Archive for ‘Going Out’

February 16, 2012

Austin: Silent Cedar

In a town with a glut of live music, creativity can be hard to come by. But this is the first time I’ve ever heard of silent disco, where everyone wears headsets that host 3 different channels with 3 DJs playing simultaneously throughout the night … but if you take your headphones off, it’s totally silent.
Silent Cedar Austin
  • With three channels of different genres of EDM going on simultaneously, spun by some of Austin’s best DJs, you’ll be able to find something you like and dance in your own world but surrounded by friends.  You simply find the station you like or find the music that best matches the rhythms to which your friends are dancing (and set your own volume)
  • If you want to take a break and chat or order a drink, just take off the headphones and realize the deafening… silence around you
  • With visual projections, lasers, and performers, Silent Cedar will wow the eyes as much as the ears.
Totally innovative and different. Do it:
February 8, 2012

Austin: Grounded in Music with Jack Ingram and Hayes Carll

Austin organization Grounded in Music’s annual benefit concert (past coverage here) is Wednesday, February 15th at the Gibson Guitar Showroom. Longtime Grounded in Music supporter Jack Ingram (I got to meet him when he helped open a recording studio at the Boys & Girls Club) and Hayes Carll are co-headlining the event.

Tickets are $35 and $50 at The event will help raise funds for GiM’s growing music education program in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Austin. Grounded in Music’s students are taught a variety of  skills in musicianship, which range from writing lyrics, playing instruments, and exploring other areas  of the music industry. Statistics show that students  who are involved in music programs early in life perform better academically in the areas of math and  reading. The data also shows that students score higher on the SATs in the areas of math and verbal,  regardless of their socio-economic background.

“Grounded in Music has a very simple mission: to leverage the power of music to transform young lives by creating self-confidence, opportunity and hope. These kids are learning that they can do anything they set their mind to and developing the confidence to push themselves to achieve things they never thought they could,” said Joe Stallone, Grounded in Music’s Founder.

“Some of the  kids in the program have a hard shell to crack,” remarks Michael Longoria, Grounded in Music’s  Program Director. “But as we mentor, teach, and share with them, the music dissolves that shell.

January 23, 2012

Easy Tiger! Bake Shop & Beer Garden Opens Today

Someone go try it for me please?

Bread and beer. Things I shouldn’t eat but happen to love. [Sidenote: there’s a new bakery in Aspen on the mall under the Psychic called Annette’s and the bread there is TO DIE FOR, so to speak, as I ate almost half a loaf and spent the rest of the night with sores in my mouth and farting. Sorry that’s gross. But I’m pretty sure I can thank the high gluten factor for that. But there’s sourdough…] Back to Easy Tiger, 709 E. Sixth Street, the long-awaited new bake shop and beer garden (this post has it opening in May … of 2011)  from the 24 Diner people.

The key players:

Bread: Artisan baker David Norman [creds: Grand Central Bakery (leading artisan bakery in Pacific Northwest), TriBakery (supplying NY greats such as Tribeca Grill and Nobu), Ecce Panis (NY, NJ) and Bouley Bakery (NY)]. Breads: baguettes, French country levain, rye bread, German pretzels, Danish, turnovers and more all day long.

Beer: Billy Caruso [creds: CIA graduate and 24 Diner sommelier] Cocktails, wine, unique bombers, and 30 craft beers on tap: local Real Ale and Jester King and boutique domestics such as Avery, Lagunitas and Ommegang.

Meat: Andrew Curren [creds: CIA valedictorian, worked for top New York restaurateurs Danny Meyer and Jonathan Waxman, nom for People’s Best New Chef from Food & Wine magazine/CNN’s Eatocracy, Top Chef: Texas] House-cured meats: housemade sausages, jerky, corned beef and pastrami, as well as homemade krauts, relishes and peperonata.

Decor: Veronica Koltuniak [creds: clients include Madonna, Courteney Cox, and Jennifer Lopez] The Royal Tenenbaums: “Turn-of-the-century building meets end-of-the-century kitsch.”

Seriously. Someone go and report back. I can’t put myself in another gluten coma. / /

December 22, 2011

Austin: New Year’s Eve

I won’t be in Austin for New Year’s, but as a last-minute planner myself, I thought some of you might appreciate this list of what’s the haps in Austin to ring in 2012. So weird that it’s already 2012, right?

New Year’s Eve Eve with Achachay!

Stubbs new years eve eve achachay

Get your tickets online at Frontgate tickets right now. $8. The full lineup is TBA; Achachay! is scheduled to close the night starting at midnight. Disco-themed so get your frizzy ‘fro ready, bust out white pants, extra wide ties, and leisure suits. Whether you’re wearing go-go dancer outfits, hippy clothes, or just about anything brown and orange the important thing is that you’re ready to boogie. Invite your friends to the Facebook Event, be there on December 30th!

Celeb Style at Hotel San Jose

You know if the celebs are in A-town for NYE, they’ll be at the All Tomorrows Party: A Warhol Factory New Year’s Eve with a photobooth by Alison Narro, DJs, bubbly libations, room to dance and of course a toast at midnight. Black and white attire is encouraged but not required. No cover charge / DJ from 8-midnight /

Swank at the Dubs

TRACE at the W Austin is offering two separate seatings and menus to accommodate any partygoer’s plans. The first seating from 5:30pm-7p offers a four- course menu for $95 (with paired wine for $145). Each guest will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling with dessert. The second seating begins at 9pm and offers an extensive menu (attached) of various small plates and shared items for $75 per person food and beverage minimum (not including tax and gratuity). 512-542-3660 for reservations.

The New Year’s Eve “Drop the Ball” party in the W Austin Living Room is open to the public (based on availability) with regular hours 11a – 2a. The nibbles menu will be available à la carte and DJ Rich will be spinning for the party. Guests can reserve a seated area for $175 (includes tax and gratuity) per person. Reserved seating includes a welcome SIP, a platter of Chef Paul Hargrove’s NYE Nibbles, a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne (for every two guests), and party favors. 512-542-3633 for Living Room reservations.

Sushi Sensation

Uchi and Uchiko are still accepting early reservations for New Year’s Eve, and walk-in guests are welcome at the sushi bars. Uchi will serve its tasting menu for $75 including a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and Uchiko will offer its tasting menu for $125 with complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

Vivo Lake Creek New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball

Live music, dancing, plenty of bubbly and a special menu devised by celebrated Chef Paul Petersen runs from 10p New Year’s Eve through 2a, Jan 1. General admission to Vivo’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball is $50 per person, reserved seating is $100 per person. Guests who make dinner reservations at Vivo Lake Creek for 8 or 8:30p on New Year’s Eve may keep their table for the Masquerade Ball for $50 per person.

Sullivan’s & Sully’s

Celebrate the arrival of 2012 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Sully’s Side Bar. Sullivan’s is offering a special prix fixe menu at either restaurant for $79 from 4-5:45p and $89 from 6p-close, including a champagne toast at midnight (alcohol, taxes and gratuity not included). Guests have the choice of an appetizer, a salad or soup, an entrée, side dish and dessert. For reservations, 512.495.6504.

Sully’s Side Bar kicks off the dance party at 10 pm with DJ Kurupt. The bar will be open for full drink service and guests are invited to dance, drink, and celebrate the New Year!

Destination: Lakeway Resort and Spa

Travis Restaurant at Lakeway Resort and Spa will host an elegant three-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Jeff Axline. The night will also feature plenty of music and dancing at Josey’s Grill and Bar with Americana music by Andrea Marie and The Magnolia Band and a special complimentary glass of champagne at midnight.

The appetizer course of Lakeway’s exquisite New Year’s Eve dinner includes a choice of baby arugula, spiced pecans, poached bosc pears and Brazos Valley Cheese or grilled Texas quail, stone ground grit cake, smoky bacon, braised leeks and chard. The entree course features a choice of grilled Hereford beef filet, gulf shrimp, whipped potatoes, pan roasted Brussels sprouts; vital farms half chicken, mashed potatoes, French beans, bacon fat almonds; pan roasted California halibut, charred tomatoes, marinated olives, fingerling potatoes and sweet peppers. The dinner also features a dessert course consisting of chocolate chip mint bread pudding, toasted challah, dark chocolate ganache or caramel apple cheesecake, bourbon anglaise and whipped cream.

The three-course dinner is $45 per person (plus tax, plus gratuity). Reservations are required: 512-261-7379. Take the elevator home with the New Year’s Eve Package! Rates start at $219 per guest room, plus resort fee and tax. The rate code is NYE2011.  The package includes Resort Accommodation on 12/31, a 3-Course New Year’s Eve Dinner for Two Adults, the restaurant sales tax and gratuity, New Years Eve entertainment, and a champagne New Year’s toast. You can book online at or by calling 512-261-6600.


The end of the year dance party will feature premium open bar all night, a champagne toast at midnight, party-favors, desserts and a photobooth by Trevor Ray Thompson. Flashing Lights’: ElectroFunkyDisco and DJ Chicken George will be spinning all night. Tickets are on sale now for $100 at For table reservations email


FINO is serving its regular menu with NYE special cocktail Fish House Punch: Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Smith & Cross Rum, Laird’s Apple Brandy, Orchard Peach Liqueur, Lemon & Turbinado Sugar, and menu items:

Crispy Oysters Aioli Verde, Preserved Lemon 12.
Maine Lobster Bisque Lobster Oil, Chives, Sherry Crema  12.
Tuna Crudo Sauce Vierge, Spanish Estate Olive Oil 18.
Lobster Paella for 2 Saffron Bomba Rice,Peas, Piquillo Peppers, Lemon Aioli, Pea Shoot Salad 65.
Cana De Cabra Fig & Cherry marmalade, Crostini 10.

FINO Restaurant Patio & Bar, 2905 San Gabriel Street, Reservations: 512-474-2905

Sister restaurant ASTI will do a three-course prix fixe for $45. Here’s what I’d order from their selections: Lobster Zuppa Sherry Crema & Pangritata or Niman Ranch Beef Carpaccio to start; Butternut Squash Risotto with Maine Lobster or Wild Mushroom, Chestnut & Cipolline Onion Ragu for dinner; and Chocolate Truffle Tart with Praline Ice Cream, Fresh Figs in Caramel or Antonelli’s Artisanal Cheese Plate with Red Wine Poached Pear & Walnuts in Honey.

ASTI Trattoria, 408 C East 43rd St., Reservations: 512-451-1218

December 22, 2011

Aspen: Finnbar’s

When you’re abroad, as an American, about the first thing you look for is the Irish pub. It’s where you’ll find all the other American tourists … but also the friendliest locals. Finally, Aspen has its own Irish pub in the newly-opened Finbarr’s Irish Pub & Kitchen. With lots of strategically-placed big screens, plenty of beers (and cider!) on tap, and tasty food, Finbarr’s is one new Aspen restaurant that’s likely to be around for a long time.

My first visit, I ate mainly off the appetizer menu. My second, the bar menu. My third and fourth, just drinks. Overall the portions aren’t huge, but they aren’t expensive either, so I’m ok with it. Maybe it’s not the best place for post-pickup-basketball grub, but for snacks or a girls’ night, the food is tasty and creative.

beer cheese fondue

Can't go wrong with Guinness cheese fondue and pretzel bread ($10)

kale art dip finbarrs aspen

Kale (instead of spinach) artichoke dip ... not my favorite app ($?)


Mussels were delicious: fresh and tasty, but not standout ($11)

I also had the french onion soup ($6 and delish) and the braised greens ($5 and not so delish). The bangers and mash got rave reviews from my companions, the burger not as much, though more for its size than flavor. Every time I’ve been in Finbarr’s, it has been packed with locals and tourists—which is exactly what you want in a real Irish pub.

December 5, 2011

Austin: Skate It Up

Austin’s lakes and ponds will probably never freeze in order to get that whole wintery skating thing going on (in contrast to Aspen, where it is TEN degrees as I type this), so we have to build rinks specifically for that purpose. The downtown Whole Foods started the trend a few years ago (and has updated it for 2011, read on), but the famous Oasis Restaurant with its brand new Oasis Texas village is upping the ante with a 1,760 square foot ice skating rink against the sunsets and Lake Travis views for which it is famous.

oasis skating rink

Oasis Texas now consists of five restaurants, four retail shops, entertainment, and office space. The rink is open through January 1. Admission to the rink is $10, which includes skate rental. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Foundation’s Toys for Tots annual holiday campaign and get $1 off skate ticket. Oasis Texas is located at 6550 Comanche Trail. For more info:

Skating rink hours: Monday through Thursday 4-10p; Friday and Saturday 11a-11p; Sunday 11a-8p.
Christmas Eve: 11a-7p; Christmas Day: 1-10p; New Year’s Eve: 11a-10p; New Year’s Day: 11a-10p

Meanwhile, Whole Foods is introducing Disco Karaoke on Ice! Wednesday Nights Through January 15th from 7-9p . Disco Karaoke on Ice will include free hot chocolate, courtesy of Capital One Bank, to the first 50 guests. Plus, all karaoke guests will be entered into a chance to win a $250 gift card. Admission: $10/hour includes skates.

November 25, 2011

Aspen: Winternational Red Bulletin Dine Around Weekend

And just like that, off-season is more or less over in Aspen. Sure, the next few weeks will be slow-ish, but this weekend is JAM-PACKED with events like any other summer or winter weekend, thanks to the 2011 Nature Valley Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Alpine World Cup.

Basically, the fastest women in the world (downhill ski racers) are racing Saturday & Sunday November 26-27 down Ruthie’s, with spectators and a village at the base of Aspen Mountain at Lift 1A. There’s a big screen TV for action you can’t see, and prime viewing of the finish line from the grandstands. It’s an awesome experience, even if you just stop by for one racer, you need to go.

Saturday, make sure you plan to attend the launch of the Red Bulletin, where Lindsey Vonn will be signing autographs and beer flows like … well, you know, it’s an open bar.

Red Bulletin Launch Party


Then take your autographed self over to the Gondola plaza for the  first Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series of the season featuring Cowboy Mouth.

Cowby Mouth Aspen

All that spectating and partying will likely leave you hungry, so be sure to snag an incredible deal through The Bud Light Dine Around Aspen now through next Thursday, December 1st, from 6-9pm every night. Top restaurants offer special Winternational prix fixe menus that are even better than their off-season deals. Can’t-miss: Matsu’s bento for $30.

Dine Around Aspen Deals:

Ajax Tavern / Distinct American Bistro / $28
BB’s Kitchen / American Classic Fare / $30
Elevation / Modern American Cuisine / $28
Jimmy’s / American Restaurant & Bar / Dining Room: $28 / Bar: $12
L’Hostaria / Italian Cuisine / $30
Matsuhisa / Gourmet Japanese Seafood & Sushi / $30 Lounge Only
The Red Onion / American Southwest / $25
Syzygy / New American Cuisine / $30
Ute City / American Classics with European Flavor / $30
Zocalito / Latin Cuisine / $26

October 31, 2011

Visiting Loudoun County, DC’s Wine Country

I recently took a fabulous trip to Loudoun [pronounce Lough-done] County, Virginia, otherwise known as DC’s Wine Country (teaser was here). Three days of wining and dining made for one very happy traveler! I’ll let the pictures speak for the highlights of the trip.

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Lansdowne Resort – Big, lush resort property with nice rooms, lots of amenities, and tons of golf course land. Health club is open to golf members so is more substantial than most resorts, with scheduled group fitness classes and yoga too.

Patowmack Farm – A working farm, wedding destination, and Wednesday-Sunday dinner restaurant with Chef Christopher Edwards at the helm.

Catoctin Creek Distilling – Organic local whiskey and other spirits.

Middleburg Country Inn – A B&B in Middleburg with lots of charm—and four-poster beds in every room!

Home Farm Store – All-happy, all-local butcher shop started by Sandy Lerner, former owner of Urban Decay cosmetics and Cisco Systems.

National Sporting Museum & Library – Devoted entirely to sporting, a non-lending library and really neat museum.

Red Fox Inn – Historic B&B and restaurant with lots of Civil War history.

Boxwood Winery – No winery tours (by appt) but tasting room in Middleburg.

Chrysalis Vineyards – Focused on Norton grapes, very fun tasting experience.

8 Chains North– Fun winery with live music, brother Ben Renshaw makes all the wines. Tried and liked an Otium Dornfelder 2009, the Dornfelder grape is apparently pretty rare so this was unique.

Mom’s Apple Pie – One of the most famous Virginia companies, whose blackberry pie has been named the best in the nation, owner/baker/sister-of-Ben Avis is really open and friendly. Amazing pumpkin muffins.

On The Potomac – One of Landsdowne’s restaurants, eclectic and innovative drinks and food, led by a team of young managers: the GM & bar master is 25 while Chef Wes Rosati is 31.

Tarara Winery – My fave visit featured amazing wines and even more amazing conversation with winemaker Jordan Harris about the realities of an agriculture-based business and how Tarara is experimenting with their grapes to make unusual wines.

The Wine Kitchen – One of Leesburg’s most popular dining spots, the lovely interior is designed to look like a kitchen—down to the walls in the bathroom, which have a bathtub painted to mimic the feeling of being in someone’s home.

Battle of Ball’s Bluff – Relatively unimportant battle in the Civil War that the Confederates won, however 1,000 reenactors and 2,000 spectators came to watch the 150-year reenactment!

Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm – A giant, local’s favorite restaurant that sources many farm-to-table ingredients. The most creative calamari I’ve ever had, and delicious everything else as well.

October 12, 2011

Austin: Put the Rumors to Rest on 219West

We’ve all seen the marquee outside the former Union Park (RIP BoomBoomRoom) announcing that 219West will be moving there sometime, but up until now details have been scarce. Until now. The Warehouse District location closes its doors for good after regular Saturday night service from 5p to 2a October 15.

219West’s new home at 612 W. Sixth St.—despite rumor, it is NOT the same address—will open mid-November.

219West’s new 8,600-square-foot location (2x the 4th Street location!) has been entirely gutted and refurbished. A new patio has been erected along the front side of the building, the massive rooftop deck is still there, and the inside will feature more private party dining rooms. 219West is perhaps most known for its six award-winning menus of tapas and fresh entrees with booze pairings of cocktails, beer, and wine, and these will remain staples at the new location. The new 219West location will feature a new signature 219Tini cocktail: a combination of cucumber vodka, fresh lime juice, a splash each of sour mix and 7UP or soda, and a dash of simple syrup.

More info:

September 22, 2011

Austin: Texas Craft Brewers Festival

The biggest beer fest in the land, Denver’s Great American Beer Fest, is next weekend, but this weekend, Austin plays host to the first annual Texas Craft Brewers Festival on September 24. Texas has some serious craft brewers popping up, and this non-profit outdoor fest (benefiting Austin Sunshine Camps) at Fiesta Gardens will showcase all the Texas-brewed beer and ale (as well as non-alcoholic beverages) you can handle!
Texas Craft Brewers Festival
“The Texas beer scene is on fire!” says Tim Schwartz, Director of Brewery Operations for Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas, and President of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. “New breweries are opening all over the state and established craft breweries are expanding. This is a perfect time for the resurgence of the Texas Craft Brewers Festival. The festival brings all of this variety together in one venue. Come on out and see what Texas brewing has to offer.”

Cooler than that even? Several breweries who haven’t released beer yet are using the festival as their target date to publicly introduce their first beers!

Tix are $8, sampling tokens appear to be $1.50/ea:

September 24, 2011, 2 – 8p / Fiesta Gardens, 2100 Jesse E. Segovia St. /

21+ Event ID required at entry / Rain or Shine / NO chairs or coolers or glass or dogs allowed


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