In March 2013, a lifelong dream was realized. I was an exhibitor at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, Texas. I’ve been to many to Pin Oak shows as a youngster, but always as a spectator. You’d probably be surprised that my last Pin Oak show was in the 1970s, held at the original Pin Oak Stable. So visiting the Great Southwest Equestrian Center and being part of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was a total kick!
The morning of the first day of the show, following our trainer, Paige Erwin, to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.
At the show barn.
This video is of Newspaper Taxi with Paige Erwin in the first round of the Pre-Green 3′ Hunters on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
Newspaper Taxi and Paige Erwin showing in their second round of the Pre-Green 3′ Hunters, Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
One of my Modified Adult Hunter rounds with Newspaper Taxi on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
One of my rounds with Newspaper Taxi showing in the Modified Adult Hunters on Thursday, March 28, 2013.
History of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show
The original Pin Oak Stables, owned by Jim S. Abercrombie, had only one goal in mind: to help children. This began in 1945. Three years later, Pin Oak gave funding to develop the Texas Children’s Hospital, and later on, to Houston’s Ronald McDonald House and the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance. Since then, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has created art projects for patients at the Texas Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. This art contributes to the horse show by making equine-themed images that are used for promotions and as souvenirs. Pin Oak is currently contributing to the construction of a new hospital located off Interstate 10.
Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of a handful of horse shows that includes American Saddlebreds, Andalusians, roadsters, and Welsh ponies along with the hunter/jumper divisions. This type of show is a dying breed, unfortunately.
The original stable was destroyed in 2002 to build Pin Oak Middle School. The horse show facilities were relocated to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. However, the Pin Oak tradition rides strong as tens of thousands of people travel from around the world, every year, to attend and exhibit at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.
Revisiting an old friend rocks! Recently, we had brunch at the Blue Bonnet Cafe, Marble Falls, after running errands in town. It was a simple meal: a Spanish omelette and coffee for me, and a grilled chicken sandwich and lemonade for my daughter.
I didn’t disclose who I was or that I would be blogging about our meal (I’ve written about the Cafe before). I wanted to take in the Blue Bonnet Cafe as a first-time customer since I haven’t visited in a few years.
One thing I really dig about hometown cafes are the omelettes. Blue Bonnet Cafe’s are exactly what you’d expect from a hometown eatery: fresh eggs, melted cheese, and the goodies of your choice tucked neatly inside. While the salsa is pretty typical for this kind of establishment (i.e., not authentic), it’s spicy hot and a great accompaniment. The hash browns are okay, but not my favorite. I use ketchup in abundance with a generous sprinkling of salt to add flavor.
Because of the portion size, this is one meal where you’ll forget about counting calories.
Blue Bonnet Cafe’s coffee is always hot as fire and black as night. I dig mine with half ‘n half and white sugar, both of which are found conveniently on your table. Need more? Ask!
Surrounded by a whole wheat bun, my daughter’s grilled chicken sandwich was tender and paired with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. This entree comes with a generous serving of french fries. Wash down this delicious lunch with lemonade and you have a winner!
Come one, come all, come enjoy. Blue Bonnet Cafe, Marble Falls, will always greet you with a smile and keep you happy throughout your meal!
The Blue Bonnet Cafe is open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday (6 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Friday and Saturday (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.), and Sunday (6 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.). The Cafe is located at 211 Highway 281, Marble Falls, Texas 78654, with parking behind the establishment. Checks and cash (no credit cards) are accepted with an ATM on site for customers’ convenience. As of this writing, the main entrance (Hwy 281) to the Cafe is closed due to construction. Turn on 3rd Street to access Blue Bonnet Cafe’s parking lot. For more information about the Cafe, visit www.bluebonnetcafe.net or call (830) 693-2344.
Central Market in Austin, Texas, is alive and well. We visited mid-morning, late last summer, and the store was fairly quiet.
Still beautiful after all these years, the Lamar Street location was built in 1992, and was the first Central Market to open.
Dig the avocados and fresh guacamole. Too busy to create the guac of your dreams? No problem – you’ve got two different sizes of fresh guacamole to choose from.
The hardest part of shopping at Central Market? I want everything!
Figs, figs, and more figs. Why not take a little of each?
It’s easy to buy the perfect wine with the plethora of vintages available. Still not sure which bottle to choose? No problem. Central Market’s wine experts are on hand to help.
The wine department is huge.
My favorite area – the seafood market.
Why shop anywhere else?
Are you really into food?
Visit Central Market for additional information. You can sign up for the eFoodie newsletter, follow Central Market on Twitter, and like the store on Facebook. Additionally, the site offers information about cooking classes, recipes and entertaining, a blog, and what’s happening in the store.
Central Market also features an in-store cafe. Me? I adore the sushi, which is what my next post is all about.
Every now and again a girl has to gush about her horse. In this case, I’m totally bragging on the big grey horse, Newspaper Taxi. We attended the Pine HillGHHJA Halloween Show, October 17-18, 2012, with our new barn, Coraggio Hunter/Jumper. What a blast!
The barn had a highly successful show with Champions and Reserve Champions in multiple divisions. In spite of a rainy start on Friday, the weather cleared by Saturday morning. The cool, brisk days were amazing for both horses and riders. Coraggio’s annual trek to the Pine Hill Halloween show was well worth a few wet schooling days.
This video compilation showcases the special people and horses at Coraggio. The Pine Hill GHHJA Halloween Show is already on our personal list of shows to make in 2013!
Course, I have to show off my horse in his first round of the Low Hunter division. Paige Erwin, Coraggio’s trainer/barn owner, is riding. Newspaper Taxi (Chance) is coming back nicely after taking the summer off. More shows to come – soon.
This is a pictorial review of our visit to Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas.
Warm, multicolored chips and red salsa are served with each meal at Alamo Cafe. The salsa is decent, but if you’re used to traditional Mexican salsas, this one won’t knock your socks off.
The menu at Alamo Cafe is extensive. Probably too extensive! This restaurant would do best to focus the dishes the chef does best. Forget about the rest (like the seafood flautas).
Our drinks. I ordered ice water with lemon and my daughter had pink lemonade.
The fresh, homemade flour tortillas were the stars of our lunch. We couldn’t find one thing to fault about these Mexican delights. The tortillas are the perfect size, perfect taste, perfect temperature, and hot off the tortilla press!
My daughter’s chicken enchilada plate #3 with rice, beans, and a cheese tostada.
I kick myself now for ordering a meal that was iffy. While my daughter’s had far better Tex-Mex food, she enjoyed the chicken enchiladas. They do look yummy!
Seafood flautas with jalapeno green sauce and sides of rice and grilled vegetables. Unfortunately, the seafood flautas were pretty nasty, the grilled vegetables tasted like frozen veggies as opposed to fresh, and the rice was bland. I also wasn’t digging the jalapeno green sauce that “smothered” my plate.
Spurred on by my mother’s great experiences at Alamo Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, my daughter and I decided to have a late lunch at the restaurant.
Alamo Cafe has two locations in San Antonio. We visited the restaurant at 14250 Hwy 281 North. Arriving after the lunch rush, I figured we would be seated quickly and served just as fast.
Our hostess took us to a booth. As we walked past the tortilla factory, my mouth began to water. The smells swirling through the area were almost too much for a ravenous Texan.
The menu is extensive at the Alamo Cafe. I had a hard time choosing from several pages of meals. I’ve also watched too many episodes of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey chastising failing restaurateurs for putting everything and the kitchen sink on a menu. Nevertheless, the seafood flautas sounded interesting so I asked for our waitress’ recommendation. Kristen, our waitress, confirmed that the flautas were an excellent choice.
Seafood flautas ($9.50) are filled with shrimp, crab, and minced squash and smothered in a jalapeno green sauce topped off with feta cheese. Grilled vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, and broccoli) and rice accompany the flautas. My daughter chose the #3 enchilada plate. For $7.50, you get two enchiladas (choice of beef, chicken, cheese, green chicken, or sour cream chicken) and your choice of red, green, cheese, or chili sauce. Three sides accompany the meal: rice, beans, and a cheese tostada.
My daughter drank pink lemonade ($2.25) and I had ice water with lemon.
I gotta say, I had high expectations of my meal and the general experience at the Alamo Cafe. Maybe it’s because my mom loves going there with her friends. Maybe it’s because my daughter and I were having a fun “girl day.” We definitely were in good spirits and expecting the best.
The best is certainly not what we got.
Seafood flautas were a stretch for me. There’s something about fish and shellfish in a Tex-Mex restaurant that seems off. However, I thought I’d throw caution to the wind. That wasn’t a wise choice this time.
I ate part of my meal before putting my fork down permanently. Honestly, it was some of the worst Tex-Mex food I’ve had, but I suppose if you’re not well-versed in authentic Mexican food or just dipping your toes into the world of Tex-Mex, you might be fooled. The blend of shrimp, crab, and squash didn’t mix well. The seafood didn’t taste fresh and the flautas, overall, were bland. The fried tortillas were too crisp and burnt on the ends. The jalapeno green sauce certainly smothered the seafood flautas, and practically everything else on my plate. What I came away with? An overwhelming sense of what Alamo Cafe’s jalapeno green sauce tastes like. It’s also worth noting that feta cheese and Tex-Mex don’t mix.
The side of grilled veggies were okay, but they tasted frozen, not fresh. Yuck.
It’s sad to say that the rice was the overall winner on my plate. However, this rice couldn’t hold a candle to the Tex-Mex rice sides I’m used to.
My daughter enjoyed her food more than I did, but wasn’t impressed enough to frequent the Alamo Cafe a second time. Her thoughts were, “The enchilada sauce was really tasty. This food is a good medium between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food. But there are far better Tex-Mex restaurants out there, like Tamale King, which is not saying much considering Tamale King is in Buchanan Dam and we’re eating at what should be an amazing restaurant in a big city.”
The chips and salsa, served when we were seated, were nice. The chips were warm, multicolored, and crisp. The red salsa was okay. Personally, I make better fresh salsa at home, and I can get authentic, interior Mexican salsa that’s far tastier at the taco trucks in Kingsland, Texas.
The flour tortillas were the best items that I ate. Fresh, hot, and perfectly cooked, these homemade tortillas are to die for. I can see why the staff in the tortilla factory are smiling. It’s a slice of heaven in there!
All in all, I felt Alamo Cafe’s prices were unreasonable for the quality of food served.
If my story ended here, we’d be good. I’d simply say the Alamo Cafe’s food sucks and I’m not going back. But there’s more.
Beyond feeding your patrons quality food, you should give your customers quality service, too.
I rarely complain about waitstaff because I know how hard servers work. It’s a thankless, demanding job. Hell, I’m easily impressed by even mediocre service. Our waitress, Kristen, seemed nice enough in the beginning. She smiled, helped me look through the vast menu for dishes I’d like, made eye contact, and seemed interested in my daughter and me as customers. After the initial greeting and handing out our menus, taking our drink orders, and offering meal suggestions, she disappeared.
Keep in mind the time we arrived. It was after the lunch rush. Alamo Cafe was not busy and Kristen’s section had only our table to serve.
About fifteen minutes after we ordered our drinks, Kristen returned with the water and lemonade and asked if we were ready to order, which we did. Shortly after that, two young men were seated in the booth in front of us. For whatever reason, Kristen couldn’t tear herself away from flirting and talking with these men.
It bears adding that throughout our meal, which ended quicker than usual because we weren’t keen on the food, Kristen was present at the booth in front of us and eagerly helping those customers with anything they wanted.
All this while my daughter’s lemonade needed refilling and I wanted the tab so I could pay and we could hit the road. I waved to Kristen several times and she ignored me. What? Not appropriate. Not cool at all.
Would I recommend the Alamo Cafe? Nope. Truly, having a better waitress would have made a mundane meal more pleasing. I’m big on customer service and Kristen annoyed me to no end. Disappearing acts and ignoring customers when they depend on your services is unprofessional.
The Alamo Cafe is located 14250 Hwy 281 North, San Antonio, Texas 78232. The phone number is 210/495-2233. A second location is at 10060 IH-10 West in San Antonio, Texas 78230. The phone number is 210/691-8827.
The establishment has been in business since 1981. Both locations are family-friendly and casual dress. Banquets and catering services are available.
The restaurants are open every day of the week and hours are as follows: Sunday-Thursday 10:45 a.m-11 p.m, Friday-Saturday 10:45 a.m. until midnight. Alamo Cafe is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Easter Sunday.
Bloggers have to jump in. Head first, feet first – doesn’t matter which body part you use, it matters that you get wet. Like any endeavor, if your heart’s not in it, the results will be poor. I equate blogging and socializing on the web to the past positions I’ve held with former employers. Do the best job that I can and shine, shine, shine! The reward? The deep satisfaction that I’m helping others.
Truly, that satisfaction is what propels me, and I bet it’s what lights your fire, too.
What if you begin blogging and find it’s not for you? What happens when your motor stops? Are you stuck on the lake, or do you find someone to tow your boat back to shore? Perhaps you started a niche site and decided the topic wasn’t sustainable. Maybe your blog isn’t all that and a bag of chips. So what? Keep moving and turning the pieces around until they fit. If the puzzle doesn’t work, start over.
Or walk away from the project.
I’ve seen how the web works from the short time Big Grey Horse Media’s been up. It’s been less than a year, and when I’m moving, blogging, schmoozing, and keeping up with my web properties, the results are fantastic. When I slack off due to a roadblock, or when client projects take precedence (hey, a girl’s gotta make a living), traffic stops and my blogs grow stagnant.
Evolving with your blog is crucial. In October 2010, I took Big Grey Horse Media online. The first incarnation was a simple structure that let clients see my writing portfolio. From there, I began posting and interacting with others. Traffic came and it was a blast! It meant so much to find others engaging and commenting on a daily basis. It’s a fantastic high knowing someone found my blog special, inspirational, or just a nice place to take a pit stop.
The funniest piece of my puzzle was finding that I had no more to say. There are a bajillion web pages about copywriting, social media, etc., and I had no desire to continue writing those topics on the Horse. My heart wasn’t in it. While I was knee-deep in client work this spring, it came to me that Big Grey Horse Media was pushing for a big change.
Like a fictional character, the Horse had a mind of its own. It was up to me to either follow suit and nurture new growth or stop the project. The reasons why I found blogging about worn-out topics distasteful is because it was time blaze new trails. I needed to write about what turns me on…because when my juices are flowing, you will get excited, too.
From the beginning, my greatest intention and motivation was to attract the attention of Texas businesses. I also was hell-bent on writing for Texas publications: travel-type articles, features, and human interest stories. That’s what pulls my heart. And that’s what Texans want. Real stories about real people, cool businesses and events, the Texas wine industry, and travel around the State of Texas. That includes all the great foodie stops and chili peppers, too!
Why not bring this to my blogs? Why not be the writer I’ve always wanted to be? Why not blog around Texas? My intentions were pure; I simply had lost focus.
So that’s what happened, this is where Big Grey Horse Media is at, and we sure are proud to be doing what we do. It’s a shoestring start-up, and there are never enough hours in the day. Way too much for me to do alone! I got my family involved and they are helping with projects so we can turn out beautiful things you can latch onto.
Two principles that help when I’m overwhelmed with projects:
1) Step back and puts things into perspective, and
2) Have faith in what’s emerging.
Jon Morrow, I don’t know you personally, but your story touched my heart. And it isn’t because you have a disease, or lived in a tiny apartment and had a miserable existence, or even that you had un-Godly medical costs. It’s because you continued to change your life. You are authentic. You have so much to give the world, and you freely share your passion.
You’ve touched this girl’s heart. I wish you all the best, and when I travel to Mexico, I’d love to meet you.
Are you having trouble with your blog? Want to quit your job and move to paradise? Not sure how to do it?
Step back and put things into perspective. Have faith in what’s emerging. Have fun while the ride lasts. Those nudges are your creativity, inspiration, and intelligence. Follow them!
Drive into Sunrise Beach Village, and you’ll see the main areas of commerce. Real estate offices, a general store, a small strip mall called The Corner, and the local eatery. Today, as I drove home from a quick shopping trip in a neighboring town, Mosca’s Restaurant & Bar caught my eye.
“The end is near. Get some tonight.”
There’s a lot to like about Mosca’s Restaurant & Bar, but the sign never factored in. I dig the owners, and I’ve had some good foodie experiences with the restaurant. Coolest thing of all? They deliver. That’s just what a working writer needs when she’s hungry and doesn’t want to cook for herself and her daughter. Service with a smile, every darn time. Fresh, tasty sandwiches, soups, and groovy pasta. It really doesn’t get much better, or easier, when you’re looking for a bite while you write.
Perhaps Mosca’s is using their sign to lure locals in for a Rapture celebration. Maybe everyone in the restaurant will ascend together as they dine. Maybe Mosca’s just wants folks to get some of the menu in a pre-Memorial Day feast. Whatever the intention, I like Mosca’s style.
I’m not going into the whole Rapture debate. I will, however, be sucking down a Dos Equis seasoned with a squeeze of lime, sprinkled with sea salt, and a couple of jalapeno-stuffed olives dunked in, for good measure.
Get some tonight!
We hadn’t planned on bringing local Texas news to Big Grey Horse Media…well, not just yet. But with the Rapture snapping at our heels and the end of the world supposedly heralding in at 5 p.m. CDT this afternoon, this is the time to flavor the Horse with some Texas love.
And if the Rapture strikes in a few hours, you bet we will be rejoicing, Mosca’s style. Thanks for the shout-out, Mosca’s!
Visit Mosca’s Restaurant & Bar at 106 Sunrise Drive, Sunrise Beach, Texas 78643. Phone number: 325/388-4774. The owners don’t have a website or Twitter account (yet), but they have plenty of hospitality. During warm weather, customers fill the outdoor deck. Enjoy pure bliss as you dine under the Central Texas moon. (Maybe even the Rapture!)
Mosca’s Restaurant & Bar is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Enjoy Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Big Grey Horse Media is about to get a big update. We’re not spilling the beans – yet – but the changes involve a total makeover.
Texans, keep your eyes on these pages as we unfold a brand new, Texas-based blog. Big Grey Horse Media has become a destination blog featuring the people, places, and things that make the Lone Star State so special.
Thanks for all the support you’ve shown since this blog was established. I appreciate my readers and look forward to our new look and publishing venues. Watch this space!