I Am Big In Texas

I’m here in Houston for training and feel somewhat confined to my not-quite-urban neighborhood. So I decide to walk around to get dinner and pick up a few things for folks back home. Best place to do that is a 20-minute stroll down the road to the Galleria, home of Neiman Marcus, Saks’, Missoni, Jimmy Choo etc. My boredom and slight annoyance with the homeogenity of it all was dashed to the barnacle-ridden rocks below when I saw that Oceanaire also lived at the Galleria.

Now, when I was a food and travel writer for Sunset and other publications — this is Seattle circa 2005 — I did dine at possibly the best fish house in the country, the Oceanaire (and other fine establishments) on a regular basis. The chef there used to make me tuna poke when I asked for it, even though it did not exist on the menu.

So tonight, I practically prance into the place, gushing about what a huge fan I am, and they show me to a table. Franken flops, cargo pants, dumb short hair pulled into a ponytail (I am desperately trying to grow it back, 2000 mgs of MSM a day), no makeup.

But after I ask the busboy to check if the chef will make poke, they switch into celebrity mode. My waiter insists that I try no less than four types of wine. The manger comes over with a little bow and hands me his card and asks if there’s anything he can do. The chef comes out and shoots the shit as he hands me my poke. The waiter has me on his radar and gives me his card. The chef comes back after the subsequent courses and gives me his card too.

Did they do a retinal scan?
Did they tap my email to discover that indeed, I am writing for Sunset again?
Did they think I was someone else?

Probably, but I can’t imagine who.

Regardless, tonight I fall asleep full and happy in my Heavenly Bed (TM).

Because in the state of Texas, I am alone and a star.

Vanessa McGradyI Am Big In Texas

Comments 9

  1. Jeanne McGrady

    You’re in Houston and didn’t tell me??!?!?!? My darling girl, please email me and I can direct you to THE places. Houston is horrible if you don’t have a tour guide my dear. =) I should know, I grew up there. I’m laughing you’re at the Galleria (my 20th high school reunion was in one of the hotels there – so Dan was just there too). My mom still lives in Houston….. Much love.

  2. VisitLaManzanilla

    such a rock star you are! Hey I was in PT last weekend and had the very positive experience of being there when Pat O’meara took his last breath. Death ain’t pretty but a strong family can get you through it. Leaving for Mexico tomorrow mi amiga. email directly later.

  3. VisitLaManzanilla

    You are a rock star! Hey chicka I was just in PT and had the privilege of being at Pat O’meara’s side when he took his last breath. Death ain’t pretty but family can help you get through it…even a disfunctional family.
    Off to Mexico tomorrow. will email you directly when we arrive. Plan a trip, write a story, write it off. Love you! June

  4. 40licious

    Poke (POH-kay) is a delicious appetizer from Hawaii of raw tuna with a sesame dressing!

    Ahi Tuna Poke Recipe

    2 pounds fresh or sashimi-grade Ahi tuna steaks, cut into bite-size pieces*
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    3/4 cup chopped green onions (tops included)
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    1 to 2 chile peppers, cored, seeded, and finely minced
    Coarse salt to taste
    1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds**
    1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts***
    Boy choy or romaine lettuce leaves

    * If you cannot buy freshly caught fish, purchase only fresh sashimi or sushi-grade fish.

    ** To toast sesame seeds: Place sesame seeds in a small dry saucepan over medium heat; stirring occasionally, toast 3 minutes or until golden brown (watch closely as seeds burn easily).

    *** To toast whole macadamia nuts: spread whole nuts on a baking or cookie sheet and toast in a preheated 300 degree F. oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned (watch closely as nuts burn easily).

    In a large bowl, combine tuna, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, ginger, chile pepper, salt, sesame seeds, and macadamia nuts; mix lightly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

    To serve, tear leaves into comfortable holding sizes and spoon approximately 3 tablespoons of poke onto each piece. either eat with your fingers or use a fork or chopsticks.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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