It’s the first day of fall y’all! Officially my favorite time of year! Ok, maybe I’ve already told you that like five times but whatever. Fall also means that we can safely sit on patios and not worry too much that we might pass out from heat stroke, thus making it the perfect time to get out to your favorite restaurants. This list is a list of my current favorites. Some places are brand new and some places have been around for a while. Either way, these are the places that I find myself not only recommending to friends and out of towners but the places that BMW and I find ourselves heading out to again and again! We eat out for every meal during our travels so when we are in town we like to cook a lot but these are the spots that we will put on pants for and eat our hearts out at!
Every day I feel like I run into someone who is here in Austin for a bachelorette party or conference or one our of 82,459 festivals we host a year. So that means lots and lots of friends who need plenty of restaurants to chow down together at. Finding the perfect group dinner spot can be, um, how do I say this politely, very tricky. You’ve got to find the right mix of something everyone will eat with the right price and of course drinks. So here is my handy list of great restaurants in Austin for group dinners!
Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day! Ok maybe brunch is also up there because I’ll put an egg on just about anything, let’s be honest. When you’re running on empty after a crazy night out at SXSW or ACL or you know just a normal Tuesday in Austin, then you’re going to need a lot more than a green juice to get you up and at ’em. These are all of my favorite places for eggs, spicy noodles, and those things they call breakfast tacos!
If you’re anything like me, then chances are this week actually marks the start of all those healthy eating resolutions. Am I right? Since yesterday was probably the Mondayest Monday that ever Mondayed, you might already be sick of cooking. I mean I know I am a little and I actually like cooking most the time. So instead of totally sacking all your New Year’s Resolutions, how about we round up some great local restaurants where you can get a healthy meal, eh? These spots range from drive-thru (yes the exist!) to grocery stores to sit down places that are perfect for a lunch meeting or a good dinner.
There always seems to be a new spot opening up in Austin! Which college Natalie would have loved because my main complaint with Austin when I moved here back in 2004 was the almost complete lack of good restaurants. So needless to say, while sometimes it can be hard to keep up, I wouldn’t trade it for the past! While I will be gone for most of the holidays, I know a bunch of you will be in Austin, so here are 6 new spots to try out!
You guys! I have been traveling a bit the past few weeks and if you want to follow along check out my Instagram or better yet follow me on Snapchat (natalieparamore) for my day-to-day shenanigans and trying to figure things out overseas! All that is say that before I left for my travels, I did a lot of fun stuff back in Austin. And I’ve finally got a few extra hours to sit down and tell ya all about it!
First up, I was invited to try out the new happy hour food menu at The Townsend in downtown Austin. I had visited The Townsend before and it is such a beautiful space. It’s dark and feels like you’re sneaking off to your dad’s really fancy man cave that you’re not supposed to be in. The drinks are all superb and well crafted. It is the perfect place to sip a well made cocktail after a long day. But I’ll have you know that the food is certainly worth sticking around for!
If you’re around Austin, whether visiting or you live here, chances are you’ll want to take a jaunt out to the Hill Country for the gorgeous sunsets, to float the river and some serious R&R. I know I am always looking for an excuse to take a daytrip outside of town! If you stroll out to Wimberly, about a 45 minute drive from downtown Austin, you’ll find yourself nestled in the hills with some gorgeous restaurants and wineries. I had the chance to join a few of my friends for a mini road trip to check out Jobell Cafe & Bistro. The family run restaurant is serving up some of the freshest food in the Hill Country and sources from many local Austin vendors. It is the perfect place to try on your next trip!
I know you just want to put that whole pie in your face! I know you do because so do I! I had been hearing a lot about Unit D Pizzeria on Manor Road from two of my girlfriends who live over there. It was on my list to try after seeing a few Instagram pics pop up on my feed. Then luckily I got an invite to come to a media tasting! One good thing about media tastings, besides the free food of course, is that you get to try lots of different things on the menu and hear the whole story behind the place. I love telling stories and I love food, so this whole thing works out pretty well for me! Thanks for always being so awesome and listening patiently to all my stories. I know I have a bad habit of trailing off, using run on sentences, overusing the exclamation point like whoa and trying to make sense of things that, well, sometimes don’t.
In case you were wondering, yes the pizza is as good as it looks! It’s a small place nestled on Manor Road next to Dai Due and Sugar Mama’s. There’s no pretense involved here. Even the name, Unit D, comes from the actual name of the space, Unit D. The couple moved here from the Pac Northwest and were wanting a good pizza spot and decided to open their own right here in Austin after not being able to find something that really fit their tastes. I am a sucker for neopolitian pizza, so of course I loved it!
Hello and happy Friday! It’s starting off a gray day here in Austin for weekend #2 of ACL. If I’m being totally honest I love gray days! Maybe it’s because we get so much sunshine here that sometimes I like a little cloud cover haha. I like rainy days too, don’t hate on me too much mmmkay? This week has totally gotten away from me and I haven’t cooked much like I usually do but I have been a blending queen! And you want to know why? Because the amazing BMW got me a Vitamix for an early birthday present! Basically if it’s blendable then I have been blending it! Smoothies all day, errryday! Pesto? Duh. Thank goodness I have all those basil plants growing in the backyard! The addiction to the green sauce it’s getting real y’all. Might be high time to take some holiday orders or give you another recipe or two on how to make your own! What do you think?
Also, I’ve had some really fun meals this week that I wanted to share! The above? Well that would be yer Saturday brunch at Jacoby’s! I went with my friend last Saturday and had the best start to the weekend! The weather was a little crisper than this weekend but their patio is the perfect place for a mimosa or three. I brought my dog and we had a leisurely brunch that definitely has me hoping to get back there real soon. I had the ham schinitzel and we both loved the biscuits! So now that they have brunch Saturday and Sunday there twice as many chances for biscuits!
Liberty Kitchen in Austin is now closed.
ACL is descending down upon on us people! I’ve already seen them combing the streets the past few days. Them being the festies with their hair and tattoos and booties and backpacks and man buns. Oh wait, they probably just live here, haha. Anyways, every year all the social feeds are jammed with peace signs and best of lists. Where to eat, where to eat late night, where to drink, where to brunch, best late night shows…and so they go on and on. I thought about writing you a list but then I realized there are a bunch of people who have already written you a bunch of lists to follow. So instead, I decided to give you a peek into a restaurant thats opened up since this time last year. They also get a big fat high five for serving up a large comfort food brunch on Saturday AND Sunday with lots of boozy drinks. Whether you are partaking in the festival or not, I would definitely recommend this Houston transplant restaurant for lunch or dinner too any time of the year!
I was lucky enough to snag an invite to a media preview of Emmer & Rye last night! Although the doors aren’t open quite yet, they are hoping for an October opening, that didn’t stop their team of chefs from delivering a delicious tasting of what is to come! I am thrilled at the thought of having more upscale eats on Rainey Street, truly making it a destination dining spot in downtown Austin. Of course, we all know how much I love and adore carbs, so I am excited and impressed with how Chef Kevin Fink and team are incorporating grains into the menu in what could be the height of anti-gluten cuisine. Can we start #BringBackGluten? I wouldn’t be mad about that! Anyways, scroll on for lots of food porn and my write-up for Austin Food Magazine!
I still can’t get over these pictures! How gorgeous is the scenery in Antigua? I mean just look! This summer I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit Antigua courtesy of Visit Antigua and Barbuda. Beyond the beaches, mountains and jungle, the people of Antigua were so kind and friendly, I felt right at home within minutes of deboarding the plane. I was visiting for the Mango and Pineapple Culinary Festival that takes place in Antigua every summer. Mangoes are one of the major fruits grown and sold in Antigua. Unlike the mangoes we get here in the States, Antigua is home to many different varieties! Like purple mangoes, I didn’t even know those existed! Plus the mangoes in Antigua are so much sweeter and bigger! Think mangoes the size of my head, seriously, see below for photographic evidence!
I’ve written a lot about mangoes in the past for the National Mango Board, so I was very excited to see where the mangoes are grown and how locals use them in their daily cooking! On the trip we got to meet with lots of local chefs and mixologists, visit several restaurants and even attend a cooking class in the home of a chef! It made for such a wonderful trip! I even talked about it so much on Instagram that one of my engaged friends even booked their honeymoon there this fall! Get ready for lots of photos and my guide of what to do, where to stay and most importantly what to eat on the island!
I am totally wishing (hoping, planning and praying) that I was in Chicago this weekend! Seriously! I went to UT so my social media feeds are littered with friends who made the trip up there this weekend to watch the UT/Notre Dame game. College football season evokes a lot of nostalgic feelings for me. Back when I was in college (OMG I sound old haha) the Longhorns played some seriously good football. Like National Championship worthy football. Needless to say I spent many a fall Saturday planning my life around college football. Hook ’em forever!
I am not in Chicago this weekend, but I am still dreaming about my meal at Dove’s Luncheonette. Friends: if you are in Chicago you must go here! Seriously, do it. Go right now! It’s the ultimate in diner food. Think top notch ingredients cooked to perfection with nice kick of heat plus great cocktails and some scrumptious sweets to boot! It’s perfect for curing that Saturday morning hangover, or lunch, or late night after the game, or Wednesday, or… or you get the point! It’s great anytime!
For those of you who follow along on Instagram, then you already know that I completed the McGuire Moorman Burger Challenge! Whew, it was a doozy, but lots of fun. The gist of the challenge was to have participants eat burgers from all six McGuire Moorman restaurants during the month of August. Why? Probably because August is typically a pretty slow month in Austin. Between the heat and back-to-school stuff, most people aren’t eating out as much as normal. If you ate all six burgers during the month, then you got a $50 gift certificate to one of their restaurants of your choosing and a t-shirt. If you ate all six burgers in a week, then you earned a $250 gift card to one of their restaurants of your choosing and a hat. I thought it was a really fun marketing ploy, and to be honest, a lot of these places are some of my favorite restaurants that I frequent quiet often. I probably would have participated in the challenge even if there weren’t a prize, just because I love burgers and their restaurants so much.
So I grabbed two of my blogger friends, Kristy from 365 Things to Do in Austin and Jane from A Taste of Koko and saddled up for some fast and furious burger eating! Our goal was to devour all six burgers in seven days. I made the reservations and we were off! But first, The Beef.
Y’all this summer is flying by! Serioulsy why is there all this talk of Back to School and fall? Here in Austin we’ve just really hit our stride with oppresively hot weather and humidty that’ll make your head spin. I just got back from Denver this weekend and it was really hot there too. So I guess if you have kids then you’re about to get into the fall swing, but for the rest of us, there is still plenty of summer to enjoy!
I say summer because when its hot my eating habits change a bit. I lean away from the heavy pastas (which I love, love, love) and more towards fresher fare, which often includes lots of ceviche, oysters and my newest love: fish dip! What! Yeah. I know. I don’t why someone, sometime decided to call this wonderful dish with such a name. Fish dip doesn’t really sound that appealing to me, if I am being totally honest, like I am right now. In fact, I passed right over it on the menu at Monger’s Market + Kitchen. It wasn’t until my friend ordered it and it appeared at the table did I become interested. I thought it would be some kind of minced fish from a can of questionable circumstances. But instead arrived a fresh little creation of smoked fish decorated with pickled fresno chiles. It totally changed my mind about fish dip!
Italic Austin is opening this week! Hooray! Finally more italian food in Austin, not to mention it is from ELM Group, who is responsible for some of my favorite bread in town, i.e. Easy Tiger. So an addition of an Italian restaurant seems like a natural fit for the group. I was so excited to get an invite to their media night last week for a sneak peek at the menu and the gorgeous mid-century modern space. The restaurant is tucked in the McGarrah Jessee building right next to one of my favorite bars in town Garage. Hello date night!
In no particular order, these are my favorite brunch spots around town! From patios and mimosas to queso and burgers, these are the spots me and my local Austinite friends find ourselves returning to weekend after weekend! As exampled by my Instagram feed, these are the spots you can kick back and dive into. If you’re looking to brunch like a local this SXSW, here are my favorite spots! Don’t forget to check out the hashtag #ATXBestEats for more food pics from local bloggers.
Ok lets starting talking about how I can’t stop talking about Kimchi Fries from Chi’Lantro BBQ. Like OMG can’t stop, won’t stop. But seriously. These may be on the top ten things I’ve ever put in my mouth, for reals. These salty, bbq-y, kimchi-y, so savory you’ll be dreaming about them for weeks, fries are tastebud changing. These things definitely Chi’Lantro on the foodie map in Austin. They started from humble beginnings, a guy and his food truck trying to navigate the way through the ATX hipster food scene in the biggest rise in food trucks since, ever? I mean how many food trucks do you that have their own Wikipedia page? These guys are legit, not to mention they have several accolades from everyone from Food Network to being featured at ACL. And there is a reason, because they are that good.
Cheers to fall menus! And fall cocktails! Hooray for my favorite time of the year. Not to mention celebrating many life changes, like my new job! I am still working with one of my favorite restaurants, Swift’s Attic, doing their public relations and marketing, but I have been loving the change and having a bit more time for myself. I read recently that fall is the beginning of a new year in many ways, especially those who run on physical year calendars. Everything starts afresh in the fall. The changing colors, flavors and lifestyles. I am relishing in the freshness fall brings, especially in Austin. The summer heat can be mind numbing and the sweat is just… gross. I’ve been working out early in the mornings at Auditorium Shores and the crisp morning air and sunrise over the city has to be one the best ways to start any morning. Goodbye summer doldrums, hello gorgeous fall leaves!
In case you were as unaware as I was, this is in fact #CowWeek. At least according to Modern Farmer magazine. Which happens to be on of my favorite publications. So I decided it was finally time to share the photos from one of my quick trips this summer. This one was a day trip from Austin to Melvin, TX and back with a bunch of media friends for my client Jacoby’s. Which if you haven’t already, you should totally go check out Jacoby’s for the patio alone. Scroll to the end of the post for some killer views. BUT back to cows. Melvin, TX is about 2 hours north-west-ish from Austin. More west than north. You might pass through if you were going hunting or maybe on a trip to West Texas. Out in Melvin. there is an amazing family, The Jacoby’s, who are doing some really cool stuff with ranching, cattle, feed and oh, yes they have this wonderful cafe. The whole premise of this, is that from this family and little town, came Adam Jacoby, who just opened his own version of Jacoby’s in Austin. Since a lot of you will hopefully make it to Jacoby’s in Austin, I thought I would share some of Melvin with you. First stop on the day trip was the cafe for some lunch.
Happy Thursday! And you know what that means, happy hour! Heck yeah, it’s almost the weekend and definitely time to start thinking (if you haven’t already) about libations. One of my recent happy hour discoveries was at TRACE at The W Hotel in Austin. First off, I am huge fan of the Living Room. Great place to chill out, perfect party vibe and also a great place to clean out your wallet. BUT their neighbors next door at TRACE have a little different story, as in happy hour everyday. EVERYDAY. Happy hour on a Saturday afternoon? Why wouldn’t you? Exactly. They have crafted cocktails like this Jalapeno and Cucumber Lemonade, which was one of my favorites of the evening. The lovely people at TRACE invited the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance members in to try some of the specials during our monthly happy hour gatherings. If you want to check out more blogger happy hour goodness, follow the hashtag #AFBAHH on instagram and twitter.
I’ve been slowly getting all the photos from my recent trip to Florida ready for you. They were just so pretty and I wanted to make sure that they looked as good on here as they did in my mind. So whenever a picture doesn’t come out quite like I remember it, I will fret and analyze and try to tweak it into perfection. Luckily, the photos from Khong River House turned out, well, really pretty! During my trip to Miami we were able to sneak out of the hotel and off to a wonderful dinner at Khong River House. It is an Asian fusion restaurant that is owned by the same people who do Yardbird, which is high on my list for my next trip to Miami. Khong River has a gorgeous bar that produces gems of cocktails like these.
So, I am a little behind on this post. Like maybe three months or something. Oops. But here goes… continuing with my chicken theme, I checked out Gus’s a few months ago right about the time that it opened. I had heard quite a bit about this place, since I have so many Tennessee friends that always rave about it (Gus’s hails from Memphis). I was somewhat skeptical, you know, lots of times when you try to recreate the original, some of the magic gets lost. For example, the place was little, ugh, too clean, for lack of a better descriptor. I dont know how a restaurant can be too clean, but the you know, I wanted some more scuffs on the floor and fried chicken scent leeching from the walls. Needless to say, those things will come with time. The food however, was right on the mark. That part did not get lost in translation. Super fried crispy skin? Check. Hot and juicy meat? You got it. Served up cafeteria style, we dug in face first. This is how everything was served.
Even I, the uber tomato hater, got into these crispy fried green tomatoes. I mean you’ve gotta have ’em at southern place, right? The fried pickles were more up to my personal tastes.
The pecan pie. Yes. The answer is always yes. Want more Gus’s Fried Chicken? Hop over to this review on from The Austin Chronicle.
Happy opening day to La V! I was lucky enough to score an invite to their friends and family night last weekend and am excited to share a few photos with you! Bare with me, these were taken in hast on my iphone, but it will give you an idea. Besides, once you go and try it out, you’ll understand why I to dove right into these gorgeous plates. Oh and I should mention that this is one of the most decadently gorgeous restaurants in Austin. Every little detail is perfect. There is a chilled private wine room that you can reserve. There are light blue velvet booths, large glass bulbs adorn the wine room ceiling and a feeling of luxurious comfort exudes from every crevice. I felt like I was in my very stylish and very rich grandmother’s living room. And my grandma has got some good style! The worst part about the night? Leaving, because this is the kind of place where you really don’t want dinner to ever end. Take note though fair readers, they are booked solid through April in the dining room, but the wine bar and patio which both serve the full menu are walk-in. The wine bar list is extensive and the menu is straight forward… now onto the photos!
(Image via Facebook)
Summary: In true Austin fashion, you’d never know that this trailer was starter by a chef hailing from a Michelin Start restaurant. Expect exceptional coffee, biscuits and sandwiches. Enjoy these on the patio surrounding the trailer. They may be the only trailer in town that takes reservations for brunch, be sure not to miss this one!
What to Order:
Eat: BLT Egg Sandwich, Chorizo Benedict, Parmesan Grits
- Address: 2921 E. 17th Street Bldg. A, Austin, TX 78702
- Phone number: 619-200-9888
- Hours of Operation:Wed-Fri 9am- 3pm, Sat- Sun 11am- 3pm
- Takes reservations: Yes on Sundays for brunch, all other times walk-up service
- WiFi: No
- Website: King & Country Food Co.
Summary: This Eastside eatery is the brainchild of Rainey Street Queen Bridget Dunlap. Mettle has a bistro-inspired menu and is open for lunch, dinner and brunch. Chic glass, metal and wood design bring an industrious feel to the space. Modern cuisine and stiff drinks (she does own a lot of bars!) make this place a must try.
What to order:
Drink: Siamese Caipirinha, Tru Romance
Eat: Beef Tongue Tacos, Scallop Crudo, Pan Roasted Quail
- Address: 507 Calles Street Austin, TX 78702
- Phone number: 512.236.1022
- Hours of Operation:
- Takes reservations: Yes
- WiFi: Yes
- Website: www.mettleaustin.com
Rainey Street is always bustling during SXSW and thankfully this year we have NO VA Kitchen & Bar as an actual restaurant to dine at! Rainey Street keeps it pretty casual in general with all the trailers, which I love, but I am happy to have a place where I can grab a cocktail and some serious mac ‘n cheese, even into the wee morning hours. The atmosphere is clean and modern, a little isle of respite amidst hispter central.
Elizabeth Street Cafe is undoubtedly my favorite spot in Austin. The bright and cheery space is somewhere I frequent about once a week. I am excited to share with you again a few of the dishes I order most! Not mentioned in the post below is their fantastic happy hour. My go-tos are the carpaccio and escargots, the octopus salad is a great option too. Elizabeth Street Cafe also serves up one of my favorite iced-Vietnamese coffees!
Summary: It’s all in the details at the French Vietnamese fusion restaurant. The Maguire Moorman group puts it’s signature details in this South First Street hotspot. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, come for the noodles and stay for the cocktails. Dog-friendly patio.
What to Order:
- Eat: Shrimp & Avocado Spring Rolls, Chicken Meatball Pho, Singapore Noodles
- Drink: Shady Blonde Punch, Iced Vietnamese Coffee
- Address: 1501 South 1st Street, Austin, TX 78704
- Phone number: 512-291-2881
- Hours of Operation: Everyday 8am- late
- Takes reservations: Only for parties of 8-12
- WiFi: Yes
- Website: www.elizabethstreetcafe.com
Start with the Shady Blonde sake punch. effervescent grapefruit and thyme, this punch is a perfect way to cool down on the patio. If you are looking for something with more of a kick, try the Red Dragon for spice.
The Shrimp and Avocado spring rolls are a crowd pleaser and something everyone can agree on. The tofu spring rolls are a great options as well. The white vinegar and spicy green sauce are my favorite ways to top these spring rolls.
The Beef Short Rib Bun is one of my favorites on the menu! I love to order this cold noodle salad during the steamy hot summers. Packed with tons of fresh veggies and herbs, this is lovely for lunch.
The Chicken Meatball Pho is pipping hot and ready for slurping. I like to add bok choy to mine! This is definitely large enough to share… or maybe not 😉
These spicy noodles are what keep me coming back again and again. The Singapore Noodles are also served on the breakfast menu topped with fried eggs. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Spicy, golden noodles, who knew they would be what I crave every Sunday morning!?!
I like to end my meal at Elizabeth Street Cafe with a Vietnamese coffee. You can get this over ice for the hot days.
Creamy, delicious goodness!
If you’ve been around me lately, you’ve know I’ve been spending a lot of time on Rainey Street working with the awesome team at NO VA Kitchen & Bar. The question is, have you been over to try it? They just got a new fall inspired menu and started serving brunch. Hello my favorite meal! So I wanted to share with you all some of the gorgeous food that Chef Brad + team are serving up a NO VA. Plus, did I mention the cocktails are hella, wicked strong? Yeah, they really are. Which makes taking these photos all the more fun. Now, after writing this I really need that Bacon & Eggs Pasta, like right meow.
First up, cocktails:
Ode to Trejo
Hello mezcal! This old fashion packs a punch, as the cider ice cubes melts down the entire flavor profile changes. Two drinks in one!
You had me at Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee. I think I’d like this served affogato style for dessert!
I was hooked on this creamy coconut milk, ginger dressing. Yes, just yes.
Eggs & Mushrooms
Nothing like a little breakfast for dinner. Slow poached eggs and thinly sliced mushrooms.
Grilled Pizza- Kale Pesto and Poached Potatoes
You’ll find this on the bar menu, but it is definitely a winner. And that house made srircha like hot sauce has me drooling.
House Made Hot Wings
You can only get these babies on select Wednesday nights, so look for the specials. They run out fast, and my oh my can I see why, 24-hours is how they spending marinating in the house hot sauce and mustard. Gimme right now.
Lemongrass Panna Cotta and Fruit Loop Cereal Milk
Cereal Milk desserts are here to stay yall. This bowl of creamy deliciousness will take you right back to Saturday mornings watching cartoons.
Get it now.
Ok, maybe on Sunday since that’s the only day they serve it.
Creamy and cool, perfect for easing into a Sunday.
Sweet Potato Hash
House hollandaise and perfectly poached eggs, a must try.
Savory French Toast Bread Pudding
Comes with house sausage on the side. Needs no more explanation.
Bacon and Eggs Pasta
The cure to everything that ails you. Salty, comforting, egg-y goodness. Exactly what I’ve been waiting for my whole life, combing my love for carbs with my love for brunch:
That is the note I am ending this on. Be sure to check out NO VA and tell ’em Natalie sent ya.
I couldn’t help but notice the new trailer on my drive to work. For the past few weeks Brü has been serving up fresh coffee and flavorful granitas on south 1st street. Located in the same food truck park as Little Thai Food, it is a great little space. All of the syrups are handmade by the owner herself, they are also all vegan. Today’s special is Hibiscus Lemonade, you can keep up with the all the daily specials via Brü’s Twitter @BruAustin.
The day I stopped by it was boiling over century mark, so I opted for an iced coffee which was extra strong and helped me power through a melting afternoon. I sampled the daily granita, which was orange spice. More like a dessert than coffee to me, I will be back to try out another flavor soon.
Barton Springs Neighborhood Food Court had it’s grand opening this past weekend. Located at 415 Jessie Street, this round up of food trucks sits right behind Thom’s Market. Which is an excellent location because this food court is BYOB, so grab a six-pack or a bottle of vino and head on over! Plus, you can add this spot to your dog-friendly places. Perfect place to stop in your way to Zilker Park. Be sure and check this place out before it gets slammed by ACL festies. The proprietor Scott Angle, who also doubles as lead in his band The Cold Cold Hearts, says they will have TV’s just in time for football season. I was lucky enough to get invited to a tasting, and by tasting I mean stuffing, and wanted to share with you about Austin’s newest food truck eatery. I have to admit, I was skeptical about the mac ‘n cheese hot dog, but it wound up being one of my favorites of the night.
Mister Fruit Cup strutted their stuff with tiny little fruit cups. Authentic mexican spices on fruit give these a little kick. And the Very Berry with balsamic vinegar was an excellent contrast. Mister Fruit is
available for catering and fundraisers.
The pizza from Southside Flying Pizza are actually made right in the food truck, which has all of the same equipment as their actual kitchen. So you know these pies are super fresh and hot. Their beast of trailer was dragged, it’s 30 feet long yall, was dragged here all the way from the piney woods outside Shreveport, LA. Stop by for favorites like Feta, Jalapeno and Pineapple. And never fear, my wheat hating friends, they do indeed have a gluten-free crust that doesn’t suck.
These wings are hand-cut so that you don’t have to look like a hot mess eating them. This team of brothers is headed up by a chef who is testing his skills in the food truck market. Best of all this technique means the wings spend less time in the fryer, saving the flavor. My favorite was the Sweet Chili.
This might be the first time I can honestly say I’ve eaten Cheez Whiz since an awkward sleepover in the 4th grade. Way South Philly is doing something right because they have their baguettes shipped in fresh everyday from Philadelphia. Crazy or dedicated? You decide, but the baguettes did have that perfect texture between a crisp crust and chewy inside. Umm also of note, every server at Way South Philly is an ordained minister. No joke, you can hitched here, what a bargain!
This little piece of magic is from Wholly Kabob. Fact: The owner travels once a year to Morocco, rides a donkey for three days up the side of a mountain to buy saffron from an old sage who grinds it by hand. This stuff is worth more per ounce than gold y’all. I felt very honored to have tried some of this precious saffron. Wholly Kabob topped my list of favorites for the evening. Plus, Austin is in desperate need for more authentic middle eastern food, dontcha think?
Despite the blazing temperatures, I finally checked out Yellow Jacket Social Club. It has a nice big shady patio with long wooden picnic tables. It’s dog friendly too! In fact, Austin Pets Alive! was set up there with lots of furry friends on this particular Sunday morning. Between the shade and the misters, we actually didn’t get too terribly hot until about 1pm. I think this place will be stellar come cooler temperatures.
Sunday morning, this sign really spoke to us.
Baugette, soft butter, fruity jam…I’m in!
Deviled Eggs=Yes. They come in orders of three. Good flavor, not too mayonnaise-y. Not spicy.
This is what I really came for: The Mister. I’m on a mission to try out all the Croque Madams in town. I have a few more on my list to try, but I’m taking recommendations. I really liked this one. And so did everyone who ordered it. It’s quite heavy, but very delicious. Definitely split this, unless you’re planning to stuff yourself like a sumo wrestler. Which I’ve done on many an occasion, no judgement here. The shrimp and grits also grabbed my attention and warrants a second trip.
It’s no secret that I love a stiff cocktail. It’s also not a secret that I love to imbibe over happy hour with friends. Or on weekends or at brunch or basically whenever I can. So here is a round up of where and what I’ve been indulging in this summer! So of them are newbies and some of them I’ve mentioned before, but if I mention something twice, it’s because I really reallylike it. Cheers!
Sake Bombs at Maiko Sushi. Is Maiko making a comeback? Or did it never really go away? I’m not sure but I’ve been invited to what seems like an endless list of group dinners there lately and thus have consumed more than my fair share of $2 sake bombs.
Rosemary’s Piglet from Salty Sow is soooooooo delicious. I wouldn’t talk about it if it wasnt. I love the combo of sweet bubbles and fragrant rosemary. Herb ice cubes… so hot right now.
Prickly Pear Margarita at Maudie’s. I’m there all the time for brunch before heading to the lake, and this beverage is my go-to. Not only is it super cool and refreshing, it’s a really eye catching drink!
PS- Rumor has it they are turning the upper level dance party into a patio? Please tell me no…
And if all that drinking has left you feeling a little sluggish, head to the nearest Bloody Mary bar for a dose of hair of the dog. This one is from Stubb’s Gospel Brunch. You can cure a lot of things at once at that brunch. Can I get an Amen?!
Where are your favorite drinks this summer?
It’s only the best brunch you forgot about in Austin! This little Italian corner spot is serving up $1 mimosas and bellinis for weekend brunch! Scuuurrrewhat? Yeah! And the food is excellent. They even got smart and closed off the patio and brought in an AC unit. Make the most of that space, love it! If you’ve been busy bouncing around new spots or your local favs, add Taverna back to your list!
We downed several rounds of bellinis and mimosas too fast to grab pics, but here are our food highlights!
What’s your fav brunch spots in Austin??
This weekend I drove up to D-town for a belated Father’s Day visit. I went to the Ranger game with my dad and sister. Sadly they lost, but I hadn’t been to a Ranger game in years so it was still super fun! After a long drive back on Sunday, I was ready to take it easy and grab dinner with with a friend. After an unexpected cool front, and by cool I mean a balmy 92 degrees at 8pm, we grabbed a table outside at Opa!. I’ve been to Opa! before but hadn’t had a chance to write about it!
I decided on the Baked Feta. Technically it’s an appetizer, but I ate it as my meal and I don’t regret one single morsel. So delicious. Only thing I’ll do different next time is get a side of kalamata olives.
There’s lots of new spots popping up on West 6th recently. I went with a few friends to check out Benji’s Cantina . The atmosphere is bustling and you’re sure to run into a friend or five while you’re there. It’s upscale Mexican cuisine that doesn’t feel fussy. The restaurant has some serious square footage and the rooftop is quite large as well, with two bars and full-service dining. Don’t let the white table cloths fool you, come here ready to grub. I would definitely recommend getting a reservation for the next weeks (months) so you don’t have to wait a terribly long time.
Chile en Nogada is a poblano stuffed with Picadillo, apples and almonds all in a pecan creama. This dish was the most surprising and definitely makes my top five chile relleno list. It’s right up there with the butternut squash chile relleno from La Condesa.
These are the famous $45 fajitas you’ve been hearing about. I must say the Premium Beef Tenderloin fajitas were some of the best I’ve had. Think tender steakhouse meat served fajita style. You could put all the strips back together and you’d have one heck of a steak. Plenty enough to share and well worth the splurge.
Growing up in Texas, I’ve had my fair share of sopapilla cheesecakes, but this one is the first one served cobbler style. I loved it! And this coming from someone who usually turns down dessert. A must try.
Before the rains last week, I tried out La Barbecue for lunch. This place gets quite the line, so be prepared. On a happy note the serve free keg beer during lunch on Fridays and there’s a live band which makes the wait inevitably better! There’s picnic tables and you can bring your dog. They have big galvanized ice bucket full of bottled sodas to wash down your barbecue.
I went with The El Sancho and got it loco. Perfect way to try all the meats! Warning: things got messy. Get extra napkins. You can load up your tray with peppers, pickles an onions when you check out. There are no plates, so you’ll be kickin’ it old school and eating off the tray. There are only so many picnic tables, so you’ll get to know your neighbors. At Friday lunch there was a good crowd of families, business-y looking guys, and regular Austinites.
Slaw and found it mildly addicting, quite peppery, but I liked it.
For those of you barbecue traditionalist, the brisket is pretty melt in your mouth. The sauces were pretty watery, but flavorful. If you’re not into sauces, not a problem for you as the meat is really great on its own.
Overall, I’m glad to have a great BBQ place close that’s delicious and not too over hyped.
For a full menu and hours, check out their website here .
Have you been to La Barbecue? What’s your favorite thing?
I feel like I need to walk around with a sign that reads: “Will travel for food”, like seriously. Traveling and food are my two loves. Well besides my love bug Mimi of course. I think I’m so in love with travel and food because I’m obsessed with trying new things. I love adventure and the feeling that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I get this feeling stresses some people out, but I thrive under that stress. I love meeting new people. I love it when someone tells me something I’ve never heard before. I rarely make the same thing twice because I’m always ready to try something new.
This weekend I went to San Francisco, which I happen to think is a very magical place. I mean what else could you ask for? Crazy city, lots of different people from all over the world, throw in an ocean and some of the best restaurants in the world… well, let me just make myself at home.
After several visits this year, I finally got around to trying The Slanted Door . Nestled right in the Ferry Building, it’s a gorgeous location on what was a sunshine-y Friday.
It was bustling, but we were able to snag a table right away at around 1pm.
My favorite was the Spicy Monterey Squid. Ahhhhhmazing. Perfectly spiced, light and refreshing. I’ve come to love stir-fry squid. We even got our non-adventurous foodie friend to try the squid and she loved it! Victory all around!
I’ve been up to a lot of fun things lately, including assisting on my first ever professional food photoshoot! I had the pleasure of assisting Melissa Skorpil, of Skorpil Photography, on a shoot for Austin Restaurant Week. We shot at TRIO at the Four Seasons.
I had so much fun learning all of Melissa’s tips for taking the perfect food photo. If you want to learn more, Melissa is hosting food photography classes at Precision Camera .
And for dessert…
A big thanks to Melissa and Austin Restaurant Week for letting me assist. I had a blast! If you want to see all of Melissa’s stunning Austin Restaurant Week photos, click here.
What restaurants are you hoping to check out for Austin Restaurant Week?
Who else is up to their eyeballs with SXSW madness? It’s an exciting time to be in Austin… although the traffic alone will give anyone a headache. No worries here though, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite cocktails in town to help you let loose and enjoy the ride!
The Devil’s Bowtie from Papi Tino’s . I love the heat and sweet of this drink. Be sure to stop by after you make the rounds at FaderFort.
If you want to chill out a little, take a walk around Town Lake then head to the amazing patio at Paggi House. I love this Basil Chili Pepper Margarita!
Don’t forget to check all the amazing eats on Austin’s ever popular South 1st Street. Cool down with a Shady Blonde at Elizabeth Street Cafe . It’s only my favorite restaurant in town!
For the ultimate in Tex-Mex, go to Maudie’s and grab a Prickly Pear margarita. The bright fuchsia color of the cactus flower packs a punch in this
marg! Order a bowl of the Diablo Sol queso. You won’t regret it.
If all the SXSW activities leave you with a hangover, get over to Hillside Farmacy for this Wasabi Bloody Mary. Hair of the Dog y’all.
Happy SXSW! Hope to see you all out and about over the next 10 days!
I was lucky enough to sit down with Sarah McIntosh, the owner and chef of one of Austin’s newest restaurants, épicerie.
Épicerie, which means grocery in French, is a neighborhood cafe and grocery nestled across the street from Fonda San Miguel in Austin. You’ll find a simple and delicious cafe menu that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not to mention Blue Bottle Coffee, and a host of local and imported select beers and wines. You can pick up fresh cuts of cheeses, meats and other speciality goods at épicerie.
(Photo credit Steven Rudd)
She is effortlessly wonderful, and you can catch her smile shining across the room. Sarah left Louisiana State University to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin. From there she completed an externship at Bouchon Bakery in Napa. Once back in Austin, Sarah worked at several restaurants, but was most notably a sous chef at the highly regarded Olivia. It was at Olivia that Sarah decided to open her own restaurant. After a lot of brainstorming and back and forth with mentors, épicerie was born.
Sarah’s story is quite inspiring, and she let me pick her brain with a few questions about her experiences.
When did you start cooking?
With my mom as a teenager. My grandparents on my mom’s side are cattle farmers, so I grew up eating things like cow tongue. I didn’t realize other people didn’t eat that!
Why did you want to start your own restaurant?
While I was at Olivia, I realized that I was circling at the top of the game in Austin. If you don’t own your own restaurant then the best you can be is a chef at somebody else’s restaurant. So, I decided to do my own restaurant.
What was the biggest obstacle to opening épicerie?
Finding the right space. It’s hard because you start to envision your dream in a certain space, but then you run into issues with the city or with the outdoor seating space. Sometimes those things you really want don’t work in a particular space.
The scariest part of having your own restaurant is being vulnerable and putting, essentially, your art out there. Putting your dish out there and hoping people will like it.
What are your favorite Austin restaurants?
Uchi. Barley Swine, Contigo, Kome. I really like sushi. I like food that I really know nothing about. I’ve never worked in a sushi restaurant.
What’s your favorite city?
What drew you to Austin?
I came for culinary school, but then I came back for my now husband. We were on and off, and I wasn’t involved in a lot around the city. It took a while, but now Austin feels like home. As you meet more people, your circle expands. I used to hear about the big wigs downtown opening a new restaurant. Now, I’m on a first name basis with those people, and they are eating in my restaurant.
Will épicerie have a brother or a sister?
Yes. Probably a brother.
If you weren’t doing épicerie, what would you be doing?
I don’t know– a housewife?
Haha, no… I would probably be doing something in a creative field. I really had a lot of fun designing this space.
What is the best thing about owning your own restaurant?
It’s nice to put your heart and soul into something and have people like it. There are always going to be people who won’t like it, but we have a lot of people that do. We have a lady who comes in about four times a week. To create something that people like and feel that comfortable coming back to feels really good.
Check out the menu and be sure to stop by épicerie soon!
I stopped byBlue Plate in Santa Monica, CA last weekend on a recent trip. It’s a fresh walk up cafe. It was bustling when we arrived. The host was friendly and took our phone number to call us when our table is ready. So a few friends and I strolled around and did a little shopping. Of course the weather was perfect for this, bright sunshine and a cool breeze.
And that my friends is a Mac n Cheese Pancake. Say what? Yeah, I said the same thing. I obviously had to try it to see what it was all about. It’s basically pancake batter mixed with shells and cheddar. It’s different. I think my tastebuds where confused, but at the same time I couldn’t quit eating it because I wanted to understand it. If it’s your first time to Blue Plate, I would give it a try simply for the novelty. However, next time I might order something else.
Blue Plate also makes all there own turkey sausage and patties. Which makes their food all the better.
If you love a good Cob Salad, this is where it’s at. I love salads, but they can easily be done poorly. This was perfect with super fresh produce and creamy blue cheese. Blue Plate also makes their own dressings, which is a total must for any good salad in my opinion.
If you’re ever in Santa Monica, be sure and stop by Blue Plate!
Last week I went to Winflo with a few friends. The place was packed on a Thursday night but we had a reservation and were seated promptly.
As we sat down, the owner stopped by to chat with us. He was bustling around with an apron on and his enthusiasm for the restaurant was contagious. We sat inside, but the patio looked amazing. The lighted tree makes for a great atmosphere outside. The inside decor was classic and comfortable. The Italian dishes are familiar and portions are large.
My favorite was the Cozze en Bianco, mussels in white wine sauce. They had a little spice to them which I really enjoyed. The Artichoke Fritti were delicious, and the Calamari came with a citrus aioli that tickled the tastebuds.
I think this would be a great spot for happy hour on the patio on a nice evening.
the video of my dinner at Winflo!
Have you been to Winflo? What do you think?
I’ve written about written about Hillside Farmacy before . It was great for lunch. This weekend I went back for brunch and I wanted to share a pics.
I also spied a delicious Christmas Eve special menu. If you’re in town, it’s worth a try!
Checkout Hillside Farmacy .
You’ve seen the giant neon lotus on S. 1st. You’ve been wondering what is going inside that dark, luscious exterior. You’ve heard the buzz.
It is a great atmosphere with community tables, so people are encouraged to chat it up with new people. Utensils and chopsticks are all centered on the table, so you have to ask your neighbor. There is also a great outside area, complete with lots of heaters, so don’t let the cold weather discourage you.
Sway only takes reservations for parties larger than eight, so come early or be prepared to wait. They serve beer, wine, saki and a bunch of fun non-alcoholic beverages like Kombucha. No liquor though.
Above is the Shu Mai. Crab and cuttlefish, it is delicious. Even though it looks a little like a sushi roll, it’s completely different.
We started off our dinner with Rosé and switched to beer and wine for our second round.
Sway is also open for lunch if you’re hoping for less crowds. I’ll be back soon to taste some more selections.
Who wants to come with me?!?
This weekend was such a treat! I got to spend lots of time with one of my good friends on her birthday. Don’t you just love that? I do. Even though it was her birthday, it practically felt like mine because I got to tag along for some amazing meals!
I love oysters but some how didn’t make it to clark’s oyster bar until now! I had to share with you all. The waitstaff is made up of daper ladies and gents whose uniforms perfectly match the atmosphere of the restaurant. Airy, clean, with a definite summer in the Hamptons vibe.
There’s an electric blue fish tank that adds a lot to look at the restaurant. Although the space is small, there is seating at the bar over looking the kitchen prep area, a long area of table and booth seating inside, and outdoor tables as well.
I ordered the Wood Grilled Shrimp Toast. Perfect for brunch or lunch I’d say. It’s basically an open faced sandwich. Chopped shrimp served up with light greens over thick sourdough toast. I ate every bite!
Caroline got the mussels and clams… The bowl was huge! They aren’t playing around here. This serving is big enough to share.
And a bubbly rosé? Don’t mind if I do! Happy birthday Caroline!
Have you eaten at clark’s? What’s your favorite thing so far?
There are a lot of great things at the corner of 42nd Street and Lamar. First of all, you can get great tacos AND great coffee. It is really a great thing. Of course having all that right across from your office is really hard to resist. So sometimes I give in. Like yesterday.
I tried the Guacasabi Tuna and the Akaushi Picadillo at Taco Deli. I loooove their Dona Sauce. I try not to smother my tacos in the green, creamy deliciousness, mainly because its so spicy that usually end up with a runny nose and teary eyes. And the tacos are really good all by themselves!
Right next door is Houndstooth Coffee. They serve up some great high quality brews and their staff is always super friendly and can answer pretty much any snobby coffee question you have. So don’t be afraid to ask!
And they are only open for dinner, but I highly recommend you all go and try Uchiko .
Have a fantastic Saturday!
Happy Friday everyone! This gorgeous weather is making me extra antsy to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Last Sunday at about this time, I was enjoying a delightful brunch in the garden room at The Waverly Inn. This cozy spot is nestled in the West Village in NYC. This celebrity hotspot has calmed down a little and real people can actually get a reservation. The inside of the restaurant is dark and warm. The garden room was light, and I sat next to maybe the cutest fireplace ever, adorned with stone laden forest creatures.
We ordered up Spicy Bloody Mary’s, which came packed with fresh horseradish. Like gets-stuck-in-the-straw-and-you-can’t-drink-it lots of horseradish. I loved it. My partner in crime wasn’t as thrilled about it.
House made sausage with polenta and a fried egg was delicious. The sausage is strong, almost like a chorizo. The omelette was packed with cheese, thick bacon and avocado. Bacon and avocado is one of my favorite flavor combinations.
They were not listed on the brunch menu, but the truffle fries are to die for! After reading several reviews, I knew to ask for them. The chef and waiter were so kind as to serve them up for us early on in the day. In my opinion they are a must order! Super crunchy on the outside and light on the inside, with just the perfect touch of truffle oil.
If you’re ever in the West Village, grab a reservation at the Waverly Inn.
Oh hello friends! I am currently writing this post from 30,000 feet. Did you all have a good Halloween weekend? Anyone try these Salted Caramel Apple Slices?
I was in San Francisco this past weekend and had brunch at this wonderful little place called Caffe DeLucchi. This place is a little street side cafe with super friendly staff. We got there early, which I recommend, it fills up fast. There are tables outside and you can bring your pup. The cafe is small and I would not recommend it for a large party. Perfect for a more intimate group.
I got the Polenta with Cajun Etouffe. It was thick and delicious. Lots of shrimp, sausage and okra, all over a huge serving of creamy polenta. I love polenta. Oh and there were some poached eggs too. Mmmm yum.
There was also a Ham and Cheddar Breakfast pizza involved. I am not the biggest ham fan, but this ham was actually pretty tender with the perfect amount of saltiness. I really liked the green onions with this as well. I’ve really been a fan of breakfast pizzas and sandwiches lately. Expect more those types of recipes to be coming.
We picked up a few different kinds of beer to try during the games. Hell or High Watermelon was definitely watermlon-y. I think it would be super refreshing during the hot Texas summers. We also tried Pumpkin Ale. This one is for sure a novelty. It was good but I could only suck down one at a time. It has a pumpkin tingle and is very heavy. Definitely worth trying at least once this fall!
Have you tried out Lenoir yet? If you haven’t, you should. Real soon. Lenoir serves up a prix-fixe menu, very similar to restaurant week style. The menu changes frequently, so check back often. Our group had four people, which turned out to be perfect because we were able to try everything on
the menu! Except the caviar, there were some anti-caviar people in the group, so I took one for the team. There were four courses each with three selections. Each guest chooses three courses. Additional courses are $10 each.
Everything was simply divine!
Doesn’t really look like what you thought, huh? It was delicious though!
I normally wouldn’t have ordered fish. However, the hostess informed us that anytime the chef does a curry, you should definitely order it. She was right!
spiced pork soup / mung bean noodles / ham jam / eggplant / herbs
This dish reminded me a lot of pho.
The duck fat in this dish really added a ton of flavor. This was hands down my favorite of the evening.
pumpkin seed rusk
We had coffees with our desserts, which was lovely.
Order this one for the coconut sorbet alone!
We also drank a lot of this:
pinot noir evening land vineyards, burgundy, france 2010
The Pinot lead to a few pictures like this:
Thanks Lenoir for a lovely evening!