Archive for November, 2011


Last Thursday night we had a great time putting on the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Mixer…which we refer to as our Holiday Preview Party.  It gives us a chance to invite fellow local businesses, family, friends & customers for an evening of great food, drinks & music as we gear up for the coming holidays.  Everything is provided by Bear Moon Bakery & Cafe as a “Welcome To The Holiday Season” Party for the entire community.  There’s also an early visit by St. Nick!

We had great food, desserts, Real Ale beer on tap &  Sparkling Drunken Cranberry Cocktails.  We also had musician John Boyd provide an eclectic mix of great music for the event.

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The Tigress, Austin Texas

After our Tipsy Tech class in Austin this Tuesday night, we were invited by our instructor David Alan to a special event at The Tigress Pub.

The Tigress Pub is a small neighborhood cocktail bar on North Loop in Austin.  It’s got a great vibe and simple, understated decor.  I guess the word that would describe it best would be “cozy”, which makes sense since the establishment is VERY small.  Small bar, one corner booth, a few two-top cocktail tables jutting out from the walls and a drink rail around part of another wall.  Definitely a place to chill and enjoy some expertly made cocktails.  Wish I was still living in Austin!

Last night David invited us to attend the “release party” of a barrel-aged cocktail (Widow’s Kiss) made by his colleague, co-founder of Tipsy Tech and fellow bar craftsman, Lara Nixon and Pam Pritchard, Tigress’ owner.

Lara & Pam created a large batch of the cocktail, Widow’s Kiss (Applejack Brandy, Green Chartreuse, Benedictine & Angostura Bitters) inside of a wooden (oak) barrel and then aged it for about thirty days.  The marrying of the liquors/liqueurs and the aging of the cocktail (inside of a used whiskey barrel) adds a different dimension that couldn’t be experienced by just walking up and ordering a Widow’s Kiss.  Barrel-aging is a way to tweak a cocktail’s flavor profile and create something new, different and interesting.  Much of our class made it over to The Tigress Pub after class and we were able to try this cocktail.  The trip to The Tigress Pub gave us a chance to speak to Lara and Tigress’ owner Pam, herself a Tipsy Tech graduate.  It also gave us a great example of what is possible, in terms of presenting classic cocktails with a new and interesting twist.

A short video by Austin American Statesman videographer, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, in which Lara Nixon speaks about classic cocktails and barrel-aging while you can view scenes of the bar, can be seen here.

Austin Trip

Last week were stayed a night in Austin after our mixology class.  We stayed Tuesday night and attended the Ben E Keith Fall Food Festival on Wednesday.

View from our hotel of downtown Austin

We’ve been trying to visit different Austin bars after our class on Tuesday nights.  This particular night, we decided to take a tour of East 6th Street.  Now, this was definitely not an area that most people would head to for a drink years ago when I lived in Austin.  So, I was very intrigued to see what types of changes have taken place in the years since I’ve lived there.

There are definitely some positive changes going on in this area of town.  Many new businesses, bars, and even apartments are opening up, at least on this stretch of 6th Street.

We stopped first at Liberty Bar and had a snack at the East Side Kings food truck in the back.  Then we decided to walk west towards downtown.  We stumbled upon Volstead Lounge and had to go in.  It was a good decision.  Hand-crafted cocktails and Makers 46 special cocktails for $5.00!  The interior was strangely decorated and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why the interior looked the way it did.  Later on I had a chance to look it up and soon found out why the Volstead Lounge looked the way it did.  It is actually a hotel lobby.  The building is actually the Hotel Vegas.  Further research revealed the sordid history of this building, including a 2009 fire that left most of its “tenants” without rooms.  East Austinite (search: Hotel Vegas) has a great  blog post (with some great pictures) about the new owners and their renovations entitled, Hotel Vegas:  From Hookers to Hipsters.   Definitely a cool place to grab a drink!

Drinks at The Volstead Lounge

We walked further west on East 6th street and came to the East Side Showroom.

Drinks at East Side Show Room

East Side Show Room was another great place to hang out.  From the decor, to the band, to the candles in mason jars, to the silent era movie showing on the wall above the stage, the atmosphere and attention to detail were spot on.  Drinks are hand crafted and are not for everyone, meaning ingredients such as fresh apples and jalapenos are used in some cocktails (great drink by the way!) and the drinks take extra care and extra time to create.  We went to experience the drink crafting and ambience, so we enjoyed our visit.  We kind of wished we had been there earlier to sample their food menu offerings.

Cobblestone at East Side Show Room

We headed over to the heart of 6th Street and soon decided to grab a slice from Hoboken Pie and then call it a night.

The next morning we had breakfast at the SWB, Southwest Bistro in the Hyatt, where we were staying, then we headed over to the Convention Center for the Food Show.

There were many exhibitors at the food show, but we made sure to visit the Hey Cupcake booth/trailer.

Hey Cupcake cupcakes, including "Vanilla Dream", "24 Carrot" & "The Michael Jackson"

Linda, Paula & Jenny at the Ben E Keith Fall Food Show, Austin

Lastly, I must mention that from the balcony of my hotel room I could see the Congress Avenue Bridge.  This bridge is the home of over a million free-tail Mexican bats and every summer people gather around the bridge at sunset to watch the largest colony of urban bats emerge.  I noticed something hanging from the center of the underside of the bridge while I was staying at the Hyatt.  From my vantage point it looked like a bundle of some sort and we exchanged theories over what it could be over breakfast.  I am happy to report that I am not going crazy and that there is, in fact, a reason for this item hanging from the bridge.

It’s BATCOW!!!

Batcow is a recent art installation by Austin designers and artists, DJ Stout, Stu Taylor & Faith Schexnayder.  Batcow was supposed to hang around until the end of October, but I’m kind of glad that he’s still there, so that we were able to see it on our visit.  Gotopublicschool.com has some great pics of Batcow also!

Jenny & I attended Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas this past Sunday.  Wurstfest is a ten day celebration of German heritage, food, music and beer.

Wurstfest takes place every year in Landa Park in New Braunfels.  The grounds contain numerous halls and tents with entertainment stages as well as The Marktplatz, a large hall containing food, beer and merchandise booths.  Next to The Marktplatz is Wursthalle.  Spass Haus, described as a beer tavern, is located inside Wursthalle.  We wandered in and not only had a chance to “freshen up” our beer cups, but also spend some time viewing the extensive beer bottle collection lining the walls and windows.

The collection was started by James Nowotny, a New Braunfels native, and acquired by the Wurstfest Association in 1982.  Although over 3,000 bottles are on display in Spass Haus, the actual collection numbers somewhere around 17,000 bottles.

One of the bands that we saw was the very energetic Alex Meixner Band.  This band played some German festival staples, including the Chicken Dance, but their set also included a Bon Jovi cover.  All of this by a small band in which the three front members played everything from the accordion to the clarinet, trumpet and saxophone.  The lead man, Alex Meixner,  throws everything he has into his sets…complete with headbanging while playing the accordion.

I did not get a very good video of the band the night we were there, but this video was posted to youtube by idigpolka and it’s a great video of the band, although at 9 minutes, it’s a little long, but you’ll get the idea.

Then it was time for dessert….

Fried Oreos

Funnel Cake

Jenny with a Bear Claw - Wurstfest 2011

It was really a fun evening, but I think that after Oktoberfest and Wurstfest I’ve had enough beer for a little while…at least until Austin’s Beerfest!!!

Looks like I’ll have to wait a little longer to see the new movie by Pedro Almodovar.  It does not open in my area until 11/18/11.

If movies are supposed to tell a story in pictures, then Almodovar is a master.   His movies are sometimes confusing, often melodramatic, strange…but always visually stunning.  It’s no surprise that this filmmaker has won two Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay), a Golden Globe (Best Foreign Language Film) & many more awards around the globe, including in his native Spain.

This is his first foray into what some would call horror, while others will call it a psychological thriller.  Whatever genre people would like to put this movie in…I’m going to make sure to see this one.

IMDB describes the plot:

A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

Dana Stevens of Slate.com says,

“Vertigo is a clear antecedent, as are James Whale’s Frankenstein and Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face.”

The trailer can be seen here.