chicken tikka masala

My Indian craving has not subsided. I’m growing very comfortable with the idea that it may well be a permanent addition to my life. Some of these spices I’d never even heard of, but they are apparently staples in an Indian kitchen comparable to thyme and nutmeg in Lyon.

tikka-5809 tikka-5814tikka-5816

While tikka masala was indeed named one of Britain’s national dishes a few years back, the history of the dish is not so simple. After reading Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors for a class (did I mention how much I love Plan II?), it turns out that Indian cuisine is a melange of international influences, with tikka masala’s real invention in Britain and vindaloo’s origins in Portugal. It really makes you question the meaning of “national cuisine.”

I mean, what is American food? Is it fried chicken? Or a Philly cheesesteak? Or a hamburger? Or even PB&J? It’s easy to see just how complicated defining American national cuisine is, and it’s important to treat the food of other cultures in the same manner, each with it’s own regional differences and complications. It is important that we not boil “Indian food” down to a minimal collection of dishes for fear of missing out on some true delicacies.

tikka-5826 tikka-5843

So here is my creation. Whether or not it is representative of an authentic Indian dish or merely an American bastardization, it was freaking delicious. Plus, whoda thunk such a beauty could come from Buzzfeed?

chicken tikka masala


for the chicken tikka

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3-4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (or more if you like your chicken zingy)

for the masala sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3-4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced (leave the seeds in for a spicier sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. garam masala (to make your own, combine 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

for the rice

  • cook basmati rice in a rice maker or stove top with cumin seeds, whole cloves, and anise to taste


-Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

-Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, cayenne and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

-While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

-Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce; it may get overcooked). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve with cooked basmati rice.

from buzzfeed

leek tarts

We are all going to survive the holidays. We will. It’s going to be ok. It’s going to be ok! If you’re in the market for something to quiet the inevitable arguments born out of stress from a hot oven and pure boredom, there’s nothing better than a leek.

What’s a leek you say? Well its sorta like a monster green onion. First time I bought leeks I had no idea what to do with them. Which end do you even start with? A few google searches later and it turns out you really can’t go wrong (as long as you wash it thoroughly). But they’ve got this indescribable flavor and earthiness to them that onions just can’t match. Paired with a truffle oil walnut paste and goat cheese, a leek is so, so much more.

leek tart-5650 leek tart-5653 leek tart-5672

Looking for the perfect holiday amuse bouche? These leek truffle walnut tarts are deceptively easy. The key is store-bought puff pastry dough. Just tear open the box and cut it up. Voilà, c’est pratiquement fini!

leek tart-5674I am a firm believer in all things truffle, but I really can’t tell if it’s the leeks or the truffles that make this tart what it is. It wouldn’t be the same with a regular onion, but it also wouldn’t be the same with regular olive oil. You can probably try a different nut, and even skimp on the goat cheese (though I’ve found the Vermont Creamery’s bijous are far out), but I think the leek and truffle are here to stay.

leek tart-5676 leek tart-5677 leek tart-5687

leek tart with truffle walnut paste and goat cheese

inspired by Tarts: Sweet and Savory

ingredients: 1 bunch of leeks, 4 tbsps butter, 1½ cup of walnuts, 1-2 tbsps black truffle oil, 1 tbsp herbs de provence, salt and pepper to taste, goat cheese, pre-made puff pastry dough


-wash leeks and cut into ½” round slices. Melt butter in a pan and sauté leeks on a low heat, stirring often until soft, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat

-in a food processor, combine walnuts, truffle oil, herbs (you can improvise here!), salt and pepper to taste and pulse until a paste forms

-lay out puff pastry dough and cut into squares or rectangles about 3″ per side. Arrange on a cookie sheet on parchment paper

-spread walnut paste onto each individual puff pastry piece. Place chunks of goat cheese on each puff pastry piece. If you can find a goat cheese that is cylindrical with a rind, slice into round and put each round with the rind on the individual pastries. Spoon sautéed leeks onto each pastry

-preheat an oven to 400˚F. Put pastries on cookie sheet in oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. The pastry will puff up, and you want it to stay that way after it cools. If the pastry falls after removal from oven, it is underdone (but still delicious)

-serve warm with a smile to diffuse ubiquitous familial tension

poulet à la moutarde

prisoner-5866 prisoner-5870prisoner-5869

Believe it or not, this book was a school purchase. I’m so fortunate with Plan II, one of my assignments was to compare David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While the selections had to compare a single cuisine from instruction manuals around 50 years apart, I strategically chose my “cuisine” and selections from a set already in my Amazon cart.

mustard chicken-5714 mustard chicken-5708

mustard chicken-5712mustard chicken-5713

Flipping through the books, looking at differences in structures as well as prose in the way the authors talked about food, I bookmarked just about every recipe that was in the Lebovitz copy. Including the cover recipe, poulet à la moutarde, or chicken with mustard. While mustard and chicken wouldn’t be a gut feeling for a protein and flavor combination, the cover image was just irresistable.

I’ve always been somewhat wary about cooking on a high heat. I’m just so afraid I’ll burn and ruin it! But just about everything in Lebovitz’s manual says to use a ‘medium-high’ heat, and after tasting the browned, crisp edges of the chicken and the resulting decadent sauce, I am converted.

mustard chicken-5751

mustard chicken-5741mustard chicken-5761

The instructions for poulet à la moutarde are a bit intimidating. This dish took me a good while, but mainly because I had to keep reviewing the recipe to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. But when looking at the essentials, it’s actually quite simple. Cook bacon, then remove. Cook onions, add thyme, then remove. Brown chicken (and in my case sausage because it was in the fridge, and why not?) then remove. Pour in a little white wine and scrape the brown awesomeness from the bottom, keep at a high simmer and add everything you took out. Simple, see?

mustard chicken-5769mustard chicken-5772

The sauce is what makes this so amazing. I probably used a little too much mustard, so you might want to cut back on what the recipe calls for. It needs to be served with something that can sop up all the amazing juices. I chose pasta. You can try bread. Go for it.

prisoner-5745I’m not sure if it’s the bacon or The Prisoner (currently on sale at Central Market – go stock up) that makes this dish so amazing. Can’t hurt to have both!

chicken with mustard –  poulet à la moutarde

from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz


  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 8 pieces dark-meat, bone-in, skin-on chicken (separate thighs and drumsticks; 4 to 5 pounds total)
  • 1 cup diced smoked thick-cut bacon
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed (may substitute coarse-grain mustard)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Warm water (optional)
  • Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish


-Mix 1/2 cup of the Dijon mustard in a bowl with the paprika, a few generous grinds of pepper and the salt. Toss the chicken pieces in the mustard mixture, lifting the skin and rubbing some of the mixture underneath.

-Line a plate with a few layers of paper towel. Heat a large, wide skillet with a cover, or a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until it is almost smoking. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until it has crisped and browned and most of its fat has rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon pieces to the lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

-Add the onion and stir to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until the onion is softened and mostly translucent. Stir in the thyme; cook for a few minutes, until fragrant, then use a spatula to scrape the contents of the skillet into a large bowl.

-Return the skillet or Dutch oven to medium-high heat; once it’s quite hot, add the chicken pieces skin side down; if they don’t fit, work in two batches, adding oil as needed. Cook until well-browned on the bottom, then turn the pieces over and cook to achieve good color on the second side; this might take 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the onion.

-Pour the wine into the pan to deglaze it, keeping clear of the steam that rises. Use a firm spatula to quickly dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

-Return all of the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet or Dutch oven and add the onion mixture and bacon. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over a few times during cooking. To check for doneness, insert the sharp tip of a knife into the meat next to the thigh bone; if the meat is still pink, cook for a few more minutes.

-Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the skillet or Dutch oven from the heat. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, the mustard seed and the crème fraîche or heavy cream to form a sauce. If it seems too thick, stir in a little warm water.

-Sprinkle chopped parsley or chives over the top. Serve hot.

christmas by the highway

A few years ago, some smart Austinite decided to bring a little Christmas cheer to the most dreaded of daily tasks: the commute. On the Capital of Texas highway, between Mopac and Lamar, some ornaments and tinsel appeared on one of the many evergreens that line the highway. The next year, there was a little more sparkle on the berm, and the next year, a little more. The tradition has since expanded to other strips of road across Austin, and this year we braved the traffic and the deceptively steep cliff to do our part.

not too big, not too small: the perfect tree

pretzel-5606 pretzel-5610


pretzel-5615 pretzel-5627

pretzel-5617 pretzel-5631

pretzel-5645 pretzel-5639pretzel-5633


pretzel-5640 pretzel-5635


soft buttered pretzels

pretzel-5488 pretzel-5490

We’re just gonna get right to it this time. The middle schooler was demanding pretzels at the mall. And frankly, so was everyone. Butter and salt make everything irresistible. Quite fortuitously upon returning from our errands, I came across a recipe for a homemade version of that shopping trip treat by My Name is Snickerdoodle. And surprisingly, it didn’t seem that hard! Of course, it was only fitting that the middle schooler help in the process.


Unlike my experience with other breadstuffs, namely croissants which take almost 2 days and a good deal of forethought, the whole process only takes about 1-2 hours, with an hour of that spent watching terrible TV adaptations of young adult, dystopian novels.

pretzel-5526 pretzel-5536

I was a little caught off guard by the directions to boil the pretzels in a solution of water and ½ a cup of baking soda, but it turns out the solution boils fairly quickly and is quite easy when you have a helper.


pretzel-5555 pretzel-5561

So that’s it really: mix, knead, rise, roll, shape, boil, sprinkle, bake. Lots of verbs, but trust me, it’s a lot easier than it looks. You’ll have to brush the pretzels with an egg wash before they go in the oven and then in melted butter once they’re fresh out.

pretzel-5566 pretzel-5580 pretzel-5584


Important considerations for the cooking process:

-when storing to rise, start the oven preheating to 200˚F for 5 minutes, then turn off and put covered bowl of dough inside and close the oven door

-when shaping, pinch the ends hard

-after boiling, dry off pretzel with paper towel

-when baking, bake on the bottom rack of the oven with no racks above

-go for more golden, less brown. See Snickerdoodle’s pictures for reference

pretzel-5588 pretzel-5593

They’re really best eaten within an hour of coming out of the oven, which shouldn’t be too hard. The recipe makes 8, which at my house were gone in moments. Serve with sausage, mustard, beer, and friends.

soft buttered pretzels

recipe from My Name is Snickerdoodle


dough: 1 ½ cups warm water; 2 tbsp light brown sugar; 2 tsp yeast; 4 tbsp canola oil, divided; 2 tsp salt; 5 cups all purpose flour

solution: 10 cups water; ½ cup baking soda

egg wash: 1 whole egg; 1 tbsp cold water

topping: kosher salt, 4 tbsp butter, melted


-proof the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer by adding the yeast, 1 1/2 cups water and sugar together.  Cover with a towel and let it stand for 5-10 minutes until bubbles form.

-add 3 tbsp of oil and salt.  Using the dough hook, add in the flour a cup at a time on low speed until combined.  Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.

-remove the dough from the bowl and pour remaining 1 TBSP oil into the same bowl.  Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl.  Turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.

-preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large pot bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a boil.

-using a knife or pizza cutter, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Roll one piece into a large rope and twist into a pretzel.  Pinch the ends to the bottom of the pretzel.  Repeat with remaining pieces.  Boil the pretzels, two at a time in the water solution for 45 seconds.  Drain with a slotted spoon and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

-once all boiled, beat together egg and 1 tbsp water and brush over the tops.  Generously sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.  Serve warm.

blue dahlia bistro

IMG_3603Because all things Austin have quickly shifted to all things East side, this morning’s venture landed us at a place that is older than you think, dating way way back to those, cue sarcasm, nostalgic middle school days.

Now the street is spotted with cafés, trailers, and design studios abound. But Blue Dahlia Bistro, along with East Side Pies and Franklin’s, was one of the pioneers of the East 11th St. evolution

 IMG_3604 IMG_3605

This particularly crisp, beautiful December morning was reminiscent of Villefranche-sur-mer in June. Temperate, but with a warm sunshine on your face to keep you outside. It’s a all-doors-and-windows-open kind of day.

While I didn’t personally visit any cafés quite like this while in l‘Hexagone, Blue Dahlia is an exact replica of what an American’s dream French café would be: a quaint, yet somehow still spacious, garden in front and back, tightly clustered interior tables that force your neighbors speak at a reasonable volume, and of course, baskets and baskets of bread.

Unfortunately, the cappuccinos left something to be desired. While similar to the French café crèmes with mostly espresso and foam, I’ve come to appreciate the American version of the beverage, featuring a soft foam and penetrating espresso.

croissant and assorted jams


But Blue Dahlia’s breadstuffs certainly live up to expectations. As I learned the hard way, after consuming too much viennoiserie en France and my belt line being worse off for it, croissants are best shared, preferably with a dashing homme pensif. While they were out of almond croissants, I’m pleased to say the plain butter croissant makes it on the best of list.
IMG_3611 IMG_3610IMG_3612

Soft boiled eggs are one of those dishes that are too seldom featured in the states. But I guess it’s one of those things like raclette or fondue where the process is more rewarding than a simpler version of the same ingredients. But I was happy to see it on Blue Dahlia’s menu and there was no even consideration of an alternative. And they were perfectly done! A feat somewhat harder than is imagined. Not too hard, not too soft, the whites were stiff and the yolks were runny. Bravo!

To finish it all off, our check was left with a charming and apropos note.

Winter is on my head, but eternal Spring is in my heart.

– Victor Hugo

new happy hour: Gardner

Haven’t made it to the newest veggie joint on East 6th? Neither have I, but now we have just one more reason to check it out: they’ve launched a brand new weekday happy hour! According to Eater, this addition to the ever growing list will feature $2 off wine, beer, and snacks Monday-Friday in their bar and on their patio from 5:30-7:00. If it’s anything like Contigo where the owners made their name, it’ll be a hit.

Gardner Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 5:30-7

1914 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78762

$2 off wine, beer, and snacks

spicy chickpea stew

After discovering Teji’s on the drag, I’ve been on an Indian food bender. Though I am extremely sensitive to the fact that I know next to nothing about this particular cuisine, I was blown away by their melt-your-face-off vindaloo. This one is not for the faint of heart or stomach, y’all, so I would definitely talk to them about dialing down the spice if you’re a sensitive soul. Nonetheless, I was inspired and have subsequently been searching out the Indian niches in Austin’s dining scene.

When I ask around for suggestions, 1 out of 3 answers is that I just have to try G’raj Mahal. I’m going to draw some fire here, but I was particularly nonplussed by G’raj Mahal. Their vindaloo was tasty but tame, and while I felt über hip in their lounge seating out back, I couldn’t avoid a creeping sense of cultural appropriation and Orientalism as I saw young, mostly white, professionals in adjacent seating areas being served by young, mostly white, hipsters. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to explore other cultures, and food is an important part of that. But something about the atmosphere felt hyper constructed to fit a distinctly American notion of “Indian.” There are a plethora of concept restaurants, from Italian, to French, to French-Vietnamese fusion, to Prohibition Era, and maybe it’s just that this concept in particular is sensitive to a culture that has traditionally been a victim of imperialism, but it is equally important to realize that though something may fit our foreign concept of a culture, it is not necessarily an authentic representation. Now I don’t know the owners, and I don’t know the chef(s), and again, I know very little about Indian cuisine, but I will hesitate a moment before I calling G’raj Mahal the best indian food place in town.

So I have a growing list of suggestions of places to try, and I’m open to more and willing to travel. If you have an addition, I’d love to hear it. But to satisfy my current craving (and my budget) I’ve concocted my own version of Teji’s vindaloo, though it won’t melt your face off. I started with this spicy chickpea stew from Dolly and Oatmeal, but eventually I was just winging it, a technique I definitely recommend for sake of ease and sanity without sacrificing taste. Ancillary benefit: its secretly vegan!

Aleah 1 -5443

What’s that hiding under the pointsetta…

Aleah 1 -5444

…a butternut squash!

Aleah 1 -5447
get those potatoes going in the oven

Aleah 1 -5449

Disclaimer: instead of a fourth can of tomatoes, I cut up four roma tomatoes. It was satisfying for my “health conscious” side, but it really didn’t make a difference. I think the fire roasted canned tomatoes added more flavor anyway.

Aleah 1 -5457

Aleah 1 -5454

Aleah 1 -5462 Aleah 1 -5468 Aleah 1 -5476

Aleah 1 -5478
This is what it should look like about halfway done.

 Aleah 1 -5480Aleah 1 -5487

Aleah 1 -5483

spicy chickpea stew

ingredients: butternut squash (cubed), 1 cup cooked chickpeas, pearl potatoes (or baking potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes), 1 sliced onion, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 4 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (all amounts are flexible to taste and ingredients on hand)

spices: 1-2 tbsps of cumin, curry, and sage; 1 tbsp salt, 1/2 cup of harissa, dash of red pepper (all amounts are flexible to taste and spices on hand)

-preheat oven to 350˚F and cook potatoes tossed in olive oil in a glass or ceramic dish until just tender

-when potatoes are done, pour a good amount of olive oil in a large pot to cover the bottom (about 2 tbsps). Toss in the onions and garlic and sautée on low to medium for 3 minutes

-add all spices to the pot and stir. I like mine super spicy, so I was liberal with the harissa and red pepper

-add butternut squash, potatoes, chickpeas and canned tomatoes. Add water until ingredients are covered.

-bring pot to a boil, then down to a simmer. I ended up letting it go for about an hour and a half, but you can’t really overdo it. You want it to cook down and to be fairly thick by the time you’re done. It only gets better as it simmers and all the flavors mix together. It even gets better by day 2 sitting in the fridge

-serve with basmati or jasmine rice or naan

alterations: try using a different squash, or throwing in some paprika (I honestly just forgot about that one), throw in some different vegetables for a more varied texture, top with parsley or avocado, if you’re not big on the vegan thing, try a dill-yogurt topping

winflo osteria

The best kind of happy hour is the unintentional kind. The kind where you’re going to dinner with family and the waiter sets down a happy hour menu, and there’s a mojito listed!IMG_3446.JPG

One might think the inspiration for Winflo‘s name stems from their overflowing wine list, or the spectacular collection displayed in the dining room, but in fact, one need only look at the adjacent street sign for Winflo Drive to realize the fortuitous circumstances.

Apologies in advance for the shoddy photography. The sun goes down at 5 these days, and I just hate to be that person that blinds the rest of the diners with an iphone flash, entirely disrupting their dining experience. IMG_3442.JPG

With padre, appetizers are always a given. Et voilà, polenta fries, polpette, and bruschetta.

italian mojito

Though drink offerings may be on the pricier side at $6 a pop, Winflo wins with variety. With reds, whites, and cocktails, you really can’t go wrong. Mojitos can be a dangerous choice at happy hour. They’re a drink that takes a lot of love, and a lot of time, to get it right. A rushed or careless bartender, pushed by the discounted price, can often serve a watery, too-sweet concoction with a sprig of mint on top and call it a mojito. But not here, not at Winflo. Undoubtably it’s the Branca Menta that makes this version Italian. Whatever they’ve done, it works. Another best of.

polenta fries

One of the coolest food trends out there has got to be “fill in the blank fries” fever. From East Side King’s beet fries to Salty Sow‘s eggplant fries, these polenta fries were a no-brainer. Disclaimer: give them about 8-10 minutes after arriving at the table if you want to keep the skin on the roof of your mouth and be able to taste the rest of your meal.


Winflo was just on a roll I guess. This bruschetta also makes it on the best of list. Too often the bread to a bruschetta just can’t hold up the tomato topping. I’d even wager that it’s the quality of the bread that makes up 50 percent of the take-away from this particular dish. With this consideration, Winflo takes the cake.


It looks like just meatballs – but it is so much more than just meatballs. They’re beef and salami meatballs. Let’s just say there’s a reason they hosted Austin’s 2nd Annual Meatball festival.IMG_3440.JPGWhen considering happy hour’s gradual shift from post-work drink to the value driven mini-meal that it is becoming, Winflo makes it to best of overall happy hour status. If it’s not too cold, and it never really is in central Texas, check out their patio or make a reservation (I know right? Reservations in Austin? What is the world coming to?) for a cozy oasis just off of bustling West 6th.

Winflo Osteria Happy Hour: 3-6:30

1315 West 6th Street, Austin, TX 78703

$6 select wine and cocktails, $6 select appetizers, $10 select pizzas; 2 for 1 pizzas Sun&M after 5

Mike Martinez for Austin Mayor

Early voting has started for the Austin mayoral runoff, and here’s why you should vote for Mike Martinez: policies aside, in the several conversations I’ve had with Steve Adler, not once was he able to articulate why, as a private attorney, he is qualified to be mayor. His proponents laud his personality, painting him as the benevolent-rich-guy trope, but he hasn’t been able to articulate his qualifications himself.

As a liberal arts major, I’m all for going into a field you‘re not explicitly trained to do. But you have to be able to explain why what you’ve done in your past is applicable to this new field and why your unique experiences will be even better than the person who has 8 years of direct experience. Sorry Steve, living in Austin for 20 years doesn’t qualify you to be mayor, heck, maybe I should run for mayor if that’s the only consideration. It’s simple: would you hire someone with zero experience, who can’t explain why that’s not a problem? Why should the mayor not be held to the same standards as job seeking college students?

Maybe Adler wasn’t taking us as college students seriously, and didn’t think that our interviews mattered; maybe others see a different Adler. But that is a fundamental problem for a college town: a mayor who doesn’t take college students seriously. Adler seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how city council works, blaming Martinez alone for all the problems Austin has faced in the past 10 years, proposing to keep Austin a no-kill city (straw man anyone?), proposing things that a weak-power mayor like that in Austin just cannot accomplish without the support and cooperation of the council.

Martinez has consistently respected Daily Texan staff, detailed his experience beyond 8 years on city council to what he actually did during that time, and is truly in touch with the city. I don’t want a mayor that doesn’t need the mayoral salary. I want someone who will fight for his paycheck and be held accountable, who can’t hide in a mansion in Westlake from the citizens.

For a more comprehensive endorsement, see The Daily Texan.