Foodie

One of those places…

Did you ever have a place that just happened, over time, to become a big part of your life experiences and memories? You know, you go there once and it’s great, so you return, and it’s great again, and then somehow, it becomes this common thread associated with happy times? Yeah, I know…it’s awesome, right?

It’s so funny – today it just dawned on me while Steve, the Littles and I were enjoying a late lunch at Pappasito’s Cantina – our favorite Tex Mex place – that this restaurant has become such a part of our married life – actually even before – that I have to capture some of its history for posterity!

I honestly don’t remember the first time I ate at Pappasito’s. I moved to Houston, Texas shortly after college, on my own, without a pot to piss in, so to speak. But after a cold, icy winter in Ohio, I knew I had to get back South. Houston is a behemoth of a city, and honestly I felt lost, but managed to keep so busy with work I didn’t have much time to think about it. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a chain lock on the bedroom door (still wonder about that to this day), and the agents in the leasing office kept trying to set me up with this guy named Steve – but I traveled for work a lot and really was never around so we didn’t have the opportunity to meet.

Fast forward…and I finally met Steve. I was working 2 jobs at the time, and my 2nd job was in a Bath and Body Works in a fru-fru part of Houston. Steve and his friend, John, came in, shopped around, I ended up giving him my award-winning customer service and smile, and he ended up buying a candle. He handed me his credit card, thinking that I would recognize his name (since our leasing agent had been trying to set us up), but in true blonde fashion, it didn’t even register.

According to Steve, he left the store and told his friend John, “I’m going to marry that girl.”

A return visit to BBW later, and he introduced himself and asked me to lunch. Of course, I said yes, and we ended up out to dinner. Our 2nd date was dinner at Pappasito’s – and that was the night we realized we were both from Maine – born 55 miles apart from one another – and meeting in Houston. Amazing. And the rest is history.

Since then, we have enjoyed many, many celebratory occasions at Pappasito’s Cantina! It’s a must-visit place for anyone visiting us from out-of-town, and a favorite of both our families! We have celebrated birthdays, visits from friends and families, and the small stuff, like our recent relocation back to our beloved Texas!

We have laughed there, cried there, overeaten there, been anxious there – you name it, it’s like the restaurant is part of the family – the fabric of our life! You probably saw my recent post about our house-hunting trip – we were seated at Sito’s while waiting to hear if we had gotten the house we wanted, sitting on pins and needles – then ended up celebrating with our realtor and our server, Blake, when we found out we won the bid! It was an epic night!

Today, we shopped a bit, leisurely, with the Littles, discovering our new neighborhood, then decided on a late lunch at – you guessed it – Pappasito’s! As I sat there with my handsome hubby and my precious Littles, my cup runneth over! And serendipitously, we were seated once again in Blake’s section! He remembered us, commented how “stoked” he was that we got the house and were settling in, and that he had no idea we had a little “tribe” we were bringing with us, and the Littles just showered him in hugs!

Here are some photos from our lunch out today. It was much more than a lunch. It was a continuation of a tradition of celebration in this most special place. And we’re looking forward to sharing Pappasito’s with so many others who visit us from afar. Your guest room is ready! Come see us, have some of the best Tex-Mex of your life, and share in our tradition! It’s our happy place! God Bless!

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HOT, tired, and grateful!

On a plane once again…headed back to New Hampshire…after a very FULL, very HOT 2 days of house hunting in our new city. First let me say our Realtor was…awesome. Simply awesome. If you are ever in the market for a home in St. Louis OR in DFW, seek out Laura Garafola at Keller Williams. Seriously. She is a WORKER! Here she is – she’s is a bundle of energy and a ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ kind of person – which is EXACTLY what you need when doing this under pressure.  And boy were we under pressure. The Littles had sent us on a mission to find a home with “great bedrooms” and a pool, and we didn’t want to disappoint!

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So day one…saw about 9 homes (you lose count after a while). Two at the top of our list. One at the VERY top of our budget. It was beautiful, but it’s a seller’s market right now – as it seems to be every time we move – and we just had no wiggle room should there be a multiple offer situation; and…as fabulous as the home was, the master bathroom was a bit weird!

The second option was pretty and had a ton of potential with little work, but I just wasn’t in “love” with it – and I really wanted to be! So we headed back to our hotel room feeling a bit stressed and a little discouraged.

Inventory low, prices high, hot as hell! But as we caught our breath and a few ‘zzzzzzz’s’ in our hotel room, she drummed up about 20 more listing WITH pools for us to visit on day two.

We started early, and went at them efficiently with optimism that had waned from the day before. And suddenly, there it was. Our home…both Steve and I just knew it. But we also knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Just on the market, it was already in a multiple offer situation. So reaching to our extensive experience in HGTV watching, we decided on the offer, then carefully drafted a heartfelt letter to the sellers about how much we loved the home and wanted to make it ours. We even included a photo of our precious Littles to show them who would be sharing their home should they decide to choose us. Emotions running high, Laura submitted the offer and promised we would know something that evening.

Tick tock, tick tock. Steve and I decided to head to our favorite Tex Mex place, Pappasito’s Cantina, for some beef fajitas (yum!) and a glass of wine (or two…or three). We checked in wondering if this would end up being a celebratory dinner or one we would always remember sadly.

Shortly after getting there and getting served their famous chips and salsa, we got the call. But before I tell you about that, just take a look at this photo – come on! YUM! Best chips and salsa – ever!

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Ok…the call…drum roll…

We GOT the house! I guess I really had no idea how high my emotions had been running, because I just sat down, and tears just started streaming! Happy tears, of course – just knowing that we’d be able to go home and tell the Littles that we had gotten what they wanted!

Needless to say, dinner turned into a celebration, with our server Blake enjoying our reverie and showering us with some free wine and a free brownie dessert! Laura joined us there for a drink and some signatures, and we enjoyed every minute! We even got the full “Mariachi” treatment! Here are some photos that clearly show our level of excitement (and our amazing food)!

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IMG_3860IMG_3861IMG_3865Today, on the plane, nothing but gratitude and relief. God is good! Can’t wait to get moved in and have visitors!

 

 

 

 

 

Foodie Frenzy!

As I sit here with my measley handful of almonds, in an attempt to trick my tastebuds into thinking they are having “real” food, I can’t help but indulge in a little “foodie following” from a couple of my favorite bloggers. Have you ever noticed that when you are trying to get to that perfect swimsuit and vacation shape and weight, the blogosphere and social media seem to blow up with amazing-looking, easy recipes for everyone to try? Or is it simply that they are always there, but just jump out a little more when I’m attempting to be ultra-disciplined?

Honestly, whether you want to drop a couple pounds, or a whole lot of weight, staying on track has become increasingly difficult if one is on social media as much as I am! Before all this constant communication, one could just try to fight through the hour of the Phantom Gourmet TV show (always perfectly time-slotted just before lunch), or just turn the TV off and go clean the house or something!

Oh, well…I guess the only saving grace is that in Living the Littles world, I don’t have a lot of time for cooking things that my Littles won’t eat anyway, so I just indulge in a little (hopefully) healthy snacking and a glass of red wine. Not nearly as good as something gooey and cheesy, but I’ll just feast my eyes instead and avoid the extra calories.

Here are a couple of my favorite bloggers on the foodie front:

http://www.laurenslatest.com/

Not only is she and her family adorable, she posts the most amazing looking goodies and simple meals! She also has great giveaways from time to time (I have yet to win one, but that won’t stop me from trying)!

Here is another:

http://damndelicious.net/

Fresh ingredients, nothing crazy – stuff you can actually DO that look and taste incredible! Also some great copies of restaurant recipes from the likes of PF Changs and the Cheesecake Factory! Mmmmmmmm!

So feast your eyes with me, and post if you actually try some of these – my tastebuds would love to know which are your faves!

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