Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Food is Free + 24 Diner.

Sanctuary at Amala Foundation

On Saturday night, Ross and I did exactly two things.  One having to do with vegetables, community gardens, virtue; the other, fritters, butter, gluttony.

Our first stop was a huge launch party / meeting of the minds at Amala Foundation's Sanctuary for the Food is Free Project, an inspiring little operation. The idea: To distribute free wicking beds from salvaged materials to anybody interested, with the goal that they plant food in them -- food available to absolutely any passers-by.  Due to the way they are built, these gardens only require once-a-month watering.  The science of which was explained during the meeting ... but, I'm choosing to believe they are magical.

Ross and I signed up.  We live on a corner lot, and there's this section of the property that we sort of let people assume is "City of Austin."  It's on the other side of the fence, un-mowed and unruly.  "Wow, the city should really do a better job of maintaining that," you might say to us, to which we would respond, "I'll say!" shaking our heads disapprovingly.  But now, it will have vegetables on it!  Kids walk by there every day too, since we live near a middle school.  Take that, property.    

Next, we headed to 24 Diner.  Hello there, old friend!  My arteries and I have missed you.

Here's the deal: Food may be free, but Chef's Waffles are not.  Do you know what the Chef's Waffle is?  It is beyond food, it is an event.  And worth every cent you pay.

So each morning, Chef Andrew Curren and company concoct a special using this essential breakfast item.  Waffles, as you may or may not know, are 24 Diner's top-selling dish, and that's because they're not afraid to get scandalous.  Chef's Waffle this evening was topped with caramelized apples, and brown butter sauce that pooled into tiny, sinful lakes.  Somebody call a priest -- this girl's done died and gone to heaven!  Also, did you notice how our waiter thoughtfully brought us a small pitcher of honey, to then pour on top of our waffles?

"You did not," you say.

"We DID," I say.

"Tolly, I just don't know you anymore," you inhale sharply.

That's because I'm crazy.  Like a fox?  Nope.  But crazy like a honey-drenched-caramelized apple-topped-brown-butter-soaked waffle eater. 

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