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!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookes and Weird Trends

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Apparently, bacon-as-dessert is the new cupcake. Weird, right? Yeah, I was highly skeptical too. My one taste of bacon-plus-confection was a bite of a maple bacon ice cream cone at the local county fair one summer. It was... okay... but I found myself wishing the bacon was crispier and less chewy, or preferably not even there at all. It was kind of a weird sensation to have chunks of chewy meat in your ice cream. Still, I had to try to make Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies...


The former vegetarian in me was squeamish at the thought of Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. But if it was trending so hard in the blogosphere, there had to be something to it, right? I looked back on all the times I scoffed at a fashion trend or two then ended up falling for them in the end. I remember my mom buying Ugg boots and how I laughed at how "ugly" they were... then one day when I had to shovel they were the closest boots to the door and I threw them on to trudge through the snow. Then I borrowed them for the day. Then the week. Then my mom was asking me where her Ugg boots went. Eventually I accepted that this toasty-warm, yet bulbous and somewhat cumbersome footwear was just ideal for the harsh New England winters. Soon I had my own pair.


Similar things have happened with jeggings, hair feathers, and neon accent pieces. All trends I was uneasy about, then found ways to incorporate them into my own style in a less jarring way. So, how are bacon chocolate chip cookies any different? I decided to take the plunge.


And, you know what? I'm glad I did. While these aren't necessarily the FIRST thing I'd opt for when having a chocolate chip cookie craving, they certainly hold their own in a bizarre way. I made sure the bacon was thoroughly crisped and crumbled before adding to the batter, and that the chip-to-bacon-bit ratio was at LEAST 2:1 and the added grease from the bacon ensured a perfectly chewy cookie.  What resulted was a delicious chocolate chip cookie with a hint of saltiness. This is the same reason why I devour chocolate dipped pretzels--salty and sweet were just made to be together.


When I brought these bad boys to work I assumed the "bacon" component would deter people from trying them. Nope, word soon spread from the office that I had some crazy awesome cookies at my desk, and people were coming over from across the building to try one. Even my parents, who at first seemed almost scared of the chocolate-meat-cookies ended up sampling a few and gushing over them. I think I'll call this a win.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Based on the NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® recipe on the back of the bag. Feel free to use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and just throw in the bacon with the chips)
(Again, I threw away the bag so I Googled the recipe and copied from here)

  •  2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Milk Chocolate Morsels
  • 7 pieces bacon, cooked to desired crispiness and crumbled (I baked mine at 400 degrees F until crispy, then drained on a paper towel while I prepared the cookie dough)


-Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and bacon. Form balls into desired size and place on ungreased baking sheet.


-Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks or plate to cool completely.

-If desired, top with melted chocolate and a piece of cooked bacon for garnish.