Prestige Carpet Cleaning and Floor Care rids floor surfaces of pesky filth, flushing out grout and restoring tiles to their just-placed look. Before tackling floors' trenches, specialists converse with clients during a complimentary consultation, in which they inspect surfaces for staining, damage, and repellency. Wielding a highly pressurized hot-water wand, masterful floor magicians then upend dirt in two rooms—or as much as 200 square feet (a $2.14 per sq. ft. value)—while nearby faucets watch in wonder and shame. Prestige's technicians command control over the high-pressure technology, ridding bathrooms of clingy mineral deposits and lingering self-doubt. Cleaning concludes with a professionally applied impregnating sealer, which leaves walkable jigsaw puzzles easier to render squeakily clean.
Inside the capacious confines of Calamity Jane's Trading Company, owner and designer Shawn Beach has amassed an eclectic, handpicked selection of upscale home furnishings from across the globe. Featuring rugged-yet-elegant pieces, the worldly blend of accessories allows patrons to corral exotic treasures such as an iron flower candleholder ($15.95) or jeweled picture frame ($34.95). Iron napkin holders that tote stylish glass orbs ($14.95) impress dinner guests that moonlight as wizards, and succulent plants ($6.95 each) add splashes of green to bleak abodes.
The floral artists at The Rustic Courtyard skillfully combine fresh flowers into wondrous bouquets and arrangements, conveying sentiments for any occasion. An expansive array of flowers clamors for browsers' attentions, hoping for a chance within a bouquet's spotlight so they can fulfill their dreams of modeling for a calendar photo. Shoppers can stuff a vase or basket with an artful arrangement of seasonally blooming flora ($30) with the help of a seasoned spray arranger, or prepare to ace a first date or job interview with a dozen roses ($55).
A potpourri of flower arrangements and interior decorations elicit cheery exclamations, which drift to the ears of patrons crowded before The Owl's Nest’s café-style lunch fare. Customers gather personalized bouquets or test out sweet-scented jar candles by burning floppy discs from estranged computers in them beneath the cubist spread of the shop’s array of frames. Against the baritone burble of cauldrons of soup, custom T-shirts definitively end debates about who is the greatest grandpa. Boutique apparel from designers such as Bella Taylor informs the world of the wearer's fashion sense, and ornaments and home accents from lines such as Willow Tree beg to add endearing flourishes to domiciles.
All three stores serve platters of furniture and home accents in an assortment of colors, textures, and designs. House outfitters can use Furnish 123's Create Your Own Space online service to see how the furniture might look at home or inside a private jet. For under $200, the three-piece table sets include clean lines and the classic dark wood of the Ripley collection or the softer curve of the Aspen collection. Three-piece bedroom sets keep sleeping a realistic goal and include a headboard, dresser, and mirror. Living rooms can be accessorized with bookcases ($199), recliners ($299), and more than 40 sofas ($399) plus a host of colorful, decorative pillows that are not filled with batteries.
Even the best chefs have to get their start somewhere, and that somewhere is often a burger joint. This is certainly true of five-time James Beard nominee Bruce Auden. The profile in the San Antonio Express-News traces his meteoric rise from flipping burgers at a cabana to apprenticing under Guy Petit to earning Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chef title in 1988. Since then, Auden has continued to hone his culinary innovation, first at his award-winning restaurant Biga and now at Auden's Kitchen.
Auden’s Kitchen retains a local focus and serves creatively redesigned comfort food. There's buttermilk fried chicken with lemon-pepper marinade, and burgers with dijon aioli and applewood bacon. Pizzas come with house-pulled mozzarella and the hot kiss of a wood-burning oven, which also prepares salmon and whole-roasted trout. In addition to these classics, the seasonal menu saves space for a number of more lavish entrees, such as duck confit blanketed with cherry-zinfandel barbecue sauce. Diners have more than 75 wines to choose from, as well as bar offerings such as martinis and imported beer.
The dining room’s laid-back decor invites guests to relax, rather than worry about whether they’re combing their hair with the right salad fork. Wine bottles and copper pots cluster on shelves lining the dining-room walls, and diners can see right into the kitchen over a stainless-steel countertop shaded by a bevy of frying pans.