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If you are looking for the finest dining in Dallas . . .

December 13, 2013 in American Lifestyle, Culture

OpenTable published its list of the “2013 Best Restaurants in America,” as voted by diners. Open Table, the free-to-diners online restaurant-reservations site, collected 5 million “restaurant reviews from “verified Open Table diners” to assemble its Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America. Thirty states and the District of Columbia are represented.

Two Dallas restaurants made the cut:  Capital Grille and The French Room.  The French Room is the swanky, old-school restaurant in the Adolphus hotel, where you can have a $475 caviar tasting course.  The only other Texas spots on the list are Chez Nous French Restaurant in Humble and Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar in Galveston.


  • Steak Tartare with Truffle Deviled Egg

    A classic favorite with a new presentation.

  • Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes

    Lightly sautéed and served with crisp crostini and 15-year aged balsamic.

  • Smoked Salmon

    Served with capers and dill mayonnaise alongside onion pita crisps.

  • Lobster and Crab Cakes

    Seasoned with hints of bold dry mustard and sweet red pepper.

  • Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell

    Served on ice with mignonette sauce.

  • Shrimp Cocktail

    Fresh jumbo shrimp served with our spicy, house-made cocktail sauce.

  • Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers

    Our signature appetizer. Crisp and golden with a fiery flavor.

  • Cold Shellfish Platter
    Chilled 1lb lobster, Shrimp Cocktail and Oysters on the half shell.
  • Grand Plateau

Jumbo Lump Crab, North Atlantic Lobster, Shrimp Cocktail, Oysters on the Half Shell


Hotel Adolphus – The French Room

1321 Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Friday hours: 6:00pm – 9:30pm

View Menu

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    Dia de los Muertos – the other Halloween Celebration

    October 31, 2013 in Culture, Lifestyle

    Two Muertos from my collection, purchased about five years ago in Austin.

    Coming November 1 and 2

    The gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos)  reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

    In most Indian villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas)  are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of flowers (wild marigolds) mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and candies are left for the angelitos, and on Nov. 2, cigarettes and shots of mezcal are offered to the adult spirits. Little folk art skeletons and sugar skulls provide the final touches.


    Two recommended places in the Dallas area for Dia de los Muertos decorations:

    La Mariposa

    The Dallas Farmers Market

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      The homogenization of the USA–where did this American fixation begin?

      June 28, 2013 in American Lifestyle, Corporations, Culture, Lifestyle, Local

      I wonder if there are any Americans left who think corporate branding is attractive or even interesting?

      Yesterday, as I was driving down the street where I live in Garland, I was struck by the sameness of all the front yards.  They all featured lawns all the way from the curb up to about four feet out from the house.  Most of the homes had shrubs along the foundation of the house and a few featured flower beds in front of the shrubs.  This was the only variation.

      First of all, I wondered how many gallons of pesticides and herbicides are poured over these lawns year after year. The United States Environmental Protection Agency  has estimated nearly 70,000,000 pounds (32,000,000 kg) of active pesticide ingredients are used on suburban lawns each year in the United States. It has also been estimated that more herbicides are applied per acre of lawn than are used by most farmers to grow industrial crops.



      The issues of pesticides and herbicides on lawns was fresh on my mind because yesterday when I was out looking over the beginning of my Woodland garden, a MOXIE attendant was walking over my neighbor’s lawn applying pesticide/herbicide.  The wind was blowing that day and I asked him to hold his sprayer much closer to the ground to that stuff didn’t blow over on my berry crop.  He reassured me that the poison he was applying was “safe.”  I asked him what it was and he replied “Butoxide that is made from chrysanthemums.”

      As I told him, Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is an additive that increases the effectiveness of pyrethrins (the dried powdered flower heads of chrysanthemums.  It has recently been discovered that PBO is an active ingredient itself and as such is not widely accepted by organic growers.  Furthermore, most likely what he was spraying was pyrethroids which are synthetic mand-made chemicals based on the pyrethrins found in the dried flower heads of chrysanthemums.  Pyrethroids have a long residual period after spraying and are thus more lethal to a wider range of insects than pyrethrins.  Pyrethroids are not organics.

      Furthermore this concoction is often mixed with permethrin a common synthetic pyrethroid that also contains chlorine.  This has a long residual life, so avoid using it on food crops.  Today when I opened one of my bedroom windows in the front of my house I saw the MOXIE truck across the street apply the pesticides to my neighbor Margie’s lawn.

      I despise companies that present themselves as being “natural” and “organic” when in fact they are anything but.

      The fact that Americans’ unsustainable lawns and lawn care damage our waterways and our neighborhood ecosystems is becoming more apparent to more Americans every day.   Visit The Lawn Reform Coalition .  This group was started by environmental writers and activists who recognized the need for a centralized place for information and resources. -At this site you can see garden transformations, and learn about environmental issues, better species of lawn, and read related book reviews.



      Homogenization began with  the theme of the “melting pot”. The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements “melting together” into a harmonious whole with a common culture. The first use in American literature of the concept of immigrants “melting” into the receiving culture are found in the writings of J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur. In his Letters from an American Farmer (1782). Blending in and conformity with the norm became the standard.

      Then about 100 years later a businessman by the name of Fred Harvey kicked the homogenization of America up a notch with the Harvey House chain of restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality industry businesses alongside railroads in the western United States. The company traces its origins to the 1875 opening of two railroad eating houses located at Wallace, Kansas and Hugo, Colorado on the Kansas Pacific Railway. These cafés were opened by Fred Harvey, then a freight agent for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.

      In my opinion, ever since the Harvey Houses we have gone overboard in trying to make everything on the American landscape look the same.  I’m always struck by this when I travel in the USA–particularly when I get off a super highway for gas.  If I didn’t know where I was because of my map, there would be no distinctive landmark to let me know because these strips off American superhighways are all the same ugly display of garish corporate brands:  McDonald’s, Burger King, Exxon Mobil, etc.  From town to town, it’s the same dreary display of soul-less homogeneity.

      When I was a kid, Route 66 was a real adventure.  I rode along it with my parents several times to visit relatives living in Santa Monica.  Every town was different, but Holiday Inns were already starting to creep up on the landscape.  By 1958 there were already 50 of them in the USA.  By 1954, there were 400 Howard Johnson’s restaurants in 32 states and I remember my brother and I begging out parents to stop and eat at one because they were so “modern.”  Even back then children were somehow suckered by Madison Avenue advertising.  Maybe they put it in the water.  Do you think?


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        More on Skat: Here is the Avocado Soup Symphony

        June 24, 2013 in American Lifestyle, Culture, Music

        Sounds from Los Angeles December 1945 – Slim Gaillard and Leo Watson. Bulee “Slim” Gaillard (January 4, 1916 – February 26, 1991) was an American jazz singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist, noted for his vocalese singing and word play in a language he called “Vout”. (In addition to speaking eight other languages, Gaillard wrote a dictionary for his own constructed language.) Gaillard used Yiddish in at least two of his songs, “Dunkin Bagels”, and “Matzo Balls”, Arabic is also used in some of Gaillard’s songs, for example “Yep-Roc-Heresay” and “Arabian Boogie”.

        Iflizwerequeen note: I don’t know if there is a copy of the dictionary in its entirety, but here is the link to a site that shows pages from it:

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          Weighing in on George’s artistic talents.

          February 8, 2013 in Culture

          People all over the Internet are yammering about the two nude self-portriats that George painted and were revealed last night by hacker Guccifer.  Most are making fun of the paintings.

          Now George is not my favorite person, but his paintings are interesting.  I like them.  What do you think?

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            Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and thank goodness there was a Francis Church

            December 16, 2012 in American Lifestyle, Culture

            Eight-year0old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial September 21, 1897. the work of Veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s more reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies and other editorial, on posters and stamps.

            Below is a clip from the original post in the New York Sun.  Francis Pharcellus Church, born in 1839 and died in 1906 at age 67 had no children, but his famous editorial on Santa Claus has survived him already by more than a 100 years. Who ever says that our words do not live after us was wrong.  Our words are often our most enduring legacy.

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              Townes Van Zandt

              November 23, 2012 in Culture, Music

              Speaking of Steve Earle in a previous post reminds me of Townes Van Zandt who was a huge influence on Earle. Very few other songwriters can measure up to him. Here are two of my favorites.

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                A prayer for remembering where to find the stairs for ascension.

                November 22, 2012 in Culture, Gifts

                “Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you. Enter eagerly into the treasure ouse that is within you, you will see the things that are in heaven; for there is but one single entry to them both.  The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within your soul. . .Dive into yourself, and in your soul and you will discover the stairs by which to ascend.  –Saint Isaac of Nineveh


                Saint Isaac of Nineveh

                Isaac of Nineveh (died c. 700) also remembered as Isaac the Syrian, Abba Isaac and Isaac Syrus was a 7th century bishop and theologian best remembered for his written work. He is also regarded as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and in the Catholic Church. His feast day falls on January 28.

                He was born in the region of Bahrain. When still quite young, he and his brother entered a monastery, where he gained considerable renown as a teacher and came to the attention of the Catholicos George, who ordained him Bishop of Nineveh far to the north. The administrative duties did not suit his retiring and ascetic bent: he requested to abdicate after only five months, and went south to the wilderness of Mount Matout, a refuge for anchorites.

                Isaac is remembered for his spiritual homilies on the inner life, which have a human breadth and theological depth that transcends the Nestorian Christianity of the Church to which he belonged. They survive in Syriac manuscripts and in Greek and Arabic translations. From Greek they were translated into Russian.

                Of all the saints, he is my favorite.  Here are a few more examples of this work. Unlike many, he embraced a kinder, more generous God–not the angry, jealous, punishing God that we often hear about:

                “A handful of sand, thrown into the sea, is what sinning is, when compared to God’s Providence and mercy. Just like an abundant source of water is not impeded by a handful of dust, so is the Creator’s mercy not defeated by the sins of His creations.”

                Do not demand love from your neighbor, because you will suffer if you don’t receive it; but better still, you indicate your love toward your neighbor and you will settle down. In this way, you will lead your neighbor toward love.

                He who shows kindness toward the poor has God as his guardian, and he who becomes poor for the sake of God will acquire abundant treasures. God is pleased when He sees people showing concern for others for His sake. When someone asks you for something, don’t think: “Just in case I might need it, I shall leave it for myself, and God — through other people — will give that person what he requires.” These types of thoughts are peculiar to people that are iniquitous and do not know God. A just and generous person would not compromise the honor of helping and relinquish it to another person, and he would never pass up an opportunity to help. Every beggar and every needy person receives the necessary essentials, because God doesn’t neglect anyone. But you, having sent away the destitute with nothing, spurned the honor offered to you by God and thereby, distanced yourself from His grace.”

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                  Saint Cecilia -Patron Saint of Musicians

                  November 22, 2012 in Culture, Lifestyle

                  This Thanksgiving, November 22,  is also the Saint’s day for Saint Cecilia, patron Saint of Musicians.

                  HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all the musicians and poets of the world.  How uninspired and drab life would be without their contributions!

                  Cecilia’s musical fame rests on a passing notice in her legend that she was beheaded and at the same time praised God, singing to Him, as she lay dying a martyr’s death. She is frequently depicted playing an organ or other musical instrument. Musical societies and conservatories frequently have been named for St. Cecilia. Her feast day became an occasion for musical concerts and festivals that occasioned well-known poems by John Dryden and Alexander Pope,  and music by Henry Purcell (Ode to St. Cecilia), George Frideric Handel (Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, Alexander’s Feast), Charles Gounod (Messe Solennelle de Sainte Cecile} and Benjamin Britten, who was born on her feast day, (Hymn to St. Cecilia), as well as Herbert Howells with text from a poem by W. H. Auden. Gerald Finzi’s “For Saint Cecilia”, Op. 30, was set to verses written by Edmund Blunden, and Frederik Magle’s Cantata to Saint Cecilia is based on the history of Cecilia.

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                    The Grid of Positive Thinking helped to set off our financial crisis

                    October 24, 2011 in Class War, Culture

                    Putting on the Happy Face May Not Be the Best Way to Avoid a Train Wreck

                    Barbara Ehrenreich author several insightful books on life in America speaks in this video lecture regarding the connection of the underlying grid of positive thinking in the financial world and how it helped to trigger the financial meltdown in 2007. In the years following up to the meltdown, no one was allowed to criticize or to point out the obvious. If they did, they were fired.

                    Books by Ms. Ehrenreich include:  Nickel and Dimed; Bright-Sided; This Land is Their Land; Dancing in the Streets; Bait and Switch; and Blood Rites.

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