Halloween 2014 – The Muppets go to Qui & out drinking

2 Nov

 

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How good was Caitlin’s costume? She got in full costume and make-up while I was sleeping Friday morning and when she woke me up, I was genuinely startled. I did a double take and was completely taken aback*. After we laughed at my reaction, she went to work in costume** and I saw a double feature of “Birdman” & “John Wick” before getting into costume by the time she got home.  After four years of being rock stars that required an explanation for most people to know who we were, we had our most successful costume to date being Janice and Floyd Pepper from the Muppets band***. It was the most labor intensive costume I’ve ever done and Caitlin went all out with a full body suit and we both used face paint for the first time. Once we were in costume, we had a delightful romp around our neighborhood, starting with the candy tasting menu at our favorite restaurant, Qui.

*I wish I could somehow share the mental snapshot I have of Zack’s face when I woke up him. Wide, unfamiliar eyes and a barely-open mouth with a deep breath in. It was hilarious/I felt kind of bad about it.

**I frightened a lot more people at work.

***We definitely got recognized a lot more easily, but I still found myself explaining to more than one person, “No, I’m not Jem.” “No, I’m not Sick Blossom.” “No, I’m not a Cheeto.”

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When I saw this ad for Candy Tasting at Qui I thought I was living in Caitlin’s dreams. We had to go. But first, a couple quick pics of our costumes.

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 Floyd Pepper – For the nose I bought a styrofoam egg and painted it orange and carved out a spot for my nose. I made holes for the elastic band with a sewing needle and glued orange yarn to the nose and inside of the hat. I rented the jacket from Lucy in Disguise, bought the brown long sleeve shirt and green hat from Amazon, got the purple gloves, purple face paint and purple boa from Michaels. I glued parts of the boa to purple sunglasses I got at Goodwill. The boots were leftover from my Win Butler costume. I was seriously SO impressed at Zack’s craftiness — apart from making maybe one or two suggestions at most, I let Zack handle his own costume and he really nailed it.

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 The very first things I bought for my costume were my shoes. I had found a full-body image of Janice online, and saw that she wore strappy tan sandals. We found these at Buffalo Exchange, and Zack forced me to try them on* — I was going to pass because they said they were size 10, but they fit like a glove. I also bought the shell necklace at Buffalo, which matched the necklace in the picture at the top of the post perfectly. I ordered my orange body suit, gloves, and thigh-high orange socks from Amazon, and bought water-based orange makeup at Michael’s on sale for $2. Water-based is the way to go, because Zack managed to sweat most of his non-water-based purple makeup off pretty quickly, but my orange lasted all day. The pink-ribbed top, gold-streaked wig and brown flower hat also came from Amazon, and then I bought my first pair of self-adhesive false lashes, which were way easier to use than I feared! It helped that I needed them to look costume-y and not natural. The jean skirt was surprisingly the hardest piece of the puzzle, but after going to two different Goodwills, I hit the jean skirt jackpot and went with this Calvin Klein number. I already had gel-based purple eyeshadow and red lipstick, and we borrowed our buddy**‘s Rock Band guitars.

*I bet this is the first and last time I insist Caitlin try on shoes.

**Thanks Rob and Emily!

IMG_2516We started with cocktails. Caitlin went with her go-to* at Qui, “the Official Drink of Austin” (on the right) which consists of tepache (pineapple liquor), balcones rumble (texas whiskey), honey, lemon, thai basil and mint. I opted for “American Slang” which is old grand-dad bourbon, kinsman apricot rakia galliano and peychaud’s bitters. I loved Caitlin’s drink so much I had it next and Caitlin went for a second. The caviar was a nice bonus**.

*After enjoying just two full meals at Qui, I don’t know I’d call it my go-to yet, except that I did have it both times. It’s becoming my go-to, for sure.

**For Zack. The vegetarian did not indulge.

IMG_2518Course 1: bobbing for apples – candied gala apple, apple cream, champagne on ice.

The bar was set extremely high with this one. After the crispy shell, the inside melted in our mouths as we we lapped up the champagne with flecks of candied apple floating in it. This was easily my second favorite treat out of all seven “courses.” My god, it was good. The texture and taste were perfection. I’m having flashbacks as I write this. Heaven. I made a bit of a fool of myself by slurping the leftover champagne out of my bowl with the spoon, but how can you possibly leave a delicious drop?!

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Course 2: caramel corn – crimson popping corn, sweet corn sabayon, whiskey caramel, chile pequin

The buttery base with the crunchy delectable popcorn was really something. With a kick from the chile, it was a flavor party and I wanted to stay there all night. This was definitely delicious, and I liked how complex the flavors were. I was always overwhelmed by the butter right at first, but as it melted away, the whiskey caramel would come through, and the chile kicked in right at the end, urging you to scoop out your next bite.

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Course 3: the hay ride – hay smoked sweet potato, cheesecake, candied pecan, matsutake truffle

While we were debating whether course one or two was our favorite, out came this masterpiece. The cheesecake was divine, the truffle was like nothing I’ve eaten before and the candied pecan’s were little treasures. BEST. This was the best. I’m getting shivers. It was delivered to us on fire (!!!) — described as the “flaming hay ride” because the actual hay in the bottom bowl was like our own private fire pit. As the embers burned out, Zack asked our waiter if it was recommended that we eat the hay as a joke. He responded thoughtfully, “It IS edible, but not recommended unless you’re an equine.” Even though the truffle gave me concerns, since we were told it had some mushroom situation in there, it was great. The cheesecake was AMAZING and the sweet potato on the bottom was like the treasure in a chest of awesome. I can’t even. Just, let me eat this forever, please and thank you.

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Course 4: there will be blood – chocolate pudding, pig blood, beet orange, pistachio

While the rest of the menu was vegetarian friendly, there was indeed blood. It made for a thick pudding on this wildly interesting dish with a unique texture. It’s not something I’d typically order, but really enjoyed. Even though they made mine vegetarian, the idea of the pig’s blood made me so queasy that I passed most of my bowl over to Zack. It creeped me out and the flavor was too rich and blood-like. Blech.

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Course 5: pan de muerto con atole de cajeta – sweet bread, corn masa, goat milk caramel

This was a fun one to pick up and dip in the caramel. Probably my least favorite of the seven, but I ate every bite and am hungry just looking at that goat milk caramel. I liked the pig blood less, but this was second-least-favorite. By this point I was pretty full, and the swee-swee-sweet* bread was dry, even after really soaking it for a while in the corn soup situation. OK, not great.

*Caitlin’s making fun of me for that time I tried to order Sweet potato empanadas on the phone from Rio’s (RIP) and slurred my words, saying “Swee-swee-swee-sweet bread” 


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Course 6: smashing pumpkins – meringue, sorbet, ganache

The texture of the meringue after it was smashed with the spoon, as suggested, really makes the dish. Mixed with the sorbet and ganache, it’s a triumph for all senses. I was shocked at how immediately the meringue just dissolved on my tongue. There was a flaky crunch to it for milliseconds and then, poof, dissolved. The sorbet and ganache were delightful, particularly since the ganache kind of stuck to the very bottom of the bowl so it was the last thing to be scooped up. Zack asked if it was bad for him to use his fingers, as he sat there using them anyway. I can’t say I blame him.

IMG_2533Course 7: “please just take one” – red hot pate de fruit, peanut butter cup, almond joy

What a fitting end. The peanut butter cup was better than anything Reese’s could do, the almond joy literally melted onto the plate and the red hot gelatin was the perfect amount of cinnamon to leave an ideal taste in our mouths as we headed off for more cocktails. Another brilliant meal at Qui. We’ve now been three times and had three vastly different meals that were all world-class. I was stuffed, stuffed, stuffed to the gills by the time this trio came out. The guy described it as Qui’s take on more traditional Halloween candy. I think the Almond Joy was my favorite, but surprisingly closely followed by the Red Hot. I loved how it was jelly-like and had just the right amount of cleansing spice to really make me feel like I was ready to rock the rest of the night. Normally, I’d have guessed the peanut butter truffle would’ve been my fave, but I was so full that I basically forced it down out of sheer will.

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Before we headed off, we took a pic with our friend and Qui bartender, Bjorn. Bjorn’s face in this photo is everything. Also note that Zack is about to walk out of Qui without his purple gloves. RIP purple gloves. The gloves held me back! Glad to be done with them. 

IMG_2553Our next stop was at our old stomping ground “The Brixton.” We first joined up with a married couple in their 40s visiting from NYC, who were not in costume*. After visiting with them for a bit, we made friends with Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln. Stay Puff Marshmallow wasn’t too keen on the pic, but we got him to take it anyway. It was quite easy to make friends being in a costume that is universally loved and also because I was very drunk.

*It was fun to give them tips on the best places to go in Austin, and to hear their crazy stories about stuff they’d done (the woman was apparently in Dawn of the Dead!!)

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The porch was full of unicorns. Michael Jackson unicorn was the best. I was in my yelling stage of drunkness, so I tried to yell at MJ unicorn, but to no avail. This unicorn photo bombed us or did we photobomb her? She definitely photo bombed us. Apparently the unicorns were all meeting at the Brixton on purpose, and then they were planning on bar hopping together in a mass of magical-ness. Nice work, unicorns.

IMG_2551Zack wrote, “Caitlin describe the rest of the night plz,” under this photo, presumably because he does not remember much about it. After sharing a drink with Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, we started to head down to “Dirty Sixth” so we could be seen, but it was late, cold, and my feet were starting to hurt, so we quickly abandoned that plan and almost just went back home, but then we popped into Liberty, and I’m so glad we did. While Zack was getting himself a final beer (with a straw in it so he could actually drink it without taking his nose off) and me a final Dirty Shirley, I sat down and looked at my phone. Then two dudes asked me if I was a character from Guitar Hero, and I asked them how deep their Muppet knowledge went. I pulled up a photo of Janice and Floyd Pepper on my phone, and they agreed I’d done a good job. On cue, Zack popped up and the recognition really set over their faces. We headed out to the back patio, where Daria Morgendorffer snuck up next to us and just kinda stood there. It took me only a minute to recognize her costume, and when I said, “So how’s the family, Daria?” the girl got so excited I’d recognized her and high-fived me. I asked if she had a Jane Lane and she pointed to her friend, whose real name is Marcy, and we all struck up a nice conversation about work and Halloween and how awesome Austin is. As we were talking, some excited Normal ran up to Zack and I and asked for a photo because he “just loves the Muppets so much!” It was super sweet, and the perfect end cap to our night. I helped Zack stumble on home, and we passed out pretty immediately — Zack didn’t even make it past the couch. It was a great night and one of our best costumes yet. Happy Halloween!

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