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April 25, 2011

amh crawfish boil 2011


mudbugs austin tx 

32 lb of some good sized and lively mudbugs.  we found out the day before our boil that our athentic lousiana crawfish cooking/eating friends were not coming this year.  so we somehow had 32 lb of crawfish and very few real crawfish eaters.  we rolled up our sleeves and took control of these mudbugs ourselves.  I once lived in louisiana, I can surely boil some bugs and I know kat was looking fwd to eating them.  it was ON!

little girl frightened by louisiana crawfish

they were HUGE and feisty too.

trio / flight of cava

he brought three bottles of Cava for a flight style tasting.

cava tasting

"I like this one, oh, I like this one even more"  and so it went.  we concluded that additional tastings may be in order to figure a clear favorite. 

sizing them up

this was sort of like a height comparison, or shortness comparison. 

who is the shortest

not a lot of height going on over here.  (excluding jason)

32 lb of live crawfish

big crawfish 2011

the big bug was hopeful it could latch onto that big ol' nose.

governor pardons crawfish, receives second chance at life

the governor pardoned a few crawfish.  they were given a small chance at a new life in the lower koi pond; mostly snails tadpoles and dragonfly bugs down there.

crawfish feast in austin

after the first batch of bugs, we boiled some small red potato and green beans.  SPICY AND GOOD!  also had some steamed artichoke.

 second pot of crawfish

the final batch!  kat wore her "crawfish eating robot" shirt.  she actually found that shirt while cleaning up the rio frio!  some of the best things in life are free. 

crawfish boil west lake hills tx

while we had our own party, the kids each had friends over for swimming and PS3 fun.  rinsing off in the outdoor shower after the pool portion of fun.

crawfish eating robots

we moved into the screen room and the two champion crawfish eaters sat with a mountain between them.  I rarely heard a word from that end of the table.  just the crunching sounds of shells at a steady robotic pace.  until....

crawfish mostly gone, robots are full

they worked that giant pile down to just a few and finished them. 


 bacon blue cheese rolls

my contribution, rolls filled with crispy bacon, red pepper flake and blue cheese.  when they came out of the oven I drizzled a bit of honey over the top.  a small peek of the finished product can in a pic above (4th from top)

multicolored early econoline van ford 1965

making good progress on the van!

flat black early econoline van

rat rod early econoline

kat discovered shiner ruby redbird seasonal beer

kat discovered shiner's seasonal offering, Ruby Redbird.  made with texas red grapefruit and ginger.  I've read some very mixed reviews of this beer, but kat loved it.  looking forward a tasty summer of it. 

easter a go-go's

easter peeps

we have real easter peeps!  we have a nest of baby birds in an oak tree right by our dining table. 

butler park bike training

easter morning had us at butler park, letting the kids get some flat ground bike time in.  #1 son needed a bike confidence boost after last weekend's crash.  all the running around the park stirred a thirst and hunger. 

easter bunny at hooters

we found the easter bunny at hooters!  she gave the kids easter eggs.  wings were buy ten get ten free and shiner was $5 a pitcher.  thank you easter bunny!

easter egg hunt at kathy's house

then we had our annual easter stop at kathy valentine's house.  my friends in dallas are excited to have tickets to see kathy's band (the go-go's) this summer at the house of blues.  but this day was all about hunting eggs.

#2 son found a dog that played ball with him.

and a trampoline.

egg hunt 2011

the older two kids were all buzzed up on dreams of golden and jeweled egg treasure.  the daughter had found the golden egg last year.  she handed her golden egg knowledge down to her brother but this year yielded no golden egg for us.  but that didn't stop them from having fun and #2 son was satisfied after he found a giant lollipop.

sugar up the baby


cascarone head

then it was back to austin modhouse for some pool party, watermelon shakers and an easter salmon feast. 

watermelon shakers amh 2011

the WM shaker fixin's

shake then pour

and they always taste better when shaken and poured by a pretty girl.

easter salmon feast

fantastic salmon dinner in the screened room.  kat was happy to be able to use jalapeno from our garden (on the cheesy toast) and yard grown nasturtium flowers in the salad. 

empty table

and just like that, another fabulous weekend was over. 

zombie baby

April 18, 2011

locked up tight and a return to RBI

we made the first friday red bud island trip of 2011.

red bid isle kayak put in 

launching the kayaks

red bud island tradition

we kept our tradition of "what happens on RBI stays on RBI"  the kids were allowed to slam as many zingers/twinkies along with jugs of lemonade or soda.  we dumped a few beers down the hatch. 

happy boys on red bud island

swan attack at red bud isle

the swan looked so graceful in the evening light, then it attacked my kayak.

rbi attack swan

we spent the weekend at our wimberley off-grid project.  kat took the kids to the butterfly festival while I closed up a bunch of small projects.  it felt good too!  the perfect weather helped.

wimberley off grid cabins are locked

kat installed the dead-bolt and hand-set.  I adjusted the door frames till they fit with the locks.  this is the first time we've been able to lock the doors when we leave.

bathroom door works

the composting toilet works great!

trimming the big oak

kat clipped a bunch of suckers from the big oak by the cabins.  they are doing so well since we removed the cedars.

oak grove wimberley

some friends came down for dinner at marco's italian in the wimberley square.  we always ask to sit outside when the kids are with us.  marco wasn't too crazy about our choice but I think it was for the best as we let them run and play like wild animals while we sit around and have deep philosophical conversation about really important stuff. 

wild wimberley kids

 marco's italian

don't they look cute.

courtyard dining at marco's wimberley

food and service was good.  we'll be back.

sleep loft

#1 son climbing up to the sleeping loft in the tall cabin.

went on a bike ride the next morning, #1 son crashed pretty early into it.

big bandaids on knees

I rode back to the cabin to get the first aid kit.  kat bandaged him up and we left his bike on the side of the road and let him climb on the back of mine.  (his bike was still there when we went back for it later.)

whole family on bike

then I had two passengers on my bike!  that'll show me to laugh at those people on the travel channel that put the whole family on a small scooter.  we rode to the general store and let #1 son get an ice cream treat.  he had a quick recovery after that. 

cinnamon bacon jalapeno pancakes

we love the brunch at the santa rita cantina.  those crispy-bacon jalapeno and cinnamon pancakes are SO good.  and kat's huevos motulenos were also good.

santa rita brunch

we let kids run like wild animals in austin

but the best meal we had last week....

oakville cabernet tasting

we met some friends at fabi+rosi for their austin restaurant week offering.  at $25 per person pre-fixe it was one of the cheaper options for ARW.  I'll have to say it was also the best meal we had in a good while.  the food was great, the service was good and it took us FOUR minutes to get there from here, four minutes door to door!  they allow you to bring your own wine so we brought a sampling of cabernet from oakville.  we dined for three hours, the time flew by!  we had so much fun and that was only monday night. (I opted not to drag the big camera, no food pics, very dim in that place)

pizza sauce prep

the pic above was my prep work for pizza at home night.  I first tossed the mushrooms in olive oil and sea salt.  I roasted all the items above for almost three hours at about 300.  the mushrooms got all crispy.  I peeled the toms and put the roasted onions and tomato into the osterizer with some garlic and olive oil.  that made the most delicious pizza sauce (below).  I topped the pizza with provolone and the crunchy mushrooms.

after osterization

kristi yamaguchi wax museum figure

the daughter was kristi yamaguchi for the school live wax museum. 

April 11, 2011

yelp drinks week and potluck party pinata

reader, I must admire your patience.  what started as a modern-green home construction blog seems to be focusing on food and beverage...  with the occasional home project thrown in here and there, and some cars and bars and live music...  pretty asian girls too.  but all that variety is what makes life interesting.

this past week was yelp drinks week.  yelp works with some of the top beverage purveyors to offer their signature cocktails at discounted prices for a week, like happy hour, all the time, all week. 

we met a group of yelp friends at imperia...

green tea martini at imperia

austin yelp at imperia

they shuttled out several plates of dim-sum appetizers and sushi for us to enjoy.  thank you imperia!

bad service at belmont austin

then we agreed to go to the belmont.  unfortunately they were very inhospitable to us there, so we left (full story here)

 betsy's bar austin

we walked around the corner to betsy's bar.  fun place but the top-40 country music was a bit too loud for my liking.  at least they were hospitable to us.

shake it!

we enjoyed watching her shake those drinks.  they offered a tito's and pickle juice drink, tasted a lot like a dirty martini, only $2!  also had good micheladas.

betsy's sofa space

plenty of sofa space for casual conversation.

super lounging

if lounging was an olympic sport, this would be your gold medal winning team. 

then kat announced: "it's time to go", so she and I hit the street.

frost bank building

"she wears her sunglasses at night..."  (girl on the street sang that to kat)  "blublockers actually work well at night" kat replied.

korean bbq burrito

after walking off those drinks, we topped off the tank with a korean spicy kimchi chicken burrito complete with runny egg.  that is some good late night eating!


yelp austin potluck

yelp folks love some good food and drink.  everything at the yelp potluck was delicious.  somebody even brought moet chandon white star.

kite flying at travis country park

the kids flew kites and ran around being kid-like.

yelp cupcake pinata

even the pinata was food themed.  we gave our visually impaired friend first whack at the pinata.  she was a bit surprised to find she was given a real baseball bat as the tool for which to strike it.  felt up her opponent and .....

killed the party pinata

BAM!  she knocked it down on her first attempt! 

pinata violence

I have some pinata repair experience, poked a new hole to fabricate a new attachment point and we strung it back up.  #1 son was ready for his shot.

confident pinata killer

#1 son was feeling confident...


he got some good hits.

pinata whacker

knocked it down on his third swing.

pinata spills guts

he quickly filled his pockets with candy, the adults scrambled to scoop up all the condoms.  I assured them that condoms have no effects on children that have already been born, but it made the adults feel better to hide them.  all the kids could see was whoppers and tootsie rolls... 


honeycomb and cheese at jeffrey's austin

we went to happy hour and artist's reception at Jeffrey's.  our friend caroline wright is showing there.  it was also the first night of austin restaurant week (similar to yelp drinks week, but fine dining oriented)  so we stayed for dinner (jeffrey's austin restaurant menu link here).

pretty girl

cruispy oysters at jeffrey's austin

crispy oysters were fantastic!  kat enjoyed her quail leg confit.  everything was fantastic.

jeffrey's austin

jeffrey's austin, Foie Gras Torchon

I don't like sweet desserts after dinner, maybe after lunch is OK, but not before bed time.  this foie gras torchon with pickled pear puree and vanilla salt was an excellent savory option for me.  kat enjoyed the passionfruit & white chocolate semifreddo with warm hazelnut torte & creme anglaise.

negro modello draft beer glass

quick tip: casa chapala has negro modello on tap!  used a groupon for lunch there.  kat also liked their menudo and the nopales salad. 


freshly whipped cream

HP made an amazing strawberry pie, not too sweet!  topped it with freshly whipped cream.  doesn't get any better than that.

and since kat and I have been dining out more than usual, I'm passing the torch on the salad dressing duty.  we make fresh dressing every meal, daughter is learning vinaigrette. 

nomadic notions bead necklace craft

picked up some beads from nomadic notions, daughter made herself a new necklace.

watch out, he's gotta knife

don't mess with the baby...

April 04, 2011

rat rods and some eats, lonestar roundup on soco.

this weekend was the annual lonestar roundup.  we spent two afternoons walking around soco (south congress) watching the cars, watching the people, and we managed to sneak in a few bites of food and maybe a margarita or two as well.

rat-rad lonestar roundup 2011

many cool rat rods

rat-rod on south congress

hotrod on soco

rusty ratrod hotrod

some cool resto-rods

lonestar roundup 2011 jo's coffee

and regular hot rods

hughes aircraft seat hotrod

the seat was tagged "hughes aircraft company"

huge convertible black cadillac

orange and white plymouth fury at lonestar roundup

I loved this orange fury, had this wild chrome trim package, even has one piece that runs down the center of the trunk.  its gauge cluster floated above the dash like a pod.  very cool.  I'm a sucker for orange.

plymouth fury lonestar roundup south congress

 vintage vans meet

met up with an early econoline guy in town for the event.  from the vintagevans.com 

guero's chips and salsa

guero's has pretty good chips and salsa and the margaritas are no joke.

child eats chips like animal at guero's

he ate the chip crumbs like a kitty.  look mom, no hands!



we experienced a bit of performance art on the crowded south congress sidewalk

sad knee/happy knee

one knee expressed his joy of being free, the other was an illustration of the frustration brought on by the redundancies of life.  this street artist captured the human experience on his knee caps with great style and enthusiasm.

the end

he concluded the performance with a simulated retreat back into the womb.  note the girl with a big giant iphone (ipad2) recording the finale.


zandunga sangria

we had an amazing meal at zandunga.  the salsa is spicy, it must be real spicy because we have developed a bit of asbestos palate.  the sangria, I'd say it is clearly the best in town, possibly anywhere.  margarita also scored high marks.  veronica (one of the owners) was also nice enough to stop by to say hello.

nopales salad at zandunga

kat loves a good nopales salad.  the lobster tacos were also very good, but slightly salty.

 thu tran inspired dinner

cooked a meal at home, inspired by thu tran's recipe she posted to her blog.  I have a thing for thu, kat says she has a potty mouth.  I'm Ok with thu's mouth the way it is.  ok, I used dried shiitake mushrooms and haricot vert (small fancy green beans) instead of radishes and sugar snap peas, but it turned out well.  in fact I made it twice this past week.

fermented bean curd improves everything

#2 son added a bit of fermented bean curd to the dish.


while cruising soco, we had some super fresh seafood from perla's

grilled oysters at perla's

those oak grilled oysters were so good she had to post a pic.

bay scallop posole verde at perla's

this bay scallop posole verde was DELICIOUS!

and the #2 son had a birthday:

shrimp fried rice, general tso's chickn and hot and sour soup

has favorite foods, rice, general Tso's chicken (ordered spicy) with some hot and sour soup.

pop-up book bug scares child

he got books for his birthday, he got scared by the pop-up book bug and jumped back

doc's back yard brodie beers

met some friends at doc's back yard for happy hour.  they have added this giant playground to the back yard.  a few places in town have figured this out, have a huge beer garden area along side a huge play-scape and the families will come.  everybody gets happy.

doc's back yard playscape

you would think this back yard play-scape was out in the country.  but this shopping center replaced a real working farm.  they left the barn and one corner of farmland.  this pocket of green farm space is surrounded by typical strip mall big box stores, home depot, petco, dsw etc etc.  I think I like the idea of this oasis, beers were cheap too.  I just wish the food wasn't centered on fried things.

hudson's on the bend smoked elk back strap

also had a nice meal at hudson's on the bend.  their proteins are fantastic, the smoked elk back-strap was fork tender and the pecan crusted trout delicious.  if you've ever eaten at "the mighty cone" or their food at acl festival, the trout is just like that.  they have it down to a science.  but they dropped the ball on the wine pairings.  no real effort was made, the wines were ok.  our server poured a california pinot noir, I asked with region and her answer was "I don't know".  shouldn't you know what you serve/pour?  she later gave us "grah-notcha" wine with our dessert, oh well.

swim spa is 100% operational

the swim spa is all fixed!  the new liner fits well and I fought the flow speed adjustment valve to R&R it.  everything works like new again!