Archive for November 23rd, 2008

Marathon’s

It seems that nearly every weekend or every other weekend there are road closures and detour signs as a result of a marathon.

Austin hosts a huge number of marathons every year of a myriad of reasons, supporting diseases, illness and a variety of non-profits.

Upcoming Austin marathons includeThe 18th Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot and the Trail of Lights 5k.

Hosting marathons, half marathons and triathlons can pack a powerful economic punch for cities. As well as benefit those who run them by providing:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved health
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Increased discipline
  • Quality time outdoors

There are many running groups in Austin. “Austin Fit is one of those groups… it’s designed for folks like us who aren’t at all worried about winning…Austin Fit, offers a training program to get runners and walkers of all levels ready for the 3M and Freescale half marathons or the Freescale full marathon.” According to an Austinist.com article.

To get more information on running marathon’s or just for fun visit Run Tex or Austin TX running Clubs.

-Samantha

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Coffee Bar Talent

I swear this isn’t a shameless plug, but I’ll let you determine whether that’s true after you read this post.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t frequent coffee bars (or houses, or shacks, or whatever people call them) too often.  I know some find them to be a great place to study, but I need a sterile environment with horrifyingly graphic fluorescent lighting.

But recently I’ve been doing a little coffee bar hopping.  From Mozarts on Lake Austin, to Dominican Joe on South Congress, to Clementine on Manor—I’ve started to get a sense of “the scene.”  What caused this sudden interest?  Well, I’m not doing it for my health.  No, I’ve been following around a pair of “Singing Sarahs” known as “The Reliques.” (Pronounced “rel-icks”)

Jackie Gilles.

The Reliques, comprised of Sarah Dossey and Sarah Walters, are singer/songwriters based in Austin and performing in local coffee bars. Photo credit: Jackie Gilles.

Confession time:  one of the Sarahs is a good friend of mine.  But the larger point of this post is that the talent of some of the people that play these places is amazing.  It seems like almost any night of the week you can walk into a different coffee bar and someone’s bearing their soul into a microphone while gently strumming an acoustic guitar.  And this isn’t “Smelly Cat” stuff, either, for fans of “Friends.”  (And no, that was not worth embedding.)

The MySpace page of the Reliques reads:

We hope to grow with you and learn with you and eat and drink with you as well.  Please remember that if there is anything we can do for you let us know.  We want to be there for you as you are for us.  We hope that our songs please you.  We hope that our voices calm you.  We hope you will tell us when they do.

It’s a little refreshing, after constantly listening to artists who have “made it,” to go to a coffee bar and hear the raw power of singer/songwriters that are performing for the pure enjoyment of performance.  There’s an authenticity there that’s not found in many things in life.  I’ll leave you with the final line of “Disappointed” by the Reliques:

“I feel like everybody wants the same thing, darling, and when they find it there always disappointed.” -The Reliques

-Jeff

Amy’s in ‘Da Hood.

Amy's Ice Cream is an Austin favorite  ©2006 ACVB Photo

Amy's Ice Creams is an Austin favorite ©2006 ACVB Photo

“Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!”

..is the motto of Amy’s Ice Creams, one of the best ice cream places around.

Amy Miller, founder of Amy's Ice Cream

Amy Miller, founder of Amy's Ice Cream

Amy’s was started by Amy Miller in 1984. She was a pre-med student at Tufts University, and also worked at an ice-cream parlor called Steve’s Ice Cream. Amy decided to open up her own place, and after scouting trips to numerous sites, she fell in love with Austin and opened shop here!
She and her partner wrote a hot check for the original Guadalupe location, and has been an Austin favorite ever since.

Amy’s has been voted the best Readers Ice Cream by the Austin Chronicle 8 years in a row now, and also has been voted Best Neon numerous times. Currently, there are 13 more locations throughout Austin, with 1 in Houston and 1 in San Antonio.

Amy’s has over 300 flavors, and every single one I’ve tasted until now has been delicious.
What’s really great about Amy’s and makes it unique, though, is their great employees.

Many employees of Amy’s will do “tricks” with the ice cream as they prepare it and before the customer receives it. These tricks include things like throwing ice cream scoops under the leg, behind the back, and over people. Some locations are known for throwing ice cream across the street, where either the recipient or another employee will attempt to catch it. Crazy fun, huh?

Example of an application for Amy's Ice Creams.

Example of an application for Amy's Ice Creams.

To find these unique and creative people, Amy’s has a special application process.
The paper application is a white paper bag. The only requirements are to write a name and contact information somewhere on the application. Applicants are encouraged to be creative and applications have included decorated bags, short stories, and videos placed in the bag. The bag does not have to remain intact; some applications have included only portions of the bag, puppets made from the bag, or the remains of a bag (ashes). The end product does not need to resemble the original bag.

As a result, the employees of Amy’s are truly amazing, and they are the reason why Amy’s has such a fun, quirky vibe that fits Austin so well.

Below is a video of the tricks they do. The video did an awesome job of capturing the spirit of Amy’s. You should definitely watch it. They do some pretty cool stuff! 🙂

-Jane

Halcyon

Ok, so reading Holly’s post made me remember something that I love about Austin – Halcyon!  Now, I am not one much to frequent the downtown area.  I live in Northwest Austin and am not a bar-hopper, so other than the occasional concert, I don’t make it downtown much.  However if there is one place that I am willing to fight traffic and pay a ridiculous parking fee for, it’s Halcyon.

smores-main_full

After all, where else do you know that you can make s’mores (WITH a fire, nonetheless) at your table?  Halcyon comes with all the trimmings to make your very own s’mores to go with your coffee, including graham crackers, hershey’s chocolate, marshmallows and your own little fire pit complete with little roasting sticks!  Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face!  It’s a great place to frequent with friends, even if you don’t want to make s’mores.  Their coffee is delicious and there are comfy couches to lounge on.

With the weather getting colder (or at least attempting to on some days) Halcyon is a viable option on nights when you and your friends are trying to figure out something fun (and different) to do.

–Brittany


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