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August 26, 2013

Ruby Jane and Graham Wilkinson Sessions at the W Hotel

kat and I enjoyed two great performances at the Living Room Lounge at the W Hotel.  this intimate and comfortable room has a great sound and it's easily our favorite place to enjoy live music.  the only fault it may have is being TOO comfortable.  we had the luxury of a deep comfy sofa just to the side of the stage. 

living room lounge W hotel Austin

Ruby Jane:

ruby jane austin w hotel

ruby jane smith fiddle austin texas

ruby jane the sessions w hotel austin

ruby jane smith fiddle austin texas w hotel sessions

Graham Wilkinson:

graham wilkinson austin texas w hotel

graham wilkinson

graham wilkinson w hotel austin sessions

graham wilkinson living room sessions austin texas w hotel



all done with summer, capped it off with kolaches

summer break is over!  we enjoyed our last week with two trips to schlitterbahn.  I continued to work on the airstream every chance I got.  on sunday, we got kolaches. 

bmw e30 convertible

it's nice to enjoy the cool mornings with a top down trip to the kolache store. 

czech kolache poppyseed austin texas

his favorite is the traditional poppy seed kolache.  but as we are in texas, we have our own variety of kolaches.  you can get them with egg and chorizo, several jalapeno styled kolaches and even a refried bean and egg kolache. 

refried bean and egg kolache texas

lonestar kolache bee caves rd

eanes elementary

all three kids are in school this year. 

August 19, 2013

Trace ice cream social, happy hour at Olive & June

another slow and quiet week at AMH.  I was busy rebuilding cabinetry in the vintage airstream in anticipation of a quick camping trip.  Kat pledged to work both Saturday and Sunday in preperation to take off work monday, for the camping trip.  I spent the weekend working in the hot aluminum camper (airstream).  but, something came up at work and we had to cancel the trip.  resulting in a week without an end... 

I did manage a short break to run the boys down to the W Hotel Restaurant, TRACE.  they hosted an  ice cream social benefiting Safe Place.  we brought in some school supplies to donate, they set us loose on the ice cream buffet.

Executive Pastry Chef Janina O'Leary had many delicious frozen treats for us to enjoy.  we really appreciated the hospitality, the people at TRACE always treat us well. 

janina o'leary executive pastry chef trace austin w hotel ice cream social

trace austin w hotel ice cream social

trace ice cream social janine o'leary pastry chef w hotel austin

austin willie statue acl w hotel

#2 son saw some tourists taking pics with Willie.  then he asked me to take his picture.

olive & June happy hour austin

we took my mom out for her birthday.  enjoyed antipasti and cocktails at Olive & June.

olive & june antipasti happy hour

antipasti and all cocktails are 1/2 price till 6:30.  trust me when I say, it's a bargain!  everything exceeded my expectations.

olive & june austin italian antipasti happy hour

olive & june pork belly crostini austin

we are starting to think about school.  one more week of summer.

back to school clothes 2013 knee patch

of course he had holes in the knees of his levis.  I patched them. 

August 12, 2013

triple digit heat abated by regular swims, and NIWeek convention

Water X4: 

the HOT part of summer is here, tripple digit heat!  we managed to dip in four different swim hole/pool. 

deep eddy pool floppy hat girl austin

Deep Eddy is the oldest pool in texas.  it's spring fed. 

the daughter finally found the perfect floppy hat.  we searched all over two hawaiian islands to find just the right one, and finally found it here in austin texas. 

barton springs austin tx

Barton Springs is also spring fed (we went to the free area just beyond the pool).  although it may appear that beer consumption is ok, it's not.  don't go drinking beer there just because everybody else is. 

officer Hernandez just might jump out of the brush and make you put your beverage in the trash.  you have been warned. 

barton springs austin tx

blanco river wimberley drought level

blanco river, our private river park. 

we also managed to fit another trip to schlitterbahn in this past week.  four swims in seven days, not too hot at all. 


bubblepalooze at the long center austin tx

they had bubbles, booths and bands.  but it was WAY TOO HOT to spend much time there. 

austin ice cream social food truck

mostly, we snacked from food trucks in the shade.  the poblano brownie ice cream was the best thing we had.  it made the effort worth while.  now, I want to try their peanut butter mole ice cream.  make sure you stop and sample some cold treats from the ice cream social truck if you can find it. 

we escaped the heat making the best of tax-free weekend, clothes shopping at the mall.

National Instruments Worldwide Graphic System Design Conference:

NIWeek conference worldwide graphical system design national instruments austin 2013

NIWeek was held at the Austin Convention Center.  indoor air conditioning and technology made for a good mid-week field trip.  I secured the convention badges, they read FUTURE ENGINEER.

jet car land speed record NIWeek austin

#2 son was very impressed with this rocket car attempting to break the land speed record. 

national instruments rocket car

american eagle land speed record

national instruments week austin 2013

They played with flying machines, optical devices, robots (both lego and humanlike), and they filled their pockets with typical convention crap (LED flashlights, frisbees, stylus pens etc).

crash test dummy boy high five

We still go to the Hills three to four times a week, in pursuit of health, wellness and all....

the hills health club gym austin west lake hills

...indoors and out. 

the hills club westlake jogging trail

August 04, 2013

black party, white party, we do them all.


black party noir bazaar xx austin

we attended a party hosted by XX (Dos Equis)

bazaar noir xx

they had a variety of entertainment, drinks and eats.  we were each given a card to be taken around to four stations to get a punch after some new experience. 

bazaar noir xx austin

the fortune teller girl had a variety of flavors, spicy sweet etc. 

bazaar noir xx austin llama flank

this voo-doo gypsy guy served us some llama flank.  we also had beaver taco at another station. 

chinese girl at the bazaar noir xx austin party

yeah, that's kinda funny.  she gave us a shooter of uni (sea urchin) and raw quail egg. 

bazaar noir xx band

the band was pretty good. 

bazaar noir austin dos equis

the dancers were pretty good. 

bazaar noir xx party austin

"AUSTIN!!!  are you horny tonight?" (nobody responded, just the sound of people chatting and shuffling about.  she repeated the question)

"AUSTIN!!!  are you HORNY TONIGHT!!"  this time there were audible groans and a few unenthusiastic "noooo".  she left it like that.  people in austin might be a bit jaded.  not going to fall for the old "are you horny?" type of pandering. 

it was fun. 


white linen second district austin

White Linen night was sponsored by Tito's Vodka.  many of the shops and galleries in the 2nd street district were open with free drinks.  we enjoyed a pineapple and jalapeno (with Tito's) at the Big Ass Canvas Gallery.

then we went to the afterparty at Bonneville.

white linen afterparty austin bonneville 

White mule!  like a Moscow Mule, but they are cucumber infused. 

bonneville austin white linen afterparty

tito's vodka white mule bonneville austin white linen party

it was a great party.  free cocktails and appetizers.  we sat at the bar and ordered the Toasted Orrecchiette Pasta: House-Made Veal Meatballs and Local Braising Greens, Veal Jus.

it was really good.  kat was surprised by how much she enjoyed it.  I'd easily recommend it. 

white linen after party austin bonneville

I made a new friend.  this is how I do it: the bartender asked if I was OK.  I replied, we're thirsty, and so are my friends (motioned to the girls next to me).  he came back with four white mules and the girls were very impressed.  yeah, I can impress girls with free cocktails all day/night long. 

bonneville austin kitchen

I like to peek in the kitchen, I got caught. 


carillon austin kid dinner

we took the kids to eat at Carillon.  they no longer do happy hour.  we enjoyed it all the same. 

carillon austin escolar

escolar above, an amazing dessert below made from olive oil, sponge cake and bacon brittle. 

oilive oil gelato sponge cake carillon


August 01, 2013

Franklin Barbecue, THE best? or too big for their smoker (capacity)

Franklin Barbecue, Austin TX:  this place has quickly become known as THE best barbecue... more potential customers arrive every day.  I say potential, because some will not have the chance to get in.  they sell out, every day, six days a week.

Franklin Barbecue Austin TX

It's not a big place.  and it came from even humbler beginnings. 

franklin barbecue trailer food austin

just a few years ago (2009), Franklin opened for business out of this trailer. 

Franklin, our first attempt....

long line at Franklin barbecue austin bbq

they open at 11AM, we arrived at 11AM to find this line.  about 10 minutes later, a Franklin girl gave us the bad news, they expect to sell out before they get this far back in line.  we were 45 people behind the last man expected to get brisket. 

line at franklin barbecue chairs and umbrellas

we were better prepared our second attempt.  we brought chairs, umbrellas, water, a book...  and we arrived earlier, 9AM.

the staff at franklin did their best to make us comfortable.  they wheeled out a big fan, a giant igloo cooler filled with ice water with paper cups.  about every fifteen minutes somebody would come out and remind us "please stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and just come inside if you need to use the bathroom".

around 10:30 a girl came out to ask everybody what, and how much they planned to order.  she was trying to caclulate the point should they cut the line off.  to save the people at the back from waiting for NO brisket.  we had made the cut!  at this point, we may have been wilting in the August heat, but we knew we were getting Franklin barbecue.

and closer to 11, they started selling beer, top chico and bottled waters to people in line. 

we watched as people that had large pre-orders haul out huge boxes of barbecue.  pre orders have a 5 lb minimum and must be picked up before opening. 

hours long wait at franklin barbecue austin

the line jumped forward when they opened.  by 11:45 we were close to the front door.  a good portion of people in line were repeat customers.  clearly, people are willing to endure hardships for this barbecue.  there was also a good portion of foodie tourists, out of state tags on cars and a hotel shuttle bus dropped people off. 

franklin barbecue austin interior inside

by noon, we were enjoying the air conditioning.  #1 son said "it smells SO GOOD IN HERE!  I can smell the FOOD!"

franklin barbecue austin dining room

12:15 and we were near the order/slicer guy.  I observed many people ordering many pounds of brisket at a time, loading up coolers to haul out. 

frankling barbecue austin tx slicer

we got 1.5 lb of brisket, two ribs and a half lb of turkey.

franklin barbecue austin ribs bbq tx

I can say that was THE best rib from a restaurant I ever had.  my wife said they were just as good as my ribs.  I need to make that girl some ribs. 

franklin barbecue austin tx brisket bbq

I have never had better brisket.  I can't go as far to say it was the best I've ever had... I also like that brisket at Salt Lick and Rudy's.  the girl next to us in line did not share my brisket opinion.  she was confident that Franklin is better than Salt Lick or Rudy's, "when you get FRANKLIN, IT'S like Christmas!".  really, that is what she said, drueling and spraying a bit as she spoke. 

brisket from Franklin barbecue austin texas bbq

as I updated our progress via FB status, it was clear that some people blame Franklin for the line hardship to sample his smoked meats. the question I often received afterward, "was it worth the wait?"

I can't really answer that question.  the price I paid Franklin for the meat was comparable to my other two favorite barbecue places.  it's all the other people that want to get Franklin that caused the line.  and the lines appear to be getting longer.  several people in line said this was the longest line they'd ever seen.  The positive press for Franklin seems to be increasing.    

barbecue is not like other food and franklin doesn't consider himself a chef.  smoked brisket is a laborious process.  each brisket smokes for 18-20 hours.  so each brisket takes a whole day.  the space in each smoker is finite.  he can't simply stuff more brisket into the smoker. 

when they sell out each day, they are already prepping the briskets for the next.  these smokers are wood fired and need constant supervision.  one guy stays late, and then Aaron Franklin comes in at 1:45 AM to start his day. 

when Franklin first made the leap from trailer to brick and mortar building, they stayed open till 4 pm.  as their reputation grew, they started selling out earlier and earlier every day.  the posted hours now read "open 11 AM till sold out".  they always sell out. 

Franklin has made good effort to keep up with demand, they doubled the size of their smoker in 2011.  the new double capacity smoker is 20 ft long every day, there are about 37 Franklin briskets released into the world of foodies and barbecue fans.  each brisket can feed 10-15 people.  today, I got a chunk off one of 'em.   

as the legend grows, and the positive press seems to continue to roll in, I expect the line situation will get worse before it gets better.  I wonder if Mr. Aaron Franklin has looked at the old Artz Rib house location...  that would be a larger location (and closer to me).  I suspect they have their current facility operating at maximum capacity. 

would I go back and do it again?  not in August!  maybe I'll be up for it again, in fall or winter. (UPDATE: I went back to Rudy’s and their brisket was nowhere near as good as Franklin)