the roast beef sandwiches

Last night for dinner, Mare & I made some delicious roast beef sandwiches. Bolillos were used for the bread. The roast beef was Morton’s of Omaha sliced roast beef, and the cheese was BelGioioso mild provolone sliced cheese aged 60 days for flavor & aroma. We sautéed half of a white onion and some sliced white mushrooms seasoned with a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

The oven was preheated to 400°F. The bolillos were sliced in half lengthwise. The sliced provolone was cut in half and each sandwich had two whole slices each. One slice was placed on the bread with one slice of roast beef on each slice of bread. The sautéed onions and mushrooms were placed on top of the roast beef then the other slice of provolone was placed on top of that. The sandwiches were toasted for about five minutes on an AirBake baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Mmm!

the saturday morning itis from taqueria montenegro

For the past several months now, Mare&I have a Saturday morning ritual of going to Taqueria Montenegro for the best barbacoa tacos and beef fajita tortas in Austin. The tortas are toasted and filled with marinated beef, cheese, lettuce, and guacamole. The taste and texture is incomparable to anything I’ve ever eaten in my life. If heaven is on a bun, then Montenegro’s torta is a delicious cherub sent from above.

The barbacoa tacos are standard for authentic Mexican cuisine and very mesmerizing. Symptoms of itis from Montenegro’s tasty food cannot be full achieved without consuming their greasy barbacoa in a flour tortilla with their version of pico which is simply diced white onion and chopped cilantro.

The meal isn’t complete without using copious amounts of their signature green (verde) sauce. I’m convinced that it’s just a jalapeño purée, but it completes the mind-blowing flavor of our usual Saturday morning meal from the best taqueria in North Austin.

Taqueria Montenegro is a small taqueria located at 11300 Pollyanna Avenue on the corner of Braker Lane and I-35 connected to a convenient store next to a Money Box. The place has no seating and is busy every time we go. The service is relatively quick depending on how many people are waiting on their order. The staff is friendly, and the quality of the food is very consistent. Their prices are on the inexpensive side, and the menu has many authentic Mexican preparations which include tacos, tortas, and dishes with rice and beans.

They have the best barbacoa in North Austin, the best tortas in the universe, and other dishes you won’t find in a five-mile radius like tripas (which personally I’m not a fan). As long as we live in the North Austin area and our schedules allow, we’ll be stopping by Montenegro every Saturday morning for our usual order of two barbacoa tacos on flour tortillas with pico and two beef fajita tortas, a recipe for the best case of itis ever recorded in the history of man’s existence.

Thanks to GMN to introducing me to the best taqueria in Austin. He used to eat their food all the time when they were just a taco truck in the gas station parking lot where they’re located now. If you’re reading this and know an Austin taqueria that might be as amazing as Montenegro, then please get in touch.

the obligatory life update + the eyefingers making machine gun sounds

I know it’s been over a month since you’ve read something like this on here, but the connection to the interweb has been intermittent at best from where I usually do a majority of my posting for the past couple weeks. The second cable technician came by yesterday and actually fixed it for the most part. We’ll see, but I have a good feeling that the repair is right this time. He fixed some connections outside this fortress that I knew was the issue this whole time.

My miserable experience of having a faulty connection can be summed up with a partial glimpse of the error log that would update ever so often while the connection was offline:

Time     Level     Description
Thu Sep 03 21:09:44 2009       Critical (3)      Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Un…
Thu Sep 03 21:09:12 2009       Critical (3)      Started Unicast Maintenance Ranging – No Response received – …
Thu Sep 03 21:08:07 2009       Critical (3)      No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out

The interesting part about obtaining those critical errors is that the log can’t be accessed when the modem is operating correctly. Thank goodness for being able to copy, paste, and save.

Along with the connection being subpar for over two weeks, I’ve been relatively lazy about updating here. I think Austin had something like 68 straight days of 100+ degree heat which keeps my brain from working. It’s slowly cooling down but definitely not fast enough. I’m ready to be prolific when the weather’s decent, but we’ll have to see how the participation from the rest of the team members suffices.

If you’re still reading this, then I’ll do my best to sum up the highlights of the end of July and the month of August:

At the end of July, Mare & I attended my long-time friend Joe’s wedding in Corpus Christi. The wedding and reception were nice. The wedding was on Saturday, and Sunday was our day to enjoy what the town could give us in a day.

On Sunday, Mare & I started the morning with two barbacoa tacos each from the best taqueria in south Texas, Taqueria Almeida #1 in Flour Bluff. They were bigger than I remembered but maybe that’s due to the smaller ones than the other taquerias here in Austin serve. We then went to the Mustang Island State Park to enjoy the sun, sand, and beach. We ate at Snoopy’s Pier after the beach. We shared the broiled and deep fried Mahi Mahi plates.

On the Saturday of the next weekend, sausage was barbecued at the Plain Rock. The BBQs at Plain Rock usually turn out well. The next week’s grill was a memorable one.

We decided to grill some burgers for dinner on the 21st and upped the ante by making Luthers. GMN picked up a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and I got the rest of the burger-making supplies. Approximately a half-pound of ground beef topped with a slice of medium cheddar, a couple tomato slices, some sweet onion slices, and shredded lettuce between a sliced and toasted Krispy Kreme made up each Luther.

I’m sure all of our hearts skipped some beats and went into bradycardia after we finished eating them. Imagine having one of these symbiotically sharing your bloodstream:

After checking out a few pictures online of what other peoples’ interpretation of the Luther is, we learned that it’s best to turn the donuts upside-down so the consumer grips the area without the delicious icing serving two purposes: less sticky fingers from the sugar and more icing to line the stomach in order to induce a better bout of postprandial somnolence better known as “itis.”

Other than my monotonous weekdays due to the dedication to my day job, nothing much has been going on apart from dealing with the annoyingly annoying central Texan heat. Work is going well. I’m slowly catching up with my comic pile. I finally finished reading Kingdom Come which was excellent. DaShita is almost ready to launch. The Monkey finally got its graphic added. The update on this site’s appearance is about 80% complete and I hope to have it installed this upcoming week.

All in all, this summer has come and gone. This year has been perpetual, but that’s OK with me.

I hope with the connection running solid again that I’ll update this more often with what’s going on in my world as if you really cared. Thanks for tuning in. Time to finish reading some new Deadpool. Peace out.

the neverending to-do list

The Parsons table to my left is covered in clutter, and I’ve been planning on organizing it for weeks. I hope this week is the week when it finally happens.

As you can probably tell, I haven’t been updating you via this channel at all this month. Let’s just say my schedule hasn’t allowed me to spend as much time with this as usual, but I hope to change that in June.

I’ve been keeping busy lately. I got some dough from my insurance company intended to fix the hail damage in my old ’97 Accord. I decided to put that money toward replacing the tint and shocks instead. I also got my cracked windshield fixed after three years or so. Apart from the sun damage on the exterior paint, the car is looking and feeling good for a 13-year-old vehicle.

The job is going well. I still manage to get up way too early in the morning and make it to the office by 5. After I leave a little after 1, I run my errands set for the day which I’m sure I’ve outlined on a previous post or two but I might as run through it all real quick since I haven’t updated you in a while.

With the exception of the past couple weeks when a decent amount of work was being done to my car, I hit the gym after work on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I usually go after Rachael Ray is halfway done, the fishies have been fed, the ISOs have been made if necessary, and the [email protected] systems have been checked to be up and running smoothly.

Somewhat sad news: The golden dojo loach passed away recently. Time has been flying by quickly this month, but I’d say it died a week and a half ago. The Hex-5 is kind of boring right now, but I gave it a deep cleaning this past Sunday. Mare and I will be searching for a pair of loaches soon, but we’ve both been relatively busy. Now back to our scheduled programming:

On Tuesdays, I stop by the library to check out DVDs and the occasional book. They have a great system online where you can place holds on whatever media they have from any branch, and they’ll bring it to the branch of your choice. This is convenient for me, since the library is right down the street. Public libraries are one of the best incentives that an American taxpayer has in my opinion.

Wednesdays are new comic days. I like going right after work since the selection is at its best it’s going to be for the most part. Popular titles get snatched up pretty quick, but I haven’t had any issues getting my issues. Last week, a new issue of Hulk, Wolverine: Weapon X, and Young Liars was released. Due to Memorial Day, new comics come out tomorrow instead of today. The only issue coming out tomorrow that I read religiously is the new issue of X-Force. I think the Messiah War concludes in this issue. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Also on Wednesdays, Mare and I have been dining out around 2 or 3. Since the semester is over, it’ll probably change up a bit. She doesn’t have to work today, so we’ll be going to Casino El Camino after Wheel this evening to stuff ourselves with their famous ginormous burgers. I haven’t had it yet, but I know it’s gonna rock my gut in a good way. On a related note, we’ll be compiling info on a piece that I’ll be publishing here about our favorite  burger joints in Austin once we’ve completed our follow-up rounds. Stay tuned for that.

Also in future news, a design update for this Soapbox has been planned for this summer. This update should be deployed around late July so also look forward to that. Let’s wrap up the week’s routine and Wheel should be on in a bit.

That’s right. 6:30pm CST on NBC DTV is one of my all-time favorite shows Wheel of Fortune. I don’t like missing it. In related television news, how about Danny on Hell’s Kitchen schooling Paula?! I was rooting for him since the beginning, and I’m glad he won. He did the best out and had the right attitude to win it.

Also, I’m glad Adam didn’t win American Idol. I was rooting for Danny, but he got third place unfortunately. Well, it can be seen as a good thing since Danny’s votes probably shifted to Kris which then outnumbered Adam’s. I don’t care much at all about the future of the Idols, but I started watching the show between day jobs so I was into it ’til the end this season.

Since most of the fall seasons have ended, I’m watching the first season of Mad Men which I’m really enjoying and recently finished watch the first season of Eastbound and Down which was well done as well. I look forward to the next seasons of those two shows.

On Fridays, I like to go out to the Hideout and chat with my posse. GMN and DDF are in Cali right now. I’m envious that they got to have Double Doubles from In-N-Out! I’ll visit Cali again some day, and I will sink my teeth into a Double Double before I die.

Five minutes ’til Wheel. I’m gonna end this here so I can proofread it real quick then publish. This was fun. I’m glad you missed me. Maybe I’ll write some more tomorrow. We’ll see. Peace out.

the caterpillar salad

My family had lunch this past Sunday at an Italian restaurant chain known for their soup, salad, and breadsticks. My brother was finishing his second helping of salad when he noticed an anomaly next to a crouton: a caterpillar.

He was about to eat it before he noticed its odd shape and the worm juice that squeezed out when he squished it with his fork. After my sister snapped a picture with her new phone, we alerted a waiter of the deceased larva that made its way on one of our plates.

The manager on duty came by our table to apologize, comped my brother’s meal and also gave us a $50 gift card. Although our stomachs were a little uneasy for the remainder of our visit, we still enjoyed each other’s company, the prompt service, and the restaurant’s delicious food.

We weren’t furious of the occurrence, because the truth is that caterpillars eat leaves so something like this is bound to happen. The restaurant staff handled the situation professionally, and this incident will not keep us from returning in the future. However, we will always relish the time that my brother found a caterpillar in his salad every time the topic of finding something strange in your food is brought up and every time we dine at this Italian restaurant. When we’re there, we’re Family.

the taco cabana bogos and reasons why this great state pwnz

Tomorrow, Mare and I will be enjoying our half-price taco dinners. That’s what BOGOs essentially are. Taco Cabana sent a promotional flyer a few weeks ago with some irresistible coupons to stimulate the Texan economy.

Last week, we used the BOGO Fajita Cabana Bowl coupon. We went with steak of course. We forgot to ixnay the refried beans, so I ate pinto bean paste for the first time in a very long time. We also ordered some extra tortillas on the side, because they’re the best. When we were done eating, we were stuffed for less than ten bucks.

We used the BOGO Fajita Taco Dinner coupon the week before that. Each plate had two steak tacos, spanish rice, refried beans, and a couple extra tortillas. We substituted the beans for more rice and indulged in two big meals for less than ten bucks.

Taco Cabana is one of the best Mexican chains in Texas. The quality of their food rivals those fancier Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants where you’ll find yourself spending two to three times more for something similar.

We usually go inside to dine, because we enjoy the authentic-style atmosphere. I’ve heard the wait at the drive-thru can be ridiculous, but I think they’ve improved since they became notorious for having the longest wait of chain restaurants with a drive-thru. It didn’t take too long the last time I recall going through the drive-thru, but it was during the wee hours of the night. I’m sure it wouldn’t be in someone’s best interest on their lunch break.

Returning to good things about Taco Cabana: their salsa bar is awesome. You can choose from five different salsas: rojo, verde, fuego, pico de gallo, and a new pineapple chipotle. The quality has been fresh every time I’ve visited, and it’s help yourself to however much you want. The salsa tastes authentic like the food, so I get down on their salsa when I dine in. This is another perk to dining in versus using the drive-thru.

They also serve breakfast tacos in the morning. Coupled with their homemade-style flour tortillas, these tacos hit the spot after a late night of drinking or satisfying an early bird’s hunger. The barbacoa breakfast taco is delicious and wrecks your stomach in that good way signaling its authenticity.

For you readers who are unfamiliar with barbacoa, it’s seasoned greasy cow cheek. It’s extra juicy, tastes delicious, and does a number on your gut like you’d never imagine but worth the consumption. Their other breakfast tacos are good, too, but I’m devoted to the barbacoa. It’s not the best I’ve had, but Taqueria Almeida is 250 miles away;)

I was just going to write a quick post about their BOGO coupons stimulating people like myself to go out and spend money on eating out, but this post turned into a long rant about why I like Taco Cabana. Well, if you’re not from Texas or haven’t enjoyed food from this Mexican chain restaurant, then you’re missing out. I’m not going to overhype it, but it’s damn good food. Peace out.

the free burritos from chipotle

One of the added bonuses to seeing the midnight premiere of Watchmen at Alamo Lake Creek with the Capstone Comics crew is that they handed out these free paper bags for free Chipotle burritos. Anyone who got one of these bags could walk into Chipotle by March 8th to get a free giant, gourmet burrito. Score!

Since we were sitting on the end of a row and the received the rest of the bags being passed down, we had the double bonus of getting multiple bags. Mare and I got four bags total. We used two on Friday, and the other two on Sunday at two nearby locations.

Chipotle burritos usually go for eight bucks (plus tax) each, so we scored over $32 worth of free food. Quadruple bonus! Their food is delicious and a carnivorous health nut’s wet dream. They do have some stiff competition here with Freebird’s, but both types of burritos are very different. I’d say most of Austin prefers Freebird’s over Chipotle, but I’m down with either but would sway a little closer to the Bird.

The first burrito I enjoyed was made with the barbacoa. I don’t think it’s genuine barbacoa, because the barbacoa I’m used to getting at Mexican taco shacks (and Taco Cabana for breakfast) is much greasier and does a number on my gut once it’s made the journey to the end. The meat is still delicious though.

I prefer the fajita burrito, because I don’t like pinto beans. Put some pico de gallo, some of that roasted chili-corn salsa, cheese and romaine on top of the juicy meat, sautéed green peppers and onions on a layer of cilantro-lime rice and wrap it up in a big tortilla for a tasty meal. My second burrito was the same setup but with the carnitas which are very tasty as well.

I rarely ever go to Chipotle to dine, but we couldn’t pass up the free meals. I’m sure they ran this promotion to stimulate some business with the weak state of the economy and Lent going on. We weren’t total mooches. We bought sodas and tipped them the change.