Archive for October, 2009


A Taste of Italy on 5th St.

Today for a close friends birthday dinner, a few friends and I went to Carmelo’s Italian Restaurant. Carmelo’s is located at 504 East 5th Street. At first we drove pass the restaurant because it was hidden, but once inside, the atmosphere really makes you feel like you’re in a little Italian village. The first person who greets you is the complimentary valet. Having the valet made parking downtown great. It was a complete relief to not have to drive around the block looking for a parking spot.

Carmelos on 5th St.

Carmelos on 5th St.

 For the night, we booked an entire dining room to sit the twenty guests. I thought the food was delicious, the service was okay, but the price range made my pockets a little light. The menu was pretty expensive.

This was a full serving of food. I only got half.

This was a full serving of food. I only got half.

As soon as we arrived the waiters kept saying, “we make the best margaritas!” Since I was designated driver, I couldn’t experience their self-proclaimed ‘best margaritas.’ I wasn’t too disappointed my water and lemon quenched my thirst.

The plate I ordered was the Fettuccine Luisa. My food was SCRUMPITIOUS! The only bad thing about the order was that it was the small portion and was the size of a kids meal. Luckily, I filled up on the complimentary bread.

Everyone eating

Everyone eating their dinner

 If you can afford to spend $25 a plate on fettuccini, this would be a great place to experience Italy in Austin. But for now I’ll just stick with an Italian restaurant that’s college affordable…Olive Garden on South Lamar. Bon Appetit!


Farewell Sukhvinder Ji: An Evening with “Pinky”

I would normally post something here that you might actually have an opportunity to go see like an upcoming or ongoing event.  However this was truly a special experience that I would feel guilty for not sharing with you all.

I had the pleasure of spending last night with my tabla instructor, world-renowned master Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari, before he departs today for a four-month tour of India.  He prepared dinner and treated a select group of students to a private concert.  It was truly an indescribable experience to be seated in front of a man who is considered to be one of the best tabla players in the world (the Jimi Hendrix or Herbie Hancock of tabla, if you will) with an audience of only about ten peers.  He played no differently in front of us than he would have in front of an audience of thousands.  I have never seen any one or anything capable of keeping such perfect time while making so much and so many sounds with so little.  I rarely heard an instrument, especially a percussion instrument, convey so many feelings and speak so clearly.

Since this is something that I could never make anyone understand with mere words, I recorded some of his performance.  It’s not quite like being there, but it will give you a glimpse of why Suhkvinder Singh is considered one of the world’s greatest and most respected rhythm players.

Since I cannot upload audio to this blog you can hear this private concert at my blog at


Gourdough’s Late Night Sweet Treats

Gourdough’s, a donut shop in a vintage Airstream trailer, is a recent development in night owl entertainment. This little oasis on South Lamar stays open late into the evening– 2 am to be exact.

Last night, I finally decided to hunker down and delve into the mound of homework that’s been piling up. However, a study break was necessary, so around 10:30 I gathered some friends and headed over to Gourdough’s to try out some of the fried sweets I had heard word of during Austin City Limits festival weekend.

Despite the rain, my roommate Amanda, and another friend, Mary Beth, joined me on my excursion. With umbrellas in tow, we approached the menu

gourdoughs 001

Gourdoughs menu features 25 donut creations.

Mary Beth chose a less adventurous route and asked for a simple donut with icing. I ordered the Coco Loco, a donut filled with coconut cream filling, topped with cream cheese icing, coconut flakes and pineapple.

gourdoughs 006

Coco Loco

Amanda ordered the ODB, cream filled donut holes covered in cream cheese icing and coconut flakes–

gourdoughs 004


Each serving is only $3.25, with the exception of the donuts served with meat (the Flying Pig comes with bacon and maple syrup, the Mother Clucker comes with fried chicken and honey butter frosting) which are $1 more. Overall, it’s a pretty good deal for the heaping portions they provide. You can also wash it down with milk, coffee, or a Dublin Dr. Pepper.

We spoke with Ryan, the co-owner, briefly as he so kindly wiped the rain from our table. He told us about his partner’s woes in the real estate business– she was too busy to eat because she had to show houses all day, so she would come home at night and crave something sweet and delicious. That’s where the Naughty & Nice donut, topped with sugar and cinnamon, came from. Eventually she started trying out new ones, and friends started giving her more ideas until they finally came up with the idea to create their own shop.

Gourdough’s is open daily from 12pm-2am. Of course, we night owls prefer to arrive after dark, but I’m sure these treats taste just as good in daylight.


A Dublin Dr. Pepper in the foreground of Gourdough's trailer. Photo by Mary Beth Yale.

Coincidentally, the Daily Texan published a story today about Gourdough’s, also.

Gourdough’s –open daily 12pm-2am

1219 S. Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78704

Follow them on Twitter for more information about donut events!


Karaoke Smackdown

Do you want to witness the ultimate karaoke smackdown? If so, you should definitely attend Ego’s Lounge  on South Congress Avenue, Wednesday and Thursday nights. The atmosphere is fun, and it’s a great place to relax while singing your heart away.

Rock the Mic!

Ego’s Lounge offers a wide range of karaoke competitions—singles and duets. But it’s most known for its friendly group competition sponsored by the National Karaoke League. NKL’s karaoke season, begins in October  and last until December. Each 4-8 person team performs their amazing rendition of a popular ballad they’ve practiced the previous week. After all performances the bar votes for the best act. All teams are competing for the grand prize of having a picture on NKL’s website, a shiny trophy, and a bar tab at Ego’s.

 On certain days, Ego’s Lounge host fundraisers that partner with the Austin’s School of Music   and other non-profits around the city. The best days to sing the night away at Ego’s Lounge for karaoke are Wednesday and Thursday between 10pm-2am. If you can barely hold a note but have a great air-guitar; this place would be an exciting bar to showcase your talents to Austin.

Check out Team Shy below…


Study? No. Beer? Yes.

First off, I just want to introduce myself. I’m Samantha Borger and I’m a journalism senior at the University of Texas. I’ll be posting about Night Owl-ish activities every Wednesday and Thursday for you. I plan on focusing more on the restaurant and bar scene in Austin after dark. I’m so excited to see what corners of Austin our blog ends up uncovering!

It’s Tuesday and sitting at your desk studying is the last thing you want to do. Cain & Abel’s dollar beer night is but a hop, skip and a jump around the corner, and the Tuesday night special is just $1 for domestic bottles of beer.

Every Tuesday I walk home from class around 5 pm with a “to-do” list running through my head. Laundry. Groceries. Blog post. Read this. Answer that. Study those. And then I get the inevitable question via text message:

“Are you going out tonight?”

followed by a

“Come on, you know you want to.”

Well of course I want to! The real question is, do I have time? Remember that to-do list? And you might be thinking…who goes out on a Tuesday night anyway? Well, it’s harder to resist when you find out the cheap cheap price of fun for this weekday treat.

While the $1 special on Coors Lite, Bud Lite, Miller Lite and Budweiser actually applies all day, the party doesn’t really get going until after 9 pm. By 11 pm it’s nearly impossible to find a table, even though the bar and restaurant includes upstairs and outdoor patio seating.

Located in the West Campus area of Austin, Cain & Abel’s crowd tends to be mainly UT students. In fact, one can tell on which weeks students have the most mid-terms based on the length of the line out the door on a Tuesday night. Its location is so convenient that most of the people it attracts are those who can walk themselves there. That means you don’t need to call/pay for a cab or wait for a bus if you want to drink.

Cain & Abel’s, or just “Abel’s” as some patrons choose to shorten it to, is definitely not a dance club. They have two pool tables (one downstairs, one upstairs), a Foosball table and a jukebox that is more likely to be playing ’80s pop or classic rock than Hip-Hop. Overall, it’s more of a place to socialize, mingle with other students, and run into people you know.

Unfortunately, besides Eric, the longtime bartender, service at this establishment is definitely sub-par. They serve food until 11 pm, but you’ll probably have to flag a server down yourself or just put your order in at the bar if you want to eat in a timely manner.

So, night owls, if you’re looking for an alternative to studying on a Tuesday night, I recommend Cain & Abel’s as a convenient and economic choice.

2313 Rio Grande St
Austin, TX 78705
Hours: 11am-2am
(512) 476-3201

Happy Birthday Clifford Antone

Tonight Austin will celebrate and pay respects to the father of Austin’s music scene, Clifford Antone at Antone’s Nightclub.

There was once a time when Austin had no music scene.  Bars didn’t even stay open past midnight.  Then Clifford Antone decided to open up a club on the once remote Sixth Street.  The rest as they say, is history.  From reviving the careers of blues greats such as Clifton Chenier (the first artist to grace the original Antone’s stage), Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Albert Collins, McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters), Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Reed, B.B. King, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and many others, to jump starting his friend and legend, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s career, Clifford Antone has had a greater impact on the Austin music scene than any other individual.

Tonight’s show will feature the Antone’s house band with Clifford’s good friend and Albert King’s favorite guitar player (one of mine too) Derek O’Brien.  Also playing will W.C. Clark and Malford Milligan.

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s first time playing with Albert King – explained by Clifford:


Erin’s night of terror

A chilly October night called for a trip to House of Torment.

That’s right… nine of my friends and I decided to go to Highland Mall for a 15-20 tour of and haunted house.

House of Torment crew

Most of us competed for the middle of the pack while a couple braved the tour and lead the way. I lingered in the back with my camera in one hand and my friend’s hand in the other.

I wanted to document the tour for the blog, and boy did I take a few hits for it! After three snap shots of the inside of the house, and monster whacked me in the head multiple times while he screamed “I hate flashes!” and “No flashes!” and followed me into the next room. My hair was a mess, and I was a little shaken up. What happened to the “no touching” policy?

The clubber

Besides that minor incident, we had a good time. Check out the House of Torment. All the information can be found on the website. It’s going on now until November 1 from 7pm-12am. A real night owl’s treat. Just leave your flashers behind!

After the tour