Monday, June 18, 2018

First Look: Winner Winner, Porchetta for Dinner!

When you head out Highway 290 towards Dripping Springs, there is now a "gathering" of train cars perched around a big lot. The one closest to the road is now home to Winner Winner Fine Foods, which three people had mentioned to me since their opening in April. I had lunch with one of them a couple weeks ago as she doesn't live too far from there. What a great, healthy addition to the area!
Winner Winner Fine Foods
Located on the north side of Hwy 290, about a mile west of the light at Circle Drive.
Winner Winner has built up a deck, not unlike a train platform. There are also full restrooms across from the entrance to the what is literally the diner car. All the food has been precooked, and you can either eat in or take it to go. I imagine they're doing booming business in the evening, catching folks headed out of Austin to their homes down 290. There are a variety of meats available, sides/salads,  a soup of the day, and some sweets.
Winner Winner Fine Foods
Order at the counter

We ate there, with my friend E having the lamb with roast potatoes and arugula salad. While their website doesn't say, previous article on Eater Austin says that all the meats are from local farms, the lamb from Capra Foods and the pork from Tender Belly.
Winner Winner Fine Foods roast lamb and veggies
Roast lamb; there was some sort of minty sauce with it too, but I can't remember specifically what!
And I had porchetta with roast carrots and also the potatoes.
Winner Winner Fine Foods porchetta and veggies
Porchetta with some nice crispy, rendered fat and perfectly roasted carrots.
Winner Winner Fine Foods deck
Outside deck

Winner Winner Fine Foods
They were both delicious!
Winner Winner is open Monday - Saturday from 11 am - 8 pm. If I lived in that direction, I am sure I would be stopping by a lot!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Quick Look: Soto South Lamar

Continuing on my unintended Lamar Union restaurant tour, we have Soto, which has expanded from their Cedar Park location.  My neighbors and I recently went for happy hour which we quite enjoyed, but given the very few tables that were filled (early evening on a Tuesday), I do hope Soto will survive. A bottle of Weingut Brundlmayer Gruner Vetliner was perfect with all of our dishes. 
Soto Austin Miso Soup
Miso soup (the large spoon didn't really fit into the narrow bowl)
Soto Austin Edamame mouse amouse bouche
The brought an amouse bouche of edamame mouse, which I wasn't in
love with at first but then I finished the whole thing off! 
Soto Austin fish + chips
Fish + chips, one of their signature dishes, said our waitress. And I can see why! Super thin potato chips with salmon sashimi, lemon aioli and truffle salt. Very addicting.

Soto Austin chicken karaage
Chicken karaage without a lick of grease. And loved the plating.
Soto Austin hamachi
Somewhere under there is hamachi! Beautifully presented plate with scallions, fried jalapenos, ponzu and edible flowers.


Soto Austin wagyu carpaccio
Wagyu carpaccio....mmmmm.  These four items were on the happy hour menu and ranged $7 - 14.

Soto Austin Soto South Maki roll
Soto South Maki with torched toro; this one was $18

Soto Austin Real California Maki w snow crab
Real California Maki with snow crab for $13

In the later part of our meal, we did order a couple of cocktails, but found the cocktail menu to be overly fussy. It was heavy on sake and whiskey/bourbon drinks, which is not unexpected for a Japanese restaurant, but there were a lot of complicated ingredients even to my friend who is a wine/spirits rep. (I didn't take a picture of the cocktail menu, nor do I see it online, so you'll have to take my word for it.😉) 

I will most certainly go back to Soto! I posted the fish and chips picture on Instagram, and a friend said the tuna tacos on the happy hour menu are fabulous, and there are other things I spy that I am interested in trying. While I still think it's a bit odd that Soto opened just a block from Uchi, it's a much different vibe. And unlike my experience at Mandala (see my previous blog post) directly across the driveway from Soto, our service and food was on point from the moment we walked in. Fingers crossed that Soto can make it in South Austin!