It was a smaller gathering this Thanksgiving. We called it the OG (Original Group) Thanksgiving.
A turkey was fried. I injected one side with red Thai curry, duck fat and coconut cream, and traditional Cajun style on the other (mostly butter, cayenne and garlic).
I think this was the last big bird fry with this particular burner. It gave us some trouble.
The white meat (breast) turned out perfectly moist and flavorful. The dark meats (wings and drumsticks) were a bit over done. We saw some wild fluctuations in the cooking oil temp.
The real star of this Thanksgiving, the TURCHETTA! It's a porchetta styled turkey breast. I prepared it a day ahead of time. Dropped it in the sous vide for almost three hours and finished it in the hot turkey fryer.
So moist and flavorful.
#2 son is a drumstick eater, just like his Mother.
I also made my first ever Quiche now that I can't get it from St Philip (one of our favorite local restaurants abruptly closed recently). It also yielded great results. I'm looking forward to a second attempt on both the Turchetta and Mushroom Quiche.
PHP is almost too convenient. I've found an appreciation for their Floatilla IPA. #2 son comes along to get together with his Girlfriend. It's a win/win situation for us.
Lighting up around town and the elusive Yellow Rose by Lone Pint
We braved the sudden cold front to walk the Creek Show along Waller Creek. We also braved the cold for some sausages, table tennis (Ping-Pong), and beer at Easy Tiger.
I am so enthused by the Lone Pint Yellow Rose! This is one of the best beers I've had from Texas. It's super hoppy, but also has floral and citrus notes that create a nice accompaniment to the bitterness. Reminds me of the Heady Topper in Vermont. That's high praise for you non beer nerds.
A beer nerd friend of ours that's also enthused about the Yellow Rose suggested we try the Electric Jellyfish at PHP (Pint House Pizza). It's fairly close to home so we met there Sunday afternoon.
While it is an extremely hoppy beer, it lacked the floral and citrus notes... the result was a bit more challenging to drink. There is suspicion that they've changed the recipe on this most recent batch...
PHP was fun, it's a great concept that was comfortable and extremely affordable. Their beers are only $3 when football is on. Finally I found good use for football. Thanfully they didn't blast the game over the PA system.
#2 son is always happy to spend time with his girlfriend.
We took all the kids to Mozart's Coffee Roasters to enjoy the Holiday Light show, every hour on the hour starting at 6 PM.
We took my Mom to WURSTFEST. She doesn't enjoy beer, designated driver!
Wurstfest is about two things, Sausage, Beer and the Chicken dance. Notice the lady with the chicken hat behind Kat. she's doing the Chicken Dance!
That's right! I'm not driving. Beer was enjoyed...
We ran into friends at the Wurstfest.
All those years at Cotillion dance class paid off at Wurstfest. It was great to see #1 son enjoy a dance with his Grandmother.
I love seeing all the people dressed up for the event. These pics are from the Polka competition.
I'm not much of a hat person, but I got swept up in the Germanity of it all. I ducked into the nearest photo booth to get a pic with my new purchase.
The ladies at the beer ticket booth have been making a scratch for each time the Chicken Dance is played. They do this for each year. This was the last day of WurstFest 2015 and the count was up to 53 by the time we left.
Our friends introduced us to the craft Bier Garten. We'd never even been to this part of WurstFest.
It was all down hill from there...
The kids opted to not get on the Ferris Wheel or any of the rides what would require converting cash to tokens and standing in line. They found some cardboard from a dumpster and threw themselves at the mercy of the hill.
#2 son had some early success, but was unable to replicate proper downhill technique. Frustration did result.
Meanwhile, the other kids gave themselves to gravity with little stress or drama.
I've finished my most recent home project, the new patio area we created around a Mesquite tree. I started pruning it a few years back, the tree responded well. It used to be low and shrubby, now it stands tall. The area was a giant pile of weeds, stones and wood scraps from the initial land clearing for construction. I'd tried to hire a landscape company to level it and install the metal border, but the job was turned down.
Out of frustration, I pledged to move a square yard a day over the summer. I started each day before it got too hot. Eventually the area was level. The kids and I hauled stones up to create a retaining wall. I installed the 1/4 inch steel edging. Kat planted the succulents, I laid the sod. Kat, my Mom and I laid the giant (40x48) stone pavers and I hauled in 3k lb of pebbles, and a ton of sand.... We had a few friends over for the first evening spent in the new area.
I also built a combination LP powered fire pit and ice box. One side is a wheel so it can easily be moved. The top is made from granite, the sides are teak (all recycled) and the frame is steel.
I finally opened the Cerise de Terre (Ground Cherry Ice Cider from laconfiture.ca). TSA relived me of this delicacy on our flight home back in 2014. We returned to Montreal to buy it once again this summer. I can now say, IT"S GOOD! I enjoyed some with brie that evening, and a bit on French Toast the following morning.
Kat and I enjoyed an evening out at Monkey Town 6. Tickets include a five course dinner, wine, gratuity and tax. We dined inside a giant cube made from four screens displaying video art. It was a fun experience.
The view from outside the cube (above), and from our table inside (below).
The food was all delicious but some courses suffered from being prepared in a cold warehouse kitchen. The steaks were flavorful, but slightly overcooked and arrived quite a while after they had been grilled, only slightly warm-ish. Still, no real complaints, we ate it all.
The highlight of the evening, Emily Breedlove (Soprano) and Carolyn Gould (flute) provided a lovely musical accompaniment to the silent film portion.
One of the benefits of living in Austin is the abundance of music talent and festivals. While ACL has grown so large and attracts people from all over the world, most locals will tell you Fun Fun Fun is better (and easier).
Scott and I did all three days, Kat joined us for most of that.
We didn't know what we were getting into at the Peaches show. About ten seconds into the show, Scott and I looked at each other in disbelief... but we couldn't stop watching. Definitely NOT family entertainment.
Peaches: You know what'd be really cool? If I could smoke a joint up here, somebody get me a joint!
(somebody from the audience promptly supplied one, Peaches lit it and hit it)
We stumbled on a Peaches Meet and greet. I asked her to sign my Rooster (I used a different word for it). She said "OK, hey, my onesy is scratch and sniff"
Scott and I walked to TRACE for a nice dinner before Skinny Puppy. Kat met us at TRACE.
and at the end of the show, they strung two girls up from piercings in the flesh... they writhed over the stage for the last song while hanging from their skin... is Nothing Shocking?
Day Three: Kat ALMOST didn't make it for day three.
Afrika Bambaataa: Peace, Love, and Unity! Remember those three things and we don't need any government, if you just do the right thing people!
true words of advice.
We were lucky enough to secure one of two table and chair sets outside the Café Bustelo promo tent. We sat there for hours... it was glorious. We took turns fetching beers, food or making trips to the bathrooms. We didn't see a lot of bands on day three, but the weather was great and we enjoyed the festival itself.
We stayed and watched the sun set from our café table.
MSTRKFRFT are knob twisters... four hands and a bunch of knobs to twist made EDM. We were staying to catch Future Islands. The crowd was getting thick and Kat found herself near several cigarette smokers. She had enough... we left early. We took the opportunity get a nice dinner before heading home.
It was all FUN FUN FUN.
The clouds made a nice pattern in the sky above the house when we arrived home.
The daughter is happy to use her tri-fold hat she purchased in Quebec.
#2 son had a solid plan this Halloween. He decided some time back that he would be a Harpy (some sort of feathered and multi-colored fairy). It's what he really wanted, so we made it happen. He was confident in his fairy suit. He really attacked the trick or treat plan and ran up to each house and confidently collected his rewards. #1 son decided it was OK to go trick or treating with NO costume. We won't let that happen again next year. No dressing up, no asking treats.
Enjoyed a dinner at some friends back yard when this owl casually flew over and looked down on us.
Back Yard Project update:
A few years back, we hired a professional tree trimming crew. I watched carefully, made mental notes (I've got plenty of unused room up there). I bought myself a tree trimming pole and have been curating the trees myself. This mesquite was sort of bushy back then. The branches drug down to the ground. After several years of pruning the lower branches, it's turned into a focal point for our new patio space.
As the project nears completion, we took the opportunity to have a family sketch.
Everybody turned in a version of the Mesquite. In no particular order, each submission is offered below.