown paper, the massive amounts of paper towels, we managed just fine. You get your meat (and pay for it BTW) directly from the smoker room in the back of this fine dining establishment and then move to the front of the restaurant where you can pick up the most awesome BBQ sauce I've ever tasted, any of their other menu items and a drink, directly out of an old cola box! After eating, we walk around town in an attempt to walk off some of the food we'd just eaten and took a few pictures. Before leaving, we discovered another set of unusual items that this 'sweet' town has to offer - their decorated oil well pump jacks, mostly located along and/or near the railroad tracks. You can see a few of these here (http://www.lulingcc.org/4951475_37583.htmcc.org/4951475_37583.htm.htm).

Jun 21, 2008

Baseball Glove Cake

This cake was the result of a request for a cake for an end of the season baseball party from a good friend of ours. The only real prerequisites were that the cake feed a whole lot of hungry young men and their families. We thought this one would fit the bill. It's a white 1/2 sheet cake topped with a chocolate baseball glove shaped cake that is probably about the size of a 10"-12" round cake. The icing is a chocolate butter cream that tasted totally decadent...like fudge but was the hardest thing to work with that we've found to date. I found the recipe online and as good as the reviews were, it was really hard to work with. It didn't smooth well, but it did pipe and decorate well and as I've said already it was absolutely delicious. It's a miracle that Ashley & I did so well at WW's weigh-in the next morning, because I think we did more than the usual 'tastings' due to the fact that it was so incredibly yummy. We delivered it on Saturday morning and hopefully it was a hit at the party.

Jun 16, 2008

Another Baby Shower Cake - Winnie & Eeyore

This was a very cool cake - our customer sent us a scan of the napkin she was using for the baby shower she was giving and I think we hit it dead on! This cake was a 2-tiered hexagon shaped cake (one of our favorite cake shapes thus far) with buttercream icing throughout (8" & 10" layers). We replicated everything all the way down to the butterflies and the caterpillars and in almost exactly the same colors as the napkin. It took a lot of time but was totally worth the effort! We loved it and so did our customer.

Jun 14, 2008

Graduation Time

Recently attended my nephew's High School graduation and it was way cool for a lot of reasons....1) to get the opportunity to once again see what an incredible young man my brother & SIL raised, 2) to get the opportunity to spend a little extra time with my beloved family members and 3) to have the opportunity to realize that even though there are much larger graduating classes, a small graduating class can add so much to the event and the nite. Each one of those young ladies and men had the opportunity to speak for 1 minute and they each did a very eloquent job of thanking their loved ones, which included family, friends and those that helped each one of them get where they are. Thank you to my brother, SIL & nephew for allowing me to be a part of that terrific event and I totally love being an aunt to an amazing young man - my idea for the perfect son!

Jun 7, 2008

A Busy Weekend for Cakes!

We're working on 2 cakes this weekend. The 1st is a cake for a 50th b'day. The request was pretty generic - white cake/choc icing that will serve approx 50 and not to much more direction and/or requests than that. We opted to do a 2-layer, 1/2 sheet cake carved in the shape of coffin as you can tell.

The 2nd cake we made was for a baby shower. Our client sent a picture with pretty detailed instrux. She wanted a marble cake with buttercream icing using 'boy' colors and a ducky on top. The little boy baby's name is to be Edon so rather than use the ABCD letters that were on the example cake, we opted to use the letters of the baby's name.

In addition to making these 2 cakes, Ashley and I delivered & setup a very simple, but absolutely beautiful wedding cake for the bakery she works for (http://www.cremedelacremecatering.com/). This was my first 3-tiered cake delivery ever. My truck was the perfect vehicle to deliver this cake in as it's back seat is designed in a way as to give plenty of room but it was a little nerve-wracking to take an already stacked cake for that long of a ride...okay, it wouldn't have mattered how long the ride was, it would still have been nerve-wracking. Anyway, we got the cake there in perfect shape, did the set-up work to it that needed to be done, took a couple of pictures and then scooted out of there with nary a problem.

Jun 4, 2008

Memphis in June!

You've heard of Memphis in May (http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/Content?oid=oid%3A40285)? Well this is/was Memphis in June. Flew in on Monday nite for MK work related stuff. Because downtown Memphis is apparently not a safe place to be out alone as a woman (in the evening), I've spent much more time inside than I'd care to admit. However, during the day, I've had the opportunity to meet and spend a lot of time with some really amazing women who've given me so much good information to take back to work. Because of the 'safety' issue, I haven't had much opportunity to explore the town until tonite when Marie & Angie took Randall & I to the Flying Saucer (http://www.beerknurd.com/) and then to the Blues City Cafe (http://bluescitycafe.com/) where we had some amazingly good pork ribs. I took a few pictures inside the cafe and then when we left, right outside on Beale Street, we saw more motorcycles than I've ever seen in one place...and that includes the time RH and I went to Kerrville/Fredericksburg for the Honda Motorcycle Rally!!!!!! I am not kidding you...there were motorcycles all up and down the street and they were still coming when we walked away. We walked and drove around for a little bit, exploring, kindof, and saw the Peabody (http://www.peabodymemphis.com/) and the Orpheum (http://www.orpheum-memphis.com/) as well as a few other historic places. It's been way fun and I would really love to come back and spend some time here w/RH doing some serious exploring. FYI - while here we've eaten at Lenny's (http://lennyssubshop.com/) and Sam's on Main - and both were definitely good eatin'. I'll be going on tomorrow having made some good friends and with a lot of useful information. Thank you to all who took their time and energy to spend with us - you were all great and very helpful.