Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fave five food deals - 12/31/09

Here's your last chance of the year to savor the savings. Austin's top five grocery deals follow:

1. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, 5 lbs. for $5 at H-E-B (through 1/5/10)

2. Red leaf, green leaf or Romaine lettuce .88 at Sun Harvest (through 1/4/10)

3. Blackberries in 5.6 oz. package .67 at H-E-B (though 1/5/10)

4. Peeled baby carrots in 1 lb. bag .88 at Sun Harvest (through 1/4/10)

5. All natural assorted pork loin chops $1.27/lb. at Newflower (through 1/6/10)

Also, if you're living in North Austin, check your mail for the circular promoting the grand opening of Sprouts' Great Hills Trail location on January 8. The circular contains a coupon for a free 64 oz. bottle of Langers Everyday Fruit Juice and a coupon for a free Green & Black's Organic Chocolate Bar. No purchase is necessary, but the coupon expires January 24.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Detroit throws year-end fire sale

If you’re in the market for a cheap American car nobody else wants to drive, see your Saturn and Pontiac dealers now while you still can. I normally wouldn’t consider buying a brand that’s being phased out, but if you buy a new car for under $10K and keep it running without major repairs for three years, that’s not too shabby. With GM’s new deep discounts, the MSRP for the Pontiac G3 hatchback has fallen to $7,335.

Of course, reliability is not the strong suit of these particular makes. In fact, I can’t think of a strong suit for these makes other than a rock-bottom price point, so a little research would definitely be in order.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Beaumont's Rapping Weatherman

If you're a local TV station in a market that has been slammed by two major hurricanes within the past five years, you need a weatherman viewers can trust.

Just as tornado-prone Oklahoma City has Gary England, Beaumont/Port Arthur's KBTV now has Nick Kosir, a.k.a. the Rapping Weatherman. Pimp C would be proud.

Now let's drop some "Titan Dopp" on this bitch, shall we?

Fave five food deals on hiatus

Fave Five Food Deals is taking a break this week because none of our local grocery stores send out circulars two days before Christmas. We are, however, excited to report that the Great Hills Trail location of Sprouts Farmers Market is scheduled to open its doors on Friday, January 8.

I made a reconnaissance run to the Sprouts in Rollingwood a couple weeks back and was moderately impressed. As is the case with Sun Harvest, you really have to follow the sales to get the deals because Sprouts' regular prices aren't all that earth-shattering. That said, it's a much nicer store than Sun Harvest with particularly superior offerings in the realm of meat and deli.

Frankly, I've always been a bit skeeved out by the meat counter at Sun Harvest on Anderson. It just doesn't smell right back there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time Warner shows the love

If you’re a Time Warner Cable subscriber in Austin, you probably know they’re in down-to-the-wire carriage negotiations with KTBC, the local Fox station. If the two multinational media conglomerates fail to reach an agreement by 11:59pm on Dec. 31, Time Warner will yank Fox from its channel line-up. Last time this happened, we went without NBC for nearly a month.

This morning I got an e-mail from Time Warner Cable thanking me for being their customer. There was no mention of the dispute with Fox, but one might figure a company on the precipice of angering and inconveniencing its customers would try to incentivize not fleeing in disgust to the competition. Here’s what the synergy-minded marketing team at Time Warner Cable came up with:


For being a Time Warner Cable customer!
Enjoy this exclusive Time Warner Cable coupon - $3.00 discount off the purchase of a Six Flags Sport Bottle.

Your 2010 Six Flags Sport Bottle comes with
-FREE refills all day, same day of purchase
-Refills only 99¢ for the entire 2010 season

Print and redeem this coupon at one of the following Six Flags locations:
-Six Flags over Texas, Arlington, TX – All American Café
-Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, TX – Mockingbird Funnel Cakes

Now that’s what I call shitting in my mouth and calling it a sundae! So sorry about not being able to renegotiate our carriage agreement with the local Fox station in time for you to be sure you’ll get to see bowl games on New Year’s Day, but here’s a coupon for $3 off a $13 plastic bottle we paid the Chinese 25 cents to manufacture.

Of course, you’ll still have to pay between $30 and $50 to get in to one of our amusement parks to take advantage of this deal, but once you’re there, we’ll give you free high fructose corn water for one whole day. If you can possibly stomach return visits, we’ll fill your faded, dog-eared cup with more sickly sweet corn drink for only 99 cents. By the way, this offer expires on Feb. 16, so don’t show up in August thinking you’re going to squeeze us for a day of free pop when it’s 300 degrees outside.

Time Warner, in exchange for this extraordinary gesture of corporate goodwill, I would like to invite you to suck an endless parade of left ones this holiday season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last chance for Evita's Botanitas

From the South Austin desk, my drumming buddy Lance Farley reports that Evita’s Botanitas will be closing on Monday, Dec. 28. This longtime neighborhood Tex-Mex eatery opened in 1990 on N. Lamar in the space now occupied by El Caribe. They moved to their current location on S. 1st several years ago.

Evita’s is best known for the two-tier tower of salsa, generous combination plates and some of the best chicken mole around. If you don’t believe me, just ask roots-rock legend Dave Alvin.

According to Evita’s website, the Rodriguez family was looking to sell the restaurant due to patriarch Ruben Rodriguez’ battle with brain cancer. However, Lance – a frequent diner who swears by Evita’s flautas – says their lease is up and the family has no plans to reopen. So get it while you can.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post had Evita's last night as Saturday, Dec. 19.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fave five food deals - 12/17/09

Here are Beetsolonely's fave five Austin area food deals for the week, as selected by the indentured seamstresses of world-renowned fashion designer Ragghi Bouchaine:

1. Russet potatoes, 10 lb. bag for 59 CENTS (stop - chowder time!) at Sun Harvest (through 12/24)

2. Fresh Gulf shrimp, $7.99/lb. (21/25 ct.) at Central Market (through 12/24)

3. 1 lb. strawberries, 2 for $3 at H-E-B (through 12/24)

4. 12-pack Coca-Cola fridge packs, 3 for $6.99 at Randall's with their stupid club card (through 12/25)

5. Green beans .77/lb at Newflower (through 12/23)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Depressed Christmas

On Thursday, John Seaborn Gray listed his picks for most depressing Christmas songs of all time on the Houston Press music blog. Sure, John Prine’s “Christmas in Prison” is pretty grim, but Gray overlooked the yuletide suicide note right in his own backyard.

Culturcide’s “Depressed Christmas” was the B-side of the experimental Houston group’s 1987 single, “Santa Claus Was My Lover.” I played it just now and Kate offered the following succinct assessment:

“It woke me up from my nap in a very unpleasant way. Make it stop!”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fave five food deals - 12/10/09

Here are this week's top five grocery circular deals as selected by our psychologically unbalanced cadre of bargain-hunting vigilantes:

1. Blue Bell Ice Cream half gallons 2 for $7 @ Sun Harvest (through 12/13)

2. Cantaloupes .25/lb. @ Sun Harvest (through 12/16)

3. H-E-B Club Soda and Ginger Ale 2 for $1 @ H-E-B (through 12/15)

4. Natural boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.77/lb. @ Newflower (through 12/16)

5. Cuties Clementines, 2 lb. bag 1.97 @ Newflower (through 12/16)

…and one to grow on:

Sutter Home wine, 750 mL bottles, assorted varieties $3 at Sun Harvest (through 12/13). Sorry, 12-bottle limit!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The ugliest buildings in Houston

Last week, the Houston Press Hairballs blog picked the city's top eight ugliest buildings. I have to agree with the new Federal Reserve fortress (post-9/11 design at its most neurotic) on Allen Parkway and that anorexic condo tower overlooking the Southwest Freeway.

It's a bit unfair to include the windowless AT&T bunker on Weslayan because it's a functional edifice designed to house equipment, not humans. And while the George R. Brown Convention Center is undoubtedly atrocious and dated, at least it's not breadbox boring.

Also check out John Lomax's slideshow on the 10 ugliest buildings in downtown Houston from last year. I agree with a lot of his picks, though not his assessment of the Alley Theater. Even though I'm not particularly drawn to Brutalism, I've always thought the Alley was kind of cool. All it really needs is a good power-washing.

Photo by Imelda

Friday, December 04, 2009

White Denim plunders Wolfgang's Vault

The extraordinary streaming concert archive Wolfgang's Vault enlisted Austin's own White Denim to pick a 13-song playlist this week. I'm not surprised to hear them lead off with the MC5's rare 1970 rendition of James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." The eclectic mix also includes cuts from the likes of Al Kooper, Gentle Giant, the Mothers of Invention, Delaney & Bonnie and George Duke. Listen here.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fave five food deals - 12/3/09

After an hours-long analysis of this week's grocery circulars, here are my fave five food deals in Austin:

1. Large Texas grapefruit .79/lb at Central Market (through 12/8/09)
2. Crystal Geyser 1.25 liter sparkling mineral water .79/each at Natural Grocers (through 1/2/10)
3. Hass avocados - 4 for $1 at Sun Harvest (through 12/9/09)
4. Blackberries - 2 pints for $3 at Sun Harvest (through 12/9/09)
5. 10 lb. bag of Seasons Select Russet potatoes - $1.97 at H-E-B (through 12/8/09)

Also, starting Dec. 4, Central Market will give away a free Wüsthof knife and scissor set with a purchase of $50 or more. Kate and I got a similar set a few years back and it has served us quite well.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bewitched in Salem

Forget Witch Trials ephemera and the House of Seven Gables. The thing I most enjoyed seeing on our day trip to Salem, Mass. last week was the Bewitched statue. Upon reaching it, I immediately whipped out the Olympus (not a euphemism, folks) and made Kate pose like a tourist. After token resistance, she complied.

The statue is one of several placed by TV Land around the country, including one of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat in the air in downtown Minneapolis. Believe it or not, there were protesters when the statue was dedicated in 2005. But the show does have a semi-legitimate historical connection to Salem: Elizabeth Montgomery and company filmed a series of episodes on location there in 1970.