Events

Upcoming and recently passed events that are cool enough to mention.

AFBA: Happy Hour at Finn + Porter

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By Tiffany Young

Last Wednesday, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance held its monthly happy hour at Finn + Porter near the Austin Convention Center. If you haven’t made it to Finn + Porter, the bar is hopping during happy hour, the cocktails are refreshing and the appetizers are tasty. I couldn’t try many of the appetizers, since they were meaty, but the one above was good! Check out more photos in this slideshow:

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Another SXSW has come and gone

By Tiffany Young

As many of you already know, I’m a big fan of music, and more specifically, music festivals, which works out great with me living in a place like Austin, Texas. Here there are three main music festivals, in my opinion: ACL Music Festival, SXSW Music and Fun Fun Fun Fest.

The coordinators of SXSW are smart in that they have coordinated the festival dates around UT’s spring break, which local schools generally are based around as well. This means, not only can all the college students attend, but also professors and teachers. And it’s not unheard of for students from nearby colleges to come into town for the occasion. That being said, it’s been a long time since I was in high school or college, but I do work in education, so this was the first year I got the entire week off to celebrate SXSW ( I mean spring?).

Even though going, going, going can, indeed be exhausting, as many are apt to complain about, I find this week also to be rejuvenating. Just the sheer amount of creativity going on in Austin during the week is amazing. There is also a film festival and interactive festival going on. It’s hard to imagine the amount of genius that surrounds all this activity.

Instead of telling you about my whole week (which to be quite frank—I could not recall everything anyway), I will be highlighting a few things from my week, and then, if Flickr cooperates, I will add more photos later.

1. Probably THE most inspiring act at SXSW was Rich Aucoin. I had seen him before, but this year I saw him a whopping three times. If you’re not familiar with him (and it’s unlikely you are) he’s a Canadian, who produces dance parties at will. Think: screaming “Let it go – o – o -o!” playing with giant parachutes and confetti flying in the air mixed in with YouTube videos. I know.. it’s hard to imagine. But If you get the chance, try it out. I think Rich’s genius is that he’s just a guy who’s bringing fun and stress relief to a generation who sometimes forgets about fun in the need to succeed.

This show is all about letting loose and having a good time en mass with a bunch of strangers, who you’ll share a bond with by the time all is said and done. If you’re just looking for the best musician at the festival, this might not be your cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a heartfelt party, this is it.

2. July Talk came in at a close second for me. This duo is insanely passionate onstage. It’s hard to describe the crazy rock feel, but I’ll try. The guy part of the duo, Jeremy Dreimanis, reminds me of a crazed Johnny Cash. In contrast, the sweet gal, Leah Fay, has a sweet Betty Boop-ish voice. They banter with one another while toying with the audience. Leah not only was drinking honey from the bottle onstage, but offered it up to many an audience memb

er. By the end of it all, you’ll be slightly scared of Jeremy (from yelling at the audience to wake up, while slapping his own face) and enamored of Leah, who’s flirty and sexy and seemingly sweet. If you’re looking for an energetic show, that plays around with teasing and has a sense of the unexpected, this is where it’s at. The band is solid and the energy is catching.

3. Other bands of note: Loved Wonder Villians (seriously poppy, reminds me of Cindy Lauper); Loved MISUN (Cheerleader moves, gorgeous indie-rock voice combined with hipster clothes); Austin’s own The Gents (Rockabilly Indie Music, if that were a thing with a lead singer that has bounds of energy–they are playing a free show Tuesday in Austin with RSVP); And of course, there were lots, lots more that I truly enjoyed–these just left a really lasting impression.

4. Food: We’re still a food blog, so I guess I’d be remiss to not

mention the food I ate. I finally got to try Café Crepe, which was delish. I also ate  falafel from a food truck–can’t remember the name, but it wasn’t Kebabalicious. Shout out to Nespresso, who served up yummy coffee during interactive (’cause clearly Austin needed to be a little more wired than usual that week). Other than that, I was usually on the go and didn’t grab pictures or just grabbed Roppollo’s pizza, while I was on my way to another show. There was a party at Maggie Mae’s serving poutine.

If I can get my other photos uploaded, I may share more of my week later, but for now, that’s all the South By news. Until next year!

Coming soon: That Takes the Cake! Austin Cake Show

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By Tiffany Young

So, you’re thinking about entering Austin’s That Takes the Cake Art Show this year? Here’s what you need to know:

1. It takes place Feb. 22-24.

2. It’s got a new location: ACC, Highland Mall, 6001 Airport Boulevard, Suite 1199, Austin, TX 78752 (which is very near the hotel that is always booked for the cake show).

3. Early registration has passed, but regular registration is open until Feb. 16.

4. Entry fees are: divisional competition $25, showcake competition $25, tasting competition $15.

5. Registration info, rules and prizes can be found at Rules.

6. If you enter sculpted cake, it must be made of, well, cake. Otherwise, most entries can use cake dummies.

7. The competition is pretty stiff. Just look at that picture of Willie Nelson above. It’s not really him–it’s a cake. I know, crazy.

8. This year’s theme is cake of ages.

9. Your friends and family can attend: $10 per day or $17.50 for a weekend pass online through Feb. 16 or $12 per day or $20 for the weekend at the door.

10. Celebrities, such as Karen PortaleoMarina Sousa & James Rosselle, Mike McCarey, Dot Klerck, Colette Peters, Nick Lodge & Lauren Kitchens and Dot Klerck will be teaching classes: http://thattakesthecake.org/index.php/classesandevents/celebrity-classes.

11. There are onsite competitions to watch on Saturday and Sunday.

12. There’s a lot more info over at http://thattakesthecake.org.

Below are some pictures from last year’s competition to get your creative juices going. Here are some posts from prior years: 2013 Day 1, 2013 Day 2, mom takes second, my mom wins third, and 2012.

Hope to see you there this year!

 

 

Austin Food Bloggers Alliance ‘Prop Swap’ Holiday Party

By Antonio Delgado

Gourdough’s has been taunting me for months. I have had friends tell me about how great the place is. 

Truth be known, I have a severe sweet tooth. And my attempts to watch my weight have become just that, watching my weight.

Then we at OhSpooning got the invite for the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance Holiday Happy Hour. Hence, we prepared for our defeat.

Gourdough’s has a pleasant laid back atmosphere. Although they are known for their savory and sweet doughnut dishes, Gourdough’s menu expands beyond that. The doughy team sponsored our event, serving up fried oysters on kettle chips, sweet doughnuts with peanuts and holiday cider.

Reality is, most holiday parties feel like an obligation to me. But the people within Austin Food Bloggers Alliance have truly become friends. We greet each other with hugs and genuinely care about each other. All the family awkwardness is out the window and the best part is, you don’t have to impress anyone.

Most Christmas parties themes call for Tacky Sweaters or a White Elephant exchange. However, this would not be an AFBA gathering without a twist. The invitation called for the invites to a “Prop Swap” meaning the Spooners had to bring a prop that we used in our pictures over the last 12 months. Perplexed, we had no idea what to bring. What was our theme this year? What did we shoot the most of? After some deliberation we agreed to bring a bottle of whiskey.

Overall, the evening was lovely. Gourdough’s proved why they are becoming an Austin staple and I won a growler in the gift exchange. Win for everyone!

 

 

AFBA RIO Happy Hour

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By Tiffany Young

As part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, we get to try a lot of really cool places that we wouldn’t necessarily think to try on our own. One such place is RIO Rooftop Lounge on Sixth Street, near Benji’s Cantina and 219 West (no longer on West Street).

For our day-before Halloween happy hour, the food bloggers were invited to check out the rooftop lounge to try some nibbles and wine. There weren’t many pescetarian options, but the wine was really good! The sliders looked good, but don’t really work with my diet.

But what I’d really recommend going to RIO for is the view! On a nice day, this place has a great view, not only of downtown, but of it’s own rooftop pool, which I really want to swim in this summer. I’m pretty sure it’s not actually for swimming, but that would rock in the heat of Texas.

The cabanas are nice for smaller groups, but since we are not a very small group, we lounged about the many couches and congregated around a few tables strewn about the deck.

RIO Rooftop Lounge
601 Rio Grande, Ste. 200/300
Austin, TX 78701

Food Abundant at ACL Food Trucks

By Tiffany Young

It’s festival season in Austin right now and we’d be remiss not to mention the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Although it may not be my very favorite music festival in this great city, it *is* still a pretty good one, if you don’t mind crowds, port-a-potties and being really sweaty. But, hey, it’s not in September anymore!

This year’s lineup was pretty amazing. But the question is: What kind of food matches these artists?

Fun./Jimmy Eats World/Vampire Weekend/The Nationals/Ms Mr/Passion Pit/Noah & the Whale/Phoneix and many more …

So glad you asked. While this year I focused mainly on staying hydrated (lemonade, lemonade and more lemonade from various vendors as well as Sweet Leaf Tea), a girl gets a little hungry when they’re dancing so much.

lemonade

This year, I ate:

Franks Veggie dog with cole slaw—Pretty amazing. I wanted chili, but it had meat in it.

From Frank's
From Frank’s

Vegetarian Kimchi Fries—Delicious. Wouldn’t change a thing.

Kim chi fries

Avocado Jalapeno Bahn Mi—Eh. This needed a little less peanuts for my taste and the sweet vinegary sauce I’m accustomed to, but it did the job.

avacodo jalepeno bahn mi

A Falafel—Not bad, but I definitely prefer Kebabalicious if given the choice.

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There were a lot of trailers I wanted to eat from, but there’s only so many meals you should eat in a three-day time period. Next up: Fun Fun Fun Fest. I hope to see everyone at the November festival! Until then: listen to great music, eat great food and create community.

Celebrate: Dad’s 65th Surprise Birthday

11505671855_2cca233457_oBy Tiffany Young

In September, we threw my dad a surprise birthday party for his 65th year. It was a lot of fun helping plan and getting everything together, even though it was tricky and took a lot of work.

We decided to celebrate 2 weeks ahead of time, since my brother and I both had long weekends for Labor Day. I thought for sure my dad suspected something, since 1) my mom wasn’t home when I got there, 2) my mom and I went “shopping” at 7 a.m. the day of the party because I needed “work clothes” and we sent him to the movies with my brother ALONE.

My mom and I made the guitar cake, which turned out well, but we both thought it could have been better if we’d have more time. I had her buy some strawberries for us to throw around the top and sides to spruce it up. The cake turned out delicious!

We also had some good appetizers, which my cousin and aunt ended up helping with since they showed up a little early and we still had so much left to do.

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Favorites included pinwheels; watermelon, feta and mint with balsamic vinaigrette; Caprese salad and cheese and crackers.

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Neighbors, old friends and a few relatives came and drank wine, ate food and enjoyed each others’ company.

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Looking back at the pictures reminds me just how precious every birthday really is, as one of the neighbors who is in the pictures has passed away since then, just about a week ago unexpectedly.

That being said, I wish everyone a happy holiday and to remember to enjoy those you love right now in the moment, because you never know what will happen. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. Hug (or spoon) someone you love today! Happy holidays!

SXSW: Foodie Day 1

By Tiffany Young

OK, OK. It’s not officially SXSW yet, but that doesn’t mean the free food and drinks have not already begun. Thanks to the start of TechMunch and Whole Foods and Forkly hosting TANGO con VINOS ARGENTINOS at GSD&M, I’ve already had a few glasses of wine, some food and a swag bag of goodies.

First, I tried the Argento Bonarda, a red wine, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Its description is “earthy dark fruit and rustic red berry notes, hints of violet and toasted oak.” I enjoyed this with some empanadas and tapas topped with fried asparagus … yum. The weather in Austin was beautiful tonight, as I strolled along the courtyard saying hi to a few people I knew.

I hope the weather holds up, but the forecast is calling for rain the next few days.

My next glass was the Crios Torrontes, a sweet white wine. It was lovely as well, but I ended up eating some cheese alongside it and it may have been too sweet to pair with a strong cheese. There were several more wines I abstained from as well as a meat buffet that I heard was delicious.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to catch some more SXSW festivities during my lunch break. Wish me luck!

Hope Farmers Market relocated to Plaza Saltillo

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By Tiffany Young

Last weekend was the last day for Hope Farmers Market to be located at Pine Street Station. I was lucky enough to be there to see the announcement or I would have been disappointed when I showed up and no one was there.

My mom and her coworkers had come in for the cake show and wanted to visit the farmers market. They had missed the one downtown, so I brought them to Hope, forgetting that my Austin-eclectic taste might be a bit much for the Northeast Texans. (I’m from there, so I can say that!)

I’m not sure they were as impressed with the hippy-ness that I am, but they did have a great appreciation for Flour’s smart tarts that I introduced them to. The honey nutella smart tart is amazing. I’ve also had the pecan praline and loved it, too, despite not being a huge fan of pecans. My mom raved about the raspberry, saying “I didn’t even share on the ride home it was so good!”

All that to say — while Hope is no longer at Pecan Street Station, it has not closed, but relocated to Plaza Saltillo as of today, March 3! I didn’t get a chance to go check it out, but one of the vendors was telling me that it was originally made as a farmers market, was on the rail route and would no longer have to relocate during the SXSW craze.

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Day 2: Cake Show

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By Tiffany Young

As promised, I took my Nikon to the Austin That Takes the Cake! show on day two. I love seeing the cakes up close and personal with my zoom lens and it’s much more reliable than my iphone for clear pics.

This year, we weren’t at the show as long as in year’s past. There was a lot of food to introduce my mom to: Hopdoddy’s and Elizabeth St. Café. Still there were numerous fine-looking cakes at the show! Here are some of my favorites!