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

Brunch Ups: Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar

With football season, music festivals, and other ongoings, chances are you’ve got a spare bedroom full of guests every weekend. No matter what draws these friends to town, there is a good chance that at some point, an epic brunch will be in order. When the inevitable question of where to eat is posed, there are a few go-to staples that always fit the bill. One of these places is perennial favorite Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar. While champagne and oysters certainly come with a higher price tag then, say, a breakfast taco, its location, atmosphere, and solid menu of brunch favorites makes Perla’s a worthwhile investment.

Salt and Jalapeno Pepper Calamari - $14

Salt and Jalapeno Pepper Calamari – $14

Whether playing tour guide or merely recovering from a long weekend, Perla’s bright, Carolina-inspired patio overlooking South Congress Avenue is a perfect spot to press the reset button with a glass of bubbly or ambitious brunch cocktail like the Caeser or appropriately named Corpse Reviver. Continue reading Brunch Ups: Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar

Mueller Market

While I love the Saturday SFC downtown market, I must admit I tend to spend my Saturday mornings enjoying a leisurely brunch over stocking up on vegetables, meaning most my weekend farmer’s market trips are generally delayed until Sunday. Until recently, this meant habitual Sunday trips to the fantastic HOPE Market, mentioned here. However, I finally broke from tradition a few weeks back to visit the new(ish) Mueller Farmer’s Market. Housed in the Browning Hanger, the F2M Texas-sponsored market opened last year to provide locals with yet another option to find farm fresh fruits and vegetables, local protein and . . . → Read More: Mueller Market

Austin Dining Guide: Where to Eat Seafood in Austin

As a member of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance, I am joining a team of fellow foodies in creating a City Wide Dining Guide for 2013 detailing the best of the best Austin has to offer. This post is all about the best places for seafood with favorites discovered through personal research (eating). Please let me know what places I left off as this list will continue to evolve and grow as I check out more spots. After some back and forth, I made the executive decision to leave out sushi places. However, for my money, I am going to Uchi, Uchiko or Kome.

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Quality Seafood – Value, consistency, and, well, quality, are just a few reasons Quality Seafood is arguably the best seafood restaurant in Austin. Quality Seafood, Austin’s premier seafood market and restaurant, dates back to 1938 and seems only getting better with age. While the decades have marked changes in ownership and location, the heart and soul of Quality Seafood Market has remained unaffected, if not stronger than ever. Despite its consistently high ratings, it is easy to underestimate Quality Seafood after pulling into the parking lot and walking inside. This is a seafood market, after all, complete with bright florescent lights and linoleum floors. Most tables are counter service with the exception of bar seating. However, this laidback atmosphere is all part of the restaurant’s uniqueness.

There are a good number of reasons for Quality Seafood Market storied longevity. Casual in feel and price, the restaurant’s food is on par with fancier establishments, many whom source from the business’ wholesale arm. Take, for example, an order of sea scallops wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon. The scallops are flash fried to perfection, resulting in a finished product that has a crisp caramelized crust outside yet remains tender and juicy on the inside. Other menu specialties include oysters on the half shell, fried seafood baskets, chowders and gumbo, and fish plates. Of course, no review of Quality Seafood is complete without mentioning the special that hooked us in the first place: Taco Tuesdays. For $2 every Tuesday evening, customers get a choice of shrimp, mahi mahi, or catfish served blackened, grilled or fried and topped with one of Quality Seafood’s delicious housemade sauces. A steal at $2, these tacos, stuffed with fresh seafood, are a bargain any day of the week at $4.39 a taco.

Fish Taco at Quality Seafood

Fish Taco at Quality Seafood

Quality Seafood. 5621 Airport Blvd. Austin, TX. 512.454.5827. http://www.qualityseafoodmarket.com/

Shoal Creek Saloon – Shoal Creek Saloon is Austin’s answer to Louisiana-style dining.  Long time favorite Shoal Creek is well known for its Cajun infused menu, creekside outdoor seating, and lively crowd, especially when LSU or the Saints are playing. The kitchen is famous for fried catfish, but the po boys, peel and eat shrimp and nachos are also solid choices. If too many hurricanes and hand grenades have you singing the blues, there is nothing that will cure all that ails you like a bowl of garlic soup. Naturally, Shoal Creek is THE place to go for a spicy pile of mudbugs during crawfish season. Shoal Creek Saloon is one of those tried and true Austin places that is now well on its way to becoming an institution.

Dish of the Day: Shoal Creek Saloon

Shoal Creek Saloon

Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78703. 512.474.0805. http://www.shoalcreeksaloon.com/

Continue reading Austin Dining Guide: Where to Eat Seafood in Austin

Trio at the Four Seasons Offers 3 for $36 to Benefit I Live Here, I Give Here

I Live Here, I Give Here

Trio at the Four Seasons Restaurant has partnered with I Live Here, I Give Here for a summer long event too good to pass up. I Live Here, I Give Here is an organization founded in 2007 to encourage Central Texans to become involved and give back to local non-profits serving our community. To help raise funds for this fantastic group, Trio is offering a special Restaurant Week-style menu all summer long.

From June 19 until August 31, Trio will offer a three course menu for $36, including choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert, 7 days a week. Additional wine pairings will be available for $14. 10% of each check will be given to I Live Here, I Give Here throughout the event. Even if you don’t sample the menu (though you should), mention I Live Here, I Give Here and the Four Seasons will still donate 10% to the organization.

Not only is this special dinner a steal of a deal, but it is also a great way to introduce your palate to Trio’s new Chef de Cuisine Grant Macdonald. Chef Macdonald recently relocated from Vancouver to take over Trio’s highly regarded culinary program. Having honed his skills in some of Canada’s best kitchens, his dishes are refined and beautiful. While this expertise alone would make him an excellent fit for a luxury hotel restaurant, Trio has always sought to set the bar a bit higher. Macdonald’s diverse background working with almost every genre of food from Italian to Pan Asian made him just the unique chef Trio was looking to find. This exposure to a wide range of culinary styles is manifested through his fresh and inventive dishes.

Snapper Ceviche- Love the Pintrest-worthy presentation!

To properly discover his new home state, Macdonald has taken to experimenting with regional ingredients including Gulf seafood, Fredericksburg peaches, and Texas beef, which is well reflected on the special I Live Here, I Give Here menu. I joined a few fellow foodies in previewing the event menu last week to delicious results.

Appetizer options include snapper ceviche, crab and heirloom tomato gazpacho, and grilled quail. Continue reading Trio at the Four Seasons Offers 3 for $36 to Benefit I Live Here, I Give Here

Happenings: Lustre Pearl’s Final Spring Crawfish Bash this Sunday

Laissez les bon temps roulez! “Pass a good time” during Lustre Pearl’s Last Crawfish Boil this Sunday. With crawfish season coming to a close, this will be Lustre Pearl’s last bash of season. Be sure to get your Cajun fix before it’s too late!

The boil kicks off this Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 PM. Lustre Pearl is located at 97 Rainey Street, Austin, Texas 78701.  Cost is gratis.

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

Quality Seafood Market

Airport Blvd. may be bustling with new restaurants and developments, but it has not always been that way. As dilapidated shopping centers and vacant lots make way for new businesses, one Austin institution has refused to be a part of the past. Quality Seafood, Austin’s premier seafood market and restaurant, dates back to 1938 and seems only getting better with age. While the decades have marked changes in ownership and location, the heart and soul of Quality Seafood Market has remained unaffected. In its long history, Quality Seafood has touched many an Austinite, something apparent during this recent foray with my visiting father. While in college I spent many a Taco Tuesday enjoying $2 fish tacos and beer, it was his first return trip to Quality in about 40 years. Born and raised in Austin, he recounted with nostalgia visiting Quality Seafood with his mother Beverly, who had also grown up buying fish from the market. Austin was quite a different city back then, and the University of Texas growth eventual pushed the market ‘way up north’ to Airport. In its current location, Quality Seafood Market has flourished and often acknowledged as one of the best places to eat in town.

Read More Quality Seafood [expand title=Here] Despite its consistent high ratings, it is easy to underestimate Quality Seafood after pulling into the parking lot and walking inside. This is a seafood market, after all, complete with bright florescent lights and linoleum floors. Most tables are counter service with the exception of bar seating. However, this laidback atmosphere is all part of the restaurant’s uniqueness. After taking a seat at the bar, I ordered a glass of wine off of the small but diverse wine list priced by glass ranging from $6-$8. White wine came served in a chilled, thick wine glass, which was an unusual yet pleasant surprise. Quality Seafood Market is the type of place ordering a dozen oysters is a must. Our Canadian malpeque and Connecticut bluepoints were full of flavor and served fresh and cold as can be. Next up was an order of the bacon wrapped scallops. In this appetizer, large sea scallops are wrapped in Applewood bacon and flash fried. The bacon was crisp and salty while flash fry delivered a perfect caramelized crust to the scallops without making them greasy. The scallops still remained tender and juicy inside these perfect bites. I sampled a few bites of a bowl of New England clam chowder. It was rich in clams and flavor without being too heavy in cream. For entrees, I choose the grilled Steelhead trout fish special with a zinfandel orange mustard glaze while my father order the Thursday softshell crab special. The softshell crabs are served two to a plate fried or sautéed in a New Orleans style BBQ sauce. I preferred the fried version although the sauce on the other was excellent. However, the crab couldn’t hold a candle to the trout. While steelhead trout resembles salmon in color, it is a much milder, flakier fish. The sweet, citrusy light sauce was an exceptional compliment to the subtle flavor of the fish. Should you visit Quality Seafood when this is a featured special, order it.

There are a good many reasons for Quality Seafood Market storied longevity. Casual in feel and price, the restaurant’s food is on par with fancier establishments whose fish is most likely supplied by business’ wholesale arm. And, soon more changes are in store for Quality Seafood. A recent takeover of an abandoned retail space next door means Quality Seafood is expanding in a big way. The current space will be used for the wholesale and retail business while the new space will be used for the restaurant that will soon include a large outdoor seating area. Adding so much square footage is always a risk, but if history is any indication, Quality Seafood will adapt smoothly. [/expand]

Quality Seafood. 5621 Airport Blvd. Austin, TX. 512.454.5827. http://www.qualityseafoodmarket.com/

 

Scallop Appetizer - $9.99

 

Love this chilled glass!

 

Continue reading Quality Seafood Market