The classical American Chinese restaurant. Rubbable Buddha belly on the counter, plastic tassles, fortune cookies, hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce on the tables, willow wallpaper in gold leaf on red. This kind of place was once found in every city in the U.S. and Canada. But now it seems to be losing out to the cheap Chinese buffet, Vietnamese/Thai Pho houses, and execrable, overpriced "fusion" or "upscale" places that don't deserve the name.
So for a lot of us, Bamboo Garden is comfort food. It's clean, comfortable, well-staffed, the food is reliably good. Clientele is largely regulars. It may not have an exciting new edge, but it is a good, solid Chinese restaurant.
Yeah! I'm proud to live in a town that has a convenience store as civilized as Whip-In. They have all kinds of beer and wine, including crazy Belgian bottle-fermented stuff that nobody else has. Plus I was in the other night and they were listening to Orchestra Baobab's "Bamba" at crushing volume levels!
Makes me proud to live in Austin.
First things first - if you can't appreciate this place, fine. Nobody says you have to go beyond the stuff you can find at Blockbuster or Netflix. That's cool. But if you want to explore Howard Hawks' or Roger Corman's films or find odd docs this is one of the best places (along with I Luv and the other Vulcan). The staff is very friendly and helpful.
Secondly the guy who complains that the staff acts cooler than him - unless your name is Charlie Watts, they are cooler than you. They're your cool friends who can turn you onto cool stuff. Leave behind the inferiority complex and take advantage of their superior knowledge once in a while. It will lead you down new roads and maybe eventually you won't be such a total suck baby.
Also, that "tip jar" at Vulcan has a picture of a baby raccoon on it and says "Animal Rescue Of Austin" on it. They use that money to rescue hurt, lost and abandoned animals.
I bought a laptop from them and after a while a had them put some extra memory in. They put the wrong kind of memory in and fried the motherboard. I had them replace the motherboard for like 200 bucks (I was dumb and should have gone someplace else). The computer died within 2 weeks. They refused to replace it or fix it.
They were pretty dickish about the whole thing too. Especially the owner.
Since then I have heard numerous horror stories about them and their bad products from other people who have been burned. I would go to Discount Electronics instead, or Laboratory Computers.
Time to get real about Home Slice. The place has the greatest name in the history of Pizza Places. It's genius. But the pizza is way, way overrated. The cheese blend tends toward some overly salty variety I can't quite place, the vibe is sorta Jo's-snobby and they give you Bazooka Joe bubblegum with your check.
Hey I'm all for quirky stuff, but I just know a bunch of yuppies had a meeting and somebody said: "Hey, Bazooka Joe." Yes it's quirky, but a little forced, don't you think? How about instead of Bazooka Joe gum they offered something that tastes good and not like an experimental polymer? Like a mint or something, maybe a peppermint pattie. I'd be all for that.
Pizza-wise, the mobbed up pizza you get at Cozzoli's is much better. When you see that Roma truck outside you know you're getting the real shit. But Conan's is good too, if you get the whole wheat crust.
Hey Home Slice is alright, but their rep needs to take a ass-whippin'.
How can you give Tamale House anything less than the full 5 stars? If you give Tamale House anything less, then you and I are AT WAR!
Do you not like good things? Would you rather eat bad things? If this isn't great what is? Some kind of fancy sit down place where everything costs $50. That's better?!!! Now you're just making me madder!
When I eat Tamale House food it tastes good in my mouth. Then when it gets into my system it makes me feel all high, like DRUGS! It's better than most drugs and it's like $3.
You walk in that place and there's like 8 ladies in there working. It's the cleanest 100 square feet in Austin, the food is fresh.
The salsa is so good it makes me want to cry. Just thinking about how crisp and firm the tortillas in the migas are makes me want to stand up and PUMP MY FIST. This is what civilization has been progressing towards! How can you be so blind?
When you unwrap the tortillas they're all hot and steamy and fresh. The guacamole is like no other guacamole. Everything's just a little bit different and better.
The only bad thing about it is that they close at 3pm. That's weird, cause they could do so much better, business-wise. But am I going to take away a star that those ladies worked and slaved for with their COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE? No, I'm not going to do that. If I could give Tamale House 7 stars I would do it.
And don't think that just because I've blown off some steam that we're not at war anymore because we totally are, sub 5 raters.
WAR! I'm a War Guy!
The great thing about EOE is it's run by Humans. You can talk to them. They'll even tell you their names. If you're not sure what you're looking for and just want to be turned onto some new stuff, they are actually happy to talk to you. The selection of records they have is pretty big nowadays but the place still has a curated feel to it. I've found records I never thought I'd find ever and unlike some boutiquey record stores, they don't slap like 25 and 40 dollar price tags on stuff. More like 8 to 15 for something medium rare. The music being played in the store is generally good and there's a feeling of community, not exclusivity. It's by far the best all-around record store in Austin. I still go to Waterloo and Antone's but this is where I go when I've got the feeling in my bones and I want to hear some M-U-S-I-C.
Yeah, see this is what I need. It's a coffee shop. And when you order coffee it's good coffee. It's not just under the boiling point and in a paper cup, like at Starbucks. It's not burned beyond recognition like the over-rated Ruta Maya coffee. It's just good coffee. You won't get hazelnut flavoring or anything up in there. It's COFFEE! And you can hang out and it's comfortable. Good music, not cliquish or trust-fund fabulous, just a place to hang out and drink some coffee that tastes like coffee.
It's OK. It's pretty clean. More expensive though. And those 3 load washers that are supposed to be such hot shit: I can't fit 2 loads in there. But it will take my 4.75 or whatever. There's room in there for all those quarters.
It's really cold too. The AC is all pumped up. Maybe it's to slow down sperm production so people won't have so many kids. There are always a lot of kids running around and screaming. Sometimes they'll throw stuff.
There's always like 8 TVs on in there, turned way up to different shows. It's ANNOYING!
Mmmm. I kinda don't like this place. The service has always been mostly bad. It costs too much. Salsa good. Chips bad. Ambience sucks. Did I mention that it costs too much? Hey I'll eat here. I never said I wouldn't. But somebody needs to stand up and say "It's not that great." I just did.
Magnolia is much better.
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