Sunday, September 13, 2020

What I've Been Eating, Part Three

AMAZING chocolate croissant from Vivian's Boulangerie!

Welcome to another edition of what South Austin Foodie has been eating recently! I continue to get carryout a couple times a week, and I try to get things where I can at least get two meals out of my order. Some home cooking, but overall it's been too hot! Here are the main highlights, please keep tabs on my Instagram, especially Stories for a more comprehensive run down of my meals!

Hey Say is a homestyle Vietnamese spot on East Oltorf; I think they're serving a few more general Asian dishes than before, but definitely look for their house specials! These are twice fried wings with a fish sauce that were really good and very different from other wings (in a good way!).

Thai Taste's spicy larb!

Molly inspects some of my first Vivian's Boulangerie croissant order.

From my second Vivian's order, beet and goat cheese kolache, brie and caramelized shallot tiger paw, cardamom snickerdoodle and salted chocolate chip cookies, and almond croissant. They've now expanded their order pickups/deliveries to FOUR days a week! (Very dangerous.) Seriously, some of the best stuff I've had. 

Steamies frozen pork char siu, pork dumplings, and beef bao. Storefront at Airport and Lamar, I will definitely be back!

Here are the Steamies dumplings, which were very good. I think the bulgogi beef bao was my favorite as it had a TON of flavor and the beef was moist. And very pleasantly surprised with the puff pastry texture and filling of the char siu triangle. 

Winebelly's chicken liver mousse is always a favorite.

My friend Curd Culture lives in Houston, but worked with local cheese shop Antonelli's and taught a cheese class via Zoom. A friend and I had the chicken liver mousse and then split this cheese board, a bottle of bubbly,  and sat socially distanced for the class. Great way to spend and evening!

Stunning chirashi bot bowl a friend got from Lucky Robot

We also split these pork belly buns  from Lucky Robot, which were crammed with stuff including pickled cauliflower which gave them a nice crunch. 

Also up there for Best Thing I Have Eaten Recently, this Vietnamese French dip sandwich from the 20Pho7 food truck at Live Oak and South First. The bread was perfect, the pho broth flavorful, the beef super tender and rare! Filled with bean sprouts, scallions, and a spicy mayo. I cannot wait to go back!

Support your local businesses and let's make sure they stay in business! What fantastic things have you been eating?

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Monday, July 13, 2020

More: What I've Been Eating

Greetings from South Austin! I've been doing my best to try to support South Austin restaurants, with a few exceptions. Here's a look at what I've been making and getting for take out in the past two months. Caution: may make you hungry! 😂

Homemade: pasta in light cream sauce with asparagus, bacon, pine nuts and parm.
Coconut cream tarte
Homemade: coconut cream tarte

Bouldin Creek Cafe veggie burger
Bouldin Creek Cafe veggie burger
Chili (with beans!) and cornbread
Homemade: chili (with beans!) and skillet cornbread
Vespaio canneloni, arancini, beet salad
Vespaio canneloni, arancini, beet salad. These were fabulous and I got about three meals out of this.
Bokksu box of Japanese snacks
A dear friend sent me this Bokksu box of Japanese snacks! So much fun!
Air fryer churros
Homemade: air fryer churros! Easy and yummy!
 (Though not as good as the nearby Churro food trailer!)
Habana -- pollo salteado, emapanada, tres leches
Habana pollo salteado, empanada, tres leches
La Patisserie morning bun, croissant, almond macaroon
La Patisserie morning bun, croissant, almond macaroon
La Patisserie chocolate hazelnut cake
La Patisserie chocolate hazelnut cake
Homecooked: pasta with corn pesto
Homemade: pasta with corn pesto
Bao'd Up BBQ chicken bao
Bao'd Up BBQ chicken bao
Slab BBQ
Slab BBQ pork ribs
Tarka's lamb biryani and chicken korma
Tarka's lamb biryani and chicken korma. I can't not get the korma! 
Homemade: raw beet salad, with fennel, red onion and haloumi
Homemade: raw beet salad, with fennel, red onion and haloumi
Beet issues
Beet issues 😀
Soup Peddler: grilled cheese
Soup Peddler: grilled cheese + salad
Sugar Mama's carrot cupcake and bourbon pecan bar
Sugar Mama's carrot cupcake and bourbon pecan bar
El Dorado beef enchiladas
El Dorado beef enchiladas with calabazas (squash). This was a fabulous evening, being socially distant with friends in north central Austin. Food and friends were excellent! 
Fat Dragon's lamb cilantro dumplings
A friend and I both ordered carry out from Fat Dragon, coordinated our pick up times, and sat in the parking lot with our cars dovetailed together so we could eat and talk.  Delicious lamb cilantro dumplings and below, dry fried green beans.
Fat Dragon's dry fry green beans

Coffee bourbon browned butter blondies
Coffee bourbon browned butter blondies. See my previous post!
Artipasta: bolognese + lemon cream sauces
Artipasta: bolognese + lemon cream sauces for another evening of social distance with a friend.
Thai Fresh pad thai, tom yum soup, veggies
Thai Fresh pad thai, tom yum soup, veggies
Elizabeth Street Cafe banh cuon
Elizabeth Street Cafe banh cuon and pesty cat.

Bird Bird Biscuit Queen Beak
Oh my. This Queen Beak (fried chicken biscuit) from Bird Bird Biscuit is one of the finer things I have eaten lately! This is the naked version, as I got my chipotle aioli and hot honey on the side, and as I was eating (and photographing) this from my car, the pics with the sauces on them aren't super. This was messy. But worth every bite.

Dolce Neve gelato
Dolce Neve gelato
Homemade: pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese balls)
Homemade: pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese balls)
Loro: bavette, corn fritters, won ton chips + dips
Loro: bavette, corn fritters, won ton chips + dips. The bavette is quite good, but somehow I can't get these lightly seasoned won ton chips with peanut sambal out of my mind.
La Tunita 512 birria taco + consume
I've heard the buzz about La Tunita 512, and had to go check it out. The consume with birria is delicious! Should have gotten the torta special to dip in the consume -- next time! 

Hungry? Yeah, me too. Time for my next meal! And I should add (and had mentioned in my May post), I've been doing intermittent fasting, so eating all these lovelies, and I am down 20 pounds total! 

What's on your menu?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Devils River Coffee Bourbon

Devils River Coffee Bourbon
Devils River Coffee Bourbon Brown Butter Blondies
As a longtime member of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA), we often have really cool events for our bloggers, although we've had to get more creative in recent months. Instead of meeting in person at a favorite watering hole, we had a virtual happy hour sponsored by Devils River Bourbon.  So yes, this is a sponsored post. I was not compensated financially, only in caloric intake. All opinions are my own, as always.
Devils River Coffee Bourbon
Devils River Bourbon varieties
Devils River Bourbon is based in San Antonio, and will soon be opening a new distillery/tasting room to the public. In the meantime, they sent us a lovely sampler box with  50 ml bottles of their different bourbons, and a new special coffee bourbon. Our happy hour was scheduled for the day the coffee bourbon was officially released to the public, so we were some of the first to try it! The actual Devils River is in South Texas and is pure, limestone-filtered water, which makes very smooth bourbon according to their website.
Devils River Coffee Bourbon
Devils River Coffee Bourbon two ways
I am not a huge drinker, so I don't have a lot to go on, but this stuff is good! They use a San Antonio coffee roaster, and prepare the beans to a Vienna roast. They then make a cold brew from them and infuse with the bourbon; these are 80 proof. Their standard bourbon and rye whiskies are 80 proof, while the barrel select is 117 proof, not for the faint of heart!

For our call, I prepared the coffee bourbon two ways: on the rocks and with a little bit of cream, a la White Russian. Smelling and sipping on it straight, you do get the coffee and chocolately notes, and it was VERY tasty with the cream. If you visit their website, they have a wonderful variety of recipes for each of their different bourbons. 

I decided to play around with the bourbon a little bit, and of course I like to bake! I found a recipe for browned butter bourbon blondies from Baker by Nature. Now I love blondies, and make them all the time using the standard Toll House recipe, but the idea of browned butter intrigued me! And why reinvent the wheel?
making browned butter
From golden hued to a roast caramel color, this is brown butter.
When making browned butter (yes, you make it yourself! it's not something you buy), it's best to melt your butter over low to medium heat in a light colored pan so you can see the change in color. If you use a cast iron or dark teflon pan, you won't readily know when the butter is sufficiently browned. Burned butter is bad butter!
Devils River Coffee Bourbon Brown Butter Blondies

I like to use chocolate bars (these were a 70%, so a milder bittersweet) and just rough chop them, but chocolate chips are fine! I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, and I think the result is fantastic! Sprinkling some flaky sea salt on them after baking is optional, but I like the flavor and touch of crunch the salt adds. Make sure it's a FLAKY SALT, not just regular granular sea salt. Maldon is a French one that's extremely well known, and here I have used Murray River Sea Salt from Australia. Many grocery stores that have spices in their bulk foods section often have a nice selection of sea salts, so you can just buy a couple tablespoons. These are what's known as finishing salts, as they are more expensive and delicate than table or kosher salt, but also have much more flavor to them. 
Devils River Coffee Bourbon Brown Butter Blondies

The browned butter flavor on these is wonderful! I might use a tad more bourbon next time, as the taste in these is subtle but overall, I am extremely happy with them. And won't get drunk off them! 😉

Have you had a coffee bourbon before? How do you drink it? Ever made a dish with it? Do tell! 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Two Months of Carry Out, Cooking + Baking

Here's another edition of what I've been eating lately, in case you wondered!😊 Much of this is on my Instagram page too!

As an essential employee, I don't always feel like cooking. I've been getting carry out about once a week, and it usually gives me an extra meal or two of leftovers. (I don't understand people who don't eat leftovers or take their food home from a restaurant!)

Via 313 in Oak Hill had an easy pick up system. I don't discriminate against different styles of pizza, and sometimes just crave the Detroit-style thick squares. I also learned that you can request it "extra crispy" for those nice, almost burnt edges!
Via 313 pizza
I found some chili (with beans!) in the freezer, and had some of Trader Joe's organic corn chips for Frito pie!
Frito pie with Trader Joe's organic corn chips
My Easter project was making lamb osso bucco, which was supposed to braise in the oven for a few hours. This was the day I discovered my oven wasn't working, but at least the stovetop was, so at least I could cook my lamb! This was delicious, and a new oven was ordered.
Lamb osso bucco
Phantasma Kitchen asked me to try out their food, and I was happy to oblige. A total contrast to Via 313's pie, and like I said, I don't discriminate! Loved how thin and crispy Phantasma's pizza is. Also impressed by their Cesar dressing for the salad.  Hopefully this place won't ghost us anytime soon.
Phantasma Kitchen pizza
Phantasma Kitchen pizza, wings + cesar salad
Finally scratched the itch for tacos; love Papalote, but have decided their al pastor is not my personal favorite, as it doesn't seem to be made in the traditional way. The bean and cheese taco was great, as was the sope.
Papalote tacos
New GE oven in the house! Had to test it, and I tried a new focaccia recipe, the no knead one from Bon Appetit. Thumbs up!
GE gas range and no knead focaccia bread
Sichuan River is always a go to favorite of mine, both for dining in and carry out. I almost always get the eggplant in garlic sauce and add pork to it. And I get three meals from it! The dan dan noodles were good and you could definitely taste (or I should say feel the numbing effects) the sichuan peppercorns, but after the first day, the noodles had absorbed much of the liquid their texture wasn't as good. So need to eat these immediately! I was also rather enamored by the crab rangoon, which seemed exceptionally crispy, even after being transported home in a styrofoam container.
Sichuan River eggplant with garlic sauce, crab rangoon, dan dan noodles
Baking project #2 in the new oven, King Arthur Flour's bacon cheddar scones. Good quality thick bacon I think makes a difference! (I used DaBecca bacon, one of Costco's best kept secrets; also I didn't have chives but I didn't really miss them in this recipe.)
King Arthur Flour's bacon cheddar scones
And if you saw my previous blog post, all things apples! Gala apple hand pies.
Gala apple hand pies
The mole enchiladas from Curra's TOTALLY hit the spot! Lightly sweet, savory, with a bit of spiciness. And I took a chance on something I hadn't tried from them before, lamb empanadas, and I will definitely order these again too! Also really liked the chipotle sauce that was with them.
Curra's mole enchiladas and lamb empanadas
I met my friend Mad Betty up at Le Bleu for a socially distant lunch. We both ordered online and coordinated the pick up times, and then we parked our cars and ate and talked from them! And the banh mi and summer spring rolls with sausage were both fantastic! They also have contactless pick-up mastered perfectly.
Le Bleu pork banh mi and summer rolls
And finally, last night I had friends from New Mexico passing through town, so we decided to meet up at Terry Black's BBQ for dinner. This was my first meal inside a restaurant in two months, as restaurants have just re-opened at 25% capacity. The staff was great about keeping people socially distant while in line for food, and tables were appropriately spaced apart. And this Texas trinity did not disappoint -- pork ribs, brisket, and sausage, and yes, I have leftovers!
Terry Black's BBQ Texas Trinity brisket, pork ribs, sausage

I should wrap this up by saying I started intermittent fasting on March 1st (after eating my way through San Francisco!), and I've lost 13 pounds!  What favorite things have you been eating (either making or ordering?!) these past few months?

Bonus! I forgot to add this originally so have come back to include it. My Quarantini -- elderberry juice, tonic water, and gin! Cheers!
Elderberry, gin + tonic