Thursday, February 14, 2019

First Look: Joann's Fine Foods

How fine was Joann's Fine Foods, the new Mexican/California foods entry from local hospitality group McGuire Moorman? Pretty fine! I am honestly a bit surprised to say I liked the food as much as I did.

This retro diner has moved into the South Congress spot that was previously Snack Bar (and El Sol y La Luna for those of us who have been living in Austin for more than a hot minute), adjoining the Austin Motel. So given their pretty central location in the midst of trendiness and tourism, and their pedigree (the team behind June's All Day, Josephine House, Clarks...) the menu prices are on the high side. Like $32 for chicken fried better be a huge portion!

Having studied the menu before visiting, I was a touch apprehensive given the pricing but knowing they can command those prices due to their physical location. But folks, Happy Hour is the time to go! {Weekdays, 4 - 6 pm, 25% off all food as well as drink specials.} My friend and I had liquid libations and an early dinner.
Lolita Sunrise, which matches the colors of the bar. 😉

Hash brown nachos were kind of a revelation, especially for my friend who is ALL about potatoes in all varieties of dishes. Nice textural combo of the toasty hash browns, firm beans, silky queso, sour cream(y), and fresh pico.

Grilled corn + zucchini squash with a green goddess dressing, cotija cheese, and jalapenos. And the acid
from the lime was perfect. Looking at the menu, it also mentions dill, which I see a tiny bit sprinkled on top.
If I were a dill lover I would have been disappointed, but I did not miss it at all.

Beef picadillo enchiladas, which aren't really photogenic, but fortunately they were delicious. The rolled tortillas were crisp and the picadillo had some nice zing to it! Add queso and yum! 

We don't really pass up the opportunity for dessert and this coconut tres leches hit the spot.
 Not too rich, though I wish the coconut on top had been toasted. 
The beautiful bar counter, complete with old-school plastic letter sign board. 

The booth area, as seen from the restroom alcove.
And from the booths, looking towards the bar. There's also a large outdoor seating area to the back left in the photo.
All in all, a very successful outing, and I was even shocked to find (albeit annoying) back-in parking right out front. Open since October, Joann's serves food from 8 am - midnight daily, and will undoubtedly be a destination for many during SXSW and beyond. 1224 South Congress, across from the Continental Club.