The Travis Scott Meal at McDonald’s

I get those goosebumps every time I… order the Travis Scott meal from McDonald’s. All jokes aside, on September 8th, McDonald’s added their newest featured item to the menu, the Travis Scott Quarter Ponder. The Travis Scott burger is a beef patty with two slices of American cheese, thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup all on a quarter-pound sesame seed bun. It is a loaded travis scott burger that comes in at 630 calories.

It is no surprise that as soon as the travis scott burger was added to the menu it sold out at multiple locations. Travis Scott is currently one of the most popular rappers in the world. If you attach his name to a burger it is almost guaranteed that his fans will go, get it. Despite the ridicule that the burger received for being an average quarter pounder. The partnership between McDonald’s and Travis Scott has still found success. Scott currently has 33.4 million followers on Instagram. His multiple posts promoting the new burger received over 10 million likes.

Instagram is not the only social media platform that the burger’s popularity exploded on. Once TikTok heard about the new featured item the Travis Scott burger quickly became trending. McDonald’s employees all over the country would hear costumer roll up to the drive-through and say, “you know what I am here for”, followed by Scott’s song Sicko Mode. Just like that, a McDonalds Travis Scott Meal would be added to the customer’s order.

If you are a die-hard Travis Scott burger fan or a die-hard McDonalds French fry fan order the Travis Scott meal. This meal includes the Travis Scott Burger, medium fries with BBQ sauce, and a medium Sprite. This meal does not disappoint.

Travis Scott burger Meal at McDonald's

After personally trying the travis scott meal. I will honestly say I was impressed by how good it was. Yes, it is a basic quarter pounder with cheese but what more do you want from McDonald’s? The burger is the perfect combination of classic McDonald’s toppings. When I took my first bite into the burger, I could imagine Travis Scott enjoying the same combination of flavors. The pickles were the perfect addition to the meatiness of the patty and bacon. This was also my first experience of dipping my fries into BBQ sauce. Yet again, I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Like Scott, my soft drink of choice is a sprite, so the meal was perfect for me. Not to mention it all comes in at only $6.00.

Just like McDonald’s says this travis scott meal “honestly slaps”. The excitement for the burger might be a little overdramatic but it doesn’t defeat the fact that it is still a good burger. McDonald’s marketing team was genius for making this partnership happen. It made the fast-food chain relevant again and brought thousands of young people to their front doors. At the end of the day, this partnership has done its job while producing a tasty, limited time, burger. Cactus Jack likes it and I do too.

Layne’s VS Canes Chicken Battle

Just like UT and A&M, Layne’s and Canes have been fighting each other for the best comfort chicken and fries. Between Austin and College Station there’s a lot of ground to cover but the dispute has been egging on for ages. Rumor has it that Layne’s was the original Canes, so why has Layne’s been left in the dirt? I was inspired by Kate Knauff’s recent head to head comparison and decided to do my own The Layne’s vs. Canes Chicken Battle.

Their Story

First let’s do some fact checking before we get to judging.

Layne’s came to be the first Texas-based chicken comfort food right in College Station, home of the Texas A&M Aggies, in 1994. On the other hand, Todd Graves opened the first Cane’s in Baton Rouge, near LSU in 1996.

As Raising Cane’s expanded to Austin, TX and other parts of central Texas running along I-35 from San Antonio to Waco. Layne’s grounded themselves and marked College Station as their home and recently expanded to Frisco & Lewisville.

The distance between the last Cane’s around Austin and first Layne’s near C-Stat is a little under the two hour mark, the drive isn’t uncommon to Austinites who have ties to College Station.

Chicken

Personally, I ADORE Cane’s chicken because it’s crisper and lives up to what they advertised “FRESH, NEVER EVER FROZEN® premium chicken.” Layne’s seems crisper but just a tad chewier.

Fries

Both restaurants serve original crinkle-cut fries with every meal purchased. I feel both restaurants understood the joy and bounce of crinkle-cut fries as it adds a small fun factor. Unfortunately, I have received some soggy fries from Cane’s before, but Layne’s came out hot and crispy every time. Therefore, Layne’s does win this category.

Layne's Chicken Fingers in Lewisville - 20% Cash Back on Southern Food |  Groupon

Bread

Just as fries are served for comfort, both restaurants serve Texas toast with their meals. Layne’s serves a more traditional cut of toast as if it was just sliced bread toasted over. Emily Arosi, an ACC student, says Layne’s is not as toasted as Cane’s but softer and thicker. I disagree. In my opinion Cane’s has the superior toast because of its toasty-ness.

If you want to submit your own restaurant reviews and creations (IG Reels/Tik Toks/Anything else), we are always looking for content creators to feature. Check out our submission page.

Sause

The winner takes it all with this category. Both places have their signature sauce that are very similar in taste. Layne’s has an advantage when it comes to their audience as if you are not a fan of their signature sauce you may choose from any others such as honey mustard, barbecue and ranch. Cane’s doesn’t advertise any other sauces but their own. Although they do carry honey mustard. Cane’s sauce doesn’t require any substitutions and they take this category by a landslide.

Raising Cane's Sauce Recipe - Southern-Bytes

Overall

If you’re looking for a satisfactory comfort meal, both places are great. Having reviewed their criteria, I must give Cane’s the crown and full bow for their crispy chicken fingers, superior toast and finger lickin’ good sauce. I seem to not be the only one to believe this, as of recent Kendall Jenner herself uploaded an Instagram story claiming Cane’s the best.

Check out some of our original vegan chicken nuggets recipe here.

NBA Twitter’s Favorite Artist – Our Deep Dive Into NBA Paint’s Genius

If you’re an NBA fan looking for a break from the aggressive, repetitive nature of the NBA Twitter world, look no further than NBA Paint. NBA Paint is a Twitter account that makes basketball-related art, providing users with the creativity that is so often overlooked by major media outlets. Ironically enough, the simplicity of their art is what makes it so creative. 

NBA Paint comes in with a fresh and fun take on the ongoing drama around the NBA community. Using Microsoft Paint, the creator makes simplistic cartoon graphics featuring play-on-words that can be made of an NBA player’s name. This includes things like Mason Plumlee drawn as a plum, Evan Mobley mowing a lawn in his Cavs jersey, or Fred VanVleet as a fleet of vans. These brightly-colored, NBA stick figures, often sporting a smile, resemble something a child might draw with crayons. 

(via @nba_paint/Twitter)

We’ve all seen it before. A player makes an incredible highlight play or accomplishes a massive feat and the huge social media accounts like ESPN, BleacherReport, and House of Highlights rush to be the first to post it. Within minutes Twitter is flooded with the exact same highlight, quote, or headline from every outlet. You can’t escape seeing the same replay all over your feed. NBA Paint steps in to disrupt this echo chamber of monotony. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Ja Morant is typically known as one of the most explosive players in the league in today’s NBA, often attacking the rim with extreme ferocity. On a night where he had a vicious highlight dunk that made it seem like he had some sort of vendetta with the rim, NBA Paint posted this image. 

On the night where Stephen Curry broke the NBA record for career 3-pointers made, the major sports outlets all rushed to post some variation of “Stephen Curry now holds the all-time 3-point record.” NBA Paint posted Curry, quite literally, holding the record. 

As you can see, the trick to their greatness is not only finding names that could phonetically be made into punny graphics, but also paying attention to the storylines of the NBA Twitter world. On any given night, a new opportunity for an illustration may arise based on the theatrics around the NBA community. Some more examples: 

On a night where Russell Westbrook posted a career-high 24 assists with the Washington Wizards, NBA Paint tweeted out this graphic depicting Westbrook “gifting 24 buckets to his pals” 

Michael Beasley quickly went viral for tweeting out, “Btw every 10 seconds another person that can’t guard me comes into the world.” NBA Paint replied to his tweet with this graphic: 

Most recently, the NBA community was up in arms about a situation involving Grayson Allen, who committed a hard foul on Alex Caruso, resulting in Caruso fracturing his wrist. Allen, who has garnered himself the reputation of a “dirty player,” was quickly chastised throughout the social media world. NBA Paint joined in on the discussion with this tweet:

In addition to this, they have also garnered attention from a number of NBA teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers’ Twitter account posted an NBA Paint graphic of Darius Garland, as a star with the caption “Darius All-StarLand” to promote Garland being voted as an All-Star this season. The Bulls have also frequently collaborated with NBA Paint on a number of social media posts, including a promo for a special Bulls calendar and their Social Night. 

 

Perhaps their biggest collaboration to date, NBA Paint most recently was featured on NBA on TNT, where they illustrated graphics for Tuesday night’s matchups between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors. NBA on TNT posted a video of their own graphic which is then pulled away to reveal NBA Paint’s simplified graphic. Throughout the night, the crew would also show stick figures of LeBron James, Steph Curry, and other players drawn in NBA Paint’s style.

With more eyes being drawn to NBA Twitter’s favorite artist, it’s no doubt that NBA Paint will continue to flourish as they bring joy to the community with their hilariously punny illustrations. Throw them a follow @nba_paint on Twitter!

The Houston Rockets are (Almost) Ready for Takeoff

For a team with an over/under of just 23.5 wins (DraftKings), the Houston Rockets’ vibes are as inspiring as Jalen Green’s hair. After making all the right moves in the offseason, the Rockets are headed in the right direction, guided by an exciting youth movement. They’ve assembled a roster of fascinating puzzle pieces: a pair of electrifying guards dripping with style and skill, the quintessential 3-and-D wing with a sniper and chip on his shoulder, a hyper-skilled big with jaw-dropping vision, and a group of promising prospects that could flourish into core players. This season, head coach Stephen Silas will have to figure out which pieces are worth keeping, how they fit together, and which don’t align with the bigger picture.

The Core Pieces

First, let’s go through the most significant core pieces, the building blocks of the next great Houston Rockets team.

Jalen Green’s rookie year got off to a shaky start. He looked more like a flashy model of scoring inefficiency than a future superstar. Before the all-star break, the game looked like it was moving too fast for him. He was struggling to create easy looks in the halfcourt against NBA-level defenses, all while stuck in the rut of a shooting slump. In time, the shots would start falling and he would find his groove. After the all-star break, he learned how to use his tight handle and endless range to bend and break the defense. To that point, he stole the show in the final moments with a string of dazzling scoring performances in April, including a streak of five 30-point games that was followed by a 40-point period to the season.

Heading into next year, he’ll have it in his bag to drop 30, sometimes 40, once 50 on any given night. Jalen Green can fly as high as he wants, as long as he’s got the space to take off. And the Rockets have so many more off-ball threats this year, who will all open up the floor for Green to take the league by storm. Just keep an eye on his development as a passer because that’s the next step for him to become an elite player. Last year, he was outshined by Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley, and Cade Cunningham for ROY. But this year will be his chance to prove why he was drafted second overall: Jalen Green has the ability and attitude to become an NBA superstar and Houston icon.

Like Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr could put the ball in the hoop from day one. He’s got the highlight reel to prove it, and he’s caught more than enough bodies to make defenders think twice before jumping with him. However, tempers flared in Cleveland and he was dumped to Houston, a moment of darkness in his bright career. But one team’s trash is another team’s treasure. Since arriving in Houston, Kevin Porter Jr has grown as a basketball player and a person. He has matured as a playmaker and decision maker while showcasing his upside as a shot creator. He has also developed into a nice spot-up shooter, so he can share the floor with Jalen Green. To say the least, Scoot has found a home in Houston, a place where he’s wanted – confirmed by his 4-year/82.5M-dollar contract extension.

With the ball, KPJ is an assassin setting you for the kill. Without the ball, he’s a lurking sniper keeping your head on a swivel. Together, Jalen Green and KPJ could become the most electric backcourt across the league. The sight of those two running the fastbreak together will inspire fear in defenders and rims for years to come.

The Newcomer

Let’s be honest: The Houston Rockets were ugly to watch last year, and they lost a lot of basketball games – 62 of them to be specific. But that horrifying record ultimately dominoed into Jabari Smith, the solution to many of last year’s problems. This team needed Jabari Smith’s shooting and size, and Jabari Smith needed this team’s surplus of playmaking. He is the quintessential wing, an elite shooter who can score off the ball and switch across the entire defense. Standing at 6’10 with a strong frame and imposing length, he has all the physical tools to become a good, versatile defender. Not only that: On draft night, Jabari Smith made it clear that the Rockets drafted a “hard worker” with a “chip on their shoulder” who will “compete from day one”. He has the attitude to be not just a good but an extraordinary defender because he takes pride in dominating his competition on both sides of the floor.

During the offseason, Stephen Silas and the team stressed the importance of establishing a defensive identity. Jabari Smith putting the other team’s offense in a suffocating straightjacket will be the catalyst for the Rockets’ defensive culture. On offense, playing beside the likes of Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr, and Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith will feast on a simple diet of catch-and-shoot threes and drop-off dunks. He’s in the best possible position to succeed.

The X Factors

Speaking of Alperen Sengun, this Turkish icon was lab-made to play with Jabari Smith. Last season, Sengun confounded defenders and captivated fans with his brain-breaking touch passes and his feats of passing vision. He already might be the second-best passing center in the league, only behind Jokic. With the ball in the mid-post, he’s a highlight waiting to happen. He can take the ball on the short roll and make magic happen, whether it’s a lob to Jalen/Scoot at the rim or a bullet to Jabari on the perimeter. He can also do it on his own, with his back to the basket and a clever bag of post moves to choose from. He has legitimate upside as the playmaking hub of the Rockets’ offense. But his defensive woes are holding him back. Maybe Jabari can hold it down with Sengun at the rim so that the two can link up and shine on offense.

Beyond that, the competition for playing time goes deep into the roster, particularly at the wing position. Eric Gordon is the consummate professional, the veteran sharpshooter who plays his role and makes the right plays so that the game is easier for his teammates. Jae’Sean Tate earned his minutes as a hard-nosed defender and aggressive finisher. But he’s further evolved as a scoring threat. He’s slowly become a better shooter, and he has a point-forward ability to make plays off the dribble. Another wing defender who just keeps getting better: KJ Martin has learned to channel his athletic gifts into production as a lob threat and offensive rebounder. Like Tate, his three-point shot has also gradually improved. Tari Eason is yet another versatile wing who will deserve playing time. He’s the kind of player who can score 20 points without one play being called for him. An instinctive player with a nose for the ball, he creates turnovers and battles for boards to create his own offense. Simply put, he makes sh*t happen.

Admittedly, the roster isn’t as deep for other positions as it is on the wing, but there is still plenty of intriguing talent. TyTy Washington is a natural passer who can space the floor and make smart plays. Daishin Nix is a PnR threat who is strong at getting to the rim or finding the easy look. Josh Cristopher is a skilled shot creator whose confidence could be reigned in a bit. He needs to improve his shot selection this year. Those three will be battling for backup guard minutes.

The Season

With so many roster spots to go around, the Rockets have also managed to unearth a couple of diamonds in the rough. Garrison Matthews drained enough threes to be christened by fans as Gary Bird. Floor spacing is the most valuable skill you can offer a team in the modern NBA; ask Duncan Robinson and his 5-year/90M contract from the Heat. The team is also incredibly excited about Bruno Fernando, an athletic rim runner who fights on the glass and adds a vertical lob threat in the PnR. He performed well enough in training camp and preseason to earn a longterm contract with the team, and he will continue to thrive within the Rockets’ high-octane system.

Stephen Silas has so much talent at his disposal, and so many players all deserving of minutes. With so many possibilities, how will he fit these pieces together? What will be this team’s identity? Without question, there are still questions to answer and problems to solve, but the future looks bright. Houston is heading in the right direction, and the Rockets look ready for takeoff. This season’s going to be fun to watch.

Let’s Go to the Moon – NASA Artemis

Let’s build the most powerful rocket ever built and send it to the moon – sounds like your 5th-grade dream right? Well, NASA is doing just that.

Through the Artemis program, which aims to land humans at the unexplored lunar south pole and eventually on Mars, astronauts will go on long-duration deep space missions that test all of the bounds of exploration. And the best part? We got a behind-the-scenes look at the mission last week! Over the course of three days we spoke to astronauts, toured non-public NASA facilities, and got up close to the most powerful rocket ever built. The original launch of Artemis was scheduled for Monday, but due to technical issues will now happen today.

From Space City to Florida

Aimlessly scrolling through twitter is usually not advised, but in early August we were doing just that when we saw a call from NASA to apply for their Artemis NASA Social – a program that pulls back the curtain for creators to share with their audiences. We applied and a few short weeks later found ourselves in sunny Florida.
Let’s get into the good stuff – the tours. One of the more memorable visits was to The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB. The iconic facility serves as the central hub of NASA’s premier multi-user spaceport, capable of hosting several different kinds of rockets and spacecraft at the same time. Whether the rockets and spacecraft are going into Earth orbit or being sent into deep space, the VAB will have the infrastructure to prepare them for their missions.
The VAB is the largest single story building in the world with the tallest portion of the VAB is called the high bay. There are four high bays, two on the east side, and two on the west side of the building. Each has a 456-foot-high door, enabling rockets to be stacked vertically and then rolled out to the launch pad.

Snail Speed to Rocket Speed

So you put together your epic rocket – how do you move it to the launch pad? The Crawler.

A pair of behemoth machines called crawler-trans­porters have carried the load of taking rockets and spacecraft to the launch pad for more than 50 years at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Each the size of a baseball infield and powered by locomotive and large electrical power generator en­gines, the crawler-transporters stand ready to keep up the work for the next generation of launch vehicles to lift astronauts into space.

Crawler Fun Facts:

  • Top speed of 1mph.
  • Approximately 6.6 million pounds (or the weight of about 15 Statues of Liberty or 1,000 pickup trucks).
  • Able to transport 18 million pounds (or the weight of more than 20 fully loaded 777 airplanes).

Why Back to the Moon?

The primary goal of Artemis I is to pave the way for astronauts to return to the surface of the moon. This first test flight will send an uncrewed Orion capsule around the moon and test some technology along the way before coming in for a blistering hot reentry through Earth’s atmosphere and a splashdown landing.

After launching from Earth, Artemis I will go on a 37-day mission. During the journey, the Orion spacecraft will travel 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the moon — 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers) farther than the record set during Apollo 13. This path mimics the journey that the Artemis II crew will take in 2024.

But the full vision for Artemis involves next putting a lunar gateway in orbit around the moon. This will be a sort of waypoint and miniature space station for future lunar missions. From there the plan is to set up a permanent outpost on the lunar surface. Everything that NASA learns from Artemis is meant to then inform plans for the first missions to Mars in the 2030s. Yes, you hear that right – Mars!

The Rocket

The highlight of day 2 was getting up close with the rocket. While the closest you can get is miles away, we took a bus ride right next to the rocket and it is massive! The majestic machine has many components to it – the BBC infographic below does a good job of breaking them all down.

Graphic of SLS

The SLS core stage is NASA’s most powerful and tallest rocket ever, standing 212 feet (65 meters) tall and 27.6 feet (8.4 m) wide. Eighty aluminum panels comprise the core stage’s 10 barrel sections, forming the forward skirt, the liquid oxygen tank section, the intertank section, the liquid hydrogen barrel, and the engine section. Nearly all the rocket’s welds lack bolts, instead having been sealed using a process called “friction stir welding.” The SLS’s distinctive orange color comes from the spray foam insulation used.

The People

Seeing rockets is fun, but hearing from the humans behind them is even better. We were treated to a variety of Q&A sessions with everyone from the engineers that designed and troubleshoot the key pieces of the Artemis mission to the Administrator of NASA. We’ll be posting YouTube videos of many of these sessions, but here are our takeaways.
  • Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork. A lot of smart people work at NASA, but space is a team sport. This was a theme that was echoed by everyone from the folks that spend years of their career working on small parts of the rocket to the astronauts that go to space.
  • Diversity is key. One story from Dr. Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, stands out. He shared how an art student was involved in one of his most cited papers in the world of physics. He shared how all of our backgrounds and viewpoints are important to a mission like Artemis and other large worthy endeavorers.
  • What we learn in space and through these missions will change humanity. Cures to disease, learning about aging, and even the camera on your smartphone are all the results or future results of NASA.

Ad Astra

Our 3 days at NASA were as memorable and inspiring as they get. The feeling of possibility and science giving us the ability to make anything possible was awakened. Although we did not get to see a glorious launch, we gained an appreciation for the next chapter in the space age. We can’t wait to one day see Artemis 2 or 3 launch. Till then, we’ll be watching the NASA live stream and geeking out!

@texastasty NASA is going back to the moon with the most powerful rocket ever built! We got a behind the scenes look the mission. 🚀Let’s go to the moon! 🌑 #nasa #space #nasaartemis #Artemis #moon #spacetravel ♬ TROPICAL UPLIFTING MOTIVATIONNAL SUMMER RUN – whitecedar

We took a ‘Trip’ to the Atlanta Café at SXSW

With season three of Atlanta upon us, what better time to visit The Trip at SXSW!

The Trip

The Trip: an Atlanta FX café was hosted at the popular Austin coffeeshop Higher Ground, a church-themed coffee house and bar. The two-story building accommodated the artistic vision of Donald Glover’s FX show Atlanta.

Portraits of characters, Earn, Alfred ‘Paper Boi,’ Darius and Van were displayed proudly on the front of the building as well as throughout the venue.

Entering the café, employees handed out an Atlanta-themed business card, which could be used at the upstairs bar for a tote, a bag of Dope coffee grounds (a Georgia based coffee company), and other fun prizes.

Fog machines pumped smoke throughout the venue with broken, sawed-off chairs, and multi-colored televisions stacked on top of each other in the entryway. Colorful lights lit the walls and hypnotic art pieces flashed across multiple flatscreen TV’s.

A Drug Induced Experience

The Trip, a double entendre, offered guests a drug induced experience, without having to take actual substances. Paper Boi, alongside Earn, and friends, will travel to Europe in the season three premiere for his upcoming European tour.

At the downstairs bar, guests were treated to a plethora of alcoholic beverages, a traditional Heineken beer, a red or white wine, or, if you preferred something stronger you could opt for the berry margarita or espresso martini.

The berry margarita combined the sweet natural flavors of a house made strawberry syrup with strong nuances of lime, tequila and a hint of the highly distilled spirit, absinthe.

The espresso martini offered a surprisingly smooth balance of vanilla vodka, and espresso liqueur, topped with a layer of froth and a single coffee bean.

Waitresses waltzed across the café offering potato croquettes made with prosciutto and cheese served with a house made sauce. These European croquettes were complimented by a basket of classic American shoestring French fries served with a dollop of ketchup.

A Dalmation?

Aside from decadent drinks and savory eats, the café offered visitors the opportunity to dance the day away alongside an upstairs DJ or visit the beautiful outdoor patio for a brief break from The Trip.

A man dressed as a Dalmatian, who was briefly featured in the season 3 promo, traversed across the dancefloor interacting with visitors and was seen vigorously dancing to the beat.

Some even speculated that the man could have been Donald Glover himself, but there was no confirmation.

Atlanta season 3 will premiere on Thursday, March 24th on FX.

Our Guide for UTOPiAfest

Utopiafest is a music festival unlike any other. A scenic one hour drive from Austin provides festival goers with a needed weekend escape from the big city. At Utopiafest you can refocus, radiate good vibes, and enjoy yourself. This festival will provide you to both work on yourself and building your community with those you meet. I personally cannot wait for yoga, music, and a relaxing getaway. We hope to see you there and if you do attend , please come give us a warm Howdy or Hello!

Who: Festival Goers (we hope to see you there!)

What: A weekend filled with good vibes, food, and music

When: October 13-15, 2022

Where: Burnet, TX – about an hour drive from ATX

Why: A love of positive energy, healing, and community building

How: purchasing tickets Purchase Tickets Here

Festival Overview

Map

Photo Credits: Utopiafest Website

Artists + Activities

Vendors

Important Links

Utopiafest FAQ: Click Here

Utopiafest Wesite: Click Here

Utopiafest Instagram: Click Here

VIP Experience

Here at Texas Tasty we are graciously being given the Utopiafest Sterling VIP Experience. With the VIP tickets we will receive the following benefits & amenities:

-Expedited front gate entry

-Access to the shaded Sterling Sliver VIP Yurt

-Complementary happy hour bar access by Desert Door

-The VIP Cowboy Pool

-Pre-Party Invitation

These are only the highlights, the VIP ticket comes with even more benefits! Use our code to buy your own VIP Utopiafest Ticket and get 10% off with the promo code “CHLOE”.

Conclusion

With ACL in town we have to face the music – Austin, TX gets chaotic. So, if you are looking for a chill & fun alternative, look no further than Utopiafest. We hope you are able to make it to the festival  & we hope to see you there next weekend! Please reach out to our team or Utopiafest if you are seeking any additional information.

The ACL Acts We Are Most Looking Forward To

The most wonderful time of year for Austinites is upon us: Austin City Limits. A time where Austin residents and visitors get to appreciate a variety of artists while enjoying the amazing scenery of downtown from the beloved Zilker Park. This iconic Austin tradition has been going strong since 1976, with the lineup getting better and better each year.

This years lineup includes an array of artists from country to pop to rock, all with an appreciation for the live music capital of the world. So, in order to celebrate, we made a list of the acts we are most looking forward to seeing in this year’s lineup.

1. Zach Bryan

Starting off with a country artist in true Austin, Texas fashion, Zach Bryan is a singer-songwriter who is almost guaranteed to make his entire audience shed a few tears. With his new album American Heartbreak, singles like Something in the Orange and Mine Again will be songs you do not want to miss. Zach Bryan will be performing on the American Express stage Friday afternoon at 4pm (weekend one only)! Grab your tissues and meet us there.

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

2. SZA

Of course we added SZA to the list… she’s SZA!!! With soulful songs like Good Days and Drew Barrymore, we couldn’t be more excited to see her play the ACL stage. SZA’s album Ctrl is a Grammy-nominated album that has gained her a massive following since its release in 2017. SZA is one of the acts we are most excited for and cannot wait to see what she has in store.

Photo Credit: NBC News

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers

A band we all know and love is coming to ACL and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a returnee to ACL with their classic hits “Californiacation” and “Can’t Stop”. The band, now running on almost 40 years together, have a unique sound and performance not many can top. See you at the American Express stage on Saturday night!

Photo Credit: Twitter

4. Kacey Musgraves

A Texas local and ACL veteran, Kacey Musgraves is no new face to the music scene. However, her 2021 chart-topping album, Star-Crossed, is something we are not willing to miss live. Musgraves is known for her country hits such as Butterflies and Rainbow from her 2018 studio-album Golden Hour which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2019. Kacey Musgraves goes on Sunday night at 8:15pm at the Honda stage… see you there!

Photo Credit: Complex

5. Wallows

The Wallows, an alternative rock band, are known for popular songs such as OK and Are you bored yet? With a fun and unique vibe, Wallows is a performance we cannot wait to experience. The band goes on Saturday afternoon at the American Express stage and cannot wait to see lead-singer Dylan Minnette sing.

Photo Credit: Ticketmaster

6. Noah Cyrus

Noah Cyrus is an artist sure to make the audience shed a few tears. Sister of last year’s headliner, Miley Cyrus, Noah has big shoes to fill. With her chart-topping songs like July and I Got So High I Saw Jesus, Noah is an act that sings straight to the heart. Her new EP, The Hardest Part, is an emotional rollercoaster of an album that is complemented so well by her soothing, folky sounding voice. See you there on Friday afternoon at the American Express stage.

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

7. Zhu

Into more of an EDM vibe? ACL has you covered. Zhu, an ACL veteran and music producer, is known for hits like Faded and Good Life. Zhu is an electronic act for a more upbeat crowd that will guarantee a fun time. Zhu is an act that always seems to lift spirits and leave the audience wanting more.

Photo Credit: EDM Identity

And there you have it! Those are Texas Tasty’s Top 7 acts we are most looking forward to at ACL! With a lineup as diverse as this one, we are counting down the days until Zilker Park’s gates are open with the iconic ACL banner that we all know and love. Austin City Limits has two weekends, October 7-9 and October 14-16, 2022. We hope to see you there!

The 2022-2023 NBA Season Will Belong to Luka Doncic

When Luka Doncic fell into their lap at third overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, Dallas joined an exclusive list of teams to have the best player on the planet. As history has shown, when an organization comes across this kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, they are expected to deliver a winning team; more specifically, a championship. Thus far, Dallas has made mistakes in their pursuit to pair Luka Doncic with a second-star player. They took a big swing on Kristaps Porzingis, acquiring the injury-prone unicorn in a trade with New York. But the Euro duo of Doncic and Porzingis never quite meshed, and Dallas dumped the Latvian star to Washington for outcasted Spender Dinwiddie and overpaid Davis Bertans – the Latvian Laser himself.

Before the trade, Dallas and Doncic were struggling with a modest 35-25 record. The Slovenian Magician looked sluggish to start the year, and Kristaps’s role as a mid-post scorer and subpar defender simply did not fit with Luka’s perimeter-centric style of play. With Porzingis out of the way, Dinwiddie’s role as a shot creator and playmaker better complemented the team’s heliocentricism. For similar reasons, Jalen Brunson the shifty shot creator emerged as a lethal left-hand man. With in-shape Luka at the helm, the Mavericks discovered their defensive identity and ended the season on a 17-5 run to seize the fourth seed.

The stage was set for some vintage Luka magic. Before ultimately falling to Stephen Curry and the inevitable machine of Golden State, Brunson picked apart a crumbling Utah team in the first round, and Doncic bodied Phoenix’s smaller players in the PNR to unleash a flood of kick-out threes and drown the Suns. Throughout this run, Luka Doncic showed he is on the verge of crowning himself as the best player in the league. But is Dallas ready to be the best team in the league? The Magic 8 Ball says, “Outlook not so good.”

The Offseason

The team had an underwhelming off-season. Feeling unappreciated by Mark Cuban, Jalen Brunson left Dallas and signed a max contract with New York. With limited options to improve the roster, the front office took some low-risk gambles. First, they traded the 26th overall pick and periphery players to Houston for Christian Wood, a floor-spacing big and PNR scorer who sounds good in theory but is infamous for empty numbers and losing teams. Then, they drafted Jaden Hardy, an equally talented and inconsistent scoring guard who disappointed in the G League and fell from top prospect to second-round risk. Finally, they signed the reliable rim runner Javale McGee, who proved to be a valuable backup center for Phoenix last year.

This is all to say that Dallas feels closer to the play-in tournament than the championship. More so than ever, their playoff hopes rest squarely on the shoulders of Luka Donic, so he’s currently the odds-on favorite to win MVP next year.

2022-2023 Outlook

Last year, Luka’s biggest problem was physical conditioning. In the first half of the season, he was consistently spent at the end of games and lazy on defense. So Jason Kidd challenged his superstar to be better. After playing himself into shape, he took control of the offense, played to his full potential, and finished fifth in MVP voting – despite experiencing a bumpy start and injury to start the season.

For context, the moment he stepped onto an NBA court, Luka Doncic mesmerized basketball fans with an unorthodox style of play and a bottomless bag of tricks. He’s known for toeing the line between the possible and the preposterous, like a basketball prodigy testing the limits of their power. Like many of the greats, Luka Doncic messing around is a top ten player in the league because he’s that damn good. But he has the potential to be a top-ten player of all time.

Off-Season Work

By all accounts, Doncic has been focused and motivated this offseason, training his body over the summer and keeping his weapons sharp at Eurobasket 2022. In what could be a sneak peek into the indomitable power of locked-in and in-shape Luka, he led Slovenia to the top of this tournament’s “Group of Death” with two transcendent performances: 36 against Germany and 47 against France. Slovenia’s second-best player is 36-year-old Goran Dragic, so they will go as high as Luka can take them. Luckily, Luke Doncic is an out-of-this-world talent.

Similarly, Dallas’ supporting cast features an uninspiring group of solid role players and low-reward bets, from Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney Smith to Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood. If Dallas wants to make any noise in the stacked Western Conference, Doncic will need to have his best year yet, the one we’ve awaited with bated breath since he took our collective breath away as a doughy-faced rookie: the MVP year, the coronation.

Twitter @JustEsBaraheni

Next year, everything is set up for Luka to take center stage. Giannis Antentokounmpo and Nikola Jokic will suffer from voter fatigue. And Joel Embiid will have to share the spotlight with motivated James Harden. Other wildcards include Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, and Ja Morant. But MVP voters love a good narrative, and there’s no more compelling storyline next year than the Mavericks riding the coattails of Luka Doncic’s ascension into perennial greatness.

ILLfest Recap

ILLfest September 3-4, 2022 is an experience I will truly never forget. Attending this music festival was such a fun way to spend the Saturday and Sunday of my Labor Day weekend and showing by the crowd of people on both days it seems like many others agree with me! ILLfest undoubtedly lived up to the hype. I was impressed by the attention to detail in regard to how the festival was run and in all of art I experienced both musically and visually.

Day One

Arriving at ILLfest was like stepping into a different world. Walking into the music festival I was immediately met with the sound of bass from electronic music, breathtaking art, and array of flashing lights in the distance. This combination of stimuli added to my excitement for the festival and I was eager to begin my first music festival experience.

Louis The Child

Since I arrived later in the day on the first day of ILLfest, I was not able to experience an array of musical artist performances. However, I was able to experience Louis The Child’s set and they did not disappoint. Louis The Child is a Chicago-area based duo and was one the headliners at ILLfest. Their performance included a fun mix of their electronic music, visuals, and even pyrotechnics! Before the Duo went on the perform at ILLfest, I was able to witness part of their preparation process. This entailed one of their team members covering half of the duo (Robby) head to toe in neon paint. I think this commitment and attention to detail definitely enhanced the performance.

Art

ILLfest showcased the artwork of over 30 muralists. The artwork at ILLfest was unique, innovative, and provided fun backdrops for festival goers to take pictures with. A lot of the art was transformative meaning it looked different in different angles or lighting. One example of this is the artwork shown above. Pictured above an artist creating his artwork during day one of ILLfest, and pictured below is the same artwork during the night of day two.

Photo Credits: Alive Coverage

Day Two

After day one, I made sure to arrive earlier on day two so that I could experience more of the festival. During day two I got to experience more of the music at ILLfest and met some amazing vendors.

Artists I got to experience

So Tuff So Cute

After eating dinner on day two, I was luckily able to catch part of So Tuff So Cute’s set. Their set included classic songs such as “Hey Jude”, which they had the whole crowd singing, along with more recent iconic songs such as Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u”. For the Austin crowd, So Tuff So Cute also played their new song “Death Wish” which was unreleased at the time. The high energy performance from this DJ duo was an unforgettable experience.

RJD2

While I was preparing for ILLfest, I listened to a variety of different musical artists. However, I had a special connection to RJD2 because as I was listening to a playlist I came across one of their songs that was so familiar to me. After pondering for a bit on how I knew this song, I finally came to the realization that it was the theme song for one of my favorite shows – Mad Men. The production of RJD2’s set was immaculate and his experience in the field was shown through his sense of ease and focus.

Photo Credits: Alive Coverage

Madeon

The attention to detail in all aspects of Madeon’s performance far exceeds anything I have ever experienced before. Madeon is undoubtedly a remarkable performer and artist. The timing of his positioning and music with the combination of graphics and lighting was pure perfection.

Vendors Spotlight

Kandies World

The people working at the Kandies World tent were extremely kind, helpful, and welcoming. They genuinely made me feel welcome to the music festival scene. One of the employees even gave me my first kandi! Trading kandi is a tradition at rave and edm festivals that embodies peace, love, unity, and respect (aka PLUR). Festival goers visually depict these values through a special handshake done while trading.

What is unique about Kandies World is that they sell custom designed 3D printed beads. This means their beads are unique to their company and cannot be found just anywhere. To immerse myself in the festival experience, I bought a couple of rings, a bracelet, and some of their beads so that I could craft some of my own unique kandi. Before heading over to their free kandi making station, they shared the secret to making the perfect kandi – using 27 beads. It was fun to go through their fun assortment of beads and craft a bracelet that was entirely unique to me.

Check out their Instagram here !

RADD Co.

RADD Co. (which stands for Ritualistic Artistic Design Co.) is another wonderful vendor that I got to meet on the second day of ILLfest. At their tent they sold beautiful crystals, custom artwork, and alkaline water. The owners were such sweet people and they were kindly giving away a free tigers eye stone for protection to all festival goers that visited their tent.

Check out their Instagram here !

Sandias Concessions

Sandias Concessions was one of the food vendors at ILLfest and where I got my dinner on day two. Their speciality is tacos, nachos, and agua frescas. From this stand I ordered a strawberry horchata and some tasty chicken nachos. The strawberry horchata intrigued me as it is a flavor combination that I had personally never seen before. All of the agua frescas looked incredibly refreshing (perfect for a music festival) and I wish I could have tasted them all!

Conclusion

ILLfest is truly an unique and worthwhile experience. Being my first music festival, I am very appreciative of how ILLfest fosters such a welcoming and inclusive environment. The people I encountered at ILLfest, from vendors to other festival goers, were extremely kind and helpful. Throughout the weekend it became apparent to me that ILLfest truly is a place where people can express themselves freely and come together to bond over a shared love of music and art.

Make sure to keep an eye on ILLfest’s Instagram to see what is in store for 2023!