Via 313 Pizza

After hearing rave reviews of Via 313 for months on months now, I finally made a long overdo visit to the pizza trailer during a recent visit night out. To be honest, as a Neapolitan pizza girl at heart, thick, deep dish style pies don’t normally call my name. However, maybe it was the crunchy cheese crisped along the edges of its pizza, but I must admit Via 313’s Detroit-style pie lived up to the hype.

The Herbivore - $12

The Herbivore – $12

Not unlike a Sicilian-style pizza slice, Detroit-style is a rectangular pizza with a thick crust oven cooked in a metal pan and cut into squares. Toppings are layered in reverse order, starting with meat or veggies and finished with a thick layer of red sauce painted across the top. In this case, Via 313’s freshly crushed red sauce is robust and hearty, with plenty of flavor to stand up to the pie’s thick crust. Though the pizza’s crust is about an inch or two thick, it is surprisingly lighter than expected and manages to garner a slight toasted crunch while cooking. Continue reading Via 313 Pizza

Summer Drinks: Happy Hour at The Hightower

Looking to mix up your happy hour routine? I recommend venturing a stone’s throw east of I-35 to check out The Hightower. With its sleek interior and casual covered patio, it’s got the right atmosphere for a post-work spot well into the hot summer months.

The Hightower has a solid list of (very good) craft cocktails – it is a new spot in Austin, after all – but it’s also a place one can order a vodka soda without fear of a side eye. There is also a nice selection of wines by the glass, though the beer selection could use some work.

Corpse Reviver #2

Corpse Reviver #2

As for menu options, The Hightower offers a number of shareable small plates in addition to a handful of larger entrées. I recommend starting with at least one order of the fried chickpeas coated in a spicy-sweet blend of seasonings. Served on top of an orange peel aioli, the sauce acts as a citrusy glaze when tossed with the warm chickpeas.

 

Fried Chickpeas - $4.00 reg/$2.50 at HH

Fried Chickpeas – $4.00 reg/$2.50 at HH

The blistered green beans ranked a close second to the chickpeas. The dish’s creamy honey mustard sauce and crispy leeks was reminiscent of a green bean casserole in the best kind of way. Thanks to the addition of farro and candied pecans, it’s a hearty than expected small plate offering, especially under $7.

Blistered Green Beans - $6.50

Blistered Green Beans – $6.50

 

Though I am suffering from a case of fried Brussels sprouts fatigue (#firstworldproblems), Continue reading Summer Drinks: Happy Hour at The Hightower

April Happenings, Part II: Urban Farm Tour + Crawfish Boils Galore

Here is Round #2 of Austin’s top events happening around town. Check out my previous picks here!

Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from some of Austin’s best restaurants, these farms help to give new meaning to the phrase ‘locally sourced.’ On Sunday, April 13, you are invited to celebrate our local growers during the 5th Annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour.

From 1-5pm, tour four of Austin’s premier urban farms while enjoying small bites created by favorite local chefs and food purveyors using seasonal ingredients grown in the gardens around you. In the spirit of Sunday Funday, there will also be plenty of local beer, wine and craft cocktails served at each stop along the way. Tickets (available here) to Sunday’s Urban Farm Tour are $50/per person with proceeds benefiting the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

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Participating Farms include:
Boggy Creek Farm
HausBar Farms
Rain Lily Farm
Springdale Farm

Check out the amazing lineup of food artisans, restaurants, & beer, wine and spirits distributers participating in Sunday’s event here!

 

‘Tis the season for crawfish! It’s a well known, scientifically proven* fact the best springtime parties always include a ‘boil. Get your Cajun on at one of these seasonal celebrations:

Saturday, April 12

The Stuffed Cajun Meat Market presents the Louisana Swamp Thing & Crawfish Festival on Saturday afternoon. Hosted by Roadway Events, the bash includes 7,000 pounds of crawfish boiled to perfection. Head to the Statesman’s parking lot (305 S. Congress) for a beginning at 11am for a full day of crawfish, cold beer and music. Tickets are $20/per person. More details can be found here. 

The Buzz Mill will host a crawfish boil on Saturday from 3-8pm. In addition to mudbugs, there will be live music and cold beer. More details can be found here. The Buzz Mill, 1505 Town Creek Drive, 78741. Continue reading April Happenings, Part II: Urban Farm Tour + Crawfish Boils Galore

Drinks and Eats: Whisler’s Austin + Dumpling Happiness

Opened by Lustre Pearl, Clive, et al vet Scranton Twohey, the East Sixth bar Whisler’s quickly became a favorite since opening last spring. Housed in the former home of the historic East Side dive bar Rabbit’s, the space was given a complete overhaul of the old stone building’s interior prior to opening.  Save for its faded logo on the building’s façade, there is little reminder of the space’s former tenant in the revamped space, thanks largely to a glamorous and stately new bar. At the same time, Twohey was certain to create a space that felt at home in the neighborhood as well as played homage to its predecessor. The result is a bar that lacks the pretention one expects from a typical East Side upscale cocktail joint.

Whisler's Austin

Whisler’s Austin

As for the cocktail program, Whisler’s offers a number of seasonal offerings as well as a nightly punch option. Don’t see something you like? Whisler’s bartenders are more than happy to spend some extra time discussing something that may strike your fancy. Thanks to this friendly staff and outstanding craft cocktails – combined with its casual atmosphere – Whisler’s is the type of place you can convince even the most strangely east side adverse friend to meet for a drink.

Continue reading Drinks and Eats: Whisler’s Austin + Dumpling Happiness

Tamale House East

Since opening a couple years back, Tamale House East has continually ranked high on my list of favorite Mexican food eats. Known for its tried and true Tex-Mex style, Tamale House East delivers with dishes that are easy on the wallet but big on flavor. The atmosphere at the family owned and operated Tamale House East is always one of casual familiarity, which makes it an ideal weekend lunch spot, especially following a late evening.

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Chicken Verde Enchilada – $7.95

It’s hard to go wrong ordering, but when in doubt, the enchiladas are always a safe bet. In particular, the chicken verde enchiladas are a favorite go-to of mine, thanks largely to a citrusy housemade tomatillo salsa. While waiting for entrées, however, it’s never a bad idea to start with a couple of tamales.

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Pork Tamale w/Mole & Cheese – $2.75

On this visit, the bean and cheese tamale was excellent; the masa was thin, and the filling was flavorful with just a little kick of heat. While the pork tamale’s masa would have generally been too dense for my liking, the thickness actually worked in its favor, as it was weighty enough to hold up under the rich, well-developed red mole sauce.

Continue reading Tamale House East

Austin Restaurant Openings Forecast, Part II: Bold-Faced Names and Upscale Eats

As 2013 winds down and we look forward to 2014, it’s time once again for a round up of the latest and greatest new additions to the Austin dining scene as well as a few newcomers to look forward to in the coming months. Go ahead and scratch any future New Year’s resolutions to go on that diet because we’ve got a lot of eating to do…

Part I available here.

Get your chicken fried egg on at Odd Duck

Get your chicken fried egg on at Odd Duck

The Bold Faced Names
Odd Duck – Opened in South Austin December 2013
Almost three years to the date of beginning service at his much-lauded Barley Swine restaurant, Chef Bryce Gilmore has opened his second brick and mortar restaurant in South Austin. Inspired by the food truck that started it all, Odd Duck will feature a rotating menu of inventive comfort dishes created from strictly local, seasonal ingredients. Lower in price and bigger in size, Odd Duck should serve as the slightly more approachable brother to Barley Swine. The ah-mazing menu includes the return of such favorites as the Chicken Fried Chicken Egg pictured above (and described here). Odd Duck, located at 1201 South Lamar, is now serving dinner 7 nights a week.

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Noble Sandwich Co. – North Central in Early 2014
After announcing its expansion plans earlier this year, the hotly anticipated central location of Noble Sandwich Co. will open on 49th and Burnet in early 2014. Known for ridiculously good sandwiches crafted from fresh breads, house cured meats, and from-scratch spreads and vegetables, the second outpost will also feature beer, wine, charcuterie and more.

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Chavez – Opens Downtown in Winter 2014
Chef Shawn Cirkiel & co. (parkside/backspace/Olive & June) will be opening the southwestern inspired Chavez restaurant at the completely revamped Radisson Hotel in January 2014. Chavez’s future space, formerly home to TGIFriday’s, is currently being overhauled to reflect the Radisson’s new direction as well as to capitalize on the location’s exceptional views of Lady Bird Lake.

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Laundrette/Angry Bear – Opens South Austin Summer 2014
After Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki abruptly departed La Condesa and Sway Thai earlier this fall, the rumor mill was churning with buzz that the duo was cooking up something amazing for Austin. Since that time, it has been announced that the James Beard nominated chefs have teamed up with Fresa’s owners Margaret Vera and Tracy Overath to launch a pair of eateries off South Lamar in summer 2014. As detailed in an interview with Texas Monthly, plans include Laundrette, an upscale café and grocery, and Angry Bear, a Szechaun takeout spot.

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Wu Chow – Opens Downtown Late 2014
The team behind downtown favorite Swift’s Attic recently announced plans for a second concept to open in late 2014. The new restaurant, called Wu Chow, will serve ‘authentic, modern Chinese cuisine’ from its space located in the forthcoming IBC building near Republic Square Park. In developing the concept, Wu Chow GM and co-owner C.K. Chin drew inspiration from his own Chinese roots and plans to feature dishes that blend his traditional family recipes with the modern face of Chinese cuisine today. Mouthwatering already…

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Best of the Rest/Upscale Eats Continue reading Austin Restaurant Openings Forecast, Part II: Bold-Faced Names and Upscale Eats

Nov. 22-24 Weekend Happenings: Meatball Festival, EAST Studio Tour, and More

Weekend Forecast: Cloudy w/a side of Meatballs

Weekend Forecast: Cloudy w/a side of Meatballs

 

Friday, November 22

The North Door is teaming up with Micklethwait Craft Meats for a Dinner & Movie Supper Club event celebrating everyone’s favorite charmingly dysfunctional family, The Royal Tenenbaums. In addition to a screening of the Wes Anderson classic, there will be a Thanksgiving-themed menu featuring a choice of turducken or vegetarian-friendly field roast. Tickets for the event are $20/pp and available – along with more details – here. The Supper Club kicks off at the North Door (502 Brushy, Austin TX 78702) at 7pm.

Join Chef Paul Qui for the 2nd annual Qui to the Cure event on Friday evening. The event, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Texas, features bites created by the James Beard Award winning chef as well as live music, a silent auction and more. VIP tickets are sold out, but General Admission tickets ($110/pp) are still available for purchase here. Qui for the Cure takes place from 7:30-11pm November 22 at Brazos Hall (204 E 4th Street). More details can be found here.

Saturday, November 23

If this weekend’s cold weather triggers cravings for comfort food, stop by Saturday’s Austin Meatball Festival to enjoy Italian Grandmother-approved bites from over a dozen local restaurants. Tickets to the event are $15 for General Admission or $35 for access to live music in the Listening Room. VIP packages are available as well. Proceeds from the event will benefit Fresh Chefs Society and Citizen Generation. The Austin Meatball Festival will be held from 11am-4pm at Winflo Osteria, located at 1315 West 6th Street. For more details and tickets, visit the event webpage here. Continue reading Nov. 22-24 Weekend Happenings: Meatball Festival, EAST Studio Tour, and More

Sept. 27-29 Weekend Happenings: Beer Fest, Farewell to Breaking Bad, and More

In need of last minute weekend plans? Here are a few happenings around town to take advantage of this weekend, including my Top Pick of The Week, the Texas Craft Brewers Festival!

Texas Craft Beer Fest

 Friday, September 27

Noble Sandwich Co. Monthly Dinner – Friday, September 27 8pm at 11815 620 N. Suite 4, Austin, TX 78750

Noble Sandwich Co. will host its monthly dinner series this Friday night with a four-course menu boasting dishes such as short rib confit and pickled mushrooms with poached duck egg. The BYOB dinner is $65/per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 512.382.6248 or emailing noblepigaustin@gmail.com. Full menu and details can be found here.

 

All ‘Bad’ Things Must Come to Party – BC Smoke Shop/The North Door 10pm-2am at 502 Brushy Street, Austin TX 78702

BC Smoke Shop will host a Breaking Bad tribute party at The North Door in advance of Sunday’s finale. The All ‘Bad’ Things Must Come to Party will feature Djs Polymyth and Pharo spinning music from the series, contests, pizza, and more. Tickets to the event, available here, are $3 advance/$5 door. Don’t forget to return Sunday for the show’s finale. Nothing like a little group support to help let go…

Searsucker Chef Brian Malarkey Birthday Party – 10pm at 415 Colorado, Austin, TX 78701

Searsucker Chef Brian Malarkey is celebrating his birthday this Friday night with late night drink specials such as $3 beers and $5 cocktails as well as discounted small plates after 10pm. In addition, show him some b-day love and enjoy a complimentary champagne toast!

 Saturday, September 28 Continue reading Sept. 27-29 Weekend Happenings: Beer Fest, Farewell to Breaking Bad, and More