Old, Quirky Treasures Fill the Shelves at Austin’s Uncommon Objects

Are you looking for some alabaster eagle bookends? How about a meat puzzle or some vintage typography? Whatever tickles your fancy, you’ll most likely be able to find something of interest at Uncommon Objects.

Meat Puzzle at Uncommon Objects Austin

Meat puzzle at Uncommon Objects in Austin

It’s best to go without a particular item in mind and see where you end up. The shop offers you a chance to step into the past and explore with as much depth as you please. With over twenty dedicated vendors working together to create a one-of-a-kind medley of items, there’s no telling what you’ll stumble upon. [Read more...]

Blue October Members Bring Orb Recording Studios to Hill Country

It was a sunny, windy Sunday and I was exhausted. I’d been SXSW-ing all over Austin for a week and was ready to curl up with my hound dogs and sleep for a few days. But as bad as I wanted that Pawn Stars marathon from my couch, I wasn’t about to miss out on an opportunity to see the Grand Opening of Orb Recording Studios, Austin’s newest place to produce music that had been visited by Lil’ Wayne, Erykah Badu and Justin Bieber during SXSW.

Matt Novesky and C.B. Hudson at Orb Recording Studios. Photo credit: 78triple6.com

Founders Matt Novesky and C.B. Hudson at Orb Recording Studios (Photo credit: 78triple6.com)

Orb Recording Studios was founded by a couple of the guys from Blue October – C.B. Hudson (lead guitarist) and Matt Novesky (bassist). Their vision was to capture everything they loved about East and West Coast studios and bring it all to the pretense-free vibe of Austin. [Read more...]

Best Breakfast Off the Beaten Path in Austin

There are a lot of choices in our great city, even when it comes to breakfast. At times, the plethora of options may seem overwhelming, but don’t just settle on the corporate chain closest to your home. There are plenty of local, homegrown businesses serving up the most important meal of the day in a serious way.

You’ve probably grown familiar with the mainstays that are usually popular for good reason. But sometimes you need to step off the sidewalk and roam in the street for awhile, if you get my drift. Below are a few of my recommendations for a solid breakfast in Austin, at places you may not have been before.

Red River Cafe

I’ve been eating at this place for nearly ten years now. I was a little hesitant to include it for selfish reasons. There’s never a wait; it’s quiet and there’s usually a booth available. Two giant eggs – sunny side up – hang on each side of the faded and dated building as you approach. When you walk in, there’s a bench on your left with a hefty pile of newspapers to choose from. I usually linger for a good twenty to thirty minutes after I finish my meal here to catch up on current events.

Red River Cafe Exterior

Red River Cafe exterior (Photo credit: walkyourdogaustin.com)

[Read more...]

Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company Draws a Crowd to South Austin

Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company Flag

Fly, ABGB, Fly (Photo credit: TheSimplifiers.com)

Every time I head out to the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company, it’s always packed to the brim with people. There’s good reason for this, and it’s admirable that ABGB has been able to develop such a following in less than a year. They opened their doors last summer and it seems like they’ve never closed since.

Despite the new company name, the people behind the brand are not inexperienced when it comes to the craft beer game. Head Brewers Amos Lowe and Brian Peters hold nearly fifty years of collective experience between them, with former leading positions held at Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que and Live Oak Brewing Company. [Read more...]

Erin Ivey: Austin Treasure Releases Whisper of the Moon Album

Erin Ivey

Erin Ivey

I’m not sure what it is about Erin Ivey’s voice, but it brings me bliss like few others can. When she sings, I want to curl up, close my eyes and float off into the distance as the music completely envelops every fiber of my being. That may seem a little over the top, but listen to her and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

I first discovered Erin Ivey years ago, as a college student delivering flowers to pay my bills. I drove a cargo van around the city of Austin every day with KUT blasting loudly through the speakers. I remember the first time the wonderful Jay Trachtenberg mentioned her name. I was taken aback the moment I heard her and continue to be with each new song she releases.

I recently attended and wrote about a show given by a close friend of hers, Elizabeth McQueen. In my article, I mentioned how big a fan I am of Erin, who participated in the show. I’ll be damned if she didn’t contact me after reading the piece on Elizabeth, and she graciously invited me out to her upcoming EP release.

That’s who Erin Ivey is. No ego. No pretension. Only love. [Read more...]

Savor the Past and Present at Freedmen’s Bar

Freedmen's Bar Austin

Freedmen’s Bar exterior 2402 San Gabriel St. (Photo credit: Freedmen’s)

These winter months provide an ideal opportunity to savor mouth-watering barbeque and enjoy a warming cocktail or two. Freedmen’s Bar over in West Campus allows you to do just that in a cozy atmosphere that has aged like a fine wine or a hard cheese – well. The bar sits in a historic landmark that was built by former slave George Franklin nearly 150 years ago. Over the years, the building has housed everything from a church to a grocery store.

When Cuatro’s owner Cuatro Kowalski saw the space, he envisioned a place where you could drink fine whiskey and eat smoked meat with both your friends and your ancestors. He renovated the building with some modern touches and imported an antique bar from Brownsville, all while maintaining the classic elegance and charm that a century and a half naturally provides. [Read more...]

Elizabeth McQueen Stuns with EP Release at Lamberts

Elizabeth McQueen

Elizabeth McQueen (Photo credit: Todd V. Wolfson)

The crowd was dense and the air was chilled last Saturday night as we anxiously waited outside Lamberts Downtown Barbecue to see Elizabeth McQueen, fresh off her departure from Asleep at the Wheel.

After eight years, a Grammy nomination and over a million miles on the road with the group, Elizabeth was saying goodbye and hitting the stage with some close friends she made along the way. [Read more...]

Austin Record Store End of an Ear Offers One of a Kind Selection

End of an Ear Austin Record Store

End of an Ear, located on S. 1st Street

If you’re looking for that go-to record store you haven’t found yet in Austin, End of an Ear has you covered. Dan Plunkett and Blake Carlisle opened End of an Ear in May 2005 and have been spreading musical joy around the city ever since. With their diverse selection of records, CDs, books, and even new and used turntables, it’s not hard to see why they have developed a steady following.

End of an Ear’s prices are some of the most affordable in town, especially on their new vinyl. Plus, they have turntable listening stations set up throughout the store, so you can listen to anything that isn’t sealed before you buy it. [Read more...]

Last Minute Things to Do on Christmas Eve in Austin

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be out scrambling for gifts today and won’t have time for many of the things on this list. But if your Christmas errands are complete and you find yourself and the extended family with some free time, you may want to have a look. Below are a few ways to make the most out of your Christmas Eve in Austin.

Hit the Bazaars

I put this one first for my fellow shopping procrastinators because I know they’ll be scanning with sparse free time.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Austin TX

Vintage Ware Booth at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (Photo credit: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar)

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is open until 11 PM tonight and they have gift-wrapping on-site. Entrance is $7 for adults and kids are free. They offer a variety of unique gifts from local artists, plus live music from local artists (Jitterbug Vipers go on at 3:30 PM today and they are fantastic). And, of course, beer. [Read more...]

Kids in a New Groove Changing the Lives of Texas Foster Kids

Karyn Scott Founder of Kids in a New Groove

Karyn Scott, Founder of Kids in a New Groove (Photo credit: Impact News)

I first met Karyn Scott this past May while attending a training course for her non-profit organization, Kids in a New Groove. With a contagious smile and welcoming demeanor, she explained her passion for helping foster children through the gift of music mentorship, and how the program had developed.

Throughout her career as a prosecutor, she witnessed countless numbers of foster youth being subjected to the constant instabilities of the legal system. They would switch homes, schools, families, and friends at what often seemed like the drop of a hat.

I, myself, had developed a familiarity with this situation over the previous couple of years, which is what ultimately led me to Kids in a New Groove. Their mission is simple: provide Texas foster children with an element of stability in their lives that is desperately needed to develop their confidence and strategies for life-long success. [Read more...]

Let’s Get Uncomfortable at The Institution Theater

The Institution Theater Austin TX

Photo credit: The Institution Theater

I was introduced to The Institution Theater in Austin swiftly and uncomfortably almost a year ago. My younger sister sent me a last-minute text asking if I wanted to go to a free improv class with her there.

I was in a rare “yes” mood, so I agreed to tag along (when I think of things I want to do, making up stories on the spot with complete strangers is usually near the bottom of my list). [Read more...]

Live Music Picks for the Overwhelmed in Austin

Fellow Austinites, you already know that we’re fortunate to have quality live music surround us on a daily basis because we live in this beautiful city. Sometimes there is so much of it that we don’t know where to start. Isn’t that amazing? TOO MUCH good music. I take this for granted time and again, but I always circle back to appreciating the unbelievably talented music scene Austin has to offer.

Below are a few of my favorite local music picks that won’t let you down.

Elijah Ford & the Bloom

Elijah Ford & the Bloom Austin TX

Elijah Ford & the Bloom on Stage (Photo credit: Coy Koehler)

After leaving Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, Elijah Ford went the solo route and has been serenading the city with his own brand of rock and roll for the last couple of years. As the son of former Black Crowes guitar virtuoso Marc Ford, Elijah’s no stranger to the music industry. [Read more...]

House Wine: Go Out for a Glass of Wine at Home

House Wine Exterior in Austin

House Wine exterior (Photo credit: austingastronomist.com)

If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy a glass of well-selected wine and still feel like you’re in Austin, look no further than House Wine. It sits tucked away on Josephine Street, near P. Terry’s on South Lamar, and is perfect for a date or any good company if you’re seeking an intimate, laid back atmosphere.

The house has been around for decades, but has been renovated nicely to resemble a trendy bungalow in the midst of the city atmosphere. The decor is modern and comfortable and screams “relax.” In fact, if half of you wants to go out and half of you wants to stay at home, just go to House Wine. It’s that comfortable. [Read more...]

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop Inspires Pairings Across Austin

Antonelli's Cheese Shop Exterior

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

Despite being only a few years young, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop has quickly become an Austin staple, loved by many. You’ll see their name on a good number of restaurant menus throughout the city, and don’t be surprised if you bump into the friendly owners at a community event.

The owners, John and Kendall Antonelli, have fully embraced Austin and love being a part of such a diverse and blossoming food culture. Their humble Hyde Park shop is fully stocked with a range of wonderful cheeses, beautifully carved charcuterie, and hand-selected beers and wines – what’s not to love? [Read more...]

Savor Cozy Italian Vibe at Frank and Angie’s Pizzeria Downtown

Frank and Angie's Pizzeria

Frank and Angie’s Pizzeria on West Ave., just off W. 6th Street

Frank and Angie’s Pizzeria is fondly regarded by many Austinites, but somehow it manages to retain its undiscovered charm, year after year. I’ve never had to wait for a table here, and I’ve also never had a bad experience. It has everything you could want in your go-to Italian place: small, cozy, rarely crowded, cheesy décor, friendly staff, good food, fair prices, and big portions.

History

Frank and Angie’s was opened nearly twenty years ago by the same folks who run Hut’s Hamburgers around the corner. The founders stayed true to their ancestors with authentic Sicilian recipes. They’ve changed very little over time, as far as the menu goes. You can order a lot of the same items today that patrons enjoyed on opening day. [Read more...]