I’m sure you would agree that a day started with breakfast at a quaint little bistro is going to be a good day. The same is true even in the heart of Texas, where we found the perfect little patio at Blue Dahlia Bistro.
The back patio at the East Austin location is unbelievably enchanting. Under a wooden canopy draped in greenery, it feels a little bit like a secret garden… which just happens to have tables and chairs and servers. Though it was a cloudy day when we went, it still felt a bit magical. In a place as beautiful as that, it almost doesn’t even matter what they serve me.
Our table’s order was varied; frittata, crepes, waffles, charcuterie, oatmeal. All the traditional fixins of a wonderful breakfast spread. The photos, as you can see are ridiculous. Everything looked picture-perfect.
Before this commission, it had been a long looong time since I had made drawings or paintings from reference material. I knew I could do it, but I was secretly a bit intimidated and even doubtful of my skills. As I got started sketching, it was like my eyes came back to life. I guess after a whole adolescence of drawing and doodling, your hands just don’t forget. I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be reminded that I can do this.
Unfortunately my photo editing skills still leave something to be desired, so these pictures don’t do my handiwork as much justice as I’d like. Hopefully you can still at least get a sense of how they might look in front of you; they are lighter and more delicate in real life, which is true of all my drawings and thus always presents problems in translating to digital form.
Regardless, I’m pretty happy about the end result. The whole process helped me learn more about how to create work within my new living context; you’d be surprised by how much of this I did sitting in my own bed! These drawings were built layer by layer, very slowly, and I had to figure out the point at which I could stop painting and feel like I had accomplished a finished product. With a firm deadline, I was finally able to do this and what’s more thrilling to me than anything is that there is someone out there honoring me by hanging my work in their home (hopefully I can have pictures of that soon). I’m so grateful to have found this support in a time of uncertainty in my life and my work. I’m hoping it only grows from here.
As if these ridiculously tempting pictures were not enough, I have to tell you that Olio served up one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. Sitting in their carefully converted oil service station, listening to Nancy Sinatra spin on their record player, I knew I was about to experience something special.
Though we only selected a few side plates to share, it was enough to convince me that these guys know exactly what they are doing. We began our stay with a bottle of Bordatto “Basa Jaun”, a cider unlike any other I’ve ever had. It had the satisfying carbonated crisp I crave, along with a lingering smoky finish that I didn’t know could exist in a cider. Filling my mouth with a sense of the forest, it set a lovely stage for all the lovely fresh ingredients I was about to nibble on.
Just thinking about it is making me want to go back! It’s so difficult for me to accurately describe how delicious it is. Well-balanced, but always peppered with a little surprise, their plates felt as exotic as they were comforting. I didn’t take pictures of every single plate (since I didn’t want to be a dick), but I guarantee you they were all worth remembering.
Coffee can be quite a mystery to me sometimes, and I bet you feel some degree of the same. Much like wine or chocolate, there are mounds and mounds of knowledge that I seem to not have access to, but am very curious about. I worship at the altar of this addictive dark liquid and wonder if my life might be different had my college courses been more focused on roasting beans instead of playing with colors. Here, at Blueprint Coffee, I felt right at home. Well, not home home… more like coffee heaven home.