April Eats in Review

My apologies for the lack of posts as of late – work and life have been a bit hectic. Though I have had an unintentional break from food blogging, my waistline can attest I have not taken a break from food eating. Have no fear – new content will be posted imminently. Here are a few snapshots of some of the delicious bites I have been enjoying to get your appetite going in the meantime!

One of the best Sunday afternoons I had in April was spent strolling through the grounds of four local farms during the East Urban Farm Tour. A uniquely Austin experience, the annual fundraiser allows guests to tour local farms while enjoying small bites from some of Austin’s best restaurants created from produce grown on site. The four participating farms – Springdale, Rain Lily, Boggy Creek, and HausBar – are close enough together to walk to and from, which was perfect for working up an appetite in between stops.

Next to pizza, meatballs, and other amazing things topped with cheese, imagine my surprise to find my unexpected favorite of the day to be an ah-mazing roasted carrots, quinoa, pesto, and mustard dish from Bufulina.

Bufulina at East Austin Farm Tour

Bufulina at East Austin Farm Tour

Keep your cake, candles and frosting; for my birthday, the only dessert I want is Uchi’s Peanut Butter Semifreddo. This little piece of heaven taste like the PB&J you wish your mom used to make it. A very happy birthday indeed!

Peanut Butter Semifreddo at Uchi Austin

Peanut Butter Semifreddo at Uchi Austin

Speaking of birthdays, I naturally spent my birthday as any girl should: Drew Drinks at the Texas Chili Parlor followed by a special Selena tribute night during TuezGayz at Barberella. While at the TCP, I was tipped off to a dish I had somehow never tried: the pork tamale topped gratuitously with a housemade green chili sauce and cheese. See you later Freddy Style Nachos; I just found my new go-to order. Continue reading April Eats in Review

Winebelly

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

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

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

River City Market

Travis Heights new gourmet grab ‘n go, River City Market, is a very welcome addition to the South Austin neighborhood. Since opening at the tail end of last year, both the market’s grocery selection and menu offerings have quickly grown to now include a broader range of needs. And though the phrases ‘South Congress’ and ‘quick and easy’ don’t normally go hand in hand, the market benefits from being positioned just a hair past the heart of SoCo and all its parking nightmares, but still close enough to keep from feeling out of the way.

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In addition to a prepared foods case, the market offers build-your-own breakfast tacos every morning until 11 in addition to a sandwich menu with about a dozen options. The grocery selection includes organic household necessities, speciality foods, beer/wine, and pantry items. Of note, the beer selection is impressively large beer and includes both craft and domestic varieties, including plenty of local brews.

Continue reading River City Market

Foodie Happenings: Openings & Up-and-Comings

Sway, a modern Thai restaurant, will soon join the ranks of fine dining spots on South First Street. The team behind Sway includes restaurateurs Jesse Herman and Delfo Trombetta who, along with Chef Rene Ortiz, have received national acclaim for their award winning Mexican restaurant La Condesa. In developing Sway’s menu, Chef Rene Ortiz drew on time spent in working with top Thai chefs in Australia to develop dishes which combine tradition with innovation. The Michael Hsu designed space features an open kitchen, communal tables, and a large patio complete with a spirit garden. Sway is tentatively slated for a late summer opening. The new restaurant will serve both lunch and dinner daily. Sway is located at 1417 South First, Austin, TX 78704. Website.

 

After months of waited on baited breath, we finally have word on Uchiko Chef and Top Chef: Texas winner Paul Qui’s upcoming restaurant. Qui recently told Serious Eats of his plans to open an Asian influenced restaurant on South Lamar. He plans to fuse the traditional Japanese kaiseki style of dining with inspirations from meals enjoyed while traveling around the world. The restaurant’s small dining space will hold 50 of the hottest seats in town in addition to a small tasting room. Paul Qui’s upcoming new restaurant will be located at 2310 South Lamar, Austin, TX 78704.

 

Rainey Street welcomed two new eateries last month. The first is the highly anticipated sausage-and-beer joint Banger’s. Continue reading Foodie Happenings: Openings & Up-and-Comings

Drink of the Day: Elizabeth Street Cafe

Following a Friday night enjoyed to its full potential and an early Saturday morning spent moving, we escaped to Elizabeth Street Café for a much needed relaxing lunch. With legs too tired to wait for a table, we beelined it to take advantage of the bar’s open seating. While pursuing the menu it was hard not to notice the sriracha-filled concoction being whipped up behind the bar. Our bartender informed us the drink in question was Elizabeth Street’s beer punch. After watching him chop, measure, and season said drink with increasing mouthwatering curiosity, we put aside a previously hatched . . . → Read More: Drink of the Day: Elizabeth Street Cafe

Lick Ice Cream

ICYMIT – Summer has officially arrived. It’s hotter than a cat on a hot tin roof outside with a forecast predicting many hot and sweaty days ahead. While standing in line at one of Austin’s finest Snow-Cone trailers is a tempting idea, here’s a better one: Lick Ice Cream. Since opening, Lick has received rave reviews from ice cream enthusiasts touting the shop’s creative flavors and quality ingredients. Prior to visiting, I was admittedly on the fence because let’s face it, everyone loves ice cream. How good could it possibly be? Answer: Simply amazing.

 

It’s hard not to be sold after walking into the cool, bright shop and immediately being overtaken with the aroma of fresh waffle cones. Continue reading Lick Ice Cream