Costillas de puerco: the annual quest

Once the old year’s been ushered out and the new one ushered in, entire racks of s-l-o-w roasted spareribs constitute the feast for New Year’s Day. For a while they came from a carniceria that shall go unnamed; the counter there has turned to frozen ribs. Fiesta Mart was crazy busy yesterday. There the costillas enteras were found to be in Cryovac-style packaging this year. At the MT Supermarket (the old sign used to say My Thanh) at the new Chinatown Center the desired cut had been sold out. This was our first visit at this location, so we toured all the aisles. Live tilapia were all but sold out. Other live tanks were full of dungeness crabs, lobsters, and, unnervingly, large catfish that wheeled and turned in complete unison. The not-live mackerel was extremely fresh. (There is planned to be a two-day festival here in observance of the lunar new year on February 17 and 18.) At Hong Kong Supermarket the elusive ribs were found. We should have gone there first, but took the last three racks home with us, along with a free 2007 calendar. They are disposed in the oven right now and have been there long enough to perfume the air with the traditional aroma. We saw the old year out from the homestead last night, enjoying the later downtown sights and sounds at a distance. Last year’s two-tier pricing (only free attractions for the impecunious, and indoor ones for those who came up with the moolah) didn’t seem very much in the spirit of Austin. Promotions for this year’s event kept emphasizing “everything free” but the turnout did not seem to be remarkable. Already shortly after noon yesterday, large parts of downton were sporting traffic cones and detour signs. We couldn’t even get to the Congress (AWR) bridge. First Night appeared to be attracting a lot of bewildered people completely unfamiliar with downtown streets, who seemed to arrive in large vehicles, which were prowling slowly everywhere before the procession was to begin, apparently fruitlessly seeking parking spaces within a block of the Avenue. I’d like to see something more like the Y2K / A2K event downtown. It was free, unregimented, and full of lots of Austin music, with one band after another attracting representatives of all of Austin, strolling up and down the Avenue for hours. I’d like to see a program of daytime events from the First Night playbook and an evening like the one that ushered in the new millennium. Gotta go: it’s time to turn those ribs.

2 Comments so far

  1. Mark Cathcart (unregistered) on January 2nd, 2007 @ 7:53 am

    I must admit, I didn’t really get First Night… we walked down late afternoon from South 1st and W. Mary, looked around, watched the parade… but didn’t really see much in the way of art… I guess we missed something. We walked back home for dinner and then later in the evening back to Auditorium Shores for the fireworks which were pretty good.

    So, no large vehicles for us, not even a bus.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on January 2nd, 2007 @ 11:16 am

    It was surprising that streets were being blocked so early and that so many of the people appeared to be completely unfamiliar with downtown streets. This was noted as we returned from running errands north of downtown. The local daily spoke of “hundreds” of people on Congress. I would have liked to catch the opera-singers but didn’t. We’re within what we condsider to be walking distance, as well; good thing, since all parking downtown these days is either by permit, for payment, or using valet-parking services–or at least that’s how it seems most of the time.

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