The Oasis on Lake Travis

I have to admit it: I’m a sad example of a Hispanic girl. I can’t salsa dance to save my life. XD

Lucky for me (and you fellow Austinites/tourists/dancers), there is a place where free salsa exists (both the food kind and dance kind!).

The Oasis is a great place to gather friends and family for an evening of fun. Eleven years ago, the Oasis was a restaurant that was falling apart. Now, it’s a paradise with its renovated restaurant, two other restaurants (one of them being Gumbo’s which used to operate in Bee Cave), cafes, boutiques and an arcade. Oh, and some killer views of Lake Travis.



Every Sunday, from 7-10 PM, the Starlight Terrace holds Latin night where the band plays a mix of Latin-genre music, including salsa, merengue, and Tejano (think OG Selena). From 8:30-9 (today lasted til 9:15 since there was a large crowd), a pair of dance instructors host dance lessons. Piece of advice: can we do the lessons first thirty minutes so I can practice my dance skills? Just saying.


The food is pretty good and the drinks are better. Their most popular plate is the bean and cheese nachos, which actually comes with more than just beans, cheese and tortilla chips. In terms of drinks, they are best known for their margaritas. If you aren’t into food coma nachos, they’ve got burgers and tacos. Worried about calories? Don’t be. You’ll lose it with all the dancing. XD

This is a great family friendly event as well as an adults only event. Or if you have to bring the kids along but planned adults only, you can send the kids to check out the candy store or play in the arcade.


The best thing about this place is watching the sun set over Lake Travis. It’s romantic and fascinating and, if you are a nerd like me, question everything about astronomy and the science that brings such beauty to one’s life.


So maybe you’ll catch me dancing here again and hopefully not as a complete two left feet dancer. 

The Oasis on Lake Travis is located on 6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732. You can also check out their website here.

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)

Poetry Games: The White Stripes

Because why not The White Stripes? Enjoy!

 

“Hello Operator”,

I’m gonna call you “Suzy Lee”

Listen straight up because

“We’re Going to Be Friends” so

“Let’s Shake Hands” and fall in love.

“Suzy Lee” you “Fell in Love With a Girl”

but all she gave you was

“Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”.

Let’s grab our “Seven Nation Army”

And head over to the “Hotel Yorba”

“In the Cold, Cold Night” to see

the “White Moon” rise.

Let’s make friends with

the “Little Ghosts” under the

“Blue Orchid” and “Apple Blossom” trees

so we won’t fear the “Icky Thump”

that rules the night.

Let us run the twenty blocks to

Graffiti Park on top of Castle Hill

as the “City Lights” die

to watch the sun rise.

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.

ACL Announces 2017 Lineup

It’s finally here ladies and gents! The 2017 Lineup for ACL Fest has arrived! Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper, Gorillaz, Spoon and more!

ACL Lineup 2017

Interesting lineup. I am slightly disappointed Temples won’t be playing this year but c’est la vie. Thanks for KUTX for providing non-maintstream music because this is the first time that the majority of bands I want to see are actually not in the first three rows. Middle Kids, Skip Marley, Hamilton Leithauser, The Revivalists, and Angel Olsen I am looking at you. 🙂

Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 2 

It’s a such a beautiful day out here in ATX. Definite blast the car stereo weather. Therefore, time to share the second volume of the Downtowm Travels series! This time we have Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Avett Brothers in the mix.

This playlist is more along the lines of what I’m interested in. A sorta favorites list because I like the vibe, sound, lyrics, and all that good stuff. A few have a couple stories attached.

  1. Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon

Ah Frank Sinatra. I should really write a post on his great life. Note to self. Sinatra is first on the playlist because, well, Sinatra is the answer to everything (at least according to my friend Siddiqi and me.)

2. The Postal Service – Sleeping In

The opening lyrics is what gets me. “Last night I had the strangest dream / where everything was exactly how it seemed / where there was never any mystery / of who shot John F Kennedy”. It gets me thinking of a world where things are simple. No wars, no global climate problems, no conspiracy theories. It also gets me, the history nerd, thinking, “what would have happened if JFK lived out his full four year term? Would the 60s be the 60s with him around?” Sound the conspiracy music!

 

3. The Beatles – In My Life 

Once you hear the piano, you’ll understand.

 

4. The Avett Brothers – Another is Waiting

One of my favorite 21st century bands…actually make that all time bands period. The lyrics are fun. They are great live (no, I have yet to see them in person but watched enough Youtube videos to make this sound judgement). They are folksy and have a great piano player. They’ll even get ragtimey at times. Yep, gotta dedicate a post to them soon.

5. The Beatles – All My Loving

Funny story about this one. I once dared a friend, who has a rather terrible singing voice (not that mine is any better), to sing a song. No conditions or anything, just any song. He didn’t do it at the right second. Instead, he waited a good week, knocked on my door and started singing the Beatles. Silly me should have gotten it on video because it was pretty good (and hilarious!). Every time I hear this song, part of me will think there’s someone at the front door. That and the lyrics are just absolutely adorbs and soooooooo 1960s.

 

7. New Politics – Harlem

Because you just need a song to dance to.

 

8. Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear – Silent Movies

You know I am a fan of the soulful voices. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear do not stray from this. Their raspy voices transport you to another world, another time. Did the mention the instrumentals are amazing?

 

9. Future Islands – A Dream of You And Me

For those days when you need a sorta more soothing approach. This song reminds me of those lazy spring days laying on the grass in front of Main Building at St. Ed’s where you are trying to study but are so focused by the beauty that surrounds you.

 

10. The Decemberists – 16 Military Wives

The Decemberists are great with lyrics. The instrumentals are simple, which is nice because it helps you focus on the storyline that is portrayed in the song. It’s political yet fun. It’s got a bit of a marching beat to it, much like the military marches.

 

11. Foster the People – Best Friend

I am originally from the Voldemort state (you know, that one big West Coast state that Texans do not like and wish would stay away from any inch of the Lone Star State in fear of completely screwing up the mellow/country/old school landscape), so it’s no surprise I would cheer for a band from my old stomping grounds. The song is catchy and when you hear them live like I did at SXSW a few years back, you can’t get rid of them no matter how hard you try. The lyrics, if you truly listen, have mixed meanings. I’ve taken it as drug addiction problems, writers block, and even the general concept of friends being there for each other no matter what the situation is.

 

12. SPEAK – Carrie

Another one of my favorite bands of all time. A friend introduced me to this Austin band about four years ago (yes, the same friend who sang the Beatles on my front porch on a dare). This song is from their 2011 album, I Believe in Everything. Regardless of whatever mood you are in you will dance to the beat of this song and fall in love with Troupe Gammage’s voice. Definite song of any summer for me.

 

Hope you enjoy. There will be more coming soon!

P.S did anyone catch the typo? 🙂

KGSR Announces First BOTG Show

If you are in the Austin area, then you must know about Blues on the Green, the free concert series at Zilker Park hosted by 93.3 KGSR. This should be their 24th year running (correct me if I’m wrong fellow reader).

According to culturemap, “no Austin summer is complete without Blues on the Green.” True dat.

The 2017 series will fall on May 24th, June 14th, July 12th and Aug 2nd. This morning, it was announced that local favorite Jamestown Revival will headlining the May 24th with Texas artist Walker Lukens as the opening act. As mentioned before, the show is FREE. There’ll be food trucks, vendors and, if you prefer the luxurious amenities like catered meals and shade, KGSR hospitality passes, which KGSR is giving away on their website.

The concert is a great way to kick off the summer with friends and family. Hope to see you there!

BOTG KGSR
Blues on the Green’s first show is at Zilker Park on May 24th.

Record Store Day

Happy Record Days ladies and gents! Today we celebrate the wonderful sounds of vinyl and the establishments that continue to provide us these classic pieces.

If you’re in the Austin area, check out these participating stores:

  • Waterloo Records – 5th and Lamar, Downtown ATX
  • Antone’s Record Shop – 2928 Guadalupe, UT Campus
  • Breakaway Records – North Loop, Central ATX
  • Groovers Paradise – Comanche Trail, Oasis on Lake Travis

Get out there and support your local record store! And while you’re at it, celebrate Earth day by carpooling, taking public transportation and buying used records 🙂

The Fickle Things

We find that time
is a fickle thing.
We are actually
Quite, quite wrong.
What we don’t realize
is that we are
the fickle things.
We fear change
Yet we are
Constantly changing.
Growing, learning.
We support things,
places,
people.
Yet when the time comes,
We cut the chord,
Close the shop,
Disappear,
Hoping to never be seen again.

Time.
Time remains constant,
Always forward, never backward.
Always and forever there.
Time haunts us,
tempts us,
provokes us to return
to that place we once knew.
That place we now yearn.
Ironic, n’est-ce pas?

That place.
The sights of Jiffy 620s on display,
Of curiosities on shelves,
Of groovy artwork on faded walls.
The smells of cigars,
Of high quality coffee at low prices,
of home.
The sounds of laughter,
of love in bloom,
of philosophical talks and debates.
Now replaced by
the flashing of phone cameras,
modern and sleek boutiques,
the crowds of foreign folks.
Not a single familiar face in sight.

We find that time
is a fickle thing.
We are indeed
quite quite wrong.
The person you were then,
the person you yearn to be again,
the person you are now,
Are as strange as the places
themselves.
Not a single familiar face in sight.

Downtown Travels Mix Tape Vol. 1

As a writer/artist, music is a huge factor in how I see life and create things. Cliché I know but #truth.

I started the Downtown Travels mixtape series about a year and a half ago. Some coworkers of mine and I were recommending songs to each other and got into the sorta old school style of sharing music: giving playlists on CDs. Children if you don’t know what these are, they’re the little circular objects that have a rainbow streak when you put them in the light. They are lighter than your iPod and tangible compared to your Spotify accounts.

This mixtape is pretty special, being the first one and all. There are 11 playlists total and counting. This one is probably the most related to real life events. Oh nostalgia! How you torture the hearts and minds of your prey but give the best musical moments!

Enough backstory, here’s the playlist!

  1. Sedona – Houndmouth

The guitar in the beginning of the song brings that lovely feeling of early summer and tickles your heart as you drive through the hills of West Austin.

2. Rock the Casbah – The Clash

The first song I heard on a vinyl player, about three years ago On one of the side streets along the SoCo strip is a hidden record store. Just found the place by chance and their inventory was quite different from what you would typically find at Waterloo. I mean they had the latest-at-the-time Daft Punk album and current albums, but also had little known bands, rare finds and a great selection of classical orchestra music. This is my favorite Clash song with the original members. Also, sidenote: happy birthday Combat Rock for turning 35 years old this year.

 

3. Down in the Valley – The Head and The Heart

If you’ve read my previous post “The Head and The Heart“, then you know of my love for this song. It’s the perfect lazy spring/summer song. Enough said.

 

4. Supersoaker – Kings of Leon

We can agree the melody is catchy and soothes you into an almost trance-like state. I hear this song and I am 18 again, a college freshman at St. Ed’s, driving through SoCo as the sun sets on a March afternoon.

5. Just Like Heaven – The Cure

“Show me show me show me how you do that trick the one that makes me scream she said!” What to say of this song? One of the best love songs of the 1980s. Again, I am reminded of those lazy early summer days driving around with the windows rolled down, simply enjoying life. Or dancing around Graffiti Park to catch a glance of every piece of artwork that were sprayed on the walls while at the same time enjoying the ATX skyline. Pure joy.

 

6. Thunder Clatter – Wild Cub

A few years ago, there was this radio station called 105.3 The Fringe (which then turned into Classic 105.3, which then turned into 105.3 The Bat). The station was a private KUTX to an extent, playing local artists, upcoming artists, and things the corporate stations didn’t. I first heard this song on The Fringe and it was pretty much song of the summer for me. I still don’t know all the words, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to sing along in my car as I drive on Barton Springs Road.

7. Cocoon – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Another one of those songs first heard on the radio. It’s a pretty good song to sing out on the top of your lungs in your car with your friends (or alone). It’s also fun to try to count how many times the f-word is said.

8. With Your Two Hands – The Wind and the Wave

I had heard of The Wind and the Wave before they made it big with this song. I in love with them when I heard their live interview on the JB and Sandy Show on The Fringe in October 2014. I was sitting in the empty classroom where “Shakespearean Theatre” was held-ground floor of Moody Hall-working on my Merchant of Venice paper, happily listening to The Wind and the Wave play this song live on the radio waves. The rest is history. As I type this, I have various tabs open trying to find the podcast. Soundcloud I’m coming for you!

 

9. Fools – Wild Child

I saw Wild Child with some friends at our first Blues on the Green show back in June 2014. I believe it was Wild Child’s big debut. Like The Wind and the Wave, Wild Child is a local indie band that you casually hear about. It’s a cool band and every time I hear this song, I’m transported back to a very less crowded Zilker Park, sitting on a picnic blanket in a polka dot dress wondering about the opening act to Saints of Valory.

10. Friday I’m in Love – The Cure

Because you can’t have a better Friday song than this. This song to me is just all the happiness and carefree vibes streaming through all the streets of ATX. It’s the lightness of being. It’s the song you shout to your friend parked in the car next to you as you both wait for the light on Monroe and South Congress to turn green. It’s the song that tells you no matter how hard life gets, how complicated love gets, how confusing the future gets, everything will be okay. It’s the song that you cannot finish without a smile on your face.

 

Hope you enjoy this. Some might feel the same connections. Some might share the same memories. Some might just be outright confused and that’s okay. Like what you see? Have suggests? Comment below!

Ty Richards: Zillion (2017)

The benefit of working in the ATX is that the office giveaway pile includes CDs. I casually looked through the CD basket and found a brand-new, still wrapped, copy of Ty Richards’ debut album, Zillion. Ty Richards, if you don’t know, is a local ATX artist. His music is based on psychedelic rock with hints of pop and dance beats. According to a note he wrote on his site, Richards is all about bringing back the institution of the album. Richards, in his opinion, find albums the “best way to be immersed in music”. True dat Richards.

“Spaceman”, the first song of the journey, is a fun one. You feel like you’re in a disco club with martians who are dressed like 1980s Madonna playing that classic psychedelic rhythms. Considering I’ve only heard one song from Richards, I didn’t know what to expect. This was something I did not expect at all. And I like it like that. It’s sorta confusing but you get over it within the first five seconds because you find yourself dancing along.

Lyric-wise I recommend “She Can Count the Days”. Simple storyline: girl is getting back on her feet. It’s a pretty good “cheer up” song and has a very Beck-esque vibe.

Go to California / Kill them with kindness / Go kick down your giants / And never come back

True advice from a stranger. The song just wants you to get in a car and drive down the hills and shout to the world. The world spins, but in a fascinating, kaleidoscope way. All those goals you thought were lost are suddenly renewed. Hence, this post on this blog. 🙂

You can grab Ty Richards’ album at his site, http://www.music.tyrichards.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, @tyrichardsmusic. I expect great things from you Richards. The journey has only just began for your.