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Enter to win two tickets to The Big Chill!

It’s the coolest event in the hot Texas summer: the Big Chill! Join the Austin Food Blogger Alliance for a night to remember.

Dress up and cool down with chilly bites from some of Austin’s top restaurants in the beautiful Bullock Texas State History Museum. Chefs from top Austin restaurants—including The Carillon, No Va, St. Philip, Dolce Neve, Celtic Seafare, Nada Moo, Soup Peddler, Pleasant Storage Room, Swift’s Attic, Thai Fresh, Trace at the W, and Noble Sandwich Co.—will be creating special menu items for the event, with drink stations sponsored by Good Pop and Chameleon Coffee.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Meals on Wheels and More, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Meals on Wheels and More has served the Austin area for 42 years, nourishing and enriching the lives of people in need through meal delivery and other programs that promote independent living.

Event information:

Thursday, June 26 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Bullock Texas State History Museum
800 N. Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701

Total prize value: $130
Must be over 21 to attend the event.

Enter below to win now through June 15th, and don’t forget to follow along on Twitter and Instagram: #AFBABigChill

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CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER TO WIN!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Nites Out: P. Terry's (N. Austin)

Go try the Ruta Maya Organic Coffee Shake @P. Terry’s now!

This is a creamy coffee shake that I found less sweet than the chocolate shake, which is a good thing.  It has a nice robust coffee flavor, and it smells like coffee!  Perfect partner to a bacon cheeseburger.

Thanks P. Terry’s for the coupon so I could try out the new shake! 

 

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A tall Bloody Mary awaits at El Arroyo.

1624 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703

Known for catchy signs, which are commemorated in photographs along the interior walls, El Arroyo anchors the west end of the popular 6th Street downtown area.  It’s almost up against Mo-Pac (Loop 1), across 5th street from the Mean Eye Cat. 

I tried the Tacos El Pastor (pork with pineapple), they had very lean cubes of pork with a good about of achiote pepper flavor.  Not greasy at all.   My dinnermate had the tamales, which are a pain to make at home, and they were spiced in the right ways.  I’d say fairly authentic Mexican fare!

The “fish” is Tilapia, including the ceviche, which is not my favorite (maybe it’s a Southern thing, it’s certainly foreign to this Canuck!)  I wanted to try their ceviche but was not going to eat Tilapia.  If you like it, go ahead and try it.

El Arroyo can also entertain you with live music on select evenings (check the website).  I hear this is a great place for breakfast on the weekends.

 

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Nites Out: Korea House (Austin, TX)

Kimchi, Tofu, and Bacon Stir Fry. Surprisingly tasty for the kimchi-inclined! It was enough for two people, or lunch and dinner for myself. They also have just Kimchi and Bacon if you don’t like tofu. The rice is on the side, not fried with the goodies.

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Uncorked is a cozy converted house on the east side of downtown Austin hosting a globetrotters’ gauntlet of wines. Choose your glass by country or use the icons on the wine menu to find a pallet pleasing wine. I’m not a wine savvy person but I know I prefer sweet, fruity flavors if I’m enjoying a glass in good company. The staff are more than helpful and friendly, just ask if you don’t know what to try!

uncorked moscato midnitechef.com

My first choice was right up my alley.

uncorked moscato midnitechef.com

A sweet moscato with peachy floral notes. This went down very easily. The second glass was a rose and a little dry. From what I do understand about wine, start light and work to darker older vintages. Thanks to Jordan Winery for the class at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop!

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If you are looking for a special night with your sweetheart, Uncorked should be on your list.   Not just for Valentine’s Day (which is this FRIDAY), but any time you need to spend some time to converse over wine and nibbles.   The view of the high rises of downtown Austin is a splendid backdrop for your evening.

Uncorked is located at 900 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702

(512) 524-2809

uncorkedtastingroom.com

 

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BUY.  BAKE.  HELP.

We saw some incredible amounts of rain last month, while this was welcome after the droughts of 2011, the damage was not.  

Folks all along the Onion Creek river system were washed out of homes and rescued from rooftops. The same thing happened in my previous home of Calgary earlier this year.   The rivers become seething live creatures, swallowing everything in their path.

It’s time to rebuild.  Renew.  Refresh.  But everyone needs your help.

Austin Bakes for Austin is here to lend a hand, or cookie, for the cause.  Bakers across town will fire up their ovens for a city-wide bake sale on November 30th.  Save some room after your Thanksgiving feasts for sweet treats, and maybe a few savory ones too.  Your purchase will help a neighbor.  What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving?

 

Let me tell you how I got involved with Austin Bakes.

It was Labor Day weekend, 2011, we were returning to Round Rock after spending time with the grandparents in Del Rio for my son’s birthday.  As we approached Austin travelling north on IH-35, I saw what looked at first to be a thunderstorm to the east. Then the horrifying scene became clear.  That was a wall of smoke from a huge fire.  I’d never seen anything like it, and my heart sunk.

I wanted to help Bastrop.  Especially after seeing the news coverage.  I cried for people I didn’t even know, would never meet, and would never know that I cared about them.  It was that human connection, some upper echelon of spirituality that zapped me in gear.  I found Kathryn and Austin Bakes.  We met for coffee and I was so excited to be able to do something with my hobby of baking that would help the people I cried for, and prayed for.  A simple act of love, all bundled up in a loaf of bread.  Is it really that simple?  Yes, it can be.  

I don’t think Kathryn, nor the other volunteers, knew how this event would grow.  

Then West, TX happened.  I was drowning in a pool of tears for the firefighters and first responders who lost their lives that day.  During that bake sale, a volunteer firefighter from West appeared at my location in the Round Rock Market.  Holding back tears I thanked him for his service, dedication, and offered condolences for his fallen brothers.  He wouldn’t take a cookie, and only left his thanks for us.  

We can’t fix everything, but we can try to help each other.  Please join me next Saturday, either as a volunteer or supporter, for Austin Bakes for Austin between 10am and 2pm.  I’ll bring the bread, you bring your friends.  

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For locations, please visit http://austinbakes.com or make a donation today.  

All funds raised will go to the Austin Disaster Relief Network, to benefit survivors of the late October flooding
that ravaged homes in Austin and Pflugerville. Those who wish to make a gift in advance of the sale may do
so at Austin Bakes for Austin’s secure, online giving page.

 

 

 

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You’re thinking What the heck does Roller Derby have to do with food? Right?  Me.  That’s what!

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I’ve joined the Round Rock Roller Derby League called the Rockin’ City Rollergirls and aspire to be hell on eight wheels.  You know, when I’m not playing with the kids, donating blood, or baking cookies in my undies.  But seriously, derby is a motivation to get my tired aging ass back in reasonable shape.   I want to be able to walk up stairs without huffing and puffing by the fourth stair.  I used to swim every day in college, my muscles have been left to waste away to mush.

Mom, don’t worry, I have safety gear and a mouth guard.  Hmm, that also reminds me… You know why derby is awesome?  There’s no one to tell me “no, you can’t”, like those volleyball teams did all those years ago.  If you want to skate, you skate.  If you quit, that’s you’re own fault!

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: winning two tickets to the Homecoming Brawl!  This is happening in Round Rock at Austin Sports Arena on Sept 22 at 11:30am.  Kids under 12 are free at the door!  Bonus, right?!?  All you have to do is leave a comment below, and if you’re into derby, tell me your favorite team and/or skater.  Be sure to use your real email address when leaving a comment so I can find you if you win!

Winner takes 2 free tickets, contest closes Sept 15th!

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Related: Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan’s Paleo Cookbook!

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My friend and colleague, Jay McEvers, is on his way to compete in the Great American Beer Festival’s Pro-Am Competition with an Extra Special Bitter beer he crafted and turned over to Rogness Brewing for production.

I can’t wait to try a pint this weekend while enjoying the last searing days of summer in Texas.  Raise your glass, congratulations again!

Head to select HEB stores that carry Rogness Beer to find Jay’s ESB.

 

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On the hunt for peppers on your burger?  I found three around town and I’ll tell you which one was my favorite.

First up is the Oasis Hatch Chili Burger.

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The Oasis

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The bun was big and dry, the burger was dry too.  Come for the views of Lake Travis (and yes there was water in there), however the incredibly slow service may irritate you.

Second were the Hatch Green Chili Sliders I found at Round Rock Market Days.

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Hatch Green Chili Truck

These little babies had a creamy sauce and juicy slider patties, topped with roasted hatch chili peppers.  Perfect quick lunch while on the go at the market!  Saw the Rockin’ City Rollergirls there too.

The last one I want to share with you is a Poblano Burger from Louisiana Longhorn Café in Round Rock.

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Louisiana Longhorn Café

Louisiana Longhorn Café

The Poblano Burger was on the special menu, and it was loaded with toppings.  The Cajun fries were tasty but a little greasy.  It had fresh pico de gallo and avocado to compliment the peppers.  All held together with cheese!  Our server brought out a pitcher of ice tea, none of that annoying tea to sweetener ratio control required, you can refill at your own pace.  The décor was full of purple and gold (LSU), mirrors, and odds and ends.

Even though I enjoyed the Poblano Burger with the added avocado, I have to say my favorite pepper burger was the Green Hatch Chili Truck’s hatch sliders.  It’s great to see a few trucks around Round Rock after the Trailer Park went vacant this summer.  Sucks to lose a spot to hang out with the dog and kids, while eating a variety of foods.  I hope to find the Green Chili truck again!

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There’s something to be said about tradition.

For one, I never thought my family recipes would share a common thread with friends in Texas, over 2000 miles away from where I’m from in Canada. Turns out at least one person here knows what Yorkshire Pudding is and how to serve it. That is to say, with a proper roast beef and brown gravy made from pan drippings.

I treated my friends to a Canadian dinner, including Yorkshire, roast beef with carrots and mushrooms, corn on the cob, a fresh cucumber salad, rye caraway bread, and rhubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert! Sadly I didn’t take dish-by-dish photos, my guests were not the food blogger sort and probably would have looked at me funny, plus it kind of detracts from the ambiance of dinner (I can sympathize with some chefs who do not allow photos to be taken in their restaurants).
However, having the kids run around doesn’t affect dinner parties AT ALL. (Insert sarcastic grin here)

I did snag a couple photos, the table setting and dessert.

Rye caraway bread midnitechef.com

rhubarb crisp midnitechef.com

Rhubarb grew like weeds at my childhood home, a small farm outside of Westlock, AB. Tradition to me means meat and veggie dinners, growing enough produce to last several months into the harsh winter, canning tomatoes, baking bread, taking cookies to the wheat fields and flagging down my father for their delivery, stealing sips of his coffee from a thermos, Indian Summers, skating on the frozen dugout, and the absolute quiet of my soul knowing I was in a safe place with my family. It’s amazing what a few traditional recipes can conjure up inside of you. New traditions will be added and some of the old will be amended to fit this fast-paced modern life. But sometimes you have to take the time to do things right and pass along that knowledge and love. I’ve always wanted to cook for people, do I have the heart of a chef? Or a Grandmother who stuffs you to the brim with her traditional dishes and treats, with an extra serving for the road in case you didn’t get your fill (and you never did)?

I wish this dinner was shared with my family, tucked away in a quiet farm-house in the middle of nowhere. Instead, I opened my home and heart to friends who are becoming a part of the family. And I stuffed them to the brim. They were as happy to eat my food as I was to host them. It certainly won’t be the last time.

Rhubarb Crisp

This dessert is one that can be made by sight/feel/smell and doesn’t need much measuring, I’ll give you a guide:

In a baking dish mix the following:

  • 3 stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed of all leaves, diced
  • 1 Green Apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, recommend freshly ground for Savory Spice Shop
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl combine:

  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons butter cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

The oats should be distributed well with the other ingredients, it may be a bit clumpy and that’s perfect. It will bake on top like granola chunks.

Sprinkle the oat topping over the rhubarb and apple filling. Do not press flat. Bake at 350 F for at least 45 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy with the filling bubbling around the edge.

The crisp is best served the day you bake it as the oats absorb the juices of the rhubarb quite quickly. I recommend letting it cool to room temperature, maybe 90 degrees, then serving it with vanilla ice cream.

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