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!