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November 27, 2017

The Austin to do list, 24 hours of fun after turkey day.

My brother had to fly home soon, so we wasted no time knocking things off his favorites in Austin.

We started with craft Kolaches at Batch. It was another beautiful November day in Austin. 

cornhole at batch kolaches 

This wasn't really on my brother's list, but I've been wanting to try, and you know.... kolaches... good.


batch kolaches and cornhole austin  

matt's el rancho mexican martini and bob armstrong dip 

Matt's El Rancho supplied the Mexican Martini, Chips and Salsa and a large bowl of Bob Armstrong.


Just adults in the evening, went exploring downtown. W Hotel Living Room (above) and Garage (below).  

garage bar austin craft cocktails 

We had brunch at Takoba the next morning, and he flew home. The last item on his list, Micheladas! 

takoba micheladas austin 

Maybe next time, he can stay longer, or we need to cut a few items from the to-do list. It was a great holiday weekend, with a lot of indulgence (no surprises).  

Turkey Fry Day of 2017 with recipe/math

My brother flew in on Thanksgiving day.

He had 48 hours to complete all his Austin festivities, we got right to work.  

 cajun fried turkey 2017 austin

Heating the oil to 385...

dropping the bird 2017  

kill the flame and slowly drop the bird (must be patted dry and fully thawed, no hidden ice/moisture in the cavity).

EDIT: the turkey is placed wrong on the bracket in the pic above, and likely resulted in the breast meat being overcooked, not as juicy as it should be. The turkey should be placed breast down, ass up 

fried turkey math recipe austin modhouse

Watch the temp, when it drops to 275, reignite the flame and maintain the temp between 275-280. 

Never fry a bird greater than 15 lbs. Fry for 3 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes. The bird was injected with fat and spices the day before. Our turkey was 13 lbs, so we fried it for 54 minutes.  We used Siri to track the time.

About forty four minutes in, I noticed the bird was floating. I suggested removing it early, but Siri was confident we should stick with the plan.  We waited a bit longer..,

cajun fried turkey recipe 2017 

over fried turkey 2017 

It was good. But I think it was over fried. I wonder if my thermometer may be off. The best bird we've done here was over 17 lbs, Greater than the recipe math allows. Nobody complained that the turkey meat was not as moist as it should be.

I left these two in charge of the Turchetta.

turchetta fry  

I failed to mention it was already fully cooked in the sous vide. It just needed to fry until the exterior was golden brown. I got caught up with green beans, and the turchetta also cooked a bit more than it should have. Nobody complained.   


pumpkin cake 

Kat made several things for the table, including pumpkin cake, cranberry brioche star, and mushroom dressing balls from the takoyaki device.

takoyaki mushroom dressing balls 

harbison cheese board vermont

We may have gone a bit over the top on the cheese board. A lot of that ended up making top shelf mac and cheese a few nights later. Harbison mac/cheese, that's indulgent for sure.  


I uncorked a bottle of Turnbull Black Label Cab I found in the pantry and we feasted... 

thanksgiving 2017 austin modhouse 



November 20, 2017

30 years ago, in Dallas...

around 30 years ago, I lived in Dallas. There was a big industrial music scene at that time. We attended a Revolting Cocks show that would be difficult to describe. Revco reunited and returned toDallas to play their Big Sexyland.

The guys are still alive and not fat. I'd call that a success. 

I was skeptical about the show. But I'll admit the band sounded great, the songs were still fun.

revolting cocks dallas 2017 paul barker chris connelly 

Paul Barker and Chris Connelly 

richard 23 revolting cocks dallas 2017 

Richard 23 and Paul Barker 

I had planned to go back to the hotel after the show. But somehow we hooked up with Adrian, and didn't make it back till after 2. That wouldn't be a big deal as I was hoping to sleep in. But that didn't happen. The alarm clock in the Aloft Hotel (Love Field) went off at 5:15 AM. I fumbled around till it went off. I must've hit snooze because it went off again at 5:20. I removed the plug that time. Then Troy's phone alarm went off at 6:20, I managed to get that off. The maid started knocking on the door at 8 AM. I ignored it and tried to go back to sleep. She came back to knock again at 8:15. I ignored her again but this time she used her key to walk in, at 8:15 AM! I had a 11 AM checkout time! I was not happy, not at all. I got dressed, grabbed the alarm clock and went to the lobby to complain. They were not too interested, "they're not supposed to do that" was the response I got, Yeah... I sort of got that.

I found out our friends Jason and Holly were staying at the same hotel this weekend. I told them about my experience, warned them about the alarm clock. They thought it was funny... until their alarm clock went off at 4:45 AM. Dallas Aloft Love field, get a handle on your housekeeping staff! 

November 13, 2017

Waller Creek light show 2017

waller creek light show easy tiger austin 2017

waller creek light  

waller creek light show dwg landscape design architecture 

sail away swan 

#2 son sailed away in a swan. 


waller creek austin  

Theoretical Hazing: Pinthouse Pizza released another great beer this weekend. I believe this is some of the best beer being made in Texas.   

hazy beer from PHP

Double dose of Jazz with Mente Clara (Owen Summers and friends)

owen summers jazz musician mente clara

Owen has been our piano instructor for eight years. He's now back in NYC, but the kids still take lessons from him via skype. He was back in Austin for a show with his band, Mente Clara, at Still Austin Whiskey.

mente clara jazz  

The guy on sax was in town from Amsterdam. Kat and I also saw him this week playing with the Rich Harney Quartet at Juliet Italian Kitchen. KUTX sponsors jazz on the patio there every other Wednesday night. Food was good too.

Rich Harney Quartet matsumi jones juliet italian kitchen barton springs kutx jazz 



Pushing rocks up the hill

I have made my final trip to the landscape supply/nursery for this year.

landscaping 78746 

I also harvested some plants from other areas of the lot. I sourced three boulders from my rock pile at the bottom of the lot, and I hauled them up the hill.

secret path 


I've been working on making paths that lead through the woods at the back of the property, and pop out to another area.

back yard path west lake hills tx 

November 06, 2017

Stick and Twig, Chores are Rewards...

There has been some discussion requesting allowance from the kids (#1 son mostly). This has prompted a discussion on chores. We don't want to just hand over money. There should some effort/reward correlation.

As this is the time of year where we do a lot of outdoor work, landscaping and tree trimming, piles of sticks and twigs accumulate. I made a little rhyme I sing as we work, or mention work at the breakfast table.

stick and twig song 

#2 son has a talent for being over dramatic. When he hears my Stick and Twig song, he covers his ears and runs off in a panic as if it causes him physical pain. The piles are mostly gone and the stick and twig season is nearly behind us.


For years we had this house, on an acre of land. There was nothing more than the house. Now we have been making use of the land, terracing, landscaping, clearing the weed trees and scrubby invasive plants. We now have a series of clearings and paths that lead to more areas. The idea is to be able to go for a walk and have surprises around a few corners, into the woods.  


Then there is the old swim-spa.... We decommissioned it couple years back. Now is the time to remove it.  

swim spa deconstruction riverpool 

The removal of this pool is a larger job than I had anticipated. The River Pool was assembled first, then the concrete was installed around it. 2018 should be a big year for changes around here.