Archive for May, 2009

Festive conjunto festival

Fiestas Patrias: el cinco de mayo Austin 2009I meant to stay for a while and then come home to blog about the Cinco de Mayo conjunto festival and encourage others to attend. That isn’t the way it happened. I started taking pictures at first and then became too caught up enjoying the music and the food and the strolling and more, so plans changed. I created a conjunto festival group at Flickr for the few pictures that I did take.

The annual conjunto festival began at Parque Zaragoza in July all those years ago and was successful from the beginning, despite the small venue, biting insects, the heat of the height of summer, and the unshaded dance floor. These days, there’s more comfort at Fiesta Gardens than could ever have been imagined way back then. I’ve never missed a single one, even though it hasn’t always been possible to be there from start to finish.

I was afraid that the scantness of publicity, the weather forecast, and fears of the H1N1 influenza might keep people away, but they just kept on arriving. As always, this was a wonderful event for those of all ages. A great crowd favorite that most of us were hearing for the first time was the group Leti y El Conjunto Central, from Corpus Christi. Leti has charisma and a rich alto voice. I’m sorry that I forgot to ask where any unsold posters or t-shirts will be available, although it did appear that they were going fast. Many thanks go out to organizer Johnny Degollado and the sponsors of this wonderful event.

Thought for the day #3: It’s called leash free for a reason

Photo by Arbitrary.Marks on Flickr - Some rights reserved

Photo by Arbitrary.Marks on Flickr - Some rights reserved

because the rest of it isn’t.

The recent fuss over the leash free area at Auditorium shores caused almost as much uproar as the potential desctruction of the trees at Barton Springs, or building yet another sprawling development over the Edwards Aquifer, I guess it’s easy to why when you see how people treat their dogs as four-legged people and invite them into their familes.

I guess like familes, some are disfunctional, and a disfunctional family often also have a disfunctional dog. One of the reasons for the push back over auditorium shores was the occaisional agressive dog and uncaring owner, dog attacks dog, scare child, owner does little or nothing. Dog owners have to police themselves. Out on the rest of the trail the rules are different, you can’t complain if the dog is on a 10ft leash and spread across the trail, but you can complain if that same dog is leash free, don’t feel bad about it.

Read leash free thoughts here and here.

Mighty Cone

Mighty Cone

Originally uploaded by ttrentham

We finally checked out Mighty Cone on Sunday. We were hungry and had to go grocery shopping at HEB Oltorf anyway. I’ve been passing the “food trailer park” that’s sprung up on South Congress for weeks and meaning to get over there. Hey Cupcake! started the invasion and now there’s a Roppolo’s Pizza, a popcorn trailer, a crepe trailer and an Armadillo coffee trailer in addition to Mighty Cone. The church that owns the lot has added electricity and port-a-potties to accommodate all of the businesses. A little bird tells me that the land has been sold and that there’s going to be a hotel on the lot. I’m not sure what this means for the vendors on the lot now or how soon that will take shape. I imagine they could just find another spot and move.

As for Mighty Cone, they’ve got a pretty nice setup. As you can see from the photo, the tables have been built with cone holders in the middle. They had a nicely shaded area with some hanging plants. I opted for the special of the day, The Purple Pig. Swine Flu be damned! I’m having revenge on Porky with their pulled pork and purple cabbage cone. It was good. The Wife went for the ACL tradition of the Chicken and Avocado cone. If you’re familiar with their ACL offerings, you can find them all here including Death By Chocolate. They’ve added shrimp to the choices along with a kid option which is served with plain chicken (no sauce or slaw) and french fries.

All in all, a pleasant Sunday afternoon lunch watching the people pass by up and down South Congress. I’m not sure how pleasant it’ll be in August, but it’s nice to have so many more local fast food options in that area.

Umi Sushi refuge

Umi Sushi Bar & GrillUmi Sushi Bar & Grill provided the perfect post-voting pick-me-up. After trying to do so all week, we finally succeeded in finding an opportunity to vote early, at Fiesta Market number two, at an umpromising time late on Friday afternoon. We were quite far south of the river and the rush-hour was unrelenting.

Around the corner, we found the perfect place to wait for the worst of the tsunami of traffic to subside. Apparently, Umi really is a place where everybody knows your name. As people stepped through the door, many of them were greeted by a staff member with an announcement to the effect that their friends were already waiting at the bar or in the bar-room. We enjoyed the peace of the dining room, but observed that there was much conviviality in the adjoining room, which has a curving bar that encourages conversation among the patrons, as well as several booths where parties of four were enjoying selections from the sushi bar.

At our table, the greatest delight was the plate of gyoza, small and delicious dumplings, delicate inside and out. Another favorite was the order of shrimp tempura, which also included asparagus and sweet potato tempura on the plate. The salmon plate was generous and the fish came to the table piping hot. The salad was primarily of iceberg lettuce (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) with that citrus-y dressing. I consumed all the miso that came to us, since I’m the one who enjoys it. This version contained tasty dark greens.

The prices were reasonable at dinnnertime, and they’re cheaper at lunch. There is a takeout menu. I don’t find a Web presence, but the little menu says that there are daily happy-hour specials, with Kirin Ichiban pints always on tap for $2.00. Umi appears to be open continuously from 11:30 in the morning until closing time every day but Sunday, when the doors open at 4 pm. The address is 5510 South IH-35 (number 400), telephone 383-8681. This is a great place for conversation, with sophisticated lighting, and the techno music on the sound system does not interfere. I can understand why there seem to be so many regulars.

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