I have known for a few months that Casa Real of Oxford, MI was opening a sister site in Flint. It is in the previously inhabited site that was Rib City (I miss the okra they had but nothing else). Several times I thought they were almost ready to open and then nothing. New sign, lights on inside, stickers on the door. But finally two weeks ago, was the marquee announcement that they would open middle of November. They are now open and more info can be found HERE.
The free basket of chips was fresh, crisp and more than enough for two. Salsa was served in a bottle you could pour into a molcajete. I would have preferred a slightly spicy salsa, as this was rather bland. You can order a spicy one, but my dinner partner does not like spicy. His loss.
This is the bean dip we ordered to go with the chips. I asked what the milky melt on top was and the waitress told me, but I thought it started with an F....but now I think it may be Asadero or possibly Teleme, but the taste of it reminded me of sweetened condensed milk. We swirled a chip thru the bean dip (mildly spicy with jalapeno) then dug in. This was a huge bowl-enough for sure for 4 or more.
I don't like Spanish rice. It's usually falsely colored orange and just overcooked, dry and tasteless. But this wasn't. It was fluffy and had real vegetables in it. Corn, peas, and mini carrot bits were dispersed thru the rice. The only thing better for this dish would be brown rice!
Finally here is my entree Queso Enchiladas. There are three enchiladas under that sauce and cheese (I will ask for light on the cheese next time). I only finished one, so I have a full meal for this weekend with my leftover rice and beans. Casa Real is vegetarian friendly with 6, count them SIX vegetarian entrees and the possibility of others should you leave off the meats. There are also several breakfast/supper egg dishes, various appetizers and OMG desserts! that any vegetarian would certainly dig into. Prices run a tad cheaper than Don Pablo's but are so much fresher. All the sauces are made in house and the enchilada sauce does not taste bottled like other places. A bit sweet with a mild tang, it's a red sauce you could use on many items.
Smaller portions are served from 11 AM til 3 PM for lunch. They have a full bar, TVs for all you stock market junkies at lunchtime and ESPN in the evening. The decor is whimsical with hand carved and painted tables and chairs with a choice of booths, tall tables and regular height tables. Tejano, mariachi, Mexican Ska....you will hear it all and it can be loud depending on how many patrons absorb the extra noise. Definitely family friendly and sure to please both tummy and wallet. And can I also praise the waiters? Service was terrific!
We (meaning my driver, my clingy dog and myself) just got back from a 6 day tripper to Iowa where we got to meet our new grand daughter for the first time. Avanelle is now 6 weeks old, putting on weight and even starting to smile a bit. I miss being able to feed her but I don't have the proper working equipment for that task. One day I rocked her so long, my butt went to sleep and my back locked up. I would do it again, even if it hurts, however.
In the course of our Interstates (69, 94, 96, 80, 380 etc.) traveling to Iowa and back to Michigan, several things crossed my mind depending on the occurring event at the time. I decided to rattle on about some and with others, probably embarrass myself .
You never will have the perfect time to go on a long drive. If it doesn't rain or snow one way, it will coming back the other way. Actually, wind may play a bigger role if you drive into it. It's not so bad if you have it at your back....blows you home, so to speak.
One person has to remember the bulk of everything to pack in the car. Other person only has to remember his underwear. Ultimately, something or many things will have to be left behind because there is no room in the Chevy transporter. So Ben didn't get his Little Mister Books (sorry dude but Avanelle can't read them yet) and I forgot the phone number and info I needed to make a dinner date and I feel awful as I really wanted to connect.
If you are planning on leaving at 8 AM, then sleep in the car. With the key ready to ignite the traveling gases. Forget teeth brushing, lock check etc. Just leave at 8 or be late.
Get your gas the day before and if Gas Buddy tells you prices are stable, fill up yesterday.The worst thing to start off a road trip is sticker shock for gasoline. It went up 30 cents a gallon overnight. Not nice, Speedway.
Dropping one dog off at Doggie Day Care for a week is very hurtful to the wallet. They have no weekend pick up unless you pay an additional fee..so if you wait until Monday, you still get screwed a day. Plus the shots and flea control you never would use anyway if you didn't board the monster. But he sat on Marley's head on the way to camp, so there was NO room or ambition on my part to take him with me.
Know that if you are the passenger, you are at the mercy of the driver's selection on the radio for tunes. I am sick of 50's songs and the 60's are getting pretty lame, too. I prefer folk, protest rock and show tunes. We heard the same things going to Iowa as coming home. I also like news. I can forego the farm reports, however. I see corn, I see soybeans, I see cows. Doing good farmers. I don't care how much a pound of cow is, I ain't contributing to your massacre.
Having a GPS without access to updates is useless. That diner from 2004 probably ain't there anymore.
Just because I like the sammies at Panera, and usually the vegetarian soups doesn't mean the breakfast is tasty. I tasted it all right, all the way to Iowa. Yuck.
If you need gas again, wait til Indiana. Or hope you make it past Illinois. Indiana is about 30 cents cheaper than Michigan, and Illinois thru Chicago area is impossible to get off the ramps without getting killed or cutting people off and it costs the most. Pay your toll and get very far west. Or wait til Iowa, where mid grade is cheaper than regular unleaded and better for the environment. Ethanol is the way to go if your car can use it.
Hammond Indiana stinks....always has and always will.
Passing by the rock quarry just inside the Illinois border, I have always wanted to yell out "Hey, Mr. Slate!" and "Yabba Dabba Doo!".
I am not the least bit embarrassed when my dog lifts his leg at the gas station stops. He feels my pain.
The toll booth people are not a happy lot. And why did Ron say thank you to them? They would not have a job without my 60 cents each way. They should thank the drivers who pay them to be surly.
Your dog will make a liar of you. He didn't run off when let off the leash. He went around the deck and sat and whined.
The least thought of problem item will be the one that happens. Dog broke his leash while twisting himself around a yard torch. So we bought a new one plus a tie down. Never used the tie down but it was 25 bucks. Out of the packaging and in the garage, it probably won't see the light of day again.
I took tons of Vernor's to Iowa.. Deposit is 10 cents a can in Michigan but it's only 5 cents a can in Iowa. Can't we all figure out that 10 cents or more will get many more cans and bottles out of landfills and off roadsides? I was appalled at how many containers I saw along roads during the trip. Plus I feel ripped off when son doesn't at least get the full 10 cents back. And if you get caught in Michigan returning cans from another state...it's trouble, I tell ya.
I was asked how I liked Iowa by the pastor's wife. I told her about as much as I like Michigan. I don't like cold. I don't like snow. Then the monsoons started and I was up all night listening to the winds blow. Did the gods put a curse on me?
My son learned how to cook. His specialty used to be sammies made in this little griddle with two pieces of bread and stuff in between the layers. Now he actually has real pots and pans and real knives. He even has cookbooks. My baby grew up!I wonder if he will ever make Scooby Sammiches again??
Back to that wind thing-just as you change directions, so does the wind. So don't put your paper dollars in your sweatshirt pouch and expect to get back to the car with any of it after stopping for a drink break. The wind took all my bills, blowing right thru the pouch and I stood like an idiot instead of chasing it down.
Then I realized what happened and tried to chase them down. Don't do this! Especially in a truck stop with a bunch of semi trucks jockeying for a gas pump. You won't live and if you do, your bills will be tossed into the salad along with all the other food wrappers, liquor bottles, dirty diapers and other trash that people toss out along the interstate.
Make sure you get your free Iowa map. Or Illinois map. Or Michigan map. I have a bag full of them. Someday they will be antiques. I plan on using them for something. Maybe when the GPS figures out it is a stupid machine and can be replaced, these maps will be worth something.
I asked the GPS to give me the fastest route back to Michigan. It thought to Milwaukee then Fort Wayne would work. I thought maybe it wanted me to swim or take the ferry across the lake. CR 234 isn't the fast route. Unless you are running along side a sloth.
Don't pass rest stops by. Even if you don't have to use the facilities, stop anyway. Even if you don't want to piss off the driver, it's better to piss him off than piss on yourself. Or the car seat.
Note to self--re-read the above.
When you are trying to find a place to go and the sign says next rest area 98 miles, and you have to find a dark, secluded place to "go", don't congratulate yourself for not peeing your pants too early. Your undies may have made it thru unscathed, but your pant legs and shoes didn't fare so well.
Note to self--re-read the above.
Don't try to read all your mail, newspapers (oh how I missed my newspapers while I was gone! I am a junkie!), packages and emails when you get home. I tried. I just don't like to have unread papers and mail.
Don't take a camera if you aren't going to use it. You did notice I have no baby photos, right? I don't have a good flash, and we can't use them around baby. The weather was dreary, we didn't go anywhere to take photos, and I don't like to be obnoxious. I am mostly a nature photographer, so macro of a big nose boogie would have been kind of gross. Ben has some. Hopefully he will email me a few?
I am now caught up with laundry, mail and am going to bed with today's papers. Have a grand Ides. It used to be payday, now it's just another manic Monday.
Once upon a time (about three weeks ago) the cook of the manor found that her 25 year old spoon was getting long in the tooth and decided she needed to purchase a couple of new wooden tools as replacements. She looked at Target but didn't find anything (and she is also participating in a boycott of Target-another story for another night).
A cursory schlep thru at Kohl's and another peak at the dollar stores didn't please her, but she did find a style that was suitable at Meijers. The shaft of the spoon was thick and the bowl adequate for her stirring of batters and slurping from the pot of the savory soups she likes to create. The eager cook purchased two.
Isn't this a lovely spoon? The manor budgeter was so excited to find such a beauty and under 5 dollars each. This was a clearance sale from $9.99 . Cook hopes the spoons will last nearly as long as the retired utensil that has served so well...........
Alas! When the stirring and slurping began this past week, the spoon failed to serve the mistress of the kitchen and her expectations of a long life. As she scrapped the pasta from the pan, she noticed an odd item. What looked like an overcooked sweet potato french fry was laying on the counter top. She was very perplexed. How did this item get into the pot of fusilli? Chalking it up to something one could see while organizing several dishes for the week including freezer dinners, she plodded on. Then she found another in the Sweet Potato chili pot. How very odd.
Said cook withdrew the spoon from the pot of Sweet Potato Chili only to find the above! The spoon which was so beautiful out of the packaging, was now splitting apart at the seams! As you can see from the above photo, the spoon is layers of hardwood...perhaps glued together. Clicking to enlarge will show you that more layers are set to disengage themselves from the bowl of the spoon and honestly, cook believes she gets plenty of fiber already!
In what at first had been perfectly formed twins are now a mismatched and scary duo. The cook of the manor had washed the new spoons with soapy water and let them air dry in the mason jar. The only difference was spoon on the right was called to duty in the Sweet Potato Chili construction and spoon on the left was put in the reserves for another day. Spoon on right will be dismissed from the kitchen brigade for failure on the job. Spoon on left.......well, cook thinks she will glue some flowers to it and let it decorate the premises of the kitchen but it has permanently been added to the Don't Ask Me To Stir Your Pot list.
The cook of the manor is now on a new journey to find a spoon worthy of her soups and stews and pasta constructions. Perhaps cook will also find the perfect cast iron Dutch oven and stainless steel canning pot in the process.
For anyone NOT on Facebook , you probably don't know about this.
I present to you Avanelle Elizabeth. She was born on October 1, 2010. She is the binary code baby (10-1-10) ! This teeny tiny bundle was one month early and weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces....she then proceeded to go on a diet and tip the scales at 4 pounds exactly.
Mom, dad and baby are all doing well and trying to get into a rhythm of a schedule but little girl is eating every hour and a half. Mom is happy/tired, dad is awestruck and baby Avanelle is stealing hearts.
I rarely use my front doors, but with the shady area I am able to have a slew of color without the plants getting burned. At the end of the season, I will plant the English ivy as a ground cover. You can see what I planted last summer peeking from the lower left corner. It is climbing up the bricks near the living room window. Ivy is for my gramma.
I do wish I could have these all year long. Guess it's soon time for silk to make its appearance until spring. I wonder if I will have a nesting dove again come March.
For the first sixteen years of my five plus decade life, my maternal grandparents lived close by. They were either in the apartment next door, the house next door or the rental flat upstairs. The last few years of their lives, the duplex we shared with them was one of the few places I truly felt safe. My grampa had used his retirement money from AC Sparkplug to help my parents make the down payment on the house off DuPont and Hamilton Streets in Flint, thus removing us kids from the ghetto hellhole that north of downtown was becoming. It was quite a change to sit on a front porch and not fear being shot in the evening, altho I have never gotten past that fear of guns. This neighborhood soon took a similar road into hell, but I have been gone almost 40 years. The rest of the family chose to stay as a brother died young, each parent died, a sister died, a fire and finally foreclosure. 2010 is the end of any life for that house. It will likely be torn down leaving another empty scarred lot inside the city.
Even after my gramma died in spring 1966, I still spent a lot of time with my grampa, going so far as to lie to my mom as to why I could not do the laundry for her or swab the wood floors. I would tell her I had to make grampa supper or dust for him (we were often watching the ball game). I did confess it every Saturday morning at St Mike's but I always felt it was an acceptable lie. My grampa needed me. So I said my penance and went about the same scenario the next week.
Aging crevices of my memory are filled with faded photographs and 16mm black and white movies from those years that I can't take to the developer to print on glossy paper or burn to a DVD. Often a memory is triggered from some innocent occurrence while out and about or a flash of a face in a dream. Such was the case this past week when I stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond. I was looking for a yogurt machine and instead came away with a rerun memory of a simpler time reflected in green glass.
Hubby and I were strolling up and down the kitchen aisles at Bed Bath and Beyond, not finding a yogurt maker, and I stated the cast iron Dutch oven was way overpriced as I simply wanted it for making rustic bread. I remembered how my gramma always used cast iron, and one particular pan always hosted the creamy potatoes and onions mix I loved as a kid. But $100 for a pot? I think not. So we were making our way out of the aisle targeting the front door, when a piece of glass caught my eye. I picked the item up, turning it over in my hands and all the morning breakfasts spent with my gramma came flooding back to me.
This simple glass kitchen gadget (14.99-what a rip off!) brought out the anger and sadness I have been trying to get past involving my mom, my brother and the house I grew up in. Some of you reading this know a bit or lots of bits involving this life story for the past few years. They are chapters best told on my other blog when the time line gets there. I just wasn't expecting to see this item in a store, what with all the electronic toys we try to cram into our kitchens.
Here is a similar item (above) to what I remembered as a kid. I always saw this on my gramma's breakfast table. As I got older, I was also allowed to ream the lemons or oranges for juice. I don't remember my gramma ever buying pre-juiced juice in a bottle or jar. She purchased lemons or oranges whole and when I begged, a grapefruit or two for me (I loved the red fleshed ones). Luckily, gramma also had a friend who lived in southern Florida who every Christmas sent us a crate full of ripe (and sometimes over ripe) globes of Floridian sunshine. I can still smell the aroma of citrus, altho I can no longer partake due to stomach issues.
This juicer/reamer was a freebie back in the Depression. Every week at the local theatre called the Strand, there was a dish night/towel giveaway or something similar. I remember a cookbook where kids got special stickers to complete. The cook book is still somewhere in mom's house along with this green gem and its matching casserole dish. Gramma used the larger dish with lid to hold her bacon drippings. It was always on the middle shelf of her Frigidaire icebox , ready for fried eggs or those yummy potatoes I mentioned above. Gramma knew how to re-use everything, a true recycler way ahead of her time. Sadly, many others were also doing the same thing during the Depression and the follow up decade into WW2.
***You can see the Strand Theatre in this photo in the lower right corner next to the Mott Building in downtown Flint. It's no longer there altho the Mott Building is still majestic in its architectural beauty. (The alley behind these buildings is where I met hubby-no, not IN the alley, but in a hole in the wall bar where I got my first waitress job)***
My gramma's juicer has a chip on the edge. It was I who chipped it when I was in second grade, as I offered to wash the lunch dishes so gramma could watch her soap As The World Turns. Even that is gone now. I tried to hide the chip but was crying so hard, she knew something was amiss. After gramma died, grampa used the juicer himself. He always had a bit of orange juice for breakfast. Eventually the juicer and the casserole along with most other items from their estate made their way into the everyday life of our household. The sleeper sofa was still in the living room when the house was foreclosed on. All those touchable memories are still inside four walls. I imagine at this point the house has been ransacked, while squatters perhaps spend a night or two. My brothers took what they could quickly sell on eBay, leaving untold treasures behind. What I find to be valuable is mostly junk to others, but I have emotions attached to my junk. Thus, they become treasures. I just can't touch the treasures anymore.
My reveries when writing this blog post tonight are mostly about what I value from the actuals in my life. I collect Superman comics, trivia books, rubber stamps, odd dishes, fabric, and other sorts of things, not with any thought to how much their worth is upon selling them but to the joy and memories they brings to me now. I don't think my talking Jar Jar Binks puppet from Star Wars will be high on anyone's list of must have items, but I smile whenever I play with it. Eventually some items may have a monetary value far exceeding what I paid for them but it doesn't matter at this point.
I don't have the green Depression juicer in my possession. I never will. I don't have my mom's wedding gown to fashion into a Christening gown for Baby Scholl. I never will. I don't have any baby photos of myself. I never will. I don't have the chair my grampa sat on while he called his Canadian family to sob that his beloved Nana was no longer with him. I never will. But I do have those memories, those instant photos stuck in my head, some very deeply hiding until a glimmer of glass refreshes them.
Edited to add on November 18, 2013. Sadly, Olio's has shut its doors and is no longer in business. I had an email for a burger special last week but nothing saying the place was closing. I will say, I know the business has been for sale even tho it was not "out there" but listed on the real estate sites online. Olio's in recent months was not the same as when I wrote this review over three years ago. They had added breakfast, weekday specials for burgers or fish and chips, coupons for buy one get one dinners and they did get that liquor license that took forever. BUT the food was not nearly as good, and to me, the atmosphere was more everyday ho hum than everyday special. I wish it was otherwise.
ETA Directions/Address 1072 Elms Road Flint (just north of Corunna and on same side as Flint Iceland Arena Map If you pass Calkins Road, you went too far. On the left side going north on Elms.
We don't get many quality eateries in the Genesee County area these days. Usually anything new opening up and actually staying open is along the lines of fast food, burger joints/coney islands or buffets (another word for deep fried and greasy). So imagine my surprise when the repaved road over the Flint River opened last week (after three months down) and this sign lit up the night! I didn't know what sort of cuisine was going to be had but I spied cloth napkins thru the windows!
So tonight on a dull, cloudy Wednesday we decided to give it a try. The lot was not really busy but that is par for many sit down eateries mid week, in general . I was almost startled to be greeted by a host when I barely had the door open. We were immediately greeted by our waiter Emily, who was so cheery and remarked that she had done the Crim (after seeing hubby's wind jacket with the Crim logo). While getting our beverages, she also highly recommended the Bruschetta with its fresh ingredients. Bread? Me? You betcha!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Emily is also a vegetarian, so she was able to inform me of all the secret ingredients (Minestrone is NOT vegetarian made with a combo beef/veggie broth) but the Marinara sauce is! (I always thought Marinara was vegetarian but not so, as twice locally it had chicken broth).
Hubby had tortellini soup while I chose a salad with my "surprise me-on the side" dressing and the accompanied bread with garlic (almost cake like and topped with lightly crumbly cheese). This bread was sooooo goooood. I could have eaten just it. A small bowl of balsamic vinegar with olive oil and rosemary poured over was a side for dipping. We were later brought a second helping of this and the chef came over to chat and welcome us. He also brought a menu for me to take home
This dish is called Spaghetti Trapanese to which I had spinach added to give it a little oomph in color. I would say it was a large serving that would have fed minimum two but closer to three. Very hot, very fresh and just the right amount of sauce as I am not a sauce person. The sauce was tomato, olive oil, basil and garlic. If I had the choice, the only difference would have been some toasted pine nuts on the top for extra crunch.
Here is the yummy Bruschetta with the garlic bread in the background.
Hubby had the Chicken Cremosi which had a lemon cream sauce over some dead chicken but you are not getting a photo. We don't do eyeballs here. But he enjoyed it and it was a very generous serving of two dead cluck breasts. There was a side of spaghetti with chunky sauce which comes with most meaty dishes.
All entrees include soup or salad and the garlic bread. Entrees start at $9.99 thru $13.99 except for a few specialties like filet or lamb but the most expensive was under $20. They have a burger/sub lunch menu but there was only a veggie sub and no veggie burger listed. Since I am not a lunch person to begin with, that won't affect me. Lunch with fries and an 8" sub tallies up for $7.49. Children can eat for $4.99 and homemade desserts are also available.
When I Googled Olio's tonight, there was not one hit online. They don't have a website yet as they only opened two weeks ago and are waiting on the applied for liquor license. The bar area is already set up and there is a large meeting/conference/party room off the main dining area. I promised them their first hit on Google and listing on Twitter. So if you are in the vicinity, stop and check them out. Supporting local businesses means supporting your neighbors.
ETA on Feb 8, 2011-Since I first wrote this review, I have returned several times and the last time my daughter and son-in-law were with me. Finally they have a website! Check the menu and set aside a nice evening of dining as the word has gone out that this is a great place and the parking lot is now full.
PS-my photos are going to be better since I finally ordered a new camera! Don't let people step on your purse! It messes up the photos big time.
My life is in a bit of flux right now and I am trying to decide what if anything, to do with my "open to the public" blogs. I love blogging but for some reason I have no focus for any of them in the last 18 months. If I write how I feel, I end up getting hate mail. I kid you not. Horrible stuff that I delete because it's so hurtful to know how much people spew garbage-hate, bodily harm, stupidity. I prefer not to post them here (thus they are deleted under moderation) because they are reminders of how inhumane some people are. Some leave a real name! But most don't. Some are even from acquaintances far and wide. So I have quit. I have better things to do than stress over it, wondering how people get to be how they are. I have pretty much quit Facebook, too. I now just play a couple of games and move on. I may come back to FB someday but don't bet the farm on it.
I found this potato in the bag I purchased from Costco. I don't know if this was the "snake" transport, but I saved it to give to my nephew Arturo. Only problem is, I haven't seen him in a while and the tuber is sprouting. So here is the photo because the potato either needs to be cooked or added to the compost bin. At first I said it was a "Michigan" potato.
Many outsiders don't know that we Michiganders use our flat hands to show what part of the Lower Peninsula we are from. The UP itself is much like a running fox, so I imagine Yoopers have their own way of describing their home towns. As you can see from the photo below, I seem to find veggies in a common shape. I won't go into the X rated ones, however. They were chopped up for soup at one time or another.
So to counteract the hate mail, I decided that my tuber is a heart. My heart sends the best wishes to anyone reading this blog, my other blogs or my FB pages. The good vibes are emitting from the heart of the Midwest, the beautiful Great Lakes state of Michigan. Most of the people here have good hearts and wish the best to everyone even if it's not returned.
I will leave this blog up until the end of the year. If I don't find myself wanting or needing it, I will take it down. I retain the ownership of the title, so it's not for sale or trade. And no spam comments, please. They too, are deleted along with the tripe.
ETA-sadly, Andrew was found dead today. He took his own life. If anyone reads this and feels like they have no choices, please call one of these numbers and talk. People care. Strangers care. Friends care. YOU are worth so much more than you think.
If you are feeling desperate, alone, or hopeless... or know someone suffering, please don't delay...call for help.
US National Suicide HotlineToll-Free / 24 hours a day / 7 days a week
1-800-799-4TTY (4889)Deaf Hotline
You made a large community care about you without ever having met you.
Andrew Koenig, the son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig, is missing. The last time Andrew Koenig was seen was on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Andrew Koenig never boarded his flight back to the US, and he hasn't heard from since then.He was last seen at a bakery in the Stanley Park area of Vancouver.
Andrew Koenig, 41, was working as a camera operator on the show "Never Not Funny" as well as doing improv in Los Angeles. Best known as "Boner" from "Growing Pains", Andrew also had a role in "Deep Space Nine", and is a talented actor director, editor and photographer as well as a passionate activist. In 2008, he was arrested at the Rose Bowl while protesting China's part in the genocide in the country of Burma.
This is a serious matter that has Koenig's friends and family gravely concerned. If you have seen him, emailed him or had any contact after the 14th or spent time with him during his stay in Vancouver please call Detective Raymond Payette of the Vancouver PD at 604-717-2534. Please share this and send prayers and positive thoughts. If you wish to leave Walter a note, visit his site at: www.walterkoenigsite.com