Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Just when I thought Austin could not get any hotter, I went to the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival.  I knew I would love it when I read on the website that admission was three items of non-perishable food.  Hot Sauce Festival/Food Drive sounds like my kind of afternoon.

The Festival was in Waterloo Park, at 12th and Red River, not far from the Capitol Building.  I decided to ride Jenny there, to test out bike-riding to downtown.  Half of the trip was through the University of Texas campus so I was able to check out a side of campus I haven't seen.  Man, is UT huge.  From the edge of UT to Waterloo Park was only a few blocks and I was able to navigate through smaller streets, making a bike ride to downtown Austin very manageable.  Good to know, especially now that Jenny is equipped with a basket on the back to carry groceries and such.

When I arrived I locked up Jenny on a fence and entered the tent-covered grounds, depositing my three non-perishables in marked boxes on my way in.  There were lines at each tent for the hot sauce and salsa tasting and I immediately got in line to taste "Tears of Joy" sauces (  They were having tastings of their red sauce, green sauce, a hot sauce, and their tequila lime hot sauce.  I really loved the tequila lime hot sauce - it has quite a kick moments after you have actually tasted it. Perusing their website I just noticed they have a "lawyer's breath" hot sauce.  I should make a trip to their place on 6th Street for a bottle.

After tasting at Tears of Joy I proceeded to the main tent for the blind tastings.  In the tent you are handed a bowl of tortilla chips and you proceed down a table tasting all different kinds of salsa.  I got in the red sauce line and tried about ten salsas.  The variety I tasted was amazing.  There was a bbq sauce based salsa, what tasted like a ketchup based salsa, one salsa with asparagus, and another with olives.  All salsas are certainly not created equal.

After the salsa tasting I was full and sick of waiting in lines so I went to the main stage to check out the live band.  There was a line-up of five local bands for the afternoon and I was lucky enough to catch Nakia & His Southern Cousins (  I LOVED THEM.  Nakia has a booming soulful voice and is backed up by two lovely women in cute matching dresses with sweet high voices.  I am definitely going to keep an eye out for more of their Austin shows.  In front of me at the show was a young family with the cutest blonde twin daughters, probably about 2 or 3 years old.  Each parent had a girl on their shoulders, and the girls were wearing matching polka-dot dresses.  I noticed the dad had a camera in his hand so I asked if he would like me to take a couple pictures of the four of them.  They were a very precious, gracious family and I enjoyed telling them that I am a twin as well.

As much as I loved Nakia & His Southern Cousins, I was getting hot, tired, and thirsty so I left the festival and hopped on Jenny to go home.  As I was leaving, I was stopped at a red light and a man on the corner said, "My wife likes your bike!", and there was his wife next to him grinning and nodding.  I thanked them and then I got the nicest compliment I have received in a long time.  The wife said, "It fits you!"  My Jenny is beautiful and sassy and sunny so for someone to think I could be the right match for her is certainly an honor.

On the way home I stopped at the law school to pick up my Con Law book and remind myself that I am here to be a law student.  With that I will now hit the books!

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