Friday, October 28th

Halloween Things

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

I love this time of year! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I’m crazy about costumes, pumpkins, and even candy corn. I’ve thrown many Halloween parties in my day, although it’ll likely be a few years before we’re throwing big grown-up bashes again. For now, we’re enjoying the holiday with our little strawberry and finding the spooky in the everyday.

Little Strawberry


As Netflix continues to add more and more things we want to see, our watch list grows exponentially. Here’s what we’ve watched lately:

Mascots

Mascots on Netflix

I was eagerly awaiting Mascots and it did not disappoint. I love all of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries and was excited that Zach Woods joined Guest regulars Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, and Ed Begley, Jr. If I had a dream dinner party, these are the people I would invite. I’ll be watching this one again soon.

Tallulah

Tallulah on Netflix

I put off watching Tallulah because I thought it was going to be really sad. When I finally got around to viewing it I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t quite as heavy as the trailer made it seem. Ellen Page and Allison Janney reunited for the first time since Juno and both are tremendously talented and likable actresses. It’s a deep story that plucks at your sympathies.

No Men Beyond This Point

No Men Beyond This Point

Another mockumentary, No Men Beyond This Point is less enjoyable than Mascots. In fact, it stinks. But the subject matter was interesting enough to get me to watch it. In a world where men are no longer needed to procreate, women take over everything. The dwindling community of men either take to the woods or are employed as mannies. It’s a clever idea executed in the most boring, un-funny way possible.

Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

I’m an unabashed Justin Timberlake fan. If you’re like me you’ll be happy to see that they filmed the last show of his most recent tour. I didn’t get to see this tour in person and now I know what I missed.

What have you been watching lately? Here’s a Stream and Scream Guide to help you with your Netflix watching all Halloween weekend.

Netflix Stream and Scream Guide

Saturday, October 1st

Binge Watching

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

Sunset Drive

Another busy month in our household. Chris changed jobs and I started looking for a full time job again. Violet’s having a blast at school and we’re enjoying the camera access to her classroom. I check in and watch her eat lunch, settle in for a nap, or just toddle around with her classmates. They are all so cute and tiny!

We were able to get away to the coast for a weekend. It was our first time at Port Aransas and Corpus Christi and Violet’s first time in the ocean. We loved the charm of the Texas coast and we’ll definitely head back as soon as we can.

In her first official modeling gig, Violet had a photo shoot for an upcoming book by my talented friend Mary Makes Good. It was a fun day of outfit changes and baby wrangling. I’ll be sharing links when the book publishes and you can also pick up a copy of her gorgeous natural beauty book here.

Photo Shoot


And here’s a glimpse into our Netflix watching of late:

Limitless

Limitless TV show

I didn’t watch Limitless when it was on CBS but I binged through it on Netflix. It’s an offshoot of the movie and Bradley Cooper does make appearances, although the likable Jake McDorman carries the show. Really, it’s just another FBI crime show. But it’s smartly written and the complex story is gripping. It sucked me right in. There are rumors that they are shopping it around for another network to pick it up, as it was canceled after the first season. Fingers crossed that Netflix takes it!

Everything Before Us

Everything Before Us

My weird pick for the month is Everything Before Us. Now I’m not saying it’s great, because it’s not. But it was compelling enough to leave me thinking about it for a few days. It’s a story about love, with two couples of different ages, living in a world where relationships contribute to emotional intelligence scores that carry as much weight as credit scores and criminal records. Breakups can lead to loss of jobs and social status, so if you’re bad at love you’re also bad at life.

The Get Down

The Get Down

I’m not finished The Get Down yet, mostly because it’s way too long. It’s a colorful telling of the birth of hiphop and is part musical, part kung fu, and part coming of age story about talented teenagers looking to make leave their creative mark on the world. I was hoping to really fall in love with this and maybe I still will, but so far it feels a bit self indulgent.

Have you seen The Get Down? Do I need to stick it out?

The big Netflix news is that they are now streaming Disney movies. They already have Tarzan, The Finest Hours, Holes, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Mulan II, and Robin Hood.

Monday, August 29th

Living the Stream

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

It’s back to school season and kids everywhere are crying or excited. Growing up by the beach, I lived for summer and was filled with dread at the impending start of each school year. Even thought I liked school, I never wanted summer to end. Living in Texas though, means that the end of summer break means an eventual respite from the heat, so I look forward to autumn. Of course, I’m not in school. But guess who is starting school soon?

Serious Playtime

That’s right! Violet has her first day of preschool this week in a Spanish immersion program where she’ll also receive Mandarin lessons. Plus she’ll make friends, learn new songs, and wear a cute little uniform. I’m nervous and excited for her. This is uncharted territory for both of us and already the supply list was more difficult to tackle than I anticipated. I mean, a nap mat vs. a “regular” mat? I needed to buy both and didn’t know what either was. Turns out a nap mat is this cute little sleeping roll thing and Violet took to hers immediately.

Nap mat

Also, she turned one year old this month! We celebrated with friends and pizza and toys and presents. She was a happy girl and my friend Foodie is the New Forty captured this adorable shot at Pinthouse Pizza.

Birthday girl


So here’s what we’ve been watching recently:

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

Obviously I’m starting this list with Stranger Things. If your friends aren’t all talking about it then you need new friends. Just kidding. They’re probably just talking about it behind your back. Anyway, believe the hype. This series is a creepy 80s miracle that is so well done. Goonies meets X-Files meets Winona Ryder comeback. While shows like Modern Family might have you thinking otherwise, Stranger Things is proof that fantastic child actors exist.

Spotlight

Spotlight

I was so excited to see that Netflix added the Academy Award winning Best Picture and it did not disappoint. It’s the brilliantly told story of the remarkable journalism that led to cracking the heinous within the Catholic church. You know what I’m talking about. A serious cast and serious writing did justice to the sensitive subject matter. I love a good journalism movie. Time to rewatch another of my old favorites, Shattered Glass.

Internet FamousInternet Famous

I watched Internet Famous twice, because I thought it was good enough to watch again with Chris. A mockumentary about a handful of YouTube stars, anyone who’s familiar with at least one crazy online famous personality will get a kick out of this. Very funny.

David Cross: Making America Great Again

Ugh. I love David Cross and I agree with his politics, but this was a piece of crap. I never thought his stand up was that good and I prefer to watch him in things that others write, but as I had a press pass for this show (filmed in Austin) and didn’t make it, I wanted to see what I missed. And it turned out that I missed nothing but an insufferable night of ranting about politics. Which might be excusable if it was funny, but it was NOT.

What are you watching lately on Netflix?

Friday, July 29th

Hot and Streamy

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

July was a good month. Violet celebrated her last official month of infancy by eating (and rejecting) many new foods, growing two and a half teeth, skinny dipping, playing peek-a-boo, and giving lots of wet kisses and snuggles. She grabs my iPhone and holds it up to her ear like she’s talking and can be bribed back to sanity with peanut butter during fussy times. Every single day is wonderful. Look at those chubby arms!

Fish Cake

Barbecue giggles

Swinging

Skinny dipping


 

So here’s what we’ve been watching lately:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

ANDATORY CREDIT; NO ARCHIVE; NO SALES; NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY Crazy Ex-Girlfriend -- "Josh Just Happens to Live Here!" -- Image CEG101_0022 -- Pictured: Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch -- Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW -- �© 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

At first I thought the campy comedy might be too silly for me, but by the second episode I was completely hooked on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and am now a Rachel Bloom fan for life. The musical numbers are brilliant and elevate the simple story to something special. The cast is an off-beat, charismatic gang of weirdos, other than Josh, the main love interest. Josh is boring, but the show is anything but.

Fun fact: Rachel Bloom and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer were once roommates.

Degrassi: Next Class

Degrassi Next Class

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m a huge Degrassi nerd. Excepting the original run in the 80s, I’m well versed on all things Degrassi and can speak with authority on all characters and storylines from about 15 seasons of the show. The show stays current, and this new class is all about social media and fluid sexuality. Boldly tackling serious topics, this season gets into racism, cultural appropriation, and mental health. The current cast has few standout actors, most are quite terrible, but some cameos from former students make it worth the watch. (Sorry, no Drake!)

2 Days in New York

An NYC indie starring Chris Rock and is half in French? I loved this 2012 movie and am so glad I randomly stumbled upon it. I thought about it for a few days after seeing it. Man. Chris Rock is so great. I might need to watch Top Five again. I need to go back and watch the first one, 2 Days in Paris, which starred Adam Goldberg alongside Julie Delpy.

 

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

I haven’t finished the third season of BoJack Horseman yet because I like to take my time and savor it. This is one of my favorite shows of all time. I’m a sucker for the easter eggs and bottomless pool of actors they get to voice the human and animal characters. It kind of reminds me of The Simpsons (way back when it was good) and how each episode pushed the envelope little further. The animated series is hilarious, but also so sad and dark. It might be Will Arnett’s best work and is a nod to his own demons.

What have you been watching? What do I need to add to my list?

Thursday, June 30th

Summer Streaming

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner

Are we really at the end of June? Each day feels long as Violet is into everything and my time seems to be spent chasing her around and cleaning up messes. And yet, it’s all moving too quickly and I’m cherishing each moment. We’re racing towards the end of her first year and I’m not ready to leave each adorable phase.

But Chris and I are loving every moment. Chasing her, watching tiny little teeth emerge, and seeing the world through innocent eyes makes everything feel exciting.

Violet

Violet

Violet

Violet


So what have we watched lately?

Orange is the New Black

Orange-is-the-New-Black-S4

The no-brainer, of course, is Orange is the New Black. In preparation for the fourth season I re-watched the third, which was not my favorite, but was more enjoyable the second time around. And the show picks up right where it left off. My thoughts on season four are this: OITNB is one of finest shows I’ve ever watched. The writing, the acting (with a few exceptions) and the emotional draw are so strong that I’m in awe. The newest season might be the best one so far. It’ll break your heart over and over. I am very attached to so many of these characters. Even Piper.

Hateship Loveship

I don’t know how Kristen Wiig has had the time to do so many little movies, but I feel like I’m always watching them. The most recent one I’ve seen is Hateship Loveship. I didn’t particularly love it, to be honest, but it’s interesting and short enough to watch, particularly if you are a Wiig fan. She can play a pathetic weirdo like no other.

Murder, She Wrote

Murder-She-Wrote

A friend told me she was watching Murder, She Wrote and got me curious. So I’m slowly working my way through them. It’s outdated, but that’s part of the appeal. Angela Lansbury has so much charm and the seaside Maine town where her character, Jessica Fletcher, lives and solves mysteries is equally as charming. This series is a who’s who of recognizable actors looking much, much younger. I suggest you youngins make a drinking game out of it.

What are you watching lately? What do I need to add to my list?

Sunday, May 29th

There’s an Ep for That

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

We’re at the end of May and in the midst of a long-awaited holiday weekend. Last year Chris’ had to go into the office on Memorial Day. We were still unpacking and doing major renovation in the new house, plus I was in my third trimester. It was a real bummer.

So having that extra day off right now feels positively glorious! We still have some work to accomplish, but our projects are of the small variety: yard work, laundry, cleaning. But we can balance that with some fun, along with grateful reflection on the many who gave their lives for our country. It’s good to have a day to feel patriotic during a gross election year. Is there anything worse than a presidential campaign? Ugh.

Violet is really on the move these days! She’s unbelievably fast at crawling, gleefully using our shiny concrete floors to her benefit. We’re having so much fun with the walker, too, and I think she’ll be walking unassisted before we know it.

Baby girl wearing pink tutu

Smiling baby wearing Run DMC onesie and red pants

A photo posted by Kristin Sheppard (@madbettyatx) on


Now let’s talk Netflix! As most network TV shows are done for the season, I expect many of you will be increasing your steaming. I’d love to hear your recommendations on what to watch. Here’s what we’ve been watching lately:

Lady Dynamite

Lady Dynamite on Netflix

Maria Bamford is one of those likable yet polarizing comedians. She’s intelligent, funny, weird…but it’s her voice that many people can’t get past. Lady Dynamite acknowledges this by incorporating it into a storyline, along with her many other hangups like insecurity, bad decision-making, and severe Bipolar II disorder. I’ve watched the ranking of this show fall steady, but I give it a solid four stars. It almost crosses the line into being completely ridiculous, but doesn’t annoy me in the least. And it’s worth checking out for the cameos alone.

Grace and Frankie

Speaking of annoying, I’m slogging through the second season of Grace and Frankie at a snail’s pace. It’s a gorgeous show to watch and full of actors I love, but somehow…I just don’t like it. Am I alone here?

Promised Land

Matt Damon in Promised Land

Although it’s from 2012, Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land was new to me. It’s a fairly uncomplicated and well-told story of a small town divided on the subject of fracking. Matt Damon carries the movie, supported by the wonderful Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, and Rosemarie DeWitt.

Chelsea

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler seems to be able to do whatever she wants. I was not much of a fan of hers until I read a few of her books, which showcases her deadpan snark and intelligent humor maybe more so than her TV persona does. Her documentary series Chelsea Does was somewhat enjoyable and Chelsea the talk show feels like an extension of that in bite-size pieces. Netflix releases three new episodes a week, which is a new approach to their streaming TV shows.

Tuesday, April 19th

Stream Queens

This post is part of my ongoing relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

We’re just coming out of a month that was so incredibly busy that we’re finally just getting our bearings again. Normally I’d block off a little recovery time after SXSW, but we had no such luxury this year. We had back-to-back visits from my parents and Chris’ dad, both of which were wonderful. We took a road trip to Fort Worth and went to a wedding, the zoo, and Cane Rosso for dinner. Then last weekend was AFBA’s Colossal Curry Cook-off, which was a huge success!

Violet with Nana and Pop-Pop in Bluebonnets

Violet and GrandDad

Violet and GrandDad

Violet and Elephants at Fort Worth Zoo

Violet’s getting so big. She races down the hallway in her walker, babbles away, and tries to put her pacifiers in our mouths. So far, she’s really not digging solid foods much, but we keep trying a little everyday. My mom brought her a whole bunch of CDs and it’s so fun to watch her recognize the music and try to sing along. Sesame Street is her favorite, especially the songs sung by Grover.


We haven’t had much free time to watch TV, but I’ve relished those rare moments when I could relax on the couch and decompress with some entertainment. What we’ve been watching lately:

Meet the Patels

Meet the Patels

I enjoyed this so much I watched it twice. The light-hearted documentary focuses on Ravi Patel (who you may recognize from Master of None) and the cultural pressure to get married. It was impossible not to fall in love with his whole family.

F is for Family

This is decidedly NOT kid-friendly, but F is for Family is a cartoon worth watching. Bill Burr, Laura Dern, and Justin Long anchor this series that’s filled with recognizable voices. It’s some good clean 70s fun. BoJack Horseman is still my favorite though.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I haven’t quite finished the newly released second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but thought it was worth mentioning. Ellie Kemper is adorable.

Sensitive Skin

I’d watch Kim Cattrall in just about anything, but this was hard to get through. It’s highly stylized and on the surface, sophisticated, but also…really annoying? Cattrall is just fine. It’s Don McKellar, the male lead in season one, who rubs me the wrong way. But I’ll persevere and give the second season a chance.

What are you guys watching? Leave me a comment so we can discuss. Having trouble deciding what to watch? Make a fortune cookie!

Netflx Fortune Teller

Saturday, February 27th

Nights at Home

This post is part of my relationship with Netflix as a Stream Team partner.

She’s only six months old, but Violet has a more active social life than many adults I know. Chris and I commit to a lot of social events and, so far, it’s been relatively easy to bring Violet to most things. Having a baby hasn’t slowed us down much yet, which is why those rare nights at home are so special.

When we stay at home I cook a simple meal and we’ll play settle in to play with Violet. She’s actively rolling around, playing with toys, and vetoing the food we give her. Those nights are filled with giggles and baby sighs and something fun on Netflix. Sometimes we’ll opt for a movie, other times we’ll watch a few episodes of a series.

Live Oak Brewery, Austin, Texas

Southwest Pediatrics, Austin, Texas

Baby food

Of course, the series everyone is talking about this week is Fuller House. The beloved family show is back after 21 years for a sentimental revisit of the sappy, silly show I loved as a kid. The cast aged well and it’s a great bit of nostalgia to see them back, laugh track and all.


Here are a few things I’ve watched lately:

Luther

Luther starring Idris Elba

Luther is a must-see for anyone who is debating giving in to a full-blown Idris Elba obsession. Just give in. The British cop show is the oft-told tale of a troubled cop who doesn’t play by the rules but it’s SO MUCH MORE! Unlike our American cops shows, this one is disturbing as hell. It’s not a show I can binge watch because it’s so dark, but it’s simply fantastic.

Love

Netflix series Love

Sigh. I really, really loved this show, you guys. Love is a binge-watcher for sure and feels made for that purpose. Each episode picks up right where the last leaves off. It’s a ten-episode tale of two people, a hot mess of a woman and a slightly less messed-up dork. We watch them meet, see them interact with each other and with friends. It’s not exactly the romantic comedy the name implies. A+ to Judd Apatow.

The Tiger and The Monk

I was so enthralled with The Tiger and The Monk that I watched it twice. The 50-minute documentary from 2007 is a glimpse into the idyllic Tiger Temple, where monks and tigers live in harmony together. I was actually coming up with a plan as to how we could make a trip to Thailand to see it in person. But in recent weeks, extremely distressing news has come out about the temple. My heart is broken. Watch it before reading this.

What are you guys watching? What do you do on your nights at home?

Tuesday, February 23rd

Where to Get Ramen in Austin

2016 AFBA City Guide

Once again it’s time for my annual ramen contribution to the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s City Guide. Each year the ramen scene gets a little bit bigger. You can see my from my previous guides how things have changed. (2015, 2014, 2013.) If I didn’t include your favorite place, leave me a comment and tell me what I missed! And while you’re hungry, check out the rest of the guides from my talented food blogger friends. 


 

What’s not to love about ramen? It’s hearty, flavorful, bouncy. It’s not just trending in Austin, but all all over the US. But proudly, Austin’s become notable for its ramen. Enough so that visitors make sure to visit a ramen shop while in town, just like they do with barbecue and tacos. If you haven’t given ramen a try yet, pick a rainy day and hop in line at any of the places listed below. Soon enough you’ll be slurping with the best of them.

If you need more convincing, check out local filmmaker Christian Remde’s Culinary Equation fantastic video all about ramen.

Banzai Sushi and Grill

3914 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756

M-Sat 11am-9:30 pm, Sun noon-9pm

No-frills ramen with choice of pork, beef, shrimp, tofu, or meatball. Every bowl comes topped with veggies and a hard boiled egg.

Cho Sushi Fusion

4300 N. Quinlan Park Rd, Ste 105, Austin, TX 78732

M-F 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm, Sat noon-10pm

2422 620 S, Ste A100, Austin, TX 78738

M-Th 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm, F 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun 4pm-9pm

Simply labeled “Japanese Ramen” the lone offering at Cho features pork, vegetables, and egg in miso broth. $9 at lunch and $12 at dinner.

Daruma Ramen

612B E. 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

M-F 11:30-2, 5:30-10, Sat 11:30-10, Sun 12-9

People happily line up on East 6th to wait for their steaming bowls of noodles. Most notable is the vegan ramen, whose complex broth is steeped with veggies and fruit. Very interesting, and different than what anyone else is doing.

Daruma Ramen vegan bowl

Drunk Fish

10000 Research Blvd #139, Austin, TX 78759

M-Th 11am-8pm, F 11am-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm

Offering a variety of broths and toppings, this Arboretum hole in the wall is popular with lunchers in a hurry.

Komé

4917 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

M-Th 11-2, 5-10, F 11-2, 5-11, Sat 11-3, 5-11, Sun 12-3, 5:30-10

Known for their wide array of fresh and delicious sushi, Komé also makes a kickass ramen available at lunch. Their ramen efforts were so popular that they opened a sister restaurant, the aforementioned Daruma Ramen.

Kome tonkatsu ramen

Michi Ramen

6519 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78752

Tues-Sun 11am-midnight

3005 S. Lamar, D-114B, Austin, TX 78704

Everyday, 11 am-midnight

The ramen groundbreakers of Austin, Michi Ramen was here before anyone else, slinging noodles out of a truck. The menu expanded when they moved to a brick and mortar. Last year they opened their second location on South Lamar, which strictly does take-out. They offer traditional broth thickness options and lots of toppings so you can build your own bowl.

Michi Ramen

*Pro-tip: Leave room for dessert! The mochi, 2 for $3 is shipped frozen from Hawaii and just heavenly.

Mochi

Midori Sushi

13435 N Hwy 183, Ste 301, Austin, TX 78750

M-Th 11:30am-9:30pm, F 11:30am-10:30pm, Sat noon-10pm

Twelve bucks will get you a bowl of miso ramen, topped with roasted pork, bean sprouts, and onions. Available at dinner only.

Musashino Sushi Dokoro

3407 Greystone Drive, Austin, TX 78731

Tues-Fri 11am-2, 5:30-10

Should you stray from the sushi menu, there are a variety of ramen bowls available at lunch.

O’Daku

2501 W. Parmer Lane #500, Austin, TX 78727

M-F 11-10, Sat 11:30-10:30

Ramen comes in three sizes in chicken, beef, and seafood, and “regular” as choices.

Origami Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar

1110 N. 35 Frontage Rd, Ste 200B, Round Rock, TX 78681

M-Th 11:30-2, 5-9, F 11:30-2, 5-10, Sat 11:30am-10pm

Miso and shoyu ramen offered at lunch.

Ramen Fukuya

1914 Guadalupe St, Ste A, Austin, TX 78705

M-Th 11 am-10pm, F 11 am-mid, Sat noon-mid, Sun noon-10am

Daily ramen offerings include fukuya (chicken bone broth), tonkotsu, and veggie. Seafood ramen and tsukemen are weekend additions.

Ramen Tatsu-ya

Ramen Tatsu-ya North 

8557 Research Blvd #126, Austin, TX 78758

Tues-Fri 11-2, 5-10, Sat-Sun 12-3, 5-10

Ramen Tatsu-ya South

1234 South Lamar, Austin, TX 78704

Mon-Sun 11-3, 5-10

Arguably the most famous ramen in Austin,  Ramen Tatsu-ya is a must. Great for first timers, the menu provides a quirky guide on what to order, how to eat, and definitions for all the unfamiliar terms and ingredients. They offer classic toppings and fun flavors bombs, so you can customize every bowl. The masses cheered when their second, larger location opened.

Mi-So-Hot

Check out their website for the full menu which includes highlights like katsu sliders and sweet and sour Brussel’s sprouts.

*Pro-tip: Get there before 5:00 or after 8:45 to avoid the long line. Or just show up whenever and stand in line chatting with fellow ramen-heads, letting the anticipation build. Also, don’t miss the art in the bathrooms of the north location.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya Restroom Art

Shabu

2700 Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757

11am-9:30pm daily

Most people visit Shabu to get hotpot and plain ramen noodles are one of the many options to enjoy with hotpot along with meats, veggies, and various toppings. Non-hotpot ramen options include BBQ Pork Ramen, Ramen Shrimp and Shitake, and Street Ramen which has Spam, beef, and lots of veggies.

Soto

11066 Pecan Park Blvd, Ste 402, Cedar Park, TX 78613

M-Th 11-3, 5-10, F 11-3, 5-11, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11-9

The reputable sushi spot has an acceptable ramen offering, too, pleasing customers with a decadent seafood ramen as well as traditional tonkatsu and shoyu.

Sushi Junai

1612 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701

Mon-Sat 11am-10pm

Known for all-you-can-eat sushi, they also offer a spicy ramen for $6.95.

Tokyo Sushi Japanese Restaurant

3201 Bee Caves Rd, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78746

Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 4pm-10pm

Ramen offerings come in two flavors, Sapporo and Tokyo, with choices of chicken, beef, shrimp, crispy pork or seafood.

Whole Foods at The Domain

11920 Domain Drive, Austin, TX 78758

8 am-10 pm daily

Of the fabulous amenities this store boasts, the ramen bar is one of the best. The Texas ramen gives shoppers a taste of Japanese ramen with a twist…barbecue! Casual and easy, it’s a treat to have this spot for a quick slurp while you do your shopping.

Xian Sushi and Noodle

1801 E 51st St, Ste C370, Austin, TX 78723

13201 Ranch Rd 620, Ste U208, Austin, TX 78717

M-Sat 11:30-3, 5-10, Sun 12-p

Known for their exceptional hand-pulled noodles, Xian (pronounced SHE-ann) offers one ramen in their roster, shoyu. The Ranch Road location is fairly new, proving that the demand for noodles in Austin cannot be stopped.

Yanagi

4404 W. William Canon Drive, Ste B, Austin, TX 78749

M-Th 11-2:30, 4-9:30, F 11-2:30, 4-10:30, Sat 12-10

The two ramen options—Ramen and Spicy Ramen—have a miso broth and are topped with pork, onion, green onion, zucchini, and boiled egg.

Thursday, January 7th

Jamming with the Presidents

My love for TV intros has been previously documented, but recently I realized a love for both the imagery and scores (especially the scores) of American president shows. Maybe I’m feeling extra patriotic because we’re in an election year.

BIll Clinton playing saxophone for Boris Yeltsin

The West Wing is beloved by many. Including me. The show’s writing is unbelievable. And Martin Sheen is the best president ever. And how did Josh Malina go from acting on a show this good to the shit that is Scandal? But I’m getting off track here.

W. G. Snuffy Walden composed the music for many TV shows, including The Wonder Years, thirtysomething, Felicity, My So-Called Life, Friday Night Lights, Roswell, and many, many more. But The West Wing is his most famous and won him an Emmy.

The Kennedys features a magnificent solo trumpet that paves the way for swelling strings and takes a turn toward darkness. It’s hopeful, then sad. Much like the story of the Kennedys. I believe that the opening would have made a stronger visual impact with just the swirling flag and credits, nothing else. But it still makes a powerful statement.

Composer Sean Callery also did Homeland, 24, Medium, Elementary, Bones, and lots more. Another prolific, talented TV composer.

I think my favorite of the three openings is House of Cards. The score is sinister, mysterious, and compelling. The time lapse footage of DC is all shadows and light, hinting at the evil that lurks within the city and the government.

I am drawn to this music and find myself listening to it semi-regularly. It’s my favorite part of the show, along with the styling of Robin Wright Penn. I’m not the only who loves it, as there are several articles about the song and composer Jeff Beal. This piece on Slate talks about how the music evolved between the first and second season.

Beal also wrote music for The Newsroom, GCB, Monk, Ugly Betty, Rome, and Carnivàle, among many others.