Sunday, September 09, 2007


K and I went to the most beautiful restaurant tonight. Palisade is the favorite Seattle restaurant of one of the doctors K worked with in Texas, and she gave us a gift certificate when we left. We went there tonight, and it was breathtaking. It was probably the most expensive restaurant I've ever been to, and definitely a special occasion kind of place, but well worth every penny. The art glass chandelier and the bridge across the saltwater pond are beautiful. There were rose petals and a welcoming note on our table when we arrived (they had asked when we made the reservation if we were celebrating anything and I told them that it was just a rare night out without the children.) Our waiter, Steven, was wonderful. I had been craving king crab legs since I found out we were coming to Seattle and my dad got me to watch The Deadliest Catch. These crab legs were from red king crabs, which are huge! They served three of the meatiest upper parts of the legs, sliced open and easy to eat. They were delicious! The Olympic Mountain ice cream they served was amazing, and enters into the race with Cornish ice cream from Cornwall in England for the best ice cream ever in my book. The waiter was so gracious and patient that we didn't even realize we had stayed beyond closing until the valet brought our keys in to us so he could go home!

Red King Crab

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Prestige

Finally ... a movie worth watching! It's been a while since I've seen one of these. I'm actually glad K fell asleep (not the movie's fault, K falls asleep during almost every movie,) because it gives me a chance to watch it again. It wasn't exactly a happy-go-lucky movie, and I can't say too much without giving it away, but I woke up the next morning still thinking about what I had seen, unable to stop thinking about it, and unable to roll over and go back to sleep because of it.

There was a disturbing aspect to it, but it was a fascinating and well-written film, well worth catching and recommending.

Made me laugh: No.
Made me cry: Not quite.
Made me think: Yes. A lot!
Watchability: I would definitely watch this one again, especially knowing what I know now.
1-10 rating: 8.5

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Colonial Room Restaurant

The Colonial Room Restaurant at the reputedly haunted Menger Hotel in downtown San Antonio is well worth going to, but probably not a good idea with small children in tow. We only had one toddler with us when we went in 2003, but we felt very out of place with the tuxedo-clad waiter hovering over us and every noise little Layth made echoing through the otherwise muted dining room. That said, the lobster tail we had there was so wonderful that it has put all other lobster tails before and since to shame. Honestly, I used to love lobster any time I could have it, and I've been so disappointed with all lobster ever since the one at the Colonial Room that I just don't even order them anymore.

I would definitely go back if I had someone to watch the children, but I won't take my children there until they're grown.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Crowne Plaza Hotel - Riverwalk

Pros: The service at this hotel was exceptional and the staff were very courteous, friendly, and professional, with the exception of some of the restaurant staff. The beds were comfortable, and there were more pillows per bed (about seven) than even I could use, and I do love my pillows. Nice CD-player/alarm clock. Business center did not charge us for copies or faxes.

Cons: Not very child friendly. Although they did provide a crib for the baby, there were no children's channels on the television and no special attention paid to children. No free parking. Self parking was $16.25 per day, and valet was $22.75. The latest we could check out was 1pm, even as Priority Club members. Priority Club membership isn't terribly useful until you earn your way up to Elite membership. No free internet access in the rooms. Not very many channels on the television. Thermostat wasn't terribly cooperative. No indoor pool. Older building with some maintenance issues: our sink didn't drain well and the heated outdoor pool wasn't heating.

We only tried the restaurant once, for the breakfast buffet on Saturday, which was fine, but not wonderful. K was very happy with the omelette chef, which is the main criteria he uses to judge a breakfast buffet. No fresh waffles, which are my main criteria. One of the hostesses and our waiter seemed less than enthusiastic about our wandering in with three small children.

The concierge was very helpful and the bell staff was prompt and efficient.

Overall, despite the efforts of the staff, we are unlikely to stay here again.

San Antonio Children's Museum

Though we had originally planned to go to an outdoor playground, this was a welcome respite from the rain and the cold. Since the play areas are on two levels, it was tricky for two adults to keep up with three children, which is especially necessary since there are no security practices in effect to keep your children from wandering out the front door with or without strangers. Limited stroller parking is available, but we had so much stuff along with a sleeping baby that I just pushed the stroller around. The only time I had trouble with that was when Maya took off up the stairs and I couldn't follow. Our cell phones came in handy as I called K to send him up after her while I switched to following Layth around.

There is an airplane upstairs that the children could actually go sit in, with antique airplane seats that had definitely seen better days. The passageway inside was very narrow and Layth got a bloody nose at one point as he (fell? was pushed? ran carelessly?) into the side of a narrow doorway at the rear of the plane. The bubble room downstairs was popular with Layth and Maya. The toddler area is very nice, though the big kids just wouldn't stay out of it. It has a small fish-watching room with large aquariums serving as two of the walls and soft child-sized furniture for resting on. It also has a small, darkened cloud room filled with large pillows for the children to lay on as they contemplate the ceiling painted with cloud-shapes and twinkling with LED lights.

There were plenty of other play areas as well, and though we probably wouldn't go there if we had nice weather for playing outside, we'd certainly consider it again if we needed to get out of the rain, heat, or cold.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Magnolia Pancake Haus

K found this restaurant at the top of a list of the ten best breakfast places in San Antonio, so we dutifully went to see what the fuss was about. The restaurant was colorful and appealing, the booths were large enough to seat our family and more, and our waiter was fantastic. He was attentive and made every effort to keep the children happy, bringing their breakfast out while we waited for K's pfannekuchen to cook. His what? That's fan-e-koo-ken, and it was well worth waiting for. The menu warns you that you'll have to wait 15 minutes for this to cook, and I argued that our children would get bored and cause trouble, so we shouldn't order it. I ordered my usual waffle (not as good as Le Peep's, but respectable,) and K ordered the pfannekuchen anyway. This delectable apple-cinnamon puffed pancake was big enough for two to share (and that's just what we'll do next time we go,) moist and puffy in the center, crisp and caramelized on the edges, and covered with powdered sugar and European style whipped cream (very thick, but not too sweet.) The syrup here is made in-house and is very good, but this pancake didn't need syrup. It was far better than my waffle!

We also ordered strawberries with cream and melon, as well as cinnamon-raisin French toast for the children. The orange juice was fresh-squeezed and delicious.

We'll definitely go back next time we're in San Antonio!

Golden Wok

We've been to the Wurzbach location several times now and have never been disappointed. The children are happy to watch the Koi swimming as we cross the bridge over a small pond to the front door. The decor is warm and inviting. There is a bar where you can watch the chefs set occasional fire to things and a plasma television you can turn to if there is a lapse in the conversation. Best of all, there is dim sum. Although the true dim sum experience involves selecting sample-sized morsels of food from a rolling cart, I am perfectly happy to order mine from a menu and not have to look at scary things like chicken feet and quail eggs while I try to distinguish the things I will enjoy very much from the things that I decidedly will not.

Our favorite dishes:
Har Gau
Shrimp Sui Mai
Cheng Fun (though they have yet to have it available with shrimp when we are there.)
Shrimp Toast (This consists of whole shrimp instead of the traditional minced shrimp with sesame seeds and therefore doesn't meet K's approval, but I like it well enough.)
Spiced Calamari (Not spiced enough for K.)
Shrimp with Broccoli (The children like this one, too, broccoli included!)

We ordered all of this with rice and drinks for two adults and two children, and were well-fed and happy for only $38 before the tip. We'll definitely go back when we can!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Le Peep

We've been to the Frisco location of Le Peep several times and loved the food, but not the service. However, the food and the service were wonderful at the E Basse location in San Antonio. Since we've only been to that location once, I don't know if we just got lucky or if it's that great all the time, but I can't wait to go back and find out. While the Frisco location is small and cramped, this one is large and airy, and best of all according to Layth, it's yellow! It's true that yellow is the prevailing color here, and though I don't love yellow the way Layth loves yellow, it works.

Layth and I like Le Peep better than the rest of the family, but K and Maya are happy to come along with us from time to time. I've had waffles in many places, but I've never loved anyone's waffles as much as I love the ones at Le Peep. Family and friends know I tend to stick to something I love rather than try new things and risk disappointment, so I always order the Belgian Waffle Combo with scrambled eggs and fruit instead of meat. Layth always orders the Funny Face Pancake. The orange juice is fresh-squeezed, the warm chocolate version of hot chocolate that they make for the children is very nice, and the cinnamon rolls (only at some locations) are rich and gooey.

This is my favorite place to go out to breakfast in Frisco, even if it is slower and more cramped than the San Antonio location.

Luciano Ristorante Italiano

We fell in love with this restaurant the first time we discovered it along the Riverwalk in 2003. We make a point to go back every time we visit San Antonio, though we prefer to sit outside even on cold days so our children don't cause as much of a disturbance. It has high chairs and a children's menu, but I still wouldn't call it particularly child friendly. The best service we had there was from the owner himself on our first visit. Since then, the staff has been adequate, but not exceptional. The food, however, is always exceptional.

The Gamberi Luciano (large, delicious shrimp in a lemon butter sauce) is not to be missed. The curious ball on the side of your plate is a mashed potato ball rolled in cornflakes and fried. Curious, but tasty. We also love the crab cakes and the calamari. We've been there several times and would get one order of the Gamberi Luciano and one order of something new to try, and split the two between us. We've finally learned that nothing compares to the shrimp in our book, so we just order that now.

We always order cheese ravioli and/or cheese pizza for the children, but they usually fill up on too much bread and butter before their dinner arrives. The cheese pizza isn't to my liking because they use some kind of cheese that isn't usually found on pizzas in my part of the world, but K and Layth seem to like it well enough.

Definitely a "don't miss" restaurant!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


This isn't usually the kind of movie I would go see, but I vaguely remember putting Oscar-nominated movies on my list of movies to see last year, and this one had a best actress nominee. I transferred my list to Blockbuster Online, forgot to prioritize the movies at one point, and got Transamerica in the mail. We finally got around to watching it today and it was a decent movie, if you don't have any strong prejudices against transsexuals. Felicity Huffman did an impressive job, and K didn't even realize it was a woman playing the role until I pointed it out. He was hesitant to believe me even then.

I felt sorry for this character for most of the movie, and I felt sorry for the actress for being manly enough to get this role. Even more impressive than the movie was the interview with Felicity Huffman in the bonus section of the DVD that showed that she was actually a pretty and feminine woman.

Made me laugh: Yes.
Made me cry: No.
Made me think: Yes.
Watchability: I'm glad I saw it, even if I wasn't that excited about it beforehand.
1-10 rating: 7.5