Qui Austin

This year, Clay and I spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day in Austin, Texas with his family. While there, I was able to cross off an item from my 30 Before 30 list, #15: Eat at a Top Chef’s restaurant. Not only was it a Top Chef, but it was one of my very favorites: Paul Qui from Top Chef Texas.

They graciously accommodated our party of 14 for a 3-hour meal. The menu was exciting and the service was unbelievable. Every course came with unique flatware, locally-designed plates, and table-side presentations. Paul even served and explained a few dishes to our table.

I was already so excited and then I saw calimocho on the menu. I make my own basic version by adding red wine to Diet Coke, but theirs was, expectedly, soooo much better. It included some spices I can’t remember and orange peel. And it came in this really neat spouted carafe. Amazing.


Qui serves family-style so we were able to try most of the food from the menu. We started with an “ode to Michel Bras”: chilled turnip dashi over a selction of vegetables from Austin farmers, and kinilaw: amberjack filipino ceviche (one of my favorite dishes of the night).

Next we had chicken adobo rice, kare kare: filipino peanut curry vegetables, cabbage with crispy chicken skin and spiced yogurt, and sea urchin pasta (not pictured). The kare kare was the best thing I ate. It was a new flavor and so delicious; it didn’t even need meat.


Next we tried dinuguan: pork and blood gnocchi, three preparations of rabbit, and chicken inasal. I couldn’t get good pictures of these courses, but they were all phenomenal. My mother-in-law even said it was the best chicken she’d ever had. After dinner they brought us crackers with a foam topping, meant to taste just like Ritz crackers and cheese. This was an exciting Top Chef kind of moment for me. I haven’t eaten much foam anything, let alone cheese-flavored foam.

For dessert we tried halo halo and a cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich. Both were delicious and so different than anything I’ve ever tasted.

All in all, it was an unforgettable experience. Now Clay and I are talking about traveling the country to eat at more Top Chef’s restaurants. And I can’t wait!

American Hustle

Clay and I spent Christmas Eve with my parents, eating a delicious dinner at Cafepino and then seeing American Hustle at the Cine Capri. I’d already heard some amazing reviews of the film, especially that the acting was beyond superb. And they weren’t kidding.

American Hustle follows confidence man Irving Rosenfeld and his lover Sydney Prosser, played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams, as they find themselves helping FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catch other white collar criminals. The film relies on exceptional acting and little else. Christian Bale is so good, both physically and emotionally transforming. And Jennifer Lawrence is pure perfection, as usual.

Besides the acting, the story is compelling and the ending is definitely worth the journey. And a delightful performance from Louis C.K. will keep you smiling. I definitely recommend it.

Doctor Who Gifts

I’ve just started watching Doctor Who on Netflix. I know, I know; I should have started a long time ago! For those who’ve been long-time fans, there’s some really awesome Doctor Who stuff that would make great gifts.

TARDIS shower curtain – $29.99
TARDIS cookie jar – $29.99
TARDIS and Dalek salt and pepper shakers – $17.99
TARDIS tea infuser – $15.99
Doctor Who Mr. Potato Head – $23.55
TARDIS iPhone case – $35.00
TARDIS Starry Night pillow – $20.00
TARDIS laplander – $19.99
Doctor Who ice cube tray – $9.09

Best of Project Runway: Seasons 11 and 12

Even more Project Runway! I’m finally caught up with all the past episodes. These last two seasons were so fun. I especially loved the addition of Zac Posen. I wasn’t sure he’d be able to replace Michael Kors, but he’s awesome! Here are a few of my favorite looks from these two seasons.

Also check out my favorite looks from: Seasons 1 and 2, Seasons 3 and 4, Seasons 5 and 6, Seasons 7 and 8, Seasons 9 and 10, and All Stars 1 and 2.

Patricia Michaels – Episode There is No ‘I’ in Team

Kate Pankoke, Layana Aguilar – Episode Surprise Me

Layana Aguilar – Episode The Ultimate Hard and Soft

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Stanley Hudson – Episode Senior Fling

Michelle Lesniak Franklin – Episode He Said, She Said

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Stanley Hudson – Episode The Art of Fashion

Michelle Lesniak Franklin – Episode Finale Collection

Kate Pankoke, Helen Castillo – Episode An Unconventional Coney Island

Justin LeBlanc – Episode Shoes First!

Dom Streater – Episode Butterfly Effect

Justin LeBlanc – Episode Butterfly Effect

Dom Streater – Episode Finale Collection

Justin LeBlanc – Episode Finale Collection

Walk, Don’t Run

I’m stretching this a little bit, but it’s my list so who cares! I’m crossing off another item on my 30 Before 30 list, #26: Run every day for a month. Just replace “Run” with “Walk a shit ton.”

Last month we had a FitBit walking competition. The person with the most steps in 4 weeks would walk away the winner. I decided to go all out and win by as many steps as I possibly could. Before the competition I averaged around 5,000 steps per day. And during, I averaged about 30,000. In 4 weeks I racked up 830,631 steps and took first place!

Even though it wasn’t running, I definitely pushed myself. I spent most of my free time walking and even walked the 9 miles to work a few times. It was exhausting and my feet weren’t happy with me, but it was really fun. I’ve been taking the past week off, but I’m excited to get going again!

Catching Fire

Catching Fire is amazing. It’s everything it should have been. It incorporates a cool, fantastic sense of style the first film lacked. As these couture promo shots hinted, the fashion in the film is just as exciting as the victory tour and the arena. Go see it. Immediately.