All Things to All (High Maintenance) Men

Or, hipster Austin summed up on a wrapper?

 

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Go on, study it. How many expectations can one snack bar possibly cater to?

To be fair, I DID try it. It tasted like dirt, without the interesting history. I wanted to punch this thing in the face. Instead, I mock it.

 

(Also, I do like Thunderbird otherwise, and Austin. Just sayin’)

Tacos and toilets and costumes… oh my…

First things first – this picture was going to be a “Things I See” post.  Or maybe Roscoe says.  But it demands its story be told. 

My property management company, after months of plumbing issues in my rental, decided some fixtures needed replacing.  I came home after their scheduled work day to find this at my front doormail (723)

CLASSY. 

Unfortunately they were removed before I could spray paint them and use them as lawn décor.  Maybe next time.

 

 

It took me a couple of weeks to find my rhythm at my new job.  Now tickets roll off in a sometimes stupefying manner (for a newbie like me) and I handle them one at a time.  I have not had the line awkwardly waiting for me as of yet.  Working garmache  is more challenging than anyone who hasn’t done it can imagine.  Plating salads, beds for proteins and desserts may not be glamorous, but my work often has to be done in order for everyone else’s to go out the door. And when things are busy, trying to prep, restock, work the station and rush literally around everyone crowding my space I find a sort of order in the madness.  A spark inside that drives me to meet and outrun the demands of any moment on the clock.  It isn’t always perfect.  There’s a lot I don’t yet know.  But it is exactly the kind of challenge I’ve always found rewarding and fun.

 

So naturally, yesterday I left plating lovely salads behind and proceeded to Maria’s Taco Express – which I’d never visited but have always driven by, finding both my curiosity and amusement stimulated. 

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It is a funny little cantina of a place with lots to offer.  Indoor and outdoor seating.  Local beer and live music nights.  Restaurant cats on the patio. (Yes, that’s right. Cats.  Real ones). A rusty antique truck open on the upper deck for your children’s playtime enjoyment. I love it, and highly recommend the barbacoa.mail (721)

 

 

 

(Sidenote:  Upon departure, I was treated to a local gym billboard with this inspirational message – “New Glutes!”   Hmm…  the ability to buy this year’s model certainly has some appeal.  Ass stores should totally be a thing).

 

Otherwise, I’ve been trying to decide how to occupy myself for Halloween.  I am hoping to find some Hitchcock showings, at the very least.  I already have an 80s-centric costume lined up.  I may or may not blog on it next week, so no spoilers.  

Whatever you’re doing, don’t just sit there!  Get off your couch, out of your comfort zone, and do something ridiculous.  Halloween is NOT all about the kids.  It’s the one day those who need an excuse to be silly have one.  Tell me, what are you, your kids, neighbors, bffs and pets going to do and be this year?  Seriously, people, tell me!  Better yet, post pictures! 

Take on the weekend.

 

 

The Best of Hells

Today concludes week 1 of my culinary externship.

Damn, what a week.

With class work completed, I must now log 300 hours – with a maximum of 30 per week credited-of externship in order to graduate.  That can occur via a number of scenarios.

My classmates have a marginally sane approach to this process.  Find a kitchen job, have a supervisor sign off for paid working hours.  No problem.

I, alternately, said “I WANNA GO TO THE FARMS, AND A RESTAURANT, AND HELP PREP FOR A SUICIDE MISSION OF AN EVENT! THIS WILL BE GREAT!!”   (Without the yelling, my little-kid-enthusiasm just won’t come through – )

To translate: I opted to be part of a group helping a premiere Texas chef prepare for and operate a food booth at Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well as work on a local farm and in their kitchen, and log hours in a restaurant. 

I am officially a crazy person.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday I logged a total of 27 hours helping unload, prep, cook, process, package and reload for storage nearly 2700 pounds of chicken and 3000 pounds of pork. 

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Other students also helped make sauces and dressings.  We seasoned, roasted, sliced, chopped, vacuum sealed, and cleaned in 8 to 12 hour shifts.  It was insanity personified.  But we were so badass further prep was unnecessary and so cancelled.  The next 2 weekends I will work the festival booth in 8 hour shifts. 

 

Monday and Tuesday I returned to Bernhardt’s Fruit and Veggie farm. There, I helped make kim chi, sauerkraut and kale chips,mail (689) then picked, sorted, washed and packaged produce of all kinds to ready them for today’s farmer’s markets.  Next week, we make jellies.   Again I say, consider the long hours of hard physical labor that go into every piece of produce you buy at a local market, into every dish on every quality menu you see.  I assure you, your dollars are well spent.

 

Though not yet assless, I have worked enough to be well on my way.   I am bruised, cut, blistered, and moving like an octogenarian in the mornings.  Week 1 is behind me.  And you know what?  THIS IS GREAT!

Argus Cidery

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Over the past 3 months or so, I have been fortunate enough to peer into the evolving world of apple cider.

A chef instructor of mine, upon learning my love of and knowledge-fed desire for all things beer and spirits related, clued me in to the fascinating endeavors of Argus Cidery.    As does any consumer of merit, I poured over the web site, I researched product reviews and company history, sought out distributors, and scheduled a visit.

mail (503)The cidery owners/operators, Wes Mickel and Jules Peterson, have food industry backgrounds, lots of curiosity and drive, and the coolest of attitudes.  Their story, to sum up, stems  from the thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to figure out how to make apple cider?” And they did.  But don’t let that fool you.  They are smart, hard working, dedicated, do more than their share of homework, and are some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.  Their diligence birthed the first hard cidery in Texas.  From there, they have blossomed.

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My first exposure was as a visitor for one of the weekend tastings and picnics hosted on the cidery grounds.  I introduced myself,  got a tour of the tiny single press operation, asked a bajillion questions and commenced tasting.  I have never been the biggest of cider fans, but this is no sugary college 6 pack product.  It is more than worthy of its simple, elegant bottles. mail (670) The experience is akin to biting into a fresh apple – minus the physicality, plus the alcohol content.  But it is not for everyone.  We Americans have markedly sweet palettes, and some will find the tartness off putting at first taste.  Come back, I say – let it lure you for a second, a third.  You won’t be sorry.

I have since made subsequent visits, lending a hand with kitchen preparations and such, picking their constantly turning brains.  Basking in the coolness of it all.  mail (501)I excitedly anticipate their upcoming (MAJOR) expansions, new product lines and continued success. 

They currently distribute to Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina and through specsonline.com.  If you’re interested, be sure to visit arguscidery.com to learn more about them.

 

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