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9 Aug

In a week’s time, we drove all over Montana (according to Abe, we visited every city that has more than 30,000 people – so there’s that).

Glacier, in particular, is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.

Love this Big Sky.

And just love.


Afternoon Delight

8 Jun

These days, great restaurants (and great dining experiences) are a dime a dozen, on this blog and out there in the world.  This makes me happy, of course, since I love good food more than anything.

Every once in a while, though, a restaurant will do something that is better than great food – something small – something interesting – that stays with me.

After Ari’s medical school graduation, we went to Vintner Grill in Sommerville (Sommerlin?  Something like that.), Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas.  On the whole, the meal was lovely.  Very good.  But two things in particular were a delight:

This butter dish, with olive oil dipping cups embedded in it.  With a fresh basket of rolls, thick cut rustic wheat bread, and brioche, I could have eaten this all night and been happy (did I mention I am over my fear of butter?).

And, this cheese plate, with house made goat, sheep, and cow’s milk cheeses, pear preserves, dried fruit, and honey.


(Cute sister and cute outdoor dining area, too!)

Keep Austin Weird – The Weirdest

25 May

Last Austin post.  These post-series take a lot longer to complete now that I am not posting everyday!

So, on one of the last nights in Austin, we were invited to a charity event at the house of a friend of a friend.  This house, the event – completely random, totally extraordinary.  Among others, the Barley Swine chefs were there!  Having just eaten there the night before, this was extra incentive to get excited.

But here’s the mention-worthy stuff: the woman who owned the home (and hosted the event) was a welder (with, rumor has it, a diamond tooth – I didn’t see it – some say it is merely a diamond implanted into her tooth – hm . . .) and she welded her entire house out of strange metals and other uber-rustic materials.  The result was a house unlike any other I had ever seen before.  Tall metal doors and chalkboard walls and wood carvings and a to-die-for kitchen and other objects made the inside and outside nearly indistinguishable.  It was like visiting the most upscale, artful, designed junk yard of all time.

You can see for yourself:

Austin is totally weird.  And I loved it.

Keep Austin Weird – Part III – Barley Swine

18 May

After some time away, let’s go back to Austin and finish out that weekend.

We stumbled upon Barley Swine, in a way.  Quinn had heard something about it, and the menu looked good enough.  We were too hungry to continue looking, anyway.  Turns out it is among Austin’s hottest new restaurants, and, in fact, it totally rocked.  This is my best meal of 2012 at the moment.

A description of Barley Swine reads just about like every other hot contemporary American restaurant of the moment.  Rustic ingredients sourced from local farms.  Small plates.  Minimal menu.  It’s hard to distinguish in writing one place from the other.  You just have to eat.  And we did.  The entire menu, minus the foie.  Every bite was perfect.

I mean, how can you go wrong?

My phone died before I photographed each dish, but the highlights were:

this beautiful grilled zucchini soup (so the idea was that Quinn, Abe, and I would share every dish – this one I ate before anyone could get to it);

Beets with chevre and grilled greens;

and the pork belly with chard.  Yum.

Ridiculously good food/art.  Wait until you see the welder’s house . . . .

What’s your best meal of 2012 so far?  Any place you’re dying to try?  Share in the comments below!  Talk to you next week!

Skype Burger

11 May

Last week, when I was out of town for a conference, Abe had to fend for himself for dinner.  Based on our Skype session, it looks like he worked it out.  This was a burger with sharp cheddar and cherry barbecue sauce on a pretzel bun.  And a side of chipotle fries.  Delicious (looking)!

Since we haven’t done a burger here for a while, I thought I would remind you of two delicious past creations: The Hawaiian Burger and The Super Bowl Burger.  Yum.

Share a favorite burger recipe in the comments below!  Have a great weekend!

A Very Special Triangle

4 May

I have a few more Austin posts to share but will pause for a moment, as we did in real life, when Craig passed away suddenly last week and we headed to Pensacola, Florida to attend a memorial service.  The service was in Craig’s home on the water – it was warm and sunny and beautiful.

I didn’t know Craig very well.  After the service, where we heard from so many of his dear friends and close family members (including his sweet 93 year old mother) about how kind-hearted, giving, and loving he was, I wished I had.

Cousin Greg, who was Craig’s age (around 65 now, I’m guessing), grew up with him.  They went on vacations together and spent their kid years side by side.  One evening, Greg was attempting to build something.  It required him to cut planks of wood at a particular length.  When he couldn’t figure out the math, he called cousin Craig – the doctor, and generally the one in the family who knew everything, everyone relied on Craig – for help.  Craig wasn’t home.  His wife said he would be home at 9.  Greg relayed his problem to Craig’s wife, including the precise length of wood he was dealing with, and what shape he was attempting to cut out of it.  She wrote it all down.

Five minutes after 9, Craig called.  He said (and I’m making this number up, but you’ll get the idea), “15 feet 3/4 inches.”  “Wow, OK thanks,” said Greg.  “Do you want to know how I got that?,” Craig asked.  “Um, I guess,” Greg responded.  Well, you see, when you cut a straight line on a diagonal [and on and on and on], you get a very special triangle!  And do you know what that triangle is called?  It’s called an equilateral triangle.  And then, when you cut across in the other direction, what do you get?  Another very special triangle!  It’s called a 30 60 90 triangle . . . .”

The story went on.  There were several very special triangles.  To be honest, I missed exactly what Greg was building so in my mind instead I pictured Craig, this man I barely knew, who loved triangles, and who was regarded by his family as a very special something of his own.  

Keep Austin Weird – Part II

26 Apr

On Saturday night, we had a girls’ dinner at Trace restaurant in the W Hotel.  Beforehand, I checked out the bar at the W.  Austin girls definitely got the memo.  Pastel colored jeans and other bright colors are super in for spring. 

(And just before that, we were fewer than 10 yards from Willie Nelson as he was presented with the unveiling of a statue in his honor!  All around me, little babies were wearing these hilarious bandanas with tiny yarn braids coming out of them.  I was dying.  No pictures because my phone was dead.  It only came back to life thanks to the “whatever” desk at the W hotel, where apparently they will do whatever for you, including charge your phone.)

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