Last night I hung out with a Heisman Trophy. No big deal or anything.
Well, unless you are a college football fan. Then it is a VERY big deal.
And if you are a Longhorns fan, you will pay into the hundreds of dollars to see a Heisman Trophy, and the most famous* UT alumn to receive it (in 1977): Earl Campbell.
*I actually have no idea if that is true, but it sounds good.
I, however, was able to hang out with the Heisman for free. (I also saw Earl Campbell, but as I have only just recently declared myself a Longhorn, this was not all that monumental in my life’s achievements.)
How did this happen? I’m just awesome, really.
Well, that and long long ago (say March or April) when I decided to move to Austin, I was checking craigslist for potential jobs daily/hourly/by the minute, since I was not assured of getting a teaching job (nor even sure if that is what I still wanted to be doing). One of the jobs for which I had a phone interview was with Ron Parks, an incredible wedding and event photographer*, to work as his intern/assistant. Timing and whatnot never fully coincided, so I never took a job with him. However, we stayed in touch, and Friday he called and asked if I wanted to come help out with an event.
*If you are getting married in Central Texas, I highly recommend him. Also, I could then come to your wedding as his assistant. How cool would that be?
I went with my new motto regarding social invitations (unless they involve illegal activities): Sure, why not?
Besides, I would basically get to schmooze, photograph, and sample free food and wine all evening. What could be better?
The event was at Cool River Cafe, which calls itself a “Steakhouse & Southwestern Cafe.” [And my roommate says is nicknamed “Cougar Cafe”…but we won’t discuss that reputation at this juncture.] From the meals I saw being eaten by individual customers later in the evening, it looks like a delicious restaurant, and the ambience in each of the various rooms seemed to range from very warm and inviting (fireplaces and candlelight) to busy and bachelor-esque (pool tables and big screens).
Since this was a catered event, however, we pretty much had typical catered food.
Although the berries were amazingly delicious (most likely due to the season), the cantaloupe and pineapple were a wee bit underripe, and, although the cheese cubes were yummy because they were cheese, there wasn’t anything special about them.
Earl Campbell has his own line of sausages, so the staff did pass some sausage-topped crackers. One had mild and sharp cheddar cheese on it, but I heard “hot mustard and capers” and had to try that one instead! (Actually, I tried two, although I said “this cracker is getting in my way” and just ate the sausage.) I love that combination. Mmmmm…capers…..
Dinner was a standard catered buffet. We missed out on the stuffed shrimp, which might have made this meal amazing, but I did get to eat a delicious mini-ciabatta loaf (I said I was only going to have a bite…but I was hungry. And it was doughy. And I was happy.) along with some steak, mashed potatoes (these were actually really good…not buttery), and some broccoli (sadly–for me–topped with cheese).
When we heard rumor of more shrimp in the other room, we went to check it out, but although I scored some steamed squash (yum!), the chicken we found was dry and not exceptionally well marinated. Also it randomly had a piece of cheese on it. I couldn’t tell what was going on with that dish, except that it must have been the typical lackluster attempt at serving people who don’t eat red meat.
I did discover something we had originally missed. The starter salad! You are probably not surprised that I found the salad to be the best part of the meal. It was a slightly too heavily dressed, but the (I think some sort of sweet champagne vinaigrette..) dressing was fabulous, and the pecan/green apple/bleu cheese combo was wonderful.
Dessert was yummy too…although I’m pretty sure these are the petit fours and mini cheesecakes found in the samplers sold at Sam’s Club we used to buy for House Tours during rush in college. Not that they aren’t delicious (well, except for the orange one..way too sweet). I definitely could have eaten two of the nutty chocolate cheesecake and the dark chocolate coconut truffle… I’m just saying.
Although the food wasn’t the most incredible I’ve ever had, it was free and filling and hey, I’m not going to complain. The staff was also SO sweet, even brewing me a separate pot of decaf coffee so I wasn’t awake all night.
Overall, I have to thank Ron. It was a really fun evening. And I got to high five a Heisman Trophy.
Please take note that the angle of this picture makes it appear that the photo reflector screen is actually a divine halo reminiscent of paintings done of Jesus.
Also, I am wearing heels, which one of the attendees said “would be my first and last time in Texas.”
As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I had spent the afternoon (or a small part of it anyway) taking advantage of another fun FREE activity: the (512) Brewing Company‘s* 2nd Anniversary Celebration.
*Yes, there are parentheses in the name. 512 is the area code here in Austin. Cute, no?
The line stretched endlessly to get in….
…but despite the heat, Teddy and I didn’t have too long to wait.
You could buy a commemorative pint glass for $5 and fill it up 3 times, or just have 3 free tastings (4 oz.). Although I crazily considered buying the pint glass, I astutely recalled that I don’t actually like beer all that much, but I do love free things, so I went with just getting what I called “baby glasses.”
The white ticket was for Two, their new double IPA. You can see Teddy’s glass compared to mine.
We met up with friends Luke (behind the camera) and Lindsay before they had to dash off to a wedding, leaving spare tickets behind. I was not offered any of them, because, as Lindsay so intutitively said, “You won’t want to use them anyway.” [In fact, I gave away half of my first tasting sample, and 3/4 of the second…then passed on my last ticket. Apparently liking beer is something I did not inherit from my parents.]
I had grabbed some cantaloupe and grapes from my fridge to bring along…(with a side of the (512) Wit…a Belgian Wheat)
…and Teddy put us all to shame once again with homemade Roasted Hatch Chile Hummus (with hatch chiles she roasted herself), served with cukes, carrots, and jicama!
I left pretty early, since I had that date with the Heisman Trophy to get ready for, but it was fun event…even for someone who doesn’t really like beer.