• Apron Optional: Butterbeer

    Raise a glass of Butterbeer in the spirit of the final Harry Potter movie premiere.
    Raise a glass of Butterbeer in the spirit of the final Harry Potter movie premiere.

    Harry Potter was a crucial part of my childhood. Though I have always liked to read, I don’t remember another book (much less another series) that I read as ferociously as the Harry Potter series. I would get in trouble for staying up too late reading because I just couldn’t put the books down. I’m not going to lie, this all gets me pretty sentimental.

    In celebration of this monumental occasion, I’m making some Butterbeer and Cauldron Cakes for my fanatical friends and I to accompany a day of post-premiere lounging and reminiscing over Harry Potter movies one through seven part one.

    It should come as no surprise that there are a bevy of Harry Potter fan websites out there filled to the brim with all things magical, recipes included. I was first introduced to this part of the phenomenon my junior year of high school, by an unidentified blonde girl (who is now one of my best friends) who casually mentioned Muggle Net in conversation. When I looked at her confused and asked what on earth she was talking about, she responded — as if I had asked her what color the sky was — “Muggle Net: it’s where the muggles go.” Oh, of course!

    First, the Butterbeer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to duck in to the Three Broomsticks and drown my sorrows in a pint of this stuff, so a homemade brew was the best bet. Just a warning: it is really, really sweet. The flavor is like that of butterscotch and can be served hot or cold, with or without alcohol.

    This particular batch was served chilled, sans alcohol. Call me crazy, but the idea of a hot, frothy drink in the heat of summer is about as appetizing as troll bogies.

    There are literally hundreds of Butterbeer recipes online, but I chose a simple one from mugglenet.com (why not start there, right?). It only has three ingredients, so it makes for some instant nostalgia.

    To go with it, I made Cauldron Cakes, using a recipe I found on slashfood.com. Although I’m not sure they are entirely true to the book, the Brooklyn-based bakery recipe yields so many spiced brownie-cookie hybrids that it’s hard to care about little things such as contextual accuracy. If they’re calling them Cauldron Cakes, I’m baking (and eating) them!

    It is true, it’s sad that there will be no more new movies, but we will always have memories of staying up reading and dressing up for the premiere (I dressed up as Luna Lovegood). Still, there are things for wizards and muggles to look forward to such as Pottermore and potential pilgrimages to The Wizarding World theme park. And still, it’s nice to know you can always change out of your dress robes, kick back and enjoy a nice cold Butterbeer with your friends and reminisce.

    Until next Friday; remember, no post on Sundays.

  • Weekend Recs: Truancy Ride, Vive La France, Potter Extravaganza, Cudi, Kevin Greer

    Bike riders gather at Mellow Johnny’s for a moderately paced, 30-mile road ride around the city. Safety regulations include wearing a helmet, using a bike in good working condition and having water and tools for changing flats in hand.

    WHAT: Friday Truancy Ride
    WHERE: Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop
    WHEN: Friday, 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    HOW MUCH: Free

    To celebrate the anniversary of the French revolution, the historic French Legation Museum is hosting its annual Bastille Day party with refreshments, live French music, dancing and rounds of the country’s popular sport, Pétanque, on its grassy lawn.

    WHAT: L’Alliance Française d’Austin’s Annual Bastille Day Party
    WHERE: French Legation Museum
    WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
    HOW MUCH: $8 advance, $10 at the gate, children 12 and under free

    To mark the finale of the Harry Potter movie series, the Highball is doing it wizardly big, transforming the venue’s ballroom into the Great Hall. Ticket includes a three-course feast, Harry Potter-themed drinks, trivia games and a live reenactment of the entire series in an hour by the Institution Theater.

    WHAT: Harry Potter Extravaganza
    WHERE: The Highball
    WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.
    HOW MUCH: $60 (18 and up)

    The “Day ‘n’ Nite” rapper from Cleveland is hitting the stage with Chip Tha Ripper on Saturday.

    WHAT: Kid Cudi with Chip Tha Ripper
    WHERE: Cedar Park Center
    WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.
    HOW MUCH: $50

    The quaint little restaurant on Live Oak is hosting an art show series for charity this Sunday. All proceeds benefit the Austin Museum of Art. Showcasing the work of local artist Kevin Greer, there will be complimentary appetizers as well.

    WHAT: Art Show: Kevin Greer
    WHERE: Paggi House
    WHEN: Sunday, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
    HOW MUCH: $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door