Monday, November 30, 2009

An afternoon at Ann Taylor

There are some really good deals out there now....but not everything that sounds good really is! Ann Taylor had a sale after Thanksgiving that was the real deal.... 40 percent off your entire purchase...everything included. The next three days it was restricted to 40 percent off one item.

I found a soft sweater wrap and silky t-shirt. They also had great black dresses that would be perfect for lots of occasions. And they still have those pearl, rhinestone, and ribbon necklaces that Dale Coker mentioned earlier. Also an extra 40 percent off sale items.

Sales like this pop up quickly and I never have time to tell anyone. And sometimes they are online only.

On the other hand, I was looking at computers and was told that I could pay it out with no interest on all computers with a little logo on them. I glanced around and saw the little logo everywhere. So I took out a new credit card and picked out a computer, only to find out that was not the correct logo. Only three models (all over $1700) qualified for the deal. I was looking in the $300 price range! Oh well...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't forget the wine!

If you haven't already gotten wine for your Thanksgiving dinner or need a bottle to take to someone else's house, Austin Wine Merchant has some suggestions. They recommend fruitier, less tannic red wines such as Beaujolais, Burgundy, new world Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Merlot, Côtes-du-Rhône. For the white wines they recommend off-dry versions of Riesling, fresher more fruit forward versions of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. I got an Argyle Pinot Noir for $19. And maybe a bubbly wine to start!

I've also read that Thanksgiving is not necessarily the time to splurge on a wine. With all the strong competing flavors, get something good but save the bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2005! This is a time to enjoy good conversation and laughs with family and friends!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

EAST (East Austin Studio Tour) favorites

There are so many artists showing their work it is hard to know where to start. Besides, everyone has different tastes so it's hard to guide someone on such personal choices. But here are a few that I have to mention.

George Barry makes metal scultures from found objects such as birds from nuts and bolts. Or a life-size, operational figure on a bicycle. Very unusual and creative.

The artisans at Mendoza's Bella's Artes handcraft earrings, necklaces, and bracelets from silver and stones. Very reasonably priced.

The Pump Project on Shady Lane is a complex with many artists. One of my favorites was Erika Jaeggli. Love her still lifes and beaches!

I also love the porcelain dinnerware by Sunyong Chung. They look like watercolors.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Report from HEB

Sunday afternoon I stopped by the HEB on Bee Caves Road for a few things I forgot the day before. Over an hour later I emerged having eaten my way through the store! No dinner for me!

The station at the Cafe on the Run counter had turkey & potatoes (good), cranberry chutney (very good), green beans (good). The meat department had ham (good), roast beef (very good) with horseradish sauce, and mashed potatoes. The scallops (not my favorite) were in the fish department and behind it were egg nog (2% and yummy) and cookies. And then truffles (wow!) and coffee. And then....pumpkin ice cream and chocolate mint chip ice cream (great). I nearly forgot...pumpkin pie also! What a day!

I guess they were featuring their Thanksgiving foods....They sold me. If they do this again, go try the goodies.

Earlier in the day, I had wandered into Williams Sonoma and they were serving turkey & dressing made from focaccia (very good), mashed potatoes and gravy (great), and green bean casserole (good). If this keeps up, I'll put on the pounds before we even get to Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wine Night!

I love Tuesday night when it a wine class with Jeremy Parzen! Tonight we talked about and tasted the wines of Veneto. If you don't remember my first blog about Jeremy, he has a Ph.D. in Italian and has traveled, studied, and tasted throughout Italy. His blog, Do Biancho, is great fun for an approachable look at wines. By the way, he will be at Vino Vino with Kermit Lynch on Monday, Nov. 9 to introduce Kermit's new CD, Man's Temptation. (But you need reservations; call 512-465-9282 ) To preview:

But back to the wine. We started with Bisol Prosecco. I love this! Light in body (11-12 percent alcohol) and great with food, especially seafood. This is not a cheap substitute for Champagne, but a great food wine. $18

I bought a Soave Classico by Inama. Remember when Soave was a cheap bulk wine? No more! This one had bright acidity and is a great value for $15.

We moved to the reds with two Zenato Valpolicellas. Higher alcohol content here. These wines come from near Lake Garda and enjoy good drainage and ventilation from the lake. In the $25 range.

But the treat was a Valpolicella Classico Superiore from Quintarelli, a legend in Italian winemaking. $62 (at Austin Wine Merchant)but this was a special purchase; it retails for more! We're talking handwritten labels and a winemaker who won't release a wine until it meets his high standards.

The classes have not been "stuffy" and Jeremy makes wine even more interesting by sharing his experiences in Italy. These have been wine & food classes, not just wine tasting. Thanks, Jeremy!