down with nutty brown
(this post is dedicated to Raymond, who yelled at me for boring him to tears with my gazpacho recipe post. so Raymond: here you go, don't ever let me hear you complaining again! also, my gazpacho was delicious, so there.)
last Thursday was shockingly clear and rain-free here in the ATX. it had been an incredibly stressful week, so when a co-worker stopped by and asked me if I was interested in dinner and a drink I was more than eager to oblige. we headed over to Polvo's, an oh-so-South-Austin Mexican spot complete with tons of outdoor seating, a tin roof, and a well-cultivated vibe of laid-back cool. many margaritas later, we decided it was too nice of a night to head home, so we sat in his open-top convertible, debating our options.
and then somehow... we ended up at Nutty Brown Cafe, which is about a 20-minute drive out from central Austin. it's literally on the side of the highway out in Texas Hill Country, but as we pulled up to the friendly neon sign, we noticed that it was packed. now, I had had a big client meeting that day and my friend had had a job interview, so we were both pretty dressed up -- atypical behavior for sure, since he is usually in designer jeans and a t-shirt and I'm rocking the jeans/flats combo. so we walk into the place, thinking that we could maybe sit outside (apparently they're famous for their outdoor amphitheater space, complete with towering live oak trees and tons of starry sky)... only to discover that it's karaoke night, baby, and the place is hoppin'.
karaoke night. I get all tingly just thinking about it.
to set the scene: we are the only non-white people in the place (my friend is Hispanic). there are men with large bellies who are wearing cowboy hats in complete seriousness -- this is not meant to be funny or ironically hip, this is what they wear when they are heading out to a bar. I am the only woman wearing pointy-toed shoes in the entire place. the karaoke area is relatively small, and there is a steady stream of singers up on the stage. we walk in -- me in a dress and slingback heels, he in Prada eyewear and arty cufflinks -- and immediately get sized up by the crowd. surely we've come into the wrong place and are going to turn around and drive back to downtown Austin where we belong?
but hells no, friends, hells no, I say! we grab two stools at the bar and start drinking up. fast-forward a few drinks and I am up on the stage, singing country songs and winning over the crowd, who are shocked to say the least by the dressed-up Asian chick belting Leann Rimes and Jo Dee Messina (M.Lo, if you're still reading -- I completely thought of you and tried to channel my inner Atlanta debutante while I sang it). I even had one fan that called me "Lucy Liu" all night (insert stupid-white-people eye roll here, but hey, he meant well).
it was, in a short phrase, a total and utter blast. we left the nutty brown with many invitations to return and party with them and headed back to the lights of downtown Austin, happy with our random adventure and reveling in our temporary stardom.