San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 17th, 2009
The Weekend: Celebrate ice cream, tunes

Triple Crown on Edward Gary just north of Hopkins Street. Staff photo.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. Regardless of your political views, it’s hard to argue with a day that celebrates the cold, sweet goodness of ice cream. In such heat, it is a pleasure to acknowledge the tradition this Sunday.

George Washington was a fan of ice cream and Thomas Jefferson actually had his own ice cream recipe, which is available for reading online from the National Archives. With the founding fathers as exemplars, it seems as though it’s your patriotic duty to enjoy ice cream on, at the very least, National Ice Cream day.

Every culture has its own take on ice cream flavors, but only the Japanese take it to the most unusual heights. In Gilroy, CA, the garlic capitol of the world, you can find garlic ice cream at the garlic festival. But in Japan, this kind of flavor would be categorized as mundane compared to the various flavors of shrimp, squid ink, tomato, curry, chicken wing, crab, ox tongue and even raw horse flesh ice creams. It seems, to us, anyway, that they don’t really understand the concept.

But these “food” ice creams are making slow progress into America. Chef Bobby Flay makes a sweet corn ice cream, and avocado ice cream is often served at yuppie creameries aimed at the food fashion conscious. The mixture of cinnamon or hot chilies into chocolate is no surprise to Texans, but these are flavors that are also edging into ice creams.

Older folks blanche at the idea of cookie dough ice cream, but this has been a standard flavor since around 1991 when Ben and Jerry’s first mass marketed it. Just for the record, it’s not raw cookie dough in there. All the manufactured ice creams that have cookie dough or brownie dough in them contain slightly cooked dough.

Penn State has one of the most famous creameries in the U.S., and its ice cream making classes are legendary for amazing flavors. The Penn State creamers usually stick to the more familiar flavor territories since, after all, the point of the class is to develop good business sense while making the sweet treat. They claim their most popular flavor is vanilla and the least popular one was carrot cake. They also make flavors that sound intriguingly tempting, like peanut butter marshmallow, apple cobbler crunch, cotton candy, peanut butter and jelly and even Peachy Paterno (named for Coach Joe Paterno), which is peach ice cream with peach slices in it. Yum!

Whatever your favorite ice cream is, Sunday is the day to indulge in it. Jefferson, Washington and Reagan will all be smiling down at you.

There’s more to do than just eat ice cream this weekend, although eating ice cream is wonderful fun. Here are a few more things that are fun without the fat and calories, and that’s wonderful.

Friday, July 17

The Friday Afternoon Club at Gruene Hall (1281 Gruene Road, New Braunfels) meets from 4-7 p.m. with drink specials, fine Texas tunes and fun prizes and giveaways. This traditional afternoon soiree has been going on for eleven years and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear the sound check performed by the Friday night headliners.

The early gig at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) features the deliciously sexy sounds of Rab Rodriguez y los Killa Hogs. The name is good, but doesn’t really tell you how truly funky and skilled they are. You’ll be impressed, and catching them is a great way to kick off the weekend.

The basket starts turning at 6:30 p.m. to start out Friday Night Bingo at the Wimberley VFW (Veterans Park at Jacobs Well Rd.). Load prizes, lots of fun and concessions are served up by the loving hands of the Ladies Auxiliary.

Tonight, Aimloss provides the entertainment at Wake the Dead Coffee House. The music starts at 8 p.m. and it will certainly go well with an iced coffee for a relaxing summer evening.

Southside Union is a bluesy country band that really formed at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) at songwriter evenings. One of the great values of Kent FInlay’s songwriting circles and exchanges is that musicians meet each other and sometimes start great bands as a result. Southside Union is one of those fortuitous meetings. Also on the bill is local fave Texas FX, which blends a love of rock with country sounds. The band just keeps getting better.

Riley’s (8894 FM 1102) is the perfect venue for the Texas Honky Tonk of Bo Porter. He’ll make with the Texas Road House tunes at 8 p.m. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes, because they’ll dance to his music whether you want to or not. He’s the genuine article when it comes to honky tonkin’.

If music with a little more spit and vinegar is your thing, then you’ll want to catch the heavy grind of Cactus Rash at Triple Crown. Also on the bill are Buzz and Bangs and The Monk. Buzz and Bangs are a standout with their proficient post-punk positive crunch, and they do a killer cover of the Replacements “Bastards of the Young.”

Saturday, July 18

Kyle H-E-B (Interstate-35 at Kyle Parkway) plays host the Passport Fair today. If you need a passport, this is where you need to be. Applicants wishing to obtain a passport should bring: a certified birth certificate, naturalization or previous passport, two passport photos and a valid photo ID. Check the website for information regarding passport requirements at www.travel.state.gov.

Habitat for Humanity is building a house at 204 Mill Street, and would welcome anyone who would like to help. This will be the first Habitat home in the city to feature environmentally friendly green building techniques, so you’ll learn some interesting skills that can be used at your own home. Volunteers are on-site most Saturday mornings, or you can check the website at www.habitatforhumanitysanmarcos.org for more information.

This is the weekend for Gruene Market Days, which are held every third full weekend of the months February through November (1641 Hunter Road, New Braunfels) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. You’ll see wonderful art, crafts, clothing, food, candles, furniture and much more. The most wonderful thing about this market is that all the products sold are made by the vendors themselves. You are sure to be delighted by the many Texas originals you will find there, which include the folks and the fun as well.

In this heat, there’s nothing quite so refreshing as a leisurely float down the gorgeous San Marcos River in a comfy tube. You can buy your own inner tubes at a variety of locales as well as rent them at places like the Yellow Store (corner of Hopkins Street and North Edward Gary). The Lions Club (170 Bobcat Drive) rents tubes and also runs a convenient shuttle. That 72-degree water certainly is refreshing in this heat, and it’s always fun to take a picnic and just sit and watch the river roll. Just be a good neighbor and pick up your trash before you leave.

The Nature Center (405 Riverside Drive) is open today until 6 p.m. Might be fun to stop by and check out the snakes, the turtles and the other creepy crawlies that enjoy our environment as much, or more, than we do. It’s a big planet and we’re all welcome.

The electronica of Cosmic Jaguar will regale the folks who are lucky enough to stop by Wake the Dead Coffee House tonight at 8 p.m.

The Cheatham Street Warehouse presents Ryan Turner tonight at 9:30 p.m. He’s a talented singer songwriter who has a justifiably loyal following. He strikes a perfect balance between country and rock.

The always energetic stompin’ rockabilly of Turbo 350 will fill the air at Riley’s tonight at 8 p.m. Turbo 350 is like white lightin’ in a jar and twice as powerful.

Triple Crown has the Monster Party tonight with the cumbrous tones of the Belgraves, Stellar Corpses and the Fugitive Four. Don your black lace and black lipstick and prepare to rock. A Goth time will be had by all.

Sunday, July 19

It’s the second and final day for the Gruene Market, and today it might be a nice trip for the family to see some local crafts and art. Dozens of vendors offer items, from candles and ceramics to packaged specialty Texas foods, jewelry, metal art and more. The Texas hot sauce would make a swell Christmas gift. Just an FYI for those who plan ahead. Even the thought of Christmas might cool you off a bit. The market is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The popular E-Z Country Band will play at the Geronimo VFW Hall from 3-6:30 p.m. at 6808 SH 123 in beautiful downtown Geronimo. The Hall and kitchen open at 2 p.m., so you can get a nosh before you scoot your boots. A $7 donation is requested, the proceeds of which benefit vets and VFW charitable works.

If all this heat is making you tense and irritated, why not stop by Wake the Dead Coffee house for a relaxing chair massage from Bob Steine? He’ll massage frustrations away from 4-8 p.m. today. If you are still hot and bothered, don’t blame Bob. He doesn’t control the weather.

It’s open mic night at both Riley’s and Triple Crown. You’ll never get on the cover of Rolling Stone if you don’t start somewhere.

If you just want to sit in your air-conditioned home and forget about the heat, the Science channel is broadcasting three fascinating shows on insects starting at 7 p.m. The life of ants, locusts and killer bees are all on the docket.

NBC is showing part one of its two-part mini-series, “Meteor” starting at 8 p.m. The conclusion is on Monday, same time, same station. Christopher Lloyd plays a mad scientist and Stacey Keach is a lawman. Big flaming boulders start hitting the earth. See, there is something worse than the heat.

The Minnesota Twins are playing the Texas Rangers tonight at 7 on FSS. Hard to think of a nicer way to spend a Sunday summer night than with a big dish of ice cream and a good baseball game. Go Rangers!

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