April 13, 2015

Lamby and the revolving HH game.

The annual braised lamb shank and Turnbull wine dinner.

brasied lamb shank dinner 2015

The Stilton (blue cheese) bread pudding turned out well, the salad was OK, the Brussels sprouts were unremarkable but the lamb... was delicious. It's a laborious dish that I started the day before. I braised it for two hours at 200 and another three hours at 325.

It's also fortuitous that I casually mentioned there is a banana in the braising process that ends up in the gravy. One of our guests has a banana allergy. It would be rude to poison a guest. Nobody died and we enjoyed a few bottles of Turnbull along with a nice fire. Likely the last fire till Fall.

stilton bread pudding blue cheese  

HH updates: 

little barrel and brown happy hour austin gravlox deviled eggs

Kat and I ran a few errands Saturday afternoon and stopped off at Little Barrel & Brown. They have a daily Happy Hour (including Saturday and all night on Sunday!) The Gravlax  Deviled Eggs were good, as well as the Kale Caesar Salad. I was really excited about the Duck Confit Sloppy Joe sliders, But, the sloppy joe sauce overpowered whatever the duck confit was supposed to add to the dish. I wouldn't order them again. Still, a nice comfortable place with great service and good food.

family night at strange land brewery austin west lake hills texas 

The kids had burgers from Hat Creek burger company and ate them in the tasting room of our neighborhood brewery, Strange Land.  Kegs don't make for great stools. 

yelp austin party at the contemporary tom sachs  

This was our THIRD party at the Contemporary while the Tom Sachs exhibit was there. Yelp hosted us with open bar and free food. Things just didn't feel right so we left early. 

We stepped over to Backspace. 

peroni draft at backspace austin 

The universe has a balance to it. While we had just discovered a new place that has a great weekend HH on weekends, we found that Backspace has discontinued theirs completely.

I tired to smile... I tried really hard. I sympathized with my kids, I often argue with them as I instruct "smile, smile bigger" and they get frustrated and come back at me with "I AM SMILING!" 

sort of smile  

I really felt like I was smiling... 

This was like my third or fourth attempt (above). I decided I need to go BIG but Kat wasn't looking. She was just smiling naturally.  

smile at the backspace austin 

whipped lardo bruschetta 

The Whipped Lardo with Citrus Wedge Bruschetta was really good at Backspace

April 06, 2015

Garner State Park, Easter 2015

uvalde county texas hwy 83 garner

We made it to Garner in about three hours. It was a pretty drive and the GPS took us the mostly flat route (good MPG) 

garner state park airstream  

Setup is fairly routine for us now. It took us less than fifteen minutes with (most) everybody helping.  

la barbecue brisket schmidt family austin bee cave 

Lunch the next day had us comparing La Barbecue (almost Franklin) to Schmidt Family (bee cave, tx). You can see the La Barbecue (bottom piece) is cut differently and it was much more tender.  The La Barbecue was a bit salty, where the Schmidt seemed to be under salted and a bit tough. 

We should note that the Schmidt Family BBQ ribs were excellent. Go to La Barbecue for brisket (if you can't get Franklin) and get ribs from Schmidt.  

garner rio frio clear water 2015 

The Rio Frio still runs crystal clear. 

rio frio garner state park uvalde county tx 

boton terrier marvin rio frio  

rio frio garner state park texas 


marvin the sad android boston terrier garner state park rio frio 

rock stick rio frio 

He calls this game "rock stick". 

rio frio rock stick 

old horse creek trail garner state park  

Kat and I went on an afternoon hike up the mountain.  

blood orange margarita premix 

Happy Hour at the camp! I premixed blood orange margaritas (above). 

big red soda  

He really liked the Big Red. Kat had brought it home from a SXSW party.  


the cold, drizzly, grey weather was rolling in behind them.  

canadian candle swedish torch log 

We enjoyed the last bit of warmth and sunshine to be found that weekend. The Canadian Candle/Swedish Torch was fun to try. It did burn for hours and hours, but didn't really put out much heat.  

canadian candle swedish torch log garner state park 

canadian candle swedish torch log works 

easter bunny garner state park 2015 

Easter bunny rode by and threw candy at the kids. 

easter bunny candy garner state park 2015 

campfire cheese and crackers garner april 2015 

Mostly, we spent the whole day around the fire.  

roasting marshmallows by the fire garner 

glow stick art garner light painting 

glow stick light painting art by night.  

garner light painting glow sticks 

easter egg hunt garner state park 2015 

 Easter Sunday and our camp was scattered with colorful eggs. GO! 

garner state park egg hunt easter 2015 

easter egg hunt 2015 

They got a nice haul of chocolate and Golden Dollar coins.   

1964 airstream overlander garner state park 2015 ford excursion powerstroke 

G'Bye Garner. Next time I'll remember to pack warm clothes. If the sun fails again I want to be prepared. 


March 30, 2015

NMO, Brady Blade with Anders Osborne and the North Mississippi Allstars

Our friend Brady Blade was passing through town with The North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne as N.M.O.

north mississippi allstars austin tx at the scoot inn

It was a sold out show, Brady was kind enough to put Kat and I on the guest list.  

Brady Blade with the North Mississippi Allstars Scoot Inn Austin 

I've seen many shows this year, but the level of musicianship exhibited at the Scoot Inn that night was impressive.   

north mississippi allstars scoot inn austin tx 2015  


nma at the scoot inn austin tx 

anders osborne with brady blade and the north mississippi allstars scoot inn 

anders osborne scoot inn austin tx march 28 2015 

Magical Fortune Wheel sort of Birthday for #2

#2 son has a very detailed vision of just about everything. He has his birthday party themes planned out for the next few years. For this year, he gave me very detailed instructions to build a "Fortune Wheel". I managed to meet his expectations and his Birthday Party was a success.

john o'bryant magician texas 

I also had John O'Bryant here to entertain the guests. He did a great job, we were all entertained and amazed.

magician john o'bryant birthday show 

john o'bryant magician autin san antonio birthday entertainment 

#2 son is a skeptical by nature. He told me "I know magic isn't real, it's just tricks". John did manage a levitation trick. All the while #2 son is saying, "But I feel SOMETHING IS UNDER ME". We had to show him a picture of the levitation. Don't ruin it kid, you DID levitate and that's the final say.  

john o'bryant birthday party entertainer magician 

magic show john o'bryant texs 

The balloon animal trick was my favorite. We were all amazed.  

john o'bryant austin san antonio tx party magician 


He had been telling the kids in his class about the "Fortune Wheel", and they had told their parents. There was a high level of expectation. Every spin got a prize, either a Minecraft or Puppy plush toy. Everybody got to spin twice, and they all traded so everybody was able to leave with the plush they wanted. His "Fortune Wheel" was a huge success.  

magic birthday candle 

The magic candle was quite a fireworks display, and it was fun to watch. But it didn't whistle Happy Birthday To You as we had expected. The kids were amazed (and maybe a bit afraid) all the same.  

lego birthday  

Legos are always a good fit for kids of this age. He received many.  

pluckers birthday boy 

As family tradition dictates, a celebratory trip to Plucker's was arranged later the same day. He was eager to do a chicken dance for the whole restaurant. 

plucker's birthday flap 

We pulled off a birthday celebration that was up to his standards. I'm not sure we can duplicate this level of successful party planning.


March 27, 2015

SXSW After party...Mad Tiger

To celebrate the end of ten days of constant SXSW parties, there are several Sunday after parties... The Chicken Ranch Records Mad Tiger Festival has evolved into a bit of a kids show. It was a nice sunny day in the park

mother falcon sxsw 2015 mad tiger

Mother Falcon sounded great, as always.

mother falcon sxsw 2015 mad tiger 

Peelander Z mad tiger 

Peelander Z was fun, but they had another show to run off to. They didn't perform many of our favorites, less stunts etc. (no ninja high school!?)

peelander z sxsw 2015 mad tiger 

We closed the weekend with a big sushi meal, and slept like logs...  


SXSW Saturday, final day 3-21-2015

whole foods sxsw with kids

Saturday was rainy... all rain, all day. We chose a VIP covered area party at the Whole Foods rooftop. Took the kids with us.  

whole foods sxsw 2015 kid friendly

whole food sxsw 2015 vip  

the national did not play sxsw  

vip area sxsw quantum collective whole foods sxsw 

With an entire Whole Foods at our disposal... we ate well, and drank a bottle of really good champagne.  When that bottle was done, our friend Darla would call down to the wine dept and have them ready another... this went on for a while. HEY! you got to beat those rainy day blues! 

x ambassadors whole foods sxsw 2015 

We saw several bands at Whole Foods, then we stepped over to Little Woodrow's. Ran into more friends and caught a show by Hey Marseilles

March 26, 2015

SXSW Music Thursday 3-19

That Lagunitas party was good fun... but we managed to get up and out Thursday Morning. A quick restorative lunch at La Condesa and we got in on the VIP list for the UNDER THE RADAR showcase at Flamingo Cantina.

 They'd already run out of all the free Kirin, but that might've been for the best. We had a great spot for the shows and we saw several, Jacco Gardner, SOAK, East India Youth, MEW, Of Montreal


of montreal sxsw under the radar 2015 

Of Montreal above. We closed the evening with dinner, drinks and dancing at the W Hotel. 

dancing at the w austin  

disco gnome at the w hotel austin 

Bird Peterson and my Disco Gnome got the people on their feet, which is sort of amazing at this point because the dogs should be barking by now.  

And while all this was happening... let me tell you about Laura and Lyle... 


Our friend Laura has been coming to SXSW with the hopes to meet Lyle Lovett. She stepped up her game this year, made a T-shirt and set up a twitter account in the hopes of tracking him down. So, there we are, at the W. Then Mark casually mentions, "Weird, I just ran into Lyle Lovett over at the bar" (Mark had no idea Laura was actively seeking him). Then it happened, just like that, her goal was attained.  

laura ross and lyle lovett 

It's true, the man was just right there. He was patient and polite. She was happy, we were all happy. Such happiness. (full disclosure I snagged the previous two pics from Laura's FB)

dj at the w hotel austin 

CMoore and I used Uber to get home, but some guy claiming to be our driver (in a DUNE BUGGY) picked us up, drove us half way home before we realized he had no association with UBER! We had a brief dispute about cash and how much CMoore weighs, but we made it home. Dune Buggy SHOULD'VE tipped us off he wasn't with UBER....


SXSW Music Friday 3-20

We made it out of the house by Noon, got a quick lunch at the MPress Records party. Then another quick lunch at Canada House before making our way to Brooklyn Vegan SXSW party at Red7.

We did not let the rain stop us. 

rain at the brooklyn vegan sxsw party 2015 

side note, SXSW is not a good time to get together with a bunch of different people. I have my list of bands and places to go, and it just doesn't work well with a large group that has no plan, hasn't RSVP'd or wants to get lunch some place in the opposite direction. We left the house with a plan, and we stuck to it.

single mothers at sxsw brooklyn vegan 2015 

I was sure the Single Mothers were going to break themselves. This was old-school hardcore punk. Singer was already missing front teeth and the bass player was drooling all over himself as they threw themselves around... they had more energy than we did. We all soldiered on.

After Single Mothers, we saw The Pianos Become The Teeth, Mac McCaughan and Swervedriver. 

Mac McCaughan superchunk portastatic 

I have long been a fan of SUPERCHUNK and recently fell in love with Portastatic. The highlight of the show was Mac McCaughan  solo show. However, without drums, and in the rain to a half attentive crowd that was probably there to see swervedriver, Mac had an uphill battle. He was polite and smiled as he told us "THANK YOU FOR COMING, YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!" Then he closed the set with Slack Motherfucker! It made my day.


After some more snacks at TRACE at the W Hotel, We made our way to the Stereogum Exploding in Sound Party at Hole In The Wall. The bands there were REALLY good, but the volume was too loud and distorted. I hate it when you can't understand the vocals. Baked was great, as was the other band that came on after them...

March 24, 2015

Fantastic Negrito, King Tuff at Lagunitas Brewing Party SXSW

I'll preface it this way, SXSW is not easy. It can be hard. Hard on relationships (friends, family, spouses and girlfriends and pets too), hard on the feet, hard on the ear drums, hard on the liver. But each SXSW morning, we muster the drive to get out there and do it again, because it will not wait for anybody. Lagunitas Brewing laid it out like this "Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint". Then they poured more free beer than I've ever seen in my life.

They also had one of the best acts we saw, Fantastic Negrito (videos inserted at the bottom of this post)

fantastic negrito sxsw lagunitas 

fantastic negrito sxsw lagunitas 

fantastic negrito sxsw 2015 

fantastic negrito sxsw 2015 

lagunitas brewing sxsw container bar couch tripping 

Lagunitas entertained us between sets with all sorts of gymnastics, clowns, burlesque shows... (one of the tamer pictures offered here)

king tuff lagunitas sxsw 

king tuff- from Vermont

lagunitas brewing sxsw king tuff 

Dulce Vida Barreled 3 SXSW 2015

The Barreled party by Dulce Vida is always one of our favorites. It's easy and they treat us really well. It's sort of the party, before the Music portion of SXSW really kicks it up.

Dulce Vida provided food from the best food trucks Austin has to offer, a great assortment of cocktails and beer (twisted X) and great music. The highlight was Michael Martin Murphey playing Wildfire (video at the bottom of the page). 

michael martin murphey wildfire sxsw 2015 dulce vida barreled 3 

troy brown paul schuster shreveport 

We also played in the photo booth. 

troy brown shreveport 

somebody could've told me my shirt collar was all wonky.... 

barreled 3 

barreled 3 dulce vida organic tequila sxsw



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