ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Strüb has happily called Austin home for 10 whole years. While that doesn’t make him a native, he feels it gives him sufficient rights to the popular Austinite catch-phrase “I remember when…” In addition to talking about the unpaved used car lot that gave way to Whole Foods' World Headquarters, he enjoys Alamo Drafthouse, dining outdoors, shopping and traveling. But nothing brings Mark greater joy than spending quality time with his 5 year old son, Jack, at their home in Hyde Park. Mark has a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film from UT and makes his living helping people buy and sell homes.

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June 30, 2010

My City Can Beat Up Your City

Use this handy-dandy reporting tool to compare Austin, TX to other cities you might be considering calling home.

Or, if you already live here, input your less fortunate friends' and families' city of residence for comparison and let the teasing commence.

Just click "View Community Reports" to get started.

June 29, 2010

Austin Market Stats :: Week Ending June 26

Properties For Sale:
[compared to the same week in 2009]

Active Listings + 15.55%

New listings + 3.34%.

Pendings - 24.61%
Solds - 17.27%

Average Prices:

[compared to the same week in 2009]
Sold average sales prices + 24.92% to $312,422.
In 2009 it was $250,093.

Austin had 11,742 active listings during the same week in 2009.
Today there are 13,568 active listings!
That is + 15.55% from last year.

June 27, 2010

SO TRUE :: Austin According to Southern Living

“Some say Austin marches to the beat of a different drummer. We’re convinced the city broke off long ago to start its own band.

Austin’s greatest appeal lies in its ability to balance its trendy scene with an inclusive attitude.

The cowboy, the politician, the punk rocker, and the soccer mom all groove at the same music clubs and palm tortillas at the same Tex-Mex joints.

No matter who you are, you’ll fit in. Snugly.”

Southern Living magazine, April 2007

June 24, 2010

Buenos Aires Cafe, Este

Category: Argentine
1201 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
Neighborhood: East Austin
(512) 382-1189

Buenos Aires is to TASTING as Derek Zoolander is to LOOKING. Ridiculously GOOD.

I have always heard really great things about the food- even before they opened the Este location. But I just never managed to make it down the S 1st location during operating hours. Do they have some weird ones or was it just me? But since this is not a review of the Sur locale, let's get back on topic.

Nearby street parking was easy to come by. Upon entering, we were immediately addressed by a server with her hands full. I appreciated the gesture. She was obviously unable to seat us herself at the moment, but it was important enough to her that we felt welcome that she did not allow her armload of dirty plates to prevent her from saying hello and letting us know someone would be right with us.

We got a table right by the big plate glass windows in the front. I liked that. But the menu I liked even better. It was hard to decide, actually. It all sounded really good.

Our server was a good guy. He was very pleasant and took a genuine interest in our enjoyment of the food. We decided to split an app a salad and an entrée.

In order, we selected the spicy beef empanada, baby spinach salad [with feta, apples, candied pecans and sweet balsamic dressing] and the Gnocchi Quartet. The salad was conveniently split into two portions for us. The entree was the same, but carried a $3 surcharge. Not awesome, but the presentation and portion was really nice on each so I'll let it slide.

The food? Ay dios mio, mis amigos! SO GOOD! The empanada was so very tasty, in fact, that I ordered a second one when the entrée came. We really savored every bite of each dish. And the atmosphere was a compliment not a distraction. That's a nice change of pace compared to a lot of my favorite spots.

Since we split the dishes, it was easier to accept a recommendation to browse the dessert menu. Quatro Leches stood out to me. The server endorsed my hunch. I could write a page about that cake, but I'll just sum it up by saying that we literally had a spoon duel over the last bite. Not just a little tapping on the plate, but a full on crossing of swords in mid-air with a dastardly abduction in the end. I jokingly requested a straw to finish the sauce when our waiter came to get the plate. I know, I know... I'm simply hilarious.

If you couldn't tell, this is one of the best meals I've had out in quite a while. I will rush back again soon. And I will add it to the must-eat places on my list for out of towners or newbies.

I feel compelled to include a description of each dish I enjoyed. Here you go:

Spinach
A refreshing blend of organic baby spinach, feta cheese, organic Fuji apples and spicy roasted pecans tossed in our homemade sweet and tangy vinaigrette.

Carne picante
Spicy ground beef, green onions, raisins, green olives, herbs and spices.

Gnocchi Quartet
Our homemade pumpkin-cinnamon, sweet potato-chipotle, cilantro-jalapeno, and potato-herb gnocchi tossed with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and haricots verts and olive oil, finished
with specialty sauces and fresh parmesan.

Quatro Leches
Traditional Latin-American sponge cake with four distinct Argentine sauces.

June 23, 2010

Austin Market Stats :: Week Ending June 19

Properties For Sale:
[compared to the same week in 2009]

Active Listings + 14.76%

New listings + 11.85%.

Pendings - 20.83%
Solds - 3.47%

Average Prices:

[compared to the same week in 2009]
Sold average sales prices + 14.60% to $287,196.
In 2009 it was $250,610.

Austin had 11,677 active listings during the same week in 2009.
Today there are 13,400 active listings!
That is + 14.76% from last year.

June 20, 2010

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY [to me]

Those that know me well know that there is nothing more sacred to me than my relationship with Jackson Hames Strüb. What an HONOR to be his "Papa!" This day is a really fun time to relish in that joy and fulfillment. Therefore, it is my favorite holiday of the year.

Happy Father's Day to all you lucky guys out there. I'd love to hear what you did on your special day. Leave a comment and let me know!

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It is much easier to become a father than to be one. ~Kent Nerburn

It is a wise father that knows his own child. ~William Shakespeare

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me. ~Jim Valvano

Father taught us that opportunity and responsibility go hand in hand. I think we all act on that principle; on the basic human impulse that makes a man want to make the best of what's in him and what's been given him. ~Laurence Rockefeller

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters. ~George Herbert

A man's worth is measured by how he parents his children. What he gives them, what he keeps away from them, the lessons he teaches and the lessons he allows them to learn on their own. ~Lisa Rogers

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection. ~Sigmund Freud

My father always told me, "Find a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life." ~Jim Fox

Every dad, if he takes time out of his busy life to reflect upon his fatherhood, can learn ways to become an even better dad. ~Jack Baker

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. ~Johann Schiller

A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be. ~Frank A. Clark

At a time of reproductive freedom for women, fatherhood must be more than a matter of DNA. A man must choose to be a father in the same way that a woman chooses to be a mother. ~Mel Feit

June 18, 2010

COMMITMENT

"There is a difference between interest and commitment.

When you're interested in something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. "

~ Ken Blanchard

I'm interested to know what you are committed to. Post a comment and let me know.

June 17, 2010

NOT The Golden Arches...

Categories: American (Traditional), Burgers

10611 Research Blvd
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 382-5864

Equally or more important than the concept (organic, etc.), I have something to say: TASTY. This could be my new favorite burger in town, and I LOVE burgers.

Jack and I were encouraged to make the trip north to nosh some meat and burn some calories on the playscape; we're glad we did. The food did not disappoint. He loves the cheeseburger, but he thinks it's silly how little the slider in the kids' meal is. They do offer a 2 slider option for the little ones. Not a bad idea if your munchkin is an eater. Mine is.

To me, the sweet potato fries are DELICIOUS. First time I had the beef and this time the turkey. Both were top notch in my book. The cane sugar sodas are rad. The basic paper packaging of everything puts me at ease. I'm not a tree hugger, per se, but I'll vote for biodegradable over styro any day. I would pay an upcharge for that vote if necessary, but I didn't feel like that was the case here. Prices are fair.

The play pen is fully enclosed- very cool for parents hoping to catch a few minutes of texting with your guard down.

The irony of the big Yellow Arches across the highway struck me enough that I actually snapped a picture of them in the same frame as the Terra Burger sign boasting all natural and organic. But, again, that's not the extent of what makes this place special. The food is good. The kids will be happy. Nuff said.

In closing, Jack and I still LOVE Phil's Icehouse- and it's closer to home- but we have already made room in our hearts for Terra Burger as well.

June 15, 2010

JACK JACK :: Monkey On The Bed

This is a little bit of an oldie [+/- one year], but still a goodie. This is about how excited Jack has been leading up to our trip to Phx this week for major QT with family.

June 14, 2010

Austin Market Stats :: Week Ending June 12

Properties For Sale:
[compared to the same week in 2009]

Active Listings + 13.36%

New listings + 1.89%.

Pendings - 29.01%
Solds - 20.85%

Average Prices:

[compared to the same week in 2009]
Sold average sales prices - 4.5% to $248,350.
In 2009 it was $260,065.

Austin had 11,577 active listings during the same week in 2009.
Today there are 13,124 active listings!
That is + 13.36% from last year.

June 11, 2010

RETT TA GO! :: Take a Note From These Sellers

When I turned to the "Preparing Your Home" page of my presentation to these Sellers, I did it with a grain of salt. Wow. This SW AUSTIN home is immaculate and RETT TA GO!

But don't take my word for it. Come see for yourself at an OPEN HOUSE this SUNDAY from 1 - 4 PM.




And considering they manage to keep their house looking this way with 3 young children hidden quietly away somewhere, A.Ma.Zing. But I wasn't surprised; this is my 3rd transaction in as many years with these wonderful people. I'm honored to be rep'ing their home.

June 10, 2010

Toast + Tribute to Morgan on His Wedding Day - June 10, 2009


IMG_1609[1]

My brother Morgan and I are separated in age by slightly less than 3 ½ years. By adult life standards, that’s practically the same age. Growing up, however, that span of time created a hierarchy in our brotherhood/bunkmate arrangement of which Morgan assumed the lead role.

I recall the EARLY mornings where I would awake to find Morgan perched on my bed in the room that we shared. He was looming over me- incessantly requesting my assistance with his paper route that day. It wasn’t actually help that he desired. It was companionship. I eventually gave in… most of the time.

Back in those days, paperboys had to do their own subscription fee collections- a bona fide nightmare for an introverted people pleaser like my brother. So what would he do? Drag me along. Not for muscle, but for companionship.

I knew that at the end of that abhorrent task we would go and blow the loot on video games at Alpha Beta or Appetito’s. We shared a compulsion for those “Machines” as our grandpa would call them. “Now don’t go and put all of this in The Machines!” He would admonish us anytime he handed out a little pocket change. But boy did we. All of that and then some. Personally, I enjoyed the games that pitted us against each other, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, etc. On the screen our size and strength was evened up. So I could beat him pretty much all of the time. He was frustrated and would gesture physical retaliation. But I couldn’t help it. I was compelled to beat him to assert myself- even if there was some potential harm on the horizon.

And those who know Morgan well know that he also finds it very important to fiercely, albeit quietly, assert his own values in the face of potential adversity. While many of us might not relate always to his means and methods, we can recognize his passion. And his loyalty. And his strong sense of honor. In fact, the rest of should be so lucky as to emulate his commitment to family and friends. Many people say “There is nothing more important than family,” but Morgan walks the walk. He is as empathic and supportive as one can be with never a foul word to say about anyone. I believe that people often give gifts they would cherish in the own lives. And for those of us fortunate enough to recognize and accept it- Morgan’s companionship is his greatest gift.

morgan6

IMG_1660[1]

In closing, I want to say to Mrs. Kasha Strub, thank you for accepting Morgan for all that he is. In good times and in bad. In sickness and in health. God bless you both. We love you. Salud!

[I read the speech from a pdf stored on my phone.]

June 9, 2010

WARNING :: Phishing Email [NOT] From IRS

From: Internal Revenue Service
Date: Jun 9, 2010 4:39 PM
Subject: Notice of Underreported Income

Taxpayer ID: 00000143073750US
Tax Type: INCOME TAX
Issue: Unreported/Underreported Income (Fraud Application)

Please review your tax statement on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website (click on the link below):

review tax statement for taxpayer id: 00000143073750US

Internal Revenue Service

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As a business owner, seeing anything with the letters IRS on it causes my heart to flutter just a bit. Add the words "issue" or "Underreported Income" or "Fraud" and suffice it to say I'm not a kid at Christmas.

However, I consider myself to be a pretty internet savvy, intuitive guy- so after getting over the initial shock of the email header I quickly digested the info and recognized some serious tells on this lame Phishing attempt. I'll spare you a run down of my sleuthing skills and instead just remind you to beware of this crap. It's super easy to fact check suspicious stuff like this. For example, I simply copy/pasted the "Taxpayer ID" number into a Google search. I got 57 results like this one.

If this post helps save just one poor hard drive, it has all been worth it.

Happy surfing, everyone. Watch out for sharks.

June 8, 2010

Austin Market Stats :: Week Ending June 5

Properties For Sale:
[compared to the same week in 2009]

New listings + 12.79%.

Pendings - 35.87%
Solds - 3.938%

Average Prices:

[compared to the same week in 2009]
Sold average sales prices + 0.63% to $270,054.
In 2009 it was $268,368.

Austin had 11,480 active listings during the same week in 2009.
Today there is 12,948 active listings!
That is + 12.79% from last year.

June 7, 2010

Dismiss What Insults Your Soul

"Re-examine all you have been told.
Dismiss what insults your Soul."

~ Walt Whitman

"Booyah."

~ Mark Strüb

June 4, 2010

COMING SOON :: überCute two/two in HYDE PARK area :: $249k

Get a jump on the competition and schedule a tour with me before it hits the MLS!
  • Lee Elementary
  • walk to a dozen or more local eateries
  • multiple coffee spots
  • mere blocks from HEBabe and 24 Hour Fitness UT Edition
  • UT shuttle + Metro stops galore

This home is an awesome opportunity to get your toes into the HYDE PARK AREA area at a great price. Email, call or come by my office to see more photos and talk about the special price readers of this blog can claim. That's right, you heard it here. It pays to whittle away your time on the internet!