Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 3/31/10

It's the last round of Austin's best grocery deals for March and we're not going out like a lamb.

1. Strawberries, .99/lb. at Sprouts (through 4/7/10)

2. Blueberries, 4.4 oz containers, .87/ea. at Newflower (through 4/7/10)

3. Asparagus, $1.99/lb. at Central Market (through 4/6/10)*

4. Blue Bell Ice Cream half gallons, $3.79 at Randall's** (through 4/6/10)

5. Stacy's Pita Chips, 7.5-8 oz., $1.99 at Natural Grocers (through 5/15/10)

*Newflower is selling asparagus for $1.79 this week, but Central Market gets the nod in our book because their produce consistency justifies the extra 20 cents
**Remarkable Card price/limit 3

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drank Up, Kids

Here's an interestingly sad piece of trash I found several days ago down the street from the middling middle school across from our house.

There's a new canned drink in town called "Lean," which is branded to emulate the purple-hued mixture of Sprite along with codeine and promethazine-laden prescription cough syrup that first came to prominence as a lifestyle acoutrement in the chopped and screwed wing of Houston's hip hop scene. The mixture was implicated in the deaths of both DJ Screw and Pimp C.

The text on the side of the can makes it clear that Lean is being marketed to "sippers of all ages." I don't have an problem with adults using recreational drugs so long as they don't drive, steal or pee on my lawn, but selling this faux-syrup to kids is the worst kind of cynical bottom-feeding.

Moreover, one of the "pharmaceutical grade herbs" contained in Lean is valerian root, which I take in small quantities to go to sleep at night. Melatonin and rose hips are also included. If that's the kind of buzz kids are looking for these days, they'd be better off in the vitamins and supplements aisle.

Don't Count on Me!

Because of population growth during the past decade, Texas could gain four additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives once the 2010 Census is completed. However, only 27 percent of Texans have mailed in their census forms as of Friday. The national average is 34 percent. The response rate is even lower in several rural, traditionally conservative Texas counties, such as King (5 percent), Briscoe (8 percent) and Culberson (11 percent).

A handful of Republican representatives are blaming the low response on anti-Washington sentiments, which makes for delicious irony given the GOP's ongoing attempts to make political hay out of those sentiments. Suddenly, guys like Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble) are acknowledging the "apparent intrusive nature" of the census on one hand while cajoling their constituents to mail in their census forms on the other.

"It's very important for people to fill out the census because of reapportionment and redistricting," Poe says, "and Texas stands to gain four seats."

In other words, pretending you're off the grid is fine so long as it doesn't squander my party's potential political capital.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 3/24/10

Strap in and hold on tight, because we've got some Austin grocery deals that'll blow your mind - not your pocketbook.

1. Boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders, $1.67/lb. in the family pack at Newflower Farmer's Market (through 3/31/10)

2. Hass avocados, .49/ea at Sprouts (through 3/31/10)

3. 6 oz. blackberries, .88/ea at Sprouts (through 3/31/10)

4. 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes, $1 at H-E-B (through 3/30/10)

5. Dinner for Two, $9.99 at Central Market (through 3/30/10)*

*Check Central Market's daily Dinner for Two menu here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Month Old

Yes, we're celebrating our child's one-month birthday. I bought Alex a little treat from Hey Cupcake! this afternoon, but he's going to have to get it via breastmilk. After what his mom went through bringing him into the world, it's only fair for her to get dibbs on his birthday treats for awhile.

It's hard to believe it's already been a month. Life is very different than before he made the scene, but now I can't imagine life without him. Every time I look into those big blue eyes of his, I fall deeper in love.

True Colors Shining Through

Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun compared the health care reform bill to what most of us refer to as the Civil War on the House floor last night.

If Obamacare passes, that free insurance card that's in people's pockets is going to be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the war between the states - the Great War of Yankee Aggression.

Yup, just another day at the office in White Whine Country.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Night Owl Nightmare

As I was taking my daily health walk around the Austin State Hospital periphery yesterday, I ran into Austin Chronicle transportation reporter and I Love Beer blogmaster Lee Nichols. He was waiting for a bus downtown for SXSW. In today’s episode, Lee recounts the awful time he had trying to get back to North Central Austin after closing time on Capital Metro’s overstuffed Night Owl bus.

Capital Metro seems to have a gift for screwing the pooch on special events. I tried to take their Austin City Limits Music Fest shuttle several years ago and wound up hoofing it from Zilker to Waterloo Park rather than keep waiting in a stationary, exhaust-choked queue. You’d think they’d recognize special events as an unique opportunity to attract new users and dispel long-held perceptions of unreliability, but Lee’s experience suggests it’s still not much of a priority for them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 3/17/10

The lettuce wars heat up again in this week's exciting overview of Austin's five best grocery deals.

1. Green or red leaf lettuce, .49/ea. at Sun Harvest (through 3/24/10)

2. Broccoli crowns, .77/ea. at H-E-B (through 3/23/10)

3. 10 lb. bag of Russet potatoes, $1.49 at H-E-B (through 3/23/10)

4. Blackberries, 5.6-oz. package, .98/ea. at Sun Harvest (through 3/24/10)

5. Wild Alaskan cod fillets, $3.97/lb. at Newflower (through 3/24/10)

And don't forget, Wednesday is double ad day at Sun Harvest, Newflower and Sprouts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pizza Box Affirmations

Kate and I picked up an extra large pizza from Arpeggio Grill on Airport Blvd. last Friday night. In the context of raising a newborn baby, this constitutes living it up.

I’ve always enjoyed Arpeggio Grill’s Mediterranean food, but it turns out their pizza is reasonably priced and quite tasty, too. We had the Arpeggio Pizza, which came stacked with pepperoni, sausage, red onions, black olives, Italian peppers and “extra cheese.” I put the latter in quotations since all of their pizzas come with extra cheese, which kind of muddles the notion of what constitutes “extra.” The 20-inch pie set us back $18.99. As a bonus, I got to carry it home in the artfully designed box pictured below.

“Delicious moments?” I think that’s the title of a Quiet Storm CD collection I once saw advertised on late night TV.

Fave Five Food Deals - 3/10/10

The spirit of St. Patrick is alive and well in this week's list of Austin's best grocery deals.

1. 5 lb. box of Cuties Mandarin oranges, $2.99 at Sprouts (through 3/17/10)

2. Rancher's Reserve boneless beef chuck pot roast, $1.88/lb.* at Randall's (through 3/16/10)

3. Strawberries, .99/lb. at Newflower (through 3/17/10)

4. Guinness Draft 4-packs, $4.99 at Central Market (through 3/16/10)

5. Safeway corned beef brisket, $1.99/lb.* at Randall's (through 3/16/10)

*You must present a Randall's Remarkable Card to get these prices. If you don't, they'll jack you like a hurricane price-gouger. I harbor considerable prejudice against stores that force you to use an affinity card to get their advertised price, but unlike most of Randall's "sale" prices, these two are hard to beat.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Last Days of Texas Stadium

Texas Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys until 2008, is slated for implosion just after dawn on April 11. The Dallas Morning News website has a bittersweet slideshow chronicling pre-demolition preparations, which includes filling the sunken football field and lower ring of seats with dirt to bring it up to ground level so they won't have to dig debris out of a hole.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is sponsoring Texas Stadium's implosion as a launchpad for their new "Cheddar Explosion" flavor. Some lucky kid who wins Kraft's essay contest will get a free trip to Irving to mash the detonation button, which is almost as good as having Willy Wonka give you a chocolate factory.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Skipping the Party

For the first time in over 20 years, I'm sitting out SXSW. It already feels weird to not be in the throes of a pre-SXSW scrawl, but new parenthood is still too all-consuming to cover the fest in any meaningful way. Last call and 4 a.m. crying jags just don't mix.

That said, I'm hoping to at least make it out to a day party or two. And even though I'm missing the big show this year, a few noteworthy acts are bound to make an appearance right here at the ol' homestead, including snappily-dressed Dallas alterna-rockers the Moro Reflex, fearsome Oslo black metal/prog-rock hybrid Engorgement and regressive Athens, Ga. twee-pop trio Pees and Poos.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 3/3/10

Just in time for double ad Wednesday*, here are Austin's best grocery deals for the week.

1. Brown Cow Yogurt Cups, .59 ea. at Natural Grocers (through 3/27/10)

2. Strawberries, $1.50/lb. at H-E-B (through 3/9/10)

3. Broccoli crowns, .67/lb. at H-E-B (through 3/9/10)

4. Haas avocados, .69 ea. at Sprouts (through 3/10/10)

5. Texas Gulf shrimp (26/30 ct.), $3.97/lb. at Newflower (through 3/10/10)

*at Sprouts, Newflower and Sun Harvest