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January 11, 2007

Lily's Sandwich, 10901 N Lamar Blvd

More exceptional bánh mi in far north Austin, this one tucked away in the brand new Chinatown center near Lamar and Braker. Lily's baguettes are thin and very crusty, and the joint is apparently popular enough that they run out regularly, so watch the late lunches. We had no problem loading up on barbecue pork bánh mi at around 8 one evening, and also tried a random "stuffed rice noodle" dish that arrived with sprouts, fried garlic and standard garnish, plus a few discs of forcemeat that proved to be challenging to identify.

The bánh mi leaned toward the insanely spicy side the night we visited, with copious jalapeños and pickled carrots. The heat of raw jalapeños is often a crapshoot, so who knows how spicy these will be next time around. If you're timid, grab a milk-based bubble tea next door before you order.

Lily's has a good selection of cold drinks but not much else; this is not a full restaurant like Tam Deli. If you can tune out the insanely loud DVD of Vietnamese entertainers on the TV above the drink cooler – or if that appeals to you – you'll enjoy the same kind of pleasant, brightly-lit strip-center ambiance you've come to expect from Austin's best Vietnamese restaurants. Then again, you may want to follow the lead of the majority of the other patrons and get a big bag of sandwiches to go.


Posted by brentbuford at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Commentary: Hot Damn!

Like any other moderately self-aware American approaching their forties, I spend a good deal of time in line at liquor stores. Today, I noticed the ass-sized portion of "Hot Damn!" in the display by the checkout counter and was tempted to pick up a case of the stuff and see what would happen. I don't need to taste it – I'm sure it's nearly identical to that nineties hot liqueur hit "Firewater," which wound up on the apartment patios, area rugs, taxi doors and toilet seats of half the parties I went to during that decade.

Sometime during the nineties, the great minds at De Kuyper decided that Clintonesque triangulation between the sick, cough syrup nastiness of Jagermeister, the cloying, girl-drunk saccharine sweetness of schnapps, and the frat party poison of grain alcohol would be a really marketable idea. Thus the creation of Firewater and a dozen other alcoholic syrups that could be not just palatable to the average sorority sister looking to get loosened up, but also weird and edgy enough for the half dozen Sigma Nus waiting to pull a train on her in the attic game room at 4 am.

For whatever reason, these terrible tussins have survived and even evolved through the X, Y and Exxtreme generations. Jagermeister remains the classic choice for those wishing to get diagonal quickly, but the prominent display of swill like Goldschlager or Hot Damn is reassuring – we are, in every way, a country that continues to really want to get fucked up.

Anyway, I began to wonder what I could do with a case of Hot Damn! Some thoughts:

  1. A really interesting blowjob contest
  2. Mixed with the proper amount of ripe tomatoes, DXM, some fresh lump crab meat, and a dollop of hake foam, I could create an edgy, El Bulli-style gazpacho
  3. Biodiesel
  4. An extremely short-lived colonic irrigation practice
  5. An extremely short-lived Jello wrestling contest
  6. A continuing education course in date rape
  7. Red-eye gravy
  8. Justin Timberlake

Posted by brentbuford at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)