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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Mysterious Legendary Golden Booby

Well, here's the third and final installment of the Paragraphs Mysteries of the Golden Booby series for 2014.  If you want to know what it's all about, click on the link above and you can see what fun we've been having!

As I posted on Saturday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a cake for the finale...but, I also wanted to make cookies...and Griff had asked for a few cookies to use as prizes.  So, after weeks of planning I was ready to roll (pun intended).

My first thing to do was find a cookie cutter that could be workable for the Golden Booby...I found a penguin that I thought would do and ordered it.  Next, I worked with a wonderful Etsy Seller, CookiePixie, to get a custom edible wafer paper design I clipped from a photo I took of the book cover.  Wafer papers are an edible food product printed with from food color on printers only used for food production (you've seen photos on cakes - that is a similar process - there are sugar sheets and wafer papers).  They are made of potato starch and sugar and are meant to dissolve almost instantly when water hits when you take a bite of a cookie or other food product that is decorated with a wafer paper, ideally it should dissolve fairly rapidly.  These performed beautifully when I tried one for breakfast the morning of the event! (Hey, you have to make sure the product is acceptable before you serve it to people - right?)

Once I received my cookie cutter, I pulled out my Coastal Living Magazine where I had found a photograph of a Blue-footed Booby on the Galapagos Islands.  I copied it and reduced it until it was the size that would fit in the space of my cookie cutter.  That was my "template", so to speak. I squeezed and pulled on the cookie cutter to get it to a better "booby fit".  My next task was to make royal icing transfers for the blue feet.  I wanted them to really stand out so a transfer is a way to make that happen.  I slid the picture under parchment paper and piped an outline of the feet, returning instantly to flood the center with thick icing...moving the picture around under the paper to get several sets of feet.  After letting that dry overnight, I piped the details on top of the feet to give them better definition.  Another night of drying required before I carefully peeled them off the parchment and stored them in an airtight container until ready to decorate.

Now it was time to bake cookies.  I selected my Acorn Squash Sugar Cookie Recipe because I knew one of the authors, Pat McGrath-Avery had enjoyed a Pumpkin Spice Madeleine I made for a previous event.  I hoped she would like this recipe as well.  She's the author who included me as a character in her portion of the book, so I was aiming to please!

I rolled and cut 9 birds and 21 rectangles.  I should have made more rectangles but it had been a really busy week and I decided this was going to have to be enough.  I used the entire batch of dough and if I waited to make another batch (butter softening and all of that) I would be behind schedule.  The rectangles were simple but the birds were a bit more challenging.  The tiny beak needed to be longer so I endeavored to add dough to that area.  It was harder than I expected.  I should have frozen the dough and then cut new beaks - hindsight is 20-20.  I, instead, tried to pat some dough around the existing beaks.  9 cookies became 8 when I broke a beak transferring from the racks to the storage container to await decorating.

I top coated the rectangles with white icing rectangles and allowed them to dry over night - you need a hard surface to apply the wafer papers.  Putting those aside, I started work on the remaining cut-out birds.  I took the photo and cut the beak out and traced around the beak on the birds (using an AmeriColor black edible marker).  Then, I cut the wings back and traced around everything to give me the general outline for my icing.

Now, the birds were ready to pipe.  I started with the beaks - let them dry.  After the crusted, I piped the white body...and then realized the head wasn't really white.  Hmmm.  I applied the feet while the white was still wet so they would sink into the bottom of the body.  I let them dry completely overnight as I thought on whether to paint the white head (with food color) or pipe over it.  The next morning I piped the yellow-gold wings and ended up piping over the white for the head - and that worked fine.  Another night of drying.  Final step for the birds was dry brushing the areas where color transitioned with bronze lustre dust...depth of color.  Then I top-painted the entire body with gold lustre dust mixed with vodka to give the entire bird a was a golden booby after all!

I so wish I had not been rushed and had stopped to take pictures.  However, once I started the decorating project, I was too busy to even think about photographs.  So, when I was at Paragraphs, I grabbed some photos of the finished products.  Not the best because they were wrapped individually in cello bags.  You get the gist though.

The wafer paper cookies were completed by cutting out the images from a sheet of printed images, painting the back of each image with Karo Syrup and applying them with perfectly clean and dry hands to each rectangle...and letting them dry overnight.  You have to keep rubbing them to ensure the corners stay down - this batch worked exceptionally well.  I only had one rogue that continuously curled up - and it was probably because my icing curved at that spot.  The next day I piped a white shell border over the edge of each wafer paper cut-out, and after allowing it to crust, I decorated half of the cookies with a blue dot border and the other half with a gold dot border.  I think they were very cute!  Another 2 beaks broke and I glued one of them back on with royal icing.  The other went in my tummy for quality assurance.  Therefore, I only ended up with 7 booby cut-out cookies.  One was given to each author, 2 were given as prizes and 1 was left for Griff - who was a grand Master of Ceremonies!

I wish I hadn't been so tired and achy from decorating for 2 weeks straight...I had purchased two sheets of transfers and had the intent of making many more cookies than I did...and since they were scooped up rapidly, I know they would have ALL been eaten had I just made myself make more.  However, I gave in to the aches and pains and stopped when my body said "enough".  The crowd was huge and the cookies and the cake were cleaned up to the last crumb.  I can't thank Joni and Griff, owners of Paragraphs on Padre, as well as the four participating authors, enough.  The fun and excitement that started in December and lasted for weeks was just what the island needed for a pick-me-up during an unusual number of cold Wintery days.  Can't wait to see what they come up with for next year!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

What a day, what a day...  I have been in the midst of a baking frenzy to get together some treats, prizes, and more treats for the grand finale of Paragraph's Mystery Week on South Padre Island.  If you read my blog post about Paragraphs Mystery of the Golden Booby, then you know that this week is the grand finale when all four authors are at Paragraphs on Padre Blvd and clues and the mystery will be discussed.  Prizes are in order (I'll be bringing a cookie or two for a prize) and I want to do what I can to say thank you to the hard working book sellers and authors who were so enthusiastic about providing all of us a bit of Winter fun! 

I decided, several weeks ago, to try to make a Blue Footed Booby Cake (I am not a good cake decorator - I don't practice) so I found a cake pan on Amazon that I thought could be made into a Golden Booby shaped cake.  I had also been perusing recipes and, only today, decided to make it chocolate (a strong second was a pumpkin flavored cake, but since my cookies were the Acorn Squash Sugar Cookies which taste a lot like pumpkin spice, I opted for chocolate).  I found a couple of recipes and in my usual mash-up method, I ended up with a Chocolate Sour Cream Cake.  I made a sample cake - it was yummy - so I got started.

Adapted from Ghirardelli's Grand Fudge Cake Recipe


2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup low fat milk
1 Tbsp. brewed coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare two 9" pans by lightly greasing and flouring or use something like Baker's Joy spray.

In 4 cup measuring cup (or separate mixing bowl) mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk.  Set aside.

In a 2 cup measuring cup (or separate small mixing bowl) mix the milk, sour cream, and coffee with a whisk.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).  Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each egg added.

Add 1/3 of dry ingredients on low speed, alternating with 1/2 of the wet ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix with each addition until well incorporated.  Scrape down to the bottom of the mixing bowl to insure everything is well incorporated.  Mix until smooth and fluffy.

Divide the batter into each pan and level with an offset spatula.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Allow to cool on rack (in pans) for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

I used a Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese frosting and did a thin crumb coat on the bird after the cake had cooled completely.  It was another unusually cold day today, so the cake cooled fairly rapidly!  After the crumb coat had firmed up in the fridge I did another layer of butter cream, colored some frosting for the wings and some for the beak and tried my hardest to decorate a cake that looked vaguely like the fabled Blue-Footed Golden Booby.  I could not, however, bring myself to spray it gold.  I don't mind a bit of lustre dust on a cookie - but an entire cake?  I thought not.  While I was at it, I made some blue feet out of royal icing I had left from decorating the cookies.  I had made little blue feet RI transfers for some cookies and a big set of feet for the cake.  I was praying it wouldn't break when I removed it from the wax paper.  It didn't - but it did break when I put it on the slightly rounded cake...fragile RI transfer was flat - cake was round.  Not a good mix.  I glued everything back together with more blue RI.  Woo hoo!

I'll have written this over a two-day period....and the only photo of the cake I got was a fast one at the event, in not very good light.  So, here it is.  Don't laugh...I was really working outside my comfort zone. The blessing is, it was a darn good cake and nearly every crumb was scraped off the cake board!  Yay...I love it when a plan comes together!  If anyone has any cake photos, I'd love to have a copy!

I'll be sharing a post on the cookies I made - probably tomorrow or the day after.  This was an unusually hectic week and I didn't do my usual photos.  I will, however, share what I have!

Until then...

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Standard Deviation" and "Autism Awareness"

I had hoped to write this post after Book Club...but it got rescheduled...and I'll be out of town on the rescheduled date.  So.... this will be on-the-fly and slightly short, but sweet!

January's Book Club selection, Standard Deviation's, primary character is a young man with Asperger's Syndrome.  Many of my readers know I have a deaf son who hears with cochlear implants...and he also has Asperger's Syndrome.  As a result, Autism Awareness is a cause near and dear to my heart.  I am also a huge fan of the author, David Harry.

When I first met David, I had engaged in a conversation with his wife at a book signing event at Paragraph's on Padre several years ago.  David was not the author for that particular event, but had recently published The Padre Puzzle.  Since I had instantly bonded with his wife, we started talking about kids, and teen-age problems, and it circled around to autism.  She told me I had to meet her husband as he was writing a book where the character has ASD.  She brought him over to meet me and I ended up, after chatting with him, having the opportunity to read a draft of his new book a couple of years ago.  I love all of David's books - but Standard Deviation is particularly near and dear to my heart.

Book Club on Tuesday was not only featuring Standard Deviation, but the icing on the cookie was that David Harry was going to attend!  I decided to make some puzzle shaped cookies with some new cookie cutters I had obtained last year and never had the opportunity to use.  I wanted to take them to Book Club and share as we talked about this wonderful book.  I started on them a couple of days in advance and ended up with a simple Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie top coated in white royal icing and then outlined and sugar dipped in primary colors, representing the "Puzzle that is Autism".  Why a puzzle piece?  the Autism Society's website describes it well.  "The puzzle pattern reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope — hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives."

David, unfortunately, was quite ill so Book Club was rescheduled and I had a couple of dozen decorated cookies, representing the puzzle of autism, sitting in my car as I headed away from Paragraphs.  What to do?  What to do?

As I headed back towards the causeway, I picked up my phone and found a number for a friend I knew to be on the Autism Awareness Walk's planning committee.  I left a voice mail telling her to call me if they were going to meet this week and I'd supply some cookies. These cookies really needed to be eaten in the next couple of days because I didn't individually wrap and seal them (which makes them taste fresh much longer). She called me back in less than 5 minutes saying they were just walking into that very meeting.  "It must be meant to be" she said - and I agreed.  I headed to the Point Isabel ISD offices where they meet and crashed their meeting with cookies.  I ended up staying through the meeting so I could find out a bit of info for a future blog post.

One of the things I found out, is the date is April 5th, 2014.  There is to be a walk and a 5k fun run.  Most of the rest of the meeting was "planning" and details not finalized.  I'll just ask you to mark your calendar if you are a local, or live close enough to participate.  It is a huge community event with the funds raised going, in part, towards paying for sports programs for all disabilities in our district.  I remember the first year, we just wanted to raise awareness and it was tremendously successful - more than we ever dreamed.  I didn't help last year because of family issues, so it was interesting to see how they have grown and become more organized and efficient in the planning.  I just know the 2014 event will be a huge success.

I had gotten  "out of touch" with the autism community in our area because my son had headed to college and I sort of disconnected from the group.  I am currently seeking out new resources for my son and I hope to share that information with other parents in the near future.  I spent quite a while after the meeting catching up with one of my favorite people in the world, Elsa Garcia.  She cares so deeply for the special needs students at PI-ISD and it was good to see her again.  My friend, Stephanie, is right.  Sometimes things are just "meant to be".  This is one of those serendipitous events that allowed me to share cookies and reconnect.  It turned into a really wonderful day!  Who could ask for anything more?

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

South Padre Island KOA Care Camps Auction

I donated a cookie basket and a couple of boxes of extra cookies to the SPI KOA for their fundraising event for KOA Care Camps.  I love helping people who want to help kids with special health issues enjoy a fun camp experience.  For so many years we searched out special camps for our youngest and it was almost always a wonderful experience for him and a respite for the parents!  It was nice to not have to explain his differences...and I'm sure that's how the kids feel when they go to cancer camp.  What a blessing!

I worked really hard to make a basket of cookies I hoped would be appealing enough that the bids, at auction, would exceed its $75 retail value.  I included a nice basket that can be reused, a dozen coastal décor Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies detail-decorated in royal icing.  I added a dozen Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cookies baked in my favorite Nordic Ware coastal theme teacake pan, and I loosened my tight grip on a pound of Callebaut Sensations Marbled Chocolate drops (acquired at Central Market in Austin) and mixed up a batch of my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie dough, substituting the marbled drops instead of chocolate chips.  I included a dozen of those in the basket as well! (Mr. Flip Flop said they were delicious...thankfully...because Belgium Chocolate is a true luxury in a chocolate chip cookie).  All of my baked goods are made with quality ingredients...real butter, King Arthur flours, Meyer Lemons (when I can get them), vanilla beans, and pure extracts.  A cookie has to taste as good as it looks...or what's the point?

Everyone send up good thoughts into the ether, that some generous cookie-loving soul will peel open their wallet and make a goodly sized bid for this basket of deliciousness.  KOA Care Camps is a worthy cause!

My cookie art, this time, included palm trees, scallop shells, sand dollars, and some very detailed star fish!  I thought they looked pretty, and I know they taste good.  I roll my cookies 3/8" thick to ensure a good thick cookie for stability as well as value, and all of the decorated cookies were between 3 and 4 1/2" in size.

Close-up of the decorated sugar cookies - the star fish was based on
a tutorial from Glorious Treats...I didn't follow it exactly, but the look
is Glory's (her cookie art is always so pretty).

I don't know if they will use the donations of an extra dozen of Callebaut cookies and the box of individually packaged Lemon Ricotta cakelets for the bake sale table, or if they will auction the boxes intact.  Either way - hope to help raise more money to fund a wonderful camp experience for kids with cancer.

I'm used to sharing my cookies with family and friends - I rarely sell my cookie art.  I admit to feeling nervous (the reason I rarely sell my cookies).  My fingers are crossed really hard.  Here's wishin' my cookies luck!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


Thursday, January 16, 2014



I just have to say...WOW!  Talk about "movin' on up, to the East Side"!  The Chef House restaurant has moved to a new location on the island.  It's awesome!  The view is outstanding, the space is maybe 75% larger than the Port Isabel location....lots of changes.  What hasn't changed is the personalized and attentive service and their outstanding cuisine.
The view from our table by the window

My friends and I had lunch there today.  It was a gorgeous day, resulting in an outstanding view of the dunes, beach, and ocean outside their lovely windows.  We hung out for nearly two hours.  Thankfully, they weren't over-crowded and allowed us to sit and chat and sip tea and coffee without feeling rushed.  Since we don't seem to get together often enough, we had a lot to catch up with.
I love the 3 types of salsa and fresh tortilla chips
served before the meal.  Unusual and delicious!

Both of my lady friends had coffee with their meals (actually, one just had coffee - she rarely eats when we go out) and they both were happy with the nice large mug and delicious flavor of the coffee.  My first comment about my iced tea was "this is really good tea".  I hate it when I go out to eat and have iced tea that is bitter or watered down.  This tea tasted perfectly brewed...and I enjoyed having it served in a stemmed goblet.  Just felt more special.

Once we'd had a few minutes to chat, we busily perused the menu.  I had decided on the special of the day (an enchilada plate that sounded delicious) and then I realized we had a breakfast menu to look at as well!  I have been craving Eggs Benedict and I had no doubt The Chef House Eggs Benedict would be outstanding.  True to form, they were.  Prepared with high quality ingredients, the addition of some fresh spinach, both a Beurre Blanc sauce as well as a Hollandaise sauce over perfectly poached eyes were rolling back in my head after the very first bite.  Add a tasty little potato cake and my meal was just incredible!

My friend who did eat, also ordered off the breakfast menu.  She had Ham and Egg Tacos on corn tortillas.  She said they were excellent.  It was quite a bit of ham and egg, so it was nice that two tortillas were provided.  Her meal also included a side of refried beans on the plate.  It looked quite yummy!

I'm so happy with the new location and the same fine cuisine.  Their hours are currently 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and they are closed on Monday.  Beginning this very evening, they will start serving dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

We all scanned their dinner menu and it looks to be delectable!  I can't wait to get there for an evening meal.  Hope you stop in and give them a try.  I don't think you will regret it!

Returned for lunch on January 25th with Mr. Flip Flop. He had a
Port Isabel Omelet (which he said was delicious) and I had
Beef Enchiladas with the Red Chili sauce.  Absolutely outstanding!

5 – OMG – that was an outstanding meal!  I can’t wait to go back.

The Chef House Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Island Happenings...

I love when the bay is calm and the birds' reflections are
so clearly visible!

The next couple of weeks are going to be busy on the island.  I'll be baking and reading and dancing...I expect, when I head to Austin for doctor appointments at the end of January, I will be ready for a break from so much fun!    Well, maybe not...I'm just trying to put a positive spin on annual exams and follow-ups.  Not my favorite things to do.

One of my regular Laguna Madre visitors

For now, however, we have lots of stuff on the agenda.  Plus, I'm trying out my new pocket-sized camera and my big camera, too.  There are glorious sunny days, plants blooming, birds hanging out on the bay outside my front door, and much beauty to be found on the beach.  It's really a photographer's paradise!

Winter visitors flock to the island!

I'll intersperse this post with my photos...hope you enjoy them.
My Christmas Cactus is in full bloom on my deck.
Living in the sub tropics makes for year-round blooming
plants and flowers!
Kalanchoe blooming on deck

Ice Plant blooming on the deck

This week I will be preparing some baked goods for the KOA Care Camps event at South Padre Island KOA.  They have a big week-end planned! 

Saturday, Jan 18th, there is a Zumbathon at the Olympian Fitness Gym of Port Isabel.  It gets started at 10:00 a.m. and entry is a $5 donation for the KOA Care Camps, to help send kids with cancer to camp.  I hope to be dancing my heart out with all the ladies and gents attending!  Join us, please!
Sunday, Jan 19th, there is an auction and raffle at the KOA Campground, primarily for KOA guests - and the donations are really mounting!  I'll be adding a basket of cookies to the auction and there may be a bake sale involved...I'll need to check more into that.  If there is, you know I'll have cookies there too!  This is such a great cause, everyone needs to participate and get those bids HIGH for the kids.  Remember, though, very minimal parking and take that into consideration.  It starts up at 6:00 p.m.
Birds fishing on South Padre Island

Activities from Paragraphs: Mysteries of the Golden Booby are ramping up this week, with the grand finale event on Saturday, January 25th.

Authors and Characters from the book will be hanging out at the following locations:

Monday Jan 13 Chefs House,   Noon, Griff and David Harry
Thursday Jan 16 Ted's 8:30am Griff and David Harry
Thursday Jan 23 Manuel's 9:00am Pat Avery and Joyce Faulkner
Thursday Jan 23 Sea Ranch Bar 6:00pm Pat Avery and Joyce Faulkner
Friday Jan 24 Padrerita Grill 6:30 all 4 authors, Griff, Sally
Saturday Jan 25 Paragraphs on Padre 2:00 Everyone they can fit into the bookstore!  The Cookie Lady (page 168 in the book) might be bringing some nibbles, all 4 authors will, of course, be there.
The Blue-footed Golden Booby
as depicted by local artist, Marne Law
Keep up with all of the activities and clues by liking their Facebook page!  If you don't know what the heck this is all about - check out my previous blog post on this exciting mystery event!

While I won't be in town for this one, I want to encourage support of one of my favorite charities, The Special Olympics.  On Saturday, February 1st, Clayton's Beach Bar, the 2014 Polar Plunge will be happening to benefit Special Olympics.  Here's a link to find out more...registration at 11:00, plunge at noon.  Show your support!

I know there are more things going on...but that's about all I can squeeze into my life! Here's a link to more local events and other great South Padre Island information. 

Hope you enjoyed the intermittent photos - if you aren't down here at the island or nearby - you are missing some gorgeous weather and beautiful birding!  Come on down!  As my Grandmother used to say, "ándale, ándale, daylight's a wastin'"

See you soon!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Paragraphs Mysteries of the Golden Booby"

What's more fun that curling up with a good "who done it" written by four outstanding, award-winning authors?  Well, if you are in the South Padre Island area, reading the book, finding the clues, and trying to solve the mystery yourself... that's what!  

Last year's treasure hunt of clues was fun, but this year's version of the event has been kicked wayyyy up!  A published book has been added to the arsenal!  Worth the read even if you live in freezing cold Minnesota and are unable to participate in "the hunt" - at least you can dream of warmer climes.  Griff Mangan and Joni Montover, owners of Paragraphs on Padre Blvd on South Padre Island, are always looking for ways to give island visitors, and locals alike, that extra special entertaining literary experience...and this time, they, along with authors Bob Doerr, David Harry, Pat McGrath-Avery, and Joyce Faulkner have come up with an exciting game plan.  It's a race to solve The Mysteries of the Golden Booby (and yes, there is a tee shirt!).  The excitement on Facebook and all around the island and Port Isabel is palpable.  I'm madly reading the book (I'm in the third section - Pat's story - and bet I finish the entire thing by tomorrow).  I'll take a moment to modestly mention my appearance on page 168 as "Debbi, the Cookie Lady".

Anyway, I asked a couple of the individuals involved in this extravaganza of seek-and-find to tell us a little about this book and the fun to be had.

I started with Griff Mangan and asked him to tell me about the idea behind the book and how it came to fruition.  I also checked in with my friend, and author, Pat McGrath-Avery.  Pat replied that Griff had done a good job of covering it...and she was hopeful for the opportunity to eat her fair share of cookies at the end of the game.  I think I could facilitate that happening!

GM:  OK, let me get started.  Last year was the first time we tried having a mystery scavenger hunt.  There was no book.   Well when we had the end game I had the 4 authors attend.  They had so much fun that that they agreed to write their own book and create an adventure for this year.  It was their idea for the title and having each write their own section of the book creating the Legends and history of the Golden Booby. Bob and David dutifully wrote their parts but Pat and Joyce were the movers and shakers behind getting it into publication.

That doesn't surprise me, Griff, those ladies are dynamos!  So, I understand there are local clues to find.  How do we play the game?
Art clipped from book cover by Marne Law
GM:  Here's how to play the Golden Blue-footed Booby Game:

  1. Buy the book at Paragraphs
  2. Read the book to learn about the characters involved with the story
  3. Good idea would be to chart out the different characters as to their relationship with the Booby, the crime and themselves
  4. Check out the Golden Blue-footed Booby picture, by Marne Law at Paragraphs for more possible clues
  5. Begin searching for clues around the Island and Port Isabel (Hint: first clue is at Paragraphs) record the location of the clue by taking a picture or picking up a business card, napkin etc to show you were there
  6. Check the Facebook page (Paragraphs: Mysteries of the Golden Booby) for extras and hints
  7. Repeat visits to the clue sites as more information may be left
  8. Join us for Mystery Week, January 19 – 24, at Paragraphs when each of the authors will have a book signing. This is just for fun but you can certainly grill them on their part of the book
  9. The final event is at 2PM Saturday January 25 when all the authors and many of the characters will be at Paragraphs to piece together the mystery.

Oh my gosh, Griff, that sounds like so much fun!  Would you tell us a bit about the treasure map on the cover of the book, if you can?  If we follow the map, do we have a good chance of finding all the clues?  How can those not familiar with South Padre Island and Port Isabel search for clues?  Where can we find a copy of the "treasure map"?  Inquiring minds want to know!

GM:  The picture Marne Law painted that is on the book cover holds some clues. Now if I told you what they were it would give away some secrets.  However for those players not familiar with the Island or Port Isabel, it is a map and does show the approximate location of many of the businesses in the story.  The original is at Paragraphs and is easier to read!  There are no separate maps other than what is on the cover and in Paragraphs. Hint: camera phone.

I saw in the Port Isabel Press that “the big reveal” is scheduled, with all four authors, at Paragraphs on Padre Blvd, January 25th, at 2:00 p.m.  Can you tell us about this event and what we can expect?

GM:  Most of “the big reveal” will be an active and interactive event with the authors and selecting winners of the participants. They need not find every clue to still be eligible to win a prize.  There will be multiple ways to win a prize so everyone has a chance.

Well, I gotta say - I am so excited.  The book is wonderful and the idea is just downright fun!  I've seen some of the clues around town...guess I better start collecting evidence!  You know, also, that The Cookie Lady will likely show up with some goodies for the Grand Finale.  Hope to see all of my local readers there.  It's going to be great!

Thank you Griff for the complete info on how to join in.  Let's roll y'all !!!

Sitting on the dock of the bay, reading on a sunny
Saturday afternoon!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Nervosa Coffee - Port Isabel

412A Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel, TX
UPDATE July 2014 - Out of Business

Down on the South side of Queen Isabella Blvd (Hwy 100), across from the lighthouse in Port Isabel, sits the nicest little coffee shop run by Nick Anzaldua, his wife, and precious niño (a frequent visitor). 
Nick working the espresso machine

Nervosa Coffee has been around since the Fall of 2012 but every time I go in, I forget to bring my camera and the phone camera is just not working.  FINALLY, however, we were on the way to the beach with better cameras in hand, when Mr. Flip Flop suggested we grab coffees from Nervosa before heading across the bridge.  I was all for that!  I was very hopeful that Nick had the Godiva White Chocolate syrup for my favorite coffee, his White Chocolate Mocha Latte.  I think I squealed a little when he said he sure did!
White Chocolate Mocha Latte

Whether you choose the sweet indoor café tables, the comfy arm chairs by the window, or the outdoor sidewalk seating... you are pretty much guaranteed a good cup of coffee.  My friend and guest blogger, Stacie White Brooks of KOA fame, said "Great smoothies and chai tea and hot chocolate too!"  So, really - everything - in a great small town coffee shop.  What more could you ask for?
Sidewalk seating with a view of the lighthouse
and the door to great shopping!

There will most likely be a little treat available as a "go with", and some good convo with Nick if desired.  Today's offering was fresh baked almond, of course I had to have one.  It was delicious, and, even Mr. Flip Flop enjoyed sharing it with me, despite his usual "meh" attitude towards biscotti.  He even got the last bite (because I'm a good wife).

The smell of roasting coffee beans will lure you in, the blackboard menus and syrup display will help you choose...and the smooth taste will have you returning time and again. 

Nervosa Coffee and proprietor Nick, on-site roasted beans, all things good...two thumbs up from my family.  Give them a try when visiting (the locals already know about it).... I don't expect you will be sorry!
Iced Latte - perfect on a warm day!


4 – Lip smackin’ - good quality – flip flops will definitely be parked under their table again!

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