Amazon to buy WFM for Billions

My phone lights up, spitting out various news sources all saying iterations of the same thing. I stare at it blankly. I couldn’t believe it: Amazon, the online giant, bought Whole Foods Market, the hippie grocery stored turned luxury health nut food store, for $13.7 billion. You read that right. Billion.

Now, I have a soft spot for WFM. I’ve lived in Austin for almost 11 years. WFM is the Austin thing, so the loyalty ran extra deep since I was an Austinite working at an Austin staple during the college days (corn is great 4078! #cashierlife).  I was there when the grand news of WFM’s financial success in late 2013 spread throughout the land. I was there when they came out with their first commercial. I was there when the fancy H-E-B location came along and began to make my WFM store a ghost town(ish). I was there when Trader Joe’s came into Austin and slight pangs of worry hit every manager’s face. I was there when the prison labor controversy was running around causing questions. I was there when they put more fruit inside their Berry Chantilly cake (it’s a disappointing three berries and 99% cream now).  I befriended many fellas from various backgrounds–including the friendliest porter you ever met and the wackiest guests–even met celebrities (Jesse James was kind enough to donate $25 to one of our donation drives one year and Meatloaf is super nice despite his large size). Days spent among friends during the lunch break exchanging gifts of books, food and music were the best. I’ve seen the stock plunge and rise and repeat, staying in the $30 range.

Bakery @ WFM Gateway, ATX

I was gone by the time their financials were not rising, their overprice asparagus water caused uproar, the closing of different extra aspects of the company is other regions, the stepping down of co-CEO Walter Robb in November 2016, and the opening of 365, the “lower-priced” store that follows a Trader Joe’s format.

I’ll be honest, I don’t shop there as often as I do now. You can’t go back when you had a 20% discount card for two and a half years. I still follow the news though. I cheer when they hit a high point and feel a slight pain of sadness when they lose (except for the asparagus water incident. That was just a “raise an eyebrow and face palm” moment).

WFM Original Store
wholefoodsmarket.com
I do find the timing a little funny. Texas Monthly just came out with an article called “The Shelf Life of John Mackey“. John Mackey, who is regarded as the “animal spirit” of the company (Robb was the business brains), was interviewed by Tom Foster. Mackey pretty much lashed out at NY hedge fund Jana Partners for trying to buy them out without really telling Mackey. He was starting his book tour for The Whole Foods Diet, his second book, so he considered the move “intentional”. The article is well-thought out and details everything from WFM’s inception to the present day conundrum. Foster even plays out what I call the WFM contradiction: as it got bigger, it became more corporate, less healthy and the core values became more….confusing…Was it a hippie store? Was it a rich people store? Was it a rich hippie store? I’ve seen my fair share of both groups at the store I worked at, so honestly I can’t really tell. I just saw happy folks buying kale salad and kombucha. No need for labels.

Anyway, Amazon. Good on you for allowing WFM to operate under their name. Also, good on your for raising the stock price from $33.06 at 9:30 AM on June 16, 2017 to $42.00 twenty minutes later (I knew I should have bought WFM stock three months ago when it was $29). I hope you can keep the spirit of WFM alive and well. As much as I don’t want the online robots to take over and ruin any chance I have at working at Vogue (print is not dead people!) or open my coffeeshop/bookstore, I guess it’s better than having WFM disappear altogether.

(Read the articles here, here, and here, or just Google)

Argentina Bakery – Irving, TX

Every Memorial Day weekend, my family and I try take a mini road trip. We’ve done New Orleans once, Houston various times, and Fredericksburg once. This time around, the family and I went to Dallas. A family friend is in from California and my little sister’s best friend is staying with us before she goes back to Korea for the summer.

The first time when we went to Dallas, about 8 years ago, we coincidently found a bakery called Argentina Bakery. It had delicious pastries and a nice atmosphere. After that, we could never find it. Until now!

The place is just liked we remembered: cozy, small and the bright colors of the pastries popped against the dark wood.

My plate is the bottom one, a cannoli and an alfajore. First, a review on the alfajore. An alfajore was is an Argentine Oreo cookie. Two shortbread cookies are glued together with Majo Blano, a carmelized condensed milk. You can cover it with powdered sugar like a think blanket of snow, or roll the border with coconut. It wasn’t that great, which is unfortunate (Le sigh). The majo blanco is supposed to be soft and gooey goodness. This cookie’s majo blanco was stiff. The cookie could have used a few more minutes in the oven also. 2/5


My guess is the cookie was not fresh.  I took a bite of the cannoli which instea of cannoli cream, it was filled with majo blanco. The majo blanco in the cannoli was the soft warm gooey goodness that is loved by all pastry lovers. The shell gave a nice flakiness. The proportion to of shell to majo blanco was nice (no hollow air). The ends had dark chocolate which countered the sweetness of the majo blanco. 5/5

My sister and her friend got tiramisu mini cakes, which were the size of a CD and the height of my Anna Karenina book (on its face). I, sadly, couldn’t get a picture because they devoured it in a hot second. I did manage to sneak a spoonful. That was goooooooood stuff. If you are a coffee lover, you’re in luck. The tiramisu had a punch full of coffee. It was creamy and fluffy. They didn’t use lady fingers but cake and mousse. 4/5

Overall, it was pretty good and nice to finally find the place that we thought was lost so long ago.

Want to try it for yourself? Check out Argentina Bakery in IRL at 3401 Airport Fwy # 112, Irving, TX 75062 and online at http://www.argentinabakery.com.

Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints

It’s here! After months of patiently waiting, the list is finally here! Texas Monthly, the National Magazine of Texas, unveiled it’s “Top 50 BBQ Joints” today as part of the release of their June 2017 issue, aka The BBQ Issue. Theories have been swimming around Texas BBQ joints as well as around the office since forever. For those of you who are Franklin fanatics, you are in for a treat.

(Read the full article at http://www.texasmonthly.com/food/the-list-the-top-50-barbecue-joints-in-texas/)

But wait. There’s more! Yes BBQ lovers and connoisseurs there is indeed more!

Local ATX favorite YETI partnered up with Texas Monthly to create the beautifully designed wormhole of everything Texas BBQ related: the YETI BBQ Passport. This includes short notes from Texas Monthly staff members, including BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn and everyone’s favorite Texan, the Texanist (aka David Courtney). There’s wonderfully created map and challenges brought to you by YETI to complete for your chance to win YETI prizes (coolers and mugs and hats oh my!). You can grab a passport by buying the June 2017 TM issue at your local bookstore or grocery store, visiting one of the Top 50 BBQ joints on the list, or, for any of you Austinites, at the YETI Flagship store in Austin.

(Don’t have access to a print copy of the mag or passport? Click here to get your own passport: http://features.texasmonthly.com/sponsored/bbqpassport/)

Also, don’t forget to check out the stories in this month’s issue. There’s an inspiring personal essay from John Nova Lomax about his son joining the US Army (“The Green Machines”), an interesting story on Dallas Police Chief Brown during the moments of the Dallas shooting (“The Empathy of David Brown” by Michael J. Mooney), and a story on a hippie Catholic Church in Southeast Austin. Yes, you read that right, hippie Catholic Church. I’m talking a priest who has a hubby, women being ordained and the awesome feeling of being truly all-inclusive (“Critical Mass” by Robyn Ross).

If you need me, I’ll be in my car driving all the way Lexington, Texas for some amazing ass BBQ (hint hint cough cough :D).

Share and comment below your experiences with these BBQ Joints and don’t forget to follow Texas Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Slake Cafe – ATX

Working in Downtown Austin has many perks, including easy access to some pretty cool lunch spots. Yesterday, my coworker and I decided to venture the two blocks to Slake Cafe for lunch.

Before trying any place, it is always best to check their menu. Common sense I know, but just saying. When we found out they had delicious sounding tacos (brisket tacos anyone?), we had to try it (we’re going through a major BBQ phase and tacos are always a must).

Slake Cafe is a basement cafe as you had to walk some steps down to get to the counter. It’s decor is modern and colorful. They have a bakery case with baked goods including giant cookies, cupcakes and doughnuts. Their daily specials are displayed on the back wall. They serve Austin Roasting Coffee, FYI for anyone who is a fan. 

I was in the straight-up mindset of tacos. Then I saw the board. “Mac of the Day: Brisket Mac.” :O

The world caved in. The indecision and doubt flooded my mind. Do I go with the taco or the Mac? Decisions decisions. I asked the cashier for recommendations. I was stuck between the Pollo Boracho taco- a grilled chicken taco with corn slaw, melted Gouda, avocado and red pepper on a corn tortilla – and the Brisket Mac – mac’n’cheese with brisket, green onion, collars greens, tomato sauce and cheese. The cashier wasn’t much help as she had trouble deciding too. She mentioned the Mac came as a side so I made the ultimate decision: I got both.

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Let’s go with the bad news: the taco was not at all impressive. The chicken was bland. It was also hard and took wayyyy too long to chew. There was no cheese. It was a decent sized taco but it was not worth paying $5.95 plus tax. I can make a better taco at home for free. 4/10


Now the glorious news: Brisket Mac was the holy grail of mac’n’cheese. It’s fighting with lobster mac’n’cheese for my top Mac. The side was the perfect size for me because it filled me up. The pasta was cooked to perfection. The brisket was shredded but the flavor it provided made little cherubs sing “Ode to Joy” in my ears. The creaminess of the dish! Not a single dry spot. The side came with two mini loaves of bread and I dipped that stuff and ate it as if it were chips & salsa. My coworker had a bite and she said she was going to call Slake every day until they have that dish again. The only thing I would change about the dish is the size. I wish I got the bowl instead of the side. I was in a damn good happy food coma for the rest of the afternoon. 10/10

Agree? Disagree? Have any Slake recommendations? Comment below!

Slake is located at 120 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701, past the Intercontinental Hotel.

Che Inka: Argentinan & Peruvian Cuisine (H-town)

The fam decided to take a weekend adventure to H-town. One of our favorite places to get some savory plates is Che Inka in the Rice Military district. 

I’m still fighting through the food coma, so bear with me ladies and gents.

A favorite plate among the fam is the lomo saltado. We make it at home, but Che Inka’s version is elevated, adding a wine blend and using filet mignon rather than stir fry. Filet mignon is mixed with onions and tomatoes and decorated with herbs. The plate is served with basmati rice and french fries. 

Lomo saltado. Excuse the color shift. We were dining outside with the dog.

Not into wine blends or filet mignon? Try their seafood. They have various plates, including varieties of ceviches, rice mixed with shrimp, seafood salads and seafood soups. We will go for the jalea mixto, which is a decent sized plate of fried seafood mixed with onions and diced tomatoes, served with yucca, and garnished with crispy sweet potato strips. The plate originally comes with muscles. Since we are not muscle fans, we always ask they don’t include those [they’ll usually give you more fish ;)]. The seafood is fresh and it takes about two people to finish the whole thing.

It’s a fried fish frenzy!
They do have a brunch menu if you’re brunch people. I have not tried their brunch items yet, but you can view their menu here.

Their desserts. Oh my their desserts! You have to try the lucuma mousse. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture because there are some foods that are too good to photograph. Lucuma is a fruit native to Peru. It’s not overly sweet, which is nice if you’re controlling your sugar intake. The mousse is served in a martini-like glass and garnished with a mint leaf. It’s fluffy. It’s creamy. It does not fall below elegant. It’s amazing.

The food coma is really kicking in so if you’re in the Houston area, check the place out. The staff is super friendly. The atmosphere is modern, upscale yet casual. They do have a kids menu for the little ones. Been there before? How did you like it? Comment below!
Che Inka is located at:

5535 Memorial Dr g, Houston, TX 77007