Sunday, March 28, 2010

To Market, To Market 6

1 dozen eggs
1 gallon 2% milk (low pasturized and from hormone-free, grass-fed cows!)
1 center cut pork chop (grass and whey-fed)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rock n Roll Tacos

We didn't make it to the market this weekend, but the food and music went on. We crawled underneath of a taco truck to get into a show we wanted to see. I'm getting ahead of myself.

This past week, Austin hosted SXSW, during which film-folks, bands, and hipsters descend upon the city like there's an alien invasion.

Friday evening, Chris and I rode our bikes to Lustre Pearl to see what we'd heard would be a good lineup. We waited in line for 30 minutes, finally got in, and caught a band called Rogue Wave. They wrapped up around 7:30 and, since they were pretty good, we felt hopeful about the rest of the night. The next lineup, which didn't begin until 9, included She and Him and Broken Bells. But after Rogue Wave ended, everyone who didn't have a SXSW badge was kicked out.

What to do?

We rode east to the Shangri-la where no badges or wrist-bands were required, stood outside, and watched a Japanese group. I never got their name, but they were - in look, sound, and stage presence - the equivalent of an American, pop-punk boy band. I imagine that they occasionally make appearances on Saturday morning shows geared toward ten year olds and on Japanese game shows. They were entertaining, though the photo doesn't do them justice.

After that, we left to get food at East Side King, one of Austin's trailer eateries. East Side King is in the courtyard at Liberty bar. My favorite items so far are the beet home fries and the steamed bun stuffed with pork belly. While we ate inside (where it was warm), one of our friends went out to listen to the band. He reported that they got belligerent: "I guess since we're from Palm Beach, you think it's okay not to pay attention." I kinda wish I'd witnessed that quip.

Chris and I started to ride our bikes home, but we made one last stop at Lustre Pearl. She and Him were playing. We squeezed our way to the front of a crowd standing outside of a metal gate that encloses the courtyard. There was Zooey Daschanel singing and looking as cute as ever in that slightly annoying and slightly charming way. When the set ended, she didn't say a word to the audience, which knocked her down a couple of notches in my book. Zooey, talk to your fans.

While we waited for Broken Bells to start, we chatted it up with the 20 year olds around us, speculating that we could all get into the courtyard if we crawled underneath of the taco truck that serves as a continuation of the gate around the place.

Finally, I said to Chris: "I dare you to do it."
He looked at me for a second, thinking.
I stared back. Silence, while I sent mental telepathy: Come on, yahoo-Chris-who I dated when I was 22, do it.
Chris: "Okay."

He shoved his bag into my hands, scooted around to the back of the truck, and crawled under while I stood with the 20s and waited. Someone said, "I see a hand." And there it was, poking out beneath the lip of the truck like a crab claw skimming solid dirt ground.

20 year old guy (looking big-eyed and amused): "He's gonna freak that woman out who's standing there ordering when he pops up from beneath her."

Chris says she caught his eye, and he put his finger to his lips: "Shhhh."

20 year old girl next to me: "Are you with him?"
Me: "Yeah. He's my husband." If I'd thought for two more seconds, I would have said: "Never met him."I walked around and, in my dress and sandals, slithered under the taco truck to join him. Yes, I worried about messing up my dress, even though I tried to act like I didn't care.

I emerged on the other side, and Chris said, "Hurry. The guy in the taco truck just walked over and told the bartender people are sneaking in under the truck." We submerged ourselves into the crowd asap.

Chris: "I was just talking. I wouldn't have done it if you hadn't dared me."
Me: "I wanted to do it, but I knew I wouldn't unless you had already done it."
Chris: "I did it because I wanted to show those 20 year olds the world is their oyster."

We are so wise. Right?

Me: "We're so rock n roll."

When the show ended and the next band was setting up, we looked at each other.
"Do you wanna stick around?"
"Well, let's just wait until they start. We can listen to a few songs."
"They look 12."
Band: "Check. Check. Check."
"They're annoying me."
The first song started.
"I'm tired."
"Me too."
"Let's go home."

Oh. We're so old.

Today on the radio, some guy said that the new album by Surfer Blood is the best rock n roll album out there right now. But we're okay having missed them. There's a WHOLE lot we did not see, but at least this year SXSW didn't feel as overwhelming as it felt last year. Now that we have a feel for the festival, next year we'll be like old pros with little personal schedules of must-sees written out for ourselves. Maybe. Or maybe we'll wing it again.

Here is a link to an NPR story about Broken Bells; they've included 3 songs with the interview, so listen. It's good!

A few other links:
East Side King (The trailer eatery at the Liberty courtyard.)
Bomb Tacos (The truck at Lustre Pearl, where, in fact, the tacos ARE the bomb, and the site from which I swiped credit the photo at the start of this post.)
Lustre Pearl (One of the few places in Austin that gives me New Orleans deja vu.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Under-eye Circle Woes Be Gone!

Remember that in Leaves, Peels, Stalks and Stems, I claimed my under eye circles are less pronounced during the weeks when I drink a green smoothie every day? I found out that I my observation is not a delusion. (By the way, it's been a while since I've made a green smoothie.)

I found a post at this site written by a clinical nutritionist: Kimberly Carter's Health and Beauty Blog.

Food for Thought

Last night we ate at a seafood restaurant. I had scallops. Chris had red fish. We had about 6 different types of oysters on the half shell. Other than knowing, geographically speaking, where the oysters originated, I really have no idea where any of my meal came from. Isn't that a bit of a crime? Or am I being dramatic?

Celebratory Dessert

Blueberry tart topped with vanilla ice cream, almond slivers and candied oregano from Perla's , where Chris and I shared a meal in celebration of Chris's new job! Oh, I wish my Iphone camera did it more justice.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

To Market, To Market Five

This week I've been asking myself what makes a person’s spirit feel bountiful, and what makes a person’s spirit feel depleted? How easily we slip between the sensations of fullness and emptiness.

Yesterday, the Austin Farmer’s Market won me over. Like a reward for every person who committed to pungent-flavored meals thickly composed of winter roots and greens, the spring vegetables showed up at vendor stalls. Without exaggeration, I purchased the healthiest looking carrots I have ever set eyes on. Nearly day-glow orange, they appear to be packed with nutrients and moisture.

As I was putting the goods away, I could not resist the temptation to eat one of the carrots. It was like a plate of warm brownies was sitting in front of me. That’s how strong the temptation felt. I rinsed the carrot and chomped into it without bothering to peel the outer skin. 

Chris and I also ate at the market for the first time. We shared a plate of soft and fluffy whole wheat biscuits with white gravy and sausage and a plate of scrambled chorizo and duck eggs. We also asked for a side of locally made honey butter. The owners of Dai Due use almost entirely seasonal and locally produced food that has been grown with sustainable agricultural methods; they use homegrown herbs too. Guess what? You can taste the difference. You not only taste the difference, but you also build up an appetite for your meal. After placing and order, the chef stands behind the his stove and prepares everything to order. So for fifteen minutes, I soaked in this not-quite spring day and anticipated.

Anticipation, the mashing together of longing and frustration for desires yet to be met, is an extraordinary state; have you ever stopped to take notice in the midst of experiencing anticipation? Don't most of us spend every waking moment in anticipation?

As soon as we have occasion, I want to eat at one of Dai Due’s monthly supper club events. They select different outdoor locations, hire a band, and prepare a 4-10 course dinner with the freshest ingredients in an under-the-stars, Japanese-lantern-lit, picnic style setting. From the looks of it, the chef sets up an outdoor kitchen, so dinner guests get to take in the aroma of their meal as it's being prepared.

Everything about Dai Due Supper Club suggests bounty. Bursting yesterday: with adults, children, leashed, grinning dogs; orchids, herbs and cacti to take home and pot or root into the earth; raw Gulf shrimp, fresh fish, locally raised beef and hogs; prepared loaves of bread, hot coffee, pastries; artisan cheeses, cheddar and feta and fresh mozzarella; newly plucked turnips and carrots and sunflower sprouts; musicians pouring sound out into the air – this colorful life animated, crawling about like ants on a great anthill, the market itself could not have painted a more bountiful depiction of spirit.

Last weekend, a young woman in my MFA program, a poet, took her life. All week, I have thought about her. What unbearable suffering she must have felt in the face of her own abundance and the world’s abundance that can seem so unattainable at times. Doesn’t if feel sometimes as if we have such an intensely great deal to offer out to the world, yet we cannot find the paths by which to deliver our own harvest?

I did not know her well at all, though we started the program the same year. I remember that I was excited that we shared a birthday, but a friendship simply never blossomed. Here is what I observed about this poet: She exuded a kind heart. Her eyes had a spark that showed wonderment about the world and also suggested wry humor and a degree of skepticism. In photographs, she is captured with every animal imaginable. She laughs and nuzzles horses, holds turtles and yellow slugs in the palms of her hands; shoulders wild birds; in one, a family of squirrels is gathered around her, crawling on her lap and arms like she is Mary Poppins. The images show a human being at ease as an animal among animals, one living creature among many living creatures. What is not special? What about this girl’s demonstrable comfort and love is not bounty?

Her death has reminded me of my friend Marcie, of our phone conversations in 1998, when Marcie’s sister had taken her own life, and of a few years ago when Marcie also took her life. This poet's death has reminded me of my grief, and of my friend's heavy, incomprehensible suffering. Emptiness and fullness muddled together.

This young woman who, for a childish instant, I thought I would befriend because I have been so used to collecting January-birth friends, this poet, has reminded me of how we human beings have spirits that – all at once! – run dry with the sorrows that defeat us day by day and overflow with the profusion in our hearts, our very capacity to love. Inadvertently, we bear the weight of these opposing forces, the balance shifting back and forth over and over through time.

I had a similar feeling in the market yesterday. The changing of seasons was apparent.