NYT: Houston Enchilada Love


Every Wednesday the New York Times brings readers the anticipated food section with articles about restaurants, recipes, wine and spirits. This week's feature story was about making Texas style (Tex-Mex) enchiladas at home, based on the recipes of a few iconic Houston restaurants -- right up my alley (sort of)! For research Sam Sifton dined at Houston’s El Real, Teotihuacan, Molina’s Catina, El Tiempo, Spanish Flowers, Sylvia’s and the original Ninfa’s on Navigation. What’s not to love? As a full-fledged foodie (and a mom who has never managed to develop any cooking skills -- like, ever) I’ve dined at most all of these places more times than my fair share, and I have to say that Sam was lead in the right direction. 

For a summer project a few years back I decided to search for THE best steak in Houston and blog about it. It was all about the strip. I went to numerous Houston steakhouses and ordered the strip steak (medium), then came home and wrote and rated. While it was a pleasurable experience, I ultimately quit writing and deleted the blog (thinking nobody was reading) and then realized I was wrong. (Sad face.) Readers: You must comment to let bloggers know you are listening!! #comment #lol #notkidding. NOW I’m inspired to do the same thing for enchiladas! But who has the time? Plus, I have a dilemma. I lived in El Paso for four years and spent numerous weekends in New Mexico, where I became very used to the question (regarding enchilada ordering) red, green or Christmas? In New Mexico they make enchiladas with red or green chile sauce (not gravy) and it’s a whole different kind of love. My first mistake was ordering green at Chopes in Las Cruces -- thinking red chiles would naturally be hotter. Live and learn! I couldn’t even eat the dish. And I needed a tall glass of milk to take off the edge. I remember being truly mad because I really, really wanted to finish it. Eventually my palate became accustomed to the heat and my new mantra was: Everything tastes better "with a green chile on top!" Even Central Market celebrates Hatch Green Chile Season (a roasted scent that should be bottled and a fun festival to attend, by the way). 

Tex-Mex and New-Mex are two very different kinds of appreciation. But when it comes down to it my heart belongs to Texas -- Houston, Texas. And that means Tex-Mex. What does this have anything to do with jewelry, you ask? Not much, but I got this. For years my family has been dining at El Patio on Westheimer (every, single, week -- unless sick or out of town). A photo taken of us even made it on their website! On Tuesday’s kids eat free and on Thursday’s there’s a Mariachi band that is sure to entertain you at the table. It is a traditional Houston establishment that has been around for decades in the Galleria area. It also boasts Club No Minors, an experience I’ve yet to live (but have heard stories), and it's been a life-long job for several of the employees. The enchiladas are as good as it gets -- the cheesy variety with chili gravy, one of the three types mentioned in the New York Times article. They also serve the Felix Cheese Enchiladas -- a recipe El Patio took over after Felix, Houston's oldest Mexican restaurant, closed its doors. So good! And (on a side note) the steak Tacos Al Carbon are THE best in town. It's the same smiling faces time and time again. It's family. If you go ask for Rolando (our waiter) who is in his 60’s and has been waiting tables at El Patio since he was sixteen. I know this because we talk to him. His real name is Orlando but they changed it for the restaurant gig. Some customers call him Roland. Rolando loves jewelry and never takes off the layers of bracelets he wears up his arms (including one from a customer). We love Rolando. And when he sees us walk through the door he doesn't have to ask for our drink order -- he just brings it. And you can't beat that! If Sam Sifton could have read this post before writing his piece, El Patio may surely have been on his list -- "with a fried egg on top!"

Billboard Music Awards 2015

WHAT A RUSH!! This year I was invited to gift Cindy Schulze Jewelry backstage at the Billboard Music Awards UPS Gifting Suite -- a three-day event hosted by the DPA Group at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The first two days of the event were held in the Red Carpet Radio Room where various musicians and local celebrities were being interviewed by radio stations all over the country. We saw Britney Spears, Iggy Azalea, Hozier, Veronic Dicaire, Antonique Smith (Notorious BIG), EchoSmith, Terry Fator, and Simple Minds make their way from station to station (no personal pics allowed). Everyone who was either up for a BBMA or presenting at the the Sunday night awards show was personally invited to the gift suite (setup in the middle of the radio room), as well as many local celebrities or those who were there for the event. I gifted over 100 pieces of jewelry and had the pleasure of visiting with so many people: Jeannie Mai, Bailee Madison, Tye Comer, Chelsea Cannell, Bonnie McKee, Chelsea Briggs, Jennette McCurdy, Kiyah Wright, Charlie Puth, Danica McKeller, Rico Love, Kaya Jones, Simple Minds, Carrot Top, LMFAO, Todd Bridges, Estelle, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Lindsey Stirling, Pentatonix, Stine Van Halen, Janie Van Halen, Tyran Brown, Tori Kelly, The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn and Britt, and Zach Sang & The Gang. We also provided give-aways to Dick Clark Productions and Samsung. Around 4pm on the first two days, when official interviews were over, food and drinks were served and a short, intimate concert was held in the radio room. It was a treat to see Tori Kelly sing/play live! Bailee Madison was a ray of sunshine -- beautiful person, contagious smile! I only wish I would have realized at the time that she played Jennifer Aniston's daughter (Maggie, AKA Kiki Dee) in the movie Just Go With It -- one of my go-to faves. I did not recognize her all grown up!! And if I could, I would totally hang out with Jeannie Mai, whom I'm also sending a TREACHEROUS bar necklace from my line of gold bars that describe the relationship cycle according to Taylor Swift songs! Lol. I also discovered some really great products from some good people!! Check out Ultimate Ears, Sartorial Luxury, Combatant Gentleman, and Daily Greens.

On Sunday, May 17th, the day of the official Billboard Music Awards, the gift suite was moved backstage to a hall behind the MGM Grand Garden Arena where the DPA Group passed out up to 50 "swag bags" packed with our gifts. After the awards were given for various categories, several of the winners or presenters were mingling backstage or being interviewed. Here we DID get to take a few up-close and personal pics! We saw Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, John Legend, Ludacris, Florida Georgia Line, Meghan Trainor, Brett Eldredge, Adrien Grenier, and Kylie Jenner.

Shortly after the event I received a Twitter following and tweet from Kaya Jones thanking me for the necklace she is seen wearing in the picture she posted below, as well as a personal email from Janie Van Halen thanking me for the necklace I gave her. They both picked my mossy aquamarine wire-bezel cube necklace. Although I was incredibly stressed out in preparation, and completely exhausted by the end, it was an amazing experience. And who knows... maybe I'll gain a returning "customer" or two in the future. Super fun! See more pics by Getty Images on my Facebook Page!

GIFTING SUITE


Kaya Jones

Jeannie Mai

Todd Bridges

Lindsay Sterling

Jussie Smollett

Bryshere Y. Gray

Jeannette McCurdy

Kaitlyn & Britt (The Bachelorette)

RED CARPET



Sarah Brown (background vocalist for Simple Minds)
wearing Cindy Schulze diamond disc necklace on the red carpet.

BACKSTAGE



Ludacris (w/Jeannie Mai)

Taylor Swift

John Legend

Celine Dion

Meghan Trainor

Florida Georgia Line

Brett Eldredge

SWAG BAGS





Austin Fashion Week 2015

This year I participated in the Austin Fashion Week FINALE held on Saturday, April 18th at the Austin Music Hall. I was taken aback at how big Fashion X Austin has grown since 2013 -- tons and tons of emerging talent, including great music! It was a treat to be there on awards night where I was able to see the lovely owners/designers of Rare Trends receive the Golden Boot Award! I met Paola Moore (of Rare Trends) several years ago when she purchased a pair of my earrings. When I saw her again this year we talked about a possible collaboration. I always love meeting and supporting fellow designers and I purchased a fabulous clutch by FINELL. I also got to know the charming sisters of Milkweed. My favorite sale of the night was one of my gold personalized bar necklaces that was ordered to read QUEEN B. In my element!!










Space Montrose

I am ecstatic for Leila and Carlos Peraza -- owners of Space Montrose, whose gift store was recently named one of Houston's 101 Great Little Shops by Houstonia Magazine. If you live in Houston and you haven't been, you are missing out on a treat. They sell clothing, art, jewelry, baby items, stationary, candles, soaps, and much, much more -- all USA made, and featuring more than 140 local artists. Space has been open for four years and recently moved to a new location (1706 Westheimer Rd.) -- right next door to the always bustling Common Bond Cafe & Bakery. I am thrilled that Cindy Schulze Jewelry is in the mix! The next time you need a quirky card or some simple, contemporary, everyday jewelry, this is the place to shop! Follow Space on Instagram @spacemontrose.