Friday, August 26, 2016

Cane Rosso + Cow Tipping Creamery

Cane Rosso Austin
Soft serve ice cream.
It doesn't get much better than that for kids and adults alike.
Cane Rosso Austin  pizza
The Elena, Honey Bastard, and Ella pizzas
The latest pizza player in Austin is a Dallas import. The well-regarded Cane Rosso Pizza which has several spots in the DFW area, was so impressed with the ice creams at Cow Tipping Creamery, that they bought the Austin-based food truck and have installed CTC storefronts. Conveniently for those of us in Austin, CR just opened in the old St. Philip in Sunset Valley with CTC going next door, in the old bake house spot.
Cane Rosso pizza Austin
Cane Rosso pizza oven Austin
These 900 degree ovens cook a pizza in about 90 seconds.
CR was packed on a Saturday evening at 5:30 pm, but fortunately our group of seven was able to snag a table fairly quickly. Five adults and two kids demolished four pies and a salad -- Margherita (pictured below), the Elena, Honey Bastard, and Ella above. The HB is an off-menu pizza, a white pie with soppresata, bacon jam, and habanero honey.
Cane Rosso Margherita pizza Austin
These are Neapolitan-style pizzas with a soft crust due to the use of Italian "00" flour, and they consider it to be a fork and knife experience, according to the waitress. My one critique is that the toppings are not evenly dispersed, particularly the bacon jam on the Honey Bastard.  And I 'd say the Elena doesn't have enough of local BBQ spot Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ brisket on it to justify it's cost, but both are still delicious.

A Thursday lunch at 12:30 pm, it was only about half full. So if you can get there for lunch, it was a little more relaxed and a lot quieter. Three of us split the Honey Bastard (but note the uneven distribution of the bacon jam) along with a Capra salad; both times the salads were nice and fresh.
Cane Rosso Honey Bastard pizza

Cane Rosso capra salad

Cow Tipping specializes in soft serve and makes sundaes known as stackers. Fortunately, they have a kiddie size, which is still plenty of ice cream! I've also had the mint chocolate chip milkshake which was heavenly! Pictured below are the milkshake and a kiddie stacker.
Cow Tipping Creamery Austin shake stacker
Check out both Cane Rosso and Cow Tipping Creamery at 4715 S. Lamar Blvd, which is really the Hwy 290 eastbound frontage road, between Kohl's and the Toney Burger Center. While I don't see anything mentioning it online, on both visits to CR, I've seen people picking up to go orders, so it appears you can get your pizza to take home. Likewise, CTC has a freezer door with pints ready for take out. Make the kid in you happy with pizza and ice cream!
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Sunday, July 24, 2016


Went to a dinner tasting at the PhoNatic in Southpark Meadows last week. With five spots around town, there's bound to be one near you with their fresh offerings. (And shhhhhh! Director of Operations Joe Prior told us there's an eastside location in the works!) Owners Pat and Sara Lee first opened Pho Saigon in 2006, and then went on to build the Chinatown complex in North Austin, where they own the MT Market grocery store. PhoNatic came along in 2011, with the "desire to make Vietnamese food more inviting and less intimidating, in a fast casual environment." I think they've succeeded!

Thanks to PhoNatic for the dinner; all views are my own. Here's a look at what we sampled.

PhoNatic spring rolls
Nicely wrapped spring rolls with shrimp and peanut sauce
PhoNatic banh mi sliders
Banh mi sliders, a nice twist on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich
PhoNatic tofu
Salt and pepper tofu with a sweet chile sauce
Phonatic oxtail pho
Oxtail pho; good flavor from the meat, but a bit hard to eat
The 212 Pho (eye round steak, brisket, tripe and tendon); maybe not my most favorite meat combo!
Phonatic chicken and veggie pho
Chicken pho with super-fresh veggies (they do have one pure vegetarian pho on the menu as well)
Phonatic pork vermicelli
Vermicelli (or bun) bowl with lemongrass beef
Pat's Plate, with egg roll, pork, and fried egg over jasmine rice
Phonatic  grilled chicken
Grilled chicken vermicelli bowl at top, and the runny yolk from Pat's Plate on the left.
Check out PhoNatic's website for locations and menu details. Fresh and flavorful!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Garrison Brothers Bourbon

I had friends in town a few weeks ago, and we took a drive out to Hye (just past Johnson City on Hwy 290) and Garrison Brothers Distillery. Billed as the first legal distillery in Texas, bourbon is their craft. I am not a big bourbon drinker, and I couldn't really tell you what Garrison Brothers tastes like, but it was a fun trip to check them out. A word of caution: it's presently hot out, and you will be outside almost the entire time you are there for the tour. They actually close for a couple weeks in July every year for routine maintenance and because of the heat (really? why not in August?!) so if you're planning to go, check their website first. Plus you'll probably want to buy your tickets in advance ($10/person), especially if you're going on the weekend.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon
Named the American Micro Whisky of the Year by the 2014 Whisky Bible.
When you arrive, there's a nice shady area under the trees and the gift store where you check in. Then your group loads up into the back of a flat-bed trailer that's hitched to a Jeep. You go up the hill, maybe half a mile to when the distillery actually lies. Did I mention it's hot? And dusty?

They get their wheat from their farmland across the road, and the corn comes from the Texas panhandle. After they are ground, mixed with barley, and allowed to ferment for a few days, the mash is put into the copper distiller. The out-product is called white dog, which is the bourbon before it's aged. This thimbleful was like tasting pure alcohol! Then it goes into oak barrels, where it's aged for a minimum of three years. Check out their video for more info on the process.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon grainery
The grainery
Garrison Brothers Bourbon grains
The grains
Garrison Brothers Bourbon still house
In the still house
Garrison Brothers Bourbon still house
They've added more copper stills in the past few years.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon oak barrel aging
Aging in oak.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon signed bottles
 Bottles are hand-dipped in wax (they often need volunteers for this!) and then signed and numbered.

Garrison Brothers Bourbon

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Fit Foodie 5K

Fit Foodie Race Weekend Austin

If you've been following my blog and social media posts, you know that I recently spent two weeks in Japan. And while the overall Japanese diet is one of the healthiest around, there were lots of noodles and rice along the way. I am excited to be a race ambassador for the upcoming Cooking Light + Health Magazine Fit Foodie Race Weekend, hosted by John Hancock. The Austin event is June 24-26, with the main 5K race/walk being Saturday morning at Mueller.

There's a reception Friday night, followed by the race itself on Saturday with lots of sponsor booths, culinary demos, and mini fitness classes. On Sunday, there will be a cardio sweat session for those inclined! The main race on Saturday is $35 to register, but prices will go up to $55 on Monday, June 13th, so hurry up and join me! I'll be the one walking! :)
Fit Foodie Austin 5k Mueller course map

A portion of the event proceeds go to the American Diabetes Association. Until then, I'll be checking our some of my old Cooking Light cook books for healthy inspirations!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Best Foods I Ate in Japan

I just returned from a two week trip to Japan. Here's a look at what I ate!
Soba Noodles from Ukiya
Soba and tempura from Ukiya, outside the Nishiki Market
Soybean crackers at Nishiki
Fresh soybean crackers at the Nishiki Market
Soymilk donuts, also at Nishiki
Ippudo Ramen spicy bowl
Spicy ramen bowl from Ippudo Ramen
Ippudo Ramen traditional pork tonkotsu bowl
Traditional pork tonkotsu bowl at Ippudo
Karu hot pot
Hot pot place called Karu
Tofu and eggplant
Tofu and eggplant at a teppanyaki place
Pork tonkatsu
Pork tonkatsu with miso soup
Foie gras at Motoi
Foie gras with mango at Motoi, a French one-star Michelin restaurant
Wagyu beef with seven kinds of peas/beans (sugarsnap, snow, edamame, lima, fava, petit and I never figured out the last one!), also at Motoi
Unagi donburi (grilled eel) in Oyabe
Unagi donburi bowl (grilled eel over rice) in a rural town called Oyabe, near where my paternal great grandparents are from. This was one of my most favorite meals the entire trip.
Sashimi  in Kanazawa
Gorgeous sashimi place at Kusunoki in Kanazawa
Eggplant with miso
Grilled eggplant with miso also at Kusunoki
Goma tofu
Goma (sesame) tofu at Natadera Temple
Kanazawa-style ramen
Kanazawa-style ramen (traditional pork broth cut with dashi to lighten it a bit)
Oysters at Omicho Market
Oysters bigger than my hand at Omicho Market in Kanazawa

Kuroman Market Osaka
Making oobanyaki and takoyaki at Kuroman Market in Osaka

Tako pops
Tako pops
Kabocha squash at Kuroman Market
Kabocha squash at Kuroman Market
Okonomiyaki in Osaka
Okonomiyaki in Osaka
Matcha Tea
Matcha tea