Tag Archives: texas

Coterie Sampler: What’s In The Box?

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Coterie, a locally curated gift service, just launched a monthly subscription box!

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This means that whether you’re in town or far away, you can get (or give) Texas-made crafts, and nibbles.

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My first box came with 7 Austin-made products: Gin & Juice Shortbread Cookies from Skull & Cakebones, Sarah’s Kale Chips, Sway Water, finishing salts from Lenoir (an amazing restaurant, if you haven’t been), blueberry preserves by the incredible Confituras, Lavande Farm’s natural mosquito repellant, and a hand screen printed Texas tea towel by Kimball Prints.

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The Brit in my life approved of the shortbread cookies, as well as the jam. In fact, it’s safe to say he’s Confituras’ number one fan, and has been such for a while. Whether you’re from Austin, or just love Austin, this bountiful box makes a great gift from the heart… of Texas.

Oyster Fever: Liberty Kitchen

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You know that one song in Sound of Music where Julie Andrews is listing off ‘raindrops and roses, and whiskers on kittens’ as her favorite things? Yeah, I sing that song to myself anytime I think of oysters, and martinis on happy hour. These are a few of my favorite things!

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I recently popped in around 5 to catch a few of the HH deals (as well as the fantastic regular menu), and boy was I impressed.

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There were discounted drinks, and a few reduced food items. Everything served was spectacular! I couldn’t get over how fresh, clean, and flavorful all of their seafood was! My main issue with local places serving oysters is that a lot only do Gulf. I was delighted to find that they have theirs coming from PEI, and all over!

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What’s that shown above? Oh, just in-house smoked salmon with bacon jelly. That’s all. (It’s insanely good!)

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When I looked at the specials, I saw their Friday offering, and knew immediately it was what I was going to have. That was Marseille Bouillabaisse, served in 2 parts. They start you off with arguably the best seafood-saffron broth known to man, then follow it with a fantastic plate of lobster, clams, potatoes, and more!

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I went nuts on the wine list, because hey, I’m me! Of course, I did! But it is worth a mention that their cocktails are insane.

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My favorite involved grapefruit skins, herbs, and a slight effervescence. It looked a little like the rose-in-the-glass from Beauty and the Beast to me, so I guess this place just fills me with movie references all around.

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It’s hard to get a low-carber like me to crumble, but they did it. Luckily, I had a dining partner with me that did most of the damage, but I was extremely happy to taste their fantastic chocolate cake. It was worth the ‘cheat.’ Apart from the food, I’m a huge fan of their decor, staff, and even the sounds of their brunch menu, which I have yet to try! If you’re a seafood nut like I am, this is definitely a place to taste.

Glamping: Austin Alfresco

Austin Alfresco
There are few things that get me quite as excited as the prospect of ‘glamping’ under the stars with Austin-famous (arguably famous-famous) chefs. That’s why when I heard about Austin Alfresco, I completely lost my mind.

Austin Alfresco

Apart from eating and learning from the likes of Jack Gilmore and David Bull, just imagine staying in tents made famous by Project Runway on a functioning 60 acre ranch; complete with yoga lessons, and even butchery classes.

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What more could you want? Actually, if there’s something more that you could want, they probably have that too.

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Can it get any better? Actually, it can! Proceeds benefit the Sustainable Food Center, and they’re running a fantastic scavenger hunt where you, yes you, can win this weekend gourmand experience!

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If you enjoy local businesses like I do, then this is going to be CAKE. You can read all the details here. What are you waiting for?! Buy your tickets, or get ready for that scavenger hunt!

Texas Conference for Women Discount & Giveaway!

Academy Award Winning Actress, Keynote Speaker
Patricia Arquette – Academy Award Winner, Keynote Speaker

Are you ready for inspiration, professional networking, and personal growth? The Texas Conference for Women is going to give you just that! There will be keynotes from celebrities like Patricia Arquette, and speeches from well-known locals like my friend, Lani Rosales. The event has it all, and will be held at the Austin Convention Center on October 15th.

Robin Roberts - Co-Anchor on Good Morning America, Keynote Speaker
Robin Roberts – Co-Anchor on Good Morning America, Keynote Speaker

I know I’m ready to meet like-minded, passionate women, and supercharge my drive for success. I’m not kidding! If you’d like a discount on your tickets, I’ve got you covered! Here’s a code for $10 off on all new registrations: TXBG15. The code is good from now through the date of the event! If you’d like to score a FREE ticket, and sit next to me at the conference, I have an awesome contest! Just tweet what’s on your bucket list with the hashtag below, and we’ll select a winder at random! I think mine would be ‘Visit Willie Nelson’s ranch,’ but you can put whatever you’d like to do in Texas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Burger Challenge

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I probably had you at the sheer mention of burgers, but this challenge is so much more awesome than that! The folks behind Mcguire Moorman Hospitality have made a multi-tiered challenge, where all you need to do is eat burgers at their restaurants, and their restaurants are arguably some of the best in town: Elizabeth Street Cafe, Jeffrey’s, Josephine House, Lambert’s, Perla’s, and Clark’s Oyster Bar.

What’s in it for you? (Aside from awesome burgers.) Well, there’s a few options, but I believe the $250 gift card to the restaurant of your choosing is pretty much the best prize. For that one, you have to hit all 6 restaurants in 7 days. We’re on day 4, and my Instagram feed looks like Bob Belcher’s.

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They have other prizes too, and I appreciate that they include a free Juiceland juice cleanse with the ultimate prize, which will go to whomever eats the most burgers. I assume they’ll be needing it. Our favorite experience so far was a tie between Elizabeth Street and Perla’s. Both were excellent burgers, and included the usual things I expect from Mcguire Moorman restaurants: incredible ambiance and service. Pro-tip: Clark’s, Lambert’s, and Jeffrey’s all have happy hours featuring burgers. You’re welcome. Read the full details here, and may god have mercy on your arteries.

Sound & Beauty: Barton Creek Live

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I rarely get to venture out to the picturesque hills of west Austin, but when I do, I seldom regret it. My most recent journey was to check out the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa’s  live music series. I started my day touring their beautiful golf course, then went straight into a 50 minute body scrub. When I say body scrub, I mean: they rubbed me for almost an hour in honey, lavender, and brown sugar. I felt like a queen!

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I slipped out, and had a perfectly made martini at the downstairs bar whilst waiting for my guest to join me for a pre-concert buffet.

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The food was upscale, and perfectly priced. I tend to eat more healthfully, and was able to stockpile on veggies for my first plate.

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The menu boasted: beef tenderloin, shrimp and grits, steamed mussels, and so much more!

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The jalapeño brined chicken was moist, and the tenderloin was the perfect amount of rare. My dining partner doubled-up on the watermelon feta salad, and I loved knowing that the produce was locally sourced.

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We even forced room for dessert. The horchata panna cota and Mexican chocolate pots de creme were the stars of the show.

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As we left the dining room to the outside area to see the night’s main attraction, Sammy Kershaw, we were welcomed with even more food choices! There were tacos, snacks, and even a well-stocked beer and wine bar. We found that we could swap four drink tickets for one bottle of wine, and enjoy the concert without having to get up for re-fills.

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I hadn’t heard a Sammy Kershaw song in years, but the man could still sing. It only took a few moments before the entire floor erupted into dancing.

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It was a beautiful night, with over-the-top service, and all set upon beautiful grounds. Be sure to check out their schedule, and make a point to visit this gorgeous resort. Want a chance to win free entry for you and a friend?

Just tweet for a chance at 2 wristbands to the show of your choice!

Disclosure: I did enjoy complimentary food and services for review purposes, but opinions are 100% my own.

Banger’s: More Than Just Beer & Brats

 

Banger's Boudin
Boudin Plate

To all my of sausage-eating, beer-drinking comrades: You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Banger’s.

Banger's Boiled Peanuts
Boiled Peanuts

It’s one of the busiest spots on Rainey Street, and for more reasons than you’d think.

Banger's Bulgogi
Dak Bulgogi

Their chef really knows his stuff.

Banger's

Apart from focusing on the freshest ingredients, most innovative sausages, and having shockingly excellent vegetarian items, Banger’s also boasts regular live music, and a dog-run. (Yes! It’s practically a miniature dog park!)

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The menu’s focus on the best possible ingredients at the peak of freshness allows them to rotate things, and mix up the offerings.

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The bread, meat, and produce are always top-notch, and though I’ve eaten my way through an alarming amount of their menu, I have a hard time finding a fave, but trust me when I say that I wouldn’t miss their shrimp-n-grits inspired sausage. In fact, I’d say their focus is very clearly Southern, and they do it well.

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BBQ Bacon & Shrimp

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House-Made Pickles

Did I mention that just about, if not everything is made in-house? They operate a bit of a deli-counter set up where you can take uncooked sausages and deli pickles home!

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Snicker’s Ice Cream Jar

They even have dessert. (And an incredible one at that. It’s not easy to get me on sweets.)

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Poutine

Now, I wouldn’t be able to complete this post without mentioning one of Banger’s arguably greatest draws: The enormous beer list! I’ve never seen so many taps in my life! From hard to find craft beer to their weekend offerings of a ‘Man-mosa’ (it’s pretty much a pitcher of mimosa, which who wouldn’t love?) they have something for everyone, and yes, they do a decent wine list as well. Grab some friends on a sunny day, and head out to their impressively large patio for music, bites, and far too many foamy, alcoholic beverages. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

December In Austin

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I originally made this a few years ago. If you’d like this image on a card (or flask), you can purchase it here.

Epicured Events: Sausage Making Class

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You know what beats a dinner party? A hands-on culinary adventure where you learn how to do something you never expected to be able to do: a sausage making class. That’s right. My partner and I headed out to Epicured Events in east Austin to make, eat, and drink. Well, I mostly showed up to drink.

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With a cold beverage in hand, I watched as our chef, Ben, doled out the workload, and gave us entertaining yet useful cooking tips. (I was successful in avoiding work, which is something I pride myself on.)

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We prepped fresh ingredients (well, everyone but me), and sampled our “test batches” (I pitched in for that part) of the Italian sausage and bratwurst links that we were ultimately going to make.

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You can tell a lot about people by how many penis jokes they make in a sausage making class. Clearly, we were an exceptional group of 6th graders disguised as sensible adults. Chef Ben kept a straight face for 90% of it, and we could tell he’d heard it all before.

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The sausage came out perfect, and we came out stuffed (and buzzed). It was hilarious, delicious, informative, and most of all: fun. I’d gladly re-take this class any day of the week. If you’re looking for something new to do: this is it.

Eating East: Nasha Indian

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Finally! There’s Indian food on the east side! Nasha recently opened it’s very colorful doors, and I’ve already been twice.

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The first time I went, I was a little put off by the harsh lighting inside, but absolutely adored the outdoor patio (warning: acorns will fall on you). On my recent visit, I noticed that the indoor lighting may have been changed for the better. Hurray ambiance!

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Both time I had the Malvani curry, ordered desi hot, and absolutely loved it. It’s exotic, coconut-y, and bursting with flavor.

nasha-indian-austinMy friend grabbed the Millionaire curry, medium hot, and wasn’t quite as impressed, but still ate every single bite. (He can say he’s underwhelmed all he wants, but I saw him lick the plate.)

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The wine and beer are fairly priced, and overall it’s a great spot if you are craving Indian, but simply don’t want to endure the hassle of traveling to north Austin. Did I mention that they made Indian tacos? I’ll just leave you with that.