Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Southern Traditions Meats

Some home cooking time! I was invited by Southern Traditions meats to try out a couple of their fresh, grassfed meats. (I was not paid for my opinion of their products.) They are a family-operated farm in Briggs (between Lampasas and Georgetown) that does not use any hormones, antibiotics, or corn in the raising of their animals, and have various cuts of beef, goat, and lamb available.

I picked up some ground lamb and beef at the Hope Farmers Market back in March. With the lamb, I made my favorite lamb meatball recipe that I've made for years. It's got mint, currants, and sesame seeds in them for a bit of a Middle Eastern flair. I cook these in the oven, and use a stoneware dish that has the ridges in it, so the whatever you're cooking sits up, away from the fat that renders. Well, the rendered fat from these lamb meatballs was crystal clear with few impurities -- a sign to me that this is high quality meat! Add a homemade tzatziki sauce and voila!
And of course with the ground beef, I made a big ol' burger! Seared it in a cast iron skillet and finished it off in the oven. Pretzel bun and some leftover pimento cheese from a friend! Delicious.
I would definitely get their meats again, and would love to try some local lamb chops! Look for Southern Traditions meats on Saturdays at the Cedar Park and SFC downtown markets or Sundays at Hope and Lone Star (at the Hill Country Galleria) markets.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Recent Eats, part two

Picking up where we left off, the end of March and the beginning of April were a time of LOTS of good eats! Here's a few more tasty spots.

I was practically kidnapped by a longtime friend who insisted we go eat at North up at the Domain. And while they are a small chain (only six locations nationwide), they do make all of their food in-house, including the pasta. Turned out to be a really great meal! We started with the mussels, which have little bits of salami in the white wine and garlic broth; one of the best bowls of mussels I've had in a while.
I had the strozzapreti, a hearty pasta dish with chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and pine nuts. Very filling, I happily took half of this home for leftovers.
And dessert. Their tiramisu had a nice touch with teeny little crispy chocolate caviar balls on the top; it could have had a bit more espresso flavor to it, but the balls and the glass bowl alone made up for it. I LOVE this glass bowl, and would love to purchase some...there were no markings on the bottom of it, and I've started searching online, to no avail. Probably a 10 - 12 ounce capacity, and 4 inches in diameter at the top. If you have suggestions on where to find, please let me know!
Very pleasantly surprised by North. Our server was great, and at 2 o'clock on a Saturday, the place was packed. Also liked the creativeness in serving some of the dishes on wooden boards, which we saw at nearby tables.

One of my blogger friends had commented on one of my recent pictures from Asia Cafe (a place I have been numerous times and really enjoy), and the conversation led to us making a date to go to Szechuan House on Burnet Road, a place she really likes and I have heard good things about. Five of us met for an early Sunday dinner, and after a lengthy time studying the menu, I think we ordered some great dishes!
At the top of the picture, are the #A4 steamed dumpling with pork. They had a nice thin (but not too thin) dough around them with a multitude of tiny pleats!  Beneath it is #F9 fish with fiery sauce; we all thought this dish was okay, but maybe not the best of our assortment. It was a bit more like fish stew, and while tasty, it wasn't extremely hot (as in spicy). A crispy/fried fish would have given the whole thing a bit more body and texture. The #V6 dry fried green beans were yummy! Now they did come with a little bit of ground meat on them (and its not mentioned on the menu), so if you're vegetarian, be sure to ask them to hold off.  In the bottom left is #T1, ma po tofu with ground pork (I remember the server did ask us if we wanted meat with the tofu dish, but I don't think they asked us on the green beans.) This (and the fish dish) had some nice szechuan peppercorn flavor as well as being bathed in chili oil. If you haven't had them before (or maybe you have and didn't know what you were eating) the peppercorns produce a nice tingly, mildly numbing and tastebud-altering affect in your mouth. The #V7 was three kinds of mushrooms in a light brown sauce; the mushrooms had a really nice light smoky flavor and overall was a favorite dish. Not pictured is #P1, the twice cooked pork, which was thin strips of pork belly sauteed with green onions; very tasty, but I would love it a bit more cooked.

You can bring your own alcoholic beverages with you, and that helps keep the total cost down. For five people, we paid $15 each and were stuffed. Based off this first visit, I'd say Szechuan House is pretty comparable to Asia Cafe. I like them both, a lot! Just wish we had one of these down south!

The following week, we had a small blogger gathering at Quattro Gatti, an Italian place downtown (908 Congress Avenue) that's been open a few years, but doesn't get a whole lot of buzz. Blogger Food Fash has eaten there a few times, and arranged with the owner for us to come in and try the food in exchange for some social media mentions. (We paid for our beverages, but the food was complimentary; we were not paid for our opinions of the food.)
Gianfranco started us off with a couple of the different pizzas, and gave us a personal demonstration of how they shape the dough and cook the pizzas. The four formaggi (four cheese) pizza is above, and here he is at the pizza oven discussing how they're made. He was very animated and passionate about his pizza (as well he should!), which cook for only a few minutes in a special wood-burning pizza oven that gets ridiculously hot; the pizza should have a crust that is a bit crisp, but still chewy and toothsome.
This is the saffron risotto, not my personal favorite because I am not a huge lover of saffron, but the color was gorgeous.
One of the evening specials was housemade papparadelle with rabbit ragu, and it was fantastic! I think we all agreed this was the best dish of the night. Supple ribbons of pasta with a sauce that had a lot of flavor, but was not heavy.
And just when we though we were completely stuffed, they sent out five different desserts! From top left: affogato, cannoli, tiramisu, biscotti with vin santo (sweet wine for dipping the biscotti), and a brownie/fudgy tarte decadent combination. And between eight of us, we finished them off pretty well!
Thank you again to Gianfranco for welcoming us. I spied some items on the menu that I'd love to go back and try sometime, like carbonara, paninis and roasted sea bass. If you happen to find yourself downtown, go and check Quattro Gatti out!

I was invited to an open house at Walton's Fancy and Staple on West 6th Street. If you're not familiar with them, they serve breakfast and lunch, and have a beautiful pastry case. But they also do catering and floral arrangements, as they aim to be a one-stop shop for your party needs. I loved this tall floral piece, and they also had fun ones hanging throughout the room.
Their "Hideaway" room was set up for the event; it seats up to 30 guests if you're looking for a place to hold an event. Their catering can of course also come to you!

It's been good pickins! No complaints about any of these Austin eateries!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recent Eats, part one

I got to celebrate my birthday at the end of March with my parents in town, which lead to many (ok, all!) meals out. So here's a recap of the highlights, as well as a couple of events I attended, and some other meals -- the good, the great, and luckily only one bad. I feel fortunate to live in such a great food city!

Birthday celebrations started at The Flying Carpet and Regal Ravioli trailers! Special thanks to Maria, Abdu, and Zach  -- these guys all do such great work (and both do catering!) -- go check them out and tell them I sent you!

Lunch at Sway, their tom kha soup had such a flavorful broth! It's also a clear broth, not a coconut milk-based one, and while it was still rich in flavor, it was relatively light. I could eat this everyday.
Brunch at Barlata; they have some traditional dishes like their take on French toast called Torrijas, with a wonderful array of fresh fruit, and this house-cured salmon was simple and tasty.
Dinner at Uchi, the one place my father HAD to visit while they were here, and I was more than happy to oblige. This was one of the nightly specials, perfectly cooked wagyu beef with sweet potatoes done three ways: pureed, roasted, and somehow made into light as air crisps.
An invite to Paggi House, to try their new spring menu. We were treated to a multitude of dishes, from delicious herbed butter with the bread to this tuna with coconut panna cotta (that's my interpretation of it at least) to braised veal cheeks over polenta (one of my favorites of the evening) to a marvelous grasshopper brownie concoction with "dirt" that was delicious. Plus during April, they are donating money from sales of their signature cocktails to the Glimmer of Hope Foundation for their summer camp programs. (I was invited to try their food, but was not paid for my opinion.)
Lunch with a friend at the new East Side King on South Lamar. I have really loved the trailers, but haven't been in a while. We opted for the old standbys from the trailers, and am sorry to say we were left disappointed. From top left, the Brussels sprouts hardly had any Brussels, it was mostly cabbage; the chicken kara-age was soft, no crispness to the pieces; the fried beets were soggy; and the pork belly bun was just alright. I Instagramed this same photo and expressed my sentiments; happy to say someone from ESK responded with apologizes and said they would notify the kitchen of the issues. Now whether things improve, that remains to be seen, and from comments left on the photo, others have noticed a decline in quality at the trailers as well.
A dinner meeting at Stiles Switch BBQ. I have heard very mixed things about this place from day one, and from various people who's food opinions I trust. They made Texas Monthly's Top 50 BBQ places in Texas,  and clearly Texas Monthly was there on a good day. I'd say this meal was ok, but nothing spectacular. I got the three meat sampler plate: pork ribs not bad, sausage had a really really fine grind, I like mine a bit chunkier, and the brisket on the right.... it was cut really thick, had no smoke ring, and was quite dry. Great BBQ is all about consistency, and based on this one meal, I don't see how they get the high marks. The service though was uber-friendly, and they do get kudos for that! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bits and Bites


Events
-- The 3rd Texas Veg Fest is April 5th at Fiesta Gardens; vendors, speakers, food and more!

-- The Texas Olive Festival is April 5th at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company in Dripping Springs. Advance tickets are $35 and benefit the Sustainable Food Center.

-- Scrumptious Chef is holding one of his pop-up events on April 5th at Tamale House East; salsa and charcuterie.

-- Banger's is holding a dinner and screening of the new movie Craft on April 8th. $15/person; a special sausage will be created to complement the Altered State saison beer.

-- Jack Allen's is hosting a five-course tasting dinner on April 8th with Treaty Oak Spirits, $75/person. For tickets: banquets@jackallenskitchen.com

-- Join Sagra for a wine tasting dinner April 9th, $45/person.

-- Apothecary will hold a spring wine tasting on April 12th from 2 - 4pm, $25/person; for tickets, email them at info@apothecaryaustin.com

-- Mulberry's annual crawfish boil is April 13th, 5 - 8 pm, $10/person. 

-- The Austin Food and Wine Alliance's annual Live Fire! is April 17 at the Salt Lick Pavilion; tickets are $75.

-- On April 19th, Bangers will host Smoke Out Saturday with a low country boil (shrimp, crab and lots more) and music for $15.

-- Chavez will be open for Easter brunch on April 20th, $49/person.

-- The Carillon is doing seatings for Easter at 10:30 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 1:30 pm; $65 for adults. $19.95 for kids ages 6 - 12.

-- Eden East at Springdale Farm will hold an Easter Brunch and egg hunt, $100/person, 1 pm, April 20th.

-- Foreign and Domestic will host Indie Chef Table on April 21st, featuring Jason Vincent of Nightwood Restaurant in Chicago; $100 for table seating (35 available) $125 for counter seating (12 available), and include a glass of bubbly and gratuity.

-- April 24th, Music To Your Mouth is presenting a 4 course dinner at Rough Hollow Yacht Club, for $200/person, which will include a private concert by Kristian Bush of the band Sugarland.

-- The list of exhibitors for the Austin Food and Wine Festival (April 26-27 at Butler Park) has been announced; presenters have also been named. 

-- The annual Pachanga Latin Music Festival will be May 10th at Fiesta Gardens. They are offering a V.I.T. (Very Important Taco) package that offers access to multiple taco stands and unlimited refreshments. $33-$75/person

-- Spike TV is casting for Frankenfoods in the Austin area:
  
Openings/Offerings
-- Paggi House has debuted a new spring menu, which I recently was invited to try. They are also donating a $1 of each handcrafted cocktail during the month of April to the A Glimmer of Hope Austin summer camps program. Pictured here, the tender and flavorful veal cheeks on polenta.

-- A-OK Chinese opened at 1509 South Lamar.

-- Tiny Pies opened a storefront at 5035 Burnet Road.

-- Noble Sandwiches now has their second location at 4805 Burnet Road.

-- P. Terry's is offering a caramel turtle fudge milkshake through mid-April.

-- Benji's Cantina is now open for lunch Monday through Saturday.

-- Porter Ale House is now offering Sunday brunch.

-- The Carillon will launch their new spring menu, and they are now opening their lunch buffet to the public (previously only open to UT staff and faculty).

-- Apothecary also has a new spring menu and a few new wines.

-- Cooper's BBQ will open at 217 Congress Avenue this fall. Yes, THAT Cooper's of Llano!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Odd Duck

Last weekend I made my first visit to Odd Duck, the trailer turned restaurant (after a couple year hiatus) from Bryce Gilmore. This sister restaurant to Barley Swine is about a half mile north on South Lamar, directly across from the construction pit where the Alamo Drafthouse will reopen. Odd Duck is a less-formal setting than Barley Swine, and seats probably four times as many customers when you include the spacious outdoor patio. We had no problems making a Sunday reservation online just two days prior, and while the restaurant was busy, they were no where near capacity. I received a phone call from the restaurant on Sunday to confirm the reservation; they also inquired about any dietary restrictions (none) and let me know most of the seating was at communal tables (ok). Upon our arrival, the hostess sat us outside on the patio (complete with drop-down siding and overhead heaters), which was away from the hubbub of activity that encircled the bar area, and thus a little quieter. And we didn't have to share a table, though it is sometimes fun to do so.

My dinner companion and I were warmly greeted by our waiter Bruno, who proceeded to explain the menu. They encourage sharing of dishes, and about three dishes per person. You can see from the pictures they use a mish-mash of vintage dishware, which doesn't always make the food stand out when photographing the plates, but it's a creative touch nonetheless. We both ordered beers, and I thought my Live Oak Hefeweizen went well with our food choices.

We started with the Parker House rolls with shredded meat from the pig's head, mixed with some seasonings. I could have eaten an entire meal of these and been perfectly happy! Whoever oversees Odd Duck's breads is doing a marvelous job. Warm, buttery, soft, tender, and filled with a well-balanced meat mixture. Do not miss out!
Next up were the mustard seed tater tots with pimento cheese. I didn't really find many mustard seeds in the potato cubes, but maybe they're ground up. It seems that these were mashed potatoes, spread thinly in a pan, left to cool and harden before being scored into little squares, and then fried. Devoid of any trace of grease, which was nice. But I sort of missed the texture of little potato pieces found in a traditional tot. The pimento cheese has great cheesy flavor, but it's whipped to the state of more of a mousse than a "regular" cheese spread, and there was much more pimento to go around than there were tots. Bread would have been handy to scoop up the mousse. While the texture of the pimento may not have been my most favorite, they get points for modernizing and putting their own spin on traditional fare.
There were two fish options on the menu, and we asked our waiter's opinion. He steered us towards this, the raw cobia (a whitefish), with bacon, soy, grapefruit, and sunflower seed clusters. We both thought the dish would be more successful without the soy sauce. But while it goes with fish and with the bacon (pork belly), it didn't go with the grapefruit. Though one could also argue that the grapefruit was the item that should have been removed. All said, the individual components worked, but I didn't feel it worked together as a whole concept.
Our next plate was the carrots roasted in hay with chevre and pistachio crumbs, or what I have been calling a forest of carrots. Fun, artful presentation, different types of carrots cut in different ways, and a good amount of chevre on the bottom of the plate (though you can't really see it in this picture). The pistachio crumbs gave a really nice texture to the softened carrots. By now we realized we needed bread for the ample amount of chevre.
So remember how I said earlier whomever is doing the breads is doing a marvelous job? I had already felt that with the Parker House rolls, and then we had this: their spent grain loaf with salted, cultured butter. So glad I eat carbs! :) This warm bread was also amazing on its own, but then if you slathered some butter on a piece.... try it yourself, and I dare you not to say "oh my god!".
And speaking of carbs, this black olive pasta with braised goat, sage, and Parmesan was also a huge winner. It's a bit on the salty side (which is sort of ironic to me because I always thought the food at the Odd Duck trailer was under-salted) with the olives and Parmesan, but it all just melts in your mouth. I am guessing they braise the goat, because it was tender and juicy. Really a wonderful umami mouthful.
For dessert we picked the buttermilk pie on a peanut crust with sweet tea and celery. Celery? As far as we could tell, the only celery were the little green leaves you see for garnish. Yes, they were celery leaves, but young tender ones. I didn't object to them, but not sure they added anything to the dish. The sweet tea turned out to be a jelly-like reduction (if you can make out the brown dots on the plate) that tasted just like sweet tea. The buttermilk pie part was fine, but it didn't overly excite me. I am wondering now what made it so yellow in color...maybe there was celery puree in it, but it didn't really taste like that.
Here's a shot of the porch seating. I'd say there were about 8 - 10 picnic tables that would each hold six people comfortably. Wish I had had more of an opportunity to look around in the main dining room, but I can say the seating around the bar was pretty much entirely filled, as were the inside tables.
From the people I know who had eaten here since their December opening, pretty much everyone has had good things to say. One friend though had a horrible service experience, so I sort of kept waiting for something to happen. But I thought from the hostess to our waiter, the service was great. Bruno was knowledgeable about the menu, and while his choice of fish dish wasn't my favorite dish of the evening, I don't necessarily feel that he led us astray. He was friendly, and never gone for too long, even though we were outside. I should also add there is an emphasis on local and seasonal foods, and there's a page on their website listing their vendors/sources.

Odd Duck is a welcome addition to my South Austin neighborhood, and I am pleased to make its acquaintance. I look forward to more carb-filled meals there!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Titaya's

Many an Austinite mourned the prolonged closure of Titaya's Thai Cuisine as they remodeled the restaurant and updated the menu. Many of those have long thought that Titaya's was the best Thai food in town. And after what seemed like an eternity, they reopened last month to much fanfare and rejoicing. Those fans may still think it's the best Thai food in town, but while my recent meal was solid, I would beg to differ.

The first Sunday of SXSW, and I had friends in from out of town. They also have friends living in north-central Austin, and Titaya's was suggested as the place for a 6 pm meet up, for four adults, one 5 year old (with an adventurous palate!), and one infant. We had about a 15 minute wait, which wasn't too bad. Fortunately, we were seated in one of the large booths which was quite comfortable for our group. The booth next to us had eight adults packed into it and then two high chairs at the end of the table! The initial wait for a table gave me a few minutes to look at the nicely updated decor: many framed pictures, framed pieces of cloth hanging from the ceiling, a wall of candles. Very colorful and fun.
We started with the som tum (green papaya salad) and fresh spring rolls with shrimp. The som tum comes in a nice mortar and pestle container, and while very fresh, it didn't have the contrast of flavors from the fish sauce or the spiciness that I have come to expect with this dish.
Half the group were vegetarians, so we stuck to seafood and tofu as our proteins. Definitely my favorite dish was the #T4 Chuu Chee Pla, basa (catfish), which was battered and fried, and served with red curry. We asked for the curry not to be too hot, since we had a child with us, and I think the heat level was perfect. Lots of good flavors in the piquant red curry, and the fish was very nice and crispy. Winner.
Titaya's pad thai (with shrimp) was okay; for me though it was a bit too sweet, and not enough tamarind, which provides a sweet and twangy taste. The texture of the noodles was good, but just not that flavorful. Very nice fresh bean sprouts.
The pad see ew was another dish that for me missed the mark. Typically, it's wide rice noodles in a brown gravy/sauce. There was no other flavor to the sauce other than soy, and the noodles seemed a bit thick, and the fried tofu was very chewy. Yes, pad see ew is a soy-based dish, but usually there's some fish sauce and sweetness, not just soy sauce!
The eggplant with mixed veggies was not only colorful, but had a nice little kick to it too. Good consistency to the eggplant, and the stir fried veggies still had some snap to them.
So am I being overly picky? Perhaps. (Though I have talked with one friend who was a huge Titaya's fanatic before the remodel, and he said he was a bit disappointed with their food on his return visit.) Only being about a month into their re-opening, is it a bit too early to tell how things will shake down? Perhaps. Would I eat there again? Yes. But I would like to try some of the dishes with animal protein, not just vegetarian items. But judging from the large numbers of people waiting for tables throughout our meal, Titaya's is quickly making up for those months they were closed, and they will continue to see people flocking to them. As for me, I will stay in my neighborhood and head to Thai Fresh for a great pad thai dish.

Sorry for the slightly blurry photos; when dining with groups (and when there are people I don't know) I try to get my pictures done in a hurry so they're not waiting on me to get a shot.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bits and Bites


Opening/Updates
-- Dan's Hamburgers at Ben White and Manchaca (finally!) reopened.
-- JuiceLand now offers online ordering for quick pick ups.
-- Greenhouse Craft Food has opened in Round Rock, featuring a local artisan menu.
-- Apothecary has a new executive chef, Albert Gonzalez, and has debuted a new seasonal menu.
-- New on South Lamar, in the construction on either side of the Broken Spoke: Boardwalk Burger (now open) and Bruegger's Bagels (coming soon).  
-- Cooper's BBQ has announced plans to open an outlet at 217 Congress in the fall.

Closing/Moving
-- The Omelettry has announced they've been priced out of their current location, and will look for a new one along Burnet Road.
-- Vivo on Manor Road has closed, but say they want to find another location.

Events
-- The Tillamook Cheese VW Bus will be giving away samples at Hopdoddy on South Congress from 11am - 3pm on Friday, March 21st.  They will also be offering free cheese slices on the Classic Burger all day.
 -- Foodways Texas will hold their fourth annual symposium entitled "Farm to Market" in Bryan-College Station, on March 20-22. From their press release: "Farm to Market 2014 will explore the past, present, and future of Texas agriculture and its intimate connection to Texas cultural history and identity....(the symposium) will be spent discussing Texas crops and crop history, feeding cities, innovative urban farming, rice history and current challenges, Texas grapefruit, the business of olive orchards, wine terroir, and much more."
-- Salvation Pizza will celebrate their anniversary with a benefit; the Glimmer-versary event will be Saturday, March 29th from 12-4pm; proceeds will go to Glimmer of Hope, which strives to improve the circumstances of disadvantaged youth.
-- Jester King Brewery is teaming up with Epicerie for their first ever beer brunch on Sunday, March 30th, at Epicere. 
-- Scrumptious Chef will be hosting a Salsa Shootout on Saturday, April 5th from 6 - 8pm at Tamale House East.
 -- The third Vaca y Vino will be Sunday, April 6th 1-6 pm at Bridges Ranch in Wimberley. Tickets are $100-125, and will feature Argentinean-style celebration of beef, wine, and music, all while benefiting the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. 
-- A new event space is opening at 1100 East 5th at Waller, Fair Market, is a partnership of several management, restaurant, and event production companies. With 16,000 square feet of indoor space, they can host a variety of events; see their website for getting rental quotes.

Misc.
-- The Austin Food Blogger Alliance (of which I am a member) partnered with Citygram Magazine to present the annual City Guide to restaurants. My recent post on Regal Ravioli was my contribution to this year's effort. The entire City Guide can be viewed online here, or you can download the Citygram app if you're an Apple/iOS user.

Monday, March 3, 2014

South Austin Restaurant Updates 2014 (plus other rec's as well!)

Oh what a year it has been! We've seen some great new spots open up in South Austin; here's a look at what's new this past year.

Flour + Vine -- I've only been for a tasting, but was very impressed with the food; they haven't really figured out how to use social media to their advantage. My previous post is here. South Lamar and Riverside.
Beef Wellington with purple mashed potatoes
Odd Duck -- The former trailer that started it all for Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine; they opened in December and I hear great things about the food, but haven't been yet for myself. South Lamar and Gibson.

Barlata -- Genuine Spanish tapas on South Lamar! Charming spot, very modern/industrial architecture; good food, though the paellas have tended to be on the greasy side. Happy hour (in the bar area only) is a great value, with select dishes and drinks being $5. Amazing crema catalana for dessert! (I've had it several times and it's always velvety smooth.) My post is here. South Lamar and Collier.
Mussels with sofrito
Crema catalana

East Side King -- The latest from Paul Qui's empire, and his first foray into South Austin. ESK stems from his Asian fusion food trucks on the east side, each with a different menu. South Lamar and Goodrich.

Austin Beer Garden Brewing (ABGB) -- House-brewed beer and house-made pizza. Both fine. West Oltorf and Thornton (one block east of Lamar).

Winebelly -- Another small plates restaurant, Winebelly has a shabby chic feel, and seasonal menus. I'd go back in a heartbeat! My post is here. South First and Oltorf.
Cauliflower soup with smoked trout
Panzanella salad
El Chile -- Once just a Manor Road favorite, South First and Mary Streets can now claim El Chile as their own too. Casual Tex Mex, with lots of good food and not a lot of grease. Patio seating too.

Dolce Neve -- A true gelato shop, owned and operated by three Italians. They use the traditional method of making gelato and utilize local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Deeeee-licious! South First and Annie.
.
Little Barrel and Brown -- Haven't heard too much about this one yet, but it replaced The Woodland and is in a great location  in the heart of trendy South Congress at Annie.

And of you're looking for some recommendations for vegan, vegetarian fare, and other cuisine in South Austin (and all around town), check out some friends of mine!

Lazy Smurf's SXSW Vegan Guide
Aneelee's South Austin Vegetarian Guide
Mad Betty's Indian Food in Austin
Foodie is the New Forty's Upscale Dining
Mary Makes Dinner Pizza Guide
From Maggie's Farm BBQ East of Austin
From Maggie's Farm Cajun/Creole 
Craft Taste's Craft Beer Guide


Thursday, February 27, 2014

South Austin Food Trailers 2014

It's almost March, which of course brings bajillions of people to our fair city for SXSW, the Rodeo, high school basketball playoffs, and some spring break tourists too! While it can create traffic headaches, it's great for our economy, so welcome! The past couple years, I have taken some time to write a post on food trailers/trucks in South Austin, and here's the 2014 edition.
Please note, this is a reference guide, not necessarily an endorsement of each of these trailers, as I have not eaten at all of them. (But now that good weather is back on our horizon, it's time for me to play catch up!) Ones that I have eaten at and liked are noted. I am also probably missing some in this list, and I do apologize; leave a comment below on what else should be included.

Along South Congress (from north to south)
-- A Touch of Fire (Thai) at Riverside, by Howdy Donut
-- Mrs. P's Electric Cock (fried chicken) at 1101 S. Congress; fabulous fried chicken
-- Burro Cheese Kitchen (grilled cheese), at The Circle by Amy's Ice Cream
-- WurstTex (brats/sausages), at Gibson
-- On the west side of Gibson and South Congress, is a trailer park with Crepes Mille (crepes), Fat Cactus (great fry breads, both sweet and savory; last year's food trailer post has a write up of them), Hey You Gonna Eat or What (sandwiches), and Gemma Love (Jamaican)
-- Hey Cupcake at Elizabeth by Home Slice; the cupcake trailer that pretty much started the food trailer revolution along SoCo
-- SoCo Burgers at Oltorf in the HEB parking lot
-- Angry Egg Roll at the 04 Lounge at 3808 S. Congress

Along South First
-- Bouldin Creek Food Park at 1207 S. 1st at Gibson with Big Bad BBQ, Little Thai Food, and Pitalicious
-- South Austin Trailer Park + Eatery at 1311 S. 1st with Torchy's Tacos (fancy tacos!; other brick and mortar locations of Torchy's all around town), Holy Cacao (cake balls), and Conscious Cravings (vegetarian)
-- at Elizabeth Street, Gourdough's Donuts (Big. Fat. Donuts. as the saying goes), Melizzoz Tacos, and the Original New Orleans Po-Boy + Gumbo Shop (Cajun)
 -- at 1906 S. 1st, The Pizza Shop
--  South First Food Court at 603 Live Oak at S. 1st, with Chaat Shop (Indian), the Mighty Beastro (beast food), Bananarchy (banana-based desserts), Global Sandwiches and Mama Mal's Italian (both opening soon), and Try Mai Thai has just moved in.
-- Just east of South First on Oltorf (next to Church's), The Flying Carpet (Moroccan; previous post here) Maria and Abdu have become friends of mine; their food is unique and delicious, and they have hearts of gold. Also Regal Ravioli (Italian; my recent post on RR is here) -- two of my favorite places!!! Note: Regal has moved to 1309 E. 7th for SXSW.
Regal Ravioli's beet ravioli with pecan pesto
Along Barton Springs
-- at 801 Barton Springs, Short Bus Subs, Lucy's European, snow cones
-- at 1003 Barton Springs, Tac-O's and Nuha's Sinful Desserts

Along South Lamar
-- at Gibson by Gibson Bar, Luke's Inside Out
-- at 1311 S. Lamar by Genie's Car Wash, Brown's BBQ
-- at W. Mary by the Corner Bar,  Tommy Want Wingy and Potato.A both on the Mary side. Update: as of March 6th, it looks like Brown's BBQ has moved here as well, on the Lamar side.
-- at Oltorf, just south of the Office Depot under the big oak tree, LuLu B's Vietnamese; you can get a good sized banh mi sandwich and springrolls for $10, and that will make 2 meals for me. Love their bbq pork!
-- at Bluebonnet, the SoLa Food Court with Lone Star BBQ, Taco Baby, Wasota African Cuisine, Kuxtal Coffee, and Com Bun Yew (Asian)

Way, way down south
-- Native South Food Park at 10106 Manchaca
-- Moontowner Saloon at 10212 Manchaca...both of these have an assortment of trailers!

Other Austin trailer resources:
Austin Food Carts
Austin Food Trucks
Food Trailers Austin
Food Trucks TX