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December 30, 2014

Dallas, Day after Christmas and Nobu

Dec 26th, we drove into Dallas (as we often do). We managed to find parking at Northpark and did some browsing of high end kitchen and bath fixtures at Pirch (we plan to build a house to justify this browsing). We also found some good sales at some clothing stores.

pirch dallas northpark mall shopping center

le meridien stonleigh dallas bar food  

The kids loved the food served in the lobby bar at the Le Meridien Stoneleigh. They were happy to take any meal they could there at the hotel.

le meridien dallas stoneleigh bar  

A few friends from way back stopped by to say hello while we lounged the bar area.  

The location of the Hotel was great for us, but our room was a bit dated and not as pretty as shown on their website. Lobby, Restaurant and Bar area are beautiful.  

nobu dallas 

We enjoyed a nice dinner at Nobu.  

infused sake from nobu dallas 

sushi nobu dallas 

sashimi dallas nobu 

Everything was pretty and tasted well. I like it.  

nobu dallas sake 

Christmas bucket invasion

schuster bros.

My brother is on leave and visiting from Hawaii for the holidays. 

12 gauge bull's eye 

My Dad lives in a rural area, where it's OK to shoot guns in the back yard. We noticed these buckets were closing in on us, possible ambush was put to an end. 

shoot the bucket 

bucket shot 

shotgun 

fireball shot 

They had Fireball shots... it's not my thing (a lesson I've learned too many times). 

shots 

akita dog 

Like a living Teddy bear. 

akita kiss 

mifi hotspot for christmas thanks santa 

Everybody got exactly what they asked for, even the hotspot... Thanks Santa! 

nerf laser tag guns 

christmas pearls 

Santa was even good to those who refused to ask for anything this year. 

fried turkey oil temp gun 

Time for the fried turkey. We took turns monitoring the oil temp till it hit 380, killed the flame and dropped the bird.  

christmas fried turkey oil temp gun 

dropping the turkey fried hot oil 

golden fried turkey cajun spiced 

It came out golden, spicy, moist and crispy... another good one! 

 

December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Festivus for the Rest of Us...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from us to you.

schuster family of austin texas 2014 

The Annual Christmas Card Photo Shoot is done.

we also recreated an old favorite....

schuster family of austin 2009 

Photo taken Fall of 2009 (above) and Fall 2014 version (below)

schuster family of austin texas 2014 

(BIG) 

 

Honky Tonk Holidaze with Wild Bill and Krapmus too.

karl krampus abgb wild bill

The boys wanted to make sure they were close enough to get a good view of Santa and Krampus.

wild bill Austin I shuck fit up 

(BIG) 

karl krampus and wild bill austin honky tonk holidaze

(BIG) 

karl krampus and wild bill austin honky tonk holidaze 2014 abgb 

krampus christmas austin 2014 

wild bill's honky tonk holidaze 2014 abgb 

(BIG) 

wild bill's honky tonk holidaze 2014 abgb austin 

(BIG) 

remember to support your local musicians so they too can have a Christmas (or Festivus for the rest of us, or whatever) http://www.reverbnation.com/lostknobs

Christmas Holiday Party week, 2014

bennis eanes

Eanes Polar Express Parade 

eanes polar express  

I helped #2 son make his Polar Express train car. 

eanes polar express 

I asked him if he'd enjoyed the parade and I got "IT WAS HORRIBLE! NOBODY RECOGNIZED ALL OUR HARD WORK!" uh...OK... 

We enjoyed a couple dinner parties hosted by friends, #2 son managed to find himself in the middle of a bunch of girls. He seemed to be happy with that... 

peche saint 75 austin  

Kat's annual firm party was fun. She works with a bunch of genuinely nice people. 

 

Exchanged gifts with my Mom before she left for Nebraska. 

 

The older two were very happy with the books they got from their Uncle David. 

christmas disappointment 

#2 son was not so enthused, "A BOOK!?" He later admitted, "OK, it DOES have one of my favorite stories" 

HCMS beginner orchestra 2014

#1 son played viola with the HCMS beginner orchestra.

 

Eichler was a good dog

 

eichler the boxer blanco river wimberley fall 

Eichler in the Blanco river, November 2011 

eichler poem on a dog biscuit

I wrote a "POEM" on a dig biscuit, and my dog refused to look at it...

Photo of Eichler July 2010

 

Back in June (2014), the Vet gave us the bad news, Eichler had a tumor on her heart. I took her to a specialist who gave her 2-6 weeks if we didn't do chemo. I asked several questions and spoke with another owner who had explored chemo and we came to understand it would make her miserable, and might extend her life three to six months. It didn't sound like a good fit for our princess. We chose to make her as comfortable as possible and care for her as long as we could. Kat gets extra credit for all the hours of love and attention she applied to keep Eichler comfy and clean. Eichler seemed to thrive on the chicken dinners and naps in the sun. She'd started to favor spending her time outdoors, sleeping under an oak tree.

eichler the boxer austin

But this last week she could no longer walk.  We had had run out of solutions and she was no longer comfortable.

eichler 2005-2014 

She spent her last day in bed, outside.

Eichler: July 4th 2005-Dec 20th 2014 

 

December 15, 2014

Quiet Company Holiday House Show 2014

Quiet Company had their annual holiday house party here again.

quiet company house show potluck

Not that many people brought real food offerings to share this year. I provided a beef tenderloin that managed to evaporate almost immediately. I had one bite... I probably should've eaten more food.... 

white elephant gift exchange

The White elephant exchange had the usual mix of gag gifts, duds and a few gems. #1 son was happy to secure the Minecraft poster.  

sphere zinfandel lodi 

white elephant gift exchange zombie baby quiet company band 

Cory got a zombie baby. 

 

and somehow Bruce (the real baby) was in the white elephant exchange. He wasn't sure what to make of all that... 

sabrina squishes fruit quiet company band party 

 

french 75 austin 

We had a few French 75s (gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne) 


Quiet Company sounded great this year.  

quiet company is a band from austin texas  

quiet company band house party austin  

With no dinner in me, and a few French 75s flowing... Gin and Champagne cocktails were probably not a good idea... hit me hard they did!

 

Holiday Lights, the Trail of and Mozart's Coffee Roaster

austin trail of lights 2014

I'm pretty good at planning ahead, we purchased a Trail of Lights parking permit earlier in the week. We got there early, followed the signs that read "Parking Permit Left Lane, Buses Right Lane". So I drove in the left lane, found that the regular parking area was blocked off so I turned around and headed back. Then some guy jumped out in front of us with a flashlight and told us the park was closed for the trail of lights. I explained that we had a parking permit, was following the signs. He ended up making us leave the park, on the other side... with no reasonable method to get back to the parking area. It was just after 6 PM, rush hour. I had to drive through downtown, get on mopac north of the park, drive south of the park and then get in line for 20 minutes to get back to the sign "Parking Permit Left Lane..." we lost nearly an hour due to their lack of coordination. I was not happy, but the lights were pretty.

austin trail of lights letter to santa 2014 

The main goal of our TOL adventure, mailing the letter to Santa. 

austin trail o lights ut globe 2014 

UT had a nice exhibit. We'll be happy if they go to UT, yes that's OK with us. 

zilker trail of lights UT globe 2014 

zilker park austin trail of lights 2014 

candyland zilker austin trail of lights 

and free candy.... 

candyland trail of lights austin  

schuster zilker trail of lights austin 2014 

We also managed to find the time to see the Holiday Light Show at Mozart's Coffee Roasters

mozart's coffee roasters holiday light show

motzaarts light show coffee roasters 2014 

motzart's hot chocolate 2014 austin  

Kids enjoyed hot chocolate. 

 

HBD Kat 

AND! The Kat had a birthday, we celebrated with spicy chicken and big beers (PLUCKER'S

handmade birthday gift pluckers 

She received some hand made gifts from her family. 

 

cashmere dress birthday  

And a cashmere sweater dress.... so soft and cuddly. 

it was a busy week that also included the Quiet Company Holiday party at our home. It was SO busy, we managed to forget that we had tickets to the Nutcracker... and we had orchestra section, third row seats... this goes to prove what I often say, "it's not an official event till we make an entry in the iPhone calendar". somehow, neither of us had it in the calendar.   

December 08, 2014

December is all about getting ready...

Christmas is almost here and much of our time and thoughts are occupied with being ready.

Cyber Monday brought Christmas a little early for me...

anova sous vide

I took the discount opportunity to update to a real sous vide device. It has a high circulation, temp came up within a couple minutes and stayed steady... works great!

 

need a taller container... 

We took the two older kids to Backspace for Sunday HH.

backspace austin family dinner happy hour sunday 

half price antipasti for happy hour backspace austin 

Antipasti is half price during HH (beer and wine by the glass too) 

pizza austin backspace  

We let each of our children pick a pizza (#2 son was enjoying mac n cheese dinner at my mom's). The daughter really struggled with this, as she does any decision. We ate them both, they're all good.  Two thumbs up!

 

December 01, 2014

Roger Sellers W Hotel Austin

The wife and I snuck out last night for a bit of live music by Roger Sellers at the W Hotel Living Room Live (the last Sunday of each month). It's also worth noting the W now has Happy Hour from 7-10 PM (can I make a blog post w/o mentioning happy hour?)

roger sellers w hotel living room life austin  

First half of the show was acoustic, complete with a Phil Collins cover.  

topher sipes visual artist w hotel austin 

Topher Sipes created the projected visuals.

roger sellers is not a dj 

The second set had more knob twisting, contorting, anguish, drum banging, and lots of looping.  

roger sellers bangs a drum at the w hotel austin  

roger sellers is not a dj 

the second half was electronic, but Roger Sellers is not a DJ. 

Black Friday HH at La V

Black Friday... we slept in, I cleaned the kitchen... we bought a light fixture for the house we've not yet started construction on down in Wimberley, we napped and watched a movie.... then we put on our fancy dinner clothes and set out for La V.

schuster family at la v austin happy hour 

it's OK you can't really see #2 son as he's frowning. He often starts meals this way. Sort of like this...

#2 son has a frown at La V before Janina O'leary makes him warm brioche doughnuts 

Oh well, on with dinner. 

la v french food bread restaurant austin tx 

The complimentary bread and butter was up there with the best bread I've eaten... I love good bread and butter and my kids are in this with me (they inhaled a couple loaves) 

$6 wine at happy hour austin la v french 

$6 wine by the glass during happy hour and $8 craft cocktails. 

happy hour duck rillette la v austin 

Duck Rillette was good, reminded me a tiny terrarium.  

la v austin happy hour meatballs and polenta 

Our favorite was the Meatballs and Polenta. It was a bit salty, but this obviously didn't hinder our enjoyment as the plate was scraped clean with the bread I mentioned above 

smoked oysters la v austin happy hour 

Smoked Oysters were enjoyed by the Kat and I. 

warm brioche donuts la va austin janina o'leary 

BUT.... if you go to La V, it's a well know fact you have to order the Warm Brioche Doughnuts 

happy kids at la v austin valet parking  

and boys left happy... or high on doughnuts. #2 son is frowning no more.

Some people will tell you that La V is not a place to take children. I guess that depends on the kids... ours behaved well and certainly did appreciate the delicious food served to us. The staff was especially gracious and issued the finest service we've experienced in Austin. I look forward to another Happy Hour at La V.  

Turkey and being thankful, and the destruction of TESLA Tom

A few Thanksgiving Day Traditions must be honored...

thansgiving spaten  

the Spaten mini-keg... 

paul schuster chalkboard art thanksgiving 

I changed out the "artwork" on my chalkboard. 

austin fried turkey drop  

The lowering of the turkey into the HOT oil.

austin fried turkey  

Turkey was good, but not as good as last year. I don't think the bird of 2013 will be bested. 

austin mod house november 2014 

We had over twenty to be fed this year...  

furbo ten seat table denmark to austin 

We used our ten seat FURBO (made in Denmark) table for the occasion... and have since had second thoughts of sending it to Goodwill. Kids sat at the regular table.

furbo ten seat thanksgiving table austin 2014 

jon stevens ltd inspired salad

I curated the salad. 

deconstructiong tesla tom the thanksgiving pinata 

The destruction of TESLA Tom. I ripped the head off and tossed it into the fire. The kids quickly noticed the opportunity and in a sudden outburst of mayhem he was ripped to shreds...  

thanksgiving mayhem killing tesla tom the turkey 

turkey carcas destruction thanksgiving pinata tesla tom 

The real culinary success story of Thanksgiving 2014: Kat mastered the Kougin Amaan AND the Macaron 

asian queen of kougin amaan austin  

Kat had made the Kougin Amaan before, but she drug the process out for over a week. It was delicious, but she had time to think how to improve her method... and it worked. She was so happy that it turned out just as expected and it really wasn't that much effort. The process just requires being available all day, lots of in and out of the cooler and time for the dough to rest and rise. She put a drop of pumpkin pie filling in each. I LOVED them.  

kougin amaan homemade with pumpkin pie filling austin texas 

home made macarons austin texas 

This was her third attempt at Macarons in a week. One was undercooked, one was over cooked, but these.... these were just right.  

homemade macarons with papaya and tamarind  

I made a filling of tamarind, papaya and chili. They were a huge success. 

Kat's Thanksgiving chalkboard artwork below...

kat's chalkboard art austin thanksgiving 

(yes, if you look at mine, near the top, you may suspect we went to different art schools)