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August 31, 2015

His first Timex

#2 son came home from school one day last week excited with a big idea. He announced that he could tell time and wants a watch like his siblings have, analog display type. Every day that followed, he'd ask "did you buy it yet? the watch?".

We picked one out from amazon prime, ordered and then he watched the mailbox. He was anxious to receive his time piece. The box JUST arrived, he instructed me to get the camera, take the pics and post them to the blog right away.

Here are the fresh watch pics.



my first timex kids 

First week of school and things were quiet... sort of

Kat and I did see Quiet Company at ACL Live Moody Theater


quiet comoany austin acl live 


Taylor Muse Quiet Company  

taylor muse quiet company austn acl live 

quiet company wine down wednesday acl live  

quiet company wine down wednesday acl live  


quiet company austin band 

The guys did put on an energetic show and sounded great. Never miss a chance to see them if you can.  

TRACE Austin W Hotel Dinner  

Kat and I closed the evening with dinner at Trace, I had a $25 credit there.  

empanadas at barlatta 

We took the kids to eat tapas at Barlatta. We had so many delicious plates. Including empanadas,


squid ink paella, 

pig foot terrine at barlatta austin 

pig foot terrine, 

lobster and grapefruit salad barlatta austin  

lobster and grilled grapefruit salad, 

hcms 9th grade algebra at barlatta 

#1 son finds that 9th grade algebra is providing him with more HW than he can do AND go out to dinner. So he did both. He had to skip two grades to get into the class, he's not complaining and we loosened the rules so he could do his HW at the table.  

austin city limits building at w hotel 

The daughter and I caught Belle and Sebastian at the Austin City Limits Moody Theater.  

father daughter date at TRACE Austin  

We had a quick bite at Trace first. Yes, this is like the third time I've been there in one week.

trace butcher burger austin w hotel 

She loves the butcher's burger. She expected to share some of it with me, but then she ate the whole thing. She was happy.   

stuart belle and sebastian austin 2015 

Hey look! it's Stuart. We queued up early for space at the stage.  

stuart invites audience on stage at acl austin belle and sebastian 2015 

Stuart invited a bunch of people to dance on the stage, the daughter was not interested. We just watched.  

belle and sebastian acl live moody theater aug 2015 

Nice MCM background...

Kat and I went to the antique auction this past weekend. There were three pairs of Italian MCM chairs I was hoping to bring home. Well, I was planning to bid on three lots, hoping to be high bidder for at least one.  


minotti mcm italian chairs  

I bid up to $800, but they sold for $850. This outcome repeated itself again. I bid up to $800 but somebody else was willing to spend $850 and I showed some restraint. I later did SOME research and found chairs by the same maker/designer going for quite a bit more. Then again, it's not like I have room for more chairs.  


monotti chairs italian MCM  

I've been working on my back yard project. 

1/4 inch landscaping steel austin 

I asked two professional landscaping companies to level a section of the back yard. I figured they could bring a small bobcat or a crew of guys to knock it out. Both declined the job... So, I set out to do it myself in tiny bits. I used a shovel and a small cart to slowly move rocks, dirt and debris till the area was level.

Now that it's mostly level, I'm installing quarter inch flat steel to create boundaries for various landscape elements. Sometimes you just have to get dirty and do it yourself.  

August 24, 2015

FUN MACHINE by Baldwin

fun machine by baldwin keyboard analog synthesizer

Found at an estate sale in the neighborhood, the Fun Machine by Baldwin.

It's great fun to use this analog synthesizer to make new sounds, construct a beat and fill with rhythm. Then get the right hand in solo mode. A true "Fun" Machine.   

uhura burke chair console baldwin fun machine 

With a Burke chair placed at the Fun Machine, it definitely reminds me of Uhura at her console from the original Star Trek.  

1954 bremen piano 

We also picked up an old piano. The new instruments have the kids practicing and playing much more than before. The area is now a bit more cramped than I'd like it. I'll need to do something to remedy this in the future.  

End of Summer Party 2015

Last week had us in San Antonio because #2 son complained about not traveling much this summer. We did our best to squeeze in a last minute out of town weekend. When we returned, he mentioned that we usually have an end of summer party, inviting parents of their friends and classmates. So we made it happen.

We had a house full of loud kids. Louder than usual as our home theater room is currently sans projector. It's normally a great place to entertain kids during gatherings. 

olive oil poached salmon sous vide 

I used the sous vide to poach wild caught sockeye salmon in olive oil, chive and lemon zest. Also shrimp in butter with garlic sausage and Dijon mustard (below). Both spent about 40 minutes at 135 Fahrenheit.

sous vide poached shrimp and sausage 


gruner veltliner tastings 

A tasting of two Gruner Veltliner. The one on the left is our regular, the right comes with a beer style cap. Slight differences and many similarities. Have yet to find a Gruner I don't like.  

Sunday was the last Shock Wave party at the W Hotel pool for the summer, Shock Wave. We had a few passes and figured it'd be a great day to soak in the sun and enjoy a few beverages.

pretty girls at the W Hotel Pool wet deck 

w hotel pool food tacos 

Food was also enjoyed by the pool. 

pool party austin w 

W Hotel Austin Pool party wet deck  

w hotel pool party austin  

w hotel shock wave wet deck austin pool party 

W Hotel Away Spa Austin flip flops pool  

Kat was so happy when they saw her running barefoot across the hot pool deck and gifted her with flip-flops.  

We changed clothes and stepped downstairs where my mom and kids were waiting on us for dinner at TRACE.  

trace austin patio dining with the family w hotel  

trace summer patio dining w hotel  

All the food was good, but the desserts were a real special treat to close summer.  

trace austin pastry angel 

austin pastry chef angel trace W Hotel


August 17, 2015

San Antonio, a spin during lunch.

tower of the americas san antonio 

Some time in the past, I'd mentioned there was a revolving restaurant up there. I'd been up there in 1978, around the time the Sex Pistols played SA. Kat had never been to such a thing, and made regular requests to remedy that situation. #2 son recently filed a complaint against the lack of travel this second half of summer. He specifically requested a trip to San Antonio.

The revolving restaurant plan was falling into place. I reserved at table for lunch at The Chart House and booked a room at the Hotel Contessa. The daughter finished her college course on Thursday, we braved the chaos of I35 Friday morning making our way south.

chart house san antonio tower of the americas

Chart House at Tower of the Americas San Antonio

She was happy and the food was pretty good. It takes fifty five minutes to make a full revolution during lunch. They slow it down for dinner.  

san antonio revolving restaurant chart house 

Cork Bar at Hotel Contessa San Antonio Happy Hour 

We always make the HH at the Cork wine bar at the hotel.  

Hotel Contessa City View at night 

(BIG) The "city view" from our room.

the monterey san antonio 

We walked the .84 mile to The Monterey. I love that their menu is full of surprises. Some items work more than others. We sat inside because it is HOT this time of year outside.  

the monterey san antonio Aug 2015 coconut cream and ginger tomato and peach 

The tomato and peach salad with coconut cream and ginger dressing was the best thing we had. That and an Italian white wine from Piedmont.  

monterey san antonio 

I'd planned to use UBER to get back to the hotel, but it's illegal in SA. We all walked back. 

cured san antonio pearl  

CURED! I've wanted to dine here for years. That was one fantastic Pimm's cup.  

charcuterie at cured san antonio pearl 

Their house cured meats and pickles are the real highlight here.  

zuchini ice cream over peach upside down cake and berry soup at cured san antonio pearl 

That zucchini ice cream over peach upside down cake and berry soup was pretty amazing as well.  



sunset on the riverwalk san antonio 

Kat and I went for an evening stroll before dinner at Las Ramblas. It was Restaurant Week and we had a big meal ahead of us.  

golden hour san antonio riverwalk  

goat cheese cheesecake hotel contessa las ramblas restaurant  

The manager at Las Ramblas took great care of us. He was especially excited to finally have a real pastry chef on the staff. The goat cheese cheesecake with ginger crisp and local blueberries was delicious. Everything we had was great. The restaurant week menu was an amazing bargain at $35 for three courses.

Mostly, we came to San Antonio to lounge at the rooftop pool.   


#2 son is gaining confidence in his ability to swim under water.  



The kids spent hours playing in that pool and it was good.  

hotel contessa san antonio pool  

hotel contessa san antonio rooftop pool

Homemade ginger beer was greatly appreciated, even when enjoyed from cardboard coffee cups.  

August 10, 2015

36 hours in Austin, guests from Asia

We entertained some friends visiting from Taiwan and Shanghai. Our first stop was to TRACE for Happy Hour.

trace happy hour austin patio august

carrots three ways TRACE Austin W Hotel 


Carrots Three Ways, have you ever seen a better plate of carrots?  

We hit other usual feeding grounds while they were here, St. Philip, East Side Kings, Maria's Taco Xpress (Hippie church). No trip to Austin would be complete without some live music. We stopped at a friend's house, she's been hosting shows in her back yard. It's called the Freeway Concert Series, because she has a freeway back there... really. Just see for yourself.  

Austin Freeway Series E.D.'s house 


freeway concert series austin  

JBX Joe Ben Experience freeway concert series austin 

JBX sounded great. The wind kicked in as the sun set and cooled us all off from the extreme heat we're experiencing.  

JBX Joe Ben Experiment Austin Freeway Concert

sounded a bit like this....


August 03, 2015

White Linen 2nd Street Distric Austin 2015

White Linen night Austin 2015

Kat and I enjoyed Texas wine, beer and food from restaurants in the 2nd street district area at the White Linen event.  

white linen night 2nd district austin 2015 

Yes, it was hot out...  

sunset 2nd street austin white linen 2015 

white linen austin 2nd 2015 finn and porter 

The ceviche from Finn and Porter was one of the best food offerings.  

white linen guys austin 2nd district  

TRACE at the W Hotel Happy Hour and Ice Cream Social

kat and I stopped by TRACE for HH before the White Linen Event.

TRACE Austin W Hotel  

We ran into Chef Nadine  and Will from the W Hotel at White Linen Night, they urged us to come back to try the new dinner at TRACE. We will surely do that soon.  

Happy Hour $5 Tito's cocktails 5-7 TRACE W Hotel  

#2 son complained that he's not been to the W Hotel in a long time and requested that we return, with him.

As luck would have it, the annual Ice Cream Social fund raiser was the very next day. We bought our school supplies for the coming school year and bought extra as donation to gain entry to the event. It's sort of an exchange program, spiral bound notebooks for gourmet ice cream treats.  

ice cream social TRACE W Hotel austin 2015 

There was an endless parade of delicious ice cream treats in exotic flavor combinations.  

ice cream social TRACE Austin W Hotel 

patio at W Hotel Austin  

W Hotel Pastry Chef Angel Begaye Ice Cream Social Trace 

Pastry Chef Angel Begaye.  

Ashley at Trace Austin W Hotel  

peanut butter and pretzel ice cream social trace w hotel  

Two favorites were the Peanut Butter and Pretzel (above) and the Churro (below). They were all good and we must've sampled at least ten varieties.  

churro ice cream social w hotel trace austin 2015 

We left, walked around Downtown and the 2nd street area to work off that ice cream, then returned for Dinner with the kids.

kids and Darth Vader at TRACE Austin W Hotel 

He was happy to be back at TRACE and to have a new book to enjoy on the patio. We were interested in that teardrop trailer parked on their patio. 

burnt ends mac and cheese trace HH w hotel austin  

The Burnt Ends Mac N Cheese was really good. "Burnt Ends" is a brisket reference.  

HH burger with deviled crab at TRACE Happy Hour W Hotel summer 2015

That Butcher Burger with jumbo lump crab was decadent.  

TRACE Happy Hour foods W Hotel Austin 

Crispy Market Vegetables (left) and Melted Goat Cheese with Gonzales Mushrooms. (peeking in to the right).

All foods were from the Happy Hour menu offered 5-7 daily. This was an extremely reasonably priced meal in a beautiful location with great service.  

Porter Ale House, again because I like it

We had a Groupon for Porter Ale House. I've been spending all my spare time shoveling dirt in the back yard. It's ripple digit hot outside so dirty outdoor work is not pretty or fun. 

I was happy to redeem this Groupon for another great meal at Porter (and I might've enjoyed a few beers).

porter ale house austin 

delicious fig appetizer, 

hot pork craklings at porter ale house summer 2015 

fresh made pork craklin's, served hot, still making popping sounds. 

fish and chips porter ale house sour beer bulb injection austin 

delicious fish and chips are served with a bulb injector filled with a Belgian Sour Beer.