Tag Archives: Tourism

Scenes from the Burbs

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Glorious Friday, what a day!  As we gently prepare for the advent of more rain here in the burbs, all eyes are on the two reservoirs, levees and the dams that contain the mighty waters of the accumulated rains and will they hold?  We sure hope so.

In the meantime, crab a cup of java and let’s chew the proverbial fat.  It’s time for Bacon!

This Wednesday past, I had an outing in the evening to another favorite watering hole and Mexican food emporium here in the burbs.  Out here, we have an interesting mix of the chains and family owned restaurants.  If you want to go where the locals go, follow the local crowds.  Enchiludas is where we head on Wednesday as it is biker night there and the food is excellent!

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Enchiludas is owned and operated by Pepe and Gladys, a couple that has a long history of being in the restaurant industry here in Houston.  The food is quite interesting and the new menu encapsulates the wonders of Tex Mex cuisine into a sometimes delicate art form.

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One of my faves is Ceviche. It’s not on the menu but if I am planning to go there, I call ahead and get Pepe to make it.  Then, it’s a feast of Ceviche, Queso Flamado, Chips, homemade Salsa, Margaritas and a lot of fun.  There is no pretense here, just good food and good friends.

You might ask, why are we hanging around bikers?  Well, I’ll be honest, I would rather hang around people that are comfortable in their skins and that have my back. Enchiludas has a great policy that everyone is welcome from families to party animals and we all cohabit together in Margarita bliss for the evening.

Another favorite on the menu is the Seafood Soup that can be custom made by Pepe and the staff there that includes tilapia, muscles, crab, shrimp, octopus and sometimes even crawfish!  Enchiludas also serves up a great Crawfish boil that is not that pricey and a great bargain!

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The band that evening was a Rhythm and Blues duo that took me back to my roots in Memphis, Tennessee.  Man, these cats were cooking with gas!  Two brothers, known as the “Black Cats” with some interesting professional experiences that we shared during their breaks.

Black Cats
Other menu items that are of note include the Enchilada plates varying in price, the Burritos that are humongous, the Shrimp wrapped in bacon and embedded in a fresh jalapeno and the variations on Chorizo!  Yum Yum!

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Have a great weekend!  If we float by, grab the cooler and refill it please!

From Casa Ukitena in the Burbs of Houston.

Jere

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Musical Ramblings and Visions

Today I am listening to spotify, some of my recordings and those of friends I have worked with around the world.  Being an artist is a treasure I hold dearly in my life and apply artistic aspects to everything I do.  My canvas is sound at times and I love painting with sound.  Music is my primary language and an escape from a rather hectic world.

I am in my easy chair with Ms. Ethel on my lap and the Duker vying for attention at my feet.  These are our kids as we call them and all rescue animals that just showed up on our doorstep.

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The music today is taking me back to Memphis, Tennessee, home of the blues, culture, Memphis in May, The outstanding Memphis Symphony and Germantown. It is also the home of the Rendevous and Interstate BBQ of food network fame.  header

I have an interesting history with these establishments both musically and in the kitchen.  Heck, I grew up there and love the taste and feel of the city! We have cooked side by side at many events across the Memphis/Shelby County area to the joy of many!

Enough of that about me and on to my reasons for sharing today.

There is a lot going on around the world right now. Mr. Paul Pellay is having a composition of his premiered by a highly capable Violinist.  Paul and I go back decades and he is married to a great violist, Michelle Pellay-Walker that I consider my sister from another mother.  This performance is taking place in Jolly Old England.

From Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Violinist

“At the violin, a day of rigour and joy. Bach in the morning then this. I am proud to have studied, and premiered, literally, hours of solo violin music by the extraordinary Paul Pellay, and this latest is absolutely engrossing-here’s the score, at what I call ‘base 1’ technical work. The groundwork in place, the notes in the hands and the brain, and now the real work begins. Here’s a Spotify link to Paul’s extraordinary ‘Thesaurus of Violinistic Fiendishness’. Violinists, what are you waiting for?”

Paul Pelay score

 

On the other side of the world, the the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Justin Smith, Director of Choirs at Maryhurst University is preparing from the summer.

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Stay Tuned!  Things are heating up here in Houston also!  But for today, I am relaxing before the weekend when Jody and I celebrate our 16th anniversary of being together. We were officially MARRIED in November of 2014.  We are having a casual at home BBQ where Tennessee meets Texas!  16 years ago, on April 1, I arrived in Houston to begin a life with Jody Turner. It’s been an up and downhill roller coaster ride but we are still together these 16 years later! FB_IMG_1436131882732
We would like to cordially invite you to our home on Sunday, April 3, 2016 for a Tennessee meets Texas BBQ in honor of this decade plus of being together. A lot has happened in these years and it’s time to celebrate.
Stop by for good times, good friends, good food and some all out fun!
Please pardon the house as it is now a DYI project that will be ongoing for a bit. I am also taking the liberty of creating videos of the work as it progresses along with recipes, exploring Jere’s kitchen and teaching videos for clarinet excellence.
If perchance, anyone would be considering an anniversary present, we need help on the renovations to the house!
We look forward to seeing everyone!  Recipes and menus will be here later but today, I am having fun with our mischevious kids!  

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Ta Ta for now and have a great day!

Jere

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Sakura Sakura!

It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan and DC. Actually around the world! If you have never been to Japan, I feel for you. It’s a beautiful country full of life, vitality and culture.

The yearly excitement awaiting the announcement of Spring begins when the Cherry Blossoms begin their path to blooming and when they do, life stops for a space of time. The festivals are amazing, full of friendship and kinship.

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I had the great joy, from the seventies as a young Marine to present day, of experiencing this rebirth of nature. It’s absolutely amazing!

To begin, here is a traditional performance of the Japanese Folk Song, “Sakura Sakura”. Relax, have a cup of green tea and perhaps some Umeboshi or a full plate of Oshinko, Japanese pickles along with a light addition of Poke or Ika Yaki!

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Nabayaki Udon from Nippon in Houston

By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nippon Japanese Restaurant in Houston, Texas is my go to place here for the authentic experience!  It’s now in the second generation of a traditional Japanese family owned restaurant here and it’s wonderful.  If you are in Houston, be sure and stop by.  Tell them Jere sent you.  The Uni is fantastic as is the shashimi.

 

From many of the masterpieces of the koto house, Michio Miyagi is a musician that represents Japan, promotional video we produced this time “Sakura Variations” As the first step. This work is composed in Michio Miyagi is 1923, very as timeless classics even now about 90 years have passed since a popular work. To represent the Michio Miyagi of the music world, please watch a performance by the Miyagi Orchestra volunteers. In winter, the “Spring of the sea” as the 4th we plan to up the promotional video. Please stay tuned. Miyagi Soke Facebook: Facebook.Com/miyagimichio Twitter: Twitter.Com/miyagimichio Web: Www.Miyagikai.Gr.Jp

Ah, the inspiring music of the Koto! The Geisha Houses are still active and quite relaxing. Taking a stroll down the Ginza or in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a nice place to be also during this time.

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Cherry trees of the Imperial Palace “dry street (dry as)” pass-through in the spring of introduction to the general public. Was for the first time published, about 75 connecting from Sakashita Gate Kitanomaru Park to near the dry Gate 0m. Inui street bloom 76 cherry trees, such as Yoshino cherry tree in the spring. Until now, New Year and the Emperor Reborn except for the general Sangha production date, generally was not able to pass through it is. Open to match the full bloom of the cherry blossoms will be the first time. Cherry Blossom In Imperial Palace (Tokyo) The Imperial Palace, Where Their Majesties The Emperor And Empress Reside, Is Situated In The Center Of Tokyo. The Palace Is Surrounded By A Water-Filled Moat And Tree-Covered Grounds Of Nature Within The Bustling Metropolitan City. In Commemoration Of Umbrella Kotobuki Of His Majesty The Emperor, Opening To The Public Is Performed According To Imperial Palace Inui Street In Spring. Inui Street Has 76 Cherry Trees And Is The Perfect Place For People To Experience The Beauty Of Nature.

In Japan, time progresses and for an updated version of this very traditional folk song, enjoy!

Rin ‘- Sakura Sakura ((Sakura Sakura)) Instrumental

For those in the United States, get thee to our nations Capitol for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

I apologize for my absence as of late but I have been dealing with some health issues. Coming up is my take on Japanese Cuisine, Culture and my life there and here in the States. It’s wonderful being an artist and having the opportunity to travel the world as a performer and teacher.

Scenes from a Kitchen…Mine!

I thought it would be great to begin sharing how I set my kitchen up and have on hand the things I need.
To begin, these are pictures of creations from my kitchen that I serve at home and professionally as a Chef, Caterer and Party planner.
I wear many hats and take pride in what I do. The adverse diversity in my life leads to some creative ideas and this represents the ideas becoming reality!

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My travels around the world have opened me to some great experiences. This is a starting point today.

Carpe Diem!

Just Because

There is a man that sits at the bar,
Most look at him and see old fat and ugly
Within that man, is wisdom and great knowledge
He’s stood on the lines
He’s fought the battles
And within him resides
A heart of Gold!

He’s asked for something special
A pan of cornbread
And a few homemade muffins
From a very special kitchen

I hear that request
From a friendly bartender
It’s a special request of me.
A bright ray of light
Has just filled my life.

I’ll make the cornbread and muffins
And a little something extra special
Just because
I’ll make it very special, from my special kitchen
Just because
God put this special moment, in my life
Just when I need it also,
Just because

Jere Douglas

Shrimp Ettouffee ala JK

Ah, the joys of New Orleans! I have to admit that I have an affinity for this cuisine as I was raised on the Mississippi River which connects North to South and runs through Memphis. Growing up, I had the best of the city and the country, a bit like in the movie “A River Runs Through It”. Couple that with a good John Grisham novel and there you have it. Court Square in Memphis was a nice relaxing place in the middle of downtown, close to Symphony Hall and right across from Goldsmiths which Is now Macy’s.
Times change, people grow and I have the memories. When I begin to prepare this dish, I think of Willie Mae, our maid, that raised me in Memphis, Beale Street and a nice laid back afternoon.

Continue reading Shrimp Ettouffee ala JK

The Healing Power of the Arts in my Life

In the disastrous year of 2008, I suffered a devastating episode/stroke that left me senseless and helpless and very afraid. As the year passed by and recovery began for me, we moved into a new home and I began to look at my life, where I’ve been and where I was at that time. Taking a live evaluation, thinking my life was over, I finally went back to the thing I love most in life, playing the clarinet. Well, a disparity of thought at the time as I was just beginning to talk again in a perceptual way and was not totally functioning at the time, but I picked up the horns anyway and began a journey that I continue to this day. The first notes were insanely bad, squeaks, squawks and something horrendous. However, as I continued each day to do a little more, I began to get enthused, I had a focus point in my life again and something to train the brain to center and find that place of solace and solitude in the vibration of the reed against my lips and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment with each passing day. I did not have a physical therapist and being the individualist I am, pushed myself to do better and to figure out how to come back to a performance standard I dearly treasure.
Frustrations come and go, but I keep at it. Scales, Scales in Thirds (Thank You Dr. Gholson), Fingers and finger movement (Thank You Leon Russianoff), Musical Integrity (Thank You Alan Balter) and a wonderful discipline with attention to every detail of the practice and working through problems with the fingers and the vision (Thank You Mr. Marcellus). At the time, my eyes would not focus on the notes themselves and were still floating around the page and my thought processes were here and there. As time progressed, I became adamant with myself and pushed to achieve that focus of sound, timbre and smoothness of the tongue movement and the shape of the wind column, working very meticulously on even the slightest perception of imperfection in my playing.
Each day became a chore dealing with these issues, fears, anger at myself and other aspects seemed to be moving slowly, but with persistence I knew I could and would be a lot better. Suddenly, a flash of light went off in my pea brain and it occurred to me that the scales were becoming more commonplace to me and the etudes that I could hardly see were coming into focus, and thus began the major journey of recovery.
Disability, we are only disabled as we wish to be.
As a stroke Victor, The Journey Continues!

Friday, beginning of a regular weekend or is it?

For all those 8 to 5 folks, this is the usual. However, in the arts and service industries, our week is just beginning. This weekend in Houston is a large event going on in the Montrose known as LUEY or “Let Us Entertain You” weekend where the leather folk from Houston extend the red carpet to the folks from New Orleans that put out, err, put on Mardi Gras every year. It’s a fun event and takes place in the bars and denzions of the Greater Houston Midtown Area.

Continue reading Friday, beginning of a regular weekend or is it?

Amish Cinnamon Bread

No kneading, you just mix it up and bake it
Batter:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Directions
Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Evangelines in Austin, Texas

What an exquisite little place in Southwest Austin! Reminds me a bit of hanging out in the Bywater and Marginey of New Orleans. The decor and the music takes me to that magical place called New Orleans.
The food was prepared with the touch of a New Orleans Chef with aromatic bouquets of quintessential elegance and that raucous spice of Cajun Cuisine. The Dixieland playing on a loop track just added to the flair of this establishment.
I had the Crawfish Ettouffee which was served in a nice size bowl with a splattering of paprika and chili powder around the rim and some fresh green onion stems for added flavor. The Stuffed Pistolette with a creamy crawfish filing was like to the taste buds and spiced to bring out the flavor of the crawfish.
Mark had the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with the traditional dark roux base. Heavy flavored by lite on the palette. Eric had the chicken fried steak that was a creation to see and taste.
All in all, a great experience and I will be back to try the house pasta specials.