February 22, 2009: La Condesa and “Out and About”
      Last night, the media and VIP preview party at new Mexico City-inspired dining hotspot La Condesa brought out all the pretty people.  The new chic restaurant on West Second Street was packed to the two-story rafters with folks, all sipping incredible hand-crafted cocktails.  After lusting after the watermelon martini that I kept seeing go by in other hands, I settled on a terrific margarita and admired the great design of the space.
    After mingling with friends, we ditched the crowd and checked out the cellar - actually a dry storage space from the long-departed J.P. Schneider Store, which is now the home to Lamberts Downtown BBQ across the street (Lamberts chef-partner Larry McGuire is a co-owner of La Condesa).  The refitted space includes two private rooms that will definitely be hosting some exceptional private parties soon (we eaves-dropped on one being planned on the spot).
    Up the glass-enclosed stairway over the dining room, we found the soon-to-open Malverde bar.  The view is spectacular - along Second Street and past City Hall to the river.  The space is very comfortable, with low white leather sectionals and lots of room both inside and out for conversations.
     We missed a chance to taste any of the food - the waiters were swarmed the minute they set foot outside the kitchen - but the regular menu promised such exciting ingredients such as homemade wild boar chorizo.  We wanted to stick around for the presentation of the suckling pig, but the night wore on and we had other events to attend.
    This afternoon, we were honored to share a live chat on Michael Barnes “Out and About” blog with our friend Mark Erwin, who just launched the new social website StandardQuestion.com.  Check out the discussions about our respective sites at www.Austin360.com/outandabout.