Sunday, January 13, 2008

Austin Day 4

After breakfast, the parents went off on their own to visit a friend of theirs in town while we went shopping. Our first stop was Dragon's Lair Comics on Burnett. While I really love Austin Comics & Books, Dragon's Lair was a very high quality surprise. I didn't expect another shop to come close to the coolness of AC&B but DL came pretty close. What they lacked in sheer volume, they made up for in a nice store layout and warm atmosphere. (AC&B has a warm and friendly staff, but the lighting is a bit more fluorescent in feel.) We headed north to an outlet mall for shopping. Later we stopped at a Giant Book Sale store, which was going out of business and offered books at around 75 percent off and better. It was like a "liberry" book sale, only with books in better condition. I only found a couple, but the wife found a huge supply of trashy romance novels, which she views as junk food for the brain, but consumes all the same. In her line of work, it's good to have something you can read and don't have to remember AT ALL.

GASTRONOMICAL JOURNAL: Started things off with part of an orange from the hippy market. Then we headed out to Austin Diner, on Burnett, where I devoured two breakfast tacos, one with crisp bacon and one with sausage (the bacon one was better), as well as a side of black beans and a biscuit. Ahh, bliss! During our shopping trip, we stopped at the outlet mall food court where I ate a gigantic Philly cheesesteak and shared fries with the wife. I'd only ordered a small Philly sandwich, but they gave me a biggun anyway. It was pretty good. The meat was cheap, but the bread was quite nice. Had to eat it. Unfortunately, that was around 3 in the afternoon and we'd planned to meet the `rents for dinner. So we gave ourselves three hours to digest and met them at the Clay Pit Indian restaurant, on Guadalupe. Other than the service being a bit slow, the food was fantastic. We each ordered a different dish and then shared around the table. I enjoyed Khuroos-E-Tursh, which the menu describes as: "Medallions of chicken breast stuffed with seasoned spinach, mushrooms, onions & cheese, simmered in a rich cashew-almond cream sauce with a hint of sweetness. Served with basmati rice." This was the first time I'd had this particular dish and it was delicious. My dad's choice of Kabuli Chicken ("boneless chicken cooked in our korma sauce from the curry house & infused with a paste made from pureed nuts, raisins & cherries") was slightly better, though. Probably the best dish on the table, in fact. After waiting half an eternity for our waiter to fetch our check (in his defense, I think the place was understaffed and he had probably two too many tables to mind) we headed to Spider House, a cafe/bar on 29th, where we sat under heat towers on the patio, drank tasty coffee and watched the gathering of UT hipsters all of whom were far cooler than we could hope to aspire to. And while there were waiters on the patio, you wouldn't really know it. They slunk along the sidelines, aggressively refusing to make eye-contact and only appearing on the patio itself to lurk over and snatch up empty coffee cups at moments calculated to be least likely to allow you the chance to ask them for anything. After a bit, a "dj" set up and began playing music which may as well have come from an iPod set to random. While some of it was good music, the "dj" seemed to take great joy in the juxtaposition of unlikely combos, such as segueing from Metalica to Kenny Rogers and attempting, with wild levels of both irony and unsuccessfulness, to blend them. We had great fun despite and because of his efforts. Spider House was a cool place to hang and wind up our evening.

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.