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Thank you to all the volunteers who baked all the wonderful goodies and stayed to help sell them!

We met many people today, including two sisters who held a lemonade stand to raise funds for Nepal.  This is one of the many reasons Austin is a great community to live in.

If you missed the bake sales around town, you can still help!  Check out the dance at Davis Elementary on Sunday, May 24th at 5pm.  Or buy a T-shirt from Stay Strong Nepal.  The bake sale’s online giving page will be available as well. Stay tuned to Austin Bakes (http://austinbakes.com) to find out how much was raised for Nepal relief.

IMG_6431 IMG_6428 IMG_6432 AustinBakesforNepal-B-800x800

AustinBakesforNepal-B-800x800

Call for bakers, I will be at the Whole Foods Gateway Market if you want to volunteer with me: http://austinbakes.com/2015/05/11/calling-all-bakers/

Where the funds are going: http://austinbakes.com/2015/05/13/austin-bakes-for-nepal-where-the-money-goes/

spiced crackle cookies

Sharing is Caring… Please share this with your friends!  Anyone, anywhere can donate online here: http://austinbakes.com/2015/05/13/online-donations-are-now-open/

THANK YOU!

la Madeleine almond heart cookie

A spur of the moment getaway to San Antonio to explore the Riverwalk.  We didn’t know it was Fiesta this weekend, so the streets were crawling with festival patrons.  The Riverwalk itself wasn’t terribly busy, and I managed to stay out of the water.  Apparently the open container laws are different than Austin, as everyone seems to be holding a cold beer can or a margarita.

I was looking for something different. No chain restaurants, somewhere we would have a view and a glass of wine (or two).  Keep walking until you find the gem, The Fig Treethe quaint little restaurant in La Villita owned by the Phelps family.

fig_tree_riverwalk_2015

We shared a bottle of the Heinz Eifel Riesling (2013), ordered the duck and prime rib, dark chocolate fondant for dessert.

They have a wide selection of wine, sorted by region. Or ask for a cocktail or beer, the waitstaff are very friendly and can help you decide.

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We stayed at the Omni, La Mansion Del Rio, a boutique hotel with direct access to the Riverwalk.

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After walking all around the river it was nice to relax!  I noticed the A/C was quiet, a very nice amenity to have when you want to get a solid night of sleep.  There was a small pool but I didn’t pack my swimsuit.
omni_riverwalk_6012

Across the river from the hotel was our lunch spot, Rita’s.  There are probably more Tex-Mex restaurants along the Riverwalk than anything else.  I tried the fish tacos, which ended up super greasy and it was Tilapia (not a fan), not the best lunch for $18.

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Mad Dogs British Pub is on the list for next time we visit the Riverwalk.  It was a little busy when we walked by looking for dinner.

It’s a mystery.

Our special spot, the place I fell for my deary, is inexplicably closed!

The only confirmation is the Yelp page noting Uncorked | CLOSED.

The couch in the foyer… Oh that couch….

The menu worked, the wines were interesting and plentiful.  What happened?

Sigh…

Now we are searching for another date night spot.  Any suggestions for wine bars in Austin?

The abundance of Las Vegas buffets kicked off our holiday, but we were pleasantly surprised to find sushi at the Monte Carlo Resort.

I ordered Sake 3 and some sashimi.  The Sake 3 had salmon marinated in sake in the middle of the roll, fresh salmon on top, garnished with roe and basil.  The basil threw me off a bit, it’s not a typical herb for sushi in my limited experience.

SAKE 3 ROLL

SAKE 3 ROLL

Prices were not that much more than you would find in Austin, TX.  Expertly prepared sushi and hot Chinese dishes are available at Dragon Noodle, something the owner prides himself in offering his guests.

There are several seating options, low sofas, at the bar, tables and at the sushi bar.  Service was friendly and accommodating.  This experience was top notch and my favorite within the resort!

Dragon Noodle Las Vegas NV

Dragon Noodle Co. and Sushi Bar

3770 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Within Monte Carlo Resort & Casino

(702) 730-7965

For months I’ve been watching the construction just around the corner from my house.  This is part of the excitement of living in a popular growing city, I just hope we don’t get too popular.  I’d like to keep my commute under an hour into Austin.  But if I do get stuck in a sea of suburbanites, at least a good cup of java is going to be available en route to the ninth layer of congestion hell.

I don’t want to spoil it though!  Can you keep this a secret?

Dazzle Coffee is opening in Round Rock!

Dazzle Coffee Round Rock TX

I saw some activity at the site yesterday and poked around their Facebook page.  I’m waiting to confirm the grand opening date (it might be TODAY)!

There’s one thing in the kitchen’s basic handbook that gives me panic attacks.

Pie crust.

Yeah, yeah.  Go ahead and laugh.  I’ll wait until you’re done.

Seriously, making pie crust was my culinary kryptonite.  If my life hinged on my ability to make an apple pie from scratch (without the assistance of a certain puffy little cartoon chef on a box of *gasp* pre-made pie dough) I would be slaughtered.  But, I think staring this challenge in the face has helped quell those fears.

This Thanksgiving I decided to make butter tarts, with a gluten-free tart shell.  Tell me where you can find tart shells that are gluten-free, tasty, and affordable in Austin?  My solution was Blackbird Bakery‘s pie and pastry blend.  The only hitch in my plan was having to prepare the crust for my tarts myself.

Karen Morgan, the genius that she is, took all the uncertainty out of pie crust made at home.  And it’s gluten-free to boot!  Bonus points for being non-GMO and tree nut free.

I used brown rice flour for dusting my pastry mat, which was coarser than the recommended glutinous rice flour (or sweet rice flour).  It did give a sable texture to the crust which was not rejected by anyone too busy to notice they were gluten-free because they were shoving a second helping in their mouths.

Mission complete!

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