Saturday, August 2, 2008

Here we go again...

Another month descends into the Abyss. Weeks pass like days. I need just a few more hours a day, maybe four. I don't think I can swing that myself, so fuck it.

Here we are on the maiden voyage of this blog. I hope you are enjoying the complimentary champagne. I'm being unnecessarily lazy. I have plenty of things to do, but little to no motivation to do them. This includes eating, dishes, and laundry. This is not an uncommon theme in my blogs. The whole laundry/dishes thing seems to never go away; the bane of my existence. My white whale...

It's a cool 94˚ here right now. It's been hot as balls here this week. Summer in full swing in Ausitn, Texas. The high today is set for 102˚. If I wasn't feeling so lazy I'd bike down to the Springs. I can't blame the heat for my laziness today, even though a better scapegoat I cannot find, due to fact that I'm loungin' in my AC with the cat. He is straight passed the fuck out, body all contorted and shit. It's hilarious. 

I hope to work up some motivation. Not quite sure how, though. I had coffee hours ago, exercised, had some yogurt, but just don't feel ready to 'start' my day. I really need to do the laundry that I'm slacking on, and these dishes! Shit, they're the Leo Party dishes from a week ago; mostly pint glasses and tableware.  I don't even want to cook in there, for fear that I'll only make more dishes to clean. 

Cooking? Did someone say cooking? Oh, I see. This new blog, this WYSIWYG interface, this wide-open betrayal of my own privacy, will be home to many new cooking endeavors [reviews of meals, recipes, food porn, and even some restaurant reviews], so please be patient. On a separate but related topic, I am going to be applying for a food writer job for Eat and Drink Austin. I need to know a bit more info first, but would find that to be an interesting and fun use of my time, palate, and writing skills. 

Eating is even more fun than cooking, and I have been to a few places recently that definitely caught my attention, and piqued my interest enough to want to go back soon. These three places vary so much, that mentioning them in the same paragraph seems strange. Taqueria Los Altos, Swad, and La Taverna have all been recent finds that have the potential to become regular destinations for the respective cuisines they represent. 

Taqueria Los Altos, which is casually situated on  the IH-35 frontage road just North of 32nd St., is open til midnight every night. The food is traditional Mexican border food. Cheese is sparse, but grease and taste are not. They are open for breakfast, and according to a local taco blogger, serve some of the best breakfast tacos North of the river. I have eaten here about four or five times, and have not been dissatisfied with ANYTHING that I have tasted. They have some Tex-Mex fare, enchiladas and such, but the gems on the menu are the tacos, and the meats. They have offerings on the menu with lengua (tongue), and signs on the walls for menudo (tripe soup) available everyday. These are things I want to see on a menu when I go to a Mexican restuarant. 

The crispy tacos al pastor are fucking unbelievable. They use a flattop grill to fry up these stuffed taco treats. Two tortillas are necessary to keep all that greasy goodness from falling out. The insides are a playground for perfectly cooked pork, diced onion, and a gratuitous amount of cilantro. The rice and beans are far superior to most Tex-Mex joints, so even a simple taco plate is a stunning meal. The meat combination plate with pierna (roast pork leg) and barbacoa adobado left me speachless, and with enough cash in my pocket to go buy beer. 

The staff is super friendly, just don't expect everyone to speak the best English (also what I want in a good Mexican eatery). There are two sides to the dining room, and one a couple of trips, I'd say that it had that segregated feel to it. However, I just go sit with the other brown people for solidarity purps. Oh, and the food is cheap!!! I don't think that they are sacrificing quality either. 

For those who have been there, Swad is a hidden gem in the tangles of the strip mall jungle that is North Lamar. Tucked away in  a sleepy retail center at Rutland and Lamar, Swad has no flash for the experience in store for the unsuspecting visitor. My buddy C-LaB and I took the #1 up there and ate like fucking Indian Princes.

We started with a mixed pakora, and some samosas. The pakora was phenomenal, and the samosas were as dense as rocks and the size of my fists. I really like the absence of table service, and the conveniently located pitchers of water that allowed me to refill at my leisure.
Next up it was the thali. A literal smorgasbord of dishes served with rice, pickle, and sauces. The daal that came with the thali, blew my fucking head off it was so good. The texture was perfect and the flavor was off the hook. There were some nice surprises in this mix of food. There was a mellow veg korma that was silky and subtle. There was this great dish that used pigeon peas and green beans that I was in love with. The pickle was sour, and was made of something that I could quite make out. The naan and the poori (fried bread!) were perfect to soak up all the rich gravies and sauces. Oh man. I want to eat there right now! 

I topped my meal of with a well  made mango lassi, which, in combination with the pureed mango dessert that came with my thali was almost too much. All in all, the best Indian food I've had in Austin. It beats Saravar and Madras Pavillion, which I love very much.

By far the bougeiest of my trips lately, La Taverna did not disappoint. I was tired. It was the morning after a raging party at my house. I needed strong drink, and fatty food. For some fucked up reason I wanted to go to the new 2nd St. district for lunch. Sian, Cory's limey GF is in town, and I felt that this would be something she would enjoy. She, like me, loves to eat. A lot. So, they scooped me up from my house (which was resembling a set for Animal House that morning), and we headed downtown. We had no particular restaurant in mind, and started walking around. La Traverna, whose patio is like, on the sidewalk, caught our eye. 

Sian and I went inside and checked out the menu. It was brunch time. They had $1 mimosa's and bellini's . Fo' real. We decided to check it out. We were not disappointed. I ordered a mimosa, but that went down tooooo easy, so I moved onto the spicy bloody, buddy. I started the table with the tagliere, a great selection of Italian cured meats, some parm, and a wee polenta crostini topped with some red sauce. Wow. It looked like bologna but it was fucking ridiculously delicious. It may have been olive loaf, came from many animals at once, and had a texture reminiscent of my poor, dirt road childhood, but I was impressed by the stunning simplicity of the meat and cheese platter. 

For my meal, I had the fettucine frutti di mare. Yum. Scallops, clams, mussels, shrimps all over fettucine covered in a brandy crustacean cream sauce. Yes please. It slammed. I was impressed, getting a buzz and stoked to see some 'Ville co-workers walk out of the jernt. Annecy and Laura, along with lil' Sophie, were hiding inside in fear of being spotted and being called out for the yuppie scum that they may or may not be. They were going to see Dark Knight (*the shit*). Aw. 

Cory had some chicken pasta dish, and Sian went brunch wise, eggs benedict style. All were impressed. I went home and took a much deserved nap. Life is good.

Some time has passed here. It is now a sultry 98˚ in the ATX. Motivated? No. Drinking? Yes. Laundry? Soon. I'm going to go on a me date after five. This means that I will be taking myself to dinner and doing laundry simultaneously. Asti it is. This has been months in the making. I always seem to be going that way too early on the wrong days. Not tonight though. Tonight I feast. I have already planned my meal. Yum. 

Thank you for tuning into this first edition of The Life and Times of a Bearded Weirdo. More as the story unfolds.


Laurie said...

Thanks for the imaginary champagne! Enjoy the imaginary gift basket from the neighborhood association.

Heather's Moving Castle said...

I just had to tell you hi!!! I have been reading and you make me laugh! I have linked you to my food blogs.

And you do have a good energy as Mindy (?) says!

Happy days to you!

~Heather ;)

Folks who Follow this Blog