September 30, 2011

Oysters and Orbs

My ears hadn't even popped yet as we walked into Drago's in Metairie... went straight from the airport. It was our first time, and charbroiled oysters and Abita Amber were on our minds. They say the oysters are legendary and now I know why: garlic, butter and herbs brushed on top, layered with Parmesan and Romano and grilled nice and hot. After those were gone we sopped up what remained on the shell with our french bread; what is it with the water here in the Crescent City that makes the french bread so inimitable? Dessert was a fried oyster po-boy dressed with PLT&M and another Amber.

3232 N Arnoult Road
Metairie, LA 70002

errsters charbroiled

errsters fried

errsters in a can

We dropped bags on Antonine St, base camp for our broader weekend Southern Tour, and headed down Magazine St to satiate the Z's fixation on all things antiqued and/or artistic. First stop was Studio Amanda Talley (her blog The Big Easy Life gets big play at our house). It's a great space with some great art and she'll do commissions. If you're in New Orleans this weekend, stop by her studio during Art for Art's Sake, a good old fashioned street party held annually on this first Saturday in October.

Studio Amanda Talley
1382 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70130

Would like to say more but I got a late jump and now we're off to the celebration in Point Clear, ALABAMA. Enjoy the weekend...


Orb in a Drawer (unframed, $900)

September 26, 2011

Now Open

Dove season opened in Texas' South Zone last Friday. A couple buddies of mine were frothing at the mouth to watch little gray birds fall out of the sky, so we hopped onto a grass farm just south of Poteet (Strawberry Capital of Texas) for the afternoon, tucked ourselves in a corner - underneath a shade oak and stacks of long-ago used wooden pallets - and waited...

But only for a moment. Early afternoon was a flurry. We missed a lot (zigzag patterns kept it sporting) and no one limited out, but there was enough accuracy to make it count; in essence, not unlike my golf game. The activity died down early and never really took hold again, so we took advantage of the quiet by settling back and watching the sun descend over the horizon in a warm, late-September sky.



September 20, 2011

Show Me - New Orleans

Next weekend we head South. Not directionally so much... more east really. But to the American South. New Orleans for a couple days on either side of a drive and stay in Point Clear, Alabama. At this point plan is to grab lunch on Thursday at Cochon. Then a lazy afternoon in Uptown, spent either wandering up Magazine or on the porch of the Columns Hotel. Dinner that night isn't our say but whatever Doodle picks will be just fyne-by-us. We're off Friday morning to L.A., that is, Lower Alabama. Then back on Sunday for lunch again then dinner at Galatoire's. Monday morning is up in the air, before it's back on the plane...

Anything we ought not miss?

The Garden District via: Matthew Peck, New Orleans.

September 13, 2011

Cisco's on Sixth

More from the (vanishing) Austin file...

Early last year Clovis Cisneros put his restaurant, Cisco's, up for sale. On its face, a perfectly reasonable idea: he's sick of mucking around with enchiladas 90 hrs/wk and has two kids who can't run it. Price tag: $3.8m. A dream. "I don't think it's going to sell for that." But hey, who can blame the guy for throwing out a line to see what bites?

Thing is though, Cisco's is no perfectly normal restaurant. It's an East Austin institution, open to all-comers since the '40s in search of good Tex-Mex and the occasional vote. When it went on the block you could practically hear the collective gasp of the old guard... fear that yet another legendary spot was going the way of so many others in the wake of gentrification.

Good news (well, good news for me/for us) is that it didn't sell, and for now it's off the market. Mr Cisneros says he'd like to see Cisco's go on even after a sale, but I don't know... you gots to sell lots of migas to make up nearly four mil.

Was able to make it twice this summer for breakfast tacos, buttered biscuits & honey, and dishwater coffee. Lots of music lovers'll be rolling in for ACL fest this weekend... if you make it to Cisco's I've got two pieces of advice: i) bring cash; and ii) use the bathroom before you go.

1511 E. 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702

September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago

It really was a fantastic September morning, as I recall. We'd just moved into a brownstone in Adam's Morgan - recently enough that the fresh paint in my bedroom was still making me nauseous - and my roommate had gotten up and out early to catch a shuttle to New York. I walked into the office just before 9a and all eyes were on the conference room television. Tower One hit. Tower Two. About then we started getting calls that the White House was a target, so folks evacuated and it wasn't too long before staffers trickled in, situated as we were safely a few blocks north. Once we learned the Pentagon had been hit everyone scattered, disconnected and confused.

I walked up 18th street and made my way straight to the rooftop of the Cairo where some friends were living at the time. Completed in 1894, it not only pre-dated but actually caused the 1899 Heights of Buildings Act, which limits offices and residences in the District to 110-ft; at 164-ft, the Cairo towers above every rooftop in Washington, which afforded us this haunting view of the skyline, smoke emanating from the Pentagon in the distance across the Potomac.

Later that afternoon I returned to a noiseless house and flipped on the news and watched quietly the scenes of fear and chaos. At last heard from my roommate, who was fine, so I took a slow walk up the typically bustling street and saw virtually no one. It wasn't unlike neighborhoods the country over, I'd imagine, rendered temporary ghost towns.

Everyone's got a story from that day, ten years ago. This one just happens to be mine.

September 5, 2011

Try Some Pie (and Oatmeal)

It's not often enough that we get to the lakeside town of Marble Falls, so when we do we're sure to stop by the Blue Bonnet Cafe, a Hill Country staple since 1929. There's breakfast all day and no one will look at you crooked if you order chicken-fried steak before 11a. And honestly, what's not to love about a spot that has a Pie Happy Hour (M-F, 3-5p)?

211 Hwy 281
Marble Falls, TX 78654

Afterwards we went by the ranch near Bertram (home to the world famous Labor Day Oatmeal Festival) to check out the new tank. Looks great, just no water. No water anywhere, in fact, only open and empty and brown; rather than illustrating the profound effects of drought I thought I'd show these photos of one of the fields taken last spring, wildflowers in bloom.