Archive for October, 2011

Stocking up on pumpkins

Time’s running out, and so are the pumpkins. Pumpkin patches can be overwhelming for the little ones, but one block east of South Congress is a patch set up on an intimate scale that keeps everyone smiling while those pictures are taken. Every year there are more scarecrows in the backdrops for photographs, so someone must be an expert at making them. Wagons are available for ferrying the larger cucurbits to a vehicle, although we saw a wagon employed to carry a load of small pumpkins, not too heavy for the little boy pulling them along. Make sure you’re ready for the national holiday of Austin, which reaches its peak observation tomorrow evening. Look for the signs at Grace United Methodist Church, 205 East Monroe. It’s all for a good cause, and a trip to the pumpkin patch combines very well with one to the H-E-B on South Congress, where early voting is in progress.

Facebook for APD burglary unit

The page has been up for several days now, and it seems to be a live one, with more “likes” and more content each day.

Here’s one stated purpose:

The APD Burglary Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in locating the victims of a theft or burglary. The following images are of property recently recovered. Anyone having information as to the owner or claiming ownership can contact us by email and please include your case number when responding.

In addition, we’re told this:

Soon we plan to post images and videos of suspects asking for the public’s assistance in identifying them. We will also be posting images of recovered property so that we can locate the owners, and we’ll be sharing success stories. In the next week we will begin posting the APD Burglary Top Property Offenders as well. Stay tuned and spread the word.

Content so far consists mainly of recovered electronic items for which ownership is sought by the Austin Police Department burglary unit. At this moment, 665 “like” this site. Do you?

Sousa by the sympony brass quintet

In the center of Wooldridge Square there is a bandstand. Occasionally, the bandstand is actually used as intended. Today was one of those days. At 2:30 pm, a professionally trained brass quintet took to the bandstand and played an entire hour of music by John Philip Sousa, to the complete delight of all assembled, children included, in this historic natural amphitheater, where the acoustics are excellent and there’s no street noise to be heard.

Among the marches played were “The Washington Post,” “The Liberty Bell,” “El Capitan,” “King Cotton,” “Semper Fidelis,” “Sabre and Spurs,” “U.S. Field Artillery,” “Hands Across the Sea,” and “Gallant Seventh.” We also heard our national anthem and a piece called “The Messiah of Nations.”

This free concert was one of a series of events marking the centennial of the Austin Symphony and the opening of a commemorative exhibit at the Austin History Center (the old library) called “Sounding Together: 100 Years of the Austin Symphony.”

Chinese movie, Chinese food

Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame is a spectacular extravaganza that has been in very limited release. Thank you, Alamo Drafthouse, for giving us the opportunity to see this wonderful movie, with a stellar cast directed by Tsui Hark and action choreography by Sammo Hung, in Mandarin with English subtitles.

Following this enthralling entertainment, we were inspired to check out Taste of China Express, 2510 South Congress, just south of Oltorf (telephone 326-8808). This is certainly one of the best values in town, allowing a choice of steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles, plus one entree for $4.99, two entrees for $5.99 (including soup and an egg roll), or three entrees for $6.99 (adding a beverage to soup and an egg roll). The entrees and rice or noodles are dished up in massive quantities for dining in or to take home, either picked up at the counter or at the busy drive-up window. Those willing to wait a bit may place orders for takeout from the larger menu, and entrees will be cooked to order.

For those dining in or for takeout patrons with time and money to make a selection beyond what’s ready on the spot, there are additional appetizers and many additional main courses. The hot and sour soup did offer flavor and heat; the egg rolls were like small spring rolls and we found them to be very appetizing. Today, we tried moo goo gai pan (among the vegetables were coins of fresh zucchini) and double cooked pork (the fresh carrots that were part of the dish were delicious). Next time, we’ll try the jalapeno chicken, that favorite of the massive buffets so popular these days.

Dishes that aren’t already prepared and ready in small quantities can be heard being cooked to order. Today’s ready entrees included sesame chicken, jalapeno chicken, shrimp wit vegetable, green beans with port, and others. The staff was jolly and peppy; among them is at least one fluent speaker of Spanish. Little samples of the ready dishes were offered on a toothpick for those wishing to try before ordering.

I found no Web presence for Taste of China. Its little menu says “Fast, Fresh, Tasty and Good Price,” which is a very fair assessment, particularly the quantity for the price.

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