On Hold – Japan

Due to internet issues at home, you may have noticed a lack of recent posts.  This will be remedied after I return from Japan, probably with tons to write and a million pictures (mostly of food).  See you then!

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Enoteca Vespaio (Austin)

Enoteca Vespaio is located on South Congress, right in the middle of a nice shopping area that also includes my favorite local jewelry store.

The restaurant has a more expensive, non-Enoteca section next door, but I’ve always found the food at the Enoteca to be more impressive.

My friend's food...mmm carbs.

My partner in crime at this outing chose the special, which was Crespelle (Italian crepe) with carmelized onions, potatoes, and mushrooms with some fantastic cheese (I need to bring a food notebook with me).

My favorite!

As usual, I chose the tomato mozarella panini, all variations of which are my Favorite Sandwich.  It came with a crunchy, salty snack on the side, but instead of the usual fried chickpeas these were just little fried pea-sized bits of puffed dough!  They were still delicious and way too addictive for something so full of oil. My sandwich was, of course, delish, although I wish they would go back to sun-dried tomatos (heavenly).

The Only Sandwich Cookie in my eyes.

My companion and I both ordered dessert, and you can see a bite of his in the corner there – a banana chocolate tart with toasted whipped cream on top.  I asked about the Macaron flavors, and after hearing them, ordered two.

Hot damn, these are good.

Macaron #1 was chocolate with cherry filling, and the cherry was sweet and very slightly tart.  The “cookie” part was perfect on this one, slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy chocolate on the inside.  But the perfection was overshadowed by macaron #2, whose almond cookie was crunchy and missed the soft inside but holy crap, it was honey flavored. Honey cream, which for me is basically Ambrosia.  I would drive to another city just for this stuff. 

(Not pictured is the underwhelming Bruschetta appetizer – usually it’s a great choice at Vespaio, but the current toppings are lackluster.  I did enjoy the fresh taste of the caprese section.)

Luce

My favorite San Antonio Italian place and my favorite Austin joint are both Enotecas, which must be a coincidence since I don’t drink wine.

Luce has these little wine “lockers”, so if you do drink wine you can save your favorites.  It also has beautiful iron vines with leaves along the outside of the building.  Inside, the walls are filled with bottles of wine.  It knows what an Enoteca is supposed to be.  I do not ruin the ambience when I order coffee, because the waiter brings it to me in a beautiful french press.  Luce is all about service.

Amuse bouche! I love presents.

The amuse bouche is fresh carrots and celery in oil and herbs and eggplant caponata.  Meals are served with housemade bread – thickly crusted, warm and slightly sweet.  It goes perfectly with the assortment of small butter and spread choices.

Not pictured is my caprese salad, because I ate it 😦

Mmmm gorgonzolaaaa

 

I love the gnocchi here…each peice is studded with bits of green (I have no idea if this is spinach or herbs or what, but it’s delicious) and has just the right texture.  Perfectly chewy and firm, these potato pasta bites are smothered in a creamy gorgonzola sauce.

Luce is also awesome because it focuses so much on great service.  Joseph (Joe), the owner, will go out of his way to make sure you have  great experience.  I’ve seen some amazing things at Luce.

Next up: Enoteca Vespaio in Austin!

Inception!

I realize I promised this update to some about a week ago, but it’s a good thing I waited because some of these links are brand new!  Here’s a collections of some great Inception-related material on the web:

1. First off, this post links to YET MORE articles about Inception (of all types).  It also has a handy dandy chart!

2. Mortiz Resl has a beautiful poster here.  (Via)

3. Cinematical presented 6 interpretations of what happened – and five possible plot holes.

4. College Humor created the following awesome video which makes fun of the film, and also has that one awesome actor – you know who I mean, he was in Very Mary Kate as the Bodyguard and he’s hilarious:

5. io9 has this interesting bit about how much clothing has to do with the reality of the film. (From a NY Magazine blog)

6. This is the best graphic of Inception around – use of icons is great!

7. Many have seen this by now, but this video slowing down the main score in Inception is really neat and makes the some strange score choices make a lot more sense…

I think that’s it!  If you have any neat links, please let me know!

(In case anyone is wondering, I think the idea that Inception is Nolan’s “8 1/2” is terrible, I like to think he was making a point about taking a simple idea and complicating it with layers.)

PS LOOK WHAT I FOUND WHILE I WAS GETTING THESE LINKS:

HAHAHAHAHAHA My life is better now.

Destroy My Childhood, Make Lots of Money

There’s been a recent wave of new movie promotions for films that take books, TV, etc. that I recall from childhood and “re-imagine” them.  For instance:

“Tangled”, the NEW Rapunzel, because the OLD Rapunzel was just so old and didn’t remind us nearly enough of NINJA SCROLL.  Disney decided adding anime Attack Hair and a Snarky Animal Sidekick would reboot this fairytale, because fairytales are not timeless and need rebooting ALL THE TIME or kids will not like them anymore.  Plus, you can re-merchandize them this way.

SPEAKING OF MERCHANDISE!!  There is this singer (pop music) who’s pretty popular in the ‘Disney circuit’, so instead of creating a vehicle for her to make money (I’m looking at you, Mr. Effron) they just pulled a book from my childhood bookshelf to Disney-fy.  There was even a TV series.  Now this:

I am sure Selena is totes selling a million billion CDs OMG!!

Also, a sultry blonde has been cast as “Tink“, but I’m not even going to complain, because let’s be honest – at least it’s not Julia Roberts (again)!

I am so gentle and kind.  This is why I make a good blogger.

Kona Grill and recent events

We recently went to the Kona Grill for a team lunch at work.  It was decent food, good vegetarian options, and the prices were moderate.

Avocado Egg Roll

This “egg roll” was served with a delicious sweet honey-cilantro sauce that had almost no cilantro flavor but tasted great.  I loved the fresh avocado but could use more of the sundried tomato and red onion the menu promised.  I only ate one sliced half (seen above) but the portion was generous, with 3 full “egg rolls” in an order.

Edamame

By now everyone should have tried edamame, which are boiled soybean pods, but if you haven’t, try some now.  Eat the little green soybeans inside (the pods are leathery and inedible) with salt and maybe some lemon juice.  Best snack around.

Finally, the meal!

I chose a “perfect pairing”, which is a lunch menu in which one can choose two options for $8.50 or so.  I had the Tomato Basil Bisque and the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich.  The sandwich was bland and oily, but the bisque was creamy and filling, a great calming lunch option for the middle of a hectic day.

All in all, I would go again.  I rate this restaurant 4 out of 5 in veggie-friendlyness.

The next day my best friend and I went to San Japan, a Japanese anime/comics convention.  We weren’t expecting much – we just wanted to meet Michael Sinterniklaas (voice of Dean Venture among others) and Randy Milholland, creator of Something Positive.  We may have set our sights too low; in addition to meeting both of these gentlemen (who were amazing and both took time out of their day to chat with us for a while), we spent a lot of time in Artist’s Alley, looking at some fantastic artwork from the local artists.

Randal Milholland, Dirty Santa

Apparently at an earlier con, a drunken girl had wandered up to Mr. Milholland and exclaimed “You look like a dirty Santa!!”  Jan tried it out, but since childhood she has always been afraid of Santas, and as you can see it continues even now. 

For a couple of American comic fans at an anime convention, we had a great time.

Bull Murray

EW.com has an interview-article about Bill Murray and how some producers/directors have gotten him to work for them. 
Excerpt:

‘Beers bumped into Murray at a Brooklyn gathering of Life Aquatic alums, and Murray agreed to participate in the short. On his designated day of shooting, Murray showed up as promised, filmed for eight hours, and helped the crew schlep equipment. So how does one repay a Hollywood star who transforms a clever $12,000 production into an Internet sensation? Says Beers, ”[Bill] had told my friend, ‘Tell Dan, as a gift, he’s got to buy me a gun. And she was like, ‘He’s not buying you a gun!’ So he’s like, ‘All right, then have him get me a knife. I want a really big knife, like something I can tie around my leg.”’ Before Murray departed, Beers and the crew presented him with a wrapped gift. Murray graciously accepted it, said, ”Thanks for this,” and just like that, he and his new 12-inch hunting knife were gone.’

It’s a great article.  VIA.