Coffee in East Austin

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This post is part of the 2015 City Guide by the Austin Food Blogger Alliance.

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A rainy day inside Cenoté.

The coffee scene in Austin has expanded pretty rapidly over the past couple years, particularly on the south and east sides. Living in East Austin, I’m most familiar with the coffee shops over here, and since this is a guide and not a review post, I’ve listed all of them. That said, I have had good coffee at each of these, aside from the two trailers I have yet to visit!

The area covered here is located between I-35, Airport, and East Cesar Chavez. (Coincidentally, there isn’t a single Starbucks within this triangle.) Everything is listed alphabetically within three categories: Mainly Beverages, With Full Kitchens, and Small / Mobile.

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Baking Distraction

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I’ve had a lot of feelings the past few days. Being a musician, you might assume that I could just vent these through playing my viola, but it’s never really worked like that. Whenever I’ve tried, I usually just end up crying, unable to play, and my instrument runs the risk of getting (more) tear-stained. On the other hand, one way that playing does help is if I work on drilling passages, so the focus becomes more on the task at hand rather than what’s running through my mind.

The music that I’ve been working on lately is for a musical that starts next week in San Antonio. There are some really tricky parts in it that make me nervous, plus it runs for a month, so I’ll be staying at my parents’ house instead of commuting. I mean, I’m lucky to have a place to stay, but you know how parents can be when you’re within range. They worry if you’re not home by a certain time, want to know your dinner plans, make you keep your door open, etc., even when you’re 32 years old. (Maybe that’s just me?) Kind of dreading that.

So between those things and the excessive emotions, I’m basically a mess right now.

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Bake It List

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So it’s November 30 which means it’s the last day of this NaBloPoMo nonsense. YES. I mean, it’s fun, but kind of ridiculous.

In an effort to not be that girl who only posts during the eleventh month, I thought I could keep a list of things I’d like to bake, which would hopefully lead to writing about them. Right now I only have a few ideas there (and mostly Milk Bar recipes, surprise), but it will definitely keep growing. It’s its own page right up there next to the Bucket List of restaurants.

Yes, I do realize that this is what Pinterest is for, but I hate it.

Also, that is my little cookbook collection, minus a couple ice cream books. The majority of those books were given to me as I tend to mostly look for recipes online, so only a few really get used. If you have any cookbook musts for someone who likes to cook with lots of veggies and bake, I’m all ears.

Lofty Leftovers

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A couple friends have pointed out that I’ve been playing it safe on my blog this month. Back in the blogging heyday, I used to participate in monthly baking and cooking challenges from the Daring Kitchen, but would also tackle difficult recipes just because, well, I wanted to be challenged. The thrill has always been more in the process than in eating the final result, you know? Though getting to enjoy it is always the best bonus.

So why haven’t I beed very adventurous? I don’t know. The main excuse has been that there are always so many vegetables that need to be cooked, so that’s what’s been keeping me occupied in the kitchen. That said, I do have more time than most, especially if managed well, and I have missed the crazy baking projects.

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Kin & Comfort

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A few months ago, I really wanted to get some fried chicken at this newish Thai/southern food fusion place called Kin & Comfort. Long story short, I found out that they only accepted cash, and by the time I came back from an ATM, it was ten minutes before closing and they were too backed up to take my order. Sad times. (Now you can pay with a card inside the market for a $.25 fee.)

Julie texted me yesterday to let me know that Asian Supper Club (an informal group of blogging friends) was meeting there tonight for dinner, so that was exciting. There were seven of us and we covered a pretty good portion of the menu, though I just got photos of what Julie and I ordered.

Son-in-law deviled eggs

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Pie High

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Usually for holidays, I bake a couple of desserts. I’m not sure if it’s more for variety or to avoid the whole eggs/basket situation, but it’s probably a little of both. This year, I just made one because there is always too much dessert (yes, possible), and it sounded like we’d have less people.

Oddly enough, I decided to make a classic pumpkin pie, which is odd because I don’t really care for it that much. I mean, I’ll eat it, but it would never be near my first pick in a pie line-up. So, why? The recently-posted pumpkin pie recipe on Smitten Kitchen. There’s something so reassuring about Deb that she makes you feel like she’s posting something that’s going to be better than all of the other recipes because she’s done the dirty work and already tried them all for you. But if you’re reading this food blog, then you know this because hers is one of the best and that is partly why.

Um, not that I intended to wax poetic about Deb when I haven’t even talked about this pie. But no surprises here: it was fantastic. I have some truly depressing pie experiences behind me, but this came out pretty perfectly, crust(!) and all. Continue reading

Playing With Fire

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I’m a worrier. I worry a lot.

It often isn’t really for any good reason either.

Like, if I eat at this really popular restaurant by myself, are people going to notice and judge me? Of course they don’t give a shit, they’re there to have a nice time and enjoy their food. It’s also highly unlikely that I would be the only solo diner. I know this, but it’s like a battle between right and absurd.

Not every worry is socially-related, though, and I usually make myself go through with things anyway. Last week I acquired eight little habanero peppers from the farm. I can handle a decent amount of spice, but having never cooked with or even handled a habanero, I was sort of nervous. What if I made something and it was unbearably spicy? And what do I make with so many of them? They were part of my work-share, so it’s not like I’d be wasting money if I didn’t use them. Since I also received tomatoes and cilantro, I just decided to do the obvious and make some salsa. Seems like a pretty good way to gauge heat, right?

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Old Lady Status

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My landlady grew the tomatoes in our backyard, and the lettuce along with the dill and green onions (in the dressing) came from the farm.

Last week, I needed to buy some buttermilk for the pudding attempt. Usually I don’t need very much and just buy a pint of HEB (grocery store) buttermilk. That recipe called for a half cup more than that, though, so a decision had to be made. Do I buy two of them or something bigger? And then I looked at the larger sizes and spotted a half gallon of whole buttermilk. The HEB stuff is low fat. I drink whole milk. SOLD. Continue reading

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