John in his school uniform - Hawaiian shirt and summer hat!
I can't believe it's dinner-time, and I'm just now sitting down at the computer for the first time today!  I have a good excuse though.  John took me to school with him today!  "So, how does it feel to be back on the UT campus after 35 years?", he asked.  "A lot different.  For one thing, I don't smell any patchouli this time!"

I think I've mentioned before that, for about a year now, John has been enrolled in a program that promotes lifelong learning for "mature people", and he attends lectures and discussion groups each week, on every imaginable subject.  What I didn't know, until today, is that he is now a volunteer on the committee that searches for and lines up interesting speakers.

The reason he let me tag along as his guest today was that one lecture was being given by food writer/blogger Addie Broyles, whom I happen to idolize, and it was all about the Austin trailer-food scene.  Can you believe it?  They estimate we may have as many as 2,000 food trailers in Austin, by the end of this year!

The second lecture was given by the director of sales and marketing for the Duchman Family Winery (formerly Mandola Winery) in Driftwood, and was all about the Texas wine industry and the search for Texas terroir.  I'm not much of a wine drinker, but I am very interested in the taste of place.  I think it's exciting that many of the wineries are finally realizing that it makes no sense to try and grow grapes and make wines that are better suited to other climates, for they will never be able to compete that way.  Instead they are branching out from the Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, and making excellent wines from grapes that are better suited to our hot, humid summers, such as Viogniers and Temparillos.

And, of course, after all the tantalizing photos that Addie shared with us, we really couldn't settle for lunch in the cafeteria, now could we?  Instead we made our way to El Naranjo, where we dined on a cold soup of cucumbers, yogurt, serano chilies and cilantro; Oaxacan style salted dry beef tacos; and stuffed golden tacos with green avacado sauce, cream, and crumbled cheese.  Most people think that the food carts are all run by people who know next to nothing about the food industry, but that just isn't so.  El Naranjo is owned and operated by Iliana de la Vega, who owned one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca until the riots of '06 forced her to shut down.  She is now on the board of the Culinary Institute of America, and decided to open and operate this food cart, until her brick and mortar restaurant is ready to open.

On the whole, it was a most satisfactory day, and I have no more doubts whatsoever, as to whether John will make the most of his retirement!
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5