Austin Blog Meetup “Bleetup” Pictures

Kristina and I checked out the Austin Bleetup (Blog Meetup) which was held at the TRIO at Four Seasons yesterday to represent @Foodingblog. The event was awesome – good people, good food, and a great location. Everyone we met was cool and we came away with a lot of new friends. As always, I had my camera in tow.

Enjoy the photos!

peter_tsai_bleetup (6)
Sunset at the Four Seasons

Click here to see more photos from the Bleetup

Harry Potter Feast at Alamo Drafthouse South

Harry Potter

Ok, I admit it.  I am a geek.  This fact is evidenced by, but not limited to, the following: I love to watch British Sci-Fi shows like Dr. Who and Torchwood; I recently purchased the original Star Wars soundtrack – on vinyl; I think Joss Whedon is brilliant; and I really wish I had tickets to Comic-Con last weekend. 

My geekiness extends, of course, to my choice in novels, with authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, and J.K. Rowling occupying prominent places on my bookshelf.  Naturally, I have eagerly awaited the movie version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pretty much since the book was published.  Having re-read Half-Blood Prince, the story was fresh in my mind, and I was ready to see these beloved characters on screen.  My plan was to see the film in its opening week at Alamo Drafthouse, because – as I’ve mentioned many times before – a pint of beer makes everything better.

I missed the infamous Hobbit Feast which accompanied the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I was more than thrilled to find out about the Hogwarts Academy Feast to be presented with the screening of Half-Blood Prince.  The five course meal was inspired by the start of term feast enjoyed by Hogwarts students at the beginning of each book.

While I adore Alamo Drafthouse for their admirable beer list and usual fare, I was slightly apprehensive when I saw the menu for the Feast.  I was unsure how a kitchen which always produces such great pizza and fries would handle a terrine.  After a gracious welcome from Chef John Bullington, the room turned dark and our first course arrived.

Click here to see the rest of the post

Flavor tripping tablets: How food tastes on taste tripping pills

miracle berry tablets - flavor tripping

After reading a New York Times article about flavor tripping, we wanted to try it out the palate-altering “miracle berry” that turns sour and spicy flavors sweet. Luckily for us, a friend had some flavor tripping tablets and was hosting a flavor tripping party.

At his house, we were “taste tripping” while eating an impressive spread of fruits, cheeses, and beers in a fun altered state where most foods tasted much different than normal! We sampled so many different interesting flavors, and now a guest post from our flavor tripping party host, fellow food lover, Vicente Gonzales, AKA “V”.

Click here to read more about “Flavor Tripping”

Bizarre Bug Eating – You Ate What?

Falkenstein Castle for the Dos XX "Most Interesting" party
Falkenstein Castle – a most interesting place to eat bugs

Recently, I’ve been watching TV shows like Man vs Wild and Bizarre Foods. Seeing Bear Grylls and Andrew Zimmern eat the grossest / weirdest stuff in the world (and miraculously not dying) sort of makes me want try it too – almost as if they are daring me to do it too! While I don’t think I’ll be eating either a yak’s eyeball or a still living tree frog (that’s disgusting Bear Grylls) any time soon, I was intrigued when I heard that there would be an edible bug sampling at the “Most Interesting” party at Falkenstein Castle near Austin, Texas.

Read more about eating bugs after the jump…

Austin Frozen Yogurt “Froyo” Comparison

Pinkberry, New York City

  • a sneaky photo taken at Pinkberry in NYC

UPDATE 9-11-2009 – YummyYo added to the list of reviewed stores (but not added to the scoring since a side by side comparison was not done).

It has been a hot, sweaty summer full of record 104 F degree days here in Austin, Texas. Luckily this Austin Comparison adventure is dedicated to tasting the cold, sweet, and delicious treat that has become a craze in America, tart frozen yogurt (AKA Froyo).

The tart yogurt craze first blew up in Asia, where tart yogurt products have been popular for many years in the form of candy, soft drinks, and even liquor. The craze only recently hit US shores via Korea in the form of the soft serve frozen yogurt store Pinkberry, which has been the obsession of many and a frequent destination for celebrities in NYC and LA. According to legend, after the “reality” show stars of “The Hills” mentioned Pinkberry, the stores’ popularity took off like a rocket. In fact, when Pinkberry first opened up, hour long lines (not unlike ones to get into an exclusive nightclub) formed around the block to get a taste of the sweet stuff.

Now a few years into the craze, enthusiasm for frozen yogurt has not cooled one bit – in fact, frozen yogurt stores have since popped up in cities all over the nation. Austin is no exception and tart frozen yogurt shops offering a wide variety of flavors and toppings can be found in many neighborhoods around town. This past weekend, the staff of FoodingBlog and friends got together to compare and sample the original tart yogurt and green tea flavors (the flavors available at Pinkberry) from four frozen yogurt shops close to downtown: Yogurt Planet, Swirll, Yogurt Spot, and Mambo Berry. Our judging was done based on several predetermined factors and all scores were averaged together.

Continue Reading about tart frozen yogurt stores in Austin, Texas

Mantis Prawn – You Ate What? / Overseas Bizarre Fooding

Mantis Shrimp on my Dinner Plate

Today’s “You Ate What” adventure takes place on a boat cruise through beautiful Halong Bay, Vietnam. On this amazing trip, we visited a floating live fish market literally built into the middle of the bay, where I ate some of the freshest and tastiest food I’ve ever had in my life.

The market vendors sold all sorts of fish, clams, crabs, and fruit, but the absolute best thing I had there was the delicious and somewhat unusual mantis prawn.

read more about the tasty Mantis Prawn…

Random Wine of the Week – Marques de Gelida Cava


I have lived in Texas my entire life, so I shouldn’t be surprised that we have had 10 straight days of 100+ degree temperatures here in Austin. On toasty days like these, nothing is more thirst quenching than a nice sparkling wine, served chilled.

This week’s pick is a Spanish sparking wine, or Cava. Sparkling wine goes by many different names around the world. The most common sparkling wine is Champagne, which comes from the Champagne region in France. In Italy, they call their sparkling wines Prosecco. In California, they call their sparkling wine, well sparkling wine. You get the picture.

Random Criteria: Sparkling wine that has a crown somewhere on the label
Wine: 2005 Marques de Gelida Cava Brut Reserva
Origin: Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Price: < $15 (From Costco)
Notes: This cava was the perfect way to end another 100 degree day. The nose (smell) of the wine was predominantly fresh cherries. When you take the first sip of wine, the bubbles and the mild acidity dance across your tongue. The first thing I tasted was strawberry, then as entered my second glass, the wine smelled and tasted like fresh flowers. This cava is classified as a Brut, therefore the wine has almost no residual sugar (it is not sweet).  If you are looking for a sweeter sparkling wine, look for the word “dry” on the label (I know, it’s a bit confusing). This cava is going to go quite well with the shrimp I am grilling for dinner today. Enjoy!

What are your thoughts?