I had a great weekend. On Saturday I slept later than usual and skipped my normal Town Lake outing. I met up with Frederick, Jed, Adrian, Holly and her gorgeous athletic family, L.J. and Keith for a "welcome back to Texas" breakfast at Juan in a Million. One of my favorite Tex-Mex breakfast spots! I indulged in the breakfast tacos, choosing nopalitos and egg on a flour tortilla and a barbacoa on corn. Mmmmm. Almost everyone else chose the signature taco, the Don Juan "El Taco Grande" with is a tortilla laid flat on a plate with a mound of potato, egg, cheese and bacon. It's so huge they ask if you want an extra tortilla, 'cause you'll need it. Adie wanted to try my nopalitos and barbacoa, but he isn't into cactus or meat. He did a classic move, screwing up his face and using his hand to scrub the food off his tongue, just like in the movie "Big" when Tom Hanks tastes caviar and doesn't like it. We stuffed ourselves on chips, the city's hottest restaurant salsa and tacos and teased Keith about his brief move to L.A. We're all glad he's home and hoping that he won't decide to move away again. I mean, really, if you move away and back twice, there's no reason to go for a third time. Central Texas is home.
Saturday afternoon I did errands and waited for Frank's refrigerator to be delivered. That evening we went to a party at the Hilton for Dr. Arnold, who is a surgeon with CTVS here in Austin. It was his 80th birthday and a "pre-retirement" party. We had dinner at Eddie V's downtown, which I had never been to before, but love the Arboretum restaurant. The food was, as usual, delicious. For starters, we had the Maryland crab cake, which is almost 100% lump crab meat and served with a remoulade sauce, and collossal shrimp (and they were) dipped in a springroll style batter and flash fried, served with lump crab, avocado and an Asian viniagrette dipping sauce. Mmmmmmm!! For dinner Frank had more collossal shrimp, stuffed with lump crab and grilled with parmesan and herb & garlic crumbs....so tasty! I had an avocado, lump crab, shrimp, grapes, dates and mixed baby greens salad with a citrus viniagrette for dinner. Yum, yum, yum!
Frank was his usual social butterfly self, but for a change, I was more content to sit and people watch. I did talk to loads of people from the medical scene and caught up on news with most of my former co-workers. The party was in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel and featured heavy hors d'ouvres before the band started playing. The theme was nautical casual, due in part to Dr. Arnold's military service and part to his lifelong love of sailing. He was the team doctor for the U.S. Olympic sailing team three different times. A slide show beamed pictures from his boyhood to present on the ballroom wall while the hungry party goers indulged in every thing from prime rib to oysters on the half shell. The four, count 'em, four open bars had beer, wine, liquor and soft drinks. After a presentation by Dr. Oswalt and Charlie Arnold, the band started up. Halfway through the evening the life preserver shaped cake was cut and we sang happy birthday and actually did the whole "hip, hip, hooray" thing. It was quite cool, all the way around.
After the party ended, we went to Cedar Street with Christine and Drake. It was fun, but I was too tired to dance. The group took pity on me and we ended up dancing in our seats and singing along with the 80's cover band. Frank, Christine and Drake wanted to go to afterhours dancing at the Can but I was too exhausted. I took a pedicab to Frank's car and he cabbed it later. All in all, the evening was quite fun. We have plans to meet up with Christine and Drake later in the week at Austin Land & Cattle Company for some fabulous steaks. My favorite is the "black and blue", which is your choice of a rib eye, filet mignon, t-bone, top sirloin or NY strip charred on the outside and so rare on the inside that it's cool to the touch. Fork tender and amazingly flavorful, the steaks are served with a side of their housemade sauces: gorgonzola butter, bernaise sauce, roasted garlic sauce, ALC steak sauce, jalapeño bleu cheese or Maker's Mark bourbon sauce. These are the best steaks in Austin. Our favorite appetizer is the grilled green chile strips stuffed with goat cheese, red pepper flakes and fresh garlic. I can't wait to have some!
Sunday was quite eventful. After sleeping late and enjoying smoked chicken and ribs from Rudy's Bar-B-Q, I went off to the Can to work a longer shift than usual. Margie was out of town, so I was on my own. I was at 6th & Lamar when I saw the plume of dark smoke in the area of the bar. Anxiously thinking that someone had started the grill without me and caught the patio on fire, I worked my way around the blocked off streets until I saw the fire. It wasn't Oil Can's but the Bitter End that was on fire. Sad, but glad it wasn't the bar, I finally made it to the alley behind the Can and parked in Margie's spot. The bar was slow, slower than normal due to the problematic parking (streets were blocked for hours) but I had a clear view of the raging fire and the men in uniform. I did stand in the alley and watch the firemen in action for a bit, unlike Jonathon, who casually strolled from Rain to the end of the alley to get a better view (of the firemen). It was kind of scary being so close to a burning building. The smoke was the color of a muddy, flooded river and was rolling past in the wind going down the alley. I talked to one firemen and some EMT's when they used our hose to fill up their drinking water resevoir. They had a truck with a trailer, and on the trailer was a full sized Reddy-Ice machine that holds 50lbs of bagged ice and a drinking water resevoir that took 15 minutes to fill. Wow. A Cap Metro bus was used as a cooling station for the firemen. It was hours before the fire was out, but the trucks and firemen were still there when I went home.
I left the Can tired and smelling like a grill and fire, but with gas and grocery money in my pocket. I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up bottled water, lunch for Monday and an avocado gelato. My workmates all know that avocado gelato is my ultimate favorite. I'll pass up the chipotle chocolate gelato any day that there's avocado to be had. So good! On my way home I thought about all the different flavors of ice cream and gelato I've tasted over the years and I have to say that avocado gelato is my all time favorite, surpassing even the bubblegum ice cream from Baskin Robbins (my favorite as a kid) and Belgium Chocolate from Amy's Ice Creams. What is your favorite?