Surrounded: A Photo from New Orleans

It’s a quick weekend trip for the Grill-Meister and me, celebrating our tenth anniversary.

On a short walk yesterday afternoon, I looked up and saw these steeples framed by the traditional NOLA architectural elements of this stately home and a beautiful old oak tree. All of them both have withstood so much for so long.

It felt great to be in the moment, take the picture, have time to think about these iconic symbols, and then walk on.

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Surrounded

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku Therapy: Paris Pre-flight Feelings

Haiku #1

excitement and dread ~
my two constant companions
on overseas flights

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The view from my window

Sitting in my window seat in Premium Economy (no irony in that term!), I’m excited to be headed back to Paris but feeling a bit loathsome about the weather. Half of the passengers are on the plane and the rest are waiting at the gate here at Dulles International Airport, because lightning strikes have halted the boarding process. Sheesh!

Haiku #2

I love air travel ~
but it’s the being there part,
not the getting there

Once the getting there is done, I promise you lots of peppy Paris posts with pics! ‘Til then, please send good air travel juju, and check out these other Paris-based posts (if you just can’t wait): click here.

A Word about Haiku Therapy

I always write haiku when I’m waiting in line or stressed – you should try it! I call it Haiku Therapy. It passes the time and reduces the dread, and has gotten me into a lot of great conversations with “all y’all” haiku lovers out there.


Postlogue

A week later, after a successful (and super-busy!) trip, I’m just now seeing some of the comments and realizing that this post had a cliff-hanger ending with no resolution. Sorry about that! And thanks for the good juju…

The overnight flight was fine after a rocky start and we arrived in Paris in one of the most beautiful sunny days ever. And since the only way to conquer the jet lag and get onto local time quickly is to power through it and walk, walk, walk, that’s exactly what we did. To close out this tale, here’s a photo of the Eiffel Tower from the gardens in front of the Musée de l’Armée, where Napoleon is buried.

 

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More to come.

 

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku: The Road to…

Some sights inspire, and must be captured. With the camera and the pen.  On Elkhorn Road headed North toward Como, CO and headed straight for a mountain range, the tired and weather-beaten old asphalt is framed in spring by spunky yellow wildflowers. It’s breathtaking.

The Grill-Meister went out of his way to help me get this photo, waiting patiently until there were no cars, giving me advice on the angle, etc. It’s an imperfect representation of what we saw, but…can you feel yourself being pulled toward a bright and unexpected future, on this road lined with bright yellow wildflowers?

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Anything could be possible up ahead. Anything.

Haiku: The Road to…

the yellow road to
endless possibilities –
what lies ahead?

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku: Simple Pleasures in the Mountain Air

the simple pleasures
of mountains and hummingbirds
feed my hungry soul

The haiku above sprung into being because the Grill-Meister and I are back at Little House in the Rockies for the Memorial Day weekend, where absolute peace and tranquility abound. The aspen trees dance in the gentle breeze with their young, bright green leaves, and birds of all kinds sing their unique odes to spring. The mountains we can see from the back porch still glisten with snow on their stately and imposing peaks. It is impossible to be grumpy here. Nature is a restorative and sustaining force. (This is a common theme here in the Glover Gardens blog.)

Life is good.

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The hummingbirds are visiting early this year
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These pretty little trees are everywhere
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The zoomed in view of the mountains from the back porch; “purple mountains’ majesty,” indeed

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

 

I Ate Wrong on Mothers’ Day in London, But It Was OK

Traveling for work, I was out of town on Mothers’ Day this year. I arrived in London at about noon, very tired, as I can NEVER sleep on the plane.

I believe in soldiering on when traveling to Europe, rejecting all impulses to nap and staying up until bedtime in the local time zone to get acclimated, but I was so. very. tired. So I decided to eat lunch somewhere close to the hotel and maybe take a teensy snooze afterward.

A “genuine British pub” was close by. There were signs about the “Sunday Roast Special”, which was supposed to be especially special on what they call “Mothering Sunday”. The proprietor recommended the Sunday Roast Special, especially.

“When in Rome”, right!? So of course I ordered it. And of course it was a monstrosity.

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You can’t see the meat for the gravy

Mushy, overcooked vegetables sat alongside dry, shoe-leather meat smothered in tasteless gravy served with tough, dry Yorkshire puddings. Wow.

BUT.

At the next table, only about 18 inches from me, two ladies ordered the same meal. One was obviously visiting, hailing from another city or even a foreign land (from her accent and looks). The “local” was a woman in middle age, talking about her grown sons and where they lived and worked. When their meal was served, she became rhapsodic about it. Her voice lowered, and almost in a singsong she murmured:

It’s just like my Mum served. Oh, you would have loved it so. The whole family at table, the Yorkshire puddings all puffed up and proud, everyone fighting over the extra gravy. A Sunday Roast Dinner is the best. This takes me back home to Shropshire in my youth.

And so. While I disdained the meal from my own perspective, I reveled in eavesdropping on the taste memories emanating from the next table.

We all have our beloved family comfort foods, and the memories they conjure more than make up for the lack of taste, sophistication or spice. It was a special time for me to reflect on that while eavesdropping on the British lady at the next table on Mothering Sunday in London.

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From another angle…look at that sea of blandness

I succumbed to the urge for a nap after that. Don’t judge – you would have, too.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

 

New Orleans, the Kentucky Derby and a Boozy Bourbon Milk Punch

The Kentucky Derby is today. It seems to always coincide with the last weekend of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, which seems to always be the weekend that we choose to go. I’ve seen the annual “Run for the Roses” on a bar TV in New Orleans more times than I can remember, usually from Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House. Even though the traditional Kentucky Derby cocktail is the mint julep, the libation of choice for the Grill-Meister and me is the Bourbon Milk Punch. It is lusciously, sinfully rich – a milkshake for grownups.

This year, we’re not at the Jazz Fest and we won’t be enjoying a cool, creamy Bourbon Milk Punch while watching the Kentucky Derby, but these things remain on our Replay List to enjoy again in the future. Read more about it and get the recipe for Bourbon Milk Punch here – and remember, one is enough!

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These boozy, grown-up milkshakes can accompany an afternoon snack

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While we’re on the topic of horse-racing, I heard a great story about the only Texas horse to win the Triple Crown on NPR /Texas Public Radio yesterday. Read it here: Remembering Assault, The Only Texas Horse To Win The Triple Crown.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Happy Earth Day! Join Me for a Walk in the Park

The first of two Earth Day 2018 posts.

fullsizeoutput_23baI’ve lately lamented on the lack of time for the Glover Gardens blog due to time-consuming springtime chores around Glover Gardens. I shouldn’t complain, though, because every hour spent in the spring garden pays off exponentially as the yard comes into full bloom. More on that soon!

Today is Earth Day, a great day to bask in the glory of our wonderful, life-giving planet. My celebration here in the blog comes in a set of nature photos I took recently during a road trip to visit our Musical Millennial at college in Austin. I was at Butler Shores Metropolitan Park, along the edge of Lady Bird Lake. I was killing time waiting for him to finish a rehearsal for the next day’s University of Texas Jazz Orchestra concert, using my new camera to stalk humans and animals around the park and practicing with the zoom lens. This post focuses on the animals, who were perfect models. Like this squirrel – can’t you just hear him saying: “Got nuts?”

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It was a glorious couple of hours on a sunny, cool afternoon as I wandered through the park. Enjoying  the sights and sounds of nature with only my camera as a companion was tranquil and restorative. Just looking at the photos brings me back there – won’t you join me?

A Walk Around Butler Shores Metropolitan Park

A spirited dog chased a frisbee, over and over. 

She posed for me afterward. She acted just like the men in my family when I make them pose for a picture, resigned and mildly impatient: “Just get it over with!”

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There were turtles all along the water, sunbathing. This one was like me, having a solo day at the park.

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These turtles were having a social hangout. I watched them for ten minutes or more as they watched people gliding by in kayaks and canoes, and gently kicked their back legs to keep their log perch floating in their chosen trajectory.

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A purple bearded iris was opening up in the sunlight.

Birds of all kinds were everywhere, darting about and singing. And seemingly, posing.

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The swans did a whole routine for me, turning into synchronized swimmers. A haiku popped into my head when I was watching them, which I’m saving for a post later in the week.

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Thanks for joining the animals and me on this little excursion through Butler Shores Metropolitan Park. And Happy Earth Day!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Magnificent Mountains: Same View, Different Weather, Life is Good

I love, love, love being in the mountains; there is so much variety in the weather. Here are two versions of the view from the back porch of Little House in the Rockies, close-ups of the mountain range behind us. What a difference a day made!

A winter storm dominated the view in the first photo, and only Palmer Peak is visible. The snow-filled sky cloaks the higher summits of Mount Silverheels behind it.

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The brooding storm approaches

The next afternoon, the broad expanse of this part of the Front Range is exposed, with Palmer Peak dominated by the higher mountaintops behind it.

Palmer Peak in Sun
The calm and beautiful aftermath; more snow atop the peaks in the distance

A snowstorm came and went between these two photos, and we were snug and warm in our little cabin, watching.

Watching the storm roll in, watching the snow hide the mountains, watching the birds take a few last seeds from the feeder.

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Life is good.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

 

Comfort Food Alert: My Beloved Da Corradi in London has the BEST Spaghetti Carbonara

I still think of myself as a little girl from a small town who is constantly surprised by her life, and sometimes find it hard to believe that I have a “favorite Italian restaurant in London”. In my 20s, that sentence would have been alien to me; I didn’t even make it to Europe until I was 34. This post is about that favorite little restaurant, and its fame-worthy Spaghetti Carbonara.

Da Corradi in London

 

It’s Not Just My Opinion

Da Corradi’s carbonara was fantastic!

I think that was the best Carbonara I have ever had.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with fresh ham is the best you’ll ever eat.

IMG_0857Online reviewers of Da Corradi, a tiny, family-run Italian restaurant in London’s Mayfair district tucked back in the Shepherd Market, agree with me about their Spaghetti Carbonara: it’s the best.

My TripAdvisor review from way back in 2010 when the Grill-Meister and I visited was titled Marvelous – so good we went twice in one week, proclaiming:

The Spaghetti Carbonara is the best I have ever had – even compared to the same dish in Italy.

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I’m pretty sure they serve this in heaven.

It’s true. I’ve never had a better carbonara, and I’m fairly sure I never will.  It’s that good. Just the right balance of rich creaminess from the egg and cheese, saltiness from the ham, and al dente spaghetti, with a liberal sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.  Close your eyes after taking just one bite and you’ll expect to find Northern Italy when you open them.  I try not to eat heavy food like this very often, but there’s never even a question that I’ll order anything else at Da Corradi. The only question is how much of it I can consume, and the answer is always: more than I thought!

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This pic of the Grill-Meister and me in 2010 reveals that I almost finished my carbonara; I’d like to dive in and take a bite right now
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One of my companions had a marvelous pizza on a visit last October, but I stuck with the carbonara
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Big chunks of ripe tomatoes with garlic and spicy basil atop crunchy sourdough make a tasty and authentic bruschetta appetizer

The food at Da Corradi is hearty-homestyle rather than Mayfair pretentious, and the prices are very reasonable. More reasons to keep coming back!

The Peeps are as Fun as the Food is Good

The staff at Da Corradi are a big part of the overall experience.  They’re cheeky and flirty (in a family-friendly way) and their banter with each other betrays an affection and respect that is charming. They collaborate to ensure that your experience with them is fun, filling, and fulfilling. You don’t exactly have a waitperson, you have a wait-team.

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This wait-team duet kept us in good spirits on a recent visit
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We posed together, a couple of blonde ladies; she was pleased to be featured in the Glover Gardens blog and pretty sure I would make her famous : )

A Celebrity Hang-Out (or Hide-Out?)

In its 40+ years of serving great Italian food, Da Corradi has attracted a lot of admirers beyond this Texas gal and the online reviewers I quoted above.  The wall overlooking the tiny main floor dining area sports photos of celebrity diners who must enjoy the carbonara and cheeky charm as much as I do. While high-end Mayfair is swarming with tourists and beautiful people, Da Corradi’s exact location within Shepherd Market is a little off the beaten path, a perfect place to avoid the madding crowd. Shepherd Market’s web site says, “This unique little enclave is tucked away between Picadilly and Curzon Street, in the heart of London’s Mayfair. A hidden gem known for its wonderful relaxed village-like atmosphere.”

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They Trust Me, They Really Trust Me!

I am blessed with a wide network of friends and foodies  in many locales across the world who feed me, enjoy sharing a restaurant meal together, send me their food pictures for the blog, and give and take restaurant recommendations.  I love love love it when someone trusts my choice of a restaurant; it’s like setting friends up on a blind date and having it work out (only better because there’s no chance of divorce or blame). It feels good to influence where someone has dinner halfway across the world…just call me the restaurant matchmaker!

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My Houston friends; seeing them there makes me long to visit again
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My Norwegian friends; they both had the carbonara

Life is good. And so is the Spaghetti Carbonara at Da Corradi in London.

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Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens