Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Burgers and Wine with George DuBouef

Wine is popular.  Burgers are popular.  The combo of the two might not seem obvious.  Wine can seem too high brow to be paired with such common food.  While burgers can seem like common food, it shouldn't be cast aside.  The burger movement has been swinging for a while now.  While I do like fancy gourmet burgers, there's nothing quite like a well executed burger with no frills.

I used to eat a burger and fries at least once a week.  I haven't been as good about making sure I get my weekly burger lately, but it is never too late to start.  

When I was invited to the George DuBouef burgers and wine event, my dopamine receptors were pretty excited.  I had been on a burger fast for about month, so I was primed.  No pun intended.  I won't go into all the details of our wine + burgers class, but I'll show you a good food porn time.  Enjoy!

The wines are poured. 

The burgers were from a variety of places: Cool River, South Congress Cafe, and Parkside.

Hello, Burger Porn.  The fries were pretty darn tasty too!

Would you like to see a close up of my meat?

Alright. It is 8:49 am on a Sunday and I'm feeling really hangry now. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

#TEDxAustin 2013: A LOVE Letter @tedxaustin

The event is tomorrow, and I cannot be more excited to connect, re-connect, and jump in headfirst into one of the most intense and immersive experiences.  It isn’t a secret that I’ve been a huge TED fan for years, but this year, this post isn’t going to be about the actual event.  It will be a LOVE letter.  A LOVE letter to all those who taught me so much during my tenure on the TEDxAustin production team. 

Being on the TEDxAustin production team is no easy feat.  We are challenged regularly.  We’ve gotten so good at creating experiences, spaces, and connections, that many on the team should probably add miracle worker to their list of occupations.  Thank you to everyone on the team who contributes their time, energy, ideas, and hearts to this huge endeavor.  Photos by OutboxMail.

I’m quite proud of my TEDxAustin 2013 project.  Shawna Butler called with a question: how can we share the love?  One of the things that Shawna and I talk about frequently are LOVE letters.  When she says, “Write a LOVE letter,” I know the purpose is to connect, give thanks, and to show our appreciation to our partners.  

I must give thanks, as well, to Shawna for teaching me about the art of writing LOVE letters.  She tells me often that I’m pretty good at it, but my unspoken response is that I learn from the best.  Thanks, Shawna.  Thanks for being the glue that keeps our TEDxAustin family together.  

This project never had an official name.  I always just referred to it as the LOVE letters, and it came to me as I was driving to work, ruminating about our wonky phone systems at work.  I was to call Evan at Outbox to discuss an interactive way to integrate their products into our experience.  Somehow, the idea of mail, phones, and missing connections turned into this idea.  

My idea was to send LOVE letters to our sponsors.  I genuinely do love our sponsors - I’m pretty huggy around them.  The plan was to have our attendees write LOVE letters to them at our pre-event, the Tuesday prior to TEDxAustin.  I spearheaded the pre-event, so that was pretty easy. I invited a dear friend of mine, Lydia Fiedler, and amazing stamping queen to provide our materials.  And I had Outbox provide a “mailbox.”

After the event, Outbox created a video of these LOVE letters to be shared with the world.  We’re not particularly shy about our love and gratitude.  At the event, these letters were stuffed into badges at random, and our attendees were given the following instructions:

“We’re about to start the day with words of wisdom, nuggets of insight, and catalysts for inspiration.  As you go through the day, we also ask you to dive deeply into gratitude and share it in a letter that conveys appreciation to those who committed their time, talent, and resources to making this immersive experience a reality.

During our community catalyst event at TreeHouse, attendees were inspired to write LOVE letters. Through the magic of Outbox they’ve been digitally delivered and you can view these letters of LOVE at  

We invite you to share our love. If you find one of these letters in your badge, please personally deliver the letter to its addressee.  Spreading the love, as it were. Fearlessly.”

My wish for this project was to introduce the idea of LOVE letters - how can we show our love and gratitude to others.  Now that it is done (you’re probably reading this after the event), we have documented our love, encouraged others to share declaration of our love to other attendees, and then to connect with our partners.  Post event, we have videos and photos of these love letters to be shared far and wide.  

Many thanks to Evan Baehr from OutboxMail, Lydia Fiedler from UnderstandBlue, Stacy Weitzner our TEDxAustin voice, and Shawna Butler for giving this oxytocin-filled project life.  My heart is full thanks to you.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lobster Party at Confucious Restaurant in Houston,TX

You might say that I'm somewhat particular about my Asian cuisine.  You might also say that I'm very picky about my seafood.  You would most likely say that about Cooking for Engineers.  You can read his review here.

With that said, I bring you some food pornorific posts with lobster.  Unfortunately, this restaurant is not in Austin.  Confucious Restaurant is in Houston (8880 Bellaire Boulevard Houston, TX 77036‎ (713) 271-6888) in a shopping center.  It is very typical of many Asian restaurants in Houston.  It lacks a website, has no social media channels, but is packed tight with hungry customers.

This restaurant is the go to place for a traditional dish of lobster with ginger and green onions, one of my favorites.  Every table will have at least a plate or two of these lovely lobsters.  They sell for market price, and are kept live in the tanks along the back wall.  On the night we went, they were a mere 18.99 for two!!!!!  Did you scream in delight?  I did.  Now enjoy!

The lobster came out pretty quickly.  So did the cameras. 

Nerding out over lobsters.

We also ordered claypot beef with eggplant.  I thought the flavors were nice. 

From left to right, we have sizzling chicken with black bean sauce, the LOBSTER, beef ribs with eggplant, and water spinach. 

I really liked this chicken, and I was a bit annoyed with the wait staff took the dish away with one piece of chicken still on it.