Archive for April, 2011

Buffet King quick-lunch

Buffet KingBuffet King is busy to capacity! Or at least it certainly was during a weekday noon hour late last week. The only ads I’ve seen for it have been published in El Mundo newspaper. There were many speakers of Spanish among our fellow diners, but every demographic of Austin was well represented, a true cross-section of the populace, including every age as well.

Among those dining at Buffet King were numerous children, many of high-chair age. Noise isn’t a factor, since this is quite a cavernous space. It’s not too loud for table conversation, but the piped-in music (Hong Kong pop) could be heard only in the restrooms. I believe there were at least a couple of wall-mounted televisions, but they were inaudible and not one person seemed to be paying any attention to them. Many of the children were treating themselves to an ice-cream cone for dessert (soft-serve?).

Although takeout food is sold by weight and there’s a menu for ordering individual dishes, the buffet was the attraction. Upon arrival, diners are seated, order a beverage if they wish, and then proceed to the all-you-can-eat buffet, sushi, or Mongolian grill areas. There were no sushi authorities at our table, but the selections did look fresh. Among the buffet items, the hot and sour soup was tasty and generous with tree ears. The Thai roll was better than the standard egg roll, we thought. We concluded that the best main dish was the mysterious “jolopeno chicken,” with chicken and broccoli a close second. Lovers of shrimp were going to town, returning for more again and again. Five-spice powder was prominent as a seasoning in one dish, and plenty of fresh ginger in another. The steamed rice had a nutty flavor that was very appealing. The mei fun noodles were also a treat.

I lost my register slip, but recall that the buffet was ten dollars or under (iced tea included or not, I’m not sure). The default for iced tea seems to be sweetened beyond belief, so it’s important to make it clear that unsweetened tea is what’s wanted, if that’s the case.

If there’s a Web site for Buffet King, I haven’t found it. The address is 5451 North I-35 at Capital Plaza. Seven days a week, Buffet King is open continuously, from 11 am until 9:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9 pm on Sunday. There is a distinction between the lunch buffet and the dinner buffet (the latter begins six days a week at 3:30 pm and is available all hours on Sunday). The telephone number for Buffet King is 452-1888.

Now keener than ever

My trusty reel mower had grown dull. The wonderful people at Austin Outdoor Power Equipment, who work mostly for large-scale outfits in the landscaping and tree-trimming and -felling businesses, it seemed, had worked their magic almost five years ago.

If it took a trip to 11104 North Lamar, also known as South Waco to those of us who dwell south of the river, we were game, but we thought we’d try the Knife Sharpest / Knife Sharpist on the way. If the Sears Craftsman model number 2901.91642 18″ hand lawn mower had been sharpened sooner, we could have taken advantage of the Knife Sharpest south location while it lasted, but we were too dilatory.

The Knife Sharpest stocks straight-edge razors (the “cut-throat” type), martial-arts throwing stars, tomahawks for target-throwing, and knives and blades of all sorts. The Knife Sharpest promises to remove all signs of dullness on practically any blade, and at a reasonable price.

I saw a target area out back, as well as mobile sharpening units. The mower was brought in on a Saturday, promised for Tuesday afternoon, not ready on Tuesday afternoon, promised for Wednesday, and picked up on Thursday afternoon. The price for dis-assembly, sharpening, lubrication, and reassembly was an extremely reasonable $17.

Knife Sharpest is a busy place, with customers to spare each of the three times visited, so, when a missing machine bolt was discovered when loading up the mower for the trip home, it was easier to stop at Breed & Company hardware store for a new one. We wheeled the mower in, the proper replacement was identified at once, and a most kind gentleman there even installed it while we shopped for other items, including outdoor clothes-drying supplies.

Is the mower sharp? Yes, it is. Extremely, leveling very high overgrown patches of St. Augustine where leaves of spring bulbs and other plants and flowers have been left to mature. So, there’s no need to take out the sickle and the scythe this year. The mown lawn will be green all over again this season. There’s nothing dull about Knife Sharpest.

The Magic Left Turn Sign at Cesar Chavez and Sandra Muraida

If you’ve ever traveled eastbound on Cesar Chavez just east of Lamar, you may have noticed a one-of-a-kind phenomenon, a street sign that changes at will. I took the following two photos on my way home from work. The one on the left was taken on February 7th. The one on the right was taken on February 14th. And before you start squawking about texting while driving, etc, I was stationary when I took both photos. This is just one example. I’ve seen it change back and forth multiple times over the past year or so. I realize that there’s been construction related to the Seaholm District Redevelopment, but can we please pick one and stick to it? Given how much traffic backs up there during rush hour, I think it should ALWAYS be a no left turn. Any employees from the City of Austin care to comment?

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