Archive for January, 2009

Among the best

Austin Monthly magazine (December 2008: “The Cool Issue”) has included Austin Metblogs among the 112 best Austin Web sites and blogs, touting us for “local news, opinion and recommendations” and categorizing content as “offbeat essays.” Thank you, Austin Monthly! The magazine’s search swept up some sites new to me, ones worth of frequent reference. The issue is easy to find even though the new year is here. Note to AM mag’s editors, just for the record: yes; the spelling is “Thelonious,” not “Thelonius.”

Still fearless, and much fatter

The second edition of The Fearless Critic Austin Restaurant Guide is now on all the best local bookshelves, and no Austin home library should be without it, if only to provide endless material for argument. The original edition has been in constant use, especially when guests are to be entertained.

This compilation of reviews has gone from 390 to 480, and the cast of contributors is different. The scoring system leads to some odd results. These can be seen most often when comparing the scores of two or more restaurants side by side. This edition is inclusive of all price ranges. I’ve read the first edition from cover to cover and will in time read the entire new version. It’s tantalizing and like a dictionary or encyclopedia: a quick look into it on some specific matter leads in all sorts of directions, and it’s very difficult to put down.

Two aspects that I love are the lively prose descriptions and also the slicing and dicing of data up front, sorting dining establishments into various categories: price, locale, type of food (including vegetarian), hours of service, family-friendliness, Wi-Fi availability, and many more. The Fearless Critic Web site promises, and has so far delivered, new reviews, and it welcomes comments.

"Small package to follow"

That’s the IOU in my gift-giving circle, and we all like books. Sometimes we just haven’t thought of the proper one to give by the time that the Occasion has rolled around. Today is customer appreciation day at BookPeople, and I concluded all my “SPTF” business there. It’s 20% off everything except special and Internet orders, gift cards, and items from the cafe. The inventory of seasonal greeting cards was way down, but I think that all seasonal items are being sold at 50% off, not 20%. There’s a great selection of Mokeskine items. When I’d found everything on my gift list, I had a good time tracking down those special presents just for Me. I love BookPeople. Lots is open on South Congress (including Fran’s, Doc’s and way more), Sweetish Hill is closed, Whole Foods and H-E-B are open. OfficeMax on Lamar is closed, but Office Depot on South Lamar is open. Nearly all the people that we saw out and around appeared to be and sounded like visitors, although locals were to be found at many of the usual haunts, riding and running outdoors, or (judging from the neighbors) hunkered down by the TV and merely sending out foragers from time to time to return with food and drink. The quiet days are almost over, and the new year will soon begin in ernest. I think that the long and bright fireworks display last night marked a fresh beginning and hopes for a better future for all of us. And if books are what brighten your outlook, remember that the BookPeople bargain bonanza doesn’t end today until 11 o’clock this evening.

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