Thursday, March 1, 2018

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2017 - Bar Food


Austin is a foodie city, there's no denying it. So, when you end up at a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night, sometimes all you can hope for is a seat at the bar. But did you know that Austin has more than a few watering holes that also offer amazing food? These are just a few that I've found in my journey through Austin's food and drink scene... Check it out!

Austin's Best Bar Bites

East Side Tavern - This bar is so much fun, with a rooftop patio and amazing drink options (obviously, that's what Taverns do best) but you'd be missing out if you left without having one of these brisket and cheddar tater tots. Let me say that again. BRISKET AND CHEDDAR TATER TOTS. So freaking amazing. Runners up are the pickled deviled eggs and the corndog bites but really, anything here is awesome.
1510 E Cesar Chavez | Austin, TX 78702

The Hideout Pub–Their slogan is "we're cheap so you don't have to be," AND their kitchen is open until midnight, so you know I'm all about this place.  Not to mention they're a mere 5 minutes from my apartment in way north Austin. They mean it about being cheap--they boast more than a handful of drinks under $5! I've had the burgers and the fish and chips here and both were great. Their wing nights are an awesome excuse to chow down on multiple chicken wings for under $1 apiece (60 cents per wing). They're known for their burgers, but all pub food is present and accounted for here. Plus the laid back vibe and huge patio are awesome for hanging out with friends on a weekend or happy hour. The Hideout Pub is located at 12164 N Mopac Expressway in Austin and is open Mon-Fri 3pm-2am, Sat-Sun 5pm-2am.

Uncle Billy's - Does it count as Bar Food if it's a brewery? Sure. Amazing craft beer, excellent BBQ, and all sorts of bites. Definitely a great spot to hit if you're going into or out of Zilker! This was actually one of the first places I ate at when I moved to Austin, and it still holds up! If the weather's nice, they have one of the best outdoor seating in town. Extra points if there's live music!
1530 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

The Dogwood–The day I saw their steak fingers were no longer on the menu was a sad day (please bring them back!) as they were the best I'd found in the city. I can get my fix of flavorful fried meat with the chicken fingers, but if I'm going that route I'd opt for the chicken and waffles sliders. Thankfully, I have a new love in their Armadillo Eggs which are bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with shrimp, crab, and goat cheese, with a peach dipping sauce. The happy hour menu is decent for the price (get the bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp or the sweet potato tots), so get here early and enjoy a meal and a drink on their patio before the West 6th Street crowd rolls in. It's unique southern cuisine, and the bar itself is a good time. The Dogwood is located at 715 West 6th Street and is open Mon-Fri 4pm-2:00am, Sat-Sun 12pm-2am.

Banger's Sausage and Beer Garden - It's a good thing they're expanding this year--the 100 or so tables are regularly packed! The glorious, enormous beer selection aside, they're one of my favorite spots to take out-of-towners because you just need to experience their unique cuisine at least once. All the sausages are made on-site, as are the pickled ingredients. The dishes are anywhere from basic but delicious (hot dog, brat) to out of this world unique (fried chicken, beet and goat cheese). Do not let yourself visit Austin without stopping here!
79 & 81 Rainey St. Austin, TX 78701

Black Star Coop–It's hard to say what's the best part of Black Star Coop. The wide selection of local beer? The fact that all staff is paid a living wage? Or the incredible food? It's a tough call, but I'd say while all those things rock, the food is my favorite. I could eat their thick-cut french fries every day, and their one-time fig-stuffed quail was my first ever foray into quail (I still am not quite sure how one goes about consuming a quail). Plus, it's the best fish and chips I've had in the city so far. And you know me, as a New Englander, I have high standards when it comes to fish. Added to the feel-good well-paid staff thing and the beers, this place definitely wins a spot on my Best Bar Bites list. Black Star Coop is located at 7020 Easy Wind Drive in Austin and is open Mon 4pm-12am, Tues-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 11am-12am.

Photo courtesy of A Cup of Joey

Easy Tiger–I've only ever hit Easy Tiger after a quick jaunt down 6th Street on a weekend night, so honestly my taste buds haven't been at their peak performance. But the menu looks delicious and friends assure me it's worth it. Upstairs is an incredible bakery (I've had the bread while sober for sure), and downstairs is the beer garden where you can also order bites from the restaurant. I've ordered both their pretzel and small cheese plate. The menu is simple, but tasty, with a bit of German influence. Easy Tiger is located at 709 East 6th Street and is open Mon-Sun 7am-2am.

Image courtesy of Waller Creek Pub House

Waller Creek Pub House
Established in 2015, Waller Creek Pub House is known for its craft draft beer, original pub fare and laid-back vibe. Specials Monday’s Wing Deal, featuring 6 house made buffalo wings and a pint of Community Beer Company’s Helles Lager for only $10, or the rotating “Taco of the Day” selection for $10 or less are affordable options for those on a budget.
 603 Sabine St, Austin, TX

Drink.Well–The drinks are amazing, the food is as gorgeous as it is tasty, and 5 out of 5 foodies I asked highly recommend it, so this here is a win. The menu is upscale American pub fare, which pairs well with their 25 whiskeys and the aforementioned amazing cocktails. There aren't many places in town you can get a Scotch egg, or a HOMEMADE TWINKIE... yeah, this place pretty much rocks. Drink.Well is located at 207 East 53rd Street in Austin and is open Tues-Sat 4pm-12am, and Sun 11am-11pm.

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2017 - Best Happy Hour Bites


Salty Sow - Where else can you say "yes, one of everything, please," and have it total out at under $50? I'm endlessly amused by this, but the food is the real selling point here is the food. Highlights include the fried chicken, truffled deviled eggs, and ohhhh the brussels sprouts! 4:30-6:30 every day.
1917 Manor Road, Austin TX

TNT - It's all in the name. Tacos and Tequila! Their new re-vamped menu and awesome happy hour is one of the best deals in the city. The menu is bursting with flavor for a wide range of tastes. Bonus: on Tuesdays it's all-you-can-eat tacos for $10! We actually came in for that deal and ended up over-eating the Happy Hour apps before we got a chance. $4 bites and $4-$8 specialty cocktails Monday-Friday 4pm-7pm.
507 Pressler Street, Suite 400 Austin, TX 78703

Ten Oak - I'm glad I know this dark bar serves tasty food, with generous happy hour portions! I suggest sipping one of their signature cocktails while noshing on these "Fig in a Pigs" and truffle fries. Bonus points if you catch some live music while you dine.
409 Colorado Street, Austin, Texas.

Oasthouse - If you're living North, you probably already know about Oasthouse's Happy Hour. If you don't, then you should. Gastropub eats at happy hour prices, with enough beer and cocktails to keep you happy. Don't leave without trying the Carnitas Poutine, or the Truffled Proscuitto Bruschetta.
8300 N FM 620, Unit E  Austin, Texas 78726 

Bullfight - If you want a snack sized sample of what Bullfight has to offer, head over during Happy Hour. The calamari are delicate and fresh, and best of all, half off! All snacks, beer, and select cocktails fall under this amazing deal. The jambon croquettes are worth a taste, too.

Photo courtesy of Sushi Girl ATX

Uchiko - Get to Uchiko right at 5, otherwise you probably won't be able to catch this quick-but-worth-it happy hour, aka their Sake Social Hour. Select nigiri, make, and specialties are all under $10, with beer and sake options as well. It's hard to suggest any one thing (the desserts are pretty stand out though!) so I'll just suggest ordering one of everything.
4200 n lamar blvd, Austin TX

Parkside - You know you'll find inexpensive eats and booze on 6th, but will it be tasty? Somehow Parkside doesn't seem to know it's in the "dirty" part of town, and serves up exquisite food. Their Happy Hour boasts half off all cocktails, beer and bar food, including raw oysters, and a special happy hour burger.
301 e 6th st, Austin, tx  78701

Kome - Kome is one of my favorite sushi places in town, so of course it has one of my favorite happy hours! Again, it literally is an hour long, so get there right at open. All of my favorites are on it--gyoza, chicken wings, dynamite roll, all the sake cocktails... yes, I am a happy happy lady at this happy hour. Don't miss it, at their new expanded location!
5301 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751

Photo courtesy of ATX Eats and Treats

Eureka - Okay so, full disclosure, I can't find their menu online for this, and I am sleepy at this moment. However, I do know that I love Eureka and make a full meal out of their happy hour while achieving a steady buzz. Most things on their menu are solid, so definitely check this out when you find yourself edging into Dirty 6. I know for sure their chicken sliders and corndog lollipops are on it, so check those out!

Peached Tortilla - Cocktails, snacks, tacos, and a special social hour burger are all up for grabs at this Korean-Southern infusion foodtruck-turned-brick-and-mortar. The kimchi arrancini balls are my absolute fave, but Mom's Toast and the burger itself are definitely runners up. With a happy hour Kentucky Mule, of course.

BONUS: Mueller HEB. Y'all, you can get large and in charge sliders here for $3 during Happy Hour, plus beer discounts.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2018!

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2018 - Burgers


Photo courtesy of Foodie is the New Forty

Salt & Thyme - Considering this restaurant is attached to a butcher shop, you know they know their meat! The Butcher Burger is no exception--whatever meats are on the menu that day get ground up into an amazing burger, grilled to perfection with a side of fresh cut fries.
1912 E 7th St, Austin, TX, 78702

Photo courtesy of Love of All the Things

Casino el Camino–It's on every Best Burger in Austin list there is, so obviously they know their stuff: Fresh, local beef burgers that top out at a three quarters of a pound, with a variety of options to choose from (the Amarillo is my personal fave). I can also attest that they know their way around a hot dog, and their chili cheese fries have helped me quell more than one hangover in my past. Plus their bloody marys come adorned with so much food on top, that you may not even need to make a trip to the burger joint in the back. Casino El Camino is located at 517 East 6th Street in Austin and is open 11am-2am daily.

Photo Courtesy Hopdoddy

Hopdoddy - If the line curling around the outside of any of their three Austin locations is any indication, this place has possibly the most sought after burgers in town. My personal favorite is the Prime Time, a gorgeously high class tasting burger with brie, truffle aioli, and caramelized onions. Or, if you're feeling charitable, the Goodnight Good Cause burger will donate a dollar from each sale to a local charitable organization. Paired with one of their killer cocktails, it's definitely worth the wait.
Multiple locations, see website

Photo courtesy of The Smoking Ho

Clark's Oyster Bar - Yes, an oyster bar can make an incredible burger. And during happy hour (M-F, 3-6pm) it's half price! The burger is a juicy hunk of Black Angus, topped with Sauce Gribiche and Gruyere. The crispy shoestring fries are the perfect accompaniment to this burger. And a few happy hour oysters, if you're into that.
1200 W 6th St Austin, Texas 78703

Dai Due - Butcher shops know their burgers. If you're not in for supper club, definitely hit up their lunch menu for a taste of their Wild Boar Burger, with pickled grilled mushrooms, ham, mixed greens, red eye mayonnaise and asadero cheese on a cemita bun. Feeling the beef on a Tuesday? You won't want to miss their weekly Wagyu cheeseburger special with a side of tallow fries.
2406 Manor Road, Austin 78722

Swift's Attic - Their menu mainstay Bowling Alley Burger (house ground beef, melted fontina, griddled onions, fancy-ass special sauce, pickle spear, sesame seed bun) is legit, but if you want a real burger adventure make sure you're one of the first 18 people to order a burger on a Monday night and you'll be treated to the Bad Ass Burger of the week. Check out the Do512 page for this week's special!
315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

Jackalope - Yes, we're sending you to Dirty 6 again. Yes, we promise it's worth it. No, I don't have a suitable picture, because maybe I was riding the dang Jackalope statue and forgot. Whether you're looking to create a solid base before a night of drinking (or help chill out mid-night) or actually sober enough to enjoy it, the Jackalope makes a mighty tasty burger. With options like Bacon and Brie, Mac and Cheese, or Honey Jalapeno Bacon, there's something for everyone at this popular bar.
404 East 6th, Austin, TX 78701

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2018!

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2018 - Fried Chicken


Tumble 22 - Austin's newest and most authentic tasting Nashville-style hot chicken hit the scene this year and I couldn't be more excited about it! Currently located behind Star Bar, the food truck serves up three levels of heat and a ton of flavor in every piece. I typically split a four piece with my husband, which is more than enough tasty food for us both, in the medium level--which is still mighty spicy! Their brick and mortar is opening soon on Burnet, be sure to check it out.
600 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Culinary Dropout - Located in the new Rock Rose area of the Domain, Culinary Dropout offers a wide array of delicious fresh items, but you don't want to miss the chicken. This is another plate I end up splitting most of the time, it's a lot of chicken! Perfectly seasoned breading, juicy chicken--it's the best thing on the menu. Paired with a honey biscuit and delicious sides, this dish is a must for anyone taking a quick break from a Domain shopping day.
11721 Rock Rose Ave #100, Austin, TX 78758

Ms. P's Electric Cock -- Ms. P's touts "FRESH, never frozen, no hormones, no additives, LOCAL free range chicken." The skin is crispy and flavorful, the meat is juicy, and the whole "eat local" jazz is just the feel-good icing on the deep fried cake. Her sides go beyond the typical mac and cheese and slaw sides you find at most fried chicken joints--Truffle Mac and Cheese, Street Corn, and Waffles are only a few of the tasty sides.
80 Rainey St, Austin, TX

Hoover's -- If you enjoy a heavy hand on the breading, the homestyle feel and traditional sides make this a satisfying meal. The Happy Hour specials are some of the best in the city, with a chicken basket for $6 among many other snacks and drinks from 3-7pm Monday-Friday.
2002 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken --  While Gus's is actually a chain that began in Memphis, they have spicy fried chicken down to an art. There are no heat levels, just classically spicy, so be comfortable with a strong "medium" amount of spice if you check them out.
117 San Jacinto Austin, TX 

Lucy's -- Lucy's they deserve a spot on this list because it's a totally "Austin" spot and the view from the Lucy's on the Lake patio is breathtaking. The desserts and sides are delicious. Try the deep fried deviled eggs before you dig into the main course.
Multiple Locations:

Photo courtesy of The Peached Tortilla

The Peached Tortilla – For an Asian twist on the southern favorite, stop by Peached for their Fried chicken night every Wednesday. The special includes Asian fried chicken, dashi bacon braised kale, grilled corn and biscuits. Not to mention, this night also boasts whiskey specials!
5520 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX

Black Star Coop -- This locally sourced, sustainably produced fried chicken never disappoints!Order by the dinner or snack size and enjoy the subtly spicy breading and accompanying homemade ranch dip.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2018!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Low Carb Stuffed Acorn Squash


(Note: this recipe originally appeared on my old blog, Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine)

Hey y'all, sorry for the lack of recipes here lately. You'll see some new content shortly, as I've been compiling my Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guides this month. But with a new job and holiday season finally coming to an end, it's been tough to try and make time to cook!

As you may have noticed, I've been re-posting a lot from my old blog. So there really is no excuse for not setting aside five minutes to edit. I apologize and will try to be better!

I'm attempting a low-ish carb diet with my husband--we'll see how long we last--and I figured this recipe from my Whole 30 attempt a few years back would be a good one to revisit. It's healthy, full of flavor, and very fulfilling. My husband even likes it, despite suspect green things in the mix--however, I had to make his portion outside of the squash (a sort of mini-meatloaf) because he still refuses to eat THAT veggie. Baby steps.

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 2 Acorn squash
  • 1 lb mild sausage, ground (or just dissect some that come in the casing)
  • 1 small apple, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sage (fresh is best)
  • 1 handful of kale, stalks removed and pulled into tiny bits
  • 1/4 cup craisins/dried cranberries (no sugar kind)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Topping (optional)
3 tbs ghee
1 tsp truffle oil (optional)

-Cut, core, and roast acorn squash (lightly brushing with olive oil and adding a pinch of salt, pepper, and ground sage) at 400 degrees for 20 mins.

-Meanwhile, brown sausage. Set aside, reserve drippings. Heat drippings (plus a bit of olive oil or coconut oil if there's not enough) and add garlic and onions. Cook until onions are transluscent.

-Add apple, mushrooms, kale, and craisins. Cook until kale is soft, then add to sausage. Let cool to room temp.

-Add egg and almond meal, mix well. You may need a bit more or less--you want to be able to shape it into a ball.

-Stuff cavity of acorn squash with balled meat (hehe) and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until meat is firm (TEE-HEHE).

-In a small pot, heat ghee and truffle oil. Drizzle on top of stuffed squash.

Note: To make mini meatloaves, simply ball meat and cook on a greased cookie sheet for the same amount of time.

*Can be any squash you like! Zucchini might work well, or butternut

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Gluten Free Low Carb Jagerschnitzle


(Note: this originally appeared on my old blog, which no longer exists.)

Most recipes I make are new recipes. Something I've never tried, with new ingredients or using new techniques. Often, I end up with something that may or may not be tasty, but definitely isn't photo-worthy. When the stars align and somehow it all comes together and I create a recipe that is a success both taste-and-visually? It's cause for celebration.

As was the case with this jaeger schnitzel (weiner schnitzel with mushroom sauce). Before I left western Massachusetts, I had a divine meal at a German restaurant and got this amazing dish. Ever since, I'd been toying with it in my mind to make it tummy-friendly to avoid any sort of gluten bloat.

When it works, it just works. This meal is incredible. Next time I'll toy with trying to make spaetzle, but I didn't quite have the time this go around. I left in the dairy, even though that doesn't always agree with me, and the flavor was definitely worth it.

The directions are a little involved, but overall it's a very easy recipe! I had most of these things on hand, too, so the whole process took about 20 minutes. A great idea for a quick, easy, DELICIOUS dinner :)

Jaeger Schnitzel (Gluten Free)
(Inspired by this recipe)

  • 4 large boneless, skinless pork chops, pounded thin with a mallet to 1/4" thickness
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3 tbs gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/5 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbs parsley, freshly chopped

-Melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in skillet.

-Mix together almond flour, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning in one bowl. Spread gluten-free flour on a plate. Lightly coat each thin chop with the gluten free flour, then dip into the egg wash, and finally coat generously with the almond meal mixture.

-Place breaded chops two by two in your skillet and cook each side until crispy--about 3-4 minutes per side. Put on a paper-towel lined plate and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

-For the sauce: cook onion until translucent and add sliced mushrooms, let cook until the mushrooms are just soft.

-Add broth and wine, cook until steaming. Add 1/2 cup of the cream, bring to a boil and simmer for several minutes.

-Mix remaining 2 tablespoons of cream with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Add slurry to mushroom mixture and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously to avoid clumps. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

-Serve with mushroom sauce spooned over cutlets. Traditionally with a potato side dish, or as I've done here with a big helping of buttered peas.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Roasted Red Pepper Soup


It's cold outside. And I live in Austin--a place I moved to in an attempt to get AWAY from the cold. On the upside, I have already overloaded myself with cold weather recipes--starting with this amaaaaze-balls soup!

I threw this together one night because I seem to hoard red peppers whenever they're on sale, and my recipe-to-red-pepper ratio seems to be off, meaning my fridge is always full of them. Not that I'm complaining...

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable if you'd like to go vegetarian)
  • 1 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 2+ tbs olive oil
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper

-Prick holes in peppers and rub with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Cut off the top of the garlic so that tops of cloves are exposed but still hold together. Drizzle garlic with olive oil and cover with tin foil and place on baking sheet. Place baking sheet in an oven heated to 400 degrees F and bake for about 20 minutes, turning peppers halfway, or until peppers begin to blister.

-Meanwhile, over medium heat, heat 2 tbs olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion and crushed red pepper. Cook until onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and vinegar.

-When peppers are fully cooked, let cool until safe to touch and peel off skin and discard seeds. Add to the pot, along with the garlic (which you can get out simply by squeezing it). Add the chicken broth and let simmer for about five minutes.

-Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a standing blender. Cook a few more minutes over medium heat, then serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Post-Holiday Things - Balsamic Cherry Pork

Does anyone else feel like they need a week off to recuperate from the holidays? After two weeks of back and forth travel and the stress of the holiday season, piled on with other various stressors, I am beat.

It's been unseasonably cold in Austin and I've been a grumpy stress ball for most of it. But, with the new year begins new things, and the warmer air is already setting in again, so hopefully things will settle back to some sort of normal soon.

Cooking, for the past few years, has always been my "me time"--a time to relax and experiment with flavors and make something amazing while letting my brain just chill. Lately, it's been a chore I've needed to push around my schedule for, and I've succumbed to short cuts and quick fixes. Instead of using it as my own personal therapy, I've avoided that. I need to get back.

Travel means lots of meals on the road. While I'm not complaining, I do miss my kitchen. This week I am committing to three home-cooked meals. So, I'm pulling out this recipe--formerly published on my last blog--because you can't get much more unique than cocoa balsamic vinegar. The savory and sweet combination is just perfect. Reduced with some wine you have a delicious topping for any sort of pork.

Grilled Pork Sirloin with Cherry Cocoa Balsamic Compote

  • 2 pork sirloin steaks
  • 1 cup golden cherries, pitted and halved
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 cup Boyajian Cocoa Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup moscato wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2+ tbs Boyajian garlic oil, optional

-To begin, I rubbed the pork sirloin steaks with the garlic oil and salt and pepper and let them sit while my grill pan heated. Season pork steaks as you'd like, and grill until cooked through.

-While pork is cooking, combine all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook over high heat, until cherries burst and release their juices. Reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half. Taste, and add more or less liquid if desired.

-Serve compote over pork.