Heading down to Ladybird Lake a little earlier, it was still surprisingly pleasant at 10:30. We were ready for a cool down and brunch by noon. Dottie and I checked out the Whip In Friday evening at 8:00, but it was too crowded so we left. Intrigued by the insightful selection of commodities and cuisine at this convenience store (and so much more) we returned for lunch on Saturday. Some background: Whip In boasted a substantial selection of specialty beer and wines since its inception. There was a humidor at the front and a knowledgeable wine steward manning the till in years past. These days, his son has carved out a unique cafe and beer bar with bands and a patio that should be most inhabitable in Fall and Spring. Stepping into the store is like entering a scene from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. The menu is healthy, a delightful blend of MexIndian. I had grilled egg nan with cilantro chutney that was very satisfying, a pleasant break in the endless parade of breakfast tacos. Local and organic foods are part of the appeal (shout out to Aurora); the Vital Farms eggs are nutritious and delicious. I must try the Mumbai migas plate soon and I’ve heard that the queso chutney is also out of this world. Funky, yes. Better than a food trailer? Yep. An unexpected treat? Most definitely; there is likely to be a happy hour update very soon.
Austin is known for its love of tattoos. In exploring the murals and street art around town I find that, like its people, Austin is full of tattoos – ambient art suited for sauntering. The gallery below shows murals around UT, some moving a little north on Guadalupe and two interior murals at Fonda San Miguel.
The Nutty Brown Cafe and Amphitheatre is one of those places I’ve intended to go but never quite made it to until the Sunday Jazz Brunch caught my eye. Heading West on Hwy 71/290 just before Dripping Springs, it’s a classic roadhouse cafe with a great patio under the oaks and friendly servers dishing up TXAmerican fare.
Cowboys and cowgirls are welcome, but I didn’t see any dogs on the patio.
The brunch was notable for the variety of generally tasty dishes, with migas and fresh fruit among my favorites. Waffles were available upon request, french toast, bacon, sausage, hash browns and a chorizo bake comprised the breakfast offerings while lunch included smoked bbq chicken, potato salad, stuffed pork chops with apple glaze, beef medallions and tilapia, both over rice. The pecan cobbler was also quite good.
Bonus points for having a macaw in a decent sized cage. He or she was fairly responsive and seems to like women and children.
variety of foods he wouldn’t normally cook for himself, which is probably a good thing given our suspicions about the overall calorie count. The ingredients were fresh and nicely prepared and it’s possible to manage temptation and get your money’s worth at $13.00 per person. The band provided a nice compliment to the relaxed morning’s dining. I’ll be happy to go out with a few friends for another outing. The brunch is served from 10am until 2pm, so even in the summer, the patio should be cool enough to enjoy in the mornings and evenings.
On my way to Ladybird Lake I couldn’t help noticing a smorgasbord of visual art dotting South Lamar. This photo essay is certainly an advertisement for the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture and bridges new and “classic” Austin. Next time I’ll look inside. I’m not sure West or North Austin can compete with South and East, but I’ll take my camera out someday and see.
Late to the party, I only recently heard about A is Red, drummer Don Harvey’s new collaboration with: Glenn Fukunaga–bass, Stefano Intelisano–Keyboards, Kullen Fuchs-Vibes, trumpet, Kevin Flatt–Trumpet, and Adam Sultan-Guitar. The Continental Club Gallery is the upstairs companion to the Continental Club with a nice wall of windows overlooking downtown Austin. It was a small space for a big sound, rolling over the audience in thunderous aural waves, courtesy of A is Red. Their music is described variously as jazz, fusion, world and soul but given its sensual impact and bouts of restrained cacophony, I’ll call it Kundalini jazz. Great mind/body sensations: serpentine textures created by unexpected pairings of trumpet, guitar, electric piano and vibes buoyed by melodic bass and drum syncopation energized and awakened attentive fans. I was held suspended like a bee in amber by music flowing around me like sweet, hard candy. In the end I moseyed home, uplifted and refreshed by a group of fine musicians who will continue to dazzle and surprise on Monday nights at the Continental Club Gallery. I’d like to see them at the Elephant Room in summer, underground in another cool cave on Congress and look forward in anticipation to new compositions from Harvey et al.
Art blooms on walls, in the river and in the streets of East Austin this Easter.
Back in my old neighborhood, enjoying the music with those who dared not venture downtown. I was certainly in my demographic, probably mostly locals out for a spin. Starting with a glass of white Bordeaux at Enoteca and stopping in at Perla’s helped keep us cool between stops. Alejandro Escovedo is always worth fighting the crowd to see. Forgive the shaky video, it’s worth hearing a snippet of Alejandro and the Orchestra.
Shown in the gallery of photos below, Sophia, a young violinist, stood in front of Vespaio playing for contributions to MS research. Her mother has MS and Sophia will ride from Houston to Austin to raise money with the hope of contributing to a cure. Please check Sofia’s website for information on how to contribute to efforts to combat Multiple Sclerosis.
It’s been how many years since our last snowfall? Eight? Ten? I know my cousins in Wisconsin will make fun of me but this is FUN for Austin!
Finding an oasis in the city like McKinney Falls, fed by Onion Creek, keeps ennui at bay. Walking in the afternoon sun on the last day of our winter break, Bill and I had to really use a sauntering eye. When the scenery is spectacular, it’s easy to overlook small delights. Maximizing little pleasures has long been a secret to keeping my heart fire lit, so with time and fresh air the flame steadies. I’ve been thinking about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and feeling chained by my work a day world. Time for meditation, reflection pictured below with shadow play to come. What is it about dreams, reflections, shadow and light that teases my imagination?
Searching for the soul of South Austin requires painting with a broad brush. Between Pluckers, Cherry Creek Catfish and Matt’s El Rancho (classic Bubba) and newcomers Soup Peddler, Full English Breakfast, Strange Brew, hipster, keeping it local enterprises, anything goes. We even have a second generation pseudo Bubba eatery in Red’s Porch. Much of the new growth can be attributed to the pioneering efforts of Central Market . As one of many homeowners in the Cherry Creek area, I can only say thank you, thank you very much, CM.
This weekend I made it to Full English with Bill and to the new Soup Peddler/Juice Box hybrid with Dottie. Full English breakfast was less together than I imagined, but this is a new establishment and I have high hopes for its success. The baked items and homemade chutneys are excellent. We were less impressed by the English breakfast. Bill’s suggestion that they plump up their plate with a more generous portion of mushrooms, a second slice of toast and a larger roasted tomato is a good one. The quality of the ingredients was very high, all local, organic or natural and homemade. They are offering a high tea for the holidays which I look forward to and I will be back to try another breakfast in the next few weeks.
The alliance of the Soup Peddler and Juice Box was born of mutual interest. Soup is popular in the Winter and Juice in summer. Thus, offering them together year round should boost the seasons for each. The New England clam chowder was delicious and the pineapple aguas frescas had little pomegranate seeds floating in it, very fresh. Standing on the border between 78704 and 78745, it represents the best of both. We got the funk, say it loud, keep it proud.