Monday, February 13, 2017

What's Ashley Eating? - Old Thousand, Austin TX

I received a complimentary 5 course meal at Old Thousand for their Chinese New Year Dinner for purpose of review. All opinions are my own, and I would never endorse a product/service/restaurant I didn't personally recommend to my readers.

I'm trying a bunch of new things in the blog this year, and restaurant reviews are one of them! As a member of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, I often get invites to new restaurant openings, or special happy hours for bloggers in town. To say thank you to the many places that let us sample their menu, as well as places I've stumbled onto on my own, I've decided to create a new series called What's Ashley Eating


Old Thousand's art is adorable.

I have a unique problem in Austin. I cannot find crappy food. And by crappy, I don't mean inedible, I mean that inauthentic, overly sugared, super Americanized versions of things like tacos that I found in my little area of Massachusetts until moving to foodie-paradise Austin, Texas. 

Old Thousand is not the mall Chinese food I grew up with. Not by a long shot. So, it's not going to quell my craving for greasy takeout. But it's definitely where I'm going to go for delicious Chinese food from now on!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of experiencing their Chinese New Year dinner. I brought along my seafood-neutral fiance, who I fully intended on buying a side of chicken something-or-other once we saw the menu was heavy on the seafood, but as it turns out, I didn't need to.

Every course was perfect. The seafood was fresh, devoid of the "fishy" taste and full of flavor. Unfortunately, the low-lighting meant I didn't get the best pictures, but trust me. Everything was amazing.

I'm not sure if this was typical of Saturday nights, or just because it was Chinese New Year, but walk-ups were told there was a 3 hour wait. We had reservations, but ended up being seated at the bar. So, I'd definitely advise you to make reservations, and specify a non-bar seat if you want a table. We enjoyed the close proximity to the kitchen, though, it was cool to see the chefs in action!

Oh and don't ignore their cocktail menu. The bartenders know their stuff and while the cocktails are pricey (I think my Old Fashioned was $12), they're worth it.

Here's what I got to sample!

SPICY CUCUMBER SALAD & DRY FRIED LONG BEANs - First up, we had some tasty veggies. I am pretty sure the green beans were switched out with broccoli rabe and woodyear mushrooms, because the pictures I have do not look like green beans. I loved the broccoli rabe mix, the veggies were cooked to a perfect al dente and seasoned well. I kept the spicy cucumber salad as a palate cleanser throughout the meal. I'm glad I did, as the rich food needed something in between courses!

LION HEAD MEATBALL SOUP (Meatball stuffed with crab). This was probably my least favorite course, but I still really liked it! The broth-to-noodle ratio was a bit off, I would have liked more broth, but the idea of a seafood-stuffed meatball was too good to pass up either way.

SALT & PEPPER CRAB - Probably my favorite course. I've never had fried crab before! The batter was delightfully seasoned and just a little bit spicy.

CANTONESE ROASTED CHICKEN - You know it's good when it's served on a fancy log. And goodness, this was flavorful! The chicken was so moist and tender and perfectly seasoned on its own, but the accompanying sauce just hit it out of the park.

DAN TA ( egg custard, meyer lemon, and vanilla). The perfect end to the meal. I love ending on a light, sweet custard with fruit. I've never been much for heavy desserts, so this was perfect.

Old Thousand is a delicious, authentic Chinese Food restaurant with its own modern twist. The menu is reasonably priced--the meal I got was a $70 two-person special, but most entrees are under $20. Overall, it's a great new restaurant that fits right in here in Austin. Definitely check it out!

Old Thousand is located on 1000 E 11th Street in Austin, Texas. and is open from 5pm to 11pm/12am daily.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day Hot Buttered Bourbon for Two with Drizly

 I received a complimentary delivery through Drizly as well as gift cards to facilitate my review and recipe. All opinions are my own.

Have y'all heard about Drizly? It's an awesome alcohol delivery service.  According to their website, they work with local stores so you can shop their shelves using your smartphone or computer to order beer, wine and liquor at the touch of a button.

I was lucky enough to get to try their service and it was just as easy as it sounds! If you're 21, you like booze, and you don't want to leave your house, it's a great way to get any number of excellent beer, wine, and cocktail fixin's right to your door.

I don't know about you guys, but getting booze delivered to my door on Valentine's Day seems just as good, if not better, than getting chocolates! Even if you don't have a special someone to share a bottle of wine or cozy warm beverage with (see my recipe below!) Drizly is a great way to get good booze quickly.

Alright so, about this drink--it's RED VELVET hot buttered BOURBON. It's like my favorite things got together to give me a wonderous Valentine's Day treat! I plan on sharing

Red Velvet Hot Buttered Bourbon
(Makes about two large mug's worth)

  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon - I used Bulleit that I got delivered straight from Drizly! Click here to add it to your cart now!
  • 1 cup boiling water

Topping: sprinkles and whipped cream.

-Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the cocoa powder, food coloring, whipping cream, and spices.

-Spoon the batter into a blender or food processor and, while running, slowly pour in the bourbon and boiling water (do this with the top ON, make sure your food processor or blender has an opening for this!).

-Serve in a mug with a bit of whipped cream and sprinkles

Friday, February 3, 2017

These are a Few of my Favorite Things 2

Happy Three Year Anniversary of being our dog, Lily! <3

Happy New Year, everyone! Well, I guess I'm a little late with that... happy, Valentine's Day season? I know it's a weird time for some people, whether you're not in a relationship and feeling lonely or you're in one and feeling pressured. Cory and I typically stay in, unplug, and make a delicious meal together. I don't know how I'll top the "surf, turf, and sky" dinner I made a few years back, but we'll see!

Did you see my recent recipe post? Check out how to make a delicious One Pot Pork Loin Dinner!

Now, onto my favorite things!

Here's where I share things related to food/blogging/cooking/restaurants that I have discovered and/or received for review. If there's a *, I've received a product gratis from the company for purpose of reviewing.

Old Thousand* - We were invited to an amazing Chinese New Year dinner here and I was extremely impressed. I think I've finally found my favorite Chinese food in Austin! The meal was a four course traditional new year's menu:

LION HEAD MEATBALL SOUP (Meatball stuffed with crab)
DAN TA ( egg custard, meyer lemon, and vanilla)

Isla* - I attended an Austin Food Blogger Alliance happy hour at the popular Peche sister restaurant, and got to sample a number of items. They all were delicious, but I ended up ordering a few fresh oysters to supplement the snacks and I am SO glad I did! These are hands-down the freshest, most flavorful oysters I have found in the city. I will definitely be back.

Salsa Maya - I discovered this amazing condiment after sampling it at Spec's. And my life will never be the same. It's aioli with habanero, but the spice isn't overwhelming and the creamy texture balances it nicely. Using the jarred spicy mayo, I make an incredible crusted chicken, but what I really love is that you can buy them in little ketchup-packet-sized amounts. I keep some in my purse for when my lunch needs a little kick!

Things I find on the internet and stuff.

Stay informed! See a rage-inducing news bite on social media? Be sure to check out Politifact's Truthometer and Snopes to make sure it's legit.

Does anyone remember Neopets? My account is nearly FIFTEEN years old now--wow!

Catana, a web comic... is she secretly illustrating my own relationship? These are too cute.

I've never had a Scotch egg, but they look SO good! I think I'll try this recipe from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen soon!

Each week I’m going to highlight a different thing I love in ATX. Might be a list, might be one highlight, who knows! This week it’s…

My Favorite Happy Hours

Peached Tortilla -Snacks and cocktails for $5, Tacos for $3, and a special burger for $7. Do yourself a favor and order the Kimchi Arrancini Balls and Mom's Toast (the owner's mother's own recipe) and pair it with a whiskey drink. This is hands-down my favorite happy hour in town!

Pacific Rim - Especially their $1 menu on Tuesdays! Holy balls this place is amazing. I ate my fill of fresh, delicious sushi for only $20 last Tuesday. Color me impressed. Also enjoy select saki for $3-$5.

Tacos n' Tequila - Mondays they have a $1.50 build-your-own taco bar, and the rest of the week they have decent discounts on their expertly crafted cocktails. Definitely go on Monday if you can! Their unique taco offerings are great and reasonably priced, too, if you miss Monday's taco bar.

Odd Duck - One of the places I can only really afford DURING Happy Hour, I love the little bites Odd Duck offers during this time. Their menu is highly seasonal, so stop in for a $5 beer and whatever the chef has whipped up.

Salty Sow - $5 snack menu and discounted drinks. All of the yes. This is another place I don't frequent other than happy hour (unless it's "date night") but my favorite thing to do is order one of everything off the menu!

Question of the week: What charities and organizations do you donate to?