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By SCOTT COX, Contributing columnist
This has been a fantastic week, obsession-wise. I learned how to make something awesome on the cheap, found a great new place to hang out, and upgraded my home life considerably.
Let's start with booze. I was at an excellent bar in Texas last year, and the owner introduced me to flavored vodkas. I'm not a vodka fan in general (and don't know why people need fruit in it, anyway), but as luck would have it I met the guy who owns the distillery that makes this stuff in New Braunfels. I asked him how the infusion process works and how they get the vodka to taste like different kinds of fruit.
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He explained it in that no-nonsense way that Texans have. He said they take vodka, put fruit in it, then take the fruit out and bottle it. OK.
Some friends of mine were lamenting the low quality of the blueberry vodka they'd just bought, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I put about a cup of blueberries from Murray Family Farms into a liter of vodka. I shook the mixture three times a day, and kept it in a cool dark cabinet. Then, after a week, I poured it through some cheesecloth a few times and that was it. And man, was it better than the pre-packaged stuff.
Try it yourself. It's cheaper and better than most of the stuff you see at the store, and you can do it with most any kind of fruit. I'm working on a batch of raspberry right now. You can even mix fruits if you like.
Best of all, you'll feel like Martha Stewart, but with alcohol.
Good times at Wiki's
If you like to go out and eat and drink stuff that other people have prepared, go see the nice folks at Wiki's Wine Dive & Grill on Ming Avenue. We went to the movies last weekend, and afterward my wife said she wanted to go out to eat. Fine by me, but where? We heard about it from my buddy Mike, who used to run Outback.
We got seated right away, which was a plus. The service is off the charts. It's just crazy good. And the food was fantastic. I was actually mad that I hadn't been there before. They even found a way to make Brussels sprouts taste good. No kidding.
That's all well and good, but the thing that got me was the patio. Mike invited us out there to listen to some live music, and that's an invitation I never turn down. It was 100 outside, which was why we hadn't ventured out there sooner, but once the sun went down, it got nice really quickly, and the mister system made it perfect. It's a great place to hang out. I hope they book a bunch more bands in there.
It's a nice place for having a beverage and relaxing on a date or with friends. Check it out. This town needs more spots like it. It's way out by Buena Vista, but the grub alone is worth the trip. I'm going back for a ribeye and, if Mike's not there, I'm going to tell them I'm Pete Tittl.
A bathroom of one's own
Finally this week, I received the amazing gift of a bathroom. Not just any bathroom, but my very own bathroom. I haven't had my own bathroom for about a quarter of a century, but when my daughter moved out, I got it by default.
It's a small room, but it's a proper bathroom with a tub and everything. Best of all, it's mancave-adjacent. See, before I got this gift, I had to shave downstairs in our tiny "half bath."
I get up really early, but my wife doesn't, and I have to get ready for work without using the master bath.
I don't mind the downstairs bath so much, but it's not in a convenient location, and I have to take a towel in there because it has guest towels, which are decorative and have never been touched by humans. Ever been at someone's house and seen these things on the towel rack? I'm always afraid to touch them, and end up wiping my hands on my pants.
Well, in my bathroom, I can use any towels I like, even the really old, really soft ugly ones that I like. And I can have a stack of car magazines in there too, and I don't have to hide them when company comes over. Best of all, I have a permanent home for my shaving stuff and my toothbrush.
It occurred to me while moving my stuff in there that I had only been in that bathroom once in the last 10 years, and that was to fix the toilet.
I remember being terrified because that was my daughter's bathroom, and it was messy and smelled weird. There were lots and lots of bottles of hair products. Now there are none.
Now I have a bathroom that will be all mine until I die. I still prefer my big bath, with the big shower and tub, but my new one is a huge improvement in my lifestyle. That said, if Katie wants to come back home, I'll clear my stuff out in five minutes.