Monday, March 22, 2010

My little blog is all grown up.

Well kids, it was time for me to move on to greener and larger pastures.  I haven't been posting, because I've spent the last 2 weekends moving my blog to a WordPress format, getting it hosted at my new domain, and making numerous tweaks and changes.  The Food*Sparks blog can now be found at:

So, come join me there for my trials and tribulations that revolve around food, friends, home decorating, my dog Frankie, etc.  You can follow my RSS feed now, follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at if you've got questions/suggestions.  It's all there on the site.

Oh, and I should mention that I'm now a columnist for Modern Dallas, and will be writing a regular column about 'food+design'.  The whole idea is to talk about the branding and concept that went into the design of a restaurant, the creative process behind the design, and well, a few snippets about the food, of course!

I have to thank my architect friend, Bob Borson (, who helped me so much with the technical side of wrangling all of this.  Not sure I would have made it thru without his advice and guidance - thanks Bob!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Review: The Porch, Dallas, TX

In tinkering around the city this weekend (more antique shops for cake pedestals and other things I can't live without), I found myself hungry while over in the Knox/Henderson area.

I'd just come out of a store, glanced across the street, and there was The Porch.  I'd heard a lot about this place, that is was down home comfort food w/ a laid back atmosphere.  And that it was.  I loved how their space was laid out, about 3 rows of booths, some the popular combo of 1/2 booth, 1/2 table w/ chairs, red, cushy, roomy booths.  Love that.  Their bar lined the entire back wall, and the kitchen serving window made up the majority of the adjacent wall, below a large black board of specials, simply called "The Big Black Board." 

On this day, I decided on a cocktail, because they were offering their version of an Arnold Palmer, which they called an Arnold Collins.  There is a huge trend in Dallas right now, and maybe everywhere, to offer this sweet tea flavored vodka 7 ways from Sunday.  I've found that I only like it mixed with lemonade - it's sure to become my new summer drink in a few months.  :)  The Arnold Collins was perfectly tasty.

After persusing the menu, I was conflicted between the BBQ Brisket Sliders or the Garlic Chicken and Avocado BLT.  I went for the BLT because, well, isn't everyone doing a brisket slider these days (hello Jack's Backyard)?  I chose the pasta salad as a side, after I found out it was actually orzo with feta cheese, minced purple onion, and red pepper.

When the plate arrived, I knew I had made the right choice.  First of all, just look at the crusty exterior of the bread...totally slathered in butter and grilled for a bit.  Tastebuds were watering at this point. 

At first bite, the garlic was subtle, but it was there, and not too overpowering.  The avocado schmear, combined w/ the tomatoes, provided just the right amount of moisture - not to mention the chicken was perfectly moist.  Imagine that, a chicken sandwich that wasn't dry for once!  The arugula as the lettuce was a nice touch.  But there was something about the applewood smoked was chewy, almost like jerky.  At first this threw me off, thinking maybe it was overdone, but if that were the case, it would have been crunchy.  I picked a piece off and shredded it lengthways, it was most certainly like jerky, more 'shreddy' than chewy.  I decided I liked the texture.

The pasta salad was a nice touch as well, just needed a little S&P.  Another little detail I liked, they use commercial bar mop towels as their napkins!  I'm diggin' that.  Completely unpretentious, and adds to the branding of the whole place at the same time.

Another chair.

Okay, this is becoming ridiculous, either that, or someone's trying to give me a sign.

Saw this lil' number in Century Modern in Deep Ellum on Sunday. 

It was marked $95, and I barely glanced at it and the shop owner said he'd make me a really great deal on it, and offered $50.  I'm not really in the market for a chair, I just bought this chair last weekend during a thrift store dive.

Now, like my friend Ben said: "One chair is a converstaion piece, something decorative.  But if you buy and refinish more than that, you're gonna' have to do something with them!"

lol  Well said my friend, touché, touché.

So, that got me to thinking, and I mentioned to him that I've been wanting to paint my dining room table a flat/satin black, then rough up the corners and legs a bit w/ some 1,000 grit sandpaper.  And since 4 of the 6 chairs that came with it are kinda' wonky (oh, and plain, and I'm so over them), what if I started collecting these 'farmhouse meets modern' styled chairs?  Chairs from the 40s-60s, I'd be okay with that.

Then that idea morphed into me saying to Ben, "But I had envisioned parsons style chairs for that table...something covered and skirted, but clean lines."  To which he replied, "Well, then, why don't you buy 4 chairs like you want, and use the one you bought last weekend - and go buy this one - for captains chairs?"

Again, brilliant my friend.  I think I like it!

Now I have gone from having one chair refinish project, to giving myself 3: strip, stain, and refinish 2 chairs, and paint my dining room table!  Now, I just have to go back and get that chair...I think I'll offer the guy $40 for it.  Y'all know me!  lol

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red velvet cake for karaoke!

We went to karaoke last night, & I was asked if I'd make a cake for Dorothy's birthday. Being as how it was my birthday week as well, I was in the spirit.

Of course I doctored the mix, even adding more red food coloring. I like my red velvet cakes to be luxuriously red! :o) I layered it with cream cheese frosting, & choc cream cheese frosting for the decoration.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My antique store finds this past weekend.

So, in addition to the chair I found, I continued in my search of vintage cake plates and pedestals.

Another customer at a thrift shop suggested Lula B's on lower Greenville.  So that was my next stop, where I found this little jewel.  It's a cute 'lil wood pedestal bowl with lid, made of Myrtle wood.  Not a cake stand, but too cute to pass up!  Will look great on a bookshelf.  $15.

Turns out Lula B's also has a larger shop on Riverfront, which I had already been to a few months back, but didn't realize it was their store at that time.  I returned to see what they might have.  Ricky, one of the vendors at that location, promised to bring me a few cake pedestals if I could come back on Sunday.  So, of course I did, and he had the most unique white milk glass cake pedestal with concentric circle grooves and gold fleur de lis detailing:

I abosolutely adored it!  And I thought it was a nice price at $16.  The while milk glass serving dish next to it I scooped up at Antiques & Architecturals for $10.  Perfect to load up w/ jams and put out at breakfast, or Christmas candies.  It's just too sweet.  :)

Another friend of Ricky's mentioned that he had another cake stand in his car he'd picked up at a recent estate sale.  He ran out, and brought this jewel in, which is a cake pedestal that converts into a punch bowl.  Shut-UP! 

Of course I was loving it.  You simply flip the cake pedestal over, and the glass ball handle of the cake dome fits snuggly into the open base of the pedestal.  This was even in its original Anchor Hocking box, and had some wear/tear, but couldn't pass on it for $15!  I think it's late 70s or early 80s.

I also picked up a an old glass trifle dish at Lula B's for $16, and a large glass cake plate at White Elephant Antiques for $21.  All in all, it was a great haul!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My thrift store find today!

Today I had one of my Kerrie Does Dallas days...don't let your mind go there! These are days when I want to wander neighborhoods I haven't been to yet, or check out local dives or shops I've seen as I whiz by, but have never stopped.

I've been on my endless quest to find cake stands and pedestals that are vintage or unique. And today when I stopped by a thrift place that was a lil' junkier than the antique stores I'm usually in, I fell in love w/ this oak chair and it's possibilities. It's an old office desk chair, and I'm gonna' strip it and refurb it. It's in great shape, talked them down to $30.

Now I just have to make up my mind on the stain/color. Do I stain it the same color of the era, or go darker with an ebony stain and satin gloss? Or do I completely paint it in say hi-gloss black, white, or something punchy like orange or lime green???

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Frankie being Frankie

When I picked Frankie up from boarding, on Valentine's Day, they had given her a cute lil' bandana of V-day fabric w/ hearts and glitter.

Of course, I couldn't get her to be still for the photo b/c her bag of food she'd had while boarding was on the counter.  So, excuse the demonic nature of the photograph!

And that night I did some laundry, including my goosedown duvet.  Frankie just LOVES when I bring the warm laundry basket in, so when she saw me come back with the duvet in my arms, that was all she wrote.  She climbed right in, plopped sideways, and tucked in for the night.  I could swear she is smiling!