16 January 2012

American Astronomical Society Meeting Food Adventures

Though I pledged to post weekly, I'd like to post more frequently than that.  My silence in the previous week or so was due to a convergence of many factors, mostly owing to the American Astronomical Society conference which occurred in Austin.  Initially, I wasn't even going to attend even though this meeting was held here in Austin, but one of my committee members (and the person who's paying me for most of the spring) encouraged me to attend.  I'm glad I did and I heard about a lot of kick ass projects going on in the astronomy community, but my summary of the astronomy content of the meeting will (probably) come later.  If you want to see some discussion of what went down, check out the #aas219 hashtag on twitter.

The advantage of going to a meeting in your hometown is that there are no annoying hotels to check into and you can mostly go on with your normal after-hours life.  The biggest disadvantage is that you don't get your meals covered.  Eating downtown every day can get pretty expensive, even if it just ends up being for lunch.  I managed to purchase only one meal the entire conference, due to an unfortunate hair in my fries and skipping a day when I felt sick.

On Monday, a group of us went to Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill, which is right next to the Austin Convention Center.  We were seated pretty quickly, though I attribute that to the fact that most of the astronomers were still in a plenary session about the structure of the galaxy.  At each table, they put out little buckets of seasoned popcorn.  It was pretty good, though I only had a few pieces so I could better control my blood sugar.  Oh, gestational diabetes.  I ordered the Backyard Chicken Sandwich, which consisted of chicken, pepper jack cheese, roasted poblano peppers, and avocado.  The sandwich was pretty messy, so I ended up eating most of it with a knife and fork and omitting the bun.  This was served with steak fries, which were hugenormous.  Unfortunately one had a hair in it, but after pointing this out, the waitstaff was awesome and brought me out a new plate of fries and comped my meal.   As they brought out the entrees, they gave us a basket of corn muffins.  These were pretty okay, though nothing incredible.  I'd definitely check this place out again if I'm downtown, though it is on the pricey side.
Backyard Chicken Sandwich

The next day we were looking for a lunch spot that didn't include burgers or Mexican.  It turns out that it's super hard for me to eat Mexican food because the combination of chips+salsa, tortillas+some small amount of meat/cheese+beans/rice is too carb heavy.  I've been trying to keep a ratio of 3:1 carbs:protein at most and really try to keep it within 2:1 if I can.  As we were walking out of the convention center, someone was hawking the banana pudding at Blue Ribbon Barbecue just two blocks away.  I suppose this should have been our first warning sign.  The banana pudding was probably the best thing there (and I hate banana pudding).  I ordered the chicken breast plate with cole slaw and potato salad.  The cole slaw and potato salad were both strangely sweet and the potatoes were waterlogged.  The (smoked) chicken was dry, which I suppose is my fault for ordering chicken, but they did have barbecue sauce at the tables so I tried my luck with that.  No dice.  The sauce was crazy sweet, oily, and had separated by the time I tried it.  I tried someone's brisket and it was pretty dry as well, though it wasn't as bad as the chicken.  Lesson learned: never go to a barbecue place that's trying to sell you on the strength of their desserts.  In terms of downtown barbecue, the best I've had has been Iron Works.  I've heard good things about Lamberts too, but I haven't been there.

Chicken breast platter with cole slaw and potato salad

In all, it was a good meeting even if the food was less than stellar. (HAHA get it? Stellar.  I'm a stellar spectroscopist so I get to make these jokes.  It's one of the few bones they throw us.)


astrochris said...

Did you see the aas tweet statistics page?

(http://hea-www.harvard.edu/~dburke/aas219/ in case I screw up the link.)

julie k h aka jkru said...

Yes I was the 58th most prolific tweeter at AAS even though I skipped a day.

Anonymous said...

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julie k h aka jkru said...