Love and Food in the Big D

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend with the Girlies - Part II

In honor of our THREE year anniversary (woo hoo!) of our first date (awwww.... ;) to Lone Star Park (ponies!!!)... we loaded into the car and set out to good ol' Grand Prairie, Texas to win all that money we lost on those blasted horses 3 years ago... ;) Well that was the intention anyway... it didn't quite work out as well as we had planned..... BUT... we had fun regardless, and the girls (Jenn and Christine) really seemed to enjoy themselves.. :)

It's funny how seriously we took picking out the horses we would bet on... from coming out to the holding/staging area before each race to "check out the horses physiques"... to making our wagers according to how cool and/or funny their names were... we were certified gambling PROFESSIONALS!! It really is no wonder we didn't win any REAL money..   ;) 

Watching the ponies make their way to the starting gate. 

Come on #3... show me what you got.  :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend with the Girlies.. Part I

If there's one thing that I miss about not being at A&M anymore (and I can't believe it's been 8 years since we graduated....but who's really counting)... it's spending time with my friends.  I miss the late night girl talks... bouncing ideas off of each other...the care free life with no financial concerns...ahhhh..the good ol' days.  At least twice a year..(give or take) we try to make it a point to get together at a somewhat central location in Texas.  This time, as luck would have it, it was Dallas... and Jenn and Christine were on their way to spend the weekend with us!

Our first stop on this Weekend 'O Fun... Magic Time Machine!!  Holy Restaurant Amusement Park!!

Welcome to the land of the freaky... 
Swiss Family Robinson house meets old Vegas cheesy hotel...

the kiddos seemed to enjoy themselves... 

The Big Kiddos seemed to enjoy themselves too... ;)
Penguino with her Penguino...  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pinterest Love :)

As if I needed another distraction in my life...  ;)

About a month ago, I discovered Pinterest.  I'm not even sure how...but I'm sure it was through blog reading.  A site devoted to organizing and cataloging the images that inspire you most.  A virtual pinboard of things you love and find online.  It's crazy how much inspiration can come from a simple image.  It can be the start of a craft project or just something to get you dreaming.... I'm. In. Heaven!!

Pinterest - yvettekelley09

Here's a snapshot of my computer screen just so you can see what I'm talking about.  Doesn't it look like fun?!  Wish I had thought of this first... Now I just hope I can keep up with my blog list AND my pinterest boards!  Whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.. :) 

Take a look and tell me what you think! Happy Pinning...Oh and don't forget to follow me!  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Three Year Anniversary :)

For those of you who know our story but may not remember the finer details of it all... or for those of you who've come along for the ride mid-stream... here's the original post back in 2008 of the very first date Chad and I ever went on.  May 25, 2008  and then our SECOND date here May 26, 2008  (please excuse the crappy pictures that were taken on both these dates... we OBVIOUSLY didn't care about photography quite as much as we do now..  ;)  I also think I remember trying to be sneaky about picture taking... using our phones for some of them and such... (didn't want to seem too eager, or dorky for taking pictures I guess... ;) 

It's hard to believe it's ONLY been 3 years since that very first date.  THREE years?  It takes the average couple our age this long to barely SCRATCH the surface of a serious relationship... potentially JUST now starting to talk about marriage...and here we are, 3 years from the very first day we MET, and half that time has been spent actually MARRIED!  :)  UnREAL! 

In the first few months alone, Chad met my parents in Dallas (as they helped me settle into my new home).. we took a trip to the valley where Chad met my entire family (and many of my friends), I flew to California to meet his entire family...we started talking about our wedding (wedding date picked and all ;).. started looking at churches...and GOT ENGAGED on our six month anniversary (after another trip to the valley where Chad asked my dad for my "hand" of course)!  I'm glad my parents saw what I see in Chad, because from the outside looking in, I'm sure people thought we were NUTS for moving as fast as we were going... Full Steam Ahead!!  Whew!  Almost exactly a year to the day that we got engaged, we were standing next to eachother at Mary Immaculate Church reciting the vows that would forever bind our hearts and souls to eachother.  What a whirlwind romance it has been... and I can only say that it's getting better with every passing day.  :) 

I love you so much Chad.  I love who you are...Inside and out.  I love your heart.  Your gentle soul.  I love your smile and the twinkle in your eye that I see everytime you look at me.  I love the man that you've become...even before we met.  I'm proud of all that you've accomplished personally and professionally.. and I can't wait to see where our lives take us! 

Meeting my parents for the first time.. June 7, 2008
(Not quite TWO WEEKS after our first meeting! CRAZY!!!)

In the beginning... :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Meddlesome Moth's Chad Kelley: Mistakes are OK and Thyme is Great

Part 3 of the Dallas Observer's food blog, City of Ate, "Three Course Meal" interview with Chad :)

kelley day3.jpg
In parts one and two of this week's Three Course Meal, we gave you a look at Chad Kelley, executive chef at Meddlesome Moth, and his thoughts on the national food scene and the Dallas dining scene. Today we give you the five rules you have to follow if you want to spend any time in Kelley's Kitchen. 

What are the five rules of your kitchen?
1. Work clean and organized.
2. Never stop moving.
3. Don't be afraid to ask.
4. Don't be afraid to make a mistake.
5. Learn from your mistakes.

I tell my younger cooks all the time: We are not trying to launch space shuttles into orbit. It's OK to make a mistake, that's how we learn and improve. You don't know what you don't know until you don't know it...Now you know. 
Chad Kelley

Plus a special bonus question after the jump:
What are the cookbooks that no one should be without? 
The Flavor Bible: A great resource book that helps me get the wheels turning. When I get "writer's block" and am looking for ideas, just looking what items pair well with each other will help me get over that hump. Joy of Cooking:  This really is the greatest cookbook ever.
And a final, bonus bonus question.
What ingredients do you insist on always having at your disposal?
Cayenne pepper: I use it much the same way you would use salt or acid. Just a touch can greatly help enhance flavors.
Salt: I'm a fiend for salt and dread the day my doctor tells me I need to cut back.
Thyme: I use fresh thyme in everything. One of my favorite herbs.
Lemons: I use the juice and the zest for acidic punches to dishes and help enhance flavors.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meddlesome Moth's Chad Kelley on Risk-Taking and Too Much Steak

Today's second installment (of 3) in the Dallas Observer's food blog, City of Ate.

By Jenny Block, Thu., May 19 2011 @ 4:39PM Categories: Three-Course Meal

Chad Kelley, executive chef at Meddlesome Moth.

​In part one of this week's Three Course Meal, we gave you a look at Chad Kelley, executive chef at the Meddlesome Moth, who shared his thoughts on the national food scene. In today's second installment, the chef tells us what the Dallas dining scene looks like from a moth's eye of view.

What are the Dallas restaurants you go to most often?
1. Sushi Robata
2. La Duni
3. Bolsa

What are some things the Dallas restaurant scene needs more of?
Chefs taking more of a risk. The steak and potato diet in Dallas is in desperate need of change. I know I am guilty of it giving in to it "because it sells" but we need to help people explore more foods. We really try to be adventurous with our menu at The Moth. People are looking for the adventure; most just don't know it yet. I have several converts. I got them to trust me with the flavors and slowly working them into different foods using both flavor and texture as a medium. Now they will eat just about anything.

What are things the Dallas restaurant scene needs less of?
"Trendy" steakhouses.

What is the best of Dallas when it comes to restaurants?
The Grape, Bolsa and La Duni -- I love what [La Duni owners] Taco and Duni Borga are doing.

What is the worst of Dallas when it comes to restaurants?
It's hard to say. I know it's out there. Maybe it's my "chef sense" that tells me where not to go...

If you could steal one dish off another Dallas chef's menu, what would it be?
I have to be honest -- I don't get out nearly as much as I should. There are a lot of great ideas out there. I never "steal" ideas -- I prefer to "adapt" them into something original.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meddlesome Moth's Chad Kelley: It's a Joy to Be Simple

Taken from yesterday's Dallas Observer online food blog: City of Ate 
Day 1 of a 3 day series of interviews with Chad.  Enjoy!

By Jenny Block, Wed., May 18 2011 @ 1:38PM Categories: Three-Course Meal

Meddlesome Moth's Chad Kelley at work, pairing food with the restaurant's enormous beer collection.

The problem with bars with food is bar food. But Chad Kelley, 34, executive chef at the Meddlesome Moth, has fixed that problem with choices like meat pies, mothballs, venison tartare, arctic char and pork belly. Nary a wing or mozzarella stick in site.

Good thing. Any of the brews on the massive and impressive beer list at the Moth (120 beers, with 40 of them on tap, to be exact) would be embarrassed to be served with such greasy, pedestrian fare.

In Day One of this week's Three-Course Meal, we catch up with Kelley and get his thoughts on the national food scene. Tomorrow, he's bringing it home.

Who are you?
I'm originally from Southern California. I went to Culinary School at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. I have lived and worked in Southern California and a small Brew Pub in Flagstaff, Arizona, as well as Indiana.

(Note: Kelley was once an All Star at In-N-Out in Southern California. He was also a sous chef at Beaver Street Brewery and executive chef at the Oceanaire Seafood Room.)

How did you get this gig?
My last restaurant was experiencing some financial hardships; I was a few months away from my wedding and was just straight out tired. I decided to take some time off to spend with my wife before the wedding and survey the market while enjoying some down time. Shortly before the wedding I got a call from Shannon Wynne, and he wanted to meet with me about his new project. Cool. My first interview lasted almost two hours. We looked over floor plans, talked about menus, restaurants, service styles and a little about what he was envisioning. After a about a week of "interviews," I was asked to do a tasting at Shannon's house, and it was perfect. Nailed it. Some things he liked, others not so much. But it was the flavors he was looking for. From then on I was on the team.

What's the deal with food?
People are not necessarily obsessed with the food as much as they are with the memories or the nostalgia of it. Food is a conductor of emotions: It can make you happy, excited, energized. I know it's way over publicized right now but my best example would be In-N-Out.

I grew up with it. It was my first restaurant job, and I opened new stores for them before I headed off to culinary school. The nostalgia of the place is what draws me to it. So many great memories. One in particular is while working one day I handed a lady her order. It was a new store in Northern California, and the look of excitement and happiness on her face was priceless. I felt so good to be involved with that memory I knew I was doing the right thing by sticking with the restaurant industry.

Who eats at your place? (Come one, give us the goods.)

Dirk Nowitzki, Daryl Johnston, Laura Bush -- those are the ones that stick out the most.

Who works at your place?
I have a great team in place but we don't have any super crazy stories. Wish we did now....

What is up with the national food scene and how does your restaurant fit into it?
I think The Moth is right were we want it to be. On the national scene we are seeing a more "no frill" style of cooking/presentations. The comfort food trend coupled with the sustainable movement has caused the California style cuisine to resurface and take a more front row seat on this roller coaster. I am seeing a lot more of Alice Waters in today's menus. What does that mean? Simple, unadulterated, fresh food.

If you could stab one Food Network person who would it be?
That's tough, they all have their moments but at the front of the line would be all the judges from Chopped. That show is ridiculous and how the contestants are so harshly criticized... yeah, not a fan.

If you could be best friends with one Food Network person who would it be?

Alton Brown. Guy is down to earth.

Why are so many people in the United States so overweight?
That's our culture. The whole fast food nation and then big chain restaurants telling people that huge oversized portions of useless carbs is a good thing. People want "VALUE" and we all have this ingrained perception that bigger is better. Well...we're bigger.

Follow City of Ate on Twitter: @cityofate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Pops :)

It's funny and cute how excited my dad got when I told him Macie's birthday was this past Saturday.  We joked about how he hoped his birthday would be as good as "he was SURE" Macie's was, as we headed to the park to play with her friends....:)  I told him I'd make sure Mom gave him a birthday "biscuit" and took him to the park too..just so he didn't get jealous that she got more attention on her birthday than he did.  lol.  :)  Sharing their birthday's only two days apart, I wish we lived closer to be able to celebrate together.  He would've been all over that.  :) 

It definitely goes without saying that I love my dad more than I could ever begin to explain.  He's taught me patience, hard work, dedication and has seen me through this roller coaster of life.  He's been with me through it all...Soft spoken but with a heart of gold, he may not say much, but his words are incredibly profound and I'm truly lucky to be his daughter.  :)

Happy Birthday Pops...
Hope your day's as good as Macie's ;) 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Miss Macie Blue Kelley turns THREE :)

I find it hard now to think back before Miss Macie came into our lives...before I knew the joy she'd bring...before I realized how a sweet puppy could soften the heart just by looking into her eyes.  Truthfully, I didn't think I was "ready" for her.  I tried to find every excuse I could think of, to NOT get her.  I was afraid of the time and dedication it was going to take to train a dog... the potential disruption to our lives that might come from introducing a dog into our little world of two.  And then one Sunday afternoon, on our way home from brunch almost three years ago, something came over me and I told Chad that maybe we should take a detour to Operation Kindness.  You should've seen the look of surprise on Chad's was classic :)...but he'd didn't dare object and we were there in minutes.  Literally, what felt like two seconds later, I fell in love.  She looked so scared. Helpless.  In a room of over-stimulated, BARKING-at-the-top-of their-lungs dogs... she just sat there patiently...waiting... for us (well for ME) to notice the love in her eyes.

Three years later, she's still the sweetest, most lovable puppy you'd ever meet.  We're honored to be her parents..we couldn't have chosen a better addition to our lives.  :) 

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl...
Mommy and Daddy LOVE YOU!!

Heading to the park to play with her doggie friends for her birthday!  :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vetro Masterpieces - Reveal

Because I know many of you have been waiting ever so patiently for our… (pause …wait for it… wait for it… both arms raised to the sky and said in a loud, much more magnanamus voice)… and I know magnanamus is a made up word… just go with it…  ;)…...... GRAND REVEAL!  I’ve decided to no longer keep you in suspense… 

Seen here… for the first time.. since, well… we received them….

Our MINI MASTERPIECES… (cue the dorky arms raised bit again… just for fun.  ;)

Yvette's Flower with Swirly Stem... (as if you couldn't figure that out already ;) 

And now Mr. Kelley's Mini Work of Art... (Aren't they so pretty?!)  We done good. ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Welcome to Texas, IN-N-OUTies ;)

In-N-Out in Allen, Tx - Let the feeding frenzy commence..
Opening Day - May 11, 2011

I don't remember the last time I've ever heard so much talk about something...or someone even, coming to Dallas.  I swear it's as if the President was moving here.. well hell, even when George W. actually MOVED HERE, he didn't get this much press or publicity!  I have to be honest and say, as any true Texan probably would, that I kinda feel bad for our beloved Whataburger for all the hooplah and hype In-N-Out is getting as it makes its way to Texas.  Granted, In-N-Out's burgers are pretty damn good, but part of me, a HUGE part of me...the part of me that still longs for diet-cheat-days to actually HAVE a Whataburger... is still devoted to what I grew up knowing and loving so much.  It's funny that our house is so divided on the subject now.  In-N-Out vs. Whataburger... it could go on forever and I don't think neither Chad or I would ever change sides.  :)  A Southern California boy true and true, In-N-Out is what Chad knows, it's what he remembers so well, it's where his first job was, it's what he is literally drawn to the moment we step off the plane in California when we visit his family.  You can't fault him for that...and for that reason alone, I'm excited to have this little piece of California here for him.  So Welcome to Texas, Chad and I will BOTH be happy about our diet cheat days.  ;) 

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Weekend O' Fun with the Mister

It's funny how Chad and I will give ourselves reasons to celebrate anytime Chad gets a Friday or Saturday off from the restaurant.  It's unusual, as you can probably anytime he has a weekend off, we try to pack it all in.  ;)  On this Saturday O' Fun, Chad and I had a plethora (oooo... big word ;) of fun activities planned...and luckily with Mother's Day on Sunday, Dallas wasn't short on fun things for us to do! 

Our first stop of the day, after a tasty breakfast at our usual weekend brunch stop - Cafe Brazil, was Vetro Glassblowers in Grapevine, Texas. 

Part of Vetro's event schedule was helping the glassblowers create our very own glass flower or glass bowl.  We even got to choose our own colors.  :)  I helped make a multi-colored flower with a swirly stem and Chad chose a blue wavy edged bowl.  We can't wait to see how they turn out! We'll have more pictures to share once we pick them up from the studio on Wednesday.  :)

After I helped heat the glass to a liquid/molten state, and integrated the colored glass chips...the Vetro guy took over finishing out my mini masterpiece.  :)

Chad's turn to work his magic

His was a bit more involved than my flower was...

From ball to bowl...

And wa-la!

Next stop:  A Historic Home Tour down Swiss Ave. in Dallas. 

Munger Place Church.  First stop on the tour

Built in the 1920's, the restoration kept much of the original doors, windows, fixtures and church pews. 

This guy doesn't look very friendly... :/

Definitely our favorite home on the tour...

Modern with vintage elements..

LOVED this exposed arch which was obviously the point of an expansion in the house.
It was warm and inviting with clean modern lines, no fuss, no frills... LOVED. IT.

Although we weren't huge fans of the giant glass table with the super manly/ super sleek modern chairs.. I appreciated the use of space.  

Loved the kitchen.  The clean look of the cabinets, the huge island in the middle, the large wall of doors and windows, the teeny tiny floor tiles, the industrial equipment, loved it all.  I'll take it.  ;)

Greeting us at the top of the stairs was this cute little sitting area...very well dressed.  :)
Wanted those cute little elephants to come home with me.. Guess we'll just have to move in instead.  ;)

One of the guest rooms.. Again, very well dressed.  :)  Definitely my style..
Not overly one style or theme.. not overly feminine, not overly masculine, not overly vintage...just simply classic. 

There was a total of seven houses on this tour, both off and on Swiss Ave.. By the time we actually made it to Swiss Ave. though, throngs of people started to gather at the entrances where Docents gave us information on the history of each house.  It was interesting to hear but HOT AS HELL on this May day... so I was all but eager to rush through the remaining homes just to get back in the air conditioned car.  :)  It was awesome though...thankfully Chad and I are both equally interested in architecture enough to appreciate activities like these.  :) 

Next Up:  Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees :)

Sea of red, white and blue.. 49,000 fans in attendance

Uh oh... Caught in a pickle..

Rangers WIN!  Rangers 7, Yankees 5