Monday, May 6, 2019

Mexican Street Corn - An Austin/Tex-Mex Favor

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Street corn is a relatively new thing to me. As a New Englander, I always get my corn fresh off the farm and doused with butter and salt. Anything else is unheard of. However, I've developed quite a taste for this stuff since moving here.

Street corn is sweet, spicy, and a great side dish to any Tex Mex cuisine. Torchy's has been my favorite so far, but I'm sure there are others who make a good street corn too. Probably the food trucks, seeing as how they're actually on the street.

Mexican Street corn
  • 4 cobs worth of corn or 1 bag of frozen
  • 1 tbs chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbs or more cojita cheese
  • 3 tbs mayonaise
  • squeeze of lime
-In a dry skillet, cook corn over high heat until blackened on both sides. Transfer to a large bowl.

-Mix together corn and the rest of the ingredients. Serve hot.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pina Colada Ice Cream - Easy Recipe with Sweet Cream Base

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Austin, Texas has already hit back to the 80s, and it's making me want to pull out my ice cream maker to make this Pina Colada Ice Cream!



Sweet cream based ice cream recipes are SO simple. The ice cream is lighter than a custard base, and comes together quickly with little deep-freezing required.

This Pina Colada Ice Cream is deceptive. It's NAMED after a cocktail, but, unlike most cocktail-inspired desserts I post here, it's not actually alcoholic. AND it's delicious. Score.


Again, sweet cream base, with some awesome flavors, topped with a HOMEMADE candy shell. Sounds complicated, but it totally isn't. Candy shells are super duper easy. As are sweet cream bases. Basically, you're going to use this recipe to impress all your friends and only you and I will know how incredibly simple it is. Ready? Let's go!


Pina Colada Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Magic Shell
For the ice cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 2 slices of pineapple, 1/2" thick, pureed or cut into tiny cubes, any juice from cutting reserved
  • optional: handful of toasted coconut
For the Magic Shell
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
-For the ice cream: stir all ingredients together in a large bowl and chill until cold (2 hours or overnight, depending on the temperature it starts at).

-Process in an ice cream maker until the consistency of a thick milkshake. Pour into freezable container and place in freezer until firm, preferably overnight.

-For the magic shell: in the microwave or double boiler, melt dark chocolate (microwave in 30 second increments and stir well). Add coconut oil, and stir until combined and shiny. Store in airtight jar at room temperature. Drizzle over ice cream when ready to eat.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

RAYS St. Paddy's Day Drinks - Better Green Beer and the Texan Pot O' Gold

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This is a collaboration with RAYS. I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own and I would never promote a product I didn't personally enjoy.

I grew up in Massachusetts and went to school in Boston and let me tell you, we were serious about our St. Patrick's Day. The event would last all weekend, capped off with a wild St. Paddy's Day parade. While the Boston one was pretty great, the one I grew up with was in Holyoke (both very big Irish populations). Upon turning 21, the fun deepened as I was able to enjoy all the fun libation that went along with the holiday--sometimes, admittedly, a bit too much.

Here in Texas, it's a bit different. Not only is St. Paddy's Day not as widely celebrated, but it stays mild all year round. So when St. Paddy's Day hits, we're not looking for something heavy. We like cooler, lighter flavors to compliment the warmer temps.




So when RAYS reached out to come up with some St. Patrick's Day cocktails, I was a bit stumped! Their delicious, all natural spirits are distilled from grapes and use real citrus to give a light, fresh flavor that's a bit tart. And they're native to Texas! Not what I was used to for the season.

Eventually, I decided to both update an old favorite, and make a Texas tribute to my ol' New England holiday. Let me know what you think!

Want to get some RAYS for yourself? You can now find them in HEB and Central Market!



Better Green Beer
Nobody REALLY likes green beer, but we drink it anyway. Kick it up with some RAYS and this is a St. Patrick's day staple you'll actually want to drink.

  • 1 can of your favorite light beer
  • 4 oz RAYS lime
  • 3 drops green food coloring

In a frosty beer mug, carefully add the food coloring and RAYS. Slowly pour in the beer--the motion of the liquid should disperse the color--and serve!
*Add some cayenne salt from the recipe below for an extra kick!


Texan Pot o' Gold
Lure in a Leprechaun with this Texas gold and maybe he'll share a bit of his treasure with you... and if not, you still have a tasty drink!

  • 2.5 oz RAYS lime
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz gold tequila
  • splash of orange juice
  • Cayenne pepper + salt, for rim

Rim a martini glass with the cayenne salt. In a shaker filled with ice, pour in the rest of the ingredients, shake well, then pour into the glass.
*I added a pinch of tumeric for color and it complimented the flavors nicely!



Sunday, March 3, 2019

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2019 - Mexican Martinis

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Trudy's (multiple locations throughout Austin) When I polled my friends about the best Mexican Martini in town, this was the resounding answer. Not only are they on happy hour special, but it's the classic Mexican Martini with a generous shaker of extra goodness on the side. Limit of two, and don't try the "Trudy's Mexican Martini Crawl" (where ambitious drinkers try to go the limit at each location) because you definitely will die.

Chuy's (multiple locations in Austin and beyond) Chuy's has a special place in my heart because it was my first taste of Tex-Mex in all its glory. Tex-Mex is its own unique, amazing thing and Chuy's is a solid, if not THE most authentic version. Their Mexican Martini is classic and straightforward: heavy on the tequila with a refreshing kick of citrus and a balanced bit of olive.




Polvo's (Two locations: 2004 S 1st St and 360 Nueces, Ste. #10 Austin, TX ) I'm embarrassed it took this long to try out this Austin institution. Authentic Mexican food and a decent Mexican Martini. What else could you need? A salsa bar? You got it. Reasonably priced and perfectly made.



La Condesa (400 W 2nd St A, Austin, TX) Need a solid after work Happy Hour that hits all the bases? Classic Austin restaurant. Mexican food that's deliciously shareable. Great HH deals. And magicians at the bar. Pro-tip: This drink isn't on the menu, but they make a damn good Mexican Martini anyway.



Cedar Door (201 Brazos St, Austin, TX) Cedar Door prides itself in being the location where the Mexican Martini was created. No, it's not from Mexico--it's from a gorgeous little bar on Brazos Street, where a bartender in the 80s was inspired after a recent trip to Mexico. You can choose between three options: classic, spicy, and Austin (made from 100% Austin local liquors). I prefer the classic, and a few shots and selfies outside next to these massive olives.



Casa Chapala (9041 Research Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX) Fun fact: I accidentally spilled my drink all over the bar. D'oh. Apparently, the shakers don't snap shut here, so be CAREFUL! But Chapala's is amazing, and has one of the most extensive Tequila collections in town. Make it your way with top shelf or below and you'll definitely be satisfied.




Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2019!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2019 - North Central Austin Restaurants

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Central Austin is where I call home, so I was very excited to snag this year's City Guide for it! Check out some of my favorite places to nosh in my neighborhood.


Kome - I adore sushi, and consider myself very somewhat of an expert. In that, I can tell fresh from not-so-fresh, and close-to-the-sea to definitely-not. And since arriving in Austin, Kome has been my hands-down favorite. Their happy hour specials are incredible, their sake is delicious, and my fish-hating-fisherman-husband (figure that one out) has multiple things on the menu he'll consume. Their house rolls are my favorite, but the best deal on the menu is the sushi lunch. This was the place that truly won me over with nigiri, and I will be forever grateful.


Kura - So, I know I just said Kome was my fave BUT Kura is a very very very close second. I was all ready for the level of quality that you expect from a sort of gimmicky concept--conveyor belt sushi--but was blown away by the freshness of the sushi for how inexpensive and fun the entire experience was. Definitely a solid place to go for an inexpensive meal, and yes they do have more than just sushi here.

Photo cred: Feed This House

Quality Seafood - I'm a New England girl, born and raised, and one thing I sorely miss from my home state is... well, quality level seafood. And thankfully, Quality Seafood lives up to the name. Though I haven't been able to visit for a lobster bake, the chowder makes my heart happy, and the fish dishes are a wonderful option if you want a non-sushi seafood in town.

Photo cred: Foodie is the New Forty

HEO - Not sure if it was simply a rebrand or a total pivot but I swear this place started as a BBQ joint. Either way, I hear amazing things about their Asian Street Food menu! Tucked away into an unassuming storefront, HEO is one of those somewhat hidden treasures of the neighborhood despite being right on Lamar.

Arpeggio - The jury's out on the overall experience of the restaurant itself but one thing everyone can agree on is that the food is top notch. I feel like we keep losing the small, family-owned Mediterranean restaurants in town, so I do hope Arpeggio sticks around. I love a good gyro and Arpeggio does it right. It's also the best place in town to get a good Greek pizza! If you don't know the difference between NY/Chicago/Greek style, you need to educate yourself. And relish in the crispy, thick crust. Yum.

Photo cred: Foodie is the New Forty

Ramen Tatsu-ya - There's a line out the door for a reason. While it's not nearly as long as it's South Lamar counterpart, it's still a wait--but one worth waiting for. This was my first introduction to Ramen and it still holds a special place in my heart. They have a few different broths to choose from, but the standout for me is the tonkasu, a thick dipping broth with noodles. Also one of the best brussels sprouts offerings in town!



Michi Ramen - Don't tell Tatsu-ya, but this is my favorite ramen in town. Also, don't tell the people in line at Tatsu-ya because I like being sat immediately ;) Their broths are mostly pork, and the stout broth is the clear standout in my opinion. The sides are perfectly complimentary to the large, savory bowls. And don't miss their Wednesday sake deals! Each month a different flavor is highlighted and they are certainly unique--and tasty!



Royal Jelly - Solid happy hour, plenty of outdoor seating, and a unique menu makes this a decent hangout spot if you decide the line at Kura across the street is too much. I was tickled by the drink that came in the tiny Topo Chico bottle. It turns out their menu was recently revamped, including a duck poutine that the mere thought of is making my mouth water. I need to head back and check it out again!


Ola Poke - This was one of the first dedicated Poke spots in Austin but it's held its place as one of the best ever since. Fresh fish, tasty accouterments, and decent spicy wings for those weirdos among us who, for whatever reason, don't like raw fish. Snag a bowl and do karaoke next door for the perfect out of the box date or fun Saturday afternoon.


Brentwood Social - Their coffee is awesome but their pastries are where it's AT. Delicious, delicate, and both savory and sweet. I don't know what else to say other than it's the perfect place to meet up with a friend for crumpets and tea, or sip wine on the patio while your kids play in the backyard area.


T22 - Lucy's may have the heart of most Austinite's but T22 has my taste buds. It hits the spot for anyone who is craving the tongue-burning deliciousness of Nashville Hot Chicken. You can choose your level of heat, or go with a straight up "wimpy" with none, and the enormous pieces of juicy chicken will come out perfectly seasoned with your choice of dipping sauce on the side to cool the heat. And where most chicken joints seem to forget their sides, T22 does each one perfectly. This is hands down my favorite fried chicken in town!



Black Star Coop - I came here originally for three reasons: 1. close to my improv rehearsal spot, 2. they pay their workers a living wage, 3. beer. At that point, the food being amazing was a great surprise! I love the fish and chips, which come out perfectly battered and crispy with thick-cut fries, or the chicken snack and homemade ranch. Their beer selection is just as good, and the patio with board games makes for a very fun night.


Vigilante - A gamer and a foodie walk into a bar. Both are happy at Vigilante. Their slider menu allows you to taste a whole bunch of tasty bites while you challenge other bar patrons to a round of Super Smash Brothers. $14 gets you your choice of nearly four items on the menu which is an awesome deal, letting you get a taste of everything they have to offer!

Hank's - Frose brings me in, the food makes me stay. Hank's has had a few growing pains as they've rolled out but I know they'll soon be a neighborhood favorite! Great happy hour, delicious food, extensive drink menu, and perfectly crafted cocktails. Plus the decor is clean and bright with a lovely patio. A definite win!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2019!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2019 - Bar Food

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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.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2019!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2019 - Austin's Best Bloody Marys

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Bloody Marys have quickly become my favorite drink. What's better than a spicy counterpart to a delicious Austin brunch? I had this roundup last year, but pay attention--there are some new updates!


Casino el Camino - One of the heftiest bloodies in regards to accouterments: the beast includes taquito, chicken slider, pig in a blanket, meatball, various pickled items, and more... You pick your spice level on a scale of 1-10, with 5 being the start of the habanero spice. Note: I have a fair heat tolerance and a 5 is almost too much for me, so beware.
517 E 6th St, Austin, TX 

Rio Rita's - One of my favorite bars. They use house-infused vodkas in various flavors to make their delicious bloodies. Their bloody marys come in three levels: regular, jalapeno, and habanero.
1203 Chicon St, Austin, TX


Lucy's Fried Chicken - While I have mixed feelings about the chicken, I was extremely impressed with Lucy's bloody mary. Anywhere that makes their own mix is significantly cooler than a bottled-juice joint, that's a no-brainer. Spicy house made bloody mix with Clamato, horseradish, and hot sauce with homemade pickled veggies make this a slightly spicy bloody worth pairing with your chicken and waffles.
2218 COLLEGE AVE/5408 BURNET ROAD/2900 RANCH RD 620 N

Photo courtesy of Kenny Braun Photography

Salt Trader’s Coastal Cooking – If you find yourself in Round Rock for brunch, stop into Salt Trader's for a bite of coastal Texas cuisine and pair it with their Scratch Bloody Mary. This powerhouse bloody boasts Tito’s  Vodka, horseradish, barrel-aged Worcestershire, garlic, clam juice and celery salt - and served with a beer chaser.
2850 IH-35 N, Round Rock, TX

Photo courtesy of Ashley Davis Photography

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery - Snooze is worth the long wait for brunch, but try to go on a weekday if you're not into passing the time with yard games while you wait. In addition to their excellent pancakes and brunch servings, their bloody marys are bomb--especially the Boss Hog with bacon-infused Cyrus Noble Bourbon & house bloody mix.
3800 N Lamar Blvd #120/1700 S Lamar Blvd #301 Austin, TX

Image via the Star Bar Instagram
Star Bar -  If legend is to be believed, this epic bloody contains the following: an hot dog, lil’ smokies, bacon, shrimp, onion rings, hamburger slider, chicken nuggets, deviled egg, crab, pickled okra, tomatoes, pepperoni, pepper jack cheese, and a cinnamon roll. It's been a whole year since my last bloody mary roundup, and I still haven't ventured to Star Bar to try it. Let me know if you do!
600 W 6th St, Austin, TX



Swift's Attic - Swift's weekend brunch displays the best do-it-yourself bloody mary bar in town. Swift's goes a step beyond with high quality ingredients and house-cured meats. No shelf-stable bacon here! While they offer a few different bloody mixes, the homemade mix is clearly the best.
315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 

Runners Up: Cheap Sunday Kickbutt Coffee special, a simple bloody--just a shot and some mix, maybe some olives if the bartender is feeling generous--but it's only $3 on Sundays! Another great deal is the $2 bloodies at La Condesa, but those require a sit down meal and a bit of a wait during brunch hours.



Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2019!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2019 - Fried Chicken

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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:
2218 COLLEGE AVE/5408 BURNET ROAD/2900 RANCH RD 620 N



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.
7020 EASY WIND DR, STE 100, AUSTIN, TX



Don't forget to check out the rest of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for 2019!