Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

After action report: Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I’ve sort of hinted at this, but now the full story can be told.

Mike the Musicologist and I went on a road trip to Oklahoma the weekend of November 8th.

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TMQ Watch: October 7, 2014.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Now that we’ve finished banging our heads against the wall (for reasons that will become apparent shortly), let’s jump into this week’s TMQ

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Ancient trade secret, huh?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

This is a couple of days old, but I was waiting to find a non-paywalled report.

Kreuz Market (yes, the barbecue place in Lockhart) is accusing a former employee of stealing trade secrets.

“It is believed that Thornton, at or just before the time he resigned from Kreuz, took possession of company documents, including company trade secrets, in paper form and/or by placing electronic versions on a flash drive or other devices,” a court document states. “It is further believed that Thornton deleted electronic copies of these documents from the Kreuz computer system so that such documents would no longer be accessible by Kreuz. Kreuz may have claims against Thornton for trade secret misappropriation, conversion and civil theft, among other claims.”

That’s pretty much the nut. The rest of the story is a decent overview of Kreuz Market history and expansion plans, probably worth reading if you don’t follow Texas barbecue obsessively.

(For my younger readers, subject line hattip.)

Bread blogging: experiment #1

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

This requires some background.

One of my Christmas presents was a box of smoked meat from Goode Company Barbecue in Houston. The meat itself has been very good so far. But included with the meat was a loaf of Goode Company’s Jalepeno Cheddar bread.

I was warned in advance: “This stuff is addictive. You’ll find yourself eating the whole loaf in one sitting.” Well, I wasn’t quite that bad (it took two sittings to finish the loaf), but it is very very good bread. I wouldn’t put it at the “crack cocaine” level; that’s reserved for Caramel deLites (or Samoas, depending on which part of the country you’re in). It is even better if you toast it and spread some of Trader Joe’s Pub Cheese on the toast, but that’s a digression.

(And by the way, Girl Scout cookie season is upon us again.)

Anyway, after I finished the loaf, I found myself saying the following: “Hey! I have a bread machine! How hard could it be to replicate their bread?”

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Happy Bastille Day, everyone!

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Whether you’re eating Beef Bourguignon and drinking a good Burgundy, or storming a prison to get at the gunpowder inside, I hope your celebration is a happy one.

(More from Lawrence here.)

I heartily endorse this event or product. (#8 in a series)

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Silvercar.

This endorsement may be of limited utility to most of you, since Silvercar currently only operates in DFW and Austin. But I am hopeful that they will expand to other cities.

What are they? Silvercar is a car rental firm, but they’re different from your normal car rental company.

First of all, they only rent one type of car: silver Audi A4s. That’s not so bad, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit.

Second of all, their prices are reasonable: right now, they’re charging $75/day on weekdays and $50/day on weekends. That’s actually about what you’d pay for anything from Enterprise at the airport. (I just checked the Enterprise site: cheapest is $66.99 for a full-size car, going up to $127.56 for a “luxury” car.) That is with unlimited milage.

Thirdly, the experience is nowhere near as annoying as your average car rental agency is:

  • They pick you up at the airport. You pick your car. You scan the QR code with the Silvercar app on your phone. You drive away with your rental. If you want, they’ll give you a briefing on how to use the navigation and audio systems. If you need help, they have some very pleasant people available to walk you through the process.
  • Unlimited mileage.
  • Fuel is charged based on what you actually use (at prevailing market rate) plus $5 if you don’t return the car with a full tank.
  • They don’t get pushy about the “collision damage waver”. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they have such a thing.
  • Those nice people they have on duty kept asking if we’d like a bottle of water or something while we picked up and dropped off the car. When’s the last time Hertz asked you if you wanted a bottle of water?

And the Audi A4s they rent are fun cars. Yes, they have Bluetooth. They also have WiFi. Seriously. You can use your rental car as a WiFi hotspot while driving. Most of this stuff is your basic Audi features, as far as I know, including the navigation and audio. But it is still really nice to have these features in a rental car, especially at this price.

I should note that I didn’t actually rent the car: Mike the Musicologist came up for a visit and handled the interaction with Silvercar. But I was along for the pickup and dropoff, and from what I saw it was the most friction-free car rental experience ever.

We drove the Audi down to New Braunfels Sunday night to have barbecue at the Cooper’s there (which I liked very much). Then we drove back through the city and stopped at the Buc-ees (yes, the one that won the “America’s Best Restroom” contest – and, yes, it is a darn nice men’s room). Monday, MtM and I drove down to Boerne and had lunch at a wonderful German restaurant called Little Gretel. I want to go back. Actually, what I want to do is take a long weekend, book a motel room in Boerne, and stay for a day or two, eating at Little Gretel, feeding the ducks in the creek across the street, and exploring the surrounding area.

We drove back to Austin by way of Fredericksburg (stopping briefly at the shop for the Nimitz Museum/Museum of the Pacific War) and the Audi never missed a beat. It felt like it was on rails even when I pushed it close to 100 MPH, and we got around 26 MPG for the entire Monday trip.

The one small issue I’d bring up with Silvercar, if they asked me, is that they only provide an iPod connector for the Audi MMI system. It’d be nice to have at least the Audi USB connectors as well. (I was unable to find a USB port in the car: the MMI system does have two SD card slots, though, as well as a SIM card slot.)

So, anyway, if you need a good rental car in Austin (or DFW), give Silvercar a try. And thanks to Mike for organizing this adventure.

Banana republicans on trial: March 22, 2013.

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

I was out until late last night (having a very nice celebratory dinner at Bordeaux’s Steakhouse in Dripping Springs: thanks, Mom!) and wasn’t able to report on the latest Bell developments until this morning. That’s probably for the best, as I can link to the second day LAT coverage rather than the breaking news.

“I have never heard of anything like this in my 40 years of law,” said Robert Sheahen, a veteran Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

What happened? Briefly, hell broke loose in California.

…the judge declared a mistrial on the outstanding counts, saying “all hell has broken loose” with the deeply divided jury.

As you may recall, the jury returned verdicts on some of the charges, but remained undecided on others. The judge sent them back Thursday morning to continue deliberations.

An exasperated Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy drew the case to a close after a bizarre day in which one juror asked to reconsider the guilty verdicts reached Wednesday. Then, an anonymous juror passed a note to Kennedy urging her to “remind the jury to remain respectful and not to make false accusations and insults to one another.” Kennedy refused to set aside the guilty verdicts.

These are different notes than the ones members of the jury sent on Wednesday, by the way.

What does all this mean?

1. “Prosecutors declined to comment because of the upcoming trial of Robert Rizzo, the former city administrator alleged to be the mastermind of the corruption. But an official said no decision has been made about retrying the defendants on the remaining charges.”

2. “[Former council member George] Cole’s attorney, Ronald Kaye, said the jury’s behavior suggested ‘coercion and intimidation’ that throws the guilty verdicts into question.
Attorney Shepard Kopp, who represented Jacobo, said the jury’s conduct is ‘tremendous legal grounds for motion for a new trial.’”

Basically, the jury verdicts stand, but it sounds like the defense has a chance to get them thrown out on appeal, if they can prove jury misconduct. My recommendation: buy popcorn futures.

Random notes: March 6, 2013.

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

My two favorite tributes to the late Hugo Chavez: here and here.

Both the NYT and the LAT are reporting arrests and confessions in the Bolshoi acid attack. (Previously.)

Investigators said that they believed that the dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, hired two men to accost Mr. Filin outside his apartment building late on Jan. 17. As Mr. Filin punched in an entry code, the police said, a masked man called his name and tossed the contents of a jar of sulfuric acid at his eyes.

The NYT says one of the men has confessed: the LAT says both men and Dmitrichenko have confessed.

“I organized the attack, but not to the extent of the damage that happened,” Dmitrichenko said, stone-faced, to Russian news Channel One. The dancer, who has performed such roles as the Evil Genius in Swan Lake and Russia’s brutal ruler Ivan Grozny in a ballet of the same name, planned the assault for “personal resentment related to his work,” police said, according to Russian media reports.

Roy Brown Jr. has died. Mr. Brown was a car designer for Ford. This was one of his designs:

Come all without, come all within. you’ll not see nothing like Mighty Quinn’s.

(Sorry.)

Road trip?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

On Monday, the New Braunfels location of [Buc-ee’s] the mega-convenience store and travel stop won the 11th annual America’s Best Restroom contest, which is sponsored by Cintas, a company that “implements full service restroom programs” (i.e. provides thrones, sinks, and sanitation services).

I don’t think this would be a good SDC destination; while I’m sure you can get food at Buc-ee’s, it isn’t really an SDC sort of place.

However, we’ve had conversations about going to the Cooper’s in New Braunfels, so we could kill two birds with one stone…

Updates.

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I’ve added Steven Raichlen’s blog and Twitter feed.

Also added: Mick Vann’s “Gustidude”. Mr. Vann is one of a small number of local food writers I trust: I would say that even if it were not for the fact that he did a nice profile of the SDC many years ago.

And Gustidude came to my attention because he has a blog entry up about eating at Franklin’s BBQ with Raichlen.

Ancient Men and Fire.

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

You know, if I had it to do all over again, I’d seriously think about becoming a food anthropologist.

It doesn’t seem like this is a profession that rakes in the big money. But I think it’d be kind of fun to figure out how they made beer 9,000 years ago, or what the Anasazi indians ate, or how teosinte became corn. Why is meat inside some form of dough common across so many cultures?

What prompts this thought? Tuesday night, my mother and I went to see Steven Raichlen’s “Man Food Fire: The Evolution of Barbecue” lecture at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. (We had a very nice meal at Lambert’s beforehand. I had forgotten how much I liked their charcuterie plate.)

I hadn’t really thought much about the relationship between evolutionary biology and cooking. Part of Raichlen’s lecture was that we went from this:

(Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis. Note the large jaw and the protruding attachment points for jaw muscles.)

to this:

(Homo erectus)

largely due to our ancestor’s use of fire to cook meat. I may be glossing over some subtleties here, but the short version is that cooking meat (and other foods) allowed our ancestors to use their food more efficiently, leading both to the evolution away from the large jaw and large jaw muscles, and to an increase in cranial capacity – thus, larger brains to fill the space. And that’s how we got to modern man.

(It isn’t that I don’t trust Raichlen, but I’d really like to sit down and talk about  his ideas with someone like LabRat, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do. By the way, that linked post over at the Atomic Nerds site is well worth reading.)

Some other highlights:

  • Raichlen (and, I assume, his escorts) hit three barbecue places for lunch: Franklin Barbecue, John Muller’s (“tx@bugmenot.com”, “texas”), and…Stiles Switch. I still haven’t made to Franklin (I’m waiting for the circus to die down), and I need to try Muller’s. But Stiles Switch is probably my current favorite barbecue joint (at least in the Austin area) so it fills me with delight that it earned the Raichlen seal of approval. Here’s a review of the Switch from the Statesman.
  • This one goes out to our great and good friend Carol: grilled ice cream, an Azerbaijani recipe that I’d like to try. (Azerbaijan has TV chefs? I wonder if there is Azerbaijani public television, and if it has pledge drives.)
  • This one goes out to our brother-in-law. Raichlen on ceramic cookers (like the Big Green Egg): there’s really not much difference between them, so go with the one that matches your patio furniture best.
  • Packaged charcoal briquets actually originated with Henry Ford, as a method of recycling wood scraps from the Model T. Ford started converting them into charcoal, packaging them, and selling the bags; this venture became the Kingsford company.
  • The Statesman pretty much f’ed up their coverage of this event. The first article I saw on it said it was free, you just had to call and RSVP. A few hours later, they amended that to “free for museum members, $4 for everyone else“, and blamed the museum for the error. I can tell you we were not museum members, and nobody was collecting money for admission. (They were selling Raichlen books, and he did do a signing after the talk.)
  • Raichlen seems to me to be a pretty swell guy. I was impressed not just with his presentation, but his willingness to stay and answer questions afterwards. I think we would have been there all night long if the museum staff hadn’t cut off the Q&A (and he was still answering questions during the signing). My biggest surprise of the night: he has a degree…in French literature. Hmmmm. Maybe there’s hope for my food anthropology dreams after all.
  • Raichlen’s blog, though he hasn’t put up anything from Austin yet. There is stuff in his Twitter feed.

Edited to add: Let me throw this in. The patron saint of barbecue and barbecue pitmasters? Saint Lawrence. This explains much.

Random notes: June 27, 2012.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Obit watch: Nora Ephron.

Oh, gee: “business leaders” are threatening to move their firms out of the notoriously corrupt city of Vernon, claiming the cost of business has become too high. Vernon has raised taxes and electricity rates, due to “the recession and a series of ill-fated investments that have cost the city millions”.

Among other bright ideas:

In other news, Stockton, California plans to file for municipal bankruptcy.

Edited to add: “It’s in our DNA to take the bitterness of lemons and make sweet lemonade,” [Rev. Dwight Williams of the New Bethel Baptist Church] said.

Hmmm.

  1. The ability to make lemonade is genetically inherited, rather than learned? This might explain why my lemonade isn’t very good. (Then again, it could be that I make mine with bottled lemon juice. Yeah, I know, but I mostly make lemonade so I can mix it with iced tea and make Arnold Palmers; why use fresh lemon juice for that?)
  2. Lemonade isn’t sweet until you add something like sugar to it. What does Rev. Williams propose to add to the lemonade of bankruptcy?

More details on the Jovita’s heroin bust from the Statesman.

One of the great barbecue related stories of the past quarter century was the Kreuz Market feud. In brief, when the family patriarch died, he left the Kreuz Market building to his daughter; he’d previously sold the business itself to two of his sons. This led to a family fight, and ultimately Kreuz Market moved into a new building on the highway, while the old building became Smitty’s.

What’s news? Well, the owner of Kreuz and the pitmaster at Smitty’s, along with another family member, are opening a new barbecue place: Schmidt Family Barbecue in Bee Cave. I am morally certain we will be going out there for an SDC, as soon as they’ve had time to shake out.