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Photo courtesy of KMFA

Classical doesn’t mean safe and the same. KMFA 89.5, Austin’s classical music radio station, is proving it with two announcements: first it appoints George Preston as its first new CEO in a decade, and further interrupts the status quo with the newly announced lineup of its “Offbeat Series,” featuring creative contemporary performances that pull input from pop styles, play with listening spaces, and transform the typical experience listening to live classical music. The station hopes to draw new listeners who may not actively engage with classical music already.

“George comes to us with exceptional experience leading a classical radio station,” said KMFA board chair Soriya Estes in a press release. “One of KMFA’s central goals is to increase our community partnerships as a collaborator both inside and outside the Austin arts community. He has a deep understanding of the classical music landscape and possesses the qualities needed to expand and engage our listening audience size and diversity in the coming years in Austin, Central Texas, and beyond.”

Preston’s most recent experience in radio comes from WFMT, Chicago’s classical and folk station, where he served as VP of Radio and general manager. He started at the station on-air in 2009, and is still involved in heading its national syndication division. New York City, Boston, Colorado Springs, and Safety City, Florida, all make appearances on Preston’s résumé in radio. He succeeds Ann Hume Wilson at the end of her decade at the helm of KMFA.

“The potential for growth at KMFA is unlimited,” said Preston. “The station already has an impressive legacy in one of America’s great music capitals. The gorgeous facility, including the spectacular Draylen Mason Studio, and the dynamic and talented team of staff and board, have KMFA positioned to be a national leader in Classical Radio. I can’t wait to get started!"

Kicking off both the future of the Daylen Mason Studio and the “Offbeat Series” on February 18, Austin choral collective Panoramic Voices presents “Borderland,” an immersive experience based on the work of local composer Nathan Felix. Singers will be positioned all over the KMFA building, singing “vignettes” inspired by Hispanic history, namely migration stories between Mexico and Texas. “Audiences can expect an experience akin to visiting a museum, while enjoying powerful opening and closing pieces that bring the choir together,” according to a release.

Next up on April 8 is “Close To Home,” a collection of arrangements based on Austin local Daniel Fears’ R&B artistry. A chamber ensemble plays pieces reworked by local and international composers like Austin’s Mobley and Nate Laningham, and Virginia’s Anthony R. Greene. Laningham and Fears created the collaboration with special attention to Fears’ past as one of few Black students studying classical music at Yale, and the arrangements are performed by an ensemble of musicians of color.

“We all know that Austin is a mecca for live music, but a lesser-known fact is that there is a vibrant new music scene happening here,” said KMFA Director of Events Stacey Hoyt. “KMFA is excited to elevate the work of the talented artists that are composing and performing new works that are shaping the future of the contemporary classical music sub-genre. As KMFA looks to the future, we hope to help create a pathway for the next generation of classical music listeners.”

More information about the “Offbeat Series” and tickets ($25 or $10 for students) are available at kmfa.org.

Photo by Anthony D’Angio

Contemporary country great announces Austin appearance with drink in hand

Not Springsteen

Despite living in the “country” by most American standards, Austinites don’t always get a chance to live out that lifestyle. One of those chances comes July 29, when one of country’s biggest contemporary stars — with seven ACM Awards, four CMA Awards, and 10 Grammys — Eric Church, rides through on his second of two Texas tour stops.

Church plays at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas on July 28, and Austin's show the next night will be at Germania Insurance Amphitheate. His success precedes him, but this is still a first for “The Chief.” He’s played long sets — two-and-a-half to even three hours — but he somehow still hasn’t played an entire tour in the summer breeze. This 27-date tour, called “The Outsiders Revival Tour” may redefine what fans expect from Church, six studio albums into his career.

“When I approach touring, I’m always inspired by a new experience, a new way to gather, to express ourselves sonically and visually. Whether it’s solo, in the round, double down; being able to bring a different perspective has always brought out our best creatively,” said Church in a press release. “Well, we have never done an outdoor summer tour. Never headlined amphitheaters. Never brought a summer experience to your town that featured artists we want to share the summer with. Until now. See you in the season of sunshine with some fellow outsiders that shine brightest when the sun goes down.”

The Texas artists Church has invited to share his two nights of summer in Dallas and Austin — Ray Wylie Hubbard and Midland — bring the past and future of country onstage with Church, whose career since 2005 has come to represent the genre in the early 21st century. Hubbard, who grew up in Dallas, continues the traditions of the blues and outlaw country; Midland, formed nearly a decade ago in Dripping Springs, anchor their smooth sound as “post-Urban Cowboy country.”

Church’s twang is recognizable in songs like the introspective and romantic “Springsteen,” and more upbeat “Drink In My Hand” (essentially the boozy 2011 answer to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” without the feminist bent). Church’s studio albums are frequently interspersed — and almost overwhelmed — by live albums.

Heart & Soul, Church’s most recent album in three parts (2021 LPs Heart and Soul, and 2022 EP &), was written in a song-per-day writing marathon in rural North Carolina. “Hell of a View,” another sentimental track, is his most recent gold-certified hit.

Tickets for the entire tour go on sale on January 20 at 10 am via Ticketmaster. Presale access will open to Church’s fan club, the Church Choir, on January 17 at 10 am.

Photo courtesy of Juliet's Italian Kitchen

5 delectable Austin food and drink events to kick off the new year

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: In this special edition of our weekly food news roundup, we're focusing on some delicious events you can attend the first week of 2023 — and can keep coming back to throughout the year. Consider these your first resolutions, smashed as soon as you hit that RSVP.

Trivia Night at Butterfly Bar — January 3
The last thing most of us want when cutting back alcohol is to hang back from social events. Attached to The Vortex, which hosts some of the best fringe shows in Austin, Butterfly Bar serves creative cocktails with and without alcohol. (Plus, the Patrizi’s truck is onsite every day serving pasta.) The first weekly trivia night of the year is on January 3, sandwiched between jazz, indie, and other musical shows for the rest of the week. Check the calendar at butterflybaraustin.com.

Sharpen Your Knife Skills at Central Market — JJanuary 4
Getting into a committed foodie lifestyle can be daunting and expensive, but Central Market is saving the day once again, with lots of accessible classes coming up. On January 4, Sharpen Your Knife Skills at Central Market covers one of the most important facets of home cooking, whether you’re making sushi or chopping up veggies for pizza (both available among other classes this month). It’s still an investment, but less expensive than most similar classes. Tickets ($65) available on Eventbrite.

Mezcal Tasting at Bar 508 Mezcalerita with Pelon's Tex-Mex — January 4
Some of us need to burn 2022 out of ourselves (no judgment), and mezcal can get that job done. Head over to Red River Cultural District neighbors Bar 508 Mezcalerita and Pelon’s Tex-Mex on January 4 to try six mezcals while learning about production, taste, and cultural context. That’s the only event slated right now for those two businesses, but finding Mezcal tastings in Austin is like finding a blues guitarist on South Congress. Tickets ($55) available on Eventbrite.

Social Series: An Evening Out at Antonelli's Cheese — January 5
It’s always a good time to learn about cheese, especially thanks to Antonelli’s packing its calendar with opportunities — outings, cheese-centric tastings that aren’t just boards, and a fun way to brush up on cheese knowledge. One upcoming event on January 5, Social Series: An Evening Out at Antonelli's Cheese, shares information about the “seven styles of cheese” and fun pairings including chocolate and pickles, with time to chat and make friends. Tickets ($45) and information on other events available at antonellischeese.com. Book early; many fill up fast.

Open Mic Night at Kick Butt Coffee — January 8
Getting together for drinks and snacks is a great starter plan, but 2023 calls for really putting yourself out there. Kick Butt Coffee hosts one of the city’s most popular open mic nights every Sunday at 7 pm, including January 8, and comedy open mics on Wednesdays. The long-running venue is also known for having lots of vegetarian options alongside its coffee and cocktails. This spot is atmosphere all the way, day or night. Check the calendar at kickbuttcoffee.com.

Courtesy of Shield Ranch

New coalition makes noise to stop proposed concert venue in Southwest Austin

How to Shield a Ranch

It’s not often that Austinites hear complaints about more music venues, but it’s all about location, location, location. Downtown spaces are trying to keep their heads above water — or more specifically, above all the luxury condos eyeing the area — but things change out in nature. In Southwest Austin, a coalition called Stop Fitzhugh Concert Venue believes the area would be better off without a proposed music venue.

Fitzhugh Concert Venue, the moniker for an unnamed venue proposed for 14820 Fitzhugh Rd. out near Dripping Springs, started generating controversy at a public meeting of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), on November 29. Blizexas LLC, the company proposing the 5,000-person venue, was seeking a wastewater permit, and the community had further questions about how the venue would impact the environment.

Community Impact reports that “[t]he venue would serve up to 5,000 people per day up to three times a week for up to six hours, according to the permit.” Google Maps shows the proposed location neighboring a church, stables, and a baseball training facility, backed by a large swath of seemingly unoccupied land.

As the coalition points out, it is also situated near Shield Ranch, which protects 6,400 acres within the Barton Creek watershed. Some of the area is wild, but Shield Ranch recently broke ground on an ambitious, ecologically progressive campsite with permanent structures to host up to 200 visitors. The coalition expresses concern not just for ecological impacts on the ranch, but urban interruptions to a quieter life in the surrounding community.

“In just a few weeks’ time, more than 700 neighbors have organized against this proposed concert venue that our community does not want,” coalition member Sue Munns said in a press release. “This would fundamentally change the quality of life for all of us who have chosen to live out here because of the pace of life and natural beauty. We don’t want to hear the concerts from our homes. We want to be able to see the night sky not glare from bright lights. We want to feel safe driving on our narrow, two-lane roads, and we don’t want Barton Creek compromised from water runoff.”

Munns continued, “The bottom line here is the developers are forcing safety degradations and quality of life changes on a community that doesn’t want it, and they don’t seem to care about the impression they are making or the families they are upsetting in the process.”

The Stop Fitzhugh Concert Venue website lays out its objections in four categories: light, noise, traffic, and water. Each is accompanied by a map. The light and noise maps spread across both sides of Barton Creek, denoting places that would be able to see and hear the venue, given hypothetical specifications like 20-foot light poles and maximum decibels allowed by state law. It cites ecological concerns from National Geographic and the International Dark Sky Association.

In the traffic section, the website notes not only an increase in traffic, but a high potential for alcohol-impaired driving and overflow parking. (If the whole venue capacity of 5,000 came two per car, there would still be 500 cars looking for parking spots.) The wastewater section — the initial topic at hand in the November 29 meeting — asserts that based on data from other businesses in the area, it is exceedingly unlikely that the venue would keep its pollutants within its legal limits.

Most of the grievances put forth by the coalition are not unique to concert venues, but they are dramatically heightened. The website does not offer recommendations, except that the venue simply is not built. The only calls to action include a form to join the coalition, and information on contacting local representatives. The coalition has three official partners: The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA), the Save Barton Creek Association, and the Save Our Springs Alliance.

For now, people nearby interested in seeing live music will only get as close as the handful of breweries, distilleries, and wineries already lining Fitzhugh Road, but it is reasonable to assume that a less disruptive venue would also offer a milder repertoire.

“The Austin region is experiencing rapid growth and development, which is good for the economy and creates opportunity for the people who live here,” Shield Ranch co-owner Bob Ayres said in the release. “However, no one is asking for this proposed venue. It’s unnecessary, poorly devised and threatens to significantly impact Barton Creek and the natural and human communities in the region.”

More information about Stop Fitzhugh Concert Venue is available at stopfitzhughconcertvenue.com.

Photo courtesy of SZA

R&B star SZA stops by Austin's Moody Center on first arena tour

Good Days

Whether Austinites missed SZA at Austin City Limits Festival or have simply missed her since, the R&B singer is gracing the city with her suave presence on March 9, at the Moody Center. The sleek new arena is selling out — and blowing similar venues out of the water on ticket sales — but so far SZA (pronounced “sizzah,” like “scissor”) stands out; this may be an uncharacteristically sexy show for the seemingly straight-laced venue.

SZA’s performance at ACL included some of the steamiest choreography the festival has seen, but the singer usually appears more reserved onstage, using slow, relaxed body language that feels more aligned with her languorous songwriting. She is touring in support of her second studio album, SOS, which is heralded for its nuance, both in its colloquial complexity and freedom from genre conventions. One review by the New York Times lauds the 23-track collection’s “unpredictable and emotionally charged flow.”

Even non-fans who spend enough time on social media would likely recognize “I Hate U,” a lilting, pouting track about giving a lover a taste of their own medicine. “And if you wondered if I hate you (I do),” starts many TikTok videos in a trend exposing common cultural gripes. (“Sh*tty of you to make me feel just like this/What I would do to make you feel just like this.”)

SZA was also featured on the upbeat Doja Cat earworm “Kiss Me More,” representing her biggest chart success yet (reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100), and perhaps even going as far as cementing a newly dominant style of dreamy, conversational, bubblegum R&B.

All this talk of a casual style may make it sound like SZA is singing with her head in the clouds, but more accomplishments include numerous awards and nominations, and collaborations with artists in a wide range of styles, such as Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, and Willow, among many others. Latin Grammy nominee — this time for Best New Artist — Omar Apollo opens the Moody Center show with similarly gentle, experimental tunes in more eclectic styles.

Despite seeming relatively new to the scene at a glance — given the sophomore album, recent string of high points, and relative newness at playing supersized venues — SZA has spent a decade in the industry since dropping her debut EP, See.SZA.Run. In addition to her seemingly endless list of features and collaborations, she has songwriting credits with superstars like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé. The 33-year-old also has a few extra years on many pop artists releasing second albums, and has adopted a franker, more assertive singing style than in previous releases.

SZA will be at Moody Center in Austin on March 9, 2023, followed by American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 10, 2023. Tickets go on sale on December 16 at noon, at moodycenteratx.com.

Mohawk Austin/Facebook

Austin's Free Week Music Festival returns to the Red River Cultural District

Free the Music

As great as it is to get out there and support local music, the cost can add up — especially if you’re adding new bands to your must-see list. This January 5-7, Red River Cultural District (RRCD) is taking on the financial responsibility so more Austinites can go out and experience more new music, without burdening their wallets.

In addition to the return of Free Week (formerly more of an actual week, but who’s counting), nearby restaurants and bars will be running promotions. That means discounts and freebies from Central District Brewing, Hoboken Pie, Marinara Miracles, Pelon's Tex-Mex, Shawarma Point, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, Vaquero Taquero, and Wanderlust Wine.

This laissez-faire festival welcomes walk-ups, and the layout of venues makes it easy to pop into each venue when it’s time for a change of scenery. The farthest walk from end to end — if high-energy visitors want to turn it into a crawl — is less than half a mile. One venue, 13th Floor, is making its Free Week debut.

Participating venues from south to north are:

  • Flamingo Cantina
  • Mala Vida
  • Vaquero Taquero
  • Swan Dive
  • Chess Club
  • Empire Control Room & Garage
  • Elysium
  • The 13th Floor
  • Valhalla
  • Stubb’s Bar-B-Q
  • Cheer Up Charlies
  • Mohawk

Although it’s a relatively short festival, this weekend will put more than 100 local artists onstage. A lineup is coming soon, but as of December 12, no announcement has been made.

This mini-festival started nearly two decades ago, in 2003, at the original Emo’s on Red River Street. The team used the shows to drum up business, and other venues started joining in. This is one of many decentralized festivals that moves through Austin every year including South by Southwest, Levitation, and Oblivion Access.

RRCD gets the funds to host Free Week from corporate partners and individual donors. Although it is free for fans, performers are still compensated for their work. More information and donation links are available at redriverculturaldistrict.org.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

2 Austin suburbs cash in among the richest places in Texas for 2023

Where the 1 percent live

Central Texans wanting a glimpse into the lives of the 1 percent won't have to travel far to get a peek. Lakeway has been renamed the fifth richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study. Southlake, in the DFW, took the top spot, reprising its past success.

HomeSnacks.com has been ranking cities, neighborhoods, counties, and states across America for more than five years, using data from the Census Bureau, OpenStreetMaps, the FBI, and other sources. For this year's study, released January 18, the website compared 355 cities with populations of at least 5,000 people to determine where "the richest of the rich" live.

With a median income of $239,833, and an unemployment rate of just 2.2 percent, it's no surprise to see Southlake flashing cash around. HomeSnacks shows the median home price for Southlake at $697,000, but as of this writing, Realtor.com lists the city's median home price listing at $1.3 million.

Lakeway came in fifth, with a median home price of $481,900 and a median income of $142,566. Bee Cave, where the median income is $100,179, moved up four spots from 13th last year to ninth this year. Unfortunately, although both cost a pretty penny to stick around, neither made the site's Top 10 Best Places To Live In Texas, which several of the cities in other metro areas did, ostensibly getting more bang for their buck.

It appears that wealth is not only moving into Texas, but moving around, as well. Heath is up 8 spots from last year, breaking into the Top 10 at No. 7, followed by Highland Village at No. 8, up a huge 17 rankings.

Elsewhere in Texas ...

The Houston suburb of Bellaire came in at No. 2 with a whopping median income of $211,202 and other signifiers of affluence, moving up two spots from last year's rankings. Pearland, with a median income of $107,941 is the only other Houston-area city to rank in the top 20, squeaking in at number 20.

San Antonio's top spot was Alamo Heights. Ranked third, the area had a median income of $147,475 and an even lower unemployment rate than Southlake and Bellaire at 1.4 percent. The median home price on the list was similar to the cities that beat it, too, despite the very different income bracket, at $614,000. Bexar and Comal county cities Fair Oaks Ranch and Bulverde came in 16th and 17th. Median income in Fair Oaks Ranch is $127,917, while it's just $100,419 in Bulverde.

Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs dominated the list overall; a total of 13 cities in the area cashed in with a top-20 ranking. Lucas, a Collin County suburb with a population of 7,612 in the 2020 census, came in fourth, moving up from fifth place last year. With a poverty rate of just 1.1 percent and a median income of $159,563, the (comparatively) tiny little town is a haven for the well-heeled. Falling into the "more than comfortable" range are Coppell (No. 6), Heath (No. 7), and Highland Village (No. 8). HomeSnacks' 10th through 15th places are occupied by Keller, Royse City, Corinth, Krum, Rockwall, and Roanoke, in that order.

Texas' top 10 richest cities for 2023 are:

1. Southlake
2. Bellaire
3. Alamo Heights
4. Lucas
5. Lakeway
6. Coppell
7. Heath
8. Highland Village
9. Bee Cave
10. Keller

Visit HomeSnacks' website to see the top 100 richest cities in Texas, download the full list and rankings, or search to see where your city came in on the list.

Comedy heavyweights can't find the funny in racially-charged You People

Movie review

While the idea of systemic racism is a generally accepted fact in American society, a more indefinable concept is the cultural biases that people hold. It can be easy to spot someone who wears their racism on their sleeves, but sometimes a prejudice only reveals itself when someone is confronted with a world that is not their own.

This idea is attempted to be played for laughs in the new Netflix comedy You People. Ezra (Jonah Hill) is a 35-year-old stockbroker/aspiring podcaster who has yet to meet the right woman, much to the chagrin of his mother, Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). He has a meet-cute with Amira (Lauren London), a graphic designer, when he mistakes her car for an Uber.

While Ezra and Amira bond quickly over a number of shared likes, it’s the ingrained beliefs of their parents that threaten to stand in their way. Shelley and dad Arnold (David Duchovny) are a Jewish couple who either rely on Black stereotypes or go overboard in their attempts to relate to Amira. Meanwhile, Amira’s parents, Akbar (Eddie Murphy) and Fatima (Nia Long), want her to stay true to her Black Muslim roots, and do all they can to discourage the relationship.

Directed by Kenya Barris and written by Barris and Hill, the goal of the film – to shed a funny light on how awkward it can be when people of different races spend time in each other’s spaces – is clear, but the execution is sorely lacking.

The first mistake they make is that the film is almost exclusively focused on Ezra; while Amira gets a small introduction prior to meeting Ezra, there’s never a true exploration of who she is or what she wants outside of her relationship with him. Consequently, their bond is never believable; there appears to be little chemistry existing between the two, and any moments that might endear them to the audience are yada-yadaed for the sake of expediency.

The second is the strange way in which the film’s biggest star – Murphy – is withheld until 20-30 minutes into the movie, introduced in a lackadaisical way, and then given precious few opportunities to showcase his comic skills. Barris and Hill can never seem to find a great way to use the legendary comedian, giving him tepid scenarios that don’t come close to eliciting the big laughs for which he is known.

Ultimately, the film feels more like a series of barely-connected situations than a cohesive story. Any incisiveness that might come from putting the two racially- and religiously-disparate families together is lost because the filmmakers constantly jump from scene to scene in search of laughs. You’d think that Barris, who knows the value of establishing characters from sitcoms like Black-ish, would have figured out how to do that by now, but the film flails its way through its nearly two-hour running time.

Hill, as star, co-writer, and co-producer, is obviously the driving force behind the film, and he is given plenty of time to dole out his brand of comedy. London is likable enough, but we never get to know her character well enough to fully judge her performance. The wealth of talent on the supporting side – including Murphy, Louis-Dreyfus, Long, Duchovny, Sam Jay, Rhea Perlman, Molly Gordon, Deon Cole, Andrea Savage, Elliott Gould, and Mike Epps – is mostly wasted.

Finding comedy in race relations has been done many times in movies and on TV, and can be a winner if done properly. The story of You People can never find its footing, opting for a haphazard approach that doesn’t make good use of its greatest assets.

---

You People debuts on Netflix on January 27.

Photo by Tyler Adams/Netflix

Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy in You People.

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Upscale bowling alley rolls into Cedar Park

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

Sometimes it feels like Austinites always have to be doing something, and that's what makes this town beautiful. In the spirit of not taking drinks sitting down, Spare Birdie Public House is rolling into Cedar Park (1400 Discovery Blvd) for a soft opening on February 1, and a grand opening on February 20. A bit like an upscale Top Golf or neighborhood bowling alley with an incredibly chic interior, the bar and restaurant serves its "chef-driven" food among bowling lanes, augmented reality and indoor golf setups, billiard tables, yard games, and more. The team that started Goodfolks in Georgetown are bowling over alley cliches like hotdogs and fries with lamb meatballs, grilled oysters, and Wagyu sliders.

The Belterra Plaza out in Dripping Springs is collecting new restaurants left and right, making itself a fast burger destination. Mighty Fine Burgers opened its seventh location — the first that is freestanding — in a huge 4,000-square-foot space at 165 Hargraves Drive, Suite T100. The simple menu sticks to the tried-and-true with The Classic Texas Burger, crinkle fries, onion rings, and Blue Bell milkshakes. In January, monthly specials shake up those base elements: a pimento cheese burger and a coconut cream pie shake. The new location is the first in Dripping Springs.

Theres been some buzz about burgers at the Buzz Mill recently, with the very recent departure of the vegan food truck Plow Burger. The buns were barely cold before the Buzz Mill opened its own burger truck, some vegan and some not. The grand opening coincided with the bar and coffee venue's tenth anniversary, on January 20. These are not beefy burgers; the thin patties leave plenty of room for toppings, and there are lots of other snacks to fill up on, like loaded fries, meatless chicken nuggets, and extra patties. The truck is open daily from 11 am to midnight.

Other News and Notes

Chefs Michael Fojtasek and Amanda Turner, of Austin's celebrated Southern restaurant Olamaie, are throwing a new chef series in the fryer on January 31, emphasizing Southern cooking styles while utilizing Texan ingredients. "Southern Exposure" is scheduled for the last Tuesday of every month, and there are three on the calendar already. Chef Turner, a James Beard semi-finalist and CultureMap's reigning rising star chef of the year, is taking the lead while collaborating with Fojtasek. Tickets ($100) available at olamaieaustin.com, benefitting the Jeremiah Program.

Nothing gold can stay, and unfortunately that means Loro's golden ramen noodles are ephemeral on the menu. For the month of February, the "Asian smokehouse" is offering two types of ramen. Both serve up a unique Balinese curry broth, one with brisket and one with grilled prawns. These winter items pair also include ajitama egg, green onion, and sesame, as the more traditional elements. Loro does not accept reservations.

If you can't afford rent in Austin, have you tried, like, not buying coffee? That might work if you were used to Proud Mary Coffee Roasters, an Australian company with an Austin cafe offering just 22 super-luxe cups of $150 joe here and Portland, Oregon. It seems like it's worth the price, given its award-winning flavor and very expensive source beans, but in case that's still not in your budget, a golden ticket giveaway may cover it. Purchase a Hartmann presale tin ($48) online on January 26 to enter.

The Bloody Mary Festival is now almost two weeks away, so people who love drinking their tomatoes should consider snatching up a ticket soon (although ticket sales will technically be open until the day of the event, if they last). On February 11 from 10:30 am to 6 pm, bartenders are pulling out all the stops, or at least all the toppings. Attendees will vote for participating local bars to choose the best cocktail. Tickets (starting at $49.50) available at thebloodymaryfest.com.