Field Report: KLBJ Dog Day Afternoon

This Saturday, I went to the KLBJ Dog Day Afternoon. 

The main event was a wiener dog race, which is pretty self-explanatory.

It’s a race that’s run by wiener dogs. Here they are all lined up.

They’re off!

It’s poetry in motion, you guys.

Clearly the black and brown dachshund is not familiar with Aesop’s Fables, or he would know that the tortoise always beats the hare. We need to enroll him or her in some literacy courses.

There was also a doggy talent show. This dude was good at jumping. 

These other dogs seem surprisingly interested in their jumping companion. I wonder if somewhere in there there’s a dog who’s really into post-colonial studies who is just livid about this display of anthropocentrism.

One of the booths was doing dog tattoos. This dog is really going to regret this decision when it grows up and has kids.

It’s peace sign. So contrived, dog. Who are you rebelling against anyway? At least it’s not an asian character.

Here’s a dog tattoo in action. It’s weird, right?

There was a big emphasis on adoption at the event, which was nice, although this bandana seems to prey on the needy.

Here are some boring, poorly framed photos of booths.

These folks were toying with this adoptable dachshund’s emotions. 

That’s all the story I have on this event, but I do have way too many picture of dogs, which I will post below (with commentary). Also, full disclosure, I intern at KLBJ’s parent company, but I came to this event on my own time, because I really like dogs.

Now, enjoy some dog photos.

This dog is a comic book enthusiast. He told me that he enjoys the works of 80’s innovators like Frank Miller and Alan Moore, but finds most of the 90’s adult imprints to be shallow and derivative. Just kidding, you guys. Dogs can’t read! We already talked about this earlier.

I don’t know what kind of dog this is, but it’s very pretty. I would name it Pharaoh. It also licked my camera.

You don’t get a proper sense of scale, but this is the biggest boston terrier that I’ve ever seen. It looked like it was pushing 40 lbs. 

For comparison, here’s a picture of my dog, Maisy. She’s about 20 lbs. I love her. 

This dog looks like Norma Desmond.

I hate to play into stereotypes, but there was a German Shepherd adoption booth, and all the people running it looked like they had CHLs.

This husky pup is representing Texas with his name tag.

Look how stoked this dog is! It’s so stoked that it can’t even get its ears working. Pull yourself together, you rascal!

There weren’t a whole lot of big dogs at the park. I imagine that they are difficult to transport. There was a great dane adoption truck though. One of my friends had a really friendly great dane named Tethys, after the Greek sea goddess (but y’all already knew that). She used to drool on me when I tried to play World of Warcraft, really got me steamed.

It was hard to get a picture of this pup because he was jumping all over the place, he’s pretty cute.

Not only is this dachshund snow-camouflage colored, but he has a skull and crossbones tattoo. This dog has some deep-seeded issues.

This dog looks British.

These dogs are an illustration of what’s wrong with the dog youth of America. Constantly coddled by their parents and the school systems. They have no drive to succeed and no conception of hard work. 

This is my boss Mikela’s dog. His name is Franklin. He did not do well in the wiener race, and Mikela got very agitated. I’m worried for his safety.

This dog just doesn’t give an eff.

This dog looks like Walter Sobchak.

My friend, David, has a dog like this, but she’s missing a leg. David is unbelievably cruel to her. Shame on you, David.

I liked the perspective in this photo. Also, that’s the peace sign dachshund from earlier.

There were lots of chihuahua’s out there. At this point, I see so many chihuahuas, that I don’t really consider them dogs. They’re basically cats.

I like this picture. I should be a dog portraiteur.

This dog stole a smooch from somebody. What a dog! Ha ha! Just a little canine humor.

Here’s another great dane. I wonder if it also hates World of Warcraft?

Puppy!

Puppy that looks like Hugh Jackman!

Inquisitive dachshund with multicolored eyebrows!

Look at this dude’s eyes!

Let’s have a real good time! Let’s have a real good time! Let’s! Have a real good time! Let’s have a real good time!

Neighborhood Watch: Zilker Park

I went out to Zilker Park this weekend to shoot a little video.

Zilker is an Austin institution. It hosts ACL in the Fall and Blues on the Green in the Summer. 

On this particular day, it hosted lots of people and dogs out to enjoy the sunny day.

There’s a languidness to the park that I tried to convey in the video. The thing that stands out to you as you’re out there is just how open and how quiet it is. The expansiveness of the place just dissipates sound. You can be 30 feet from someone and only hear the low whoosh of the wind.

It’s oddly lonely if you’re just wandering around with a camera.

Field Report: Date Nights

Here is a photo of my beautiful girlfriend, Lindsey (I am also in the photo).

Unfortunately, Lindsey lives in Lubbock and our time together is necessarily limited by distance and finance. 

Every so often, she makes it down to Austin and we get to go on dates!

She came down both the weekend of Valentine’s Day and the weekend after, so we went on lots of dates!

The camera on my cell phone is broken, but hers is not, so all of these lovely photos are courtesy of Lindsey (except the establishing shots, which come from THE INTERNET!!!!)

PS, Lindsey hates when I write about her on THE INTERNET, so her participation will be minimized.

 

Destination One: Max’s Wine Dive


(We went at brunch, so it didn’t look like this, this is from Max’s website)

Max’s strives to be both upscale and casual, and I’d say they pull this off well. The interior of the place is cozy and replete with wine bottles, but the waitstaff is very casual — sporting jeans and black t-shirts with the slogan “Fried Chicken and Champagne?… Why the hell not?!”

Our waitress reminded me very much of Melissa McCarthy’s character in Bridesmaids, she was fun.

We started with Mimosas, which were $3.75 (which I felt was a little much) and the Pumpkin French Toast (brioche soaked in rich spiced pumpkin custard, topped with freshly whipped cream and pecans).

 

The Pumpkin French Toast was the highlight of the meal for me (except the pecans). The pumpkin custard provided just enough deviation from standard french toast flavor to be really spectacular. Unfortunately, Max’s dedication to throwing all of these flavor twists at diners didn’t pay off with the other dishes. 

For our main courses, I ordered the Fried Egg Sandwich (Three fried eggs drizzled with truffle oil, topped with house-made bacon, gruyere, green leaf lettuce, hothouse tomato, and garlic black truffle aioli, sandwiched between two pieces of fresh-baked bread and served with hand-cut chips) while Lindsey went with Max’s Famous Chicken and Waffles (Thigh, leg, & breast marinated in jalapeno buttermilk, deep fried low & slow, on a big ol’ waffle).

My sandwich would have been awesome, except that they went HAM with the gruyere and aioli, to the point that it totally overwhelmed any other flavor. 

Lindsey’s meal was pretty good, but, once again, Max’s tried to do a little too much by infusing the syrup with a jalapeño flavor.

You’re on notice Max’s, stop trying to get fancy.

Max’s Wine Dive Final Score

Romanticness:  (4/5 Smooches)

Tastiness:  (3/5 Jeff Maddens)

Expensiveness:  (4/5 Sad Wallets)

Our next date wasn’t really a date. We decided to stay at home and watch Lost and order in.

Destination Two: Home! (With East Side Pies)

(Photo via Poco-cocoa.com)

East Side Pies is one of my favorite places to eat in East Austin, and it’s about a half-mile from my house, so I eat here frequently. The employees are usually surly and the free water is usually warm, but the pizza is so good that I don’t really care. I’m not one of those Yelp corncobs.

Lindsey is aberrant in that she doesn’t like pepperoni on her pizza, and I am aberrant in that I am a child and refuse to eat vegetables —  as such, getting pizza is a strain on our relationship.

Fortunately, East Side Pies has just the pizza for us, the SMORS — italian sausage, mushrooms, roasted onions, roasted red peppers, and spinach.

Look how yummy that looks! (It was yummy). 

With such a universally appealing pizza in the house, the only discord was me making fun of Lost! (Come on you guys, Kate sucks)

East Side Pies Final Score

Romanticness: (2/5 Smooches)

Tastiness: (5/5 Jeff Maddens)

Expensiveness: (1/5 Sad Wallets)

The next evening we wanted sushi, and we also didn’t want to spend much money, so we went to Uchi for happy hour.

Destination Three: Uchi

Uchi has been a beacon of the Austin restaurant scene for a while now, and for good reason. The food is interesting and complex, the service is great, and the prices aren’t outrageous.

The Sake Social hour is one of the better happy hour deals in town, so we had to take advantage.

We ordered every tasting on this menu, with the exception of the Kakiage. We also got the Negihama Roll and the Brussels Sprouts (which are tempura fried).

Pictured from left to right, comic book style, are the Hama Chili, the Bacon Steakie, Brussels Sprouts, the Walu Walu, and the Machi Cure. (Uchiviche and the Negihama roll are sadly absent).

I’m a sushi purist, so my favorite was the Hama Chili, which really allowed you to taste the flavor of the yellowtail, without a whole lot of complication. Lindsey likes elaborate things, so she was drawn to the Machi Cure. 

I would gladly eat any of the dishes, and the final price for all of them was for less than our brunch at Max’s. If you want a cheap, semi-fancy date, Uchi happy hour is where it’s at.

Uchi Final Score

Romanticness: (4/5 Smooches)

Tastiness:  (5/5 Jeff Maddens)

Expensiveness: (3/5 Sad Wallets)

Since we love brunch, we decided to have brunch again!

Destination Four: Sagra

(Photo via Austin Citysearch)

Lindsey and I had actually eaten at Sagra before, for Valentine’s Day, but forgot to take any pictures, so you guys don’t get to read about that. The waiter was super friendly, and really sold us on the brunch, particularly the $1 mimosas.

Lindsey ordered the Eggs Sagra, which featured a salad, roasted potatoes, and two poached eggs on focaccia with hollandaise sauce. I don’t like hollandaise, so i wasn’t big on her eggs. I did snake several potatoes though.

I ordered Casarecci all Arriabiata which had homemade sausage, mozzarella, and spicy tomato sauce. It was more on the “unch” side of brunch, but I still enjoyed it. 

I don’t think either of us were really blown away by the meal though.

Sagra Final Score

Romanticness: (3/5 Smooches)

Tastiness: (3/5 Jeff Maddens)

Expensiveness: (3/5 Sad Wallets)

Our last visit was a place that I picked out special for Lindsey, as it serves her favorite food.

Destination Five: Frank

(Photo via Videocityguide)

Frank is a restaurant that specializes in hot dogs, hence the name.

They immediately got into my good graces by having Austin Beerworks on tap.

Because I am cheap, I opted not to get too fancy with my hot dogs. I had the Carolina Pork It (100% Vienna beef, stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried; Grilled coleslaw, house made green chile pimento cheese) and a regular hot dog in a pretzel bun.

(I really wanted my regular dog to be in the “flap jacket” which basically turns it into a corn dog, but they were out). Sadly, Lindsey didn’t think my hot dogs were cool enough to take pictures of.

Both of my dogs were wonderful explosions of fatty goodness.

Lindsey got the Notorious P.I.G (House-made pork, bacon, jalapeno & sage sausage with macaroni & cheese, Texas BBQ sauce). Surprisingly, she mowed down the whole thing.

She also ordered one of the special cocktails, the Red Headed Stranger (House-made bacon-infused Tito’s Vodka, Frank bloody mary mix, garnished with bacon, cheddar cheese, jalapeno stuffed olive, peperoncini). 

I don’t like bloody marys, so I did not sample it (except to eat the bacon) but she seemed to enjoy that as well.

Frank Final Score

Romanticness: (1/5 Smooches, unless your gal is really into pig)

Tastiness: (4/5 Jeff Maddens)

Expensiveness: (2/5 Sad Wallets)

I hope this has been helpful to you fellas (and ladies) who are out there trying to impress your sweetie. If there’s anyone who knows about relationships, it’s me.

News Breakers: Football Edition

Big news you guys, the 2012 Big 12 football schedule has been released! My beloved University of Texas Longhorns play in Austin, which means you get to read about them!

I hope y’all are ready for some hot sports takes!

Here’s a graphic that I borrowed from the Longhorn Network Facebook page, thanks LHN!

Patsies (No Jinx)

As you can see, the early home schedule is uninspired, I feel like we’ve been playing Wyoming for 100 years, and it’s rarely interesting. (Maybe they can be our new Thanksgiving rival).

The New Mexico game does bring former ESPN broadcaster and twice-baked potato Bob Davie to Austin as the new head coach of the New Mexico Lobos. Davie was brought in after former coach Mike Locksley was fired for punching (also fielding atrocious football teams).

West F’n Virginia

The meh-ness of the first two home games is offset by the spectacularness of WVU on October 6. 

Not only is WVU a good football team, they’re helmed by a fantastically skulleted, Red Bull swigging, casino ruckus causing prince — Dana Holgorsen.

(Pictured: Poet-Patriot-Lover)

WVU also brings a breed of rowdy fan hitherto-fore unseen in Big 12 waters — the hillbilly!

I have an odd fascination with hill people, I attribute this mostly to Justified and my love of the banjo, so I’m all kinds of excited for this game.

OU (Sucks)

This isn’t a home game, but it does hold important ramifications for Austin at large.

Somehow, the Big 12 schedule makers thought that it would be a good idea to put this game on the same weekend as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

I’ve depicted the wisdom of this decision in the following art.

I call it “Elvis’ Colon.”

Baylor

I have nothing to say about Baylor.

Iowa State

I happen to like Iowa State quite a bit, aside from them knocking off Ok. State last year and subjecting us to a torturous SEC circle-hug. 

They are surprisingly competitive every year, and Paul Rhoads may be my favorite coach in the Big 12 (despite is frustratingly difficult to spell last name).

TCU

I’ve never met a single person who attended TCU that I like. It’s as if you took the worst of the fratty McCombs types and then knocked 400 points off of their SAT score and parked them in the cultural wasteland that is DFW.

Good times, you guys.

I went to the Texas Bowl once when TCU played Houston (my father is a Coug). A few rows in front of us, three TCU jack-offs were getting drunk and loud and being all around jackasses. By mid-way through the 2nd quarter, one of them had taken his shirt off and was twirling it around his head like a stripper.

TCU beat Houston, and as we were leaving, Chippendale started mouthing off about his team’s mighty Texas Bowl win. 

Being a gentleman, I maintained a stoic outside demeanor, but inside, I was warmed by the thought of his cockroach team trying to compete with the Longhorns.

Well, times have changed, and I’m not as excited about playing TCU. It also sucks that the game is on Saturday. It will be weird to have a Thanksgiving without a Texas game on TV.

Field Report: South Austin Brewing Co. Grand Opening Party!

As I’ve documented previously, I’m a big fan of Austin’s local craft breweries, so when I heard that South Austin Brewing Company was having a grand opening party (with free beer!) I was thrilled. 

So, I loaded up two of my roommates, Erik and Matt, and we headed south down 35 to the brewery.

Erik. (Looking fly)

Matt. (Looking like a predator)

SABC is located in an industrial area on East St. Elmo road, just south of 71. (Almost every brewery I’ve visited in the city is housed in an industrial area, I believe it’s some sort of city regulation). 

When we arrive, we were greeted by the SABC van (very fetching) and an intimidating line.

A guy behind us scouted ahead and reported that there were roughly 150 people between us and the brewery. This was bad news for Matt, as he was trying to profile in a thin cotton hoodie and it wasn’t working out for him. Erik and I had dressed appropriately for the deceptively chilly day.

There was a Yume Burger truck posted up beside the brewery, tempting all of the passersby. We eventually gave in to its siren song, but not on the first go-around.

We made it inside after about 30 minutes in line and grabbed our beers. We were given three drink tickets apiece, which could be redeemed for either the Saison D’Austin or the Belgian Style Golden Ale.

Erik opted for the Golden Ale.

Matt opted to double fist both of them. (Just kidding you guys! He’s holding mine so that I could take a picture).

Matt also went with the Golden Ale, while I chose the Saison, which is my favorite style of beer. 

I can only assume that my roommates opted for the Golden Ale because they saw it described as “light bodied” and they are cowardly.

Here’s the saison! It’s not quite this dark in real life, that’s more a result of my shoddy camerawork. It was sweet, with just a touch of hops. It was punchier than most saisons, you could tell that it was 8% abv. 

We sipped our beers and listened to The Everydudes kick the jams. Let me tell you guys, jams were getting kicked all over the place. It was a bad place to be if you were a jam, cause you were getting straight up assaulted.

There was merch for sale, but I didn’t buy any because AlcoholEdu said that owning a shirt with a beer on it is a sign of alcoholism. 

By this point, the place had started to get pretty packed. 

Luckily, friendly folks were on hand to keep all of the patrons hydrated. Including, y’all’s truly. 

I refilled my cup with the Golden Ale. (Once again, my camerawork really shines).

The Golden Ale was everything the whiteboard said it would be — light, fruity, and easy drinking. A good summer beer, or beer for someone just getting into craft brews.

In the words of Erik, “I think the saison is better, but it’s too hard for me to drink.” (Erik just had his first beer a week ago).

For my final beer, I grabbed another saison, and then we rolled out in search of sustenance.

It was not a long and rigid search, as Yume Burger was right outside!

Yume is the brainchild of Eric Silverstein (of the Peached Tortilla) and Marc Tamiso (a professional chef). They present a reinterpretation of the Japanese hamburger (which was an interpretation of the American hamburger, MEATCEPTION!!!).

For your average burger-eating Joe (Joe Burger), it basically means that they make hamburgers with japanese toppings.

Erik got a Japajam, which is a burger topped with a fried egg, jalapeño jack, crispy onion strings, and Japanese barbecue sauce.

Matt chose the Oishii, which was made with tempura whitefish, wasabi slaw, Japanese tartar sauce, and Japanese pickles. No beef on this one.

Here’s Matt eating. Note the lens flare, stole that one from my main man Jim Cameron.

I chose the best option, the Po-ku. It’s a burger, with a pork belly strip, wasabi slaw, and Japanese pickles. After we mowed down our burgers, we bounced.

I’d like to offer a big thank you to South Austin Brewing!

Their beers both receive the KDFD stamp of approval. This stamp of approval is worth more than the Chronicle’s Best of Austin!

High praise from South Austin Brewing Company!

High praise from South Austin Brewing Company!

Jester King Brewery First Anniversary Party!

I recently got the chance (paid $20) to attend the Jester King Brewery First Anniversary Party.

Jester King is an Austin original. Located on a sprawling ranch off of 290, they go out of their way to make quirky, original beers.

Over the course of five hours of drinking, we were able to sample all of the brewery’s standard beers (available at Whip-In and The Draught House), as well as several specialty beers that were only available at the party.

The majority of the specialty beers had been barrel aged, which increases their ABV and turns them into sours.

The most adventurous of the specialty beers was the Barrel Aged Black Metal, a sour imperial stout. For those of you who aren’t that familiar with beer, imagine if you combined a Guinness with tart yogurt — except that it tasted delicious.

The guys at Jester King also tapped several rare import beers, including a Cantillon Apricot Lambic. Word at the party was that only three kegs of this particular beer were shipped to the US in 2011.