Saturday, June 17, 2017

A TED talk I quite liked

After poking fun at TED's brand expansion in last night's entry, today I learned that a TED Talk I quite liked just went live.  If you have the 18 minutes to spare, I recommend this presentation by Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.

In other news, I'm home!  I'm quite happy to be done with planes for a while.

Now, to unpack!

Friday, June 16, 2017

TED Talks and my hotel door

I love TED and always feel privileged to be able to attend it.  I've learned a great deal from and been inspired by many TED Talks.  I've applauded the way TED Curator Chris Anderson and his team have spread the TED brand.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if they might be reaching a bit far.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Yes, this is the Do Not Disturb sign that adorns my hotel room door as I write this.

To be fair, the hotel does make it easy to watch TED Talks, and I suppose this is a fair way to cram more content into previously under-utilized space.

Still, I can't help but chuckle each time I see this.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Kuneho delivers impeccable food

I ate earlier tonight at Kuneho, the newest restaurant from Austin star chef Paul Qui. I've liked all of Qui's previous places, but Kuneho reaches a level above them all. It's definitely one of Austin's best restaurants, for my taste the second best after Counter, and that's how I feel after only one meal.

It's way later than the timestamp on this post indicates, so I'm going to save a full review for later. The most important takeaway you should remember is a simple one: if you live in Austin or visit it, eat at Kuneho. Its dishes range from presentations that seem simple to those that are clearly more involved, but every single one I sampled was delicious.

Do not miss Kuneho.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Finding common ground in shock and sorrow

I'd like to believe that no rational person will think today's shooting in Alexandria is a good thing. It is not. It is the work of an unwell person. We must not resort to violent attacks on those with whom we disagree. Though I'm not a Bernie Sanders fan, I agree with what he said today:

"Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."

I'd like to believe that in the shock and sorrow that are sensible reactions to this shooting we can all find common ground, but I fear that will not be the case.

Newt Gingrich, for example, said, "It's part of a pattern. You've had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left." When a reporter pressed Gingrich on this point, Gingrich said, "You've had a series of things which send signals that tell people that it's OK to hate Trump, it's OK to think of Trump in violent terms, it's OK to consider assassinating Trump. And then suddenly we're supposed to rise above it until next time?"

Gingrich's remark form exactly the sort of reaction we should not have. Have people indulged in hateful rhetoric and hateful satire against Trump? Sure. People have always done that sort of thing against Presidents. That is a long way, however, from actually shooting anyone.

Instead of using this as yet another political football, I'd like to see us unite in our shock and sorrow at the shooting, and perhaps even go so far as to build from that brief union a dialogue about the very real problems we all face.

I'd like that, but I don't expect to get it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

COUNTER 3 . FIVE . VII remains Austin's only world-class restaurant

I have to put a caveat on that headline right off the bat: Counter is the only world-class restaurant of the many Austin restaurants I've experienced. That means it's possible that others exist, and if they do, I want to eat at them, but I don't think that's the case. Counter's food is extraordinary, and it remains far and away the best restaurant I've visited in Austin.

I've raved about the place in past blog entries, and I'm tired, so I'm going to keep it short in this review of my meal earlier tonight. Every dish was, of course, delicious, but each was also way more than that: it mixed flavors you might not have blended, it respected all the ingredients while also elevating them, and it displayed the mixture of inventive brilliance and perfect execution that is the hallmark of a world-class kitchen.  Executive Chef Damien Brockway and his team pursue excellence relentlessly--and achieve it every time.

For just one example, consider this dish, which I tasted earlier and which the menu described as follows:

Black Bean
Lime, Tomato, Celeriac

Click the image to see a larger version.

A soup of pureed black beans also proved to have pork fat and tomato relish in it, though it was a perfectly smooth puree whose ingredients appeared only in their taste. Atop the soup sat a celeriac foam and, in a touch that paired the lowly black bean with an equally earthy high-end ingredient, summer truffles.

I have never tasted beans this good. This dish single-handedly elevated beans and redefined for me what they are capable of delivering.

I could go on and on, but it is late and I promised short, so I'll stop with this: Counter and Brockway deserve national attention and every available award. Why he's not a Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award winner is beyond me.

Eat at Counter if you get the chance.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Two moments in a long travel day

Sitting on the increasingly hot plane today, we received an unpleasant announcement from the pilot: the airplane had an offline AP, which meant that its air conditioning wouldn't work until the engines were running. So, of course, we sat on the tarmac for quite a while, stewing in our own juices.

Eventually, the plane took off, and cold, dry air flooded into the moist, hot space.

Click an image to see a larger version.

If you look closely at the vents, you'll see the mist that rolled across the upper walls of the plane cabin. I loved watching it--though not as much as I loved the cold air.

Tonight, in a break from work, I made my usual run downtown for dinner at Cooper's BBQ.

I sampled the brisket, the sausage, a few bites of steak, and part of a beef rib, as well as the mac-and-cheese. All of it was delicious, though the brisket's edges were entirely too salty, a rare misstep for Cooper's.

Most of the day went to work, which is still eating my time, so back to it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Black Panther: Oh, yeah

Just check out this trailer, and you'll know I'm not going to miss this one.

The star, Chadwick Boseman, was great in the last Captain America movie, and I've liked what I've seen of director Ryan Coogler's work, so I expect this to be a good one.


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