Saturday, August 05, 2006

so THAT'S where all the koreans have been hiding

last night i went out to dinner with some work friends to celebrate someone's birthday. i didn't know everyone there (shocker), but i knew the birthday boy, and the invite said dinner followed by a dueling piano bar and maybe even some karaoke thrown in for good measure... so i was in.

the night started with tex-mex (shocker #2) at a restaurant called vivo, over on the east side of austin. the "east side" of austin is supposedly where they hide all of austin's black people (well, all seven of them), and much like many other older, predominantly black neighborhoods in growing cities it is undergoing a major gentrification. i haven't spent much time over there and supposedly the further east you go the less gentrified it gets, but from what little bit i saw, it definitely looked a bit different from other austin neighborhoods i've been in.

but i digress. dinner was surprisingly delicious -- and before i get my new austinite status revoked, don't get me wrong, i like tex-mex, but it starts to get a bit old after a while (although i could eat chips & queso every other day of my life). we sat in this little corner nook that was somewhat cornered off from the rest of the place; a cozy, candle-lit space filled with risque black-and-white photographs of couples cavorting and feeding each other spaghetti in the nude (side note: if i'm going to dine a deux in the nude, for some reason i don't think we'd choose spaghetti as the main fare. maybe more like sushi or smthg?).

after a prickly pear margarita and way too many chips & queso i got my dinner entree -- a "puffy taco" with beef and an enchilada verde (chicken and green tomatillo sauce) with rice & beans. yum! it was surprisingly lighter and more reasonably-sized than most other tex-mex meals i've had here, where the portions are so overwhelming you feel a little bit scared.

anyway, after dinner we went to this dueling piano bar on austin's infamous 6th street where i honestly think i was one of maybe two or three minorities in a PACKED bar. um, yeah. yay for austin. i've been there once before and had a good time but last night wasn't as fun, partially b/c i didn't think the singers were as good (i'm such a music snob) and partially b/c i kept on looking around in a desperate attempt to find other non-white people. alas.

the TRUE fun began afterwards when (after having been drinking @ the piano bar for several hours) we decided it would be a good idea to pile in our cars and drive up to north austin for some karaoke goodness. this was definitely no karaoke in 17 in chelsea NY with trendy bartenders and chic furnishings, but there were private karaoke rooms, plenty of beer, and microphones galore. the owners were all korean, and pretty much all of the customers except for us were too. there were young nastasians, old korean dudes standing around drinking beer, high school kids singing michelle branch, the whole shebang. if i ever need to find a bunch of koreans, i've found my place, y'all!


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