Thursday, May 29, 2014

Austin Vape and Smoke

  I love the eclectic South First neighborhood; its eateries, retro-shops, and tattoo studios set the standard for what it to me truly Austin.  A welcome addition to the mix is Austin Vape and Smoke at 4200 South 1st St, just a block south of Ben White Blvd, and well worth the short drive the the heart of the South First neighborhood.  Austin Vape and Smoke brings a local flair to the smoking and vaping business.

 The E-Liquid Industry is growing in popularity in Austin and around the nation.  "Vaping", which includes E-cigarettes, is more than just a safe alternative to regular cigarettes.  E-Liquids come in a variety of flavors and include mixes which offer a number of different benefits.  On the rare occasions when I have smokes socially, I have always hated the flavor of cigarettes while enjoying the buzz of nicotine.  E-Liquid gives me a variety of flavors; from traditional tobacco to cinnamon roll.  I can also choose my nicotine content, no nicotine, and even a mellowing oil derived from industrial hemp that is 100% legal.

 For those concerned about the safety of vaping, Kemal Whyte, one of the owners of Austin Smoke and Vape, explained that we are talking about 2000 or more harsh chemical additives in your standard cigarette compared to less then a dozen chemicals that are often included as additive in our food.  The tobacco industry, concerned about protecting it's profits, has engaged in a campaign to challenge the E-Liquid market.  While I recognize that there is no such thing as 100% safe, E-Liquid is by far a safer alternative to what is offered by the tobacco industry.

 The education I received on vaping from Kemal is one of the reasons why I will shop Austin Vape and Smoke before any other vendor.  These guys have a passion for the vaping and smoking culture.  Their shop includes a number of E-Liquid devices designed to serve the needs of the occasional vaper to the regular user, and the have a HUGE selection of E-Liquids to choose from.  They also offer a variety of recreational smoking devices; hookas, water-pipes, and beautiful glass pieces that you must see.  Austin Vape and Smoke is also culturally engaged, as a visit to their Facebook Page ( demonstrates their support of the legalization of marijuana and their effort to educate the public about its medicinal benefits.

Along with art, artists are also occasionally on display.
 Going to Austin Vape and Smoke is a great experience.  The guys are professional and friendly, going out of their way to cater to their customers and their questions.  The shop is impressively clean and open, with local artists being invited to display work on their walls.  Having been to a few other smoke shops in town, I can tell you that this is not typical of the industry.  Whether you are considering vaping for the first time or you have been into recreational smoking for years, Austin Vape and Smoke is the shop in town that will take care of you.

 Austin Vape and Smoke
 4200 South 1st St.
 Austin, TX, 78745
 512 579-7361

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Your Mom's Burger Bar, Home of the Stuffed Burger

 Unfortunately, Your Mom's Burger Bar has closed.  I hope Ryan and Gina give it another shot sometime soon.


So, here's a little story.

 Last Saturday, my wife and I were on out way to take me to work.  We decided to get a little lunch on the way, and not feeling like eating at any of our usual spots I suggested we visit "Your Mom's Burger Bar" on Airport Blvd.  It was on the way and I had been wanting to check it out since it opened.  My wife suggested that the only reason I wanted to check it out was because of the "tattoo vibe".  The logo features a woman with a tattoo on her wrist and the building is painted black.  I pointed out that the name is clever as well. 

 When we pulled-up Saturday, it was about 11:15 in the morning.  At the door was a woman who I assumed was a waitress who turns out to be Gina Blackmore, one of the owners.  She informed us that the restaurant did not open until noon, but if we were willing to stick around until 11:50 she could get the chef to start out orders early.  Despite this kind offer, my wife and I both had places to be ( I work at a tattoo studio that opens at noon).  I took a menu and said we would come back.  Feeling bad, I even called the owner on my way to work and told him that my wife and I would be in for our "date night" Monday.  I just wanted to let him know he had not lost a customer.

 True to my word, we pulled up to the restaurant Monday night around 8pm.  It had been a slow Monday for Ryan Blackmore, the owner, and he had just closed the shop and was in the process of turning another diner away we he saw us.  He was excited to see us, and invited the other diner to come back in.  Inside, he told his step-son to fire up the grill and asked us all for our orders. 

 My wife was correct about my being attracted to the vibe.  The interior was decorated with kitchy signs and stencil art work.  Punk rock music played on the stereo.  We sat at the bar and chatted-up Ryan while he cooked.  Ryan is easily the most gracious host I have ever met at a restaurant.  He truly has a passion for making a great hamburger and making the experience a great one. 
Oh!-rings.  Had to pull an image from Your Mom's FB page.

 We ordered the Oh!-rings, Elvis Fried Pickles, the Willie Nelson Burger and the Robert DeNiro Burger.  I love onion-rings, and the Oh!-rings were hands-down the best I ever had.  The 1/2 pound stuffed burgers were incredible, and worth every penny at about $8.00 each.  We were lucky enough to catch Ryan experimenting with a new menu item, which he treated us to.  The Cupcake Shakes sound awesome, but if we are lucky he will add the Cheesecake Cupcake Shake to the menu.

 All-in-all, Your Mom's Burger Bar is a great dining experience.  Ryan and Gina Blackmore have added something special to eclectic mix of venues and eateries that are enhancing the section of Airport Blvd west of I-35.  Swing by and get a burger at Your Mom's... You will not be disappointed.

 5001 Airport Blvd
 Austin, TX, 78751
 512-454-MOMS (6667)