Wednesday, March 28, 2018

First Look: Loro -- The Offspring of Two Austin Legends

What happens when Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue (both James Beard award-winning chefs) come together? Loro, the Asian/smoked meats eatery that is currently in soft opening stages. Trust me, it's going to be HUUUGE!

Located at 2115 South Lamar Boulevard at Oltorf Street, Loro is a new build-out, just south of the Office Depot. Plenty of parking onsite, and with a huge covered outdoor area, the Michael Hsu designed building is gorgeous inside and out. Starting April 4th, they will operate seven days a week for lunch and dinner. No reservations taken.

I got to attend a soft opening last Friday. You go inside and order at the counter and they bring the food out to you. Local beers on tap, a few cocktails and wines offered too. Here's the rundown of what we sampled (food was 50% off, so we figured we should try a lot!).
Loro Austin -- corn fritters
Corn fritters

Loro Austin -- garlic rice noodle salad
Garlic rice noodles with pineapple, currants + cashews

Loro Austin -- chicken karaage
Chicken karaage with jalapeno aioli *
Loro Austin -- green papaya salad
Green papaya salad

Loro Austin -- oak smoked salmon
Oak smoked salmon in a cucumber yuzu broth
Loro Austin -- smoked brisket with Asian flavors
Smoked brisket with sweet chili sauce and Thai herbs *
Loro Austin -- char siew pork shoulder bowl
Char siew pork shoulder bowl

Loro Austin -- Aaron + Tyson
Aaron + Tyson 
 * = favorites on the evening. We also had the wonton chips with Thai green salsa and a sambal peanut dip that were also outstanding.

Throughout the evening, we saw both Aaron and Tyson running food, chatting with people, and in general looking relaxed. You would have thought they were just regular guys working a shift, as any "big chef egos" were clearly checked at the door. This unique mashup of food styles is sure to be a hit, and I believe Loro will be popular for a very long time.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Cannon + Belle: Texas Food for Everyone

Cannon + Belle, the main restaurant at the Hilton Austin downtown invited Michelle of Foodie is the New Forty to a media dinner, and she invited me to accompany her! A big thanks to Cannon + Belle for having us, and to our waitress Lindsay who was fantastic. I was not monetarily compensated for this blog post and all opinions are my own.

Calling their style "Texas fresh: chef-crafted flavors in living room style comfort," Cannon + Belle has an extensive number of local farms and purveyors that they work with. Open daily from 6:30 am - 10 pm, with brunch on Sundays as well. They will be offering an Easter brunch special on April 1st, 11 am - 3 pm. Here's the rundown of what we tried.
Cannon and Belle cocktails
Cocktails to start! The Metabolic Mule and Angelina's Punch are just a few options from their creative bar program.
Cannon and Belle white pizza
The white pizza with fresh oregano leaves. This was SUPER cheesy and also loaded with garlic, yum yum!
Cannon and Belle honey and black garlic chicken wings
The Honey + Black Garlic chicken wings with a white barbecue sauce. These were outstanding!

Cannon and Belle sweet pea cake
The Sweet Pea Cake, their version of a veggie burger. Attractive presentation with a savory yogurt sauce and rainbow veggies, but a bit tough and salty overall.
Cannon and Belle scallops
Beautifully seared scallops in a brown butter sauce, these were cooked to perfection, as were the green beans, which still had a snap to them. And honestly, for $27, not badly priced for a hotel restaurant.

Cannon and Belle peach crisp dessert
Peach and blueberry crisp, with a nice amount of crumble on top.

Cannon and Belle chocolate stack cake
The salted caramel chocolate stack cake, the decadent and amazing finale to our meal! This is a good size piece of cake, and we couldn't finish it. Layers of chocolatey goodness and buttercream frosting with salted caramel on top. Pure bliss for the chocolate lover.

So whether you're a local Austinite looking for a fun place or a visitor staying at the Hilton, Cannon + Belle has plenty of Texas comfort food for everyone.