Hey, Everyone. So I’d just left off with Martha and moi deciding to sign up (one more time) for a cooking class at the Sur La Table shop in Austin at “The Domain.” In particular, we picked a beef class. To be precise, “Date Night: South American Steak Night.”
Like I say, carnivores we were born. Carnivores we’re gonna die. I apologize to those who find that offensive...but, sigh, it just isn’t going to change. (Vegans and others are here-by authorized to think hard thoughts in our direction. But, please, don’t add any hard objects to go along with ‘em.)
Anyway, the class was said to have the following menu: Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and cheese Stuffed Masa Cakes (Pupusas) with Salsa Roja. That had sounded right good, so we signed up. Then, Martha found us a place to stay in Austin for one night (even thought Austin is only 30 minutes, driving...particularly at night...can be complicated. So, as a rule, we stay over). This time, though, she picked a hotel rather than a B&B. I think that was because it was easier to cancel a hotel than a B&B, if need be. After her fall and all the complications there-in, we are still a little gun shy, I must confess.
Come May 14, we were off. We drove down in the afternoon, getting there about 3 p.m., and checked into our hotel. We rested and cooled down a bit, and then popped into the car and headed for the Domain. We got there, found a space in one of the enormous garages the dot the Domain’s campus, and then headed for the Sur La Table.
The two of us looking terribly, terribly soigné and soignée (respectively) in our cooking togs at the Sur La Table.
We didn’t go there directly because we had some time to kill, so we went first to where usually go when visit the area. There’s a coffee shop (of course. We always find the coffee shops) right across the street from the kitchen shop. And it says something about the Domain, and the people who go/work/or live near there that the cafe we’ve found isn’t a stand-alone cafe. It is, in fact, part of the Capital One Bank at Domain.
It’s actually very nice. We usually drop in for an iced Americano or something. There is lots of seating and it’s air conditioned. You walk in, a pleasant person at a desk asks if you have any questions (i.e., do you have banking business? or could we interest you in an account?) and we always say no. Then we go to the counter and order our coffees. Another pleasant person asks if we have a Capital One card because we get special deals if we do. We don’t. The pleasant person shrugs and charges us full price.
Actually, we do do some of our banking with Capital One. I suppose we ought to get a card from them some day. But, I’ve always been too lazy and we’re not at the Capital One Cafe often enough to motivate me.
Sill, the Cafe interests me because it does feel very Domain and very Austin. The clientele is often, if not always, young. There are a lot of twenty- and thirty-somethings sitting at tables with desktop systems, doing spreadsheets or marketing documents. The decor is sleek and modern. There is a feeling of energy and enterprise about the place. There is a focus, if you will, on money and caffeine. What could be more twenty-first century? Or more typical of this city?
We sipped our Americanos and then Martha checked her watch. We should be moving on, she said. I nodded. We wondered whether they’d let us into the shop with our drinks, but, in the end, decided to take them. They’d tell us if they weren’t permitted soon enough.
We slipped across the street, making our way through the crowds of residents and tourists like ourselves. In the shop, yet another Very Pleasant Young Person (I’m thinking of making an acronym. A VPYP? A Vip-yip?) came up and asked if we were looking for anything special and could she help us. We explained about the cooking class. She smile and directed us toward the back of the shop where the kitchen facility was. I asked if we could take the coffees in. She smiled. Of course, of course.
We walked into the kitchen. The chef instructor was already there. He greeted us and we chatted briefly about the arrangements. We would circle the table, with him at one end, and we would be divided into groups of four -- that is, two couples apiece. He also, tactfully, suggested that we might want to pick one of the “work stations” closer to him. I say he was being tactful because he realized we were having trouble hearing him. Ah, the pleasures of age.
We washed our hands and put on the long, dark aprons the shop provides for your class. Then, we stood, and waited, while the other students...the other couples...came in, two by two.
I looked at Martha and toasted her with my coffee. After three long months, we’d finally gotten here.
And, by George, we damn well deserved to enjoy it.
More to come.
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