The Little Red Wasp

Restaurant review with the business person in mind.

Little Red Wasp, 808 Main St. Fort Worth, Texas 76101 817-877-3111

Food Options: Casually Classy   Price Range: $15.00-$25.00   Good For: A Quality meal with great service!

Overall Score: 181 out of 200… Tucked away just north of The Fort Worth Convention Center The LRW is a fantastic alternative to the overly priced chain steak restaurants that are just steps away.

Overall Impression:

What a surprise! We stumbled into the Little Red Wasp on a recent trip to downtown Fort Worth void of preconceived expectations. LRW sets the bar high for any who follow in the boutique restaurant arena. Success awaits those who would open similar restaurants and reach the bar, early retirement to Bora Bora awaits those who surpass the quality set by LRW!

Read more about how we scored Little Red Wasp Kitchen Bar below!

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Surprise Her!

The idea of planning a romantic surprise for your wife may send you straight to the nearest tool shed or sports bar to hide, but you shouldn`t be intimidated. Romance does not have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

First, be realistic about who your wife is and what she enjoys. A busy executive all buttoned up in a business suit and heels from dawn to dusk may not want to dress up again and go out after work. If she spends her days dealing with diapers and runny noses, she may be thrilled at the idea of putting on lipstick and perfume and going out alone with you. Don`t take her to the ballet if she prefers baseball and vice versa. A personal romantic evening will mean far more to her than a generic one.

Some ideas to consider:

Treat her to a simple and unexpected date night where you have handled every single detail so that all she has to do is relax and enjoy herself ? and you.

Surprise her with a backyard picnic with finger foods and wine on a blanket during a soft, warm night. It`s a romantic change of pace that costs little.

Revisit the scene of your first date, if it still exists. Remind her of small details from your early days together, because most women think men forget those things over time.

Put together a romantic dinner at home complete with candles. Time it so that she has 15 to 20 minutes to relax with a drink and have her favorite beverage on hand, whether it`s champagne or sparkling water. Knowing her favorite drink will mean as much to her as actually serving it.

Plan ahead. Make sure that the night you intend to surprise her with tickets to the hottest new play is not also her best friend`s birthday. Arrange for a babysitter and get the kids ready well before the start of the evening. Double-check that the tickets will be at will-call a day or two before. If you are heading to a restaurant, make reservations. Purchase movie tickets online to ensure that the film she`s been dying to see is not sold out.

Go all out. Buy flowers and meet her at the door with them. Wear something a little nicer than you usually do. It doesn’t have to be a suit and tie unless your destination requires one; just ditch the jeans and sneakers or at least put on clean ones. Wear a button-down shirt and maybe even a jacket. Shave so that you don`t scratch her skin with stubble, even if you`re staying home.

Don`t leave a mess. She`ll love it if you scatter rose petals on the floor and cook a romantic dinner, but the thrill will wear off pretty quickly if she has to vacuum and scrub the kitchen the next morning. If you serve her dinner, clean up while she soaks in the tub or curls up with a cup of hot tea or a last glass of wine and that book she`s been meaning to read all week.

Finally, listen to her and get to know her all over again. Use the time together to remember what made you want to marry her in the first place and show her all of the amazing and wonderful qualities that made her want to marry you.

The culinary romance experts at RomanceKitchen know that however tempted you are to purchase food prep machines as sentimental gifts, it is far too likely to backfire. Surprise her with the new appliance she`s been thinking of for no reason at all and it will show that you listen to her and think of her without needing to be prodded by a holiday. Consult the friendly professionals at CS Catering Equipment for help in choosing the perfect gift for your wife.

Bubba’s Bar-B-Q & Steakhouse, Ennis Texas

Restaurant review with the business person in mind.

Bubba’s Bar-B-Q & Steakhouse 210 South IH-45, Ennis, TX
(972) 875-0036

Food Options: BBQ   Price Range: $10-$20   Good For: Touristic Hype suitable for those out of town guests who don’t know good BBQ

Overall Score: 119 out of 200… The billboards are plentiful and offer the lure of a true Texas BBQ experience. It appears that the marketing guy has a higher education than the pitmaster.

Overall Impression:

For years we have seen the billboards and for years we were duly tempted. Succumbing to that temptation we stopped in from a quick trip from Dallas to Houston and back… a quick trip. Pulling into the parking lot we just knew that the decision to wait and pass the myriad of promising restaurants for the past 250 miles would be well rewarded. Granted, our visit to Bubba’s Bar-B-Q & Steakhouse was more for dinner than lunch and granted our expectations were a little high, stomachs a little growling and fannies a little tired but better BBQ awaits another 20 minutes away.

Read more about how we scored Bubba’s Bar-B-Q & Steakhouse below!

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PHO QUE HUONG, Noodle & Grill

Restaurant review with the business person in mind.

PHO QUE HUONG, Noodle & Grill
1401 Jupiter Road #100,
Plano, TX
(972) 424-5205

Food Options: Vietnamese Cuisine & Southeast Asia   Price Range: $3.50-$8.50   Good For: NOT MUCH!

Overall Score: -1 out of 200… Have a customer who is difficult, late with paying, always complains? Want your customer to suffer a slow intestinal death?

Overall Impression :

I have (unfortunately) been to this restaurant a couple of times but this was the first time that I brought my clients. OH MAN WHAT A MISTAKE! The food is GREAT but the service, health code violations and just lack of common sense are simply amazing!

Read more about how we scored The PHO QUE HUONG, Noodle & Grill below!

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Coffee, It`s Not Just For Drinking!

The rich, dark taste and deeply engaging scent of freshly brewed coffee is the best way to start the day, enliven a slow afternoon or provide the perfect finish to a sumptuous dinner. But, coffee in all of its forms has many uses not confined to the cup.

Make coffee concentrate a few days before a large dinner party or other gathering so that you can serve plenty of hot, fresh coffee without either needing a crowd-sided percolator or spending your time trapped in the kitchen brewing small pots one after the other. This is done by soaking coffee grounds in cool water overnight and then straining the liquid through a coffee filter. When you add boiling water to the concentrate, it creates cup after cup of coffee that tastes like it just came out of the pot.

Use coffee concentrate to make iced coffee drinks and they will taste much fresher than if you use cold, brewed coffee.

Create coffee-flavored syrup to pour over ice cream by combining sugar, water and instant coffee in a saucepan and simmering them together until the sugar has completely dissolved. You can also create more sophisticated flavors by adding vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate or chili powder. Use the sweet syrup to make homemade soda by adding it to sparkling water.

Add a tablespoon or two of large flake instant coffee to snickerdoodle dough to make hermit cookies. The coffee cuts the sweetness of the buttery cookies and adds a savory note that perfectly complements the brown sugar.

Coffee adds another layer of richness to both pork and beef and can be used to enhance their natural flavors in several ways.

Put together a marinade made of cold, brewed coffee with olive oil and seasonings such as garlic and cumin and soak beef or pork in the mixture overnight. The acids in the coffee will help to tenderize the meat as well as adding flavor.

Make a dry rub of instant coffee or espresso powder and season it with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Massage the mixture into raw beef or pork and let it sit for 20 minutes or so before grilling, broiling or pan-frying the meat.

Coffee also has several uses which have nothing to do with food or drink:

Use a paste of espresso powder and water to camouflage scratches in dark wood furniture.

Place dishes of unused coffee grounds anywhere that might need deodorizing such as the refrigerator or freezer, the shelf above the litter box, a damp basement or leave one on the seat of your car overnight if the scent of too many fast-food wrappers has gotten out of hand.

Strong coffee makes an excellent dye for fabrics and can help give paper an antique look when brushed on and allowed to dry.

Mix coffee into your compost or use it as fertilizer. Coffee contains calcium, magnesium and potassium which most plants ? except tomatoes — thrive on. It also repels most garden pests, although worms seem to love it.

The culinary experts at Romance Kitchen highly recommend contacting the coffee professionals at Caffe Society for the highest quality Fair Trade coffee products available to help fulfill all of your coffee fantasies.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s Cook…er…BREW Something Up!


Hibachi Sushi H Buffet

Restaurant review with the business person in mind.

3578 w. Airport Freeway,
Irving, TX
(972) 871-8868

Food Options: Normal Asian Buffet   Price Range: $7.00   Good For: Cheap and fast food

Overall Score: 91 out of 175 for Buffet… We were originally searching for a good Mexican Restaurant but a last minute suggestion led us to Hibachi Sushi H Buffet. CURSE TO THOSE LAST MINUTE SUGGESTIONS!

Overall Impression:

If you want to experience the SMELL of a restaurant in China then save your airfare and visit the Hibachi Sushi H Buffet… we are not saying that you should actually eat here but after you SMELL the place you probably won’t want to eat here anyway. We assume that the owners must think that the Irving patrons simply don’t know any better… by the looks of the limited number of cars in the parking lot… Irving does know better

Read more about how we scored The Hibachi Sushi H Buffet below!

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An Oklahoma Bride from Ukraine

Dear RK,
Recently I met a lovely young lady from Odessa, Ukraine. We met on a Russian Dating site and after a few months of communication, we decided that we should meet in person. I took my vacation and we spent 5 great days together. Things were almost like a fairy-tale and I had to keep reminding myself that I would return to the “real” world soon. The vacation went so well that we talked about the next step and not seeing other people. Upon returning home to Tulsa I immediately began the long and expensive process of obtaining a K1 visa for “Lilliana” (name changed by RK).
We became Facebook friends and exchanged a few photos from our time together. Only now do I realize that she never posted photos of us together on her page while I posted over 20 on my page. I know that our age difference of 21 years could be an issue so I asked a few of my friends to Friend her on Facebook and make her feel welcome. She didn’t accept any of the requests until I insisted. I told her that if she could start making friends now it would be easier for her once she landed in the U. S.
A month or so after I came back home I received an email alert that another lady from the Russian Dating site wanted to communicate with me and I realized that I needed to cancel my profile. On a lark, I typed in her profile number and found that she too still had an active profile. We speak on Skype every evening when I get off work and that night I asked her about her active profile. She said that she just had not thought about it and agreed to cancel her profile.
The next day at work I decided to check to see if the profile was cancelled and it was not! I talked to a co-worker and he suggested an Internet search for her name on other dating sites. I found several! I typed in her general information on several Russian Dating sites and Foreign Bride sites and found her 4 times! She didn’t even change her name, city, occupation or anything. When I started my search I only had a profile on 2 Foreign Bride sites
I confronted her the very next night and she said that some were canceled and should not be active and some she just forgot about. We are supposed to be EXCLUSIVE to each other but I hesitantly accepted her explanation and let it pass. The next day I checked and to my relief, she was not on any of the dating sites.
I needed several items pertaining to her personal information in order to complete the K1 visa process. When I asked her for the information she became hesitant and distant. When I pressed her for the information she only gave me a little and said that she had to find the rest and would get it to me in a few days.
It was about that time that I saw that another guy tagged a photo of her on Facebook with him! The photos were of her, this guy and several of her “friends” at a restaurant/bar in Odessa. She took me to that very bar! I told her that I did not like the idea of her posting photos with another guy and that she must remove the photos and that I would not take no for an answer. I also told her that I wanted access to her Facebook account and that if we were going to pursue our relationship we should announce that we should change our relationship status, to this she unfriended me!
I tried to tell to her how I felt about the whole Facebook issue she said that she didn’t want to talk about it. I feel like I have been betrayed, I am about to lay out lot of money and devote my life to a woman who doesn’t seem to understand my point of view. I am at the point where I am not sure if I should continue to pursue the relationship or not. Unless I receive a greater commitment level from “Lilliana” I am not sure that I have many options.  

I am facing a very difficult decision and can use any help you can offer.
Globe Searcher.

Dear Searcher,
The best place to start is at the beginning. Online Dating. Online dating is a misnomer; the only true part is the “online” part. The dating part is, well, fictional. Now be honest, dating in person is way more fun than on a laptop screen isn’t it? The possibilities of ending the evening with the sound of a first kiss must outweigh the sound of Windows shutting down. We are not against Online Dating, quite the opposite but you must take a realistic look at the virtual world especially the virtual dating world. Remember the street definition of virtual is “kind of”.
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10 Com-MAN-dments of… Christmas Gift Buying For a Woman

10 Com-MAN-dments of… Christmas Gift Buying For a Woman.
1. Thou shalt not spend less than 1 hour deciding WHAT to buy.
2. Thou shalt not shop with thy single buddies.
3. Thou shalt not guess clothing sizes.
4. Thou shalt not purchase any gift similar to ones purchased for past flames.
5. Thou shalt remember to remove the price tag.
6. Thou shalt ask for help, lots of help.
7. Thou shalt focus on what she would like not what you would like to see her in.
8. Thou shalt remember that a new vacuum cleaner is not a desirable gift.
9. Thou shalt wrap thy gift neatly.
10. Thou shalt do thy shopping before December 24th.
The RK Staff.

Easy As Apple Pie! Or Faux pas – FauxPie

Sometimes the best things come from failure or rather from supposed failure. When we try something and learn from it the process may be unpleasant but if we learned something then the experience is not a failure. So was the case with my latest attempt at an Apple Pie.

I absolutely love apple pie! The smell of fresh apples baking. The caramelized layer of cinnamon and sugar on the top. The gooey goodness oozing from each neatly cut triangle. And I especially love the memories that those combined smells bring of my mom’s and grandmas circle crusted creations.

Thanksgiving 2011 has come and gone and so has my vow of not being yet another forgetful idiot rushing to the grocery store on Thanksgiving morning, or at midnight on Thanksgiving eve. I failed both vows (said while hanging head in shame). To the teenage cashier who certainly had grander plans than working just to save my sorry a…er…backside, I apologize profusely. Your feigned kindness and patronizing smile elevated my height to all of 3 inches. To help with my vow for 2012 I have stocked up on Ginko biloba which should help, if I could just remember where I put the darn bottle.
So back to my story. I bought the usual amounts of Granny Smith and Gala apples and pre-made pie dough. I know! I KNOW! Pre-made pie dough…ugh! What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking! I cant find the darn Ginko biloba!

Needless to say the pie crust was just awful. Now you all know that I cook, I cook a lot, but I have a secret to tell you; I mess up pie dough made from scratch every stinking time. Hence why the attempt at pre-made dough. I know that it is a mental thing (my friends say I’m mental) like a batter who takes the plate and says “I can’t hit this pitcher” I take the rolling pin and say “I can’t make a good crust”. We both are right, we cant’. To quote Mom, “can’t never could do nothing!” Man I hate that saying!

Luckily I had purchased copious amounts of apples so room for pie redemption tempted me to make another. With fear looming in the dark recesses of my mind, I began the search. The search for an alternative crust! Yup! You guessed it, Graham Cracker Pie Crust to the rescue! That’s when a stroke of creative genius hit me. Added to the meager Graham Cracker Pie Crust ingredients listed on the can I added brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Man Oh Man!

Now to you Apple Pie Purists I say “Live on the edge Als u namelijk wat meer speelronden speelt bij het roulette spel dan nemen afhankelijk van de inzet uw winkansen ook iets toe. a little!” Not wanting to make an attempt in passing off my faux pas as a fauxPie, I had to think quick. This Pie had to look different but have a traditional taste. Noticing a bag of cinnamon redhots in the pantry I leaped into creative action. Taking the beloved coffee bean grinder from its rightful place next to the coffee beans I filled the top and began the redhot grind. The resulting product was a pink dust …pink…pink dust. Did I say pink? Not a great testament to a man, ok, a man who cooks…Ok, Ok! A man who BAKES! The rescue to my potentially Pink embarrassment came when I sprinkled the dust onto freshly whipped cream! Within moments of resting on the cream it turned RED!

My Man-Card is safe! No really it is!, Really!…Stop Laughing!

The pie was a huge hit with the traditional crowd and the pie purists skipped their usual Puritan inspired drool to sample this weird and festive creation. Their was one drawback…while we made it home with a slice of pumpkin pie and a slice of pecan pie my faux pas – fauxPie didn’t make it! That’s the trouble with making something good, leftovers are as scarce as a flea on the Pope.

So what about you? Ready to create some “good goofs” of your own? I know that I will never make a dull apple pie again. Yup, me and Graham Cracker Pie Crust have some experimenting to do.

For the full faux pas – fauxPie recipe go to the “I can cook that!” page and give it a whirl!

Come on! Let”s Cook Something Up!


In Search of Romance

In Search of Romance.
Think for a moment about the billions and billions spent world wide in the search of romance. Romance appears to captivate the core of human existence. Almost every song has something to do with romance and almost every movie attempts to bend our mind one direction or another. Even a war movie plot fails to hold our attention if it lacks some level of romantic tension. Dating sites are limitless on the internet. They bring the hope of quick love in a hectic world.

Before we go much further, how do you define romance? One dictionary states; a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire. Really? Is that all? So, what is your definition? Also ask yourself this question; Is all romance sexy? Is all sex romantic? We will cover these questions later.

For the single person, every event brings the veiled expectation of a chance encounter that could lead to a romantic life. We are targeted by every marketing genius known to mankind. From our parents, siblings to the most creative advertisement people on the planet; we are a target. Clicking here and clicking there promises us a life of true meaning with that special person. The promise of Internet dating is the smile in the photo comes with no strings, no baggage and no scars. After all, would you join an internet-dating site that stated the truth as; “There are no perfect people here, just a bunch of folks as messed up as you are!” Internet-Dating can be like choosing lunch from a menu, that is as long as the photos are good.

At every age, we are told what to expect and what level of romance is appropriate.
Valentines Day in grammar school, attempts to ease us into the thought of romance with a heart shaped candy imprinted with “kiss me”. In High school the romantic lines are clearly drawn. You don’t date outside your grade, social status or our particular click. These battle lines allows us as teenagers to approach the subject with confident assurance that romance belongs to us.

In our 20’s we feel like we have learned a thing or two about the subject and attempt to define romance to our advantage based on our vast knowledge of the subject. All bets are off once we think we even smell romance and we throw caution and sometimes good sense to the wind. We make headstrong choices and decisions and both come with consequences. It is the choices and decisions at this stage in life that can define the things to come.

When we hit our 30’s we usually have little time for such things and only fondly remember the romantic escapades of our former years. To us romance is for those who are either silly or unemployed. We climb the corporate ladder or march dutifully on in the building of our families. We do have moments of tremendous passion with our spouse but too easily fall into the fictitious thought pit that “moments” are all we get.

Into our 40’s as our families grow and demand more and more of our time we start to feel a longing for the romantic notions of our youth. We seem to look forward to a time when everything will be easier, a time when we will have time. We fail to remember the old saying that “time marches on” is true in romance as in life.

When the 50’s roll over us like an unseen wave we catch ourselves facing a future of things unplanned and romance seems to be more precious than ever before. We clearly know the mistakes of our past but don’t clearly know the possibilities of our future. If we are still with our spouse then we stride on toward our goals hoping we planned right. If we have experienced the pain of divorce, we can only acknowledge that a small part of us has died. That small part is either romance or confidence in romance. Remarriage brings the hope that romance still lives but the guard on our hearts must be removed.

As our 60’s calm the uncertainties of the former decade we look to romance with either tender fondness, regret or as a last attempt at happiness. All of which are false by the way. We grasp a rung on the ladder of respectability and falsely accept that romance is for the young.

In our autumn years of the 70’s we are told to slow down, rest and relax and romance should be far from our mind. We offer advice as if anyone will listen and we sincerely hope someone will listen. Our former years are validated when others listen especially on issues of the heart. After all, romance has not changed the tinge of romance is the same in 2012 as it was in 1812.

We are told that romantic thoughts in our 80’s is just weird, and while we may or may not have all the abilities of our earlier years, the mind is as strong as ever. The birthplace of romance is not in the bedroom or in the eyes of another, its in the mind.

How can I write these things you ask. I have the wonderful privilege of being in love, being loved and a hopeless romantic and know that all three can be vastly different. I have also had the wonderful privilege of speaking frankly with and frankly listening to a group of senior citizens about romance, love and yes, sex. Difficult? Duh! Embarrassing? Yup! Eye Opening? OMG, YES!

I had a wonderful neighbor who was in her 90’s when she left this life. Her husband had gone on before her almost 30 years and she loved him like it was yesterday. Is this romance? You betcha! I marveled in our conversations at the impact that this man whom I had never met made on his wife. She was a gentle southern lady and never spoke of intimate things and never even mentioned how he held her hand. She didn’t have to. The gleam in her eyes when she spoke of him made everything clear.

I also have parents who in their 80’s have quite a lot to say about romance, life and sex. They bicker and fight like normal couples who have been married longer than they can remember and they make up. They instinctively know what the other is thinking or doing and they still have those tender moments together. They cry over the years ago loss of a daughter and they laugh over the years ago happenings. When one is in the hospital and the other is the designated caregiver there is romance in their eyes. The subtle way they give each other a sip of water or hold a hand in comfort is romance in its truest form.

So how can all this help you? Well at some point we need to realize that we have bought into a lie. That lie is we need more romance, we need less romance, romance is a thing of our past or romance will “fix” everything. My friend, it is up to you to decide what the lie in your life is. There is one, I promise you, there is a lie lurking in the shadows of your subconscious waiting for the right moment to keep you from experiencing happiness in romance. No matter what your age or situation is, it is up to you to refuse to believe the lie.

So whether you are trying to rekindle romance in your marriage or you are searching for the one worthy of your romantic intentions, it is your definition of romance that will most likely determine your outcome. Our definition? Well, it goes like this; Romance; noun, having the tenderness in thought of words and actions memorable to another. How about our other question? Is all romance sexy? Is all sex romantic? If you are over 18 and honest with yourself you will probably say yes to the first and no to the second. All in all, it’s fairly simple stuff.

The next time that you embark on a romantic endeavor, consider the life-long impact you could be making. Will the target of your affections and efforts have a gleam in their eye 30 years later? They could you know, but its up to you.

Come on! Let”s Cook Something Up!