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  • Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    by John M. P. Knox

    "Definitely worth adding to your collection – it’s as good a visual record of the brewing process as I’ve ever seen." -Dave of

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The Perils of Hot Dog Eating Contests

Have you ever gone to battle in an eating contest? I love food, but I'm not very interested in stuffing myself on a deadline. Look at these contestants at the Hope Farmer's Market.

Do they look like they are enjoying their hot dogs? No. These brave heroes suffered the contest while the rest of us laughed and enjoy the spectacle. Hopefully they joined our laughter after they had a chance to digest their meal.

The Perils of Hot Dog Eating Contests


Chef Challenge: Paul Petersen vs. Josh Watkins

Central Market was kind enough to invite me to enjoy an event combining two of my favorite things: chef challenges and beer pairings. In this case Chefs Paul Petersen and Josh Watkins competed to deliver the best pairings for Alaskan Brewing Company Beers.

As you'll see below, Central Market Cooking School has a presentation element to their events. This offers a rare peek into how the chefs think about and prepare food. I'm sure you didn't know that I love to eat and drink and learn.

Chefs Josh and Paul

Pepper Prep

Behind the scenes at the chef challenge with @centralmarket @chefdiablobbq @chefjoshwatkins @alaskanbrewing


At the @centralmarket Chefs Challenge, this was the entry from @chefdiablobbq paired with @alaskanbrewing amber. At the @centralmarket chef challenge @chefjoshwatkins made beef tenderloin paired with @alaskanbrewing White. Chef challenge with @centralmarket @chefdiablobbq @chefjoshwatkins and @alaskanbrewing

20120915-IMG_3751-Edit.jpg Coats

Alaskan Brewing Co.


Glenmorangie Scotch Dinner

Have you ever considered pairing Scotch with food? Until a few weeks ago, I had not. At the time I was eating dinner with some friends at Perry's Steakhouse & Grille in downtown Austin.


This was my first time at Perry's, and I kinda wanted to hate the place -- just a little. Perry's seems fancy. It's part of a chain of restaurants, and on the surface seemed like it might lack soul. Adding to the effect, there was even a Lamborghini parked outside the front door (yes, I'm jealous). It was just a gut reaction, a prejudice, and it was wrong of me. The pork chop changed my mind.

So, there I was at Perry's, poking around with my camera like I do, and one of the very nice staff told me about a Scotch dinner they were doing in a few days with Glenmorangie. My buddy Chris and I immediately signed up for the dinner. Never underestimate the power of pork to reverse first impressions.

Bank Safe Dining Room at Perry's

One dining room at Perry's is located in a former bank safe.

Glenmorangie Lineup

The Scotch dinner was hosted by Gregor Mina, also known as @ScotchGregor on the Twitter. He told us wonderful stories about Scotch and Glenmorangie. You can see the Scotch lineup above.

Seared Duck Breast with Gingered Cranberry-Pear Marmalade

Above you see the Seared Duck Breast with Gingered Cranberry-Pear Marmalade. This was paired with the Glenmorangie Artein.

Brasied Pork Belly and Brussel Sprouts with an Apple Fig Chutney

The Brasied Pork Belly and Brussel Sprouts with an Apple Fig Chutney. This was paired with Glenmorangie 18 Year Old. This Scotch would have voted if I had not consumed it.


The delicious beverage itself.

Fun stories about the distillery:

  • it is located on 500 acres on the coast of Scotland
  • the water source is a secret hidden somewhere on that land, and even VIP tours must wear blindfolds on their way to visit it
  • The stills are the tallest in the Scotch industry at 5 meters
  • Some of the stills were purchaed from Charles Tanqueray and moved from London 
  • The design on the Glenmorangie bottle comes from the signet stone on their property, carved by the Picts.
  • Glenmorangie makes it's own barrels with wood sourced from it's own forest in the U.S.
  • Before using the barrels, Glenmorangie leases them to bourbon producers for four years

For more interesting reading, I suggest the Wikipedia entry on Glenmorangie



The Butterfly Evangelist

Tagging A Butterfly

Be nice to butterflies. They've had a rough year. According to Monika Maeckle, 2012 has been the worst year ever for butterflies. Logging, genetically modified crops (presumably the crops that have been engineered to be toxic for insects), and the worst-in-history 2011 drought are blamed for their lower-than normal numbers.

Monika Maeckle works as a Butterfly Evangelist at the Texas Butterfly Ranch. I know what you want to ask. I have no idea how you get a job with a lovely title like that.

I made this photo at TEDxSanAntonio as Monica affixed a tiny sticker to the wing of this Monarch Butterfly. As Monkia explained in her TEDx talk, the Monarch Butterflies migrate from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico -- just in time for Día de los Muertos.

Monika claims to have tagged 1,500 butterflies, presumably mostly ones passing through Texas on their big trip. Researchers pay a $5 bounty on tagged butterfiles in Mexico; I'm guessing that it isn't too easy to find the few thousand tagged butterflies in a sea of millions in Mexico. This particular butterfly gave Monika an indignant look before flying off tagged but unharmed.


Reflecting on Boston

Reflecting on Boston

I love cities built on the water. Waterfront towns have a different vibe from their inland cousins. The sea adds spice to the geography; an extra element of surprise and delight flow from the sea's tides and weather.

You're looking at the view from the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston, where the Business of Software Conference was held this year. I think I read somewhere that the hotel's architecture of stacked and billowing walls was intended to suggest the square rigging of old sailing vessels. On the right side you're looking at Boston reflected off one of the glass "sails". Just at the edge, you can peek at part of a real square-rigged ship.

For me, this photo captures a bit of each of those waterfront elements I enjoy. There is a suggestion of weather with the rain puddles on the roof and sidewalk, the river flows under the bridge, and a little sliver of history is caught as well. What do you think?