Hey ya’ll. That’s my Texas drawl. It’s replacing my aversion to the Utah drawl that drops the n’s and creates the oddest smash up of moosh when it comes to pronunciation. Us Utahns don’t say mouNTains, we say mount-ns, more in mumble form than diction form. We somehow make singular words plural. “I bought it at NordstomS” not Nordstom.
We also replace letters in sentences. “I’m going to drive across the border to Evanston to buy fireworks” (because you can’t buy the big-burn-daddys in Utah, only in Wyoming) turns into, “I’m gonna drive cross the border to EvINGston to get fireworks.”
Sorry Texas, you may not be the title holder to delirious dialects.
I’m almost beginning to feel like a real, live Texan after spending a little over a week traipsing through the hill country from Houston to Austin and back for food conferences and back again for the start of summer at my little seeeester’s in the beautiful Woodlands.
If all of Texas were as lush as my sister’s wooded and trail ridden community, and had about 50% of the humidity, I’d seriously think about transplanting. But, since that ain’t the case, I’ll be sticking to the mountains and deserts of Utah.
While I was off in Austin learning more about blogging, withering at the thought of being judged by a mass of food bloggers when serving up my samples of Nectarine and Wisconsin Burrata Bite Crostini, I had the pleasure of being featured in a genuine Photography Throwdown with Giulia when she asked me to participate in Audrey 74’s Be My Guest series. We picture dueled to the bottom of the drink by making and photographing bloody beers, aka Michelada’s. Somehow even my guest posts are favoring tex-mex style.
Now I’m back with my Smudge and her cousins who will be spending almost 4 weeks total, on and off, together this summer. As an only child, this is a dream come true for her and as you can imagine, in the time we’ve been visiting I’ve accumulated all of about 23 minutes of her being even semi- in my midst. And that includes meal time.
Cousins rule, mom’s drool. And I am perfectly okay with that.
Today’s Friday Faves includes a few nuggets of observation from the Blogher Food conference I attended in Austin.
In Austin, whether there’s a little something for everyone from the farm to table dining al fresco style at Contigo to the Austin landmark Driskill Hotel.
Food trucks reign in Austin. Crashing the lunch reunion of the Iowa Corn Quest at The Peached Tortilla truck ruled.
If you visit, don’t miss a few of Austin’s must-taste restaurants:
- Parkside for inventive and relaxed dinner fare. Must-try: Local Corn Risotto with Texas peaches, grilled ramps & parmigiano reggiano; Crab Fritters
- Contigo for farm to table fresh under the stars. Must-try: House Pickles; Mussels with yellow curry, coconut milk and mint
- Guero’s Taco Bar for not-to-be-missed tex-mex for breakfast, lunch and dinner + gluten-free and vegan menus at super low prices. Must-try: Huevos Motuleños aka handmade corn tortillas stacked with refried beans, fried egg, chorizo and ranchero sauce and jack cheese.
- Chupacabra Cantina for happy hour drink and eats on legendary 6th Street. Must-try: Queso Deluxe with pulled pork, guacamole and pico de gallo; Spicy Mango Margaritas
In Austin, pedicured toes and cowboy boots play happily together.
It’s great to meet online peeps in person. Like Niki who shares her new look and Seeded at the Table’s Angel Food Cake Waffles and Monique who has a smile that lights up a room and proves healthy can be pretty and tasty too with Ambitious Kitchen’s Fresh Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese, Sunflower Seeds & Lemon Vinaigrette.
Austin is home to the Whole Foods flagship store and an essential destination for any visiting foodie. Different types of whole pickles in an antipasto bar? I’m home.
Taking camera pics in low light can be such a color correction drag. To remedy, I’m going to opt into Irvin’s suggestion to try out Slow Shutter for iPhone.
My Instagram photos are quickly becoming some of my faves and even replaced my regular DSLR for the main pics in this post. Another great resource from White On Rice Couple for tips on where to print out Instagram photos to enjoy offline too.
- Red Stamp: post cards, greeting cards
- Printsatgram: calendars, memory boxes, gift cards
- Instaprints: make prints, sell your Instagram photos online
- Online Social Print: magnets
- Instacanv.as: canvases, framed prints, iPhone cases
I’m already ready to go back to Burrata-ville.
While I totally dig Videolicious (take a look at my video here) for making videos on the fly, White On Rice Couple recommended Animoto for making quick thank you videos for friends and family. That’s a thank you note I’d be happy to get.
Food bloggers somehow attract the best in people, including a group of marauding Robin Hood-esques who delivered boxes of free doughnuts by the coveted Gourdough’s Doughnut Truck in the hotel lobby to cure midnight munchies. Are these really doughnuts or are they cakes is disguise?
This isn’t just a girl’s game, boys are amazing bloggers too. Jim’s blog–and wicked storytelling ways—may have been my most unexpected surprise from the conference and has gone straight to the top of my RSS feed.
It’s okay that all of your photos aren’t pristine. Messy is good.
Miga’s are delish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Be grateful for friends like Annalise and Kelley who carry cash for the tip when you take a pedi cab in Austin and you feel bad for your driver when the chain breaks and he has to push his bike back to homebase.
Never get up on the bar at Coyote Ugly when there is a camera around. Especially when you are sober and know better.
And finally, everyone has their own agenda and guess what? It doesn’t always include you. I try not to be intimidated to say hi at big conferences like this, but it can be hard no matter how big, medium or small a blogger you are when you’re feeling on the fringe. My advice? Find a few (or even just one) like-minded bloggers who you can create a group to help promote one another and grow together thanks to that support.
While I enjoy learning new things at events like this, the thing I most appreciate is the forum to connect again with food bloggers who have become friends, and to meet new faces I hope to one day be able to say the same thing about. And you all are in that category, readers and bloggers alike.
So send me a shout out via email, Facebook, Twitter or smoke signal and say, “Hey!” I’d love to hear from you no matter what your accent.
Now it’s time for me to go find those cousins and take a dip with them in the pool. Have a great Father’s Day weekend, celebrate your daddy or well-loved man with good food, fun and time spent together.
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