Archive for May, 2010

I’ve had some photos stacking up lately, but no time to do proper writeups. So here’s a nice copout: a breezy tour through some of the recent additions to the food truck scene in Austin. Oddly enough, all of them are Asian food.

A better title for this post might have been “How We Tried And Failed Repeatedly To See Music During SXSW.” On the Friday of SXSW, we decided to take the afternoon off and head downtown to check out some day parties. On the way, we stopped off at Sushi A-Go-Go. Unfortunately, right after we showed up and started to order our food, I got an email from a co-worker that said “Where the hell are you guys? Is anyone going to be able to do this conference call?” So we took our food to go and went back home. Strike one.

Stevie bravely faced down some ferocious wind.

The sushi was great, but spending my “afternoon off” at home on a conference call put a damper on the experience.

No big deal, we figured. There’s still plenty of time to see some music. So on Saturday night, we went to east Austin for the Todd P Showpaper party. I was hoping to see Real Estate, but we ended up seeing a few minutes of some other band whose name I can’t remember. (Something about Cleveland, maybe?)

What I do remember is that it was absolutely frigid outside and we weren’t dressed for it. Luckily, we were able to warm up with some delicious Korean BBQ tacos from Chi’Lantro, which we had been meaning to try since sampling Austin’s other Korean BBQ truck, TaKorea.

The last stop in our food truck roundup has nothing to do with failed attempts to see live music. East Side King is located behind east Austin’s liberty bar and has been making waves with their take on something we love dearly, the steamed pork bun.

They also have a cow tongue bun. Yum.

And then there’s the fried beets.They’re beets, so it’s healthy right? Especially when you dip them in mayo.


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There are a lot of things that you can do with $50. If you find yourself in Beverly Hills with $50 to burn, one thing you should probably do is purchase the fois gras appetizer at Bouchon.

Bouchon is the brainchild of Thomas Keller, the man behind a famous restaurant called The French Laundry. Apparently, this man is a big deal in the food world. judging by the cover of one of his recent books, he seems like the kind of person I’d like to hang out with.

We went to Bouchon at the suggestion of our friend Chris and his girlfriend Nicole. This was the fancy night out of our trip to LA. We started the night off with cocktails at Spago. It made me feel like I should have been making some sort of deal with a Hollywood mogul. “Well, now that you mention it, our blog would make a great movie!”

Bouchon was one of those high security places, where once you get past the hostess, you’re still separated by a long hallway from the dining room. Frankly, we were surprised they let a couple of yokels like us in there.

Our table was outside and we were frigid. Black and white photos make it look cold, right?

Voila! The appetizer that turned out to be the main event.

It was served with little strips of toasted baguette and a bowl of salt to sprinkle on top.

This is how I approach a serious meal. Head down, eyes on the prize, stuffing my fat face.

We couldn’t quite finish it all. I’m not sure if this comes across, but this was a preposterous amount of fois gras for two people. Some people feel guilty about eating fois gras. My attitude about fois gras is a little different than those people, becuase I feel guilty about not wiping the jar clean with my index finger. But even though we left a little behind, I still feel like I got my $50 worth.

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This weekend we had our first taste of something we have missed ever since moving to campus: the newspaper. We tried for months to get the paper delivered to our apartment at the school, but they never managed to find us.

At one point after several weeks of failed deliveries, I called the Austin American Statesman to tell them it still wasn’t showing up. By then, I had called so many times, the guy who answered actually recognized my voice: “You again? Really?” We finally gave up and resigned ourselves to reading the paper online. But it’s not the same.

It’s certainly not typical for people our age to subscribe to the paper. My particular attachment stems, at least in part, from the fact that my dad was a writer for the Washington Post while I was growing up and continues to write today. So throughout my life, newspapers have always played a central role.

While we’re on the topic of media upheaval, here’s a link to a piece my Dad wrote for the Post a few years after he had left the paper, from one dying medium to another: the Postal Service.

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Franklin Barbecue, Austin TX

Yesterday, we finally ate at Franklin Barbecue, a bbq trailer on the I-35 access road. We tried to eat there once before, and were devastated to discover that they had sold out for the day. When we pulled up around noon yesterday, there were already a dozen hungry bbq lovers waiting in line. As we waited, our excitement building with each smoky whiff, I admired their trailer.

I have been trying to figure out what color to paint the front door of our new house, and there at Franklin Barbecue I think I found the answer. I love the combination of the turquoise and white trailer with the vibrant red Coke sign. It made me realize that the perfect complement to our red brick house with white trim would be a turquoise door. Perhaps it was an unlikely source of inspiration, or maybe yet another example of food ruling my life, but I’m pretty thrilled about this new color scheme.

As we neared the front of the line, I asked Ben what he was going to order.

“Everything,” he quickly responded.

They slice up everything right in front of you. It’s tantalizing.

Here is our tray of everything: brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, a pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, and pecan pie.

It was everything we dreamed it would be – fatty, moist, well-seasoned, and smoky with a nicely charred edge. We poured on the rich espresso sauce, ate ourselves silly, and then wrapped up our leftovers to do it all over again later.

Thank you, Franklin Barbecue for satisfying my palate and my palette. Onward to Home Depot.

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Eliza and I have officially entered a new stage in life. After spending 18 months living in tiny apartments on the campus of the school where Eliza works, we bought a house. To celebrate our new digs, I’m kicking off a new series of posts.

I originally had an idea for a series called “Things I Won’t Miss About Living at a School,” but I decided that would have been a little too negative. Living at the school was actually a great experience. Still, it had its quirks and there were a lot of things we missed about living in the real world.

So in the spirit of positivity, this series will be dedicated to all of the small delights that we’re now enjoying in our new house. But before I get into what we love about the new place, I thought I’d share a few photos of where we came from in order to set the stage. There were three different apartments over the 18 months. (Unfortunately, I only have photos of the first two.)

Here’s the first one. It was a pretty small place, so these photos were actually shot with a scanning electron microscope we borrowed from the UT Physics department. First the bed “room,” which as you can see, spilled over into the kitchen, or as we called it: the bitchen.

Here’s a clear shot of the bitchen. And yes, I made eggs on that little burner.

Finally, the living room, complete with tiny TV, tiny Christmas tree, and window unit A/C.

Here’s another shot from before we moved in.

Next we moved into a slightly larger studio. This place’s quirks included a door that opened outside and which was positioned right next to the bed.

Our living area was at the foot of the bed. At least we got some good light, but it made sleeping in a little difficult.

The best part about this apartment was its kitchen, which was (more or less) full size. We still lacked a dishwasher, but at least we had an oven.

There were at least two things we learned from living on campus. First, after putting most of our possessions into storage, we realized that we didn’t miss most of them (cooking tools being the notable exception). Second, after living without so many things (oven, central air, dishwasher, etc.) we had a new appreciation for all of life’s little conveniences. So that’s what this series of posts will be all about: the everyday delights we’re enjoying now that we’re living like bona fide adults in a place of our own.

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