Texas

A Pescetarian in Texas

IMG_0133Living in Austin makes me think vegetarianism is normal. You can hardly find a restaurant that doesn’t have some type of vegetarian menu items, and many cater to the veggie-only crowd. So when I venture from home, to say, see my parents in a smallish town in Texas, I’m always amazed.

On a recent trip home, I stopped in at a large bakery that has a few locations off the highways of Texas. On the breakfast menu, it had:

  • biscuit $1
  • biscuit with egg and sausage $1.95
  • biscuit with egg and bacon $1.85
  • biscuit with egg $1.50
  • add cheese .50

When the young lady at the cash register asked if she could help me, I asked for a large coffee and a biscuit with egg and cheese.

“Just egg and cheese?” she asked. “No bacon or sausage?”

“No bacon or sausage, just egg and cheese biscuit,” I repeated my order back to her.

“Well, I’m not sure we have that,” she said peering into the case.

When she finally found the one egg biscuit in the bunch, she said, “Oh, I didn’t think we had that. I’ve never had anyone order that before.”

I failed to point out that it was on the menu, since I was tired and ready to get back on the road.

As she grabbed some cheese and microwaved the biscuit and egg, I heard her say to another employee, “I don’t know how to ring this up. Do I just ring it up like the others? Is it the same price?”

Meanwhile, a poor soul who just wanted a refill on his coffee continued to wait for her to come back.

I patiently waited, knowing that by pointing out the price on the menu would likely not hurry things along.

Another employee explained how to ring the meal up and when the cashier came back she reminded me again, “Sorry, but no one had ever ordered it without bacon or sausage before.”

As she told me the total (I’m pretty sure she still charged me for meat), I realized she had been so focused on the fact that she couldn’t believe someone would eat an egg and cheese biscuit without meat that she forgot about the coffee. 

After a few more minutes, I awkwardly took my microwaved egg and cheese biscuit and coffee out to the car to eat, scared that she would gawk at me as I ate this “non-meat” (I mean, egg is a meat, right?) meal if I ate inside. When things like this happen, I just have to laugh.

Now, I’m aware that it seems I’m harshly judging most of my state over one incident, but believe me, this happens pretty much any time I leave the Lone Star state’s capitol.

On another trip, I stopped at the same bakery, but in another part of the state (about three hours southwest of the other location). It was lunchtime and there was a bit of a line. I looked at my options. Just tuna fish and a veggie sandwich.

“Yes! They have a veggie sandwich,” I thought. I love tuna, but it’s a frequent option, so it gets a little old.

When it came my turn, I put in my order.

The young woman asked, “A veggie sandwich?”

“Yes, please,” I responded.

“Ok, well, All we’ve got is lettuce, pickles, onions, tomatoes, onions, olives and jalepeños,” she listed the ingredients out for me.

The “all we’ve got” did not really get me excited.

“Oh. Um. In that case, I’ll take the tuna sandwich.”

Keep in mind that the veggie sandwich cost just as much as the meat sandwiches that came with a meat, cheese AND all the toppings she just listed out to me. No hummus, no cream cheese, no sauteed veggies were available. And yet, the sandwich was about $10.

When I first became pescetarian, I’d go home to visit my parents and say I was vegetarian, because growing up in this semi-small city, I knew it was unlikely people understood vegetarianism, much less pescetarianism.

Sure enough I’d tell people I didn’t eat meat and they’d respond, “That’s OK. We have chicken.”

Interested in learning more about pescetarianism? Here’s a Huffington Post article I recommend: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chloe-spencer/pescetarianism_b_956965.html

 

Texas On The Rocks

Serve It Up

Serve It Up

Hey Spooners!

This weekend was a great opportunity to get acquainted with Texas Distilleries.

Texas On The Rocks proved to be one of the best tasting events I have been to in some time. For one night, Austin Music Hall transformed into an emporium of handcrafted booze with names you have heard [Titos] and several names you may not have.

As Spooners, we get invited to events like this on a regular basis. Here are a few lessons we have learned over time

How to handle an Alcohol Tasting

  1. Alcohol tasting events are a marathon not a race. You don’t need to taste everything they give you in your cup.
  2. Ask for smaller pours. This allows you to taste more samples without over committing.
  3. Feel free to ask for another. If you have gone around every table, feel free to go back and ask for another pour at your favorite stops. The server will remember you asked for a short pour initially, and will get you another.
  4. Take water breaks.
  5. Eat well. Have a good dinner. This will help you go the distance.
  6. Don’t make a scene. Keep it classy and don’t be that drunk guy/gal at the event.
  7. Aspirin before bed. You would be surprised how much this helps.

If you follow these simple steps, you can ensure you get the most out of the price of admission.

As for the event itself, I think this was a great first step to getting Texas Distillers on the national map.

Texas On The Rocks 2015 Review

  1. Garrison Brothers is amazing – as always. But I am bias! And they don’t pay me to be.
  2. Moody June Gin is the next best thing since sliced bread! And they are working on a barrel aged gin. If you go to the Bone Spirit tasting room, you might be able to talk Joe into a tasting. Tell him Antonio sent you.
  3. Dulce Vida Spirits has an splendid family of Tequilas. With an Anejo finished in Garrison Bros barrel and an extra Anejo finished in Rombauer wine, I had a hard time walking away from this table. Side Note: I NEED to find their margarita recipe!
  4. Whoever did graphic work for Cat Mezcal and Cat Tequila labels, did a wonderful job! I just wish I was able to taste that sealed bottle of tequila. Hint. Hint.
  5. Craigslist Missed Connections. Dear Balcones FR.Oak Single Malt Whiskey, this is my open letter. I need to know more about you. Your simple taster was not enough. Can we get to know each other a little better? It was Valentine’s Day. Do you remember me? ‘Cause I remember you. Love, Antonio
  6. Distillers, don’t send a marketing rep to an event like this if they can’t answer questions about your craft, process and uniqueness. Bad move. I bet you as a Distiller have a beautiful story of struggle that goes along with each release. Now tag that to your marketing tasting notes. This is what makes your unique and memorable. The Lakarish Brothers from IronRoot Republic showed up to represent themselves with contagious excitement. The brothers talked about how they are so small their mom had to cover the bar at the still house while they represented themselves at Texas On The Rocks. Then they showed me of their mom shaking drinks. We laughed and I mentioned that if I owned a still house and my mom was bartending, it would be a train wreck [I love you mom]. These boys are building a story and brand to remember.

One option for growth is in the food department. Although, Titos hosted a VIP breakfast taco after party with Maudies catering [which was a nice tough], I feel like this would have been a splendid opportunity to showcase the Austin food scene. I would love to see Pink Avacado have a table, along with Paul Qui, the chef from Clarks and the Peach Tortilla team. This would be a great next step to pushing the event to more heavily Texas branded.

Overall, this was a great inaugural evening and I already anticipate next year!

Whiskey without the E ’cause there’s no E in Scotch Whisky

Note: The whisky tasting was free for OhSpooning, courtesy of Glenfiddich.

Last week, the Spooners got a chance to taste several Glenfiddich  Scotch whiskys at a tasting at Freedmen’s, 2402 San Gabriel St. near UT’s campus.

First off, let’s start with how to pronounce it: Glen-fid-ick with a hard “ch.” So raise your glass, and make a toast before we begin.

If you’re not familiar with the brand, Glenfiddich, Gaelic for Valley of the Deer, was founded in 1886 by William Grant in Dufftown, Scotland, and is still family owned. Grant, his wife, and his seven sons and two daughters built the distillery by hand and served its first spirits Christmas Day in 1887.

They claim to have the best dram in the valley. What’s a dram, you ask? Basically, a small glass of whisky.

10302013_ATX_Freedmans_Glenfiddich_031If you’re not familiar with drinking Scotch whisky, the best way to taste it, we learned from Glenfiddich Ambassador David Allardice, is to drink it neat and then add drops of water to suit your taste (cutting the whisky). Chew it up and roll it around until your mouth waters for best results.

Glenfiddich is a single-malt whisky (the best-selling single-malt in the world), which means they are made from only malted grain, 100% barley. While single-malt is clearly defined in Scotland, there is no definition of single malt in the U.S. law.

I think there were six tastes, maybe seven. I lost track after the first few. There was definitely a favorite, but I lost track of that as well. We were the first in Texas to try the 19 year old Glenfiddich, which will be available in limited supply at select bars and restaurants in Austin.

If you’re interested in trying Glenfiddich, the 12 year is on special at Freedmen’s this month for $3 during happy hour.

Make sure to listen to our podcast to learn more about Glenfiddich from the ambassador himself.


 

 

 

That Takes the Cake Art Show and mom takes third!

Lots of families have traditions, and one of ours has become attending the That Takes the Cake! Art Show in Austin, Texas. This year’s contest is quickly approaching (Feb. 23-24) and I’ve been thinking a lot about my entry (which I hope I don’t back out on!). Our cake will be themed “Jump Little Cake, Jump!” to go along with our cupcake book of that name. It’s going to be fun! I have never entered a cake before (or really decorated one, so it will be interesting!).

Last year, my mom entered for the first time and won third place in the beginner’s division for her Princess and the Pea cake. I was so proud of her!

 

Bren Young’s princess and the pea entry won third place in the beginner’s division of That Takes the Cake art show in Austin, Texas in 2012.

 

Close up of Princess and the Pea bed

 

Princess and the Pea close up

 

A close up of the woodwork and pea for Bren Young’s Princess and the Pea cake entry.

 

If you’ve never been to the show, you should check it out. Entry fee is only $20 and gets you into the show for free. Otherwise, entry is $8 for a day pass or $14 for the weekend if you purchase online in advance. There are onsite competitions, demonstrations and of course lots of beautiful cakes to admire!

 

My Favorite Food Find Of 2011 /// The Slayer Dog

The other night I was asking the other spooner about how her part of 2011 was, which led us to start laughing at the silly videos we made for the Slayer Dog at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year. I had almost forgotten that we had even made them.

On the first day of the festival, I noticed Frank’s was promoting something called the Slayer Dog. I thought to myself, “This is amazing! I have got to try this!” But the lady at the table told me to try back tomorrow.

Saturday morning, I visited Franks again. The kind lady behind the table looked worn from answering the same question. “We won’t have them ’til tomorrow,” she muttered.

By the time Sunday came, I was determined to get my hand on this dog. Buzz was stirring at the festival. Rumors were flying that Slayer wanted a Slayer Dog as well. I wish I could find a source to confirm this instance.

Upon arrival at the fest on Sunday, I made a B-line for Franks. The same poor girl told me that Frank would send a tweet when the dogs were ready. I told her that although the idea sounds great, text messages were coming in late due to a lack of bandwidth at the festival. Finally she said, “Just be back around 5 p.m.”

I based my entire day around this moment. At about 4:30, I was the 10th person in line. Quickly, people started to migrate. After about an hour of waiting, our friends at Franks passed out “tickets,” which were napkins with the words “Slayer” written on them in blue marker. If you got a napkin, you got a dog. Everyone else was turned away.

From this point forward, I will let the videos explain how the rest of the evening went!

I hope you enjoy one of my favorite food moments of 2011! Spoon away!