Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bettie Jean's is home style; It's time for pumpkins

Bettie       Bettie Jean’s
                      It pays to have connections. Bettina Evans invited French High Class of ’83 classmates to a get together at her new restaurant Bettie Jean’s Homestyle Cooking. She served us chicken spaghetti for dinner, even though she’s usually just open at lunch. A few of us got shrimp and grits and one stuck to her diet and got shrimp over salad greens. Several of us got tiny pies to take home. My sweet potato pie made a great breakfast the next day, though some of the coconut pies were devoured on site, at 2604 Dowlen Road in Beaumont.
                      I’m seeing on Facebook that Bettie Jean’s is getting well known and getting good reviews for a variety of soul foods that I’m looking forward to check out for lunch. French folks are wishing you well, Bettina!

              Sounds Good: Pumpkin

                      The pumpkin has begun. Before the white went away for Labor Day, I stepped into a supermarket and pumpkin snack cakes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin coffee and the like popped from every aisle.  I drove home to find pumpkin décor dotting several yards. For two or three years, this column has recorded pumpkin alerts. Readers, share your favorite pumpkin discoveries.

              Sounds Good: Seasonal color
                      Want to look as good and rich as Fall tastes? Keratin protein peptide is for strengthening nails, and Dermelect has crafted the “ME’ Unearthed Collection with hues such as Verdure, a lush hunter green; Diggin’ You, a crème burnt umber that puts me in the mind of coffee beans; Nobody’s Fool, a chrome marigold; and To the Core, a russet copper. Check into and you’ll look fabulous this season and help Trees for the Future plant something like 10,000 trees.

A world of adventure
                      I’d love to blend my culinary global tour with cultures of the world. A new atlas designed for children fuels my desires. The great sardine run of South Africa? Never heard of it before this book. The fact that peahens choose mates on the size and quality of the peacock’s tail feathers, entertaining and not surprising. November and December in Zambia’s Kasanka National Park is the time when mangos and waterberries are at their best, so that’s when 8 million straw-colored fruit bats head gather for the largest mammal migration anywhere on earth. Did not know that before. You don’t need a kid to enjoy “Atlas of Animal Adventures: A Collection of Nature’s Most Unmissable Events, Epic Migrations and Extraordinary Behaviors,” but it sure would make a great afternoon to enjoy learning with one. Lucy Letherland illustrated this oversized book and Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins wrote it. I’ve always loved a good Atlas. This one will hold interest for years.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Apple Sandwich; Shamrock memories

Apple Sandwich
              My grandmother always made a sandwich with a lettuce leaf topper, instead of the second slice of bread. Less filling, she’d say.
              Sometimes I go with no bread, making apple slices the top and bottom with something like ham and Dijon mustard as the insides. For breakfast, try a peanut butter and apple sandwich.
              The deal is, the apple actually makes for a very filling snack or meal.

              Shamrock Hotel memories

                    I was just reading about “The After Party,” Anton Disclafani’s novel set in 1950s Houston, when I saw it on a shelf at the Port Arthur Public Library. I read it in a weekend. I love that Google has afforded me the opportunity to have images of the Shamrock Hotel’s enormous lyre-shaped pool and other images of vintage River Oaks pop up. The story and setting are compelling, and I can now picture the girls’ monthly rare steak dinner at The Petrolium Club, cocktails at the Cork Club, luncheon at Sonny Look’s steak house and picking up groceries at Jamail’s on the maid’s day off. Funny, that with all the fashion, furnishings and emotions of this book, I’m recalling all the food references.

              Igloo Road
              Ever drive past 777 Igloo Road in Katy? There’s a giant Igloo Playmate at the welcome gate. It’s an office/gateway, of sorts, to guide you to the company store, which is packed with lunch bags, coolers and drink holders. If you didn’t know about this little place, it’s a fun adventure. Visit for more information.