Friday, December 30, 2011

Inspecting Spec's, Double time, yearly reminder

For those keeping score: This building traded toys ("from bikes to trains to video games") and Geoffrey the Giraffe for booze and a bunny. That, children of the 1980s, is in fact growing up (gee whiz).  

Still need to procure libations, delicious food and pickled gherkins (if that is indeed how you roll) for your NYE party? Check out  Spec’s (dig the comically outdated website), which recently opened its first store in Dallas at Walnut Hill and 75 (Fort Worth and Plano are next).

What you need to know:
Just a small section of the sake you'll find at Spec's.
1. Yes, Spec’s is located in the old Toys "R" Us that is impossible to get to requires patience and persistence to get there. If you lose your cool easily, no worries — Spec’s offers samples to take the edge off.

2. The beer selection is very good (better than Goody Goody on Greenville Avenue) and the wine selection is superb — beats all stores in town, hands down.

3. Spec’s has a deli and a cafĂ© in addition to rows of international treats. Teresa Gubbins at wrote the most thorough review I can find. To paraphrase, you can purchase similar stuff elsewhere, but Spec's collection of fine food and drink is unique to — and appreciated in — this part of town. 

4. Spec's is all about making a deal. The store will beat competitors' prices and will "take 5 percent off your total if you pay with cash/debit/check" (read: Spec's will charge you 5 percent if you use credit).

5. So long Sigel's?? Fans of Sigel's Addison location will probably ho-hum Spec's. But they may need to warm up to the new store in town, and fast. According to Lauren Drewes Daniels at the Dallas Observer, the Spec's bunny is looking to rapidly reproduce all over the Metroplex by acquiring Sigel's

Overall, Spec's is a fantastic addition to the food/drink landscape. I found just what I needed for an NYE vegan potluck I'm attending (though there could be more veggie/vegan options, perhaps a dedicated aisle for the latter).

New Years Double
The city of Allen is hosting a two-day marathon/half marathon/half relay/5K. I'm not running, but I am volunteering on Jan. 1 — 6:40 a.m. for packet pickup — so you better believe I am not partying heavily on NYE. Speaking of the New Year ...  

2012 = Twenty-twelve
That’s how you say "2012." Not "two-thousand-twelve." Think about it: How do you say the year 1912? Go ahead. Say it out loud. Exactly. So, please resolve to make this small change, and I’ll resolve to not rehash this topic in another 11 months.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hello, stranger

I've decided to knock off the dust around here — it has been about 3 or so years since the last post. A lot has happened since then (mostly good); but there's no chance of a recap post (you don't want to read it, I don't want to write/relive). I have no plan to have a theme; this will be just a place for sharing. So, here we go.

It's not the New Year yet, but I am already delving into a new passion — trail running. Even before completing the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon, I knew I would need a new challenge/obsession. Given my mountain bike background and newfound love for running, trail running made the most sense.

The only downside of my new fitness choice? Well, most of the trails are way-far-away and/or closed due to December's heavy rains. Fortunately, several dry, sunny days are coming our way, so I hope to hit my familiar, local MTB trails — Cedar Hill State Park, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve and Northshore — very soon.

Until then, the only local spot that isn't closed (but probably should be) is Rowlett Creek Preserve in Garland. As a dirt rider, I consider the tacky conditions not optimal for riding and detrimental to the trail's condition (DORBA maintains RCP and makes the decision). That being said, running the trail yesterday wasn't terrible. I stuck to loops 1-5, and encountered only a couple of sloppy sections. Still, the tacky trail conditions did add up. I had to stop a few times to scrape off a pound of mud and leaves from my new pair of New Balance MT10. 

Maiden voyage of New Balance MT10 (Minimus Trail)
It's too early to say I love the shoes; but so far they're good ... maybe a little too roomy in the toebox (a staple of New Balance sneaks). The Vibram sole is void of mud-shedding properties and suited for dry conditions. At least that's what I learned from about 5 miles at RCP. I would love to take them out to my old stomping grounds — San Angelo State Park. Running up Roller Coaster has to be more fun than riding it! Hmmm, perhaps this race is in my future! Probably just the half-marathon. Could be fun ...