It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman. Now, I’m not going to be all presumptuous and call myself great, but the woman behind me certainly is. She’s the reason I step foot in Austin in the first place (I was all set on going back to the Dallas area where I grew up). She’s also a big reason why I’m doing what I’m doing now…blogging about creative culture, art, and food. You see the Chris Perez (or the CP) before a woman came into his life was just a kid in a Jordan basketball jersey wearing color coordinated Air Jordan sneakers.
Obviously, I still had my passions and interests back then. I loved design, I loved art, and the Air Jordan apparel situation was actually some way for me to broadcast that. I knew the shoe designer’s of the sneakers by name “Tinker Hatfield is coming back for the Air Jordan XX’s” I’d exclaim – which coincidently relates to my last post because it was one of the first uses of laser engraving in a commercial product.Steve’s Blog
I even had a brief stint as “Custom Pro” while in grad school where I custom painted shoes and sold them on eBay (my bestsellers featured color-shifting paint)…
I did as many as I could juggling school work, and riding a bike in inches of snow in Michigan, and of course playing pick-up basketball (which I never was really any good at, but I’d hoot, holler, and high-five you like nobody’s business).
When I got my first place after getting a job in Minnesota, one of the first things I did was buy all new furniture and decorate a place myself. The items I acquired were super modern, too harsh for my taste now, but they made sense at the time as I tried to establish my aesthetic as far away from the cluttery, flourished, and embellished decor I grew up in.
I didn’t stop there though. I was on top of the world.
I made it!
I had a Master’s Degree. I had a real full-time paying job. So I got back into art too – I grew up drawing comic books.
I tried my hand at oil painting and filled the place up with art.
Back then, I still loved to entertain. Except instead of serving up grilled pizzas with from-scratch dough (made by the woman behind me), I served up take-n-bake pizzas, grilled burgers, and ended the evening with plated Pillsbury cookies or vanilla ice cream with magic shell. In fact, one of the events (an NFL Playoff game party) at which I did some of this entertaining was where Christy (the great woman behind the scenes) first looked at me with notice. “Maybe this Air Jordan wearing kid is…” (to use her exact words) “useful.”
We dated, I tried to prove my usefulness inches deep in snow - trying to recharge a car battery so we could make it back home after a day at the museum in Minneapolis. This skill also proved useful when trying to head home after a few hours of DDR Max II and Karaoke Revolution at a friend’s house. We had fun, met great people, and we looked ahead.
Minnesota was never where we planned to be for long.
We were both Texans, and in chilly Rochester we were the equivalent of armadillos in thermals and earmuffs. We needed to get back to the heat, back to the sun, back to margaritas and Tex-mex.
And while I was good as gold with heading back to the On The Border’s and the Chili’s restaurants of the chain mecca suburb I grew up in, Christy said there was something more in Austin.
As is often the case, I had my doubts.
I’d been to Austin before, it was a mere 3.5 hour drive from Plano, and on a couple of occasions I went with friends to Sixth Street. Dirty, run-down, not-my-scene was my initial view. Christy said that’s not the Austin she knew and loved in her days at UT. So we took a trip and she showed me Mexican Martinis at Trudy’s, The Capitol, and Mt. Bonnell.
Maybe I was wrong about Austin after all. So we moved here, we bought a house on a week long trip, eventually got married here, and with each passing day I grew up . My Air Jordan’s became gentlemanly Cole Haan’s, my Taco Bell became clean and fresh Taco Deli, my SpongeBob’s became respectable cocktails. Which brings us back to what we’re here doing today. Making a cocktail.
This one is brought to you by the lady who guided me on the track I’m now on…living and loving life in Austin.
It’s called “The Show” because she made it while I was out at the big show called CES…and because she had one waiting for me when I returned from it.
But it’s also a fitting title for another reason.
Because behind the show of my life – the pictures, the blog, the food – is a great woman guiding me, and leading me to all the right places.
Thanks Christy, without you I’m still just that kid in Air Jordan’s – who believes he can fly, but isn’t quite sure how.
1 oz Frangelico
1 oz Lillet
1 oz Orange juice
1 egg white (Christy even experimented using powdered egg whites and they worked just as well as the real thing)
chocolate bitters (I got mine from Spec’s)
1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2. Shake shake shake! (until it’s ice cold)
3. Strain into a cocktail glass
4. Finish with 3 drops of chocolate bitters
This drink is an easy-sipper. The orange juice provides the necessary citrus that opens up your taste buds. Take a delicate sniff and let the strong aroma of the chocolate bitters trick your brain into thinking there’s a truffle in the glass. Let the nutty flavor of the Frangelico convince you that it is indeed a truffle. Then let the Lilet and egg white provide the earthy notes to balance it all out. Good Show.