July 30, 2012

Calling all David Lee Roth fans...you gotta hear this

Every once in a while something passes your way that you just have to share. When a buddy of mine said he was going to send me a David Lee Roth vocal that I just had to hear, it peaked my curiosity. Being a Van Halen and not a Van Hagar fan, I was going to listen just because I love the band.

Let's just say, it is definitely a vocal all David Lee Roth fans have to hear to believe. Strip away all the glam, money, guitars and recording studio trickery, it's all about the vocals anyway, right?

Ok all of your Roth faithful. Sit down, strap in, shut up and hold on....here's David Lee Roth in that famous Van Halen Classic, "Runnin' With The Devil" like you've never heard him before...

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

July 24, 2012

Texas Country Artist, Larry Joe Taylor..."My Third Coast"...

Every once in a while I get in a melancholy mood and want to hear some good, down-home, Texas made music. And one of the Texas artists that I always turn to is Larry Joe Taylor.

Larry Joe is a laid back, beach bum kind of guy. He loves the Texas Gulf Coast and has written dozens of songs to reflect his love of that area. One of my favorites by him is a Texas Music classic called "My Third Coast".

It's an epic song, going on for 6:31 seconds. But the lyric structure and melody connects you to the story almost instantly with the intro line of "He said I left California back in '76, the music died with Jimi Hendrix" and by the end of the song, you honestly don't realize six minutes have passed. It's the sad story of a former drug user that got out of that life in California, made it to Florida and sailed a stolen boat to South Texas and found his "third coast".

I post this song from time to time, because as a songwriter, I feel it's one of the best written songs of all time. I feel each word of the song as Brian Burns, the singer of this particular cut, weaves the story right up to the end, as he bids his old buddy Jack, goodbye.

Take a listen and see what you think. And when I say listen, I don't mean with just your ears. Listen with your heart and soul. Get somewhere quiet, close the door, kick your feet up, close your eyes and imagine your soaking up sun alone on the Texas Gulf Coast, somewhere between Corpus Cristi and Ole Mexico. It's a fine piece of art that just might make a few more fans of ole Larry Joe. If nothing else, you'll have spent 6:31 seconds in a Texas paradise.

God bless ya'll and God bless Texas music!

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

July 17, 2012

Ellis County BBQ, Midlothian, Texas

Ellis County BBQ
700 Silken Crossing
Midlothian, Texas 76065

They say when you're rating a restaurants food that you can only rate what is in front of you at that moment. With that being said, if I owned a BBQ restaurant, I'd bring out the cream of the crop, each and every serving. I am an "amateur" when it comes to rating BBQ, but I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to tell whether food is out of this world delicious or is ready to be poured in the slop trough out back.

I've wanted to visit Ellis County BBQ for some time now. I've heard mixed reviews on it, so as a BBQ lover, I decided to make my decision based on the Q. 

The building is really nice and has 18 - 20 small, medium and large chairs in the dining room with really high ceilings. Being a non-smoker, this helps, let me tell you. On the other side of a wall, is a fully stocked bar and it will seat 10 - 12 folks comfortably.

I scan the menu looking for the holy trinity of Texas BBQ... Brisket, sausage and ribs. I opted for the "Daniel" plate which was two meats and two sides. I chose the brisket and ribs and slaw and fried okra.

When the large plate landed at my table, I immediately noticed the brisket looked dried out. I was right. It was from the lean end of the brisket and you could tell before the first bite it was overcooked, dry and left over from yesterday or the day before even. Sauce was on the table, but I wanted to see if I could tell what kind of wood was used to cook the meat. There was a small, 1/16" smoke ring on top of the slice and I peeled it off and tried it. I couldn't even get a smoky flavor at all. And to my suspicions, the meat was dry and crumbly. The overall flavor was more akin to roast beef than a slow-smoked brisket. I ate half of one slice and moved on to the ribs. (Let me apologize for the out of focus shot, I forgot my regular glasses today and had to resort to a pair of old reading glasses.)

The ribs looked wonderful. They had a great black, crust and appeared to be very juicy and tender. I was right. A bite through the meat sent my teeth straight to the bone and I was able to pull that bite away without yanking the whole piece of meat away. Great bite and tenderness, extremely juicy from the marbled fat that was a bit much, but nonetheless, a wonderful chew. Although the texture was spot on and nearly perfect, again, there was only a slight smoky flavor. I actually couldn't tell what kind of smoke it was, mesquite, oak, pecan or something else, I have no idea. The fat content was very high and it was almost gelatinous and gooey. Overall, the ribs were ok. Great on texture, short on flavor.

One of the sides I chose was the cole slaw. It was cold, fresh and very crisp, just the way I like it, but it was "dry", meaning there was none of the wonderful saucy goodness on the cabbage. The sauce was used very, very sparingly and almost like eating raw cabbage and carrots. I did notice a wonderful onion undertone that was fantastic. The flavor was good, but it needed that saucy goodness that reminds me of mama's good old cabbage slaw.

And to me, the best thing on the plate was the fried okra. It came to the plate, fresh from the fryer and very, very crunchy, JUST the way I likes it. It had a great okra flavor and I only needed to coax the flavor out with just a tiny sprinkle of salt. No matter, the okra was very, very good.

I decided not to get a dessert, because one, I'm trying to "cut back" and two, it's hard to beat my wife's baking and desserts, so I don't even bother. Plus, in my increasing age, the thought of sweets doesn't court my fancy much anymore.

Ellis County BBQ Rating - **

(no stars) - drop it in the slop trough
* - I'd really have to be hungry to eat here again.
** - just, ok...
*** -  fairly decent food overall
****- Go out of your way to eat here
***** - Make room Aaron Franklin, here we come!

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

July 3, 2012

Say Hi to Aunt Bee, Goober and Barney for us, Andy...

An old television icon has left us. Yep, it doesn't seem possible, but ole' Sheriff Taylor, or Andy Griffith has gone on to the Mayberry in the sky.

At least we have the old shows to keep his memory around. God Bless you Sheriff Taylor, we sure will miss you.

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...