Lunch with Brian

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Cantina Laredo with Special Guest David Thomson, March 21, 2009

David Thomson from Scotland joined us at Cantina Laredo for a gourMET Mexican lunch. I write "gourMET" because that's how the waiter described the cuisine. He must not be aware of silent letters because he also spoke two syllables when he described the crepes. He was a good waiter.

Two bowls of salsaAt Cantina Laredo, they serve two kinds of salsa: warm and chilled. Brian likes the warm salsa, and I like the chilled salsa, which works out just fine because we get our own salsa. Of course, on this trip, we shared our salsas with David.

David was in town for the South by Southwest (SxSW) festivals (Interactive, Movie and Music). He works at Denki games and his job title is Number 1 Fan. He is 100% Denki. You can find out how Denki you are here.

David told us about some of the speakers and panels he attended at SxSW Interactive. He said that most people really just said the same things using different words. The recurring topic was how to find your audience. He said that internet music sensation Jonathan Coulton's strategy was to publish a song a week, see which songs got the best response and do more songs like that. Genius!

As we turned our attention to food, Brian and I steered David through the minefield that is Cantina Laredo's menu. We cautioned him against the chili relleno with picadillo, raspberry spinach salad and the tortilla soup. I recommended the tacos al carbon, but then retracted the recommendation when I saw that they cost $17. For three tacos!

We started off with guacamole made right at our table.

David also attended some of the music events at SxSW. Two bands he saw were The Webb Sisters (great harmonies) and Alice Russell. He said he found an Alice Russell CD one time for $35. Brian asked if it had a lot of songs on it, but David said it had just the regular amount of songs. I asked if maybe they were really long songs, but David said they were of normal length. Brian thought maybe the artwork on the CD was made from gold leaf. David thought maybe the case was made from titanium.

Brian ordered the Ceviche. I ordered the Nachos al Carbon with beef and David ordered the same except with chicken. Brian noted that we had an "everything-on-a-chip" meal. The Ceviche had wings.

Ceviche, Nachos al Carbon with beef and Nachos al Carbon with chicken

It was great having David along. Definitely for the company, but also because he was very good at getting the staff's attention to refill our water glasses and salsa bowls.

At one point, David ate something really spicy, and it ignited the hiccups. I asked Brian, "Should we scare him?" Brian didn't think that was appropriate. The hiccups passed, but David was still suffering from the spices. He said he needed more powerful water.

The waiter brought us the bill, but we wanted dessert, so we sent him away again for the dessert tray. When he brought it, he told us, "You can touch, but you can't taste." None of us touched or tasted anything. Brian and I ordered the Mexican Apple Pie with cinnamon ice cream and bubbly brandy butter. Mexican Apple Pie with cinnamon ice cream and bubbly brandy butter David ordered the Crepes. David didn't pronounce it with two syllables, but the waiter understood anyway.

We talked about our "Lunch with Brian All-Stars" plan, a program to reward great restaurants with published praise and door stickers. David suggested we should give stickers to every restaurant we visit that say something like "Brian ate here." I like it!

As we wound our lunch down, we dreamed about the future. Maybe one day, Brian and I would be on a SxSW panel talking about how we made a career out of going to lunch and how we found our audience. Our talk would start something like this: "Last week, we ate lunch 15 times ..."


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