Art Seen Alliance Presents Ultimate Creative Festival, Camping Optional

Art Outside Arts and Music Festival

Live painters at Art Outside, an annual event produced by Art Seen Alliance (Credit: Laura Lea Nalle)

Guest article by Katrina Cervantes

Art Seen Alliance has a core team of 14 people. You may not have heard of the organization, but there's a chance you've interacted with one of its creations. The alliance has constructed a solar-powered carousel for General Electric, manufactured custom beds for The Austin Motel, and built a set design for Twitter to host a show during SXSW 2017. The group has its creative hand in about every local festival you could name.

Art Seen Alliance Shop Director Van Zinsmeyer

Van Zinsmeyer, shop director of Art Seen Alliance

The day I visited Art Seen Alliance, Shop Director Van Zinsmeyer gave me a tour of an ACL-bound trailer his team was finishing up. The trailer is a replica, down to every last meticulous detail, of the original storehouse Tito's Handmade Vodka used when it was first starting out. During ACL Music Festival, Tito's used the trailer as storage space for its bar operations, in homage to its roots.

Art Seen Alliance has built stages and provided event production for Euphoria Music Festival and Sound on Sound Festival. And the geometric bear statues outside the Barton Springs JuiceLand? Art Seen Alliance made them and they are available for purchase!

Creativity Over Notoriety

Geometric bear statues outside JuiceLand on Barton Springs

JuiceLand's geometric bear statues are available for purchase (Credit: Art Seen Alliance)

If you've never heard of Art Seen Alliance, then it's partly because the group doesn't have a marketing or sales team. The alliance has flourished and grown, tripling output over the years strictly from word-of-mouth.

The creative team prefers it that way! For example, even though the JuiceLand bears are for sale, Art Seen Alliance doesn't feel the need to install a plaque with a name or "for sale" sign. "We want people to experience the art more than we care about selling it," Zinsmeyer told me. "And if someone really wants to buy it, they have ways of inquiring. It's a more organic process that way."

Art Seen Alliance's mission is to "enable artists, make art accessible, and foster culture by providing turnkey event production and design, artist management, and fabrication services." It's all in the name. The organization wants art to be seen, not hidden or hoarded by an elite few. In the process, the alliance wants artists to be able to make a living, defeating the "starving artist" stereotype.

Ultimately, Art Seen Alliance is a team of commissionable artists who create unique environments and unforgettable experiences. "The biggest blessing," Zinsmeyer said, "is that we're not doing the same thing every day. We're not reproducing stuff. We're creating something every single time."

Unexpected Pathways

Art Outside Festival Performers

Festival performers at Art Outside (Credit: Art Outside)

While Zinsmeyer spends most of his time in the shop, Warren McKinney, founder and director of Art Seen Alliance, spends much of his time in the office. McKinney is an artist by trade and a natural leader. His original intent in creating the collective was simply to hold space for artists to network and create together.

The two didn't start with a business plan. To this day, there is no defined business structure. They simply increase their level of organization in proportion to the level of creative outpouring. And although the collective has become something far larger and more different than McKinney imagined, he feels the alliance remains true to its original message and heart.

A prime example of Art Seen Alliance's organic growth is an event called Art Outside, which the organization has directed since 2008. Before that, the collective didn't sell any services, but Art Outside got the team noticed on a larger scale. Due to the success of Art Outside, many businesses suddenly wanted Art Seen Alliance's help to create a variety of immersive experiences.

Art Outside by Art Seen Alliance

Art Outside Stage and Crowd

One of the stages at Art Outside (Credit: Mario Villeda)

Every Autumn, Art Seen Alliance's vision, passion, and principles pour into a magical, weekend-long festival. Although the group is involved in all kinds of gatherings and events, Art Outside is one project completely under the creative control of Art Seen Alliance.

The event is a "fully immersive camping festival experience with an emphasis on curated art, wellness workshops, and diverse music." The focus is to showcase independent talent: it's only associated with smaller, local brands and has never been sponsored by corporate money.

Musical performances are an impressive selection of dance/electronic, hip hop, funk, global and world styles, and rock/jam bands. Some examples of Austin-based musicians you can expect to see at Art Outside in 2018 are Atash, Mamafesta, The Widdler, and Michael Garfield (who doubles as a visual artist and will also be live painting at the event).

Instructors will be leading workshops on Qi gong, different styles of yoga, hoop dancing, and more. All workshops are included in the price of admission. There will also be a variety of vendors selling art, clothes, and other unique wares.

The event takes place on the sprawling plains of Apache Pass Event Center, about an hour northeast of downtown Austin.

Head to Art Outside This October

Art Outside Festival Family-friendly

Art Outside is family-friendly (Credit: Kevin Bradbury)

I've given you the hard facts about Art Outside because it's hard to describe the feeling of waking up in a tent or RV, and venturing out into a living, breathing art installation. Every corner you turn, there is something new to marvel at and a new way of getting in touch with your playful inner child.

Also, since Art Outside takes place so close to Halloween (Oct. 26-28, 2018), you can expect to see many outlandish outfits and extravagant costumes. The event has the vibes of a radical self-expression gathering such as Burning Man, but on a smaller, family-style, and less dusty scale.

Everyone looks out for each other's safety. Excess food is shared, not mindlessly discarded, unlike some of the larger festivals. There is also a Leave No Trace policy. Creators, art lovers, and attendees have a responsibility to care for the earth that supports the ability to make art in the first place. Art Outside is one of the cleanest, most litter-free and environmentally-friendly festivals you'll experience.

You're invited to see for yourself, and delight in a weekend of creation and togetherness. Learn more and get your tickets here.


@theAustinot wants to know:

Have you ever been to Art Outside? 


Katrina Cervantes paints, writes, is a massage therapist, and lives with a few goats and a sweet donkey named Lucy. Keep up with her travels at
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Art Seen Alliance Presents Ultimate Creative Festival, Camping Optional appeared first on The Austinot

Start-Up Kids Club Inspires Young Entrepreneurs in Austin

Start-Up Kids Club Austin Texas

Start-Up Kids Club helps children develop critical thinking skills, confidence, and responsibility
(Credit: Start-Up Kids Club)

Entrepreneurship flows within the veins of our city. And while we typically hear about businesses founded by adult Austinites, that doesn't mean kids can't participate in the fun. Start-Up Kids Club is a local nonprofit that provides children with the opportunity to found their own start-up business, while learning critical thinking and other skills that propel them through school and life.

What Is Start-Up Kids Club?

Start-Up Kids Club Activity in Austin

Members of Start-Up Kids Club hard at work (Credit: Start-Up Kids Club)

Start-Up Kids Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides entrepreneurship experience to youth, in an effort to broaden their perspectives and enhance life skills. The programming follows the school year, meaning the organization offers a class each semester: one from September to December, and another from February to May.

Each week during the semester features its own topic, such as branding or finance. Start-Up brings in local entrepreneurs and speakers who are proficient in different subjects, to hold discussions with the children.

Go to Market

Start Up Kids Club Market in Austin

Start Up Kids Club participants test their new products at market

After the learning phase, students go out into the community to sell the product they created to the public. After this market, the children follow up with the program to talk about what worked and what didn't. If there are doubts about sticking with the business they chose, the participants are encouraged to improve their original ideas instead of starting from scratch.

Eventually, the class has a second market day, when the young entrepreneurs show off their products, with improvements they've made.

Last year, the students were interested in the idea of investing, but didn't quite understand what that meant. So Start-Up ran its own investment program. The young entrepreneurs were encouraged to contribute five dollars each, before the class decided as a whole where it wanted to invest the money. The group chose Apple stock.

Fun fact: Start-Up Kids Club prides itself in reaching kids no matter what–meaning financial barriers are nonexistent. Most of the programming is free, but donations are always welcome.

From Coffee Stand to Youth Empowerment

Founder of Start-Up Kids Club, Amber Wakem, drew inspiration from watching her daughter, Harper. The family was preparing for a community garage sale when Harper decided to get involved. The young entrepreneur originally wanted to offer a classic lemonade stand. But after a few questions, this sharp mind decided there was only one fuel to give adults in the morning. Coffee!

Wakem gave her daughter a few topics to research in preparation for the big day, and then Harper jumped into action. She even snagged her best friend as an employee! After a few short hours, Harper's coffee stand had profited over 100 dollars–about two dollars over the state minimum wage when divided between the two girls.

Making a Difference

Start Up Kids Club Business Research

Kids are guided through the research and development process

Harper is dyslexic and has struggled in school. But in developing her own business, she was able to learn critical thinking skills and confidence that boosted her academic performance. Wakem wanted to provide this experience to other children and ended up founding Start-Up Kids Club in 2017.

Within a year, the organization grew from one location to 12. It has partnered with several school districts to provide classes at Magellan International School, Hill Elementary, and Rawson Saunders. Wakem also found space through City of Austin Parks and Recreation offices and local coworking spaces.

Wakem is a huge believer in tapping the genius of children. She loves working with them and turning their ideas into businesses. She says her program builds meaningful connections through hands-on experience.

Inspiring Kid Bosses

Start Up Kids Club Market Day

These kids are able to take their businesses out of the classroom and successfully operate them on their own (Credit: Start-Up Kids Club)

Fifteen of the children from last year's program have products featured in local stores. Some have made an even larger commitment to bring their products to Big Top Candy Shop every week.

Start-Up Kids Club will be inspiring more kid bosses outside of the program with the first national pitch program for kids. Called "Pitch YEA!," this competition seeks kid-run businesses that are feasible, innovative, scalable, and meet a need. There are three age categories: eight and under, nine to 13, and 14 to 18. Finalists have the chance to win prizes, including cash.

If you're interested in getting your own kid boss involved with Start-Up Kids Club, then check out the official website.


@theAustinot wants to know:

What business would your kid boss want to start?

We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Start-Up Kids Club Inspires Young Entrepreneurs in Austin appeared first on The Austinot

5 Canned Cocktails You Can Conveniently Sip Anywhere

Best Canned Cocktails From Austin Texas

It's easier than ever to take adult beverages along

Adult Austinites consume an average of 14.6 drinks per month. On any given day, there's a plethora of hike and bike trails, swimming holes, tailgating events, and backyard barbecues to frequent, so maybe that's why.

Here are five locally canned 21+ beverage options you can take with you, and responsibly enjoy anywhere, any time.

Thank you to the businesses featured in this article for allowing me to sample their drinks at no charge. All opinions are my own.

1/ Uncle Billy's Brewery and Smokehouse

Uncle Billy's Brewery canned cocktails

Uncle Billy's Brewery and Smokehouse offers three canned cocktail options (Credit: Uncle Billy's)

Uncle Billy's currently boasts 10 sparkling craft cocktails on tap. The local business recently decided to can three of the most popular vodka-based beverages: Leslie's Cucumber Simpper, Lady Bird Lemonade, and Vimosa for your sipping pleasure.

Unlike other malt- and wine-based canned cocktails, Uncle Billy's craft canned cocktails are made with real Uncle Billy's Barton Spring's Vodka and premium ingredients. In fact, beverage manager and mixologist Josh Mabrey told me the cucumber juice used in Leslie's Cucumber Sipper is from scratch, and he currently juices everything himself!

Mabrey is also mixing up the simple syrup and infusing the cocktails with ingredients like lavender, which can be found in Lady Bird Lemonade.

Mabrey and distilling expert Mark Shilling teamed up with Celis Brewery to can these cocktails. All three are now available for purchase at Uncle Billy's, by the can or four-pack.

1530 Barton Springs Road – Website

2/ Mighty Swell

Best Canned Cocktails in Austin

Floating with Mighty Swell

Imagine a wine spritzer made with all-natural ingredients, with only 120 calories and four grams of sugar. Yep, it exists!

Mighty Swell is available in four tasty flavors:

  • Mango
  • Grapefruit
  • Peach
  • Watermelon Mint


➡ Keep reading: Mighty Swell Pours Natural Into Cocktail in a Can

3/ Yes We Can

Canned Rose by Yes We Can

Yes We Can rosé anywhere

Sway Rosé is "meant to be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere." May I suggest enjoying it while floating the river, tailgating, hanging poolside, camping, or lounging on your sofa?

This dry rosé is made from 100 percent Texas High Plains grapes with notes of guava, passion fruit, strawberries, and honeysuckle. It's a crisp and refreshing drink that pairs well with just about everything, from potato chips to barbacoa tacos.

2850 IH-35 N. – Website

➡ Keep reading: How to Rosé All Day in Austin

4/ Austin Eastciders

Austin Eastciders Canned Dry Cider (Credit: Brian Nevins)

Austin Eastciders (Credit: Brian Nevins)

Sparkly effervescent cider is the perfect drink to crack open at a barbecue, or take with you to one of Central Texas's refreshing watering holes. Austin Eastciders is brewing theirs with less sugar than traditional cider. The Austin business has also added real Texas honey and other fresh ingredients to create unique flavor profiles.

Try one of the current flavors, including:

  • Spiced Cider
  • Lemon Ginger Cider
  • Original Dry Cider
  • Ruby Red Grapefruit Cider
  • Blood Orange Cider
  • Pineapple Cider
  • Texas Honey Cider
  • Hopped Cider

979 Springdale Road – Website

➡ Keep reading: Austin Eastciders Expands Beyond Austin With Tasty Cider, Spirit of Giving

5/ Messina Hof Winery & Resort

Awaken Your Soul at The Skylark Lounge in East Austin

Ms. Mack and the Daddies Skylark Lounge Austin

Ms. Mack and the Daddies bring in da noise, bring in da funk on a regular basis at The Skylark Lounge
(Credit: Aubrey Lethbridge)

Looking for a night out with sizzling music and throw-down dancing at its finest? East Austin's rollicking good time of a dive bar, The Skylark Lounge, beckons. Don't hesitate. Take to the dance floor and shake it at Skylark, sooner rather than later.

The Skylark Lounge preserves the culture and diversity of East Austin, regularly booking phenomenal R&B, soul, funk, and jazz acts. This sultry bar delivers Austin's stalwart musical talent with Ms. Lavelle White, Soul Man Sam, and Margaret Wright, as well as talented crowd pleasers like Brian Scartocci, The Soul Supporters, Ms. Mack and the Daddies, and Rochelle and the Sidewinders.

While Austin is home to many wonderful music venues, Skylark holds its own as an authentic, lively space to boogie. I wouldn't lie to you. 

Honoring East Austin's Culture

Rochelle and The Sidewinders Skylark Lounge

Rochelle & The Sidewinders bring the heat from The Skylark Lounge stage (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

The Skylark Lounge feels like a bar that's been around forever, and it kind of has. Operating for 32 years as Airport Bar & Grill, a primarily African American bar, and then briefly as Bernadette's, a lesbian bar, the building housing Skylark Lounge has been a fixture in the East Austin landscape for decades. Owner Johnny LaTouf grew up visiting and learning about the neighborhood, from the African American woman who raised him.

Though LaTouf had owned businesses in East Austin for many years, bar ownership was never part of his vision. That is, not until the fateful day in 2013 when the owner of Bernadette's offered to sell him the space.

LaTouf's vision became clear: he would only move forward if he could run it his way-an inclusive space welcoming one and all, regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Neighborhood regulars are still a vital part of the scene at Skylark, and the scene keeps growing to include many fans of Austin's live music.

The bar is dimly lit with vintage lamps casting exquisite shadows on the walls and large murals by local artists. The stage is intimate, the dance floor small and frequently packed. The expansive back patio contrasts well with the cozy interior. In case you need fresh air or to chat with your friends, the patio is the perfect spot for a break.

Skylark almost always has food offerings, at least on the weekends. Lately, it has been barbecue-the ribs are my favorite.

In the Groove at The Skylark Lounge

Oscar Ornelas at Skylark Lounge Austin

Oscar Ornelas burns up Skylark's stage with his saxophone (Credit: Paul Safford)

Walking into The Skylark Lounge, one feels a sense of the bar's history. I sometimes get goosebumps when I see the now-familiar reddish light, murals on the walls, and stage that holds both history and promise.

When LaTouf took over the bar, he began booking musicians from Austin's storied musical heyday, when blues was the order of the day and legends regularly played on stages around town. Venerable pianist and Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame great, Margaret Wright, was the first artist LaTouf booked for residency, a move that spoke volumes about his commitment to the neighborhood and its past.

Creating a bar he loved, in a rapidly changing neighborhood whose history he is part of, has always dictated the way LaTouf and his wife Mary run the lounge. Show up today and odds are good that LaTouf, or one of his family members, will greet you. The Skylark Lounge is first and always a neighborhood bar. "Patrons are only a stranger here once," LaTouf insists.

Ms. Mack concurs, "This place is full of characters AND character, each more lovely than the next."

Throw on Your Dancing Duds and Go

Soul Sundays at Skylark Lounge in Austin

Soul Man Sam hosts Soul Sundays at The Skylark Lounge (Credit: Frederick Walser)

Skylark's stellar lineup of lively, soulful bands includes a roster of talent intended to keep your blood pumping and your heart light. Soul Man Sam, well known among Austin musicians for his decades of performances, hosts a rotating guest list on Soul Sundays. His musical revue serves as a bridge from Austin's soul scene past to now. You never know what incredible talent will join Soul Man Sam's formidable presence.

While Skylark's talent always impresses, here are a few shows I personally recommend:

  • Oscar Ornelas often plays at Skylark, wailing on the keyboard and blowing his heart out on his saxophone.
  • The Soul Supporters regularly graces the stage with melodious harmonies and smooth moves. This group will make you feel all sorts of something.
  • Ms. Mack can peel the paint off the wall with her powerhouse singing, while her band, the Daddies, infuse each song with a rhythm you can't deny. Check out the band's "Friday Night Live" monthly shows.

The latest buzz is Brian Scartocci, a retro-soul musician known for making lifelong fans with one show. Local artist Olivia Rains says it best:

"First impression of Brian Scartocci at the swanky and divey venue, Skylark, is what I imagine James Marshall must have felt when he discovered gold. Skylark surrounds you with friendly staff, good vibes, and genuine energy, with its glowing, candlelit booths. Brian seems to glide across as he sings to the onlookers seated in them. I never want to leave when I'm there, so much soul and all gold!"

Brian Scartocci The Skylark Lounge

Brian Scartocci leaves more than his heart on the floor at Skylark (Credit: Olivia Rains)

The Skylark Lounge has become a force in Austin's R&B, blues, soul, and jazz scene. The venue is still slaying this game and the secret's out. In 2017, Yelp appointed Skylark the #1 live music venue in the United States.

What are you waiting for? The night is young and the music is destined to make your body move. Arrive early to snag a seat, though you won't be sitting for long.

2039 Airport Blvd. – Website 


@theAustinot wants to know:

Which bands have you enjoyed at The Skylark Lounge?


The original version of this article was published Aug. 23, 2017.

We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Awaken Your Soul at The Skylark Lounge in East Austin appeared first on The Austinot

ACL 2018: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go

Everything you need to know like how to get to ACL 2018, what you can and cannot bring inside, and what to eat.

The post ACL 2018: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

Noodle Guide to the Research Triangle Area

If you follow me for any short period on Instagram, you might already know that I'm obsessed with noodles. I could really slurp them up every day, and if I go for more than three days without eating any noodles, then I become a cranky and irrational noodle addict going through withdrawal. So I thought I'd share some of my noodle obsession with you and list where I've enjoyed going for my noodle fixes around the Research Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) area.

1. Rose's Noodles, Dumplings, and Sweets

They change their menu often but you can always find hand-pulled noodles and ramen here! I also hear they serve pho on their breakfast menu and can't wait to scope it out!  I'm so impressed by this spot for getting Asian flavors down pact. They also have an extensive bakeshop that I need to further investigate. They blew me away with their mochi pound cake!

 121 N Gregson St, Durham, NC 27701

2. Bida Manda

Next door to and the sister restaurant of my favorite restaurant, Bida Manda specializes in Laotian fare. I am in love with the crispy pork belly noodle soup at Bida Manda. I went here twice  (I would go more often if it was closer to me!) and couldn't bring myself to stray from the crispy pork belly noodle soup. Luckily for me, my friend let me taste their Pad Thai. Yum! Their crispy rice wraps are also a fun appetizer!

222 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601

3. H-Mart


My mom is so happy to hear that there is an H-Mart in my new state! She often shops at H-Mart in Houston and funnily enough, H-Mart just expanded to Austin, my last home, last week! My Austin friends have reported lines around the block with this new expansion. I have a soft spot for Asian supermarkets with food courts and H-Mart has a solid food court. Pictured above is a Duck Noodle Soup. I keep dreaming about this bowl. I must make my own dream come true soon.

1961 High House Rd, Cary, NC 27519

4. Broth (located in Morgan Street Food Hall)

Broth wins for best ramen I've ever had served in a cardboard bowl! They're located inside the bustling Morgan St. Food Hall in Raleigh. It's one of my favorite spots inside the food hall and really enjoyed their tonkatsu ramen. Next time I'm going to try their Kimchi Ramen!

411 W Morgan St, Raleigh, NC 27603

5. M Kokko

Expect a line when you visit M Kokko, but if you are patient you'll be rewarded. Their ramen has been my favorite in the area so far! The broth is rich where Dashi's feel like it could be richer. The pork chashu is so tender and perfect.  Oh, and there's a vegan noodle soup that inspires food envy. They also have an amazing fried chicken sandwich worth checking out!

311 Holland St b, Durham, NC 27701

6. Szechuan Taste

I will always associate Szechuan Taste as the place of comfort I ran to after I received my first speeding ticket in North Carolina. They serve authentic Szechuan style food, which means high spice levels. I loved it. I had the dan dan noodles and the red chili dumplings. I wish I lived closer so I can go more often!

6404 Tryon Rd, Cary, NC 27518

7. Mekong Vietnamese Cuisine

I recently went to Mekong Vietnames Cuisine on a date with Sugarface for the first time for my 35th birthday. Mekong Vietnamese Cuisine has comforting pho, banh mis, and grilled meats and rice dishes. I sampled my usual order of brisket pho (pho chin), summer rolls, and grilled pork banh mi. All good and Sugarface and I both spoke of returning! I like that the banh mis are served with freshly fried shrimp chips.

2121 TW Alexander Dr, Morrisville, NC 27560

8. Jujube

Jujube is a cozy little Asian inspired restaurant. Pictured above is their popular dinner dish, Bolognese (hoisin braised shredded pork, scallions, wide rice noodles).  The flavors were very rich and they may ask if you'd like some rice to go with your noodles. I declined, but I think you should go for it! On point flavors but a tad salty. Mixing in some of the rice would have made it just right.

1201 Raleigh Rd L, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

9. Noodle Boulevard

I left my thighs in the photo above so you can get a sense of how huge the bowls at Noodle Blvd are! Though M Kkoko has my favorite ramen, Noodle Blvd may be my favorite ramen establishment due to lack of line and having a bigger ramen selection than M Kkoko. I'm especially fond of their Chicken Curry Ramen. I get it spicy!

919 N Harrison Ave, Cary, NC 27513

10. Pho Vietnam

I always get the same thing when I order pho, so I judge my pho restaurants by the Pho Chin (beef brisket pho.) Of the five pho restaurants I've tried, Pho Vietnam is my favorite so far! It came down to how tender their beef brisket is here compared to other popular places.

Multiple locations
Website defunct at time of writing

11. Rasa Malaysia

I like that there's a Malaysian restaurant in Chapel Hill, my new hometown. Rasa Malaysia gave me my first experience of the traditional Malaysian dish, Roti Canai (not a noodle dish). My favorite noodle offering from Rasa Malaysia is  Penang Char Kay Teow (pictured above). The noodles have an amazing texture and smoky flavor. They also have noodle soups and other noodle stir-frys, including Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai.

410 Market St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

12. Ni Asian Kitchen

Speaking of Malaysian food, whenever I have an appointment in Raleigh, I try to stretch my time to make the long drive more worth it. After a recent drive, I found a strip mall gem called Ni Asian Kitchen. They had a couple of Malaysian dishes on their menu and I ordered my favorite, the Char Kway Teow. I wish it had fish cakes in it but it still hit the spot during my last solo lunch date.

8817 Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615

13. Swasadee

Swasadee is one of my weekday lunch date spots I have with Sugarface. It's close to the UNC campus and I LOVE their Drunken Noodles. Their wide noodles have a soft but not overcooked texture. I get it with tofu!

110 N Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

14. Bua Thai Cuisine

Speaking of Drunken Noodles, it's my favorite Thai dish and I can really write an entire list of where to find Drunken Noodles in the area. On this list, I would definitely list Bua Thai Cuisine. I also really like their Pad See Ew!

5850 Fayetteville Rd., Ste 101, Durham, NC 27713

15. Red Pepper

This hole-in-the-wall establishment owned by an adorable older Asian couple is just down the street from me.  Sugarface and I come here fairly often. I'm quite fond of their Beef He Fen.

1704 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

16. Dashi

Dashi is a beloved ramen shop in Durham. I want to work myself through their non-ramen menu items because though their ramen is good, it's not necessarily my favorite. They do have an expansive menu for ramen so I may just have been hitting the wrong bowls! Of the ones I've tried, I recommend their tonkatsu. Eventually, I want to do a green tea dessert tour of the area and hear Dashi has a green tea pound cake!

415 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701

17. Taste Vietnamese

I'm always on the lookout for delicious pho and am sad to report it's been hard to find more than a handful. I quite liked Taste Vietnamese's pho and love planning visits here for lunch before flying out to Texas. (I fly to Texas a lot, and they're close to the airport!)

152 Morrisville Square Way, Morrisville, NC 27560

18. Zanyu Asian Noodles

Is there anything more beautiful than Khoi Soi? I had such a delicious bowl of Khoi Soi from Zanyu Asian Noodles in Raleigh. I want to make my way through more of their menu! The owner lived in Asia and wanted to bring the flavors he loved while living there to the Triangle. What a noble cause.   
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The Austinot Weekend Concert Picks: Oct. 5-6, 2018

Austinot Weekend Concert Picks Oct 5 2018

Happy ACL Music Fest Weekend One, everybody! While most of the focus is on the annual Zilker Park extravaganza, there's still plenty of exceptional music to be found downtown and all around Austin.

Friday, Oct. 5

Margaret Wright at Skylark Lounge

Margaret Wright blowing the roof off The Skylark Lounge (Credit: Skylark Lounge Facebook)

Margaret Wright

@ Skylark Lounge (2039 Airport Blvd.) – 6 p.m. – Event page

During a weekend full of ACL late shows and world class headliners, I love the idea of catching some low-key Austin classics. As a soul/blues/swing artist of power, range, and pure musical joy, Margaret Wright has been soundtracking lounges for decades.

With laid-back tunes played by a charming woman with the utmost passion and professionalism, hanging at The Skylark Lounge with a cocktail in hand will be the perfect antidote to the ACL madness.

Saturday, Oct. 6


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Hickoids w/Western Star, Churchwood, Mean Motor Scooter

@ The White Horse (500 Cormal) – 7 p.m. – Facebook event

Wacky and wild with just enough smile to go with the sneer, these Austin kings of cowpunk have been slaying stages since 1984. These old school rockers blend punk rock sensibilities with a honky tonk stomp, and screaming blue leads. The result is an infectious yet brain-bending sound that's unique and thoroughly entertaining.

Boot scoot, two step, or slam dance your way to The White Horse for a healthy dose of Hickoids goodness. Also playing are local psycho-blue act Churchwood, Fort Worth garage-psych act Mean Motor Scooter, and Baltimore-based alt-county four-piece Western Star.

Ditch the Fest w/Calliope Musicals, Alesia Lani, SMiiLE, Sometimes a Legend, Monte, TC Superstar, more

Calliope Musicals Austin Band

Calliope Musicals (Credit: Kate Blaising)

@ Cheer Up Charlies (900 Red River) – 5 p.m. – Facebook event

Don't feel like spending the cash on a fancy Weekend One ACL wristband? Cheer Up Charlies has you covered with a fantastic festival of its own. Headlined by the feel-good indie pop sound of Calliope Musicals and the soulful R&B of the always wonderful Alesia Lani, this celebration of local music is second to none.

Other artists of note include experimental folk artist Monte, upbeat electro-pop act Sometimes a Legend, '80s-style synth pop band TC Superstar, and my beloved wizards of the weird SMiiLE. Add to the mix some local comedy and free pizza from Via 313, and you have a show that makes us Zilker dwellers jealous.


BillTuckerTSP wants to know:

Where are you going for live, local music this weekend in Austin?

We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post The Austinot Weekend Concert Picks: Oct. 5-6, 2018 appeared first on The Austinot

Roux Saint James Inspires With Intention-based Botanical Compounds

Roux Saint James Tester Wall in Austin

Peruse the wall of products and testers to try different scents at Roux Saint James (Credit: Mariah William)

If you battle with sensitive skin, then you understand how hard it can be to find products that don't cause a reaction. Krista Lacey at Roux Saint James is all too familiar with this challenge. That's why she created a line of intention-based botanical compounds for her Austin-based perfumery.

What Is Roux Saint James?

Roux Saint James Austin-based perfumery

Roux Saint James is an Austin-based perfumery (Credit: Krista Lacey)

Lacey expanded from her home studio in September 2018, into a personal work studio and showroom in east Austin. She's always pined after the area, especially since Canopy opened up. Once she saw Springdale General, she knew it was the place for her.

After seven years of running her business from home, the Austin entrepreneur took the plunge and got a separate space to continue crafting her perfumes.

Boss Lady Perfumer Krista Lacey

Krista Lacey Founder of Roux Saint James

Krista Lacey is the mastermind behind Roux Saint James (Credit: Krista Lacey)

Lacey has always been interested in scent, but her fascination grew after a bad allergic reaction to a product when she was in her teens. After that incident, she became very cautious about certain ingredients. In the early 1990s, as interest in natural products began to grow, Lacey learned about essential oils. But she didn't realize the benefits until a fateful trip to New Orleans, where she purchased a body oil that contained essential oils.

Flash forward to 2011. Lacey was working as a designer at the time, but she lost her job due to the economy. The lay-off ended up being a sign for her to follow her passion. She began testing fragrances and attending makers' markets, in order to refine her art.

Lacy moved from using only partial natural ingredients, to making products that were 100 percent natural by 2014. The technique she developed gave her perfumes more depth.

Individuality on Display

In addition to the eight classic perfumes in Lacey's collection, custom scents are also available. Lacey has done this for several local brands, such as Hotel Saint Cecilia, and for women and men who come to her wanting to wear their own unique scent.

Lacey hopes to put the spotlight back on the art form of perfumery and its roots, when perfumers use to pick ingredients by hand before soaking them in alcohol or fats to get the scents out.

➡ Keep reading: 5 Austin Makeup Brands to Try as You Shop Local

Inspiration Behind the Scents

Scent inspiration at Roux Saint James

Scent inspiration comes from a multitude of sources (Credit: Krista Lacey)

When creating a new scent, Lacey draws from everything around her, whether a piece of art, music, or even a concept. She builds a story and intention behind each scent, experimenting with different ingredients until she achieves perfection.

As an example of Lacey's concept-based creativity, five of the perfumes in the current fragrance line are based on the five elements. The scent titled 1920 is a throwback to the tradition of perfumery.

Sometimes, inspiration strikes from new ingredients from Lacey's distributors. After she smells them for the first time, she imagines what scents would mix well and continues experimenting.

1920 Perfume by Roux Saint James

1920 is reminiscent of the time when perfume was coming to its height (Credit: Krista Lacey)

One of Lacey's favorite parts of the job is helping people create their own perfumes and get their own inspiration to create a custom scent. This happens through one-on-one mini sessions, called Mini Bespoke Sessions, or through workshops. Event attendees experiment with different ingredients to see what triggers their natural senses. The process is about self-exploration and delving into what makes you happy. These workshops take place twice a month, once on a weeknight and once on a weekend.

"There's no wrong way to do something when you're making it for yourself," Lacey says. If you're interested in learning more about what she calls her "little works of art" or trying out one of her workshops, then make sure to check out her shop at the link below.

1023 Springdale Road - Website


@theAustinot wants to know:

Have you tried any of the scents at Roux Saint James?

We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Roux Saint James Inspires With Intention-based Botanical Compounds appeared first on The Austinot

4 Reasons To Love And Subscribe To Hungry Harvest

Hungry Harvest contacted me and offered to sponsor this blog post in exchange for my honest thoughts on their service. I'm so glad they did because their missions of fighting food waste and hunger are causes dear to my heart. Hungry Harvest is a produce delivery service, curating fresh rescued fruits and vegetables to deliver to your doorstep. They currently service Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, Greater Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey, Northern Delaware, South Florida, The Triangle Area in North Carolina, and the Detroit Metro Area. Their boxes are customizable and come in a variety of sizes and options. Below are 4 reasons why you should love and subscribe to Hungry Harvest. After my list of reasons, I'm sharing my delicious grape and chicken turnover recipe and linking to a few other recipes, all of which I tried with the produce Hungry Harvest delivered to me. And if you make it all the way to the end, there's also a giveaway opportunity and discount code!

4 Reasons To Love and Subscribe to Hungry Harvest

Hungry Harvest
1. Combat food waste.

"We don't think there is anything wrong with being a little off-size, a little off-color, a little ugly, or a little overproduced – that's why we rescue delicious produce at 3 points in the supply chain – at the farm, packing house, and wholesaler."

– Hungry Harvest

Did you know that every year, 40% of food goes to waste in this country? I try to be mindful in eating down my groceries and not wasting food in my own home. But we can all also help with food waste by changing how we source and buy your groceries. Ugly produce hardly gets picked by consumers at the grocery store or farmstands. I try to remember this when I buy groceries. I might ignore the gorgeous bell pepper for the one that is slightly bruised that will taste just as wonderful when I'm done cooking with it. Hungry Harvest saves delicious produce that may otherwise be ignored because of their lack of conventional beauty and thus making a big impact on how much food gets thrown out at the market level.

2. Help fight against hunger.

Another reason to love and subscribe to Hungry Harvest is to support a company whose mission is to also fight hunger. One of their strategies in fighting hunger is to donate a portion of their produce every week to hunger-solving organizations. You can see a list of their donating partners on their site.

3. Enforce healthier eating habits.

Hungry Harvest

I still struggle with making consistent healthy decisions when I buy groceries. I may buy just one bunch of spinach and count that as done for the week. With Hungry Harvest subscription, you'll have an entire box of produce that will inspire and positively reinforce consistently nutritious decisions in your home-cooking.

4. Help you climb out of boring home-cooking ruts.

These Hungry Harvest deliveries are fun surprises that will inspire you to think outside your usual routines. I never think to buy apples or grapes, and both ingredients popped up in my delivery. The grapes got my creative juices flowing and I made a new recipe where I cooked grapes for the first time in my life! See below for the recipe I created with Hungry Harvest as my muse. I also made a soup with the apples that will now be in my fall rotation!

Chicken and Grapes Turnover Recipe

As mentioned, I was inspired to cook with the grapes that came in my Hungry Harvest box. Sugarface is allergic to raw fruit skins and this includes grape skins. Rather than going through the trouble of peeling grapes for him to enjoy, I decided to cook them to make them safe for him to eat. Turns out they go wonderfully baked with cheese and chicken!

Hungry Harvest

Serves 4


  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned, cooked, and shredded
  • 2  defrosted sheets of puff pastry, each cut in half, yielding 4 equal rectangles
  • 1 cup of sliced grapes
  • 1.5 cups of spinach, chopped
  • 4 tbsp of cream cheese, goat cheese, or brie at room temperature
  • Approximately 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the shredded cooked chicken, spinach leaves and grapes to a bowl and toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Beat the egg in another bowl.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, place one of the pre-cut sheets of puff pastry. Smear your cheese on both halves of each puff pastry rectangle. Spoon some of the chicken, spinach, and grape mixture on one half of the sheet. (See photo below.)Hungry Harvest
  5. Brush the edges of the pastry rectangle with egg wash. Fold the half of the sheet without the mixture over the half with the mixture, essentially making a pocket.
  6. Press the edges of the pastry together with the tines of a fork. I turned up the corners too to help ensure no leaks happen in the oven. (See photo below.)Hungry Harvest
  7. Brush the top of this pastry with egg. This will give the baked pastry a beautiful golden color. Then repeat steps 4 to 6 with the remaining puff pastry rectangles.
  8. Set these four pastry turnovers on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

    Hungry Harvest

  9. Lastly, let sit for a few minutes before serving. Pair with a soup or salad. If you are using black or purple grapes as I did, don't be alarmed if you see a little creamy purple color. That's just the grapes giving you a surprise coloring! Sugarface and I both loved this comforting dish. I served it with a delicious apple and sweet potato soup, recipe linked below. Hungry Harvest


Other Recipes I Used with My Box From Hungry Harvest

  1.  Sweet Potato and Apple soup.
  2. Roasted Beets and Feta
  3. Tomato, Spinach, and Shrimp Pasta


Finally, that concludes my fun experience with Hungry Harvest. I'm so excited about this company that I am happy to partner with them to give away a month's worth of Hungry Harvest deliveries and also offer everyone else a discount code! To enter my giveaway, visit this Instagram post and follow the rules listed.

To receive 30% off your first order, use code: LINDAEATSWORLD30 

 Now over to you! How do you help prevent food waste in your everyday life? Leave a comment and let me know!

Follow my eating adventures and happenings on Instagram. You can also see what is catching my attention in the food world on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 4 Reasons To Love And Subscribe To Hungry Harvest appeared first on Girl Eats World.