Monday, June 28, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hamburgers

Ah, the 4th of July—a proud celebration of our independence from the tyranny of British rule. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a chance to celebrate our freedom from heinous British food. So stand up, fellow Americans! Say “no!” to mushy peas and claim your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of hamburgers!

This Independence Day, Austin is offering plenty of opportunities to take advantage of some of our nation’s most patriotic dishes—hamburgers, hot dogs, and good ol’ Texas BBQ. And of course it wouldn't be America's birthday without plenty of raucous music and ambitious fireworks displays.

Freedom isn’t free, but here’s some stuff that is:
  • Free burgers and hot dogs at Ego’s first ever Fourth of July Water and Fireworks Party. Just make sure you wait 30 minutes before getting back in the kiddie pool.
  • Free red, white, and blueberry milkshakes from Mighty Fine Burgers between 2pm and 6pm on July 4 at all three Austin locations.
  • Free BBQ samples at the second annual Brew-B-Que at Buda City Park from 11am to 11pm on July 4. Admission to the event is $15, but you get to judge the Back Yard BBQ contest, which will include such Austin BBQ legends as The County Line and Artz Rib House.
  • Free concert and fireworks show from the Austin Symphony outside the Long Center on Auditorium Shores. If you bring your dog, make sure to cover his ears before the Texas National Guard Salute Battery fires their Howitzer cannons during the 1812 Overture. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will begin performing at 8:30 p.m. and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m., ending at 10:00 p.m. Make sure you get there early because it gets crazy packed. Also, be sure to disguise your alcohol well because it's not allowed.
  • Free concert and 4th of July celebration at Seaholm Power Plant, benefiting Anthropos Arts, a non-profit that aims to enhance music education in Austin. My favorite Austin band, T Bird and the Breaks, is headlining. If you see T Bird and you are able to refrain from dancing, you probably don't have a pulse. The event starts at 4pm with plenty of libations, BBQ, and Tex Mex and lasts until the fireworks are done.
Meat-free, but not dollars-free:
  • Can you still be considered a true red-blooded American without stuffing yourself full of red meat? You bet your buns you can! If you so chews, show off your iron stomach at “The Final Bun-tier: Fourth Annual Veggie Hot Dog Eating Contest.” This July 4 event runs from 1pm to 4pm at The Tiniest Bar in Texas. Sign up to enter here. If you don’t want to compete, $5 gets you a Tofurky dog, free Nada Moo ice cream, and some truly tasty entertainment.
Pricey, but worth it:
  • Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic is a decades-old tradition in Texas, and this year it will take place at the newly renovated Backyard at Bee Cave. Tickets are $55 each, but in addition to seeing The Man himself perform, you'll get an earful of 22 other musical acts, including Asleep at the Wheel and Los Lonely Boys. Doors at 11am, show at noon.
Happy birthday, America!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roadside Delights

My parents were in town over the weekend, and I had the pleasure of exploring the Hill Country with them. There are few things in this world as charming as a roadside stand stocked with straight-from-the-farm fruits and veggies, delicious honey and jam, and homemade ice cream. It's making me drool a little bit just thinking of the fresh peach ice cream with a hint of coconut that tricked me into thinking I was somewhere tropical for a few minutes. Well done, Texas!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

San Antonio Daycation: A Photo Essay

Yesterday I took a little daycation to San Antonio with some lovely ladyfriends. We had lunch at Mi Tierra Restaurant & Bakery, which is kind of a misnomer. It should really be called "Mi Tierra piƱata-twinkle light-mariachi-margarita-cookie explosion with salsa on top." In a totally awesome way. Afterward, we went next door to El Mercado, where I distracted myself from buying a bunch of sugar skulls and paper garlands by taking pictures with my Hipstamatic app instead. I love, love, love all the color in the market and in San Antonio in general. We kept marveling at how San Antonio is just a little more than an hour from Austin, but it feels like a whole different world.

On our way out, there was a classic car show going on, so it kind of felt like a whole other world AND a whole other era, giving our daycation a bit of an international time travel flavor. Delicious!