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    Austin, TX
  1. The squab thing was weird. I would assume, as a chef, she has at least cooked small birds at some point in her life. Why not just apply those techniques to the squab? I was left wondering if the "I've never cooked a squab" thing was set up by producers for "drama."
  2. You are a brave soul facing Smitty's in this heat! In the summer, I make the boyfriend go in while I wait in the car with the AC on. lol. Yes, yes, it's good. The last time we went we were a little dissapointed as the brisket was dry, but I think it's because it was the same weekend as the Luling Watermelon Thump and they were CRAZY busy. I'm really looking forward to winter (-ish, what passes for winter). I love going to Smitty's when it's gloomy and cold and no one's around. Best time ever.
  3. I know my profile says Austin, TX, but I recently moved to the sticks. (Not far from Austin, but definitely NOT Austin!) The best grocery store here is a giant mega mart and it is such a pain in the you-know-what to get in and out of there that we can't bare the thought of shopping more than once a week. Grocery shopping is much more of a chore now that my only option is a mega mart. I can't stand the giant parking lot, the giant heavy carts, the crowds, and the long check out lines. It's a good store, the best for maybe sixty miles around, but I wish the bulk section and fish sections were better. When I lived in the city, I shopped a lot more sporadically, picking up things at random from my neighborhood Safeway, picking up specialty things and bulk spices from time to time at Central Market or Whole Foods. I was also only cooking for myself, so it's difficult to guage the money difference. I think I probably spent more, on average. I really liked to avoid the mega marts, so I paid for that. There is a tiny little old school grocery store about a block away from the house now, and it's good to stop in there for last minute items. They have a good meat market and sometimes they will have good produce. It's nice having something small to pop in and grab something, even if I can't afford and don't want to do the bulk of my shopping there.
  4. The first chiles showed up last weekend, I roasted some and made them into a green chile rub for a pork shoulder. mmm mmm good. As soon as there are more, I want to do green chile enchiladas, pozole, and a chicken stew I make with sherry and green chiles. I am also going to freeze some for the winter time. CAN'T WAIT.
  5. There are places I won't go because they are just too damn loud. I don't know how it is in other cities, but in Austin, everyone has a complete fascination with live music. Which is great, I love music and I love music live, but I don't particularly love live music when it is in a restaurant, amp'ed up to bar/outdoor concert/arena levels of loudness. It's really freaking annoying. There is this one cajun/creole place that has the only truly good cajun food in town, but I refuse to go there after 7pm because that's when the damned Zydeco band starts playing, and I would rather be able to talk to the people I'm with, thanks. So irritating.
  6. My sweet boyfriend got me a Kitchen Aid as a housewarming gift when we moved in together. I love it. I use it to bake bread, make cakes and cookies for get-togethers, mix meatloaf, lots of stuff. I really want the meat grinder attachment so I can start making things out of my copy of Carcuterie I got for my birthday.
  7. OH MY GOD HOBBS! My mother and her siblings all grew up in Hobbs, I spent my childhood summers with my grandparents there. I hear it's changed a lot in the last twenty years, what with casinos and such. By the way, the Mexican restaurant my family always ate at was La Fiesta, and I know for a FACT they have green chile. I know they're still open, too. Recently saw an old friend of the family and she said it's exactly the same as it ever was. Way old school at this point. (Fun family fact: my parent's divorce was sparked over an argument about guacamole salad at La Fiesta.)
  8. Yes, Green Pastures is still open and would probably be a very good choice. Don't know if they could do his price range with wine, though. Call up there, I have several friends who work there and they are all really helpful friendly types. I know he doesn't want Mexican, but my sister did her rehearsal dinner at Z-Tejas and it was really nice. We all paid for our own booze and it worked out well.
  9. I had a great experience at Feast last weekend. My boyfriend made reservations. I guess because of all the recent buzz, they're more full than they used to be, because we had to settle for 8:30pm. We arrived a bit early, and had a couple of old fashioneds while we waited. I'd never had an old fashioned before and liked it. The pour was very generous and we were quite buzzed by the time we made it to the table. I felt warm and happy before we even started eating. Good for the waitstaff for suggesting that! That was a smart move. And oh, did I mention how good it smells in that place? It smells really good. We started with two appetizers: black pudding with peas, mint, and fried egg; and pork rillette. The black pudding was outstanding. I had to encourage the BF to try it, because the "blood" part made him squeemish, but he loved it too. I am definitely going to try making blood sausage now. I can only imagine how good that would be with hashbrowns and biscuits and eggs for weekend breakfast. Anyway, the port rillette was tasty, but next to the black pudding it was not as breathtaking. The black pudding was really the star of those choices. Really, really delicious. We had read online how huge the portions are (they really are!), and after the appetizers we were almost full, so we split the Bath Chaps for our entree. Bath chaps are tongue wrapped in pig face. We both totally were like, "We're eating tongue wrapped in pig face and we like it!" (Why, yes, there was more booze. What?) It was crispy around the edges, melty around the fatty bits, and just delicious in general. It was served with parsnip puree and braised greens. The parsnips were excellent. The greens were under-done (what is it with everyone undercooking greens these days? it's weird) but had good flavor. It was obvious that they were just there for something green on the plate, anyway. We had hoped that we'd be able to eat dessert, but between the huge appetizers, the super rich and fatty entree, and the liquor and wine, we just couldn't do it. Oh yeah, they also have superfulous bread and butter. It's seriously good bread and I really want to know where they get their butter. I want to go back and try that sticky toffee pudding that everyone keeps raving about, though. I had a great experience at Feast and can't wait to go back and try more stuff. The atmosphere is super relaxed, the service was great - very attentive, very relaxed, not overbearing - they made us feel super comfortable. I will definitely go back, although I hope next time I don't get sat next to the same woman who kept "EW!"ing at everything on the menu, and bitching about how "weird" it all was the entire time. I kept wanting to lean over and ask, "Why are you here and would you PLEASE shut up?!" Other than that (which was NOT the restaurant's fault) it was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. Lovely!
  10. If last season was Top Scallop this season is Top Ceviche. I like ceviche and all, but I really want Tom to tell them that if anyone makes ceviche it's an automatic disqualifier. Out you go. It's getting ridiculous, and it's pretty easy and doesn't take much work. BORING.
  11. Man those Bradley things look nice. Unfortunately, my father builds traditional smokers as a side hobby, and I think he would disown me. I have a smoker that was built for me, with the side fire box and all that, and yeah, it is a PITA. If I want to smoke a rack of ribs for dinner at 7, I have to start FIRST THING in the morning or they won't be done in time. Yes, things taste really good but (and PLEASE PLEASE don't tell anyone I said this ) it is annoyingly complicated. I rarely use it, because you know, what if I want to, like, leave the house during the day?! God it feels so good to come clean here. Anyway, if I could afford one, and if did I didn't fear disownment from my family, I would SO get a Bradley! Then, I'd lie and say I got the fire juuuuusst right!
  12. But at least that blue cheese and watermelon salad was disgusting and weird. My roommate and I could have made a better pasta salad for a back yard barbeque in under thirty minutes out of the ingredients in our pantry. It was just so very... SAD. So, so sad. Who goes on a competition like Top Chef and makes backyard pantry pasta salad? Who? Maybe she had never seen the show? Who knows.
  13. I had a pizza recently that was topped with garlicy roasted pork loin, carmalized onions, a bit of mozzarella, and after it came out of the oven it was topped with arugula and parmesagn cheese. Others might find that to be an "obomination," but me and my friends sure did devour every single bite! It was delicious.
  14. This is a great blog. Your friends' place seems really cool and interesting and I want that foie gras sandwich! YUM!
  15. Haha. My vegetarian sister also hates Tony (really, really hates him so very much) because of his constant digs at vegetarians. I think it's hilarious. I love to torture her by "accidentally" having No Reservations on when she comes over. God bless the DVR.
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