From Texas to Beyond

Local, Near and Far: Our journey of exploring the world.

Month: May 2015 (page 1 of 4)

Bass Performance Hall

Every Friday we take a break from our regular blogging schedule to allow the authors an opportunity to feature a certain topic they are passionate about. In the past you’ve read about art, studying abroad, experiencing culture through food, and the great burger adventure. Through this and other future posts we hope you’ll enjoy reading, we hope to share with you our personalities, passions, and interests on a more personal level.

One of the most iconic façades in Fort Worth belongs to the Bass Performance Hall.  Two trumpeting angels demand your attention at almost 50 feet tall.  Projecting from the exterior of the Hall over the street below, no one can escape their beauty.  The Hall houses the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO), the Fort Worth Opera (FWO), the Van Cliburn Foundation which hosts the international piano competition every 4 years, the Texas Ballet Theater, and other touring companies such as Broadway productions.

Bass Performance Hall West Entry

Bass Performance Hall West Entry

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Gourmands Neighborhood Pub

Mother’s Day weekend, we took our little family on a road trip to San Antonio; yesterday you read Matt’s post about his tried and true favorite when we visit, Alamo Cafe. As we made our trek back north to DFW, we decided to try a completely new restaurant. Austin is known for its weird vibe, congested traffic, and many original restaurants; our drive through Austin  happened to coincide with lunch and we wanted to avoid some traffic headaches, so perfect! Let’s eat in Austin!

In a post about creating itineraries, I previously mentioned that I love to use Yelp to find new restaurants. Being in the mood for a sandwich (at the time), and still about a half hour away, I plugged in a couple keywords and conducted a search. Gourmands Neighborhood Pub came up second on the list. Whoa! 4.5 stars on Yelp with 307 reviews?! No way! After looking at the menu and preemptively deciding what to order, both Matt and I started to get excited about trying something new. Ultimately, we chose Gourmands over the number one option because of its location, just tucked in the east side of Austin on Webberville, and the menu, which even reading online made our taste buds water.

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Alamo Cafe – A San Antonio Icon Review

A long standing family tradition when I lived in San Antonio was going to Alamo Café. It is one of those places that I hold near and dear to my heart but there are times when I need to just take an honest look at a restaurant that I have gone to for years and evaluate the relationship. Growing up, Alamo Café was one of those places that was reasonable for family of four, yet you were still going to get a good meal. From my earliest memories, it has always been one of the most popular restaurants in San Antonio. There are many times when you can just expect to wait at least 15 minutes. They have two locations, one in central San Antonio and one in the Northwest side. Both are busy…always. The central location is the one we would go to the most and it is also the newer location with a nice patio area and a small “field” for the kids to run around. Alamo Café also offers many catering opportunities and is frequently used to hold big parties or gatherings.

As I have moved away from this place, I can feel my stomach yearn for its food. It calls to me. Alamo Café is one of those places that reminds me of home and family. It has many great memories. But as I think of it after our last visit and think honestly of a review, I have to evaluate a restaurant that I know I enjoy for many reasons, but is only average at best.

 

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Shannon Brewing Company

What should I do with a free Saturday?  Rebekah was volunteering, and I was looking for something to do.  I know…check out a new local brewery or two!  I called my good friend John, and we planned on doing just that.  We started with Shannon Brewing Company, and then closed out the day at Bearded Eel Brewing Company (now closed permanently).  First, Shannon Brewing Company…

Shannon Brewing Company proudly brews wholesome Irish-influenced Texas craft beers with old world techniques.  Proud of their old world style, Shannon Brewing markets their brews as “Fire Brewed Beer”.  Instead of using steam jackets for heating like conventional breweries, Shannon Brewing uses fire, via liquid propane, for all heating required in the brewing process.  Fire brewing caramelizes the sugars, which in turn influences the beer’s texture.  This statement made more sense when comparing fire brewing to cooking on a gas cooktop instead of an electric cooktop.  Sure, both cooktops heat things up, but the end result is very different.  In addition, all of their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, but are transparent as a result of Shannon’s old word brewing process. Continue reading

Chasing Caravaggio: Caravaggios of the National Gallery, Part 1

Every Friday we take a break from our regular blogging schedule to allow the authors an opportunity to feature a certain topic they are passionate about. In the past you’ve read about art, studying abroad, experiencing culture through food, and the great burger adventure. Through this and other future posts we hope you’ll enjoy reading, we hope to share with you our personalities, passions, and interests on a more personal level.

As part of our continuing desire to bring beauty into focus, From Texas to Beyond will periodically feature brilliant pieces of art that have influenced our lives.  We are excited to showcase these universal works of beauty with you.

Today, we begin a two-part miniseries examining the Caravaggio painting from the National Gallery in London.  As I mentioned in my first post in the Chasing Caravaggio Series, I am on a quest to view all of Caravaggio’s masterpieces firsthand.  Thanks to a short layover at London Heathrow I found three more in the National Gallery.

As Rebekah discussed in her earlier post, The National Gallery owns countless magnificent pieces of art.  While on a guided tour of the museum, I caught my first glimpse of the pieces I desired to see the most:  all three Caravaggio paintings hung next to each other along a long wall.  Once the tour concluded, we backtracked to Room 32.

Boy bitten by a Lizard

Caravaggio's Boy bitten by a Lizard - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Caravaggio’s Boy bitten by a Lizard – Courtesy of Wikipedia

Enjoying the Caravaggio’s one at a time, I first viewed Boy bitten by a Lizard.  I had previously seen a later version of Boy bitten by a Lizard (from the Fondazione Roberto Longhi) at the Kimbell Art Museum during a traveling exhibition.  Caravaggio’s earlier version was just as good.  This painting was one of the first the artist produced after arriving in Rome, sometime between 1595 and 1600.  While straightforward at first glance, the piece is full of symbolism.  If you listen to most contemporary commentaries on this piece of art, they will mention Caravaggio’s overt interest in young men.  After reading more on the artist, it is hard to believe he did not love men.  However, he definitely loved women as well.  To me, Boy bitten by a Lizard seems to show that something as beautiful as fruit, a symbol of love, may end in unexpected pain, such as a bite from a hidden lizard.

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