Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Uptown Dining for Valentines Day - The Red Fox!

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I am a fan on Facebook of the Red Fox and friends with the owner, Linda Stewart, so when I received an online notification that her restaurant - The Red Fox on Texas Avenue was sending out reservation invites for a romantic dinner on Valentines Day, I jumped at the chance to do something, well... right.

I'm a romantic at heart, but somewhere out there, I just have trouble implementing my feelings.  All week long I kept telling myself I would stop and buy a card on my way home from work and since I was working six-12's, I kept putting it off, thinking I would do it the next day.

My bride and I have been married non-stop going on 35 years and she still sends me - to work real often and I love her more than I probably realize, so I want her to know this, but alas, the card slipped out of my mind and I clean forgot about it until I awoke Valentines Day and there in front of the coffee pot is her card and a box of chocolates for me (that's a long sentence but it's 3am).  I stood there in my Nomex® uniform, the doggies jumping up and down at my feet, in utter horror.  "Drat!"  I exclaimed and my Papillon doggie began to growl, thinking I said "cat".  My ShihTzu looked at me with knowing eyes - yes, I had messed up royally - again.

I poured me a cup of delicious French Market chicory coffee which was as black as my current mood and looking to the heavens, I thanked the man upstairs for saving me - and The Red Fox!  She will forgive me for my blunder because of my awesomely romantic pre-planning I somehow had pulled off.   Grinning like a used car salesman, I sauntered back to the Orbiting Command Ship Central, known by my friends as the OCSC and my computer room, and I deftly grabbed a sheet of printer paper and wrote her a note as I sipped the hot black morning tonic. 

"Yea.  That may just do it."   I said and standing up, I stepped on a squeaky toy, causing my jumpy Papillon to growl and look out the window for the kitty cat she was sure was there.

About 8:30am I called my bride and we exchanged endearing words and she assured me I was in the clear, the restaurant holding me "up there" with guys like Brad Pitt and George Clooney, or Andy Rooney, I can't seem to remember which is which.

Our reservation was for 5:30pm and this gave me just enough time to come in, shower, spray some masculine pheromone-laced foo-foo on, don the clothes my bride had meticulously put together from my extensive collection of "Sunday go to meeting" clothes and sit and wait.  I looked pretty snazzy and she looked gorgeous, as always. 
We arrived fashionable early and took our seat to the back and right off the bat we met up with our friends Elizabeth Caldwell and Gary Erwin and had a nice chat.  Elizabeth let us in on The Red Fox's biggest secret and her favorite place in the whole world - the back patio!  I know its her favorite place because she said it was four times.
Elizabeth Caldwell in her favorite place.
The Red Fox reservations offered each patron a choice of predetermined meal selections for this meal and we chose Menu one, which consisted of lobster crab cakes, a wonderful salad with blue cheese, filet mignon & scallops, fresh green beans, and finger potatoes.  Desert was a fantastic Crème Brulee!  We had a choice of wine, which we substituted sweet tea instead.  I heard Martin Cooper was to be there, but as we left, I scanned the crowd and might have missed him.
The Red Fox was playing Etta James-type jazz and then live music with wonderful vocals by a lady who sounded like she could win American Idol, The Voice, and The View possibly - once again I get them mixed up.  From my vantage point, I couldn't see who exactly was singing and I do not know her name, but she was wonderful and her song selection simply added to our experience.  I took her photo and she emailed me.  Her name is Alektra.
At one point, Linda Stewart let me slip back into the kitchen to meet Chef Leslie and it was organized pandemonium, as all kitchens are in the middle of feeding 100 plus people, waitstaff hurrying to and fro, and Chef Leslie was caught chopping something up with a ceramic knife - like a food ninja, so I took my quick photo (with Elizabeth Caldwell watching the chef) and got out of dodge - or dodged - I can't remember.
Chef Leslie  preparing our food.
Leaving the restaurant, "full as a tick" as my old Air Force Louisiana buddy Mark LaCroix was fond of saying, we both marveled at how amazing Texas Avenue in old Goose Creek is looking.  It's beautiful in fact and something I would not have said ten years ago.

As we headed west in the direction of the old Sears store (toward the college), we noticed Dauber's Gallery of Heroes was still open and dropped in to see Ken "The Dauber" Pridgeon.  My Bride and I met Arlington native, Jerry Smith and his Baytonian brother.  Jerry lost his heavily decorated Marine Corps son in Afghanistan 10 months ago on his 4th tour and Ken and him met after Ken was asked by Jerry's ex-wife to immortalize the Staff Sergeant for Ken's Gallery of Heroes.  I told Jerry he now belonged to the Club no one wants to join and thanked him for his wonderful son's service.  Unfortunately my wife and I also belong to this club.
Jerry Smith & Ken Pridgeon
Ken Pridgeon has a giant vision to help guys like my son and announced the Brunson Theater may become part of his vision to help war veterans.  Texas Avenue is not the rundown slum it was when they shot parts of Robocop here years ago and The Red Fox, The Baytown Art League, and Linda Stewart's - The Red Fox are proof in the most positive way.

Gee whiz.  I wonder where I can take my Bride next year for Valentines Day?

The Red Fox is located at 214 W. Texas Avenue, Baytown, Texas 77520  281-838-8408
http://www.theredfox.com/     http://www.facebook.com/RedFoxBaytown

Ken Pridgeon "the Dauber" is located at Portrait of a Warrior Memorial Art Gallery 308 West Texas Avenue, Baytown, Texas 77520  832-514-1452
Ken Pridgeon's Facebook   http://www.daubersheroes.org/    http://ourbaytown.com/baytown_dauber.htm
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