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Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Fandom 1 - Sammy's Wild Game Grill

I have eaten a wide array of exotic meats in my day, ordering them off the internet, paying high shipping fees to have my meat arrive overnight.  Last year when we went to Menu of Menus I tried some elk chili and discovered a restaurant in Houston called Sammy's Wild Game Grill that served exotic meat. I was thrilled! I picked up a brochure from the restaurant serving the chili and saw they had a variety of wild game. I had tried llama, elk, antelope, caiman, wild boar, and a few other animals, but I had not been able to find camel or python anywhere. When I saw camel and python fries on the menu, I knew I would be making a trip there quite soon. 
For Mother's Day the next month, while other Houston Moms were being treated to brunch, I told my husband there was only one place I wanted to go. Sammy's. He obliged, we scooped up 3 of our 5 kids, and headed out. 
The first thing we noticed was that it's actually a fairly small place with a small parking area. We went inside and I took a few pictures, hoping not to seem like a weirdo to the guy behind the counter. The menu was written on the wall behind the counter in easy to read chalk letters. I didn't have to think twice. Camel burger with Python chili cheese fries. The kids got buffalo and yak burgers and my daughter got pheasant hot dog. They shared another serving of python chili fries. My husband ordered the same as I did. There was some indoor seating, but we choose to sit outdoors in the patio area since it was a nice day.
The meat wasn't gamey or odd tasting, and though I didn't feel it tasted exactly the same as a regular burger (where's the fun in that?) it wasn't so different as to be off-putting. Different, but not TOO different for most people. The chili fries were amazing. Delicious fries with chili made of python snake meat, loads of gooey cheese and crisp green onions on top, so good. The kids all loved their lunches, and my husband enjoyed his camel also (especially making a food jokes I won't repeat here). 
If you are an adventurous Houstonian who would like to try exotic meats prepared in familiar ways (burgers, hot dogs, chili, salad, tacos) I highly recommend heading over to Sammy's. You'll need to make more than one trip though, because after you've tried one exotic meat, you're going to want to try them all. Tell them the Houston Bucket Lister sent you!

Monday, February 24, 2014

I was on the local news this morning!

So excited to see my interview on the 6am news this morning on KHOU. I had a blast, and it was such an awesome experience! Here is the video and link to the story -

Houston Bucket Lister News Story KHOU 11

Welcome KHOU viewers!

If you are coming to my blog after seeing my news story on KHOU this morning, welcome! Please follow me on Facebook as well. I try to update this blog after I check off something from one on my many bucket lists, usually on weekends. I hadn't updated it for awhile because I didn't have a large viewership, but I've made an effort to start documenting everything. I am planning on going back and blogging things I missed posting about over the past couple of years as well. I hope you enjoy being a part of this with me!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rock Climb - 101 Things

This may not seem like much, but I actually have a pretty decent fear of heights. It'd been my goal for awhile to climb a rock climbing wall, but I hadn't done it because I didn't want to get shown up by a bunch of 3rd graders making it to the top, while I was stuck a few feet from the ground crying for my mommy. The lines are always pretty long for them at the fairs and carnivals I usually see them at too. Who has time to stand in a 2 hour line to rock climb when you can use that time getting fried twinkies? When I went to Katy Mills Mall awhile back to find the Hurricane Simulator to try (note, they also have one at the zoo) I noticed a large rock wall in the food court with no line. Last weekend I decided it was time to finally face my fear and climb the wall.
As I'd feared, there were several elementary aged kids climbing the wall as their parents sat and ate lunch, and my old fear of being bested crept up. I tried to get my daughters to climb with me, but they weren't having any of that. They'd rather have a good view of Mom failing. So alone I went and paid my $6. I asked the man if adults ever climbed and he assured me they did. I wasn't convinced, but it was too late to back out. I grasped a hold of the first rock and felt everyone's eyes on me. The lone adult amongst the little climbers. I heard the ding ding dings as they reached the top. I worried I didn't have the upper arm strength to go all the way. I put one foot above the other and lifted myself up with my legs. It wasn't nearly as hard as I imagined. With my new found confidence I pushed on and on and in no time I found myself face to face with the bell. I gave a proud wave to my family below and made my way back down. Take THAT third graders!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

KHOU Interview 2-15-14

This morning I was interviewed by the amazing Rehka Muddaraj with KHOU 11 News here in Houston. She worked on my interview for the Great Bull Run and was interested in my bucket list that I talked about, and contacted me to do a story about it. We met at a local park and I brought all 5 of my kids, my husband and my friend Kim along. It took awhile to set up, as it was extremely windy out, but we managed to find a great spot with good lighting and not too much wind noise. She asked me a lot of questions about my bucket list and my experiences, and I tried not to say "uhmmm you know, like, uhhhh" too much. She also interviewed all of my kids and asked them what it was like to have a mom who does such crazy things and to top it all off, we all ate baked tarantula on camera. I offered Rehka some, but she must've already eaten because she politely declined. After the interview was over, Rehka signed my bucket list book, took pictures with us and the camera man let me pretend to use his camera and I held the mic and posed as a reporter. So much fun! It would be GREAT if I am able to mark some more things off my bucket list and perhaps meet JJ Watt and Lily Jang, and maybe raise some money for my Over the Edge rappel because of this interview, but even if nothing comes from it, the experience alone was amazing. After the interview airs I will link to the story and video here for you to see in case you miss it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Great Bull Run

Running with the Bulls in Pamplona Spain is probably one of the most bucket listy things you can do. Getting to Spain has not been feasible for us, though, as we still have 5 kids at home. When my friend informed me early in 2013 that there were some guys doing bull run events around the country and they were coming to Houston, I knew I had to be there. The run was originally scheduled to come here in December 2013, and I bought my tickets in May. My husband agreed to run with me and we patiently waited out the year, hearing constantly how insane we were from our friends and family, and being cautioned about our almost certain death. December rolled around and unfortunately the event was postponed to January. That was a good thing though, as the weather was cold but nice the day it finally occurred. Our run was at 11am and we got there at about 9am to check in and freak out (at least in my case. My husband seemed pretty calm and excited about it). Around 10:45 we made our way to the track and I strapped on my GoPro camera. We went through the opening where you get your bandanas and say a Bull Run pledge to honor the bulls and took our place on the track. We weren't sure which way the bulls were coming out so we just picked a random spot by one of the two corral areas. Then we counted down, 10..9..8... it was too late to turn back. I felt nauseated. 3..2..1 and there they came, barreling down the lanes. They were supposed to be released in two waves, but the first set of 12 bulls decided to politely wait for their friends to join, and all 24 bulls ended up running at once. Within 5 seconds a man was down, trampled by the stampede. We heard the crowd go "OOHHH!!!" and knew something had gone wrong. Oh no, what did we get ourselves into? The crowd rushed towards me, pushing me forward. I ran. I tried to position myself toward the center of the track so my GoPro could catch all the glorious action. I saw horns and hide rush past me. I felt a huge rush of adrenaline. The crowd slowed. A man over a loud speaker told us the exit was on the left. That was it? Sure, I'd run with the bulls and survived to tell the tale, but it was hardly the live endangering event I'd thought it would be. My husband decided he wanted to try again. This time he knew where to position himself to get the best action from the bulls. He got right in front where they released the bulls from the corral. If I thought it was nerve wracking to get on the track and run, it was even worse to watch my husband do it. I cringed as he dodged the bulls and smacked one on the back. At one point he had to jump on the fence to keep himself from getting trampled. A guy in front of him wasn't able to get on the fence and took several really hard hits. The guy was okay, but ended up with a concussion and scrapes and bruises.

Before he went into the track for his last run, I kissed him and wished him good luck, which caught the attention of the local news cameraman. He filmed our sweet moment and then asked if he could interview us for a minute. Of course we obliged and talked to him before the run started. I'll add the videos of the runs and our interview here for you to see -

After the bull runs were over, there was a giant tomato royale, like the one held in Spain. Over 30,000lbs of tomatoes were sitting in the middle of the track. Everyone gathered at the fences waiting to be let in, and when the klaxon sounded, it was a mad dash for the middle of the pile. The crazier people went straight into the middle and began hurling them. The others hung out around the perimeter and lobbed stray tomatoes back into the mix. Since it was so cold out, I decided to wear a rain pancho over my clothes so I wouldn't get wet and we all had to wear protective goggles to protect our eyes. This was a good thing as within minutes a giant whole tomato crashed into my face and hit me right in my goggles. OUCH! I got hit dozens of more times after that, but thankfully not right in the shnoz again. It was pure mayhem. As the tomato juice mixed with the dirt of the track, it turned into a mud pit. Every tomato was covered in muddy slime and some people chose to just throw handfuls of muck instead of tomatoes all together. The crazy people in the middle were slipping, sliding and rolling in it. Everyone was covered head to toe in mud. I took a look around and decided I wasn't getting the full experience with my rain pancho on, so I took it off. As I was wearing bright white clothing, this attracted a LOT of attention from people who thought I hadn't been participating. A few muddy folk gave me big bear hugs but I still didn't get that dirty. Finally a group of guys came up and said they weren't going to be able to let me leave the track with clothes that clean. They grabbed me (nicely) and took me right into the center. I was instructed to dive right into the muck, which I obliged, and they all proceeded to pelt me with mud and deflated tomatoes. After they were done, I definitely no longer looked like I hadn't participated. To be honest, that was my favorite part of the day!

I am looking forward to running again when the bull run comes back in September. Will any of you be joining me?
Warning : language