Book Review: “Sous-Chef” by Michael Gibney

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First things first: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Now let’s concentrate on Sous-Chef: 24 Hours On The Line by Michael Gibney.

Sous-Chef: 24 Hours On The Line

They instictively move about one another in the narrowest corners without even the subtlest brushing of hips. There are no burns or cuts, no pans dropped, no spills or messes made. Its practitioners call this performance ‘the dance’.

I have to start by saying that I was pleasantly surprised by how I enjoyed reading Gibney’s book. I expected to like it – or I wouldn’t have entered the giveaway for the book, but I enjoyed it more expected.

Gibney takes us with him for one day in his life as a sous-chef. He shows us through his very good writing every minute of the day of a sous-chef on a busy Friday with a restaurant expected to accommodate 300 guests in just a few hours.

From the moment he enters the restaurant to get everything ready to the following morning, we witness all the meticulous and essential steps that are taken by him, the head chef, the other sous-chef, the cooks, the waiters, and all the staff so that clients can enjoy a perfect evening at the restaurant. We also get a taste of what a busy life his is.

As the rhythm accelerates during the evening to accommodate an increasing number of guests, as well as food critics and journalists, we witness “the dance” and what it takes to perform it.

Anyone interested in professional cooking, being a cook or chef, or simply people who enjoy going out for dinner, should enjoy this book. It is extremely interesting to learn how the meals we order come to life in the kitchen, and what it takes to work as a sous-chef. This read is quick, simple, but well-written, original, and authentic.

Georgetown Cupcake: My Favorite Cupcakes So Far

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After spending a delightful hour at the Georgetown cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers, I stopped by Georgetown Cupcake, which happened to be on my way to and from the cafe.

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Despite the rain, many people were waiting to buy the precious cupcakes, with a line outside in the street.

The store is basically divided into four parts. One has the cupcakes displayed, and this is where you order.

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Another one has a station for staff to prepare each order. People wait in front of it for their order.

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

In the back, cupcakes are being made and prepared too.

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

There is also two or three tables if you want to sit down to taste your cupcakes immediately.

Georgetown Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

I must say that these cupcakes were really good. I bought six: velvet cake, chocolate ganache, vegan carrot, salted caramel, cookies & cream, and marble brownie and cheesecake.

Georgetown Cupcake - Marble Brownie Cheesecake Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

The cakes were moist, and tasty; the icing was never too sugary. The size — not to small, yet not too big — was perfect.

Georgetown Cupcake - Cookies & Cream Cupcake | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

If you are in the area, I highly recommend trying them.

Georgetown Cupcake
3301 M Street NW (corner of 33rd & M)
Washington, DC 20007
http://www.georgetowncupcake.com

Oh My Cat! DC’s Cat Cafe “Crumbs & Whiskers” Is Pawsome!

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Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe - Washington, DC | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

As a cat lover, I’ve often wondered what it was like to go to a cat cafe. After all, these places make plenty of sense: purr therapy is incomparable, and if for some reason you cannot have a cat with you, it’s a great way to spend some time with some. It also either gives a permanent home to some kitties, or the opportunity for them to be featured and to interact with humans that could potentially adopt them.

Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe - Washington, DC | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

One did open recently in Paris, but I had left Paris before that happened. Austin should have one by the end of the year. Fortunately, I arrived just in time for the opening of the new Washington DC cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers.

Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe - Washington, DC | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

I spent an hour around cats (and other humans), petting them, playing with them and just enjoying their presence, while I’m away from my cats (them = cats, not humans ;-).

Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe - Washington, DC | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

The concept is simple: you book an hour online, and you can come spend the hour with the kitties. You can also order drinks and some food in the cafe.

Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe - Washington, DC | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

There are about 20 cats right now, all can be adopted. If you love cats, you should definitely try it. I know I loved it very much.

Below are some more pictures. You can see additional ones on my cat’s blog, here.

Crumbs & Whiskers
3211 O St NW
Washington, DC, 20007
http://www.crumbsandwhiskers.com/

Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe - Washington, DC | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

[You can click on any picture to open the diaporama]

On Leaving Austin, TX, for Alexandria, VA

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That’s it. I left Austin earlier last week to start a new job in the Washington, DC area for a few months.

Frost Bank Tower - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Those that have been reading this blog for a while know how it was hard for me to leave New York for Austin. Believe it or not, it was no less easy, if not more difficult, to leave Austin, if even for a few months.

Frost Bank Tower - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

New York will always remain one of my favorite cities in the world, but Austin has gained my love by being at least as weird and as cosmopolitan, albeit in a different way, as New York, but also for being a city where life is much easier, opportunities abound, people are friendly, and it somehow feels like you are on vacation all the time (and I’m not just talking about the sun and heat). Of course, most of these qualities all belong to the State of Texas, too.

Yes, after just three days on the road and three days in Virginia, I miss Austin. But this is thanks to Austin that I get to do the job I love to do, so I am seizing an opportunity. I will be back, Austin.

Sunset - Hill Country, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Austin: 2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally on Sixth Street

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Last year I posted about the Republic of Texas Biker Rally in Austin. The rally is taking place this weekend, and yesterday was the day when bikers were scheduled to go down Congress Avenue for a parade.

[You can click on any picture to enlarge]

Capitol in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Capitol in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Here are just a few pictures taken on Sixth Street just before the parade.

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

At one point, we realized we were being filmed by a small drone. Oh well.

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Drone filming on Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Drone filming on Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

2015 Republic of Texas Biker Rally - Drone filming on Sixth Street in Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

An Austin Institution: Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon’s Chicken Shit Bingo

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Yesterday, a few friends and I decided to finally experience “chicken shit bingo.” No, there is no typo here. This very special bingo is apparently – and obviously, judging by the number of people that lined up to experience it – an Austin institution. To be filed in #KeepAustinWeird

Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Every Sunday, The Little Longhorn Saloon organizes this bingo game and participants can win cash.

Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

How does it work?

Each person can buy one ticket for 2 dollars. That gives each person one number. I had #24 for the first round, yesterday.

Chicken Shit Bingo - Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

When everyone has a ticket, one of the two stars of the show – a brown and a black chickens – is brought to a special cage with a bingo board.

Chicken Shit Bingo - Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Chicken Shit Bingo - Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Chicken Shit Bingo - Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Everyone gathers around the cage. Some food is in for the chicken to eat. The first number the chicken poops on is the winner.

Chicken Shit Bingo - Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Chicken Shit Bingo - Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

It may not be your typical Sunday activity but it’s fun to experience and to see people trying to influence the chicken!

Did I win? Sadly, no. The stupid bird pooped on #30.

Chicken-Bingo_09