« January 2015 | Main | March 2015 »

February 23, 2015

Cotillion 2015 Austin Junior Assembly Candle Light Dinner

Austin Country Club Cotillion 2015

This concludes Cotillion 2015 Junior Assembly. I took the boys to their Candle Lit Dinner Dance, parents are only allowed in the last 15 minutes of the two hour event.  

austin cotillion junior assembly 2015 

cotillion austin 2015 

cotillion dance 2015 junior assembly austin 


Contemporary Austin Dinner with Tom Sachs and Toto Miranda

We enjoyed a catered dinner at the Contemporary. The food was styled after 80's NY street foods. 

tito's vodka at the contemporary austin museum of art 

Open bar.  

toto miranda the octopus project contemporary austin tom sachs 

My favorite part of the evening, TOTO MIRANDA (from The Octopus Project) had made music that was played from the Tom Sachs art installations. The pieces really came to life this way and the music was great. The timing of the musical portion could've been better. The music didn't really get started till after the dinner, after everybody had been there a while, and most people were already gone or heading out. It almost had all the right things to be an awesome dance party in the art museum, we enjoyed it none the less.  Check the video below... 

National Margarita Day? Yeah, it's real.

hand shaken top shelf margarita at abuelo's national margarita day 2015

Sure, it was nearly freezing out (was mid 70's the day before). We had enjoyed National Margarita day last year, we pledged to get out and do it again for 2015! We enjoyed Top Shelf Hand Shaken Margaritas for $5.95 each!  

abuelo's austin national margarita day 2015 happy hour 

Strange Land Brewing Company, in Westlake!

I didn't see this coming... We have a Brewery just down the road from our house. AND... their beer is good, REALLY GOOD!

Strange Land Brewery: 

strange land brewery west lake hills austin 78746 

We did a Full Flight for $15 (we shared) 

strange land brewery tap room beer tasting westlake texas austin 

Warm February sunset in Austin (West Lake Hills). Strange Land Brewery is located behind Hat Creek Burger at 360/Bee Cave 

strange land brewery austin west lake hills 78746 

Saison and Alt style beers were our favorites.  

78746 brewery  

Kat normally doesn't have much care for Porter (DARK) beers, but she liked both their Bourbon Porter and the Rosemary and Ginger Porter.   

oyster shuck it 

Then we went home and shucked oysters with a screwdriver, steamed a few pounds of mussels and also ate some Sole filets...  Blame it on the Barley Wine. 

screwdriver oyster shucker  

Chinese New Year- Lunar New Year 2015

Chinese New Year Celebration at Chinatown 2015. 

tc noodles austin chinatown

Grabbed a quick lunch from TC Noodle, had our own Lion Dancer at the table.  

table dance at chinatown austin 

Then we braved the crowd, rude people and endured the smoke and noise from the firecrackers... those evil spirits better be gone.  

lion dancers chinatown new year celebration austin 2015 

lion dancers chinatown austin new lunar year 

austin chinatown 


February 17, 2015

Secret Bar Tour of 2015

I'd been running my mouth (again) about some secret bars I knew of. Friends suggested I organize a tour to prove the existence of said "secret bars"... so I did.

Parkside bar area 

Secret bars don't serve food so we started with some solids at Parkside.

midnight cowboy modelling oriental massage austin 

I reserved a back room at Midnight Cowboy Modelling, secret bar #1. Behind an unmarked, locked door on busy stretch of (dirty) 6th street, cocktails are made fancy, creative, and every one of them good.

Our group grew to fill our private room.  

midnight cowboy modelling austin tx secret bar 

Oh, yeah... I brought along some Real Sticks from Vermont, spicy and salty went well with the craft cocktails. I even shared some Vermont Smoked meat stick with one of the bartenders....  bar cart midnight cowboy modelling austin bar

Our room had velvet curtains for privacy. There was a switch on the wall used to indicate a need for a server. Some drinks are served table side, from a rolling bar cart. The service, cocktails, and experience was a good deal of fun.

best wurst austin 6th street 

Kat can't walk past that Best Wurst. She LOVES it. We all did.

6th street best wurst food cart austin 2015 

firehouse lounge hostel secret bar 

Stop #2 on the secret bar tour, Firehouse Lounge. Access to this bar is via sliding book case (hidden door) found in a Hostel Lobby. I'm thinking now, I probably should've taken a pic of that bookcase/door.

Secret Bar #3 would have been Garage, but they don't open on Sunday... The tour will be continued.

We did the only reasonable thing we could think of, Peche' Sunday night Happy Hour and dinner.

Kat and I enjoyed the Bone Marrow and Frites. 

peche bone marrow and frites 

Canopy Tower at Laguna Gloria- Contemporary Austin

ton sachs miffy crying bunny fountain laguna gloria austin

Family day at Laguna Gloria The Contemporary Austin. Tom Sachs Crying Miffy  bunny fountain needed a hug...? 

family day lagina gloria 

The Contemporary Austin Art Museum had a fun project for the kids, aqua biospheres, complete with live shrimp.  

aqua biosphere  

laguna gloria family day austin 

john grade canopy tower laguna gloria 

We enjoyed the new John Grade exhibit, Canopy Tower 

john grade canopy tower austin contemporary 

john grade canopy tower austin contemporary laguna gloria 


also enjoyed the view of Lake Austin from Laguna Gloria 

lake austin from laguna gloria 

Lloyd Cole at the Cactus Cafe -UT campus Austin Texas

lloyd cole austin 2015

Lloyd Cole at the Cactus Café, Austin TX 2015 

cactus cafe lloyd cole 2015 austin 

We saw Lloyd fifteen years ago at the Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis, MD. We had a table next to the chair he played from on stage. I could've untied his shoes from my seat, like he was playing just for the two of us. There was no set list. People made requests, he'd flip through his notebook until he found the song and proceeded to play it. It went on like this for two hours. Kat was anxious to get home as this was our first time leaving the baby (daughter) with a sitter. Lloyd played for another hour after we left...


Lloyd Cole cactus cafe ut austin 

lost weekend lloyd cole austin cactus cafe 2015 

Lloyd played for almost two hours when he said "this is usually the point in the show where you start getting text messages from your sitter... BUT, I expect by now, your oldest child is able to take care of the younger ones. and you don't need a sitter any more". Well, I was floored... he clearly knew his audience.  Yes, we enjoyed the luxury of being able to stay for the whole show.  

Lloyd Cole 2015 tour TX 

Thanks again Lloyd!

Lloyd Cole Cactus Cafe Austin Tx 2015 UT  

February 09, 2015

Birthdays and Sunshine, February in Central Texas

#1 son has circled the sun once again. He celebrated with his family at Plucker's

plucker's fried cheese sticks 

laptop birthday 

Yeah, that's JUST what he needs, more electronics for gaming. BUT, he's doing well in school and (usually) requires little supervision. So we are keeping our end of the deal and helping attain what he wants as long as he works hard. So there it is... he's getting a laptop.

The weekend arrived with an abundance of sunshine and warm (70's) temperatures. I took a couple of boys to their orchestra solo exam.  

wrms eanes 

eanes middle school orchestra

They both did well.  


I also took his friends to a birthday lunch, Gourdough's Public House again

ping pong at gourdough's public house  

They played Ping-Pong 



They managed to volley a couple times... but mostly... 


there was a lot of chasing down the ball, the guys at the nearest table got hit more than just a few times.

gourdough's austin public house

a round of Shirley Temples for my friends! 

gourdogh's shirley temples cheers 


gourdough's chicken dumpling soup

Chicken Dumpling soup for EVERYBODY! (served with a giant garlic doughnut) 

red room lounge austin wine bar.

Our good friend Connie also made another lap of the sun. She generously hosted a wine party for her friends at the Red Room, everybody really enjoyed and happiness was abundant (if the background girls didn't already make that clear). 

fruit tart 

Pretty girls and pretty fruit tarts too!

Sunday had temps in the low 80's! We made the older two kids go for a stroll with us along SOCO.  

soco austin south congress avenue 


perla's austin patio deck 

We were fortunate enough to get a patio table at Perla's.  

conway royale pei oyster at perla's austin 

We love cold water oysters, and we are glad to have such a variety available at Perla's. #1 son sort of likes oysters, but after having a Conway Royale from Prince Edward Island, Canada... His eyes lit up with excitement, "WOW, THAT WAS REALLY GOOD!". I'll tend to agree, those were exceptionally good oysters. Kat made yet another mention of a possible return trip to our neighbors to the north.  

perla's austin oyster bar pei conway royale 


sunny february day in austin texas on the patio at perla's 

The daughter and I took the sunny side of the table, we made the best of it. 

cheers beer schooner perla's austin 

Where was #2 son while all this fun in the sun was going down? oh.... he was busy biking and hiking with a friend...

 holding hands at the green belt

photo by A. Rains. I saw this later that evening and showed it to him. He shrugged it off and said "she just asked me to, and I couldn't help it". Yes, that's how it often goes.




February 02, 2015

Free Hotel, Wimberley Fires and the Superbowl party of 2015

wimberley blanco river rapids fire

About 18 months has passed since there was a drama flare up with the HOA at our place in Wimberley. We resolved to sit back a while, and spend our resources (time, energy and money) on things that supply a more immediate joy (travel and food).  We don't NEED to do anything down there, it wouldn't hurt us to just sit on the property for years to come. BUT, it's time to move forward and try to reap some enjoyment. We missed the family time away from the city.

Kat spent some time cleaning up the cabin. I harvested smaller broken bits of wood left behind from the old house and fed a hobo style barrel burn. We also loaded the trailer with the old broken appliances and dropped them off at the recycling center. It's a milestone in the house removal process.

But the real reason... family time on a rainy winter day.  

midcentury modern hill country cabin fireplace 

Oh, Marvin got to come along. He was always "Eichler's dog". We're trying to incorporate him into family activities and he is responding well. I've even started to call him "Marvin" again, I'd grown used to calling him "dickhead" as he was not nice to Eichler for the last six months of her life. Anyhow, Marvin is a good dog. Kat doesn't appreciate his stinky dog farts... but other than that... no complaints.  

jasper hill aged clothbound cheese and cider jelly vermont in wimberley 

Vermont Cheese made another happy hour appearance. The Jasper Hill Cabot Cloth Bound Cheddar went really well with the cider jelly.  

wimberley cheese party 

cheese and crackers wimberley 

french brut cider 

if it goes well with cider jelly... French Brut Cider must be the obvious libation of choice.  

magic chef infrared quartz convection pizza 

I made five individual pizza crusts, and supplied an assortment of toppings (including that Vermont smoked pepperoni). Everybody made their own pizza. #2 son LOVES artichokes. 

I toasted a few of them in the fireplace and finished in the Magic Chef infrared oven. 

wood fired pizza wimberley midcentury modern fireplace 

Some were cooked only using the wood fireplace. Did the bottom get plenty of crispness? Yes, check that bottom shot below...  

wood fired pizza crust fireplace 

wimberley pizza buffet 

We ended up sharing, everybody did a great job making a delicious pizza.  

marvin the boston terrier naps by the mid century modern fireplace 

Kat and the kids went in to play board games. Marvin enjoyed the warmth from the fire.   

solar star lights 

I love my LED star lights and their shadows. They are 100% solar powered and really tie the room together.

Meanwhile, the next morning... 

breakfast fire 

Kat loves to get up before sunrise and make "the breakfast fire". We've not had to buy firewood, all sourced from our own oak forest.  #2 son said “I like coming to our Wimberley home. It’s like a free hotel"

wimberley rope swing 

#2 son loves that tree swing. It's good to get the kids off the digital devices.  

tire rope swing wimberley brr 

Sunday night back in West Lake Hills, Superbowl 2015... this is how we watched the Super Bowl...  we didn't. We sat around the fire, grilled salmon with friends. 

west lake hills superbowl party 2015 

Our team won.