Spitzit’s House

Where serious topics come to relax

Update: Wylie’s Angel Identified

On Thursday morning, April 15, 2010, the dead body of a small child was found in brush at a small park just south of Lake Lavon on Skyview Drive in Wylie, TX about 20 miles Northeast of Dallas.  The boy is thought to have been approximately 6 years of age and had special medical needs due to signs of an apparent feeding tube, was 39 inches tall, and weighed only 28 pounds (approximately half the weight of a normal 6 year old).  As of this date, the boy has not been identified, as no one has stepped forward to claim him.

This is sad and heartbreaking in so many ways.  Police do not believe at this time that this is a missing or abducted child, which I guess can only mean that the child was evidently dumped by a parent, guardian, or caregiver.   I don’t know and am trying not to speculate.  I just want the word spread so this child can be identified and anyone responsible be caught and held accountable.

I live just a couple of miles from where this child was found and drive right by this park often on my way to East Fork Marina.  I know the area well and I know that this exact little park with a stagnant pond is rarely used.  The parking lot is dirt and rocks and almost always vacant.  It is across the road from East Fork park and camp ground.  This boy has become known as Wylie’s Angel, but I know there is a real name out there somewhere and someone who knows and loves him.

If you are reading this from other parts of the country or other parts of the world, please review and distribute the computer illustration of this boy and contact the Wylie police department with any viable leads at  972-442-8170 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST).

North Texas Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the identity of this child and the person(s) responsible.   If you know anything at all, or even have an idea that you might know who this is, please call the numbers provided.

UPDATE (APRIL 24, 2010) :  WYLIE’S ANGEL HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS GERREN JOSEPH ISGRIGG.   HIS PARENTS WERE SEPARATED WITH ONE IN CALIFORNIA AND THE OTHER IN OKLAHOMA.  HE WAS LIVING WITH HIS MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, DARLENE PHILIPS, IN WYLIE, WHO WAS HIS PRIMARY CAREGIVER AND THE ONE ARRESTED FOR CAPITAL MURDER AND BAIL SET AT $500K.

THANK GOD THE WORD GOT OUT AND THIS CHILD WAS IDENTIFIED.

GERREN, REST IN PEACE LITTLE MAN.  A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE ARE THINKING ABOUT YOU.

For more info on this update visit: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-bodyfound_24met.ART.State.Edition2.4c511da.html

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Everything Else | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review – Catfish Plantation, Waxahachie, TX

catfish-plantationYou know…I have lived in the DFW area most of my life and spent much of my youth growing up in De Soto, just a few miles north of Waxahachie. I have heard of the the Catfish Plantation while growing up in the area and many of the ghost stories that have contributed to its fame. But in all of those years I had never made my way to actually dining there until just recently…and I am so glad I did.

I have dined in many restaurants from the deepest darkest hidden “hole in the wall” dives to some of the most formidable fancy dining our great city has to offer, and everything in between, and I have to say that there is nothing on God’s green Earth that my taste buds love more than good old fashioned down-home Southern cooking. That is what Catfish Plantation is…the kind of restaurant that that soothes the beast in you that craves your grandma’s southern cooking.

Located on Water street in Waxahachie, TX, Catfish Plantation became famous around the DFW area for the paranormal experiences of many of its patrons over the years. Said to be haunted by about three different ghosts that were once residents of the former house, the restaurant has been investigated by a few different paranormal investigators and has a whole slew of fun ghost stories to add to its appeal. I was excited about our visit, but unfortunately do not have any ghost experiences to tell, other than an inordinate amount of food disappearing from my plate in record time.

So here are the menu items I greedily consumed for the evening…First the appetizers, which we did the sampler of course, and for a measly $7.75 they brought out a massive pile of the 3 appetizers of our choosing, which were fried pickles, hush puppies, and sweet potato fries. We also added onion rings for a well rounded mountain of fried goodness. The Sweet Potato Fries were hands down the best I have ever had. These fries are thick cut and batter fried for a wonderful soft and tasty variety of sweet potato fries that I had never had before, and because the conventional thin cut sweet potato fries just don’t carry enough carbs for a health nut like me. The hush puppies were moist and chock full of spices and whole kernels of corn, and the fried dill pickles were…well, they need no description because they are always good. The onion rings were these gigantic thick cut rings that looked and tasted like deep fried golden halos sent straight from heaven. for the money, it was in my honest opinion the best heart-stopping appetizer sampler I have had in recent memory.

For my main entree I had what else but fried CATFISH! I love the stuff and consider myself somewhat of an amateur connoisseur in the southern delicacy of catfish. This was not the best I have ever had…that dubious honor is still held, for almost 15 years now, by a little hole in the wall at the corner of Kiest and Hampton in deep South Dallas known as Catfish Connection (carryout only). Catfish Plantation did have some damn fine catfish though, and I got a mixture of the regular and cajun fried, which were both quite tasty. The sides of cole slaw, fried okra, and french fries were all excellent and I was quite content to stuff myself with catfish all night, but I did need to leave a little room for the dessert.

We ordered up the rest of the bread pudding they had in the kitchen which came out nice warm and drizzled in a white chocolate and cream. Oh My God, it was the best bread pudding ever. For any murderous maniac sitting on death row…when your time comes, I don’t care what else you order for your last meal, but I highly recommend this bread pudding as your last dessert, so you can at least get one last little taste of what heaven might have been like for you.

The service here was just absolutely over the top friendly. One thing I will never understand is how the fancy restaurants I have been to never seem to even come close in service to the old fashion family restaurants where it just comes so naturally and genuine. I guess it is just a cultural difference of city and country living. I don’t know.

The one problem with Catfish Plantation is that it is a little bit of a drive to the very far far south side of the Dallas area heading toward Waco. It was worth the drive, but not one I would make on even a monthly basis from where I am. If you get a chance, I highly recommend the place…and if your lucky maybe a ghost will thump you on the head.

That’s my tasteful opinion and I am sticking to it…until the ghosts decide to move into my house.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Restaurant Review – Cru Wine Bar – Plano

dsc03798Cru Wine Bar actually has three locations in the Dallas area that include the West Village on McKinney Ave., On Legacy in Plano, and on Market Street in Allen.

My first experience was at the West Village location in Dallas with a group of friends which we really enjoyed, and therefore I was looking forward to visiting the Legacy location in Plano with the same group. I had been planning on writing a review and the recent visit on Friday November 7th was just the reminder I needed. Brace yourself, because this will be a very mixed review ranging from one extreme to the other.

So what do you want first…the good news or the bad news?

Bad news it is…picture-020

I will be perfectly blunt…this recent experience was hands down, the very worst service I have ever had in any restaurant, bar, or hotel I have ever been in. To be clear, bad service can come in a few different categories of bad ranging from an absentee or slow server, to screwed up orders, etc. But this one was the worst kind…RUDE. The service we received on this evening was apalling, pretentious, and just plain disgusting. Every visit she made to our table left the whole table discussing her attitude for the next several minutes.

At the end of our evening, she refused to break the bill up citing some lame excuse, and left 9 peoplcru-14-fondue_1752e puttering over a receipt to only find out later that the receipt was wrong because an errant flight of wine had been added to our tab that no one ordered. The order did get removed, but not before stating that this was her only table and somehow implying that the mistake must be ours, like we would be trying to steal a $15 flight of wine on a $350 tab. Then there was the case of her inserting herself into the middle of a private conversation that two of the ladies from our party were having with two gentlemen of interest at the bar. In guy-speak we call this “…blocking”. In the middle of these specific situations was just the consistently overwhelming attitude of inconvenience and condescension that she shared very generously with our group.

To be fair, our party thoroughly enjoyed all of the cheese flights, several of the wine flights, and my wife and I had the Kobe steak which was OK but not great. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the wine selection and cheese flights are well above average, but can be slightly pricey which is not a problem at all…if your are receiving the service that is commensurate. cru-18-kobebeef_1751

We really consider Cru to be one of our favorite places to meet with friends. However, the service in general at the West Village is not what I would categorize as spectacular. It is average at best…which is fine. However, our first visit to the Legacy location proved to be a memorable one and one for the record books.

If you have a taste for good wine and good cheese with friends and you enjoy it all being served to you by a world-class pretentious bitch who does everything but outright tell you she would rather be doing anything but being your server, then the Cru Wine Bar at Legacy in Plano may be the place for you. Hopefully, our experience was an isolated one.

That is my sober opinion…and all the wine and cheese in Cru couldn’t change it.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review – Love and War in Texas in Plano – dinner

Yes, that is the name of the restaurant…Love and War in Texas (LAWIT). It is a mouthful and so is the food. Located in Plano, TX, at the corner of 75 and E. Plano Parkway, LAWIT had somehow managed to escape our attention for quite sometime. After reading a small write up on the restaurant in a local magazine, it sounded like something unique and we decided to give it a shot last Friday evening. Fact is, I really gave it more than a shot…I over-shot. Let me explain.

The restaurant menu is based strictly on cuisine that the great state of Texas is famous for, and is then divided into the five regions of the state.

The West Texas Plains – Famous for its sprawling ranches and cattle country, this section of the menu is where you will order steaks such as T-bones, Filets, Ribeye, Strips, etc.

The Hill Country – Famous for its hunting and wild game, this section of the menu offers up wild game entrees such as Texas Nilguy Antelope, Venison, Quail, and wild boar.

The Border – the region where true Tex-Mex was born, you can order up classic dishes such as fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, and stuffed peppers.

The Gulf Coast – This section caters to seafood lovers with Blue Crab stuffed Portabellas, Fish Tacos, shrimp, oysters, and so on…

East Texas Piney Woods – No Texas menu is complete without chicken fried steak, fried chicken, catfish, and barbequed baby back ribs.

Obviously, I can’t eat everything on the menu…but I was sure as hell going to give it my best shot. Therefore to start we ordered the “Waltz Across Texas” appetizer which would give us a little taste from each of the regions. Problem is, it wasn’t little at all. At about $14, this appetizer plate could have been a full meal for two people. They do not skimp on the portions at all and I should have known that going in…this is a restaurant themed on Texas after all and everything is big here. This gynormous appetizer plate included Wild Boar Quesadillas, chicken flautas, fried green beans, and Beaumont Bugs (fried crawfish tails). All of it was unbelievably delicious and I could not stop stuffing my face with food. I have never had wild boar, and the meat in these quesadillas was incredibly tender and tasty. The chicken flautas, fried green beans, and crawfish were all excellent and we, mostly me, ate every single bit of it. Our waiter, Todd, tried to take the plate on a couple of occasions and I refused to let it go as I continued to graze on it while I ate my entree.

Being in an adventurous mood for food I decided to go for the Hill Country section of the menu where I ordered the “The Hunt” which was a mixed grill including an Antelope Filet, smoked venison sausage, and grilled quail. I substituted the garlic mashed taters for what turned out to be a humongous fully loaded baked potato and the Texas Caviar for the smoked corn on the cob. The antelope was extremely tender and juicy, the venison sausage was a little bit tough around the edges like smoked sausage often is, but still excellent, and the quail was…messy to eat just like it always is. Nothing like biting tiny morsels of meat off the tiny little bones of a tiny grilled bird. The smoked corn on the cob was fantastic as well. I don’t know what else to say except that I ate it all whilst washing it down with a Shiner Bock and felt damn good about it. My wife had the Blue Crab stuffed Portabella which I also had a taste of and like everything else, it was just another paradise on a plate.

For a dessert, I went with my staple fave, Peach Cobbler with a scoop of vanilla. After everything else, the cobbler was just the proverbial final straw that may make the camel explode in the restaurant. As we walked back to car, I decided that I would not be able to drive home…not because I drank too much, but rather because I felt like I had eaten a basketball. I had eaten so much that I could feel my stomach stretching and complaining ‘dude, you are going to have run a lot of miles and fast for a week to make up for this meal’.

Part of me was ashamed for slamming down so many groceries it would make Dom Delouise blush…but I couldn’t help it. When the food is good, you eat and forget about being full until you are walking to the car. Then it hits you, and you feel like blacking out from a euphoric food overdose. It was worth it though and we will definitely be back. The service was good, the food was outstanding, and I can’t wait to go back.

Also, for those of you that like live music, they have an awesome outdoor patio area where live bands perform on the weekend. The music was good from what we heard when we were leaving, and it looked like a real party happening out there. We will try it out on the next visit.

This is all just my radical opinion and I am sticking with it…because I could barely move after eating here.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review – Mimi’s Cafe in Allen Texas – Breakfast

Evidently Mimi’s Cafe is a chain of restaurants specializing in “Homecooking” breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I will admit that the location in Allen, TX appears to be a pretty popular breakfast destination on the weekends. I have never dined here for any other meals than the weekend breakfast craving, so I have no opinion on the other menu items.

The atmosphere is good and the service is decent, but the food is just average at best. My personal order on my most recent visit was the country fried steak breakfast, which came with potatos, a muffin, two eggs, and a juice. I substituted a biscuit with gravy instead of a muffin, and proceeded to dig in. The country fried steak is your run of the mill “frozen” entree that can be purchased in bulk at most wholesale warehouses such as Sam’s or Costco. No big deal, unless you were expecting one of the more delicious varieties of country fried steak that you find at better restaurants such as Cracker Barrel, etc. For a better price, you could have got the same or similar steak from a Grandy’s, a road side Pitt Grill, or your local high school cafeteria.

The red potatoes were good, as was the biscuit and gravy. Eggs were slightly cold, but that is normal for eggs as they cool off pretty quick. Breakfast food is really hard to screw up unless you are just really awful in the kitchen, so the overall was not bad. Needless to say, I ate every bit of what was on my plate, and have no complaints of being sick…but I am not saluting it as the best breakfast food I have ever had either.

My wife had the French toast and the kids ate the pancakes without complaint or raves. It was a little pricey for the very average quality, which is really the bottom line of this review. I am sure we will be back, as we enjoy eating weekend breakfasts out, but for now our standing favorites are Cracker Barrel, Ozona, and Cafe Brazil. Mimi’s doesn’t really rank either way but I would not deter anyone from trying it out. It is a 3 of 5 stars on the Spitzometer.

September 22, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Islamorada Fish Company

Dined at the Islamorada Fish Company located in the Bass Pro Shop off I-30 in Garland Texas on Friday.  It was a birthday dinner for my father in-law so we wanted to try something new and nice.   I know, I know, Bass Pro Shop isn’t what the sophisticated “foodie” would consider a place for a nice dining experience.   However, this is Garland, TX and folks around here think Red Lobster is a “high falootin fancy” restaurant for rich folks.   For Garland, Islamorada Fish Company is the Ritz.

The experience overall was mediocre at best.  Atmosphere was decent.  The massive salt water fish tank behind the bar is very cool and the tons of saltwater species mounted on the walls and ceiling throughout the restaurant are also very cool.  The food is another story.  Its not bad, but its not great.

Appetizers:  The fried alligator was overcooked and not as tender as it should have been.  The venison stuffed mushrooms were small and you simply could not taste the venison over the mushroom, which was really disappointing because I was really looking forward to these. The Wahoo dip was so creamed up with mayo or whatever it was, you could not taste the fish.  It could have been tuna out of a can and I would never have known.  The calamari was pretty decent, and the coconut fried shrimp was the typical frozen stuff that I buy myself at Sam’s Club.  The best thing about the appetizers was the sauce from the stuffed mushroom that we all ended up dipping our bread into and trying to sop up every last drop of it like a bunch os starved wolves.

Oh, did I mention we found a hair baked into the top of one of the homemade loaves of bread?  Not just any hair…this was one hell of a long black nasty hair.  Our waiter apologized and tried to explain no one in the kitchen had long hair and it must have come off of one of the brushes they use to brush butter on the loaves.  Whatever, dude!  I suggest then you stop using your girlfriends hair brush to put butter on the bread loaves.  

For an entree I had a dish called the Fisherman, which included a filet of catfish, some Whitefish, and some other kind of fish I can’t remember laid out on a bed of regular french fries.  It wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t great.  Sorry, I didn’t try the desserts this time around.  I wasn’t in the mood to blow anymore cash on the over priced and over rated food at this place.  

Our waiter was average, but I would expect the service to be a bit more sophisticated for this place.

I have had much worse, and the Fish Company wasn’t terrible, but I guess I expected more from this place that has a pretty significant history dating back to the 40’s in Key West.   As a comparison, I would say that the menu at Pappadeaux is very similar to the Fish Company.  The big distinction between the restaurants is that Pappadeaux’s menu is more extensive, their food is way better in every way, they have fantastic service, a great atmosphere, larger food portions, and the prices are only slightly higher.

I give the Fish Company a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Very forgettable.  In fact, they can forget about me coming back, because I will be going to Pappadeaux the next time I want this kind of food.

September 6, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment