Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weektime Romance

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This evening I needed some me time. Just me, myself, and I. This afternoon I had plans to meet up with a few good friends for TLC's filming of America Eats at Gordough's trailer. Unfortunately, Justinbustin was home sick this afternoon and so I didn't go. Unfortunately they didn't end up going either! Fortunately, by pure chance this evening I came across a comment about a new foodie place here in Austin, called Odd Duck. All the foodie bloggers in Austin have been raving over it, and hearing about it tonight was the last straw for me.
I had to try it! I asked the girl who made the comment where it was and she said down on South Lamar across from Alamo Drafthouse and Maudie's TexMex, in the same lot as Gordough's. Seriously?! How could it get any better? Well, it could.

When I reached the parking lot where these three foodie trailers are, I was blown away by the incredible environment they had created in a cold parking lot.
A thick layer of white rock gravel covered the seating area of black wrought iron tables and chairs, mixed with fun rectangular white tables and wooden chairs, strung lights surrounded the area giving the appearance of a romantic courtyard of sorts, and a fire pit, quiet for the moment, sat ready to give warmth if needed in the middle.
In the corner sat a lone guitarist singing. Apparently he was just a friend of the owners of Gourdough's playing his guitar and singing for the evening.
I hope he becomes a regular. I did look for a tip jar for him, but none was to be found.

My first stop was Odd Duck, because, well, they were my goal in coming there.
Their delicious sounding menu had prices that belied the gourmetness of their food.
I was impressed. I haven't seen prices for food of this culinary quality and creativeness since, Soif, my favorite wine bar in Santa Cruz, Cali. I ordered the grilled broccoli with feta on foccacia, and the sweet potato puree with pecans and parmesan.
My total cost? $6 including tax. These people know how to get it done. The broccoli with feta on foccacia was perfectly lightly grilled and seasoned, the feta perfectly creamy, there was a smidge of creamy sauce as well - reminded me of an avocado type of dressing, along with a few sprigs of greens, and, adding a perfect counterbalance of tang, a few small slices of citrus.
The combination was utterly mouth-watering. The sweet potato puree with pecans and parmesan was perfectly sweetened without becoming sugary, the parmesan freshly shaved and piled softly on top, the pecans slightly sweetened but mostly plain.
And, oh my word, delicious. I literally wanted to lick the plate clean. If there had been someone there to vouch for my saneness in case people started to look at me funny, I just might have. Odd Duck, I WILL be back. Often. And I can't wait to take Brando!

While those two dishes alone filled me up so much I barely had room for more, I was determined to finish out the night.

My next stop was Gourdough's for their delicious calorie laden specialties.
Not a huge fan of donuts in the first place, I skipped the overly fatty sounding bacon laden donuts, and went for the more traditional, well as traditional as Gourdough's can be, Dirty Berry with grilled strawberries, and the Naughty & Nice with cinnamon and sugar. I crossed my fingers they would only call out my name when the order was ready and not the names of what I ordered.
Because that would've sounded like I was at another kind of store. Any way, *ahem*, after ordering my donuts I walked over to the source of my knowledge of the location of Odd Duck, Austin Brevita, to try their drinks.
I didn't see Cafe Au Lait on the menu, but the owner was more than willing to make me one. Sadly, I realized drinking coffee at 7pm at night was probably not the smartest idea, so I opted for an Oregon Chai with soymilk instead. When I asked him if he had soymilk his quick answer was yes, they have seven kinds of milk. It didn't process until I walked away, but seven kinds of milk? My mind wonders what they all are. Will have to find out next time I stop by. Enjoying my oregon chai, I waited patiently for my donuts. When they were finally ready I sat down at Odd Duck's bar on their modern wooden barstools and watched the chef of Odd Duck. His bottle of olive oil, bottle of vinegar, fresh radishes, and fresh leaves of some type sitting on the counter made me feel like I was observing a cooking show while I ate my Gourdough's concoction.
Honestly, the strawberries on my Dirty Berry didn't taste grilled at all, just a little warm, and the fudge tasted like chocolate sauce, but the donut itself. Oh. my. word.
Totally not any sort of normal donut. It was a spongey, doughy, soft french bread like texture, perfectly sweet but not sickeningly sweet like most donuts, creation. I could've eaten ten of these things. In one sitting. Fortunately for the sake of not completely sabotaging my recent detox plan I refrained from continuing after four bites and have saved the rest for a week or two long treat. Mmm. The Naughty & Nice was for Shawners and has yet to be eaten, but it looks oh so yummy with the perfect coating of cinnamon and sugar.
The atmosphere of the little space Odd Duck, Gordough's, and Austin Brevita occupies is mind boggling romantic and I can't wait to take Brando back for a weekend date. Oh, I'll go with the girls, too.
But it's just too romantic not to take Brando at some point. Very soon.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fat Flush Plan

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In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been eating out at restaurants or cute little cafes as much. Oh, I've hit up a few, but mostly to watch other people eat since I ate beforehand.

Brando and I have been doing a Fat Flush Plan, from a book by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman. WHAT FOR?!?! you may say, but the truth is we mostly needed it for a detox. From all the junk food over the semester to alcohol nearly every day (and not decent alcohol, like wine, no this was fruity drinks, beer, and who knows what else) we seriously needed one. When faced with a choice between eating better or getting bigger clothes, I had to go with with eating better.
And when Brando said he would do it with me I jumped all over it.

As a totally unexpected benefit, I learned to cook again. I used to know a looooong time ago, maybe four years, but had completely forgot. An even better unexpected benefit was we learned to cook together!! Talk about romantic as all hell. If you've never tried cooking a meal together with your significant other, you definitely should try. I'm talking about get me in the sack now kind of hot and romantic. *ahem* Any way. After learning how to cook following their recipes, now either one of us can throw together a simple, healthy, nutritious meal without even looking at the book. There were lots of other unexpected benefits to the detox, but I'll save those for another post.

By the way, my favorite part about this detox was that they had every single thing we needed to eat, including every meal with recipes if needed, already written out for every single day. Oh, and most of the recipes? Used four ingredients or less, took less than 15 minutes to throw together, and were DELICIOUS. Inexpensive, as well. Because real food usually is.

These are mostly, save one exception, our own variations on recipes within the book. My apologies for the many blurry iPhone photos - I was just looking forward to eating too much to run upstairs and grab my camera. Without further adieu:

My first attempt at breakfast - Scrambled eggs with red peppers, and bok choy.
A late night snack - raspberries and blackberries.
An invention of our own - Chicken sauteed in chicken broth, and covered with a fresh lime juice, tomato puree, and garlic sauce.
Cherry tomatoes, Italian parsley, red onion, and ground turkey.
An afternoon snack - deviled eggs with nothing but flax seed oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and ground mustard from the book. Sounds strange, but oh so delicious! Better than regular deviled eggs.

Scrambled omelettes with ground turkey, cherry tomatoes, italian parsley, and red onion. I walked downstairs on Monday morning to Brando making this. So hot.
And of course I got right in there and started cooking with him. The prep for the omelettes - cherry tomatoes, red onion, and Italian parsley.

By the way, the detox lasted two weeks. Brando lost 10 pounds, and I lost eight. My clothes fit again, yay! I feel FANTASTIC, my skin is clear, and I've had SO much energy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lots O' Events

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Most of them are going on THIS week!

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Social media star, Lauren Luke, will be hitting the Sephora at Barton Creek Square Mall TONIGHT, Tuesday, January 19th, from 6 – 8 p.m., to provide tips, tricks and the unveiling of a new makeup looks you’ll love. As a special treat, 15 free lip glosses will be gifted to Austin Tidbits readers who make a cameo at the event. The giveaway is first come, first serve and here’s how to redeem: Locate Elicia Banks-Gabriel or Michelle Morales at the event, and mention TIDBITS.

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Join Us @ Ruth's Chris, Wednesday, Jan. 20,
with "Celebrity Bartender" JD Torian
You're invited to our next "Celebrity Bartending" event hosted by Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. This month's celebrity bartender is JD Torian, Arc Board member and owner of Austin's Pizza.

There will be $5 martinis and 1/2 price appetizers. The Arc of the Capital Area takes home the tip jar! Additional 2010 dates: April 21, July 21 & Sept. 15.

Mark your calendar for future events & click on the link below to RSVP.


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Wine Tasting Wednesday evening the 20th of January, 2010 from 5:00 PM until 6:30 PM at Austin Wine Merchant: Bandol Wines, LLC

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Host:
Type:
Network:
Global
Start Time:
Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 8:00pm
End Time:
Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12:00am
Location:
Mellow Mushroom
Street:
2426 Guadalupe

Description

Come out to our Pre-DownTown GetDown..
FREE BEER! Provided by Mellow Mushroom!
Free tunes by Benzo&Matteo!
Party ends at 12am.


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ADELANTE'S PRE-LE GARAGE SALE SALE


Map
Winter merchandise 50-75% off. Select shoes and boots 50-75% off. Select jewelry 30-50% off. *Hint Hint: Sign up for our email list on our website to receive a coupon for an additional discount!

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And don't forget!

Austin le garage sale Fall and Winter 2009/10

When:
Saturday January 30, 2010. 12 noon – 5 pm.
Sunday January 31, 2010. 12 noon – 5 pm.

Where:
Palmer Events Center
900 Barton Springs Rd.,
Austin, Tx, 78704
View Map

Admission:
$10 per person per day OR a 2 day pass is available for $15 per person.
Under 16 is free of charge.

Parking:
Palmer Events Center has multi-level covered parking attached to the building. It is $7.00 per car per day. You may enter and exit that day.

FREE parking is located at One Texas Center on the southwest corner of south first and Barton Springs. Weekends only.

Food and Drinks
There is a Starbucks counter with your favorite coffees, teas and hot chocolates (no frappucinos tho!!) as well as snacks, sandwiches, salads, etc. There is also a full bar.

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SOOO excited about the Modern Home Tour!!
The 3rd Annual Modern Home Tour is right around the corner and we’re excited to let you know that the full list of homes on the tour will be available on Monday, January 11! The Modern Home Tour is on Saturday, January 30 from Noon – 6:00 pm and is presented by Launch787 and the Good Life Team.
Tickets are on sale now through the website [ http://www.launch787.com/events/tour-3/ ] for just $10 each (day of tickets are $20). Your ticket gets you access to all 15 homes on the tour and into the cocktail reception and architect’s Q&A the evening of the event.
We are also looking for volunteers interested in helping out with the Modern Home Tour. You would need to be available on Saturday, January 30 from about 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Please email us if you’re interested in volunteering.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Did you know we got a new dog?

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Now in addition to our 85 pound hunk o' love, we have a 10 pound sweetie. She was Shawner's birthday gift, and he named her Star Bear. She's Poodle and Chihuahua - a Poochie. She is house-trained, crate-trained, knows commands, learns easily, doesn't shed, is absolutely adorable, and loves her Shawners.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Warm, Lazy Winter Day

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With all the cold weather brewing I thought a little sunshine was necessary.








These are from a warm winter Texas day a few weeks ago... the kind I'm looking forward to having after this cold weather blows over. The best part of the day? Justinbustin falling in the lake shortly after this last picture was taken. He rode home in a bathing suit and daddy's sweater.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy New Year!

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I have already done SO much in the New Year I can't believe it! Of course I want to go over my 2009 resolutions but those will just have to wait. For now it's Free Week Austin!! If you haven't heard about this fabulous yearly Austin event go check it out now. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Yes, you read all those shows right. Free after free after free. At AWESOME venues like Emo's, Stubb's, and Mohawk. Brando and I were able to experience Stubb's for the first time on Saturday for no cover

to watch the bands The Side Show Tragedy

and Black Bone Child. Brando is in love with The Side Show Tragedy's sound. I love the civil war feeling of their song "Lady in Waiting".

I really enjoyed Black Bone Child's sound. Plus they were pretty to look at. One of the players got down on his knees in the first song and seemed to be staring right into my eyes!! Now I'm sure the band members don't see much into the crowd when they are up there playing so hard, but it sure made me nervous and I tucked a little more behind Brando. I thought it was interesting how they had the energetic and fun pretty boy, aka tall, Edward hair, and handsome (notice how Edward hair replaced dark), in the middle of the stage, even though he sang backup for most songs. The lead singer was off to stage right, literally slightly out of the spotlight. Oooh, but his voice was smoooth.

As a sidenote, I enjoyed BBC's music much more live than I enjoy the music on their website, though I'm getting into that as well, especially "Watch it Burn".

In between sets we sat on the few steps near the emergency exit to rest our not used to standing in one place all night feet.

Next time we'll try standing and/or sitting up in the balcony portion which connects with the restaurant that is Stubb's BBQ and see how it sounds from up there.

We weren't hot at ALL on the third band that played, White Rhino, but that's okay, two out of three is perfect.

Perfectly satisfied, we headed to Emo's to check out Harlem.

Because, hey, it was FREE. Had to throw that in there one more time.

After they finished fooling around and setting up, they started playing and we discovered they had a decent sound. Apparently they are Austin's baby, and, while we enjoyed their music, I'm not quite sure why. The lead singer was out of it leaning up against a pole to rub his eyes with his arms. Granted, as a friend explained, it was late in the night and they may've been partying previously. She also described them as a hipster band, although I'm not sure what hipster means. Although their style and that of the crowd suspiciously reminds me of the 70s. They did put on a FUN and entertaining show though - very interactive and humorous with the audience. I can definitely see going to check them out again. Either way, by that time our legs and feet were hurting, and I'm pretty sure we were getting high by breathing the smoke in the crowd, so we listened to a few songs then took off.

I am so loving discovering Austin live music with my hubby! Oh, and MUCH better photos to come when Brando gives me his photos. Including photos of Edwardian Black Bone Child band member.

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