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

FREE CHEESE WEEK: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop Turns 4

As if we needed one more reason to adore Antonelli’s, the cheese shop is spreading the love with FREE CHEESE all week long, beginning Monday, February 10 through Friday, February 14. Every February, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop celebrates their anniversary by saying thank you to the businesses and customers that support them by serving free cheese plates at various locations around Austin.

Now in their fourth year, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop not only stocks their shelves with some of the best cheese in Austin, but their cheesemongers work hand in hand with many of Austin’s best restaurants to supply them with . . . → Read More: FREE CHEESE WEEK: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop Turns 4


There’s no question South 1st Street has undergone something of a metamorphous over the past couple of years. Despite a wave of new restaurants opening up and down the street, it seemed – at least for a long time – the Oltorf area was immune to the changes happening around it. That’s not to say the neighborhood was hurting for amazing places to dine with a list of options ranging from upscale spots like Sway and Lenoir to highly addictive Tex-Mex eats like Polvos and El Primo.

However, for those looking for something in the middle – that easy post-work spot to grab a good glass of wine or appetizer – the options were previously few and far between. Thanks to its reasonable prices, strong menu offerings, and relaxed atmosphere, Winebelly is now helping to fill that void while adding a little charm to Oltorf in the process.

Winebelly’s Spanish tapas-inspired food menu consists of a dozen or so small plates with price points ranging from $5-$16. We started with the cured white anchovies topped with a Spanish salsa verde. The bright flavor of the delicate, salty anchovies and herbaceous, tangy salsa made for a delicious welcome to Winebelly. Next up was an order of another traditional tapas favorite, tomato bread. The bread was soaked in a mixture of sweet tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and offset by the crunchy crust. Once again, this dish highlighted what can happen with well-executed simplicity.

Cured White Anchovies - $5

Cured White Anchovies – $5

Less successful were the pork, beef and veal meatballs, served in a nondescript tomato sauce; Continue reading Winebelly

January Happenings, Part I: Downton Abbey, Crafting and Dining for a Cause

Downton Abbey Screening & Happy Hour at Goodall’s  – Sundays from 6-9pm

Fancy Cocktails + Downton Abbey = Goodall’s Sunday Nights

Goodall’s will be hosting a weekly Downton Abbey happy hour and episode viewing event beginning this Sunday, January 12 in honor of the show’s 4th season. Guests at the events will enjoy a happy hour prices on craft cocktails ($7), beers ($3) and wine ($7) as well as 50% off select bar menu items.

Downton Abbey will be available for viewing each week in the Goodall’s bar, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Bonus: Downton Abbey fans will receive . . . → Read More: January Happenings, Part I: Downton Abbey, Crafting and Dining for a Cause

The Happiest Hour: Ranch 616

Though its fried-and-true Southwestern menu is typically too indulgent for my liking, when it comes to work happy hours or football weekends, Ranch 616 is usually part of the equation. To be fair, one hardly needs to twist my arm to sip on one of the restaurant’s famed Ranch Waters. Consisting of Hornitos Reposado, Citronge and lime juice on the rocks and a Topo Chico on the side, the heady cocktail is both strong and delicious.

Ranch 616 Ranch Water - $10

Ranch 616 Ranch Water – $10

Ranch 616 recently updated its drink menu to include a drink similar to the legendary Texas Chili Parlor Drew Drink. The ‘Autumn Water’, consisting of Kettle One, Topo Chico, cranberry and lime, is a refreshing alternative to the Ranch Water for tequila adverse happy hour attendees. Not sure exactly what makes this cocktail autumn-esque, but there is usually falling involved after too many of the aforementioned Drew Drinks, so we’ll go with it.

Ranch 616 Autumn Water - $11

Ranch 616 Autumn Water – $11

Moving from drinks to eats, it’s hard to go wrong with the house favorite ‘The Don Combo’. Continue reading The Happiest Hour: Ranch 616

Summer Drinks, National Tequila Day Edition: El Naranjo

In honor of National Tequila Day, it’s only fitting to highlight one of my favorite tequila –based cocktails in town: the La Fresa from El Naranjo. This little glass of goodness, featuring Jimador Silver tequila, freshly muddled strawberries, agave nectar, and lime juice, has a nice balance of sweet and citrus flavors and packs a strong enough punch to get your evening started off right.

Forget the mixes and sweeteners; like everything the interior Mexican restaurant serves, El Naranjo’s cocktails are rooted in authenticity and created using high-quality, natural ingredients. For the true tequila connoisseur, El Naranjo’s menu includes . . . → Read More: Summer Drinks, National Tequila Day Edition: El Naranjo

Wine Happenings: Tapeña Wines Meet Up on Thursday, April 19

Add a little spice to your work week by joining Tapeña  Wines for a not to miss evening celebrating friends, tapas, and wine. Taking place this Thursday, April 19 from 5-7pm at Downtown’s Roaring Fork Restaurant, this fun-filled event will include complimentary tastings of Tapena’s delicious Spanish wine paired with tasty tapas. Along with sips and bites, the evening will include live entertainment, treats, and more!

The details:

Tapeña  Wines: Spend the Night With a Spaniard!

Roaring Fork 701 Congress Avenue Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Explore savory Spanish culture where the wine is flavorful and the art of conversation . . . → Read More: Wine Happenings: Tapeña Wines Meet Up on Thursday, April 19

Dish/Deal of the Day: Taco Tuesday @ Quality Seafood

A new year has officially begun, which means one thing: resolutions. Today’s Dish of the Day is a perfect solution to abiding by all those promises to eat healthy, save money, and so on. As mentioned here, Taco Tuesdays at Quality Seafood are a college student’s dream, but after rediscovering this steal of a deal, my stomach and bank account gladly can’t get enough. As part of their weekly specials menu, Quality Seafood serves $2 seafood tacos alongside $2 domestic beers every Tuesday night from 6-9pm. Each taco comes with a choice of shrimp, mahi-mahi, or catfish served grilled, . . . → Read More: Dish/Deal of the Day: Taco Tuesday @ Quality Seafood