A Look Inside On The Lamb

Hello again!  It’s time for another food review.  For a belated birthday dinner, Dad (his birthday was July 18th) and I went to On The Lamb in Deep Ellum last Thursday.  You can find their address (they’re next to the 7/11 on Elm St. for those who know the area) and a sample menu on the website linked above, but be aware that it is by no means up-to-date (their menu and hours have changed, so check their Facebook AND give them a call before you head that way).  Also, fair warning, it’s Deep Ellum, so good luck finding parking!

First, a reminder of my rating system:

MMMMM = Everything is magnificent!
MMMM = Great, but something is off.
MMM = Pretty good, but a couple of things could be better.
MM = The bad’s starting to outweigh the good.
M = Definitely more cons than pros.
… = I couldn’t find anything nice to say.

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The inside.  It’s tiny, so this is basically what you get.
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A better view of the bar.

 First up is accessibility.  Funny story, actually.  I messaged On The Lamb to find out if they required reservations (they don’t) and to make sure they were wheelchair accessible and one of the owners wrote me back to let me know they didn’t have an accessible table, but that they were working on it.  How does a place not have accessible tables, I wondered as I wrote back to express my sadness (answer: they only had the bar-top height tables).  A few days later, I received another message saying they had swapped one of the tall tables for a regular one, so I could come down any time.  Now, that’s service.  Ask and ye shall receive!  Otherwise, accessibility was decent.  The table is in a nook next to the door, so I didn’t have to fight my way down the aisle.  My chair is fairly large, and the table is positioned in a way that meant I had to sit on the corner (which I actually prefer), so I’m sure I was in the waitress’ way at times, but no one complained.  The height was great for me.  Getting in the door and around to the table is a clear shot with plenty of room to swing around.  So, despite the initial shock of no table that was taken care of swiftly, accessibility gets an A+ from me.

Service.  Our waitress, Sarah, was wonderful.  She immediately treated me like a human being instead of shying away or ignoring me, so she gets bonus points.  She was knowledgeable about the menu and answered all of our questions.  Don’t expect to understand the menu without some help.  It’s pretty cryptic if you don’t know what half the words mean.  Luckily, she knew.  Plus, she was attentive, but didn’t make us feel rushed at all.  She was good all around.

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I didn’t think of pictures until after the second course, so excuse the sipped on La Perla and half-eaten food.

 Before I get to the food, I want to recommend checking out the cocktails if you drink.  I had a La Perla (hibiscus infused tequila with passionfruit).  It was lovely.

Anyway, the menu is set up more like a high-end restaurant rather than a hole-in-the-wall place.  First, you have the “cured items,” which is a meat and cheese sampler.  You pick either three or five items and they come out with a few pieces of each.  Definitely shareable.  We got the biltong (South African style jerky, but it’s not tough to chew), duck ham, and the country salami (it’s made in-house, so we had to).  Plus, a couple of cheeses.  There were also a number of garnishments.  It was all absolutely delicious, except for the lamb pate they added.  A lot of people raved about the pate, so I’m sure if you like that kind of thing it’s great.  I wasn’t a fan.  My favorites from that plate were actually the biltong and the giant capers.

The “first” course is a small serving.  If they have the duck confit (my first course), I definitely recommend it.  The meat was tender and juicy and it was phenomenal.  Dad got the lamb boudin, which was also wonderful.  We ate it all, so I have no pictures to share with you.

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Lamb neck tagliatelle (left) and grilled merguez in its own little pot (right).

The “second” course consisted of lamb neck tagliatelle for me and grilled merguez (a grilled lamb sausage stew type thing) for dad.  Serving sizes were smaller than typical, but after the first two items, that’s okay.  Both dishes were delicious.  Dad’s had lentils and a duck egg in it, which was strange and delightful.  I admit that I preferred my own, though.  The lamb neck was tender and there was mint in it that just set the whole dish apart.  As someone who isn’t a huge fan of lamb (Dad loves it), I admit I was impressed by just about everything we had.

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Apricot.
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Mint chocolate stout with a bite taken out.

 Dessert was weird.  The menu was absolutely no help in deciphering what everything was and the waitress explained it as weird ’80’s artwork that you can eat (she wasn’t wrong).  So, just pick whatever sounds coolest to you and try it.  Dad got “Apricot” and I got the “Mint Chocolate Stout.”  There’re bits of cake and sorbet and fruits and a bunch of other stuff that I couldn’t name even if I tried.  Each component was good on its own, but I ended up mixing mine all together, which made it even better.

Last, is price.  It wasn’t cheap, but for the quality of the food, it wasn’t bad.  For Dad and I, it was about $120 without the tip.  Basically, you get Mansion on Turtle Creek quality with portions that are double (sometimes triple) the size for around half the price.  It’s worth the splurge.

My rating is:
MMMMM

Changing of the Seasons: A Flash Fiction Piece

Hello, hello!  I didn’t really have anything to blog about today, so someone suggested that I post a flash piece inspired by the pictures I post on Mondays (follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or G+ to see the posts).  I decided what the hell, I’ll try it.  I picked a picture and wrote the following piece.  It’s a first draft, unedited, so keep that in mind.  I will admit that I like the idea, but I’m not sure that flash is the right format for it.  Maybe a short story?  Feel free to offer constructive criticism and feedback.  What format do you think would work best?  Advice.  Or just a quick “it sucks/rocks” works too.

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Photographer: Peter Brownz Braunschmid

Changing of the Seasons

Autumn leaves swirl and twirl on a breeze tinted with the scent of blood. The lifeline of thousands seeps through the soil, bathing and nourishing me as it beckons for my awakening. They pray to me, the mothers and daughters and sisters of those lost at war. Why me? Because only a woman will understand their suffering. The men pray to Him for victory, for the ability to rule, no matter the cost. But the women, they simply ask for peace. They don’t realize how peace is achieved, they don’t know what they’re truly asking for. Still, I will soon be able to grant their wish.

Once every five thousand years, as the ground becomes inundated with spilt blood, I will inevitably rise from the roots of the Mother Tree as Fall passes into Winter. The changing of the seasons allows my release, for I cannot be freed while the Mother Tree lives. Their blood slowly poisons her until she can no longer survive the first freeze. I bide my time, soaking in the nutrients they provide while the tendrils that bind my wrists slowly weaken, becoming as brittle as the dead leaves clinging to the Mother Tree’s branches.

The days pass as if each second has morphed into an hour, but it is almost time for me to rise. To bring peace back to this chaotic world. Their cries grow ever stronger. Peace. Victory. Whichever will put an end to the suffering.

Fear not, my little loves. A new day is coming. I have heard you.

Finally, a twist of the wrist shatters my shackles. Fingers pale as sun-bleached bone are free to break through the slush of soil and blood and ice crystals. The air up here is thick with a metallic, rotten scent. The frigid temperatures haven’t had time to wash away the aroma of death. It’s invigorating. Mixed with the pleas for help, some might call it downright orgasmic.

I know what I have to do.

Near the Mother Tree is a spring. I must bottle the icy water as the full moon strikes it. I will take this gift to the children of the nearest town. Once they drink of it, a deep sleep will overcome and protect them. Then, I will feed. First, the women, unprotected in the fields and the shops. The children unaffected by the elixir will come next. Lastly, those on the battlefield. I will rid the entire world of the agony perpetrated by humanity.

Once the world has been purged of this plague, I will return to the slumbering children. They will awaken and I will raise them as my own. I will teach them compassion and respect and compromise. Peace and love will reign for many years to come.

And when they no longer need my assistance to survive, I will dig my toes deep into the ground on a pleasant Spring evening on the edge of town, where I will transform into the Mother Tree. My branches will reach out to protect my children even as future generations forget my teachings. As they inevitably devolve into a world of bloodshed once again. All the while, the mothers and sisters and daughters will pray for peace, which my next incarnation, growing among my roots, will provide.

Mini-Update on the Previous Post

I just wanted to update everyone who was wondering what happened with the pulmonologist (see the previous post, please).  We ended up pushing the appointment back until August, so that the insurance people have a chance to work things out on their end.  BUT, one of the respiratory therapists that I have known basically forever informed Dad that my primary care physician can sign the paperwork for me to keep my second vent.  Yay!  That means all of this was definitely unnecessary stress.  Hopefully, everything is on its way to being straightened out.  Wish us luck and send good vibes!

How Not To Treat Your Patients And Acceptable Alternatives

Hello, hello!  Today’s post will be devoted to the cripple side of life, rather than writing or food (and it’s kind of a rant).  As many of you know, at best, I dislike doctors and, at worst, I despise them.  I don’t like people who touch/grab/pull at me without asking FIRST and listening when I explain my limitations (doctors are great at the grabbing, but not so much with the listening).  My anxiety levels are usually already maxed out before I even enter the building due to other fears mingling with the whole “it’s a doctor’s appointment” thing.  Still, if a doctor says they want to see me, I make an appointment.  I’ve never missed an appointment without a legitimate reason and, if something happens that I have to cancel, I do so as early as possible.  Even though I don’t particularly like doctors, I’m not difficult to get along with as long as space boundaries are respected and they make their wishes known.  Communication is key here.

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This applies even if I can’t physically throat punch you.  Rest assured, I am visualizing it.

 So, here are some things that I do NOT respond to well as a patient (for my pulmonologist, but any doctor really):

1. Threatening to take away one of my machines.  He didn’t threaten this directly, but he refuses to sign the paperwork okaying my second ventilator unless I come see him.  We (my dad and I) have received no phone calls or emails or anything in the last year and more than a half (since my last appointment) saying this doctor wanted me to come in for a check up or else we would have complied.  Instead, we got a call from the company supplying my vents that said they are going to take one away if the doctor won’t sign the paperwork.  Does he really think I’ve gotten better since my last appointment?  No.  That’s not how this disease works.

2. Being forced to make a rushed appointment when it’s not technically necessary.  Which is exactly what the above situation called for.  I’ve only seen this doctor twice before, but both times he was booked months out, so a quick appointment isn’t exactly easy.  Luckily, he had an opening for tomorrow (today? Wednesday, July 13th).

3. Being informed two days before my appointment that the hospital doesn’t accept my insurance.  So, my options become a) cancel the appointment and risk losing one of my vents or b) paying $570 out of pocket.  This is the ultimatum amidst a clusterfuck (pardon my language) of people trying to figure out if they can get my insurance to work with two days notice.  I’m just glad I have Dad to field the phone calls (sorry I’m a PITA, or at least the reason you have to deal with this crap).  It’s unnecessary stress that will most likely end up with us out $570.  We’ll find out tomorrow (today?).  If the appointment isn’t pushed back.  We won’t know what’s going on until some time in the morning (just hours before the appointment).  Yeah.  Great.

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Some acceptable alternatives to these things:

1. Call/email/text/send a carrier pigeon to schedule an appointment BEFORE you decide I don’t need a machine.  I, like many people, don’t even think about doctors unless I’m sick/in immense pain/dying.  And 90% of the time, I don’t even go then.  If you want to see me, tell me.  It’s that easy.

2. Give me plenty of notice.  Hell, I will gladly make (and keep) an appointment for a year out if you want to make it as I leave the appointment we just had.  If you don’t want to do that, see the first item of this list.  Preferably, give me a month or two notice in case we run across any issues like you not accepting my insurance, so we have time to work it out.

3. Take my insurance information earlier, so we can work out any wrinkles without the pressure of an impending appointment.  Follow the first two steps, and this one will be no problem.  It’ll also give us time to explore our other options (whether that be insurance or doctors or whatever).

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Because awkward Sheldon makes me smile.

 In other words, use common sense and common courtesy.  I don’t know why these things are called ‘common’ when they’re anything but.  Hopefully, my appointment tomorrow (today?) won’t be as much of a disaster as I’m imagining.  Many people involved in this debacle have been very nice and understanding.  Some have not.  Either way, Dad and I have been stressing about all of this, so someone (knowing Dad, probably a lot of someones) is going to get an earful.  If we go.  Like I said, still waiting on the green light.

Sorry for the rant!  I know my problems don’t compare to what’s happening in the rest of the world, but they bug me nonetheless.  Thanks for listening/reading.  Back to the regularly scheduled randomness next week.  Peace out.

An Odd Interview Question

Hello again!  Happy July!  I hope my fellow Americans had a safe and wonderful Independence Day.  I also hope all of my Canadian friends did the same on Canada Day.  Anyway, about a week ago, I was searching through some of my old files from my Eastfield (community college) days looking for a particular poem when I ran across a list of interview questions I had to create for one of my classes.  One of those questions brought back some memories.  The question was “If you could transform into any creature (real, mythical, extinct, or otherwise), what would it be and why?”  For some reason, it always seemed to make whoever I asked stop and really think hard.  Even the teacher remarked that it was an odd and creative question.  Which was weird, because it’s the type of thing that I think about all the time.  Maybe it was because I didn’t set up any rules (no time limit, no information on whether the change is permanent, etc.).  I left everything up to the person being asked.  Or maybe I’m just weird.  But I thought I’d take the chance to answer the question myself, since I never have before.

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Or maybe I just spend too much time on the Interwebz.  Though, my question is broader and approximately 10 years old, so yeah.

So, if I could transform into any creature (real, mythical, extinct, or otherwise), what would it be and why?  That one has always been a no-brainer for me.  Of course, I would be a mermaid.  The “why” is a little more complicated.  I mean, aside from the fact that they’re awesome and Ariel was nuts to give up her fins for a man, what other reasons do I need?  Fine, we can get personal I guess.

First, and contrary to popular opinion, I actually love water.  I miss being able to go swimming immensely, not that I could actually swim, it was more of a vertical doggie paddle.  But yeah, I liked being in water because it gave me much more control over my body (I could walk, and move my arms, and stretch beyond my comfort zone without having to worry about someone assisting me and pushing me too far/breaking something, etc.).  So, the attraction to water led to an early love of mermaids.  Then came the whole gills versus lungs thing.  My lungs suck, so gills became even more attractive as I got older.  But I swear my attraction to mermaids is mostly because they are magical and gorgeous and so fecking cool.

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One of Amy Brown’s mermaids.

It’s not like I want to be a mermaid all the time, though.  So, the power to switch back and forth would be a must.  At least in the beginning.  Who knows, I might enjoy exploring the sea so much that I eventually never want to come back.  Or I might hate it.  Either way, I want the option.  Maybe I’d have a limited number of swaps (like maybe five or something; always an odd number so I’d be forced to choose human on the fourth or whatever try, but always have that lingering option to go mermaid forever) to make things more exciting.  I should probably write about mermaids more often.  Story idea: cripple turns into mermaid.  Must eventually choose between life on land or at sea.  Adventures and peril abound.  I could totally write that.

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Art by NanFe.  Plus, mermaids can be super creepy!

What about you?  What creature would you choose?  Is it a no-brainer or do you have to think about it?  And yes, staying human is an option as long as you explain your reasoning.  It doesn’t have to be a deep, thoughtful reason either.  Go with your gut!

See you next week!