Will power is overrated.

Some weeks we gorge on pounds of homegrown lettuce, handfuls of cashews and gallons of freshly pressed juice. And sometimes we eat bacon marmalade and pizza topped with fried eggs. This week was definitely splayed with the latter. Food was the central theme.

The Good.

We chomped down on dishes from some east side establishments we’ve been meaning to try for a long time, but hadn’t yet got around to visiting: Blue Dahlia Bistro and East Side Pies. Blue Dahlia is a European fusion bistro, popular for its patio dining and open-faced sandwiches on soft, freshly baked bread. East Side Pies is nearly the exact opposite—a pizza joint which enjoys notoriety for it’s crispy thin crusts that serve as the canvas for unconventional toppings like salami, sauerkraut and avocados. (Not all on one pizza, though. That would be too bizarre even for Austin standards.) Though each provided quite different experiences, both warrant return visits and reminded me why I love living in city that embraces things like curry pizza and pets on the patio.

Smoked salmon with herb cream cheese from Blue Dahlia Bistro

The Bad.

Of course, once you’ve broken the unhealthy eating seal, it’s easy to justify making poorer (but not really) decisions down the road. Saturday we made three different stops at friends’ homes across Austin that featured slow-cooked braised rib, fried polenta, Niagara Falls portions of home brew and a dessert of strawberry crepes. The calorie count may very well rival the Michael Phelps diet.

The Ugly.

Why stop there? Mondays are the days to start anew. You wake up early and run a quick 5K, down a protein shake before work, eat a salad for lunch and skip dinner altogether, except for maybe a few grapes or a handful of almonds. Yes. That kind of eating is for Monday. Sunday is a day for brunch. And that means a pancake bar, basil mimosas, brown sugar bacon, habanero apricot dip, poached eggs and homemade tortillas. Every bite of brunch was sheer ecstasy, and the food coma that followed was definitely worth it.

Berry fixins for the pancake bar.

Basil mimosa with strawberry

Fresh strawberries

Brown sugar bacon

I’ll just say, it’s a good thing wedding season is nearly over and I don’t have any bridesmaids dresses to fit into in the near future. After this weekend, I may need to fast for the rest of June. Worth it.


East Austin Studio Tour

Last weekend Heath and I  joined up with friends, saddled some bicycles,  rode into East Austin and essentially put on our hipster hats for the East Austin Studio Tour. The trendy East-side event spans two weekends in November and lets art aficionados and art novices (like moi)  tour hundreds of homes and studios of local artists. We only made a handful of stops but did get to see some pretty funky pieces–some more splendid and eye-catching than others (like paintings of hybrid animals for instance), but the whole tour did inspire me to break out my art supplies and try my hand at being creative.  I would have been inclined to pick up a painting or two for the new casa, but most pieces seemed to start at $400 and went up from there. Perhaps next year we will be in the market to buy instead of just window shop. Either way, the experience was not a shabby way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Not your grandmother’s farmers market

How, HOW can I possibly make my life appear as exciting and exotic as possible? I mean, I’m competing with the entire internet. Have you seen the internet lately? There is some crazy stuff happening there. So how can I  make a trip to the farmers market sound invigorating and modern and sexy? Maybe by mentioning some of the more interesting details of  the HOPE Farmers Market.

Invigorating: The free cocktails and beer. Free drinks are becoming increasingly mandatory at Austin events and the HOPE market is embracing that idea tenfold. To ease the heat-related sorrows of midday market goers, HOPE offers obscenely delicious cocktails and local brews for the price of free–a good move considering the river of free flowing vodka lemonade kept us in the 100-plus degree heat about an hour longer than I would have normally planned. Live music…that didn’t hurt either.

Modern: The location. The setting of the HOPE market has an intriguing history. During the South by Southwest music festival, the small collection of art studios on East 5th Street is transformed from a mini artist colony into a hipster’s dream also known as  Fader Fort . But when the glitz and glam of SXSW is over, the East side art space transforms yet again. Only this time the change is less hipster, more hippie. Less one-week parade and more a 4-hour celebration of all things local, namely the HOPE market.

Sexy: The Art. One perk of hosting a farmers market within an artist’s paradise is the easy access to pieces by local artists. Fresh food and free art…sexy indeed.

So, yeah, Internet. I’m cool too. I can hang. My life, and specifically this blog, is  invigorating, modern and sexy. Deal with it.