Sisterhood of the Traveling Paleos

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Hey, Austin!

I’m sorry to have missed you guys when I was in Texas a couple of months ago, but I’ll be back in ATX in a week-and-a-half for a joint Q&A and cookbook signing with Melissa JoulwanDiana Rodgers, and Arsy Vartanian. So come to the Barnes and Noble at The Arboretum at 7pm on Thursday, April 10—it’s my one Austin-area book event!

To RSVP for this free event, click here!

I Left My Heart in Texas (Last Two Days in Austin, TX)

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I know what you’re thinking: What the FEENA FOO?!?! (BTW, that’s Lil-O’s favorite made-up curse phrase of the moment.) Wasn’t your trip to Austin over TWO weeks ago?

Yes, grasshopper, your observation skills are very strong indeed. But I did tell you that I was gonna milk this trip for as many blog posts as possible. Before the gull wing doors lock on this modified DeLorean, gulp down a chill pill ‘cause we’re talking one last trip to Austin.

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Bright and early Easter morning, our posse met up with Melicious

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….her hubby Dave….

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….and Danielle for brunch at 24 Diner. See? We do eat several meals at this restaurant every time we’re in Austin. As luck would have it, a bunch of other like-minded Paleo food bloggers had the same idea and we ended up dining in a booth next to Julie, Charles, and baby Scott…

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…and waving out the window at a whole mess of other Paleo pals brunching al fresco.

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Eating Out: Barley Swine & Lick Ice Cream (Austin, TX)

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It’s been over a week since we left Austin, but in my mind, I’m still there, eating my way through the city with my friends.

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Want to see what we ate for dinner — just a few hours after finishing up our fantastic lunch at Elizabeth Street Cafe? Then let’s grab some plutonium and fire up the flux capacitor. Hop into my DeLorean, and we’ll travel twelve days back in time to relive my dinner at Barley Swine and dessert at Lick Ice Cream. (No, it wasn’t perfectly Paleo, but neither am I.)

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Ready to accelerate to 88 miles an hour?

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Eating Out: Elizabeth Street Cafe (Austin, TX)

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Despite the full slate of speakers, discussion panels, and cooking demos at PaleoFX, I attended only a few Saturday morning presentations before heading back to our bungalow in Austin to hang with my family. It was hard to sit still when I knew my boys were having fun without me.

Diana and Cathy joined us, and we all took a stroll down to Elizabeth Street Cafe for lunch. 

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You wouldn’t know it from its name, but Elizabeth Street Cafe serves up tasty Vietnamese fare. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Vietnamese food; the dishes always have the perfect balance of savory, sweet, tang, and crunch. Blending Chinese and French influences, the cuisine of Vietnam is pure alchemy, combining flavors, textures, and temperatures to create unique, surprising dishes that really pop.

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I’ve had my fair share of terrific Vietnamese grub, but as soon as we sat down, I knew this place was gonna be good. Why? Because there were bottles of homemade sriracha AND Red Boat Fish Sauce on every table. And you know how much I love both.

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Read on to see our chow!

**Spoiler alert: Continuing with the Paleo People Gone Wild theme, we ate some non-Paleo foods (Rice noodles! Rice wrappers! Sugar!), so skip this post if you don’t want your eyes to explode and melt off your face.**

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Deep in the Heart of Texas: Days 1 & 2

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Guess what we did for spring break! Nope, we didn’t pile into an RV bound for a booze-soaked Florida beach to shed our inhibitions, clothing, and sobriety. Instead, we hightailed it to Austin so that I could attend (and do a couple of cooking demos at) PaleoFX — and where Henry and the kids could roam around town doing whatever it is that boys do.

On Wednesday, after hurriedly chucking some clothes and toiletries into our luggage and hustling our children out the door, we caught a flight for Austin.

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Paleo Eats: 3/17/12

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Despite all the talk at PaleoFX about the importance of sleep, we didn’t hit the sheets until 4:30 a.m. We compensated by not dragging ourselves out of bed until almost 11. Along with our remaining housemates, we hit 24 Diner for brunch.

The downtown area was packed with SXSW attendees, but we hogged a couple of tables out on the back patio where we could hipster-watch and listen to music while we chowed. Laura, Liz, Spence, Bobby, Diane, George, Bill, and Hayley were relegated to the kid’s table… 

…while Fitbomb, Diana, and I sat at the table reserved for old mommies and daddies.

We ordered from the gluten-free menu and split up a platter of bacon deviled eggs…

…sweet potato hash with sausage, poblano, and eggs…

…and a huge pork chop, sweet potato mash, and bacon-braised greens.

Man, the grub was so yummy — and it’s open 24 hours a day. Wackadoodle (in a good way)!

Afterwards, we snaked our way through the crowd to the Whole Foods flagship store. At the entrance, I spotted a poster promoting free screen printing with T-shirt purchase — and we freaked out when we saw this design:

Of course, we all snagged shirts and had them printed on the spot by the nice folks at Bombs Away Ink.

After cavorting with some metal pigs…

…we drove over to Lick for some ice cream.

Yes, you read that right — we stopped for some delectable artisanal frozen treats.

After sampling almost all of the flavors…

…I decided to get a scoop of Coconut and Avocado Curd. Sounds totally unappetizing (dairy-free! vegan! avocado curds!) but it was so coconut-y, creamy, and satisfying.

Despite his cold, Fitbomb treated himself to four scoops: Too Hot Chocolate and Salted Caramel…

… and Cilantro Lime and Coconut & Avocado Curd. You know that ice cream’s the cure for the common cold, right?

These treats were defintely worth the indulgence. Besides, with Emily Deans, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Diane Sanfilippo, and the Primal Palate pair all diving in with gusto, it was easy to succumb to peer pressure.

When we got home, I ate a small serving of sauerkraut just ‘cause I’m committed to incorporating more bone broth, fermented foods, seaweed, fermented CLO/butter oil blend, and organ meats in my diet. Why? Because Diane, Diana, Chris, and Liz told me so. I’m also going to start going to tanning salons, too. (Kidding.)

At dinnertime, hubby and I enjoyed a date-night at Lambert’s per reader Kim’s suggestion. 

Although it was intended to be an intimate date night with hubby, the live music blaring in the upstairs lounge precluded any conversation at all. 

Good thing we’re telepathic.

We shared spicy deviled eggs…

…Country Style Pork Ribs, Mustard and Brown Sugar Crusted Ribeye, Brussels Sprouts & Bacon, Roasted Jalapeno & Broccoli, and Smoked Bacon Braised Collard Greens.

Oof. My belly was stuffed to the limits, and it was oh-so-good.

I’m sad that Paleo Spring Break is ending, but I’m looking forward to going home to the Double-Os. PaleoFX was great, but getting together with new and old friends was the bestest part of the trip. It was especially rewarding to get a chance to bond with my fellow Paleo mommies, Stacy and Diana. Sharp, snarky, and nurturing — my favorite kind of women.

PSA: There won’t be a Paleo Eats tomorrow. As soon as we land in California, we’ll be making up for lost time with our boys. And sleep.

Paleo Eats: 3/16/12

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Before heading out for Day 3 of PaleoFX, I fried up another leftover carnitas scramble for breakfast. We got a late start to the day again, ‘cause the hubby was sick and up late last night.

Once we arrived at The Stark Center, I sat in on Nora Gedgaudas's talk…

…while Fitbomb peeked in on a panel where he glimpsed a shirt fit for royalty.

After filling my brain with useful information, I reviewed notes for my spicy crab and avocado temaki cooking demonstration, and checked that all the ingredients were in order.

Thanks for setting everything up, Kara!

Luckily, I was able to successfully whip up mayonnaise with my trusty immersion blender and plastic squeeze bottles. Plus, I remembered all my lines and didn’t melt into a puddle of flop sweat. 

In case you’re wondering, the recipe is available on my upcoming iPad cooking app.

I was so relieved once the cooking demo was over, and it was wonderful having the support of my Paleo pally pals in the audience…

…who totally rocked the stage themselves.

Wow. The shrimp and grits that Charles and Julie cooked was Nom Nom approved…

…and the intoxicating smell of Bill and Hayley's fajitas made everyone at the conference hangry.

At lunchtime, I ate another Asian chicken salad provided by Caveman Cuisine

Then, I participated in the Virtual Foodies panel with Bill & Hayley, Charles & Julie, Melicious, and Michelle.  The lovely Melissa Hartwig did a wonderful job making sure only two of us flipped the bird at the audience.   

Again, I wasn’t nervous ‘cause we had a friendly crowd.

 

For dinner, Fitbomb and I were invited to Melicious and Dave’s home for a Whole30-approved meal with Bill and Hayley, Melissa and Dallas, Dave, Charles and Julie, Windy, and a beardless Andy Deas. Mel served us a kickass meal that started with cocktails, Paleo Spiced Nuts, grilled olives, and dried fruit.

For the main event, she served Lava Lake Lamb “Gyro” Meat, Greek shredded chicken, Greek burgers, zucchini noodles with Greek pesto, roasted carrot salad, onion and parsley salad, and go-alongs: romaine, butter lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and creamy Middle Eastern dressing. The food wasn’t just wonderfully tasty, but also beautiful to boot.

We finished our meal with warm apple crisp and fresh whipped coconut cream.

Buy Mel’s book if you want the recipes. They kick ass.

 


As you can imagine, our supper was unbelievably delicious. At the end of the night, my tummy hurt from laughing and eating too much. 

Paleo Eats: 3/14/12

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This morning in the Paleo Real World House, we woke up late, lounged around in pajamas, and tapped away on our MacBooks. Yes, we are a happy band of geeks — one and all. 

At noon, the majority of the group headed to CrossFit Austin in their Nom Nom Paleo socks to get their WOD on

…while the rest of us went to pick up Stacy at the airport.

Late in the afternoon, we picked up some delicious take-out from Habanero Mexican Cafe.

We were all starving, and impatiently tweeted as we waited for our order to be filled.

Finally: Meatapalooza!

We ordered pounds and pounds of barbacoa and carnitas, three quarts of guacamole, and tubs of spicy pico de gallo.

This joint was a solid suggestion from Melicious. Definitely check out her recommendations for Paleo Eats around Austin. She knows the real deal, yo!

After a dozen people took turns showering in the two bathrooms in the house, we all headed to the opening events at PaleoFX.  The attendees listened to the keynote speech by Dr. Jack Kruse (who, believe it or not, at one point threatened to light a stick of dynamite)…

….and mingled with old and new Paleo friends.

Look — it’s Dave, Mel, & Julie!

And Emily! George! Robb! 

And there’s Chris!

The Virtual Foodies Panel!

Amy! Clifton!

Charles!

Later, at the dinner for the speakers at the conference, we scarfed down eats from Caveman Cuisine

…spent more time hanging with our homies….

…and passed around the beta version of our iPad cooking app.

I’m so looking forward to tomorrow.

Paleo Eats: 3/13/12

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Wanna see everything I consumed from the time I woke up ‘til dinnertime? Here it is:

Just a cup of espresso and heavy cream.

It wasn’t by choice. Fitbomb and I were in a frenzy getting the Double-Os ready for school before dashing to the airport. It wasn’t until we boarded the plane that I realized I hadn’t eaten anything. But I wasn’t hungry, and was content to sit back and take a nap. Traveling without the little ones is exponentially easier, and it felt unbelievably decadent to fly in peace.

When we arrived in Texas, the two of us tooled around downtown…

….and explored the University of Texas at Austin. 

Evidently, the balls in Texas are HUGE.

At dinnertime, we headed to Hill Country and ate at Salt Lick with Melicious and her hubby, Dave.

We ordered our ‘cue family-style and gobbled up heaps of smoky brisket, ribs, and sausage…

…cole slaw…

…and potato salad.

We skipped the beans and the bread but I’m sure we ingested copious amounts of sugar and canola oil.

Back off Paleo police — Mel’s just kidding around!

The heaping piles of meat were delicious, and kept coming…

…but the laughs and conversation were even better.

Afterwards, we headed to our Paleo party house, where we joined a crew of our fellow cave nerds in deep conversation about the usual: camera equipment, bad squid, and fermented cod liver oil.

Tonight, I finally met the George, the Civilized Caveman, and he’s a big sweetheart. For the next few days, we’ll be staying with Bill & Hayley, Diane, Laura, Diana, Bobby, Stacy, and Liz — all under one roof. Paleo craziness will ensue, you can count on it. We might even stay up past 9 p.m.!