Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dulces

Happy Birthday, Austin! He took Friday off to celebrate his special day and we saw Avatar in 3D at the IMAX (review: visually stunning but stunningly unoriginal, bad plot). Then we checked out a new Mexican place near our house called Dulces. We started out with a cocktail.



Austin got a margarita (which happens to be the Spanish word for daisy, hence the garnish).



Mexican martini for me.





The ambiance was wonderful, with some exposed brick and the walls painted a warm, cozy gold. There was original art all around by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante. I especially loved the life-sized statues and saw multiple children approach them for a little conversation. How can you not love art that strikes up a chat with kids?



I had Enchiladas Rojas de Queso, cheese enchiladas with a fantastic red sauce that must have been made in-house. It wasn't the usual bright red stuff like at most Mexican restaurants but a deep, rich sauce that I'm guessing had cocoa in it. So, so amazing and beautifully presented.



Austin selected the Rollo de Puerco, a tenderloin medallions rolled with almond raisin rum sauce. He loved the combination of flavors and originality of the dish.



Finally, I had to take this photo for Dr. MB, hand blown glass fixtures were all around that looked like sea anemones. I wanted to bring one home but instead, we got a piece of chocolate cake to go and it came with churros and a chocolate covered strawberry. It was a perfect place to go for a birthday dinner and we will definitely be returning.

PS Pics are from iPhone hence the not great quality.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tea on the go

Ok, how great is this? It's a travel mug with a basket designed to hold loose leaf tea! There is even a little lever to pull the basket up when you're done brewing so your tea doesn't get too astringent.

Tea Mug

I picked up my mug this weekend when shopping with my Crate and Barrel gift card. I almost missed it because I just assumed it was the usual insulated travel mug until Austin pointed out its amazing features. I'm not such a tea snob that I don't use tea in bags- I have them stashed in my purse, backpack, and desk at work- but some of my favorite tea does come only in loose leaf and now I'll be able to enjoy it on the go. Ah, the small things in life...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stinky's Status

Since we got Stinky back from cat storage over Xmas, he hasn't been quite... right. He seems to be a little messed up both emotionally and physically. For example, he's staying in the house more than ever and he also seems to have a cold that just won't let up. Exhibit A: he's not blinking, his left eye is gunked up:

Stinky Winky

We've been applying drops for awhile now but have decided to bring him in tomorrow to make sure he doesn't need additional meds. We've also decided that we'll never board him again; the money is better spent on a pet sitter or caretaker now that we've settled in the area and feel better equipped to find someone. Poor little feller.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to Reality?

So after a long week of classes, I was trying to get some work done today but with the beautiful weather and so paralyzingly much work, I couldn't get started. Here is the closest I could get to a picture of me not doing work, Austin outside in shorts petting Stinky while I admired the cuteness.



It's currently an unseasonably warm 74° here, sunny and breezy. The idea of reading on course design, qualitative research methods, or the history of teacher education is just not sounding all that appealing. I also have some major exams coming up (related to my program of study, not the specific courses) so I should be preparing for that too. Ack.

Basically, then, the story is that I've got the busiest semester so far coming up and Austin is keeping pace by working an insane amount of hours lately. We've been experimenting with new crock pot recipes (send us your tried and trues!) and it's been really nice to end our day with the meal all ready to go. I've found that trying new recipes in the crock is a lot more challenging than regular cooking, maybe just because of the types I've selected? I sometimes wonder if the writers and raters of the recipes I've found are easily satisfied with a meal that's thrown together and cooked in one pot so the standards are lower, I'm not sure but it's been interesting.

This weekend has two important agenda items: studying and football. I'll also be making a cheesecake for Austin's upcoming birthday. Other than that, we'll just being enjoying a little down time and some Vitamin D.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Rebeefening

The carving table

Over the weekend, we got together with some of Austin's buddies who love online gaming and eating meat. The gang chose Kreutz Market in Lockhart, TX aka the Barbecue Capital of Texas. They pride themselves on German-style barbecue which means they don't use sauce. While I was not interested in any "rebeefening" myself, it was a gorgeous day and a nice drive. We sat outside and talked for several hours, it was a perfectly lazy Saturday afternoon.

Gardening



It's an unseasonable 67° degrees here today and I brought my little container gardens outside to soak up some sun. Austin just opened the windows, our trade off for the hot summers...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Feed Me! (Then wash your windows.)

Feed Me

It has been cold here lately, cold for Texas with lows in the 20's (even upper teens) and highs hovering around freezing. Stinky has generally enjoyed lounging inside, avoiding the cold temps, but around dinner time he would go outside and stare in as if to hasten feeding time. This picture is dark and our patio door is horribly dirty but you see the effect he's going for.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

¡Tapas!

I went out last night with a group of my friends from grad school and we checked out a tapas place downtown called Málaga. It was so cold and Beth and I ended up getting there before they even opened but they kindly let us in. I loved the ambiance; it reminded me a lot of the restaurant where we got married with the warm yellows and reds and cozy lighting.



I ordered Sangria, so good.



The chef brought us a taste of the shrimp bisque to warm us up and it was so rich and delicious.



This spinach and artichoke dip was amazing, with a nice level of heat and it was made without creamy ingredients like the American version.



We ordered several other tapas including patatas bravas (deemed good but not authentic) and some pork, chicken, and meatball dishes. They came out on three tiered serving plates. There ended up being five of us total, a really good size, and we all ended up meeting at least one new person in the mix. It was a perfect happy hour.

The pictures are from my phone so forgive the low quality but I couldn't help myself, I really wanted pictures from Málaga to show Austin. I cannot wait for him to check it out and it's now on our must-do list for visitors.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year

It's January in Texas.

January Rose

Well, it's January everywhere I suppose but January in Texas means our rosebushes are still clinging to their blossoms even though many other things are not growing. You can even see new buds in that photo. I really like January roses and to think, I nearly tore out those rosebushes last year.

We're back home after awhile in MN/WI and are settling back in. We had a low key New Year's Eve, just making dinner with a friend then lazing on the couch. Austin went back to work today for the first time in two weeks and I just finished some work on a paper; I'll be updating my syllabus and class materials soon too.

No major plans on the horizon, we're just enjoying the familiar old routines.