Tag Archives: Barbecue

Greetings From Austin

15 Mar

A couple of weeks ago, James and I met up with Will and Brian in Austin, Texas. Everyone tells us how cool Austin is, so we figured we’d do a mini group holiday and check it out. =)

Friday

One of my favourite things about Austin was all the murals. This one was on the way to brunch:
IMG_20180302_114344We ate at Congress Cafe, which was recommended by one of James’ coworkers – the food was tasty and plentiful and it was $3 sangria day!

James took this selfie to send to Brian who wouldn’t arrive until later that evening:
IMG_20180302_123814Will was appalled at his facial expression and demanded James take another picture. I think the second one makes him look like a perky turtle!IMG_20180302_124236After brunch we went to Allen’s boots to look at boots and cowboy hats.
IMG_20180302_133524James looks like a cowboy and Will looks like a middle aged lady on her way to church.

We walked around and saw a bird holding a tortilla chip. Actually we saw multiple birds with multiple tortilla chips but this is the one I got a photo of: IMG_20180302_141049And some more murals:
IMG_20180302_142035Including the most famous Austin mural:
IMG_20180302_142641Inside the mural building was an art gallery where we met a dog called Hank Jnr Jnr Jnr. Every time someone opened the door he would waddle over to greet them. He was such a good boy: IMG_20180302_143145We then headed to the university district where we saw even more murals! I think this one is also quite famous because I saw it on a souvenir t-shirt:
IMG_20180302_155149 I really liked this one, which I think James took from the car: IMG_20180302_164852Then we had a nap before heading to the Broken Spoke and leaning how to two-step. Here are some of the men learning their moves:IMG_20180302_203501Afterwards we met up with Brian for a late dinner and drinks at Stubb’s BBQ (it was meh, but AWOLNATION was playing downstairs which was pretty cool), and people watched on 6th street.

Saturday

Saturday morning we got up early to ride electric minibikes around Austin. It was with a company called Your Biker Gang and it was so much fun! We got super lucky and were the only ones on the tour – so we got a private tour for the cost of a regular one.

But first, a mural I saw on our walk over – look at the little animals!
IMG_20180303_082631Our guide was great and took a ton of photos for us. =) Here we are on a pedestrian/cyclist bridge: IMG_20180303_092205Facing the other way:
IMG_20180303_092106At the Willie Nelson statue downtown:
IMG_20180303_093504We also saw the Forever Bicycles sculpture by Ai Weiwei. Our guide said there used to be one in China as well but people kept stealing the bikes.IMG_20180303_094858
In Austin, all people try to do is climb it:IMG_20180303_095341 We stopped by another iconic Austin mural: IMG_20180303_101009After the “nice” photo was taken, the guys started trying to cover everyone’s faces. I emerged unscathed by taking advantage of my lower center of gravity.
IMG_20180303_101022 (1)I took this photo while James drove down Congress Ave towards the Capitol Building:
IMG_20180303_103343Seriously though, the bikes were really easy to ride. The fat tyres made them super stable and it was basically impossible to fall off.

We checked out the Rainey street bars, the Driskill Hotel and then headed to the Graffiti Park. Here is James staring in wonderment: IMG_20180303_105006Even the plants had graffiti on them! This blue dog was James’ favourite:
IMG_20180303_105140 Us at the top, with a great view of Austin:  IMG_20180303_105356So yeah, that was really fun. The minibikes were an unusual way to see all the major tourist attractions – we felt very smug when we passed a Segway tour. =P

Another mural from the walk back to our place:
IMG_20180303_113903We went to Coopers BBQ for lunch. Each table had a giant jar of pickled jalapenos that was incredibly spicy:
IMG_20180303_121023I feel really bad – I realised that I don’t have any photos of all the barbecue we ate that long weekend. And we ate a shit ton.

After lunch we picked up our rental car and drove to Hamilton pool IMG_20180303_151001James came prepared and brought his wetsuit.
IMG_20180303_151606Don’t be fooled by Will and Brian in their bathers – what you see in the above photo is as far as they went in the water.

The water was super cold, but James and I have been fortified by Australian oceans. And we didn’t drive all the way there to not swim.

My phone is waterproof so I was OK to bring it in the water!
IMG_20180303_152424
Once it started raining we drove back. After some showers we walked to the Congress Avenue Bridge to check out the bats. Unfortunately the rain made them shy so all we saw was a handful before we had to leave for dinner.

Austin was quite pretty in the rain though. =)
IMG_20180303_190124The steakhouse was very good (though again, we ordered too much) and it was fun getting dressed up to go out.
IMG_20180303_201349After dinner we went to one shitty speakeasy, and after Will and Brian went to bed, James and I headed to a better speakeasy (located in a parking garage – I could see cars going up and down the ramps lol). We headed back around 2am.

Sunday

How can you go to Austin without trying Franklin Barbecue?
IMG_20180304_114219Even though it was raining the line was still pretty long – apparently the wait is normally hours. I was talking to a friend in San Francisco who said that he waited three hours in line and then one of the employees came out and said there might not be any more barbecue left by the time they got to the front. =(

That didn’t happen to us, though. We had pre-ordered a couple of months ago, so got to skip the queue. IMG_20180304_115617Once again, no photos cos we took it back to our airbnb and plated it in an ugly way. But it was really good – not the best barbecue that Brian (who lives in Atlanta) has ever had, but by far the best that I’ve ever had. (The second barbecue that I’ve ever had was some of the leftover Franklin’s I had as a midnight snack and the third best was the rest of the Franklin’s I had for breakfast the next morning).

But anyway, after our lunch we headed to the Texas Capitol Building.
IMG_20180304_140729Google helpfully made this montage of Will trying to cover everyone’s faces with his coffee:

IMG_20180304_140729-ANIMATION

Inside the Capitol Building looking up:
IMG_20180304_143935-EFFECTS Inside the Capitol Building looking down: IMG_20180304_152527
I think this room was the House of Representatives:
IMG_20180304_145756 We were all supposed to make a face. Will and I look shocked, James looks like he smelled a fart, and Brian looks like a stern, pale ghost.

In the garden outside were a lot of statues, including this replica Statue of Liberty. We got a much better photo with it than we did the actual Statue of Liberty.IMG_20180304_160614Then it was time for Brian to go to the airport. =( Will, James and I headed to a bunch of breweries. This was the second one we went to, which was a combination brewery and pizzeria. Smart.
IMG_20180304_182529 They even had ciders for me: IMG_20180304_182605After our brewery run we went to the Midnight Cowboy speakeasy. Here is our bartender mixing our drinks at our table:
IMG_20180304_213537After a few drinks we headed to Rainey street. It was a drizzly Sunday night so it was nice and quiet. Here we are at a bar made out of shipping containers. IMG_20180304_232612And because I know you’re not sick of murals here’s one we saw on one of our walks that night. We actually saw this one in progress on Friday and Saturday, and finished on Sunday. =)
IMG_20180304_210916
Monday

In the morning James and Will headed to brunch while I polished off the rest of our barbecue. We checked out of our airbnb and dropped our bags off at Google Austin.

Much like Austin it was small but cool and cute. The views were fantastic.
IMG_20180305_113500In the cafeteria there was a cool food truck that was half inside: IMG_20180305_112929And half outside:
IMG_20180305_113049A wall of cardboard VR viewers: IMG_20180305_113957I played pacman while the guys went to the bathroom:
IMG_20180305_114116This was the reception area. I liked the ceiling kayak decor and that hoopy chair James is sitting in. IMG_20180305_120027Unfortunately this wasn’t working while we were there. =(
IMG_20180305_115249The original plan was for Will and James to go to a museum while I went shopping but James decided he wanted to see Black Panther at Alamo Drafthouse (we have an Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco but I guess he wanted to go in its home city) so I went with him.

Hey, this looks familiar!
IMG_20180305_122746 Overall Austin was nicer than I thought it would be. I liked how compact it was and how many cool little bars and restaurants there were.

It was already getting a bit warm while we were there, so I can’t imagine how brutal the weather would be for half the year. It’s definitely a great place to visit though – I would totally go back and eat more barbecue.IMG_20180305_151646

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Another Lunch At Cat’s

7 Sep

Last Saturday, before James and I headed out for dinner with our friends, we popped by Cat’s place for a barbecue lunch. Cat wanted to show the our cousins her new place, though we were missing Klene and Ray (who are in Sydney) and Haruka (who is holidaying in Japan).

The weather was nice and sunny (though a little windy) and everyone loved the backyard, especially the chickens. Henry said he was glad Haruka wasn’t there because she would have been super jealous.

As always, the food was great. From memory there were a mixture of marinated chicken ribs (tandoori, honey soy, and barbecue), lamb skewers, grilled vegetables, grilled corn (Cat had thoughtfully provided some un-buttered corn for me!), a herb pull-apart bread, two kinds of potato salad, and green salad.

This was my plate – look at all the pretty colours.

Scott was a bit worried at barbecuing because apparently his previous attempts have ended in meat sticking to the grill, but he did a great job with the meat. Apparently they got their (nearly unused) barbecue and a full gas bottle for $60.

Cat was also kind enough to let James sample her Laphroaig scotch whisky (I’m vaguely remembering quarter cask?) and James is keen to add it to his scotch wars lineup.

Portuguese Chicken Burger

24 Aug

Man, we are getting a lot of use out of our little Weber Baby Q. Even in the winter we’ve been grilling a couple of times a week (even in the rain!) and now the weather has warmed up we’ll probably step it up.

Starting with these lovely Portuguese chicken burgers from Taste! They are easy and don’t require long marination (i.e. planning), and have enough spice to be noticeable but not challenging. I was worried it would be too spicy, because James kept getting overpowered by the chilli fumes while barbecuing. But it was fine – I think it could have done with a bit more of a kick actually.

The burger looks kind of undercooked in the photo but I think the pinkish tinge actually came from being marinated in the chilli (or possibly the lighting). But anyway, it wasn’t undercooked – it was perfectly moist and delicious!

The recipe makes a single burger and can easily be scaled up. I had one and James had two.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried hot chilli flakes
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 chicken thigh fillet (about 130g)

Method

  1. Place the lemon juice, oil, chilli flakes and garlic in a medium bowl. Season with salt and whisk to combine. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to marinate.
  2. Preheat a barbecue grill on medium high. Drain the chicken from the marinade. Cook on grill for 5 minutes each side or until chicken is just cooked through.

The recipe suggested serving it on a roll with garlic mayo, lettuce and tomato. If you want to be healthy you could just have it with a salad.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
Just the chicken: 199 calories, 46% fat, 54% protein, 1% carbs  

David Thompson’s Grilled Pork Skewers

4 Feb

A couple of years ago, Scott bought me David Thompson’s Thai Street Food for Christmas. I’ve been eyeing the grilled pork skewers for awhile, and decided to make them the other day when I had some leftover coriander roots.

It’s supposed to make enough for 4-5 people. Maybe it’s enough for 4-5 Thai people, but James and I polished it off between the two of us.

I normally find pork to be bland, but the marinade for this is awesome. It’s simple (and easy to throw together) but quite smoky and if I bought this in Thailand I would not be disappointed. I didn’t use a charcoal grill like the book recommended, but I thought the Weber did fine.

I served it on a bed of bok choy and grilled eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 300g pork loin or neck
  • 1 tsp cleaned and chopped coriander roots
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 TBSP shaved palm sugar
  • dash of dark soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil

Method

  1. Slice the pork into thinnish pieces about 2cm square.
  2. Using a pestle and mortar pound the coriander root, salt, garlic and pepper into a fine paste. Combine with the sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and oil. Marinate the pork in this mixture for about 3 hours.
  3. David Thompson’s recipe has you grilling it over charcoal, but I just grilled for a couple of minutes each side over gas.

 

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve: 389 calories, 47% fat, 36% protein, 17% carbs

Donna Hay’s Salsa Verde Lamb Skewers

1 Feb

Since we have a lovely barbecue (/pats Weber lovingly) it seemed a travesty to not grill something up for Australia Day. I wanted to try a new recipe though, so I hunted around until I found this Donna Hay recipe.

It was supposed to serve 4, but we only barbecued half of the meat, reserving the rest for another day.

Fresh off the barbecue. You can see the steam!

This recipe was tasty, but 1 cup of oil is pretty excessive (1929 calories!) so I don’t think it will make it to my regular rotation, though I am willing to experiment further with lamb backstrap. The smaller pieces were definitely more tender, so next time I barbecue lamb backstrap I’ll cut everything up smaller.

I served it with mushrooms on a bed of rocket salad. I find that as long as I stick to a lean(ish) protein plus a whole bunch of vegetables for meals, my everyday diet is pretty good without a lot of effort. I need to drop another 2kg before the Vics, so I should probably start optimising what I eat.


Salsa Verde Lamb Skewers

  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup (250ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 x 220g lamb backstraps (boneless loin), cut into 3cm pieces
  • Lebanese bread and lemon wedges, to serve
  1. Place the mint, parsley, rosemary, anchovy, garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until roughly chopped.
  2. Place in a large bowl with the lamb and toss to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate for 23 hours.
  3. Preheat a char-grill pan or barbecue over medium heat.
  4. Thread the lamb onto skewers and char-grill or barbecue for 68 minutes, turning occasionally, for medium or until cooked to your liking. Serve lamb skewers with bread and lemon wedges.

 

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
(rougher than normal since the calorie counter didn’t have lamb backstrap so I substituted another loin cut … and obviously a lot of the oil gets discarded so IMO the calories and fat content have been waaaaay overstated)
1 serve: 890 calories, 71% fat, 28% protein, 1% carbs

Better Eating Starts Today!

4 Jan

I think I’ve gained about 2kg over the Christmas season. The combination of Christmas feasts, friends visiting from overseas, weddings, and a general perception that December is a cheat month means that my diet has been pretty bad. And since the gym and Ground Zero have been closed over the Christmas break, I haven’t really done any exercise to counter the excess calories.

I still have a lot of dining out to come – yum cha later this week, a housewarming, and a few more weddings – but I think I’ve slacked off enough when it comes to my day to day diet.

This is an example of the lunches we were having in December. Not terrible, but definitely heading towards cheat meal territory.

Every time I eat the first mouthful of The Barefoot Contessa’s curried couscous, I am reminded of how tasty it is, and inhale the rest.

The meals tentatively planned for this week are:

  • Tuesday – salmon with choy sum
  • Wednesday – Indonesian ginger chicken with green beans and/or broccoli, depending on what looks good at the market
  • Thursday – leftover Indonesian chicken
  • Friday – prawns and salad
  • Saturday – rib eye, capsicum and salad

I just came back from my first BJJ class of the year. I’m off to a rather inauspicious start because I pulled something in my back/neck like .. 20 minutes in. Boo! I’m icing it right now but I might have to skip a few of my planned workouts. Fingers crossed for gym tonight, but it’s not looking good. =(

Rib-Eye Steak on the Weber

18 Nov

I’m not used to thinking of steak as a healthy meal, but maybe that’s because I normally associate it with fries. But steak is on a weekly (or at least fortnightly) rotation at our table because it’s such a healthy, filling meal with a great macro breakdown.

I used to use Alton Brown’s method of cooking steak (sear on both sides in a cast iron pan, then finish in the oven) but it’s definitely less hassle grilling it on the Weber.

I think the stovetop to oven method wins out a little in taste, but that’s probably because James and I are still getting the timing right for the barbecue. And the advantage to cooking on the Weber is that we can do asparagus at the same time. We had a spare red capsicum and grilled that as well for some extra colour, and served it all with a small side salad.

It’s hard to tell from that photo, but this was actually a pretty substantial 400g rib-eye. It’s just that the overflowing vegetables make it look small. Once upon a time I would have decided that the asparagus was enough of a vegetable accompaniment, but nowadays I try to make sure that vegetables are at least 50% of the plate.

I think I’ll have to start getting a bit more scientific about cooking times – next time I get steak I’ll measure the thickness – I’d say this one was roughly 2-2.5 inches thick. We cooked it for 2.5 minutes each side and it turned out on the rare side of medium rare. For the same size steak I would try for 30 seconds longer next time since it was a touch rarer than we prefer.

 

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
400g rib-eye steak: 824 calories, 41% fat, 59% protein, 0% carbs