Day Two in Austin Texas

Day two in Austin Texas included a wander along South Congress, a shopping district known to the locals as SoCo, an extended period of time in Allens Boots – Austin’s boot superstore, and finally, a visit to the Circuit of Americas racetrack.

Another crazy busy day that again ended with all of us on the dance floor.

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A Visit to Austin Texas; the First Night

I was invited to visit Austin Texas for a whirlwind tour – and I’ll be honest, we jammed more fun into a weekend than I ever thought was humanly possible! Austin Texas is a crazy, vibrant and exciting city filled with countless food trucks (that rarely move), eateries, restaurants, live music venues, and drinking establishments.

I am creating short videos to try to capture some of the vibe that we experienced. This first video is from our first night in the city of Austin.

More to come!

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Instant Pot Pork Chops

I got home yesterday to find that there was nothing in the fridge to feed the family. And they were hungry. Hungry and quickly transitioning to hangry.

Instant pot

What to do? Yes, that is correct, I turned to the Instant Pot. And, I went way out of comfort zone because I put FROZEN meat in my Instant Pot.

I had four pork chops frozen. Frozen into one solid block. Rock hard.

Did I mention the kids were about to turn on me? They were. So I turned the Instant Pot to sauté, added some olive oil and I let it heat up.

Then I dropped in the chunk of frozen pork. And poured in a cup and a half of chicken stock. Put on the lid, flipped to the lid to “seal” and the timer for 15 minutes. And then I stepped away to start working on some Carolina-style barbecue sauce.

Because the chunk-o-pork was frozen it took a few minutes for the liquid (chicken stock) to get up to temperature. Once it did, the timer started counting down from 15 minutes.

Once we got to zero, I was anxious to see what was inside so I did a “controlled quick vent”. Opened the lid and saw that my chunk-o-pork was now four sort of frozen pork chops. Good news!

I poured the Carolina-style barbecue sauce into the Instant Pot and put the lid back on. Sealed it. Set it. 15 minutes.

In no time the Instant Pot was up to temperature and under pressure.

15 minutes later I did another quick pressure release and opened up the pot. The pork was now ready to be “pulled” which I did in a large stainless bowl. Using two forks I pulled the pork into shreds.

I ladled on a little of the barbecue sauce and mixed it all together.

I split a few Kaiser buns and placed them under the broiler for a couple minutes to get them browned.

Instant pot

Then I scooped some of the pulled pork onto the bun, added a scoop of coleslaw onto the other side of the bun, ladled on some more of the Carolina-style barbecue sauce, and got ready to eat.

The most amazing thing? Both kids liked it and they actually ate it!!

And just like that, they went from neatly hangry to fully happy.

That’s A Dad in the Burbs style cooking!

Here is my A Dad in the Burbs “recipe” for the Carolina-style barbecue sauce:

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestshire sauce
  • A scoop of mustard – about a tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

I added all the above ingredients into a medium sized saucepan, brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to low and let it simmer while I waited for the pork to cook in the Instant Pot.

The Carolina-style barbecue sauce has a strong vinegar hit – much different than the sweeter Texas style barbecue sauce – which I quite like. I just wanted to try something different this time.

That’s it!

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My Tour of the Vancouver Filson Store

Earlier this week I was invited to a wine tasting event at Vancouver’s Filson store in Gastown. While taking the time to taste the 1000 Stories Zinfandel wine, I took the time to thoroughly tour and drool over the amazing variety of goods that Filson has in their store.

As well as admiring all the beautifully crafted durable goods in the Vancouver Filson store I couldn’t stop myself from dreaming of “gearing up” and heading out for an expedition in the great woods of the Pacific Northwest. Their gear is what dreams are fueled by.

I did manage to get some photos which I have turned into a short video so that you can have a tour of the Filson store. Enjoy.

Another note about the 1000 Stories Zinfandel – the rep told me that they call this wine a “throwback-style” of wine because it is aged in bourbon barrels like many California wines were in the very early days of wine-making in California. At $30 a bottle it is not cheap wine but I found it to be a very enjoyable, full-bodied wine. I will be buying more of this!

Disclosure: while I did enjoy a couple glasses of wine compliments of the brand rep from 1000 Stories Wine, I was NOT compensated for this blog post or video by the wine brand nor the Filson store. As always, editorial control of what is added to my blog belongs to me. 

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Marlondo Leather Traveler’s Briefcase

Some few weeks or maybe even a couple months ago I bought a Marlondo Leather Travelers Briefcase in their water buffalo leather line. They are discontinuing their water buffalo line so I bought the bag at a pretty deep discount.

As I say in the video, I really like the feel of the water buffalo leather but…

I will still be buying more from Marlondo Leather, maybe even a Travelers Briefcase in their cowhide so I can compare the two.

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The Rad Power Bike Radrover

I’m loving this Radrover bike. It is a beast of a machine!

Rad Power Bikes

This morning I rode to school and it didn’t take me even five minutes longer than if I drive my car. It might have even been faster.

Rad Power Bikes

In case you don’t know, the Radrover is an electric bike. It has two options – first, a battery that provides “pedal assist”. Basically, it makes it easier to pedal especially when going up hills – that option is called pedal assist.

The other option – you can roll on the “throttle” like you would on a motorcycle. However, once you are up to 32 kmh there is a governor that kicks in so that it is then pedal power. That’s “the law” for electric bikes. Anything above 32 kmh and you are considered a motor vehicle and you need to have insurance and a bunch of other stuff.

As for the riding part, I can completely understand why people prefer bike lanes that are separated from the traffic. Today I was riding along in my marked bike lane and a woman driving beside me just moved into my lane essentially forcing me off the road. When I yelled at her she just looked over at me with her mouth hanging open.

Commuting on my Radrover is like riding a motorcycle – you have to assume people in cars can’t see you.

As for the Rad Power Bike concept, I am loving it. The fat tires on my Radrover get everyone talking and makes people smile when they see it. They just look beastly. And when I’m riding they smooth out the little bumps in the road. I love them.

The pedal assist/electric motor doesn’t do all the work; I still pedal while I’m riding. The pedal assist just makes it so that the hills are not so crushing to the spirit to a “non-seasoned” rider like myself.

I will do another YouTube video of the bike in the next little while and I’ll also try to get a video of my friend’s Radcity Commuter bike to show some of the differences.

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The Hack Attack

Earlier this week my web hosting company alerted me to the fact that my blog (and many others) had come under attack and had been “hacked”.

I really don’t know what that means or what hackers get out of hacking a blog.

Whatever, they found a vulnerability in the “workings” and they exploited it.

My web hosting company did a remarkable job putting everything back together but one thing they could not do is restore my subscribers list.

So, if you were a subscriber and you would like to be a subscriber again, click on that little brown envelope up on the right hand side by the Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest icons and follow the process to subscribe again.

Thanks for your ongoing support.

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Dirty Apron Cooking Class

Last week I attended a cooking class at the Dirty Apron cooking school. The name of the class was Meat Eaters Unite. It was not vegetarian friendly.

Dirty Apron cooking school

Above is a photo of the lamb chops I cooked. Start on the grill to get the grill tracks set and then into the pre-heated oven for SIX minutes! So juicy. And delicious.

The key takeaway for me was just how easy it is to make beautiful, healthy, and delicious food with a few simple ingredients.

Dirty Apron cooking school

This is the Pork Wellington we made – it was incredible. Braised, seasoned, coated with a Dijon mustard sauce, wrapped in puff pastry and then cooked to 145° internal temperature. A game changer for me. So juicy. So tender. And safe to eat!

Dirty Apron cooking school

Ribeye steak – seasoned and marinated in a bourbon maple syrup, soy sauce with some fresh thyme and rosemary. On the grill to get the grill marks and we are good to go.

The entire Dirty Apron experience was great. Very friendly, professional, and informative. I learned many simple things that I am sure will make me more effective in my kitchen.

I’ll add more info as soon as I get an opportunity.

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Filming the Recording of a Podcast

As one or two of you know, I’ve started a podcast on which I discuss whatever random topic piques my curiosity.

For giggles one night I filmed myself recording my podcast.

That’s my recording studio – the back porch.

That’s my recording equipment – an iPhone. Which I’ve now “upgraded” by using the earbuds to get better quality sound.

That’s my podcast equipment.

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Biscuits, Crisp, Croissants, and Lamb; A Weekend of Eating

I started my weekend of eating and foodie explorations with my usual Saturday morning attempt at baking biscuits.

biscuits

I have to say, I had a reasonably successfully experience. The biscuits were light enough but the texture still is not as soft inside as I remember the ones my mother used to make. Or were the biscuits of my childhood really that good?

biscuits

Saturday morning breakfast for the kids and I was biscuits with cheese, tomato, and some cold cuts. And of course a coffee for me.

biscuits

Later on Saturday afternoon I went to the Burnaby test kitchen and had a lesson on making a strawberry and rhubarb crisp – using a handmade gluten-free flour mix.

Along with the 9″ x 13″ pan full I also made two individual sized portions for my kids. Unfortunately/fortunately they did not enjoy the tartness of the rhubarb as much as I thought they would so I had to eat both portions. The things I do for my kids…

Funny how kids will eat sour candy but can’t eat a bit of rhubarb.

And then Sunday morning took me out to Fort Langley and the Blacksmith Bakery. Their croissants are out of this world delicious. They are more flaky than you know who. And that is flaky.

After a day of cycle touring the Fraser Valley, we ended up down on Brewers Row in Port Moody for a late Sunday afternoon snack. Truth is, if you want to get your kids to eat their veggies, deep fry them. The veggies. Not the kids.

The cauliflower “wings” from the Wings Food Truck are out of this world delicious. Soft tender insides and a crispy batter exterior. Even Pick Pants ate them and declared them “good enough to eat”.

 

To finish off the weekend of eating I grilled up lamb “donairs” that I bought from Josh at Farmtown Meats in Burnaby. Yeah, they don’t look all that photogenic but they were a taste sensation for the wife and I. Not so much for the kids. The flavour is pretty strong – I like that – kids not as much.

A great weekend of eating. Biscuits, croissants, rhubarb crisp, lamb on the grill, oh my. What a great weekend.

 

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