Songs You Should Add To Your Fall Playlist

With the autumn months quickly approaching, but Texas heat not getting the memo, it can be hard to get into the fall spirit. One of the best ways to channel that fall feel is through music. Here are some recently released songs you should add to your fall playlist that will hopefully help conjure up a more fall feel. 

“Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish

In this soul-crushing ballad, Eilish screams about seemingly a previous relationship. This song evokes a whirlwind of emotions, as it develops from a slow, melodic beat to a total punk saga. The namesake of her most recent album, this song will have you screaming the lyrics in the car on the way to your nearest pumpkin patch. 

“Adeline” by Penny and Sparrow

If you’re looking for a more slow fall beat, “Adeline” should definitely make it onto your playlist. This song gives major Hozier or John Mayer vibes. Beautiful vocals, with a guitar and violin to match, this song feels like driving through a forest as the leaves change color. 

“The 90s” by Finneas

A little more upbeat than the last tune, “The 90s” is FINNEAS’s latest single, and it does not disappoint. It radiates nostalgia, the feeling of regrets and time passing. It has all the angst that comes with the fall vibe, but add in a bit of spice in the form of electronic instrumentals. 

“Stay” by girl in red

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this cover of The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber’s pop hit. This slowed-down sound is perfect for fall, and girl in red’s voice sounds like silk over the relaxed track. 

“Justified” by Kacey Musgraves

If you’re experiencing heartbreak this fall, Kacey Musgraves’s new album, Starcrossed, will hit you where it hurts. “Justified” details coming out of a fun summer into heartbreak weather. Perfect if you’re looking for a little country twang with an uppity beat, “Justified” is a glimpse into the rest of the album. 

“Awe of Her” by Joshua Henry

Perfect for fans of John Legend and Labrinth, this emotional song feels like a warm hug. Henry’s voice is phenomenal, rich in tune, and incredibly soulful. Adding this song to your fall playlist will leave you with chills. 

“Silk Chiffon” by MUNA feat. Phoebe Bridgers 

A slightly different sound coming from Phoebe Bridgers, this song has a heavy pop-rock aspect to it that is refreshing and fun. This is a great song to add if you’re looking for something a little more upbeat. I can totally imagine dancing to this one in the near fall future.

Food TikTok’s Got a New Trend: Pasta Chips

TikTok has become a huge culinary content space in the past two years. “Food TikTok” includes chefs from all sorts of backgrounds sharing their techniques and creations with the world. People are creating many new culinary trends through this platform, and they spread like wildfire! Today we’re here to tell you about the latest one: Pasta chips.

What are Pasta Chips?

Pasta chips take the bold italian flavors used in pasta and make them into a crunchy snack! All you have to do is place some boiled pasta in an air fryer. This leaves you with crunchy pasta pieces to dip in the sauce of your choice just like you would with chips. Check out our step by step guide below to learn how to make them at home!

Image courtesy of AirFried.com

How To Make Them

  1. Boil the pasta of your choice (shape does not matter!) until it’s cooked.
  2. Season season season! This is where the chips get their italian flavor. First add some olive oil and parmesan cheese, then add the seasonings of your choice. Common seasonings used here include italian seasoning, oregano, and garlic powder, or you can just keep it simple with some salt and pepper. Some chefs on Tik Tok have even included buffalo sauce or ranch in this step to jazz it up! It’s all up to your flavor preference.
  3. Next, spread them out and stick them in an air fryer for 10-12 minutes at 180 C. If you don’t have an air fryer you can use an oven instead! Just stick them in for 17-20 minutes at 200 C.
  4. Lastly, take them out and enjoy! They are best served with marinara sauce or any other Italian dip.

Be sure to check out our Tik Tok @TexasTasty to see our attempt at creating these and check out our website for more recipes!

Trippie Redd Drops New Single “Holy Smokes” with Lil Uzi Vert

A few days ago rapper Trippie Redd dropped a new collaboration called “Holy Smokes” off of his upcoming album “Trip at Knight”, and it’s been trending on YouTube ever since! “Trip at Knight” is set to be released sometime before the end of August. Trippie Redd has been teasing the album for the past couple of months and building excitement among his rapidly growing fanbase. The first single he released for it called “Miss The Rage” peaked at #4 on the Billboard Global 200 and spent two weeks on the charts as it spread across social media. Now that he’s released the second single, we’re here to give you the scoop on it! Follow along for our review.

Another Dimension

The production on Trippie Redd’s music is always interesting to listen to. We’d best describe the R&B beats as futuristic, and exuding the feeling of being in another dimension. “Holy Smokes” is no different. The beats feel refreshing and different and there is just enough going on without it feeling too chaotic. Lyrically, the song explores similar themes to his past work, specifically zooming in on wealth and relationships. The lead line “holy f*ckin’ smokes, I got my money up” sums up the parts of the song discussing money and the other contrasting lead line “sad thing is money still won’t buy love” pretty much sums up what he is saying about relationships. With his gain of wealth he is satisfied, but not content.

It’s Lil Uzi Vert!

Lil Uzi Vert hops on the track for the second verse. Trippie Redd had made an Instagram post back in May asking fans who they would want featured on the track. Fans overwhelmingly voted for Lil Uzi Vert to feature, a rapper well known for his craft in the industry. Although this was his first collaboration with Trippie Redd, it received a great reaction. Their quite different voices created an interesting contrast. The second verse encapsulates the vibe of Lil Uzi Vert and his music well, while still fitting the energy and themes Trippie Redd explores in this track!

Overall, Holy Smokes was a great listen and we’d recommend it especially if you’re into rap/hip-hop music, or a fan of Trippie Redd or Lil Uzi Vert. If you’re looking for some new music it’s definitely worth a listen, you may be pleasantly surprised! If you enjoyed this review and want to read more music reviews, be sure to check out our page!

“Faith” by Pop Smoke – Pop or Flop?

On July 16th, Pop Smoke’s label released his second posthumous album “Faith.” Listeners and Pop Smoke fans had been very excited for its release, especially after his first posthumous album “Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon” had exceeded everyone’s expectations and topped the Billboard charts. However, now that the album is actually out, there seems to be a whirlwind of mixed opinions in the media, most of them seeming to come from a place of disappointment. While Faith should have been a work of art that continues the legacy of Pop smoke, it feels more like something his label carelessly threw together in the interest of maximizing profit. Of course we didn’t want to form an opinion based on just the media and listening to bits and pieces, so we sat down and listened to the album from start to finish. Here’s what we think.

Where the Album Excels

To start things off on a positive note, let’s talk about some of the strengths of this album. The album opens with a 46 second snippet called “Good News”. In this snippet you hear the voice of Pop Smoke’s mom, Audrey Jackson, talking about the man that Pop Smoke was, and how his real name “Bashar” means good news. This snippet is basically used to introduce Pop Smoke as a man who believed in himself, and this album as a way of him delivering good news to everyone. This piece probably feels the most authentic on the album. You can hear the genuineness in his mom’s voice, and the background instrumental compliments it perfectly. Not to mention the transition! The transition from the intro to the next track is ridiculously smooth as her voice fades out and his voice comes in to sing “More Time”.

Pop Smoke’s mother accepting award on his behalf

What’s neat about “More Time” is when it says “mama begging me to pray to Allah”. Allah is the God that followers of the Islamic faith pray to. Although it was said that Pop Smoke was Muslim, this is one of the only times he has made such a direct reference to his faith in his music. This allows listeners to zoom in more on the details of Pop Smoke’s life.

Similarly, throughout the album he makes many references to his mom and you realize how much they meant to each other. It feels like you are learning more about him as you listen. An example of this is in the track “Backdoor” when he says “my mama tell me be careful, better stay out them projects”. You can tell he places a lot of significance in her words as he scatters them throughout the album. Little things like these make the album feel like a fresh piece of work straight from him. Of course, the classic Pop Smoke ad-libs such as “wait” and “woo” are present throughout.

Where the Album Falls Short

Unfortunately, the strengths struggle to hold the album up on its own as it falls short in many ways. First off, we’re going to have to agree with the Pop Smoke fans when they say that it doesn’t feel like a piece of work from him. It isn’t hard to tell that his record label haphazardly threw this together using incomplete snippets. Most of the songs are super short in length, and there is barely any sense of completeness within them. Just when you’re beginning to get into the song, it ends. Honestly, as an artist you could probably get away with this on a single or EP, but on an album? An album is where listeners go for a complete listening experience! This album feels neither complete nor cohesive.

You’re probably wondering where the lack of cohesiveness comes from. Lyrically, most of the songs explore similar themes: wealth, women, struggles, desires, and gang violence. However, the overload of features completely tears apart the binding of the album. Of course, it’s nice to have a variety of styles and voices on an album. But when they’re all thrown together without any thought, it doesn’t work, and that’s what it feels like here. It feels like the record label threw together a bunch of big names in music to gain streams (and therefore profit). No thought was put into the artistic value that would be destroyed in the process, which makes the album suffer.

For example, “Demeanor” which features Dua Lipa honestly was a great single. It felt complete, and the blending of genres between the two artists didn’t feel completely unnatural. This would’ve been a great pop single (keyword: pop!) but it definitely was not one to put on this album. It takes away a good amount of Pop Smoke’s style and energy and struggles to feel like a rap song. There is even more chaos in some of the other collabs. Up to four features pile up on some songs, and others sample from a classic Ne-Yo song. Collaborations and sampling as a musician require a lot more thought than they seem to be given here.

Is it Worth a Listen?

So that brings us to the final question. If there is so much criticism, is it worth a listen? It’s definitely worth a listen if you put aside any expectation of it being as authentic as some of his previous work. Some songs do well in bringing back Pop Smoke’s talent and vibe. A lot of the hype and motivational ones would also honestly make great music to bump in the car or workout to. If you’re also big on pop music, then some of the collaborations might be to your liking. However, if you’re a hardcore Pop Smoke fan, maybe sit this one out. Hopefully the label will focus more on quality and authenticity instead of quantity and popularity moving forward!

“Faith” is now available on all streaming platforms for those who want to give it a listen. Be sure to check out our page for more album reviews!

Road Trip Survival Guide

The time has come–it’s summer vacation! And with many COVID restrictions finally lifted, a lot of us will be hitting the road to visit friends, family, or even places we’ve been missing. I, personally, was unfamiliar with the joys of road tripping before COVID. As much as I love to travel, I’d always done it by plane, but like everyone else, the pandemic forced me to make a lot of changes to my routine. And now, I find myself reluctant to go back. Though the long drives have their trials–especially if you have your entire family or friend group in a tiny car–road trips can be unexpectedly fun. Keep reading for the ultimate road trip survival guide. 

It’s About the Journey

When you’re excited about your destination, it can be easy to fall into go-go-go mode. But road trips are like a dozen mini-destinations! Usually, I’m a pretty type A, by-the-minute schedule person. But in my experience, traveling is a lot more fun when you take things as they come and try to enjoy any deviations to the plan. And if the plan allows for detours, even better! So many cliched phrases have come from this sentiment (live in the moment, carpe diem, it’s about the journey) that it’s a wonder I didn’t listen sooner.

Know Your Role

Any seasoned roadtripper knows that car seating assignments come with certain responsibilities. Passenger: DJ and navigator; backseat: snack dispenser and potential liaison to the third row; driver: all you need to do is keep your eyes on the road, my dude. Choose your seat carefully!

Mix Up the Soundtrack

So listen up, passenger seat: it’s all about variety. Being on aux also means being the main people-pleaser of the car. Even with a great playlist, it can be hard to maintain that energy after six hours on a nearly empty highway. To mix it up, try a podcast or audiobook, or a soundtrack everyone can sing along to (pro tip: Mamma Mia makes for great adventure vibes). Sometimes it’s even necessary to let someone else play their music for a bit, just to relieve the monotony–even if we all know the passenger probably has the best taste. 

Good Snacks are Key

I start every road trip saying I’m going to be healthy, only to give up at the first pit stop. Y’all, this is simply not the time to start your new diet. Especially when we have, in our very own state, the largest gas station in the world–Buc-ee’s! Snacks galore. And if there’s anything that’s going to revitalize you during your tenth hour on that seemingly endless stretch of highway, it’s your favorite treat.

Talk to Locals

Okay, I’m not going to lie–this one kind of terrifies me. I always feel like it’s going to be so awkward! But once I actually walk up to someone, I usually find that locals are more than happy to talk to a traveler, especially if you haven’t been to the area before. If you want to find the best restaurants, activities, and sights in one of the places you’re travelling through, ask a local for their recommendation! They can help you avoid tourist traps and usually point you to even cooler places. Or, go online and find some super-cool blog to give you the best tips.

Planet Her by Doja Cat: A Review

On June 25th, Doja Cat dropped Planet Her, her third studio album. We’re here to give you our honest review on the album. Follow along to learn more about the album along with a breakdown of some of its most notable tracks!

The Production

As far as production goes, the beats in this album insert it into the genres of R&B, pop, and rap. However, these terms should not confine one’s perception of it, because the production is very diverse. Tracks such as “You Right” and “Options” play on more heavy R&B beats. On the other hand, tracks like “Alone” and “Kiss Me More” feel more groovy, with smooth guitar melodies. The diversity in the beats allows the album to give listeners a new experience with each single, while still being somewhat uniform.

The Lyrics

The uniformity comes into play when looking at the lyrical composition of the album. The lyrics in many tracks allude to sexual themes and the idea of desire and longing for someone. The most direct examples of this can be seen in tracks such as “Need To Know” and “Naked”, which include lyrics such as “I just can’t help but be sexual” and “I don’t think ‘bout anybody, but bein’ beside your body, baby”.

However, other tracks play on opposite themes, such as the idea of wanting to be alone and not wanting someone due to unpleasant experiences. Some examples of this include tracks such as “Alone” and “Ain’t Sh*t” which include lyrics such as “do what you do best and be alone, gotta tell him rest in peace” and “you kept secrets and your cousin told me that”. Although these songs have opposite themes from the other tracks they still receive the same amount of support and praise. In fact, Doja Cat had teased a snippet of “Ain’t Sh*t” on her Instagram livestream a few months ago and it ended up becoming a trending audio on Tik Tok because fans loved it so much! This was one of the most highly anticipated tracks, and is currently the fourth most streamed on the album.

Overall, the lyrical composition in this album is 10/10. It allows listeners to feel a variety of emotions and provides a very interesting experience. What makes it the most interesting is trying to catch all of the references! Doja Cat makes many references in her lyrics, referencing other artists such as Ed Sheeran and popular titles such as Mean Girls.

The Features

There are a total of five other artists on this album, all of which really enhance Doja’s music, but here are some of the features that stood out the most to us.

First off, we have “I Don’t Do Drugs” which features Ariana Grande. Fans were not aware of this collaboration until it was released, but it was received very well. Doja Cat and Ariana Grande had also recently collaborated on Grande’s album “Positions”, and this collaboration became very popular, spreading across Tik Tok and other social media platforms. It’s not hard to see why their collaborations are received so well! Their voices are quite different, but they compliment each other very well. On this new track, Grande was able to give it a more pop twist with the addition of her verse, and she also added some very soothing background vocals.

Next up, we have “You Right” which features The Weeknd. Even though Doja Cat and The Weeknd haven’t had much collaboration history in the past, when listening to this track it just feels like it makes sense. Both of them explore very similar themes in their music, such as those of desire and relationships. Their voices blend smoothly creating three minutes of very easy listening, and I think listeners would agree with this, as it is the third most streamed track on the album!

Lastly, we have “Kiss Me More” which features SZA. We definitely couldn’t forget to include this one. This single was released back in April as the lead single for this album and since then has received over 400 million streams on Spotify! This song brings the funk and groove to this album for sure. When you listen to it you want to get up and dance. The coolest thing about it is that Doja and SZA’s parts sound very different from each other so it feels like SZA is taking you to a whole different place when her verse comes. It’s as if someone took two different funky songs and merged them together, and somehow it works!

Planet Her or Hot Pink?

The final question is: is Planet Her as good as the last album release by Doja Cat? We would say so! Doja’s sophomore album Hot Pink included many songs that charted for a very long time such as “Say So” and “Streets”. So the pressure was definitely on for her to create a successful third album. However, Planet Her definitely does not disappoint. This album is a great follow up and you can definitely see her artistic growth as she explores new themes. It feels less manufactured and more real in the sense that she is speaking her truth without filtering anything.

This album was a pleasure to listen to and we would recommend it to everybody out there looking for some new music! Planet Her is officially available on the Doja Cat web store, as well as Apple Music and Spotify. If you enjoyed this review make sure to check out the other albums we’ve reviewed on our page!

Olivia Rodrigo – The Rising Superstar

Olivia Rodrigo may only be 18, but she has already made a name for herself as an actress, singer and songwriter. Rodrigo has been the star of the Disney+ show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” since late 2019, where she has shown her ability to be center stage. More than a year later, Rodrigo continues to succeed in the spotlight. 

“SOUR”

Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album, “SOUR,” on May 21, 2021. The album features 11 songs narrating teenage life, filled with betrayal, heartbreak and the struggles of growing up in a social media-dominated world. Rodrigo writes from a teenage perspective, but her songs present a range of emotions anyone can understand.

Here is a run-down of Olivia Rodrigo’s album, “SOUR.”    

brutal: “God, it’s brutal out here”

The first song on the album screams pop-punk. Fed up with her “brutal” teenage years, Rodrigo angrily rejects the idea that adolescence is the golden years. As a 19-year-old, I find myself relating to this song far more than I’d like. 

traitor: “You betrayed me / And I know that you’ll never feel sorry.”

If betrayal was a song, this one’s it. Rodrigo sings about her ex moving on after two weeks to a girl she worried about during their relationship. Even if you’ve never experienced this kind of heartbreak, “traitor” makes it feel like you have.   

drivers license: “’Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street”

How Rodrigo can make driving through the suburbs the backdrop for a power ballad shows her endless creative talent. After hearing this song, I tear up at the sound of a car engine starting. 

1 step forward, 3 steps back: “Do you love me, want me, hate me?”

This song represents the pain of not feeling good enough in a relationship when a lover continuously gives mixed signals. Rodrigo includes Taylor Swift references in the song; an obvious one is Taylor’s lucky number 13 in the title. 

deja vu: “Do you get deja vu when she’s with you?”

It hurts when a former lover moves on, and it hurts even more thinking about them doing the things they did with you with their new lover. Rodrigo knows how to turn the different stages of heartbreak into songs, in this case, the pain you feel watching an ex move on. 

good 4 u: “Well, good for you, you look happy and healthy, not me”

You can never go wrong with an angsty breakup song, and Rodrigo confirms that. With the electric guitar and drums, this song sounds like it comes straight out of the late 90s/early 2000s. 

enough for you: “’Cause all I ever wanted was to be enough for you”

Putting effort into someone who doesn’t care about you always hurts, even more so

when you change for them and lose yourself in the process. Olivia Rodrigo gets that.

happier: “Oh, I hope you’re happy, but not like how you were with me”

This song features moving on in a new light. Hoping an ex is happy moving forward is the mature option, but hoping they’re no happier than they were with you still hurts less. We’ve all been there.

jealousy, jealousy: “All I see is what I should be / I’m losin’ it, all I get’s jealousy, jealousy”

Another edgy-sounding song I relate to far too much. Being a teenager is hard, especially in a social media-obsessed society, and Rodrigo sings from experience. P.S. This song’s bridge is chef’s kiss.  

favorite crime: “The things I did / Just so I could call you mine”

Rodrigo reflects on the things she did to make her ex stay with her. She seems to write this song from the point of moving forward, as she sings, “Well, I hope I was your favorite crime.”

hope ur ok: “’Cause I love you / And I hope that you’re okay”

The album’s last song features Rodrigo hoping a boy she once knew and a middle school friend were doing okay after facing difficulty when they were younger. The music is comforting, both lyrically and how it sounds– a perfect end to an album centered on grief.

“SOUR” opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, following the album’s release. It’s safe to say Olivia Rodrigo is a superstar, and she’s only getting started. Check out our Culture Columns for more trending topics.

Celebrating Fourth of July the Texas Tasty Way

Get ready for fireworks, friends and food! Independence Day weekend is near, and we’ve got your celebration menu covered. Set your picnic tables up and make this Fourth of July the most flavorful one yet with this compilation of Texas Tasty recipes that everyone will love and remember!

Cocktails

A festive weekend is always worth clinking glasses to, and being outside in the Texas heat, beverages are a need. For this Independence Day, enjoy cocktails with ingredients that splash red, white and blue from our Inauguration Day list! Our favorite to quench this Fourth of July thirst: the quick, simple and refreshing Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce curaçao
  • 4 ounces lemonade
  • Crushed ice

Instructions:

  1. Add the vodka and curaçao to a shaker with ice. Shake until the shaker is cold to the touch.
  2. Place the crushed ice in the glass. Pour the mixture over the ice
  3. Top with the lemonade

Appetizer

While sipping on your beverage of choice, we know an appetizer always pairs well, especially before a tasty main dish. And the Fourth of July isn’t the beloved American holiday without a smoky flavor in the great outdoors. For a celebratory appetizer, try our recipe for Sausage Cream Cheese Jalapeno Poppers or Smoked Queso… or both, of course.

Sausage Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers are one of our perfect recipes for your Fourth of July.

Sausage Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers

Ingredients:

  • A block of cream cheese
  • Ground sausage
  • 8 jalapenos
  • A package of bacon
  • For dipping:
  • Honey

Instructions:

To begin, you want to start preheating your grill or oven. If using a grill, preheat to 350 degrees and if using an oven, preheat to 450 degrees.

Start cutting and hollowing out your jalapeños. Make sure you cut them longwise! When hollowing out, I suggest using a spoon and pressing from the top to bottom. You’re welcome to leave some seeds if you like some heat but if you absolutely don’t want them to be spicy, definitely run them under water to make sure they’re completely clean.

Time for the filling! Cook your ground sausage and put it into a bowl. Add your block of cream cheese and mix them together. This should be pretty easy because the heat from the cooked sausage will soften the cheese. Once it is mixed, use a spoon to scoop the mixture onto your halved jalapenos. Use the back of the spoon to make sure you pack the mixture down. Once all jalapenos are filled, move on to the bacon.

Each halved jalapeno will need a slice of bacon. Hold the strip at the top of the jalapeno and wrap the rest around it.

If you’re using an oven, put the jalapenos in for 10 minutes or until bacon is cooked. If you’re using a grill, leave them on for about 45 minutes. Check to make sure the cream cheese isn’t bursting out of the bacon!

Enjoy!

Our smoked queso will go well with any of your Fourth of July recipes.

Smoked Queso

Ingredients:

  • Queso blanco
  • Velveeta block
  • Jalapenos
  • Tomatoes
  • White onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Seasoned ground beef

Instructions:

Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees.

Now, this recipe is quite easy because you just chop everything and put it into a foil pan. For the seasoned ground beef, I used comino, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. You’re welcome to use your own spices but always make sure you taste test it before adding to the pan!

You’ll want to leave your queso in the smoker for an hour or so. As the queso is cooking, make sure to stir every 15 minutes to make sure everything is heating properly. Once finished, serve with some chips and enjoy!

Main Dish

The ultimate dish is a familiar favorite with a twist, and our grills are ready for it. For this Fourth of July entrée, devour the Caliente Burger cooked to perfection with seasoned Creole Fries while watching flags wave, fireworks and feeling the crisp, summer air.

Texas Tasty's self-made Caliente Burger and Creole fries. The highlight of our Fourth of July recipes.

The Caliente Burger with Creole Fries

Ingredients:

For the Caliente Burger:

  • 1 Lb. Angus Beef (Makes 4 Patties)
  • 1/2 Cup Tony Chachere’s Burger Marinade
  • 3 Tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  • 1 Habanero Pepper
  • 1 Onion, Carmelized
  • 1-2 Tsp. Aioli Chipotle, Per Burger
  • Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato, Sliced
  • 8 Egg Buns
  • 2 Tsp. Sugar
  • 3 Tsp. Vinegar
  • 4 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese, 1 Per Burger

For the Creole Fries:

Instructions:

Making the Caliente Burger:

  1. Place ground angus beef, Tony’s Burger Marinade and Tony’s Original Creole Seasoning into a large mixing bowl and mix until combined. Form into desired number of patties (each to weigh 1/4 pound).
  2. Chop onion and cook in pan with sugar and hot oil over low heat for 20 minutes or until onion carmelized. Stir in 1/4-cup water and vinegar. Keep warm.
  3. Grill burger patties over medium heat until cooked properly (will be about 6-8 minutes per side).
  4. Add pepper jack cheese on top and melt.
  5. Grill egg hamburger buns.
  6. Serve each burger on bun with lettuce. tomato, aioli chipotle, habaneros and caramelized onions.

Making the Creole Fries:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Cut potatoes into 1/4 – 1/2-inch thick fries.
  3. In a large bowl, combine hand-cut fries, olive oil, truffle oil, garlic powder, Tony’s Original Creole Seasoning and parsley. Toss until evenly coated.
  4. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and spread evenly with minimal overlap.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Dessert

Finally, we hope there’s still room left for more, because what better way to end a fun-filled weekend than with dessert? Our revamped take on a classic will spark nostalgia for old memories while making new ones this Fourth of July.

Banana Pudding – REVAMPED

Ingredients:

  • 5 bananas
  • 2 packages of Chessmen cookies
  • A packet and a half of French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 package of cream cheese

Instructions:

First, you’ll need to arrange a package of chessmen cookies into a layer, along with the cut bananas. Make sure to fill in the cracks between the cookies! My mom, the pudding pro, places a banana piece on each cookie and then goes back in to place a banana piece in between a few cookies. The more bananas, the better!

Next, mix the French vanilla pudding mix and milk together. In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and a can of condensed milk. Fold in a full container of Cool Whip. Then, combine both filling mixtures. Pour the combined mixture over the first layer of cookies and bananas, smoothing it out and making sure to leave no cookie untouched. Add a top layer of cookies! Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve.

Enjoy!

Texas Summer 2021 Playlist

Over a year into the pandemic, and summer is here again. But with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, this season is looking different from the last. The Texas heat is back and so is live music. Here’s your Texas summer 2021 playlist composed of artists performing in Austin, TX soon.

Texas Sun – Khruangbin, Leon Bridges

Khruangbin will be performing on Sept. 15, 16, 17 and 18 at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater.

While driving on the highway and feeling the wind blow through your hair, “Texas Sun” encapsulates the ultimate Texas summer imagery. Radiating warmth through music, the song sings with comfort and calm as many Texans drive—to work, gatherings or even their first road trip since the beginning of quarantine.

My Vibe – Mt. Joy

Mt. Joy will be performing on Oct. 23 at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater and on Oct. 24 at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater.

Released in April 2020, Mt. Joy’s “My Vibe” chanted to listeners brightly, “move ‘til you feel better; get yourself together,”—a reminder many people would need in the year that followed. The tune also assures the sun will always shine for others, and in Texas, there’s no doubt it will.

Zanzibar – Billy Joel

Billy Joel will be performing on Oct. 23 at the Formula 1 Aramco 2021 Grand Prix, which will be held at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

The 1978 song by Billy Joel still stands as an upbeat pop track, linking different generations together through music. According to COTA, this will be the first time Joel performs in Austin since the 1990s.

All My Ex’s Live In Texas – George Strait

George Strait will be performing on Oct. 1 and 8 at the Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival held at Zilker Park.

A classic country singer Texans are sure to know, Strait will be headlining both Fridays of the festival. The vibrant strings and unforgettable exes living in Texas make this tune unmistakable and easy to love.

Malibu – Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus will be performing on Oct. 1 and 8 at the Austin City Limits Festival held at Zilker Park.

Although Malibu isn’t located in the Lone Star state, Cyrus’ song paints pictures of the beach, a blue sky and a hot summer—all landscapes Texans know well. Through “a brand-new start, a dream come true,” “Malibu” serves as a summer song of hope.

Take Me Where Your Heart Is – Q

Q will be performing on Oct. 1 and 8 at the Austin City Limits Festival held at Zilker Park.

A soft and soothing track, “Take Me Where Your Heart Is” blends soul and love to create a fresh and moving melody. Named one of “2020’s most exciting rising artists” by Complex Networks, Q will be taking the stage at the festival on both Fridays.

Dreams – Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks will be performing on Oct. 3 and 10 at the Austin City Limits Festival held at Zilker Park.

A classic gone viral, “Dreams” is a tune people of all ages have learned and enjoyed. Singer, Stevie Nicks will be headlining both festival’s Sundays.

Where’d All the Time Go? – Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog will be performing on Nov. 11 at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater.

Dr. Dog’s “Where’d All the Time Go?” questions time in a colorful, hazy and dreamlike tone. Although released in 2010, the track has recently gotten an increase in popularity, and the question of time remains.

On the Road Again – Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson will be performing on Aug. 22 at Germania Insurance Amphitheater, located at COTA.

Lastly, “On the Road Again” puts into words the hope that has lived within the hearts of many Texans throughout the pandemic, along with the wonder and excitement for brighter, Texas summer days.

The McDonald’s BTS Meal

One of our most popular articles of 2020 was the hyped collaboration between Travis Scott and McDonald’s. When I heard that South Korean boyband BTS were collaborating with the restaurant chain to deliver the “BTS Meal,” my eyebrows immediately raised. As someone who’s followed the band for the greater part of six years, this collaboration came as a bit of a surprise. Nevertheless, I had to take it upon myself to see how the food measured up.

Two Distinct Flavors

Being honest, McDonald’s is something of a guilty pleasure for me. This collab was the perfect excuse for me to visit the golden arches. The BTS Meal consists of two sauces paired with the standard nuggets – Sweet Chili and Cajun, respectively. I am happy to note that the sauces are actually quite good, and both complemented the meal nicely.

The Cajun is a honey mustard that has a slight tang to it, while the Sweet Chili is a sweet-and-sour offering that works surprisingly well. Their greatest strength lies in their versatility, as either can be swapped between nuggets and fries to provide different combinations. Beyond that, you get McDonald’s chicken nuggets – who can argue with that?

Beyond The Sauce

What does deserve a mention is the absolute storm of attention the promotion has had on social media. Due to overwhelming response, the BTS themed meal bags, sauces, and other promotional items have hit eBay. As initial hype dies down, we can only hope that these shortages will be alleviated so everyone can experience the meal.

This promotion comes shortly after the boys have dropped their latest single, Butter. It’s a deliciously guilty pleasure that you can’t seem to get enough of. If you ask me, that’s the perfect description of both the single and the meal. The BTS Meal is expected to run until the 21st of June, so be sure to make a stop at the golden arches before then.