Monday, August 12, 2013

Recent Eats, Part One

Oh, there are a few places I've eaten in the past couple months that probably deserve their own individual write up, but somehow that's just not gonna happen. Here is part one of the abbreviated version.

Via 313
I went to the Via 313 trailer location near Slaughter and South Congress back towards the end of June, but they have just moved this one to Rainey Street (boo!). This Detroit-style square pizza with a thick crust was great! Really liked it a lot. I had the Hawaiian with deli ham, bacon, pineapple, and feta cheese; I ended up taking half of it home for lunch the next day, and in the toaster oven, the underside of the crust got really nice and extra crisp. My friends were equally happy with their pizzas as well. Via 313 also has a truck on E. 6th Street.

Michi Ramen
Michi Ramen started out as a food trailer, but then graduated this past winter to a brick and mortar operation. They are on North Lamar, directly across from the Yellow Rose (and whether you've been to there or not, EVERYONE seems to know where the Yellow Rose is located!). A friend and I went for dinner on a Saturday night in July; I had no idea if it would be super-crowded or not. Fortunately, when we got there, the place was only about half full.

We got the seaweed salad and the "burnt ends" of the chasu pork to start with. It was a bit odd, because the waitress said it takes a little extra time for the chasu, was that ok? We said sure. But in less than 5 minutes, both dishes arrived at the table. The seaweed was good, but it didn't really seem any different from what you'd get at Central Market. And the pork really wasn't burnt at all, and to me had a bit of a spongy texture, and it was also extremely salty from the shoyu marinade.
Our ramen bowls came quickly too. We had the Sapporo with  mayu oil (blackened garlic oil) and pickled ginger added and the Jungle with added chives, sprouts and cabbage (both of us had the "regular" strength broth; here you can get light, regular or stout). Both had nice flavor to the tonkatsu (pork) broths, but to me not as hearty or flavorful as what I had at Ramen Tatsu-ya. Also the Jungle bowl (pictured top) is described as a lemongrass tonkatsu broth, and neither of us could taste lemongrass. The consistency of the noodles is very nice, just enough bite to them.  All in all, it was good, but maybe not the best ramen I've had in Austin.

Also transitioning from food trailers to actual sit down restaurants is Verts, a Berlin-style kebap place that now has a few branches open, including a new one on South Lamar. Kebaps are said to be the favorite street food of Berliners, and the German owners missed this type of food while studying at UT, so they set out to create their own.
At the counter, you have your choice between the bread (which I would most closely associate with a focaccia) tortilla, or plain bowl, and then your choice of meats and toppings. I opted for the traditional Doner Kebap, on the bread with the beef/lamb meat mixture (like gyro meat). It's a good hearty sandwich, and the flavors were good. The bread however is really too porous, and doesn't hold up well to the task at hand. They are a convenient location to me though, I would go back, though I don't know that I'd have the bread again.

Stay tuned for Part Two later this week!