Tag Archives: Flipnotics

Only in Austin: P. Terry’s Burger Stand

“Only in America” has become something of an expression, in the United States, to talk about things which are possibly only found in this country. As a cultural anthropologist, I can’t help but question the validity of those claims of “American exceptionalism” when I hear them. As a non-citizen, I tend to perceive those claims as rather nationalistic in tone.

But it’s all good.

And it can be fun to apply the same concept to Austin, as it’s a rather unique city. Austinites have almost a patriotic attachment to their city. It might even come from the fact that most of them come from elsewhere… 😉

As the name implies, P. Terry’s Burger Stand is a small hamburger restaurant. Had seen it before (it’s in my neighborhood) but didn’t really know what it was. Noticed that the Austin Chronicle’s readers poll had the place listed as Best Fast Food for 2007. Became intrigued, browsed their site

As it turns out, they’re “Anti-Fast Food” and the owner opened the place after reading Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. They use “ethical” meat, get fresh produce every day, pay their employees decent wages, and seem to genuinely care about things besides profit. They play a bit of “Austin humor” in the fact that their vegetarian burgers are on the “South Austin Addition” part of their menu.

Had “The Double” as a combo, with iced tea as the drink. It didn’t really take longer than at a fast food to get the food ready. The tea was rather good (and unsweetened iced tea is one of the things I like about living in the South). The fries were nice, somewhere between typical fast food fries and genuine Belgian fries. Hadn’t noticed that the double was a cheeseburger (I don’t like processed cheese) but it was rather good as burgers come.

Things which surprise me for such a “high-minded” place:

  • The burger tastes almost exactly like a generic burger from a mainstream chain. Same type of sauce, iceberg lettuce, bun… Not that it’s a bad thing as it probably makes it easier to reach the “mainstream consumers.” But I somehow expected something which would be very unique in taste. Maybe not like La Paryse or even like Frite Alors. But at least like BellePro.
  • It’s mostly a drive-thru. As a compulsive pedestrian, I can’t help but associate drive-thrus with consumer culture, conspicuous consumption, etc. Not as “Anti-Fast Food” as a sit-in burger joint.
  • They use as much wrapping material as any fast food chain location would. It does make sense for a drive-thru to wrap the food but, since I ate on premises, I thought they might have used a reusable tray or something vaguely “ecological” like that.
  • In the “pleasant surprise” category: their food is very decently priced. Especially when compared to the average meal in this city. I also mean to imply that the portions are rather big, which does make their pricing even more impressive but also goes with the whole “American fast food” model.

Overall, a nice experience. And I do perceive something “typically Austin” about the place. It’s both very clearly connected with mainstream U.S. culture and just a bit on the quirky side of things. Noticed the same balance at the Book People bookstore and at the Magnolia CafĂ© diner (“Sorry, we’re open”). Not to mention all the coffeeshops like the Flipnotics Coffeespace from where I’m sending this blog entry.

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Éloge de la patience

Tout simple. Pendant un petit coup de cafard. Essaie de sortir une corde d’un ourlet.

TĂąche ni facile, ni difficile. Un de ces trucs pratiques que chacun doit savoir faire. Le «truc» c’est, selon ce que ma mĂ©moire m’intimait de faire, d’utiliser une aiguille pour tirer la corde le long de l’ourlet.

Pas d’aiguille sous la main.

Tire avec les doigts, en maintenant le bout de la corde et en glissant l’ourlet le long de la corde. Ça fonctionne, mais c’est long. Surtout pour passer Ă  travers une couture. Ça vient, tranquillement.

Jusqu’Ă  l’ouverture de l’ourlet par laquelle la corde doit passer. C’est ici que le bĂąt blesse. Plusieurs minutes Ă  m’acharner sur ce petit bout de corde.

ArrĂȘter si prĂšs du but? Pas question.

Tout essayé.

DĂ©cide de poser l’ouvrage, un instant.

Le reprends, sans grande conviction. TĂątonne un peu… Ça y est! La corde est sortie!

Et le bien que cette petite rĂ©ussite m’a fait valait la peine. Me sens mieux.

Surtout que je suis sur la terrasse du café Flipnotics, prÚs de chez moi. Ambiance sympathique. Connexion sans-fil gratuite. Café passable à moyen. Espresso semi-correct. Décor amusant. Oiseaux qui se promÚnent sur la terrasse.

Je serai probablement ici de temps Ă  autres. Histoire de m’acclimater.