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Life in DFW

My life as a wife and mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and all things fun about it!

Filtering by Tag: texas

Small World, Big Imagination.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Our visit to a pretend play heaven in Southlake, TX! They have everything from a mini supermarket, teepees, to a mini farm!

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Getting The Heat at Zest Fest 2016

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Although my tolerance towards spicy food is not that high, I am married to a dude who puts a crazy amount of hot sauce into everything he eats. So when we found out about a festival dedicated solely for spicy food/condiments, we knew we had to check it out. Especially because there were contests and celebrity chefs doing live cooking demo too!

That's Mr.Man, trying the Mild to Wild Pepper & Herb Co.'s "Stupid Hot" Sauce. It is stupid hot y'all. As in, the kind that could make your brain stop functioning for a few seconds- kinda hot. We didn't know who was going to eat it at home if we got a bottle of it, so we got their Red Savina Garlic sauce. Mr. Man actually shook the guy at the booth's hands, because the sauce has successfully got him all sweating and speechless.

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Each year, vendors compete to win the Fiery Food Challenge through a blind tasting involving the event-goers. If they win, vendors get to bring home this award right here. Like Smokin' Texas Gourmet, that has won quite a few times now, and not only for their food but for their cocktail mixers too!

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With a storefront in Keller, TX, Smokin' Texas Gourmet offers a variety of gluten free spices, all-natural and artisanal condiments, seasonings, hot sauces and custom products by chef Peter Mollett.  The one on the picture above is their delicious Jalapeño Honey Mustard. You can order online and have it delivered to your home!

Now, it was time for us to get some lunch. All of these spicy sauces got us craving for some serious grub. So I ordered some ribs with some Eddie Deen BBQ sauce that we had previously sampled with some pickle and sausage (right picture).

Next, it was time for some dessert! We're so glad that we found the Texas Toffee booth after all of the spiciness we've had that afternoon! Loved the 'Gotcha Toffee' (cinnamon & ghost pepper), but my favorite was the dark chocolate pecan! You can find out more about their candy selections here. 

Notice on the picture on the top left, they have the trophy? Yes, we weren't the only ones obsessed with Texas Toffee. You should definitely check it out too :)

You can catch glimpses of what went down at Zest Fest by clicking play on the following video. And...don't forget to subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CNIr4I59_Y&feature=youtu.be

 

Now if you're a fan of spicy food who wants to try out different products every month that you can't get in a regular retailer, Heck That's Hot might just be what you need. 

   It is a monthly subscription of a box of spicy food from salsa, beef jerky, dip mixes to chips and everything spicy you could think of (7 to 8 items in total) for just $30/month.

With the cold weather and the storm that have just passed, do you think you're ready for some heat? :)

I know I'm not. Ugh...

***

Longhorns, Cowboys, and Ice Cream 

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

It's been a little over a year since we moved to Texas, but we had never seen a real cowboy or a real Texas Longhorn until a few days ago on the Labor Day Weekend. We didn't have anywhere else to go to, didn't really feel like going to downtown Dallas either, so we decided to play tourist and visit Fort Worth Stock Yards.

As soon as we drove pass North Main Street and East Exchange Avenue, it was like we were in a different time. We got to see how Texas would look like in the old days. Saloons, bars, and...cowboys. Real cowboys!

We got there just in time for the longhorn cattle drive, which happens twice daily (11.30 a.m. and 4 p.m.). That animal is huge! Wow!

 

You can take pictures with them too, but I think you'd have to pay for it. I didn't feel comfortable sitting on a huge cow, so I passed that and went to the visitors center instead to get a map and this badge. J loves it.

  

I found this thing in front of the visitors center interesting because the 4th city they have up here is a city in Indonesia! Didn't know Bandung was Fort Worth's sister city!

We then went to the indoor dining and shopping complex called Stockyards Station to catch a gunfighter show at 11.45 a.m.

It was entertaining and loud! And J was getting sleepy, so we had to feed him before he fell asleep. We decided to try the famous BBQ joint, Riscky's.

I had the BBQ ribs platter with Texas Toast, Green Beans, and Pickles. The ribs were smoky and flavorful, but! They were too dry and therefore stiff! Mr. Man had the BBQ Shrimp and it was probably the best thing to eat here. The briskets are also good and tender. Read the full review on my Tomato here. 

I love that they have the "God Bless Texas" written almost everywhere.

And I love the fact that this dude right here was going to have a Monday off, and that we got to stroll around together till J fell asleep. You know what happens when J sleeps right? Yes. Ice cream!!

As I wrote on my previous post about Fort Worth, I love MELT ice creams. Their flavors are so unique and vegan-friendly. Not that I'm a vegan, but I always try to eat less dairy. So this place is perfect! I had the Boozy Buccaneer which is made of pineapple jam and cinnamon-caramel rum. So sweet and summery! A perfect way to 'end' summer (even though the weather will not cool down until Halloween, here in Texas).

30 minutes after Mr. Man and I had enjoyed our ice creams in the car, J woke up. So I decided to get him a scoop of Planet of the Grapes : a vegan sorbet made of dark grapes and mint. So yummy and refreshing, we had to fight over it a little bit.

He won of course, I let him.

 

 

Welcoming the Bluebonnets

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Really wanted to go out for brunch (cause that's what everybody does on Sunday mornings these days, right?) but I'm saving money for our little staycation that's happening next month. Why do I have to save- you might ask. Isn't Mr.Man providing for us all, from our rent to holiday expenses? Yes he is. But I figured that it would be really nice if I could just contribute by saving a little from what he gives me in every paycheck. As long as I'm not sacrificing our meals and nutrition, I think it's okay to set aside some dollars to top up our staycation budget. Plus, Mr.Man is not the type who always wants to eat out. In fact, he loves to stay home and watch Netflix. And his favorite food is homecooked Indonesian food. Might as well stay in all weekend, right? As usual, we take turns to cook. I mostly bake cause I love sweets, and he mostly cooks the savory meals. And on this beautiful yet cloudy Sunday I decided to make some crepes with blueberry compote, chocolate sauce, and caramelized bananas for breakfast (I am bragging here yes, hahaha I am so proud of myself! I can cook better and better every week! thanks to foodtube!).

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We took a shower then headed out to checkout the bluebonnets that are starting  to bloom everywhere in Texas at this time of the year.

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These ones are on the roadside just 5 minutes from our apartment, you can see them on the highway, and just about everywhere in DFW! No wonder it's the official state flower of Texas!

 

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Ooops! Somebody got too excited about the bubbles and fell.

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Of course he wants to blow the bubbles too.

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Attempting the "balloon flight"-pose. haha..I'mma try that again next time.

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And of course we had to take a family pic before we left. Mr.Man is cooking some yellow rice for lunch today, we better hurry up!

Exploring Grapevine Historic District

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

While a lot of people seemed to be getting busy with Valentine's Day planning, chocolates, and flowers, last weekend was all about NBA All-Star for us. I am not athletic at all, but my husband is, and it's therapeutic for him even just to watch the game on TV. And I think I'm beginning to see why. The game is fast, it's stylish somehow, yet manly at the same time. I have tried to enjoy watching American football (thanks to the Superbowl fever a few weeks ago), but I think basketball is a lot more fun to watch! (no offense, Americans). So yeah, on Valentine's Day evening, we got our eyes fixed on the NBA All Star Dunk Contest, which was won by the 19-year-old Zach Lavine (as seen in the video below). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYbx_PV3318

 

What's just as fun was what we did during the day that Saturday, which was visiting the vibrant Grapevine Historic District.

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I was first drawn to the district when my friend invited me to take a tour to a birthing center on Wall Street (1 min from the Main street). Why a birthing center? Am I pregnant? No not yet, but am planning to get pregnant this year, so I have been scouting a few birthing centers (not hospitals, because I want a more holistic and natural treatment this time) around DFW. During my first visit I found so many cool shops and hidden gems in the area and I thought that the district is definitely a good alternative to downtown Dallas or even Bishop Arts District! The restaurants are much more affordable, though of course, not as modern and hip as the ones in Bishop Arts.

Anyways, I decided to take Mr. Man and J that Valentine's weekend to have some good lunch and a fun afternoon. First stop was Cafe Italia. If you haven't been there, you need to check this place out!! The house-made vodka sauce is amazing, the veal pasta, the rigatoni, and lasagna were all delicious, and the best part is, the price ranges from $7.95 to $10.95 for lunch!! Not bad at all right?

We finished our meal and strolled around the area, learning a little more about Grapevine.

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Got some girl scout cookies at the Farmer's Market. Wasn't interested till I saw the face of the little girl who was selling them. I mean, giving her $4 won't hurt right? Her mom was there helping her out, I thought I might be doing that with my little girl one day, so why not sow some goodness today?

Now the weather was almost summer-like, 79 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. For winter, that's too hot! So we decided to have some fruity popsicles at Hip Pop. We really liked the concept of the store. It's all hip-hop-themed, with a giant graffiti wall, a giant boombox counter, and rapper-inspired menus like "Ice,Ice Berry" and "Busta Limes".

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The best part is they use all natural organic cane sugar! No artificial flavor and color added. Mama like!

Now it was still Valentine's Day, no matter how cheesy we thought it was. So we stopped by the heavenly chocolate shop of Dr' Sue's and sampled some chocolates for free.

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Oh this one's my favorite, and we got them for free!! The joy didn't stop there though. I was so excited to have found an all-season store called Good Things or All Seasons.

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They have everything for every holiday you could imagine! From Christmas to Easter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween, all year round!

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I personally like the Kate Spade corner. Look at those polka dot plates!! I can't....I just can't...aaaaaa....gimme gimmeee...

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The other stores that caught my attention was Willow Cottage and Holy Ground (you can sample free coffee here!!). If you want to chill and have some tea or coffee (with dairy alternative like almond milk) and pastries, check out Main Street Bakery & Co. !! And you can have some gelato afterwards at Napolis Cafe just across the street.

Definitely hanging out here more often. Sorry downtown and uptown, I think I've found your substitute.

 

 

 

 

A Visit to Dallas Arboretum Pumpkin Patch on Our Anniversary

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Monday October 20, 2014 marked the second year of our marriage. What a young couple we are! We started this journey with nothing but faith in our hearts. Not knowing what was coming our way, we were so young when we said "I Do". While other young couples have fun and travel around the world, we were busy with pregnancy just 2 months after the wedding. We actually celebrated our 1st anniversary with a 2-month-old baby crying every 2 hours. And I remember wishing that our second anniversary would be celebrated somewhere overseas. Somewhere new. And here we are today in America, in this perfect weather, this festive season filled with pumpkins and costumes. Just like in my childhood dreams.

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This year, we decided to explore the breathtaking Dallas Arboretum, instead of spending money on expensive food elsewhere to celebrate our young marriage. With $30 entrance fee for 2 adults + $10 parking fee, we had access to some of the most amazing views we have ever seen. We didn't feel the need to 'get rid' of J and to have the whole day to ourselves. We actually felt more intimate if we'd brought him along with us to take a walk around this majestic garden. And we started by playing around the 'Pumpkin Village'.

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They have "Mommy & Me Mondays", so there were a lot of moms and babies running around this pumpkin patch. We parked our strollers at one spot and let J run around the pumpkins. He was so excited.

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There are about 75,000 pumpkins all over the arboretum. And they are all real!

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Aaw...Look at my dudes. Next, we went to the Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace to savor some latte, chicken wraps, panini, and hot dog. You might not be able to see the view here, but we were looking at the Dallas skyline and the White Rock Lake from here. The weather was beautiful, it was just simply perfect.

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We then went to the Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden, which contains over 200 Hybrid Tea Roses of 16 different varieties.

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Can't you see some pink roses right there? The garden is located by the DeGolyer restaurant (the picture below), but we didn't eat there, because it was not open yet (it usually opens at 11 a.m.).

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Right by the rose garden is the Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade, which features lily ponds, Japanese maple and other gorgeous plants to honor Pauline Neuhoff's mother.

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We learned how to build our own garden along the way. We soon discovered that just like building a family, gardening requires a thorough planning! Check out these asters! They were put here on purpose, because they can withstand the sun light. Everything here was planted according to its needs, capabilities, and weaknesses. It's an art in itself!

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Next stop,  A Woman's Garden, a gift from the Women's Council of Dallas  to the arboretum that overlooks the White Rock Lake. I love it, so serene, so beautiful.

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Ended the visit at 1 p.m., we went straight to Grapevine Mills to do some shopping (yes, we figured that going winter-clothes-shopping would be a fun activity celebrate our marriage! I mean, who doesn't feel happy when they're shopping?).

Had a baby on the first year, moved to  America on the second - hmm...I wonder what we will go through together in our third, fourth, and if God allows, in our 50th year together! It's not going to be perfect, and we're not always in love with each other, but I am grateful that we are best friends. Let's do this Mr. Man!