summer in the city: baseball

I was raised to love baseball.

My dad grew up in the Philadelphia area, and is a huge sports fan. Naturally, he passed along his fandom to us.

Yes, that’s correct. I’m a Philadelphia sports fan. And proud of it.

I’ll follow the Eagles, the Flyers, the 76ers… but I’ve always had a special love for the Phillies.

Every summer during my childhood was spent in Pennsylvania visiting my grandma, aunt, uncle and cousins. We would spend a week in Ocean City New Jersey- our days consisting of boogie boarding and building sand palaces, and our nights consisting of my aunt’s wonderful cooking and watching the Phillies.

Typically, our week at the beach would fall during their annual June slump, but we never left without at least a few  late game dramatics. I have vivid memories of my dad and uncle predicting walk-off home runs by the most unlikely of bench players, only to go crazy moments later when it actually happened. We always said they missed their callings as sports commentators.

We would go to The Vet and sit in the 700 level with the rowdy fans. We’d buy pistachios from the best pistachio-selling lady in all of sports. We’d laugh at the Philly Phanatic. I even caught a foul ball at a game on my 8th birthday. My dad and I were sitting in my uncle’s season ticket seats. He never let me live that one down.

As a junior in college, I watched Brad Lidge complete his perfect save season and clinch the 2008 World Series by striking out Eric Hinske while listening to Harry Kalas call the whole thing. I was curled up on my couch, eyes locked on the TV screen, holding my breath, by myself. When they won, I immediately called my dad and brother with tears in my eyes and our voices were all collectively shaking with excitement.

That Christmas, my brother got the 2008 Phillies season video as a present and we all huddled around the couch to re-live the glory again. When it ended, we were all misty-eyed.

Often times, living in Texas, I am alone in my love of the Phillies (except for my family). I’m thought of as a crazy person when I tell people I cheer for Philadelphia teams and can’t. stand. the Cowboys. But, I’m ok with it. Philadelphia… sports… loving these games is in my blood and there’s no where I can live, and nothing anyone could say that will change that.

I haven’t been able to make a Phillies game in a few years. So, a few weeks ago when one of our friends had an extra ticket to a Round Rock Express game I jumped on it. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and this was the closest thing to a major league baseball game I could get my hands on.

So, I effectively crashed guys night at the ballpark. Complete with my very own soft pretzel.

Taylor's wearing the wrong team's hat in this photo, but hey.. marriage is about compromise.
Taylor is wearing the wrong team’s hat in this photo, but hey.. marriage is about compromise, right?

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summer in the city: live music

It’s about time I wrote one of these again. I know you’ve just been dying over there with no knowledge of how I’ve been spending my summer.

Austin has dubbed itself the Live Music Capital of the World, so it really would be criminal of me to not sweat through see a show before all the college students get back in town.

Last night one of our favorite bands, The Friendly Savages, opened for Seryn at the Parish. Taylor won free tickets with his outstanding skills on Twitter, which made the experience a little more enjoyable considering it was still 95 degrees outside at 9 pm.

But in all seriousness, the concert was awesome. The Friendly Savages are a summer soundtrack for me- I’m pretty sure I listened to them on repeat for the whole 16 hour drive to Colorado earlier this month.  It was so fun to see them rocking out live.

And Seryn. They are pretty incredible as well, and will be coming out with their second album this fall.

Here’s a clip from last night of the Friendly Savages covering The Head and the Heart. The guy on the right? He’s my friend who rapped Macklemore. 

That’s correct: I’m friends with rockstars.

Happy Friday, y’all.

summer in the city: franklin barbecue

You know how there are those times that a place just doesn’t live up to its hype? Those times when like a MILLION legitimate publications review the place and all RAVE about it and then you go and leave with a “meh” reaction?

This is not one of those times.

I’ve been hearing about Franklin Barbecue since I moved back to Austin about two years ago, and finally decided to take the plunge last Saturday. I went in thinking, “I’m sure it will be good. But how good could it really be? Is it really worth waiting in line in the boiling hot Texas sun for at least four hours? REALLY?

afterlight

And I am here to tell you that I was WRONG.

I was wrong to doubt the barbecue masters all over the country who have praised Aaron Franklin’s skills. I was wrong to doubt the value of waiting in line. I was wrong to doubt how delicious barbecue could be when only seasoned with salt and pepper. (Yes, that’s right. Believe it.)

Going to Franklin’s last Saturday was quite possibly the best decision I’ve ever made in regards to food and putting it in my mouth. 

We did the whole thing. Well, I should say my friends Gregg and Aaron (not Franklin, although that would be cool), did the whole thing. They showed up at 8:15 am (on a SATURDAY in the SUMMER), with lawn chairs and coolers to claim our spot in line. The rest of us lazybones rolled in around 9:30. We hung out, made friends with the people around us and waited.

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When the restaurant opened at 11 a.m. a surge of excitement went through the line. People packed up their lawn chairs and card tables and rushed them back to their cars. We slowly moved up in line, dreaming about what we would order. And finally… right at noon…

It was time.

Taylor and I approached the counter where maybe the nicest man I’ve ever met cutting a brisket greeted us. Asked us how our days were going like there weren’t 100 more people waiting behind us. Thanked us for waiting, and handed us a sample of heaven.. I mean, brisket. It was the most glorious thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. I almost wet my pants from excitement. I’m pretty sure Taylor might have shed a tear.

We ordered 1lb of brisket, half lean and half fatty, one link of sausage, 1/2 lb of pork ribs and a small side of cole slaw. Top it off with a Mexican coke and sweet tea and we were ready.

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Sometimes you taste things so good you don’t have words.. only emotion.. to describe them. That’s how this was. We were all just so overwhelmed by how delicious the meat was that there were no words. At one point Aaron Franklin himself stopped by our table to see how we were doing. We all just looked at him holding the meat he smoked with eyes that said, “We’re forever grateful. You’ve changed our lives.” He made a quick joke and moved on, leaving us trying to comprehend how this much flavor could possibly exist.

You might think I’m exaggerating. I am not. At one point, I picked up a piece of lean brisket and it literally fell apart in my hands. That doesn’t happen in normal life.

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Gregg, surrendering to the brisket.

By the time 1 p.m. rolled around we were all feeling so accomplished and spent that we did the only logical thing: went home and took a nap. After all, I felt like I deserved that after making the best decision I’ve ever made in regards to food and putting it in my mouth.

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*I’ll be in Colorado all next week and will be taking a break from posting. But don’t fear, my good friends Peggy and Katie will be filling in with a few guest posts, so y’all show them some love. 

Have a great weekend!