Cocktail Friday: The Apple Bite

ApplebiteIt’s beginning to really feel like autumn outdoors — even Indian summers must end — so what better way to ease into the transition than with this fall-inspired cocktail from Bacardi: Teh Apple Bite.

1 part apple gastrique

2 parts Bacardi Gran Reserva Ocha Anos

Making it: First, make the gastrique: equal parts (1 cup) fresh apple juice, rice vinegar and white sugar. Dissolve sugar in liquids, then simmer over medium heat’ remove and cool overnight. (You can refrigerate and reuse the leftovers.) Stir together gastrique and the liquor with ice until very cold; strain into a rocks glass and a large ice cube. Garnish with a dried apple chip.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

More foodie goings-on along Lower Greenville Avenue


Chicken from CLark Food & Wine Co.

Lower Greenville Avenue is flourishing right now, both with restaurants and businesses giving it some great energy. Well, here are some more foodie events around my favorite neighborhood.

On Sunday, one of the pioneers of the LGA food scene, Truck Yard, will get all gourmet on us with a celebrity chef Chili Cook-off. Chefs from neighboring bistros like Remedy (Danyele McPherson), Rapscallion (Nathan Tate), Clark Food & Wine Co. (Randall Warder) and others will compete for the best of Texas’ signature cuisine. The cost is $25 at the door, and proceeds benefit Angie’s Friends Animal Rescue.

Speaking of Clark, it was one of my favorite new restaurants of 2014. Hard to believe it’s been a full year since the Lower Greenville Avenue eatery opened, but it has — and it’s celebrating with a first anniversary dinner benefiting Genesis Women’s Shelter. On Thursday, come in for a special three-course dinner for just $40 between 6 and 10 p.m. and $8 will go to the shelter.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Greenville Avenue Pizza Co. won’t take sides in Texas-OU game

UT Pizza

UT pizza

I live along Lower Greenville Avenue, so I like to support local merchants, including the delicious eight-year-old pizzeria Greenville Avenue Pizza Co. (GAPCo, to those in the ‘hood). Well, one thing residents of Lower Greenville all share is a love-hate relationship with Texas-OU weekend. Sure, it generates lots of revenue for the city, and more particularly, the bars and restos. It also generates lots of peeing in my yard and drunk frat boys. (Hmmmm…. not sure if that last one is a pro or a con.)

OU Pizza

OU pizza

Well, GAPCo is offering up a few specials on Saturday to appease college football fans. In addition to 88-cent glasses of Peticolas’ Come and Get It Kolsch beer, you can order a pizza with the logo of either team created in pepperoni. Now, we all know the OU fans are sore losers and leave town immediately if they don’t win, so it’ll be interesting to see how well the OU pizza sells if Oklahoma loses. Either way, the good news is, the pizza might keep all the fans a few blocks from my house. Thanks, GAPCo, for doing your part to keep my front yard clean or sorority vomit. I owe ya. (Available 11 a.m.–5 p.m.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue features mind-boggling gift ideas

IMG_4888The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is famed for its extravagant gift ideas — Fantasy Gifts, as they call the uppermost selections of once-in-a-lifetime suggestions for the richest of the rich (the top end, a custom tour of India organized by O’Harani Luxe Experiences, caps out at $400,000). For another travel experience, jewelry designer Ippolita will take you on a custom 7-10 day tour of the artisans of her native Italy, seeing how Murano glassblowers, artisan book binders and a host of other craftsmen preserve centuries of technique. (That’s just $150,000.)

To travel more one-on-one, shell out $150,000 for a customized motorcycle by Arch. Sure, that’s a lot for a bike, even a 2,000-cc performance vehicle that looks like an Anime bike made real. But there’s more to the gift — such as, a two-day bike ride across Southern California for you and a friend, with your riding partner Keanu Reeves (I’m not making this up). There’s also air fare to the factory outside L.A., a visit to the facility and accommodations, all while pretending to recreate scenes from My Own Private Idaho. If you prefer four wheels, Ford has designed a limited edition (100 only) Mustang convertible, branded for Neiman Marcus ($95,000).

IMG_4896You probably won’t wanna get the cycle and the whiskey experience from The Orphan Barrel Project, which finds old juice from bourbon distilleries and releases one-of-a-kind editions of classic bottles. The experience includes a gorgeous bar and barware as well as the chance to select and brand two bottles of your own custom whiskeys. How good are they? Well, I tasted two of them and trust me, they are worth the $125,000 price tag.

Still too much? If you have just $5k to spend, you can indulge the kid in your life with a trunk filled with his-and-hers Halloween costumes. For a more upscale trunk of goodies, though, you’ll wanna look over the portmanteau of accessories curated by Iris Apfel, pictured, from chunky jewelry (her signature look) to bags and azure crocodile belts — some antique one-offs, some designed by Iris herself, some new pieces — for a merely $80,000. “I hope someone buys it,” Iris, the glamorous style maven, told me. “Maybe someone has a good sugar daddy.”

I’d like such a sugar daddy, I told her. I think we all would.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Ginning up recipes

Caorunn_Gin_LizClayman_Lost & Found_011

Lost & Found

I only recently discovered Caorunn gin, a small-batch gin created, surprisingly, in Scotland. But bartenders have known about it for a while at least (I found one recipe from last fall prepared by Henderson Avenue’s hipstery dive bar The Gin Mill, called Gin, Smoke & Lies, made with amaro, pineapple, hibiscus syrup and lime). I’m a big gin drinker, though, so here are a few more recipes culled from mixologists around the U.S., that fall into a category called “shrub drinks” (“shrubs” usually combine 1 cup each fruit juice and sugar with vinegar and citric acid, plus other ingredients as needed).

Lost & Found (created by Vincent Favella, Brooklyn)

1 oz. Caorunn gin

3/4 oz. prickly pear shrub


Making it: Whip-shake gin and shrub with one ice cube; pour into coupe glass; top to taste with champagne. Garnish with orange twist.

The Brand New Companion (created by Scott Koehl, Chicago)

2 oz. Caorunn gin

Blueberry balsamic shrub

3/4 oz Cynar

Caorunn_Gin_LizClayman_Brooklyn Sunset_027

Brooklyn Sunset

3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Making it: Stir together ingredients, and serve in a Nick Nora glass. Garnish with lemon.

Brooklyn Sunset (created by Tony Del Pino)

2 ox. Caorunn gin

5 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. ginger shrub

Club soda

Making it: Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker; strain into a Collins glass. Top with club soda to taste. Garnish with a lime wheel.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Remembering mom

My family, about 1970.

One of the first things they teach you in News Writing 101 is “how to write an obituary.” It’s seen, I think, as a low-man-on-the-totem-pole kind of assignment, one not requiring special skills. It is, admittedly, formulaic — more so than most other kinds of stories: Name of the deceased, age, family, some significant personal achievements; if it’s a famous person, there’s all that much more to write about.

This past year, I’ve written more than my share of obits of people I was close to, or fond of: Bruce Wood, Nye Cooper, Terry Dobson, Jac Alder. Some were hard, or emotional to do. What no one really teaches you is how to write an obit for your own mother. Which is what I had to do last week.

My mom, Patty Jones, died after an illness that lasted about two months — not completely sudden, but certainly not unexpected, either. She was only 72, which seems young to me, and despite some bouts with bad health in the past, she seemed fine until this summer. It happened 1,000 miles away, so I had to sit out here in Dallas alone while my dad and sister were dealing with it at ground zero. As the writer in the family, I was tasked with responsibility for the obit on behalf of the whole family. I did it, and it was fine. Several people who read it told me how good it was. But they were wrong — so, so wrong. And I don’t think they knew it.

Because writing 300 words that encapsulate the life and legacy of your mom is something no one should be expected to do. Birth, marriage, kids, grandkids. She was a tireless volunteer. She was a great cook.

But she was also my mom. And I couldn’t really say what I wanted to, because it wasn’t about me — it was about her, as well as the rest of the family, mostly my dad, who was devoted to her for 54 years. How do you tell strangers that one of the best things about your mom is how much your dad loved her? My dad was the most loyal and affectionate husband I have ever had the privilege to know. Mom’s friends were jealous that she had such a great husband. But it was not just him, but how she made him want to be so good to her. The greatest gift a father can give, it’s said, is to show his children how to love, and by that measure, my dad is a role model without measure. I lost my mom; he lost the love of his life. How do you put that in 300 words and feel anything but inadequate? Their love wasn’t a series of cold dates on a calendar, but a lifetime together.

How do you put in a death notice that you mom wasn’t perfect? We fought when I was a teenager. I’m not ashamed of it, though not proud, either; but the relationship between a mother and child (not just me, but my sister, too) is a collection of highs and lows, missteps and synchronicity. Children are a part of their parents, quite literally. But they are also their own beings. I will never know how difficult it is to be a mother, though I respect and admire how singular my mom was at doing her best. Her love for her children was unconditional, and you felt it at every point along the way.

I remember lots of stupid things about my mom, too — things no one would care about. Like how she did not have a terrific sense of humor, but she respected my (and my dad’s) near-constant clowning. I don’t think she understood us, but she tolerated her boys and their silliness. I remember the first time I felt my mom treated me as a real adult, just when I needed it. But I also recall fondly those times she treated me as her baby. I wish she were here now to do that, because I’ve never needed it more.

She took care of the entire family. She was an only child who married the youngest of seven siblings. She knew everyone’s birthday and kept in touch with them. She organized our lives in ways we can only begin to imagine. Mom was the one person everyone in the family would turn to for solace and advice and an ear when something terrible happened. Losing her is losing your confidante, your guidepost, your rock. It’s a cruel irony — the universe daring us to get along without the one thing that has been there for all of us, for half a century. It’s unfathomable.

For at least 25 years – since I moved to Texas — I spoke on the phone with my mom probably twice or three times a week. Hearing her voice meant everything in the world to me. I always told her I loved her, and she did the same. I think more than anything, not being able to chat with her about life’s daily nonsense (recipes, movies, work) is what hurts the most. She was my mom, but she was my friend, too. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on politics, so we steered clear of that topic as much as we could. But she was smart and thoughtful and as opinionated as any woman I’ve ever known. All my life, people have said to me, “you remind me of your mother.” It takes a while to realize what a compliment that is.

My mom was an inveterate deliverer of care packages. She’d make fudge, or cookies, and send me knickknacks she thought I’d enjoy. She babied her “granddogs.” She was down-to-earth but had high standards, too. I learned more lessons — by far — from my mom than I did from every teacher, job and friend I’ve ever known combined. That’s because you listen to your mom in a way you don’t anyone else.

Take, for instance, this earlier memory: I was a kid, and someone had died. People kept saying to the bereaved, “he’s in a better place.” I asked my mom what that meant. “It means he’s in heaven and isn’t in pain anymore,” she explained. “Well, if it’s a better place, why are people crying?” I asked. “Shouldn’t they be happy for him?” “You’re right,” she said. “They won’t be able to be with that person anymore and it makes them sad. I guess people cry because they are selfish at that loss.”

I’ve thought a lot about that these past days as I choke back tears hourly. I am selfish at not having her around from now on. I won’t be able to talk to my mom anymore. That makes me sad. But she still will teach me lessons. Probably no one had a greater influence on my life than my mom. Missing her is hard, but much worse would be never having known her at all.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Upstairs Inferno’ schedules first Texas screening at Austin Film Festival

Austin - Upstairs Inferno - Split Rice and posterLast week, I wrote about how local filmmaker Robert L. Camina won an award at the North Louisiana Gay and Lesbian Film Fest at the screening of his new film Upstairs Inferno, which chronicles the single largest murder of gay men in U.S. history. After a series of successes at festivals all over, from Palm Springs to North Carolina, Upstairs Inferno will finally receive its official Texas premiere. The bad news? It’ll be in Austin.

The documentary will screen twice as part of the Austin Film Festival — which, interestingly enough, is not a gay-specific fest, but a general mainstream one … a first for Upstairs Inferno. The first will be Nov. 1 and then again Nov. 3; Camina will be in attendance.

If you can’t make it down to the capital city that week, though, fear not — Camina informs me that a Dallas screening will soon follow.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Flor de Violette

FLORI have to admit, I missed National Rum Day last month. I mean, how could that happen?! But I’ll make up for it with this concoction that employs a new super-premium rum from Bacardi.

1-1/2 oz. Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron

3/4 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. St.-Germain

1/7 oz. creme de violette

1/7 oz. simple syrup

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake vigorously with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas filmmaker wins award from Louisiana film festival

CaminaRobert L. Camina, the documentarian responsible for Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, which tracked the events in Fort Worth on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, received the PACE Paragon Award from the North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival over the weekend.

The festival takes place every September in Shreveport; the award was presented by PACE (People Acting for Change and Equality) to Camina Saturday on the fest’s opening night. It was followed by a sold-out screening of Camina’s latest documentary, Upstairs Inferno, which tells the little-known story of the greatest mass-murder of gays in U.S. history — an arson at a gay bar in New Orleans in 1973 — which took 32 lives.

The festival continues through tonight. Upstairs Inferno screens again this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Paul Engle wins TeCo’s gay playwrighting festival

Screen shot 2015-09-23 at 3.04.09 PMPaul Engle, a local writer whose play Dissonance addressed lost love and dealing with the divine, won first prize in the second annual PlayPride LGBT Festival, a two-week-long fest put on by TeCo Theatrical Productions. The festival ran Sept. 10–20. Engle won a $500 grant for his favorite LGBT charity; he chose Out Youth.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones