Lots and lots and lots of great flavors in April! Enjoy!
Homemade Watermelon Juice, Avocado and Cucumber Tomato Salad with Plantains
Early in the month, boyfriend and I longed for Costa Rica. So, we he created a superb, snacky lunch that reminded us of vacation. I juiced a watermelon and he put it in a container and shook it up with some chopped basil. He cut up avocado and salted it. He made this magical cucumber, tomato, and a bit of onion combination that was simply dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then we went to town and barely came up for air because everything tasted so fresh and so pura vida.
Dinner at Launderette
Hooray for new restaurants! Launderette had been open for a few weeks when I got my hungry hands on it for a friend’s dinner. We started with Potato Chips with Pimento Cheese Dip and Nonna’s Red Sauce (meatballs). They did well as they were described – snacky bits! For sides, the Sticky Brussels Sprouts (with apple-bacon marmalade) were a good choice and re-affirms that Brussels Sprouts cooked in any way can do no wrong. We also had the tasty Cauliflower Gratin. For the main course, I enjoyed the Garganelli (fennel sausage, kale pasta). It was packed with savory, slightly spicy flavor.
For dessert, we had to get the Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich (delish!) and my favorite dish of the night, the Apple Pie served with salted butterscotch caramel and sage ice cream. Crispy, savory, sweet, cold, hot, smooth – it complementing elements that created a perfect end to the evening.
“So, there’s this food trailer that serves these crazy donuts.” This is how I tried to sell my Little on going to Gourdough’s after we were indecisively trying to figure out what to do one night. She liked it so much she asked them how old she had to be to work there. This was my first time trying the Mother Clucker and yes, this can count as dinner because there’s protein in there somewhere. Maybe, probably drenched in honey butter. This is a judgement-free zone. Thank you.
Many, many bites at Live Fire
I love food events like Live Fire because it’s fun seeing chefs in their cooking element and it’s fun trying a bunch of restaurants in one night. Sure, you might leave with holding your belly but you’re not guaranteed tomorrow.
Smoked Beef Cheek Lasagna with Straticiatella and Marinated Artichokes from L’Oca D’Oro
This is one of those dishes where when you taste it, you can’t stop thinking about it and you go home to obsessively stalk their online presence to figure out when they are opening their brick-and-mortar. No, of course I’m not talking about myself. (I’m talking about myself.) So, until the restaurant does open, we shall look out for any pop-up dinners they host and continuously checking their social profiles. Oh, that’s right, you want to know about this dish. Does amazing cover it? Ok, how about tender meat, perfectly cooked handmade pasta, and a delightful creamy sauce?
Lemon Curd with Black Pepper Shortbread, Champagne Strawberries and Creme Fraiche from LaV
Ok, ok, I’ll admit it. I went back for seconds! This bite was delightful and I usually shy away from lemon desserts. There was a coherent mix of sweet flavors balanced by the savory, crunchy shortbread. I enjoyed the champagne strawberries the most. LaV also had the prettiest table, delicately covered in a variety of strategically placed blooms. Kudos!
Tepache Especial from Argus Cidery
I have been stalking Argus Cidery for a year and a half. A year and a half I have told myself to visit the cidery and try their ciders. Well, half of that has been accomplished with my taste of the Tepache Especial, a wonderful sparkling pineapple wine. This taste made me even more excited to make the trek when their tasting room is open again. Guess what, they are available in stores around Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina! You’re welcome.
Hazelnut Drumsticks with Werther’s curd and Fizzy Chocolate Cocoa Pebble Crunch from Fluff Bake Bar
Fluff Bake Bar, you clever little minx! Petite yet packed with sweet magic, these drumsticks were a guiltless indulgence that tasted like crunchy chocolate nut clouds. Take your childhood drumstick treat, shrink it, and make it thousands of times more flavorful with different yet complementary flavors and you will want ten more of these. How soon do you think we can have them expand from Houston to Austin?
Peking Duck at First Chinese BBQ
I may have mentioned this somewhere, but I have grown up eating at First Chinese BBQ and it never gets old. Never! I may be biased. I’ve always enjoyed the barbecue selection – barbecue pork, roasted pork, roasted duck. I also recommend Crispy Tofu Stuffed with Shrimp (I get it with barbecue pork also), Chinese Broccoli with Fish Filets, and Wonton Noodle Soup (the BEST wontons around). This month we had a special Peking Duck, a popular self-make bun dish with the best cuts of roasted duck, scallions and sweet bean sauce.
Combination (Lamb and Chicken) Over Rice at Halal Bros
Halal Bros started as a downtown food trailer called Halal Guys when I was in college. After a long night, we would grab some food at the busy trailer. They’re in a brick-and-mortar by the UT Austin campus now and have even expanded their original space but their food remains fantastic. My go-to is lamb and chicken over rice (spiced Basmati rice), which comes with a side salad and is topped with their special white sauce and hot sauce. The generous-portion dish is packed with flavor and the grilled meat is very tender.
Zeus Pizza at Spartan Pizza
How could I get through the month without eating pizza? (The answer is I don’t.) Spartan Pizza started as quite an impressive and pretty food trailer and now, has a structure with real walls! Congrats! I had not tried it until this visit but I am now a fan. The Zeus is topped with roasted garlic oil, spinach, tomato, crispy bacon and fresh mozzarella. (Fun fact: fresh mozzarella is a way to my heart. I will eat that deliciousness straight, no dressing.)
Salted Caramel and Nonino Walnut at Gelateria Gemelli
A new gelato shop in Austin! We are lucky, lucky people. First, this shop is gorgeous. It had me at hexagon tile, marble counters and tabletops, gold lettering, and dark teal walls. Excuse me, those are my googly eyes refusing to leave the shop with me. And then there’s this smooth gelato that explodes with flavor in the best possible way. I went with my go-to salted caramel that definitely did not disappoint, and I was recommended the nonino walnut that paired perfectly with it’s light and subtle flavor.
Lunch at Italic
I visited for lunch a month after Italic‘s opening and they are rocking it. The Italian restaurant’s bread comes from sister restaurant Easy Tiger so they can’t go wrong there. The appetizer Prosciutto di San Daniele included fresh bread and the best proscuitto that I’ve ever tasted. No exaggeration. Remember earlier when I mentioned that fun fact about mozzarella? May I have three more of this mozzarella dish, please? Topped with arugula and pine nuts (I believe. Their current version is not on their online menu.), I think this dish is also a must-order. We ordered the Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Polenta to share and I would definitely order these two again. For the main dish, I enjoyed the Fregola & Shellfish. This included cockles and mussels in a slightly spicy tomato broth with small pasta. Light and fresh! Finally, the Walnut Olive Oil Cake was an interesting dish with very strong flavors but including each ingredient in a bite, this dish was a dance on the tastebuds. It was a bit heavier, but it wasn’t too sweet.
Bites at Umlauf Garden Party
My friend MJ and I enjoyed the Umlauf Garden Party last month. It was a lovely night of delicious bites from restaurants around town.
Pork Belly from Due Forni
I haven’t been to Due Forni but I look forward to it. Their honey balsamic pork belly was tender and juicy.
Mixed Vegetable Sandwich from Satay
Satay is a Thai and South Asian restaurant and they served these tasty sandwiches with mixed vegetables marinated in their special Thai sauce.
Cupcake from The Cupcake Bar
Of course I had to mention the delicious cupcake from The Cupcake Bar I enjoyed. They have many delicious flavors and toppings but I recommend carrot cake and tres leeches for cake, cream cheese or salted caramel icing, and topping it with anything sparkly!
Khao Man Gai at Thai Kun
A flavor post ago, I mentioned how ON FIRE my mouth was after enduring a Thai Kun meal. This time around, I went the complete opposite and got a dish with zero spice added. The Khao Man Gai was simple and wonderful to me. I added the included spicy side sauce occasionally because it did need something but I would order this dish again.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did you want a photo of that before I gobbled it up?
Sparkling Sangria, Genuine Blackened Redfish, and Butterscotch Budino at Salty Sow
I am very happy to report that I have consistently enjoyed a fantastic meal at Salty Sow. Each one of these dishes were on point, flavorful and refreshing.
Barbecue Beef Ribs at Stiles Switch
I thought I knew what good barbecue was but why didn’t anyone tell me about the beef ribs? After this meal at Stiles Switch, I’m convinced that beef ribs are THE way to go. (Too bad, brisket.) Tenderly falling off the bone. Ohhh yeah.
Hamachi Heaven, Salmon Nigiri and Texas Roll (seared beef) at Sushi Nini
It’s not critically acclaimed and it’s in Round Rock (at I-35 and 45), but I’ve enjoyed several meals at Sushi Nini so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s a sports bar so it’s as casual as sushi can get. Fresh fish, very friendly staff, creative dishes, and hey, I can watch ESPN!
Beer, Moules Frites (Mussels and Fries), Bread Pudding and Tres Leches Cake at Hopfields
Good time at Hopfields. A wide beer selection, a tasty dish of mussels in a tomato-based broth and fries with aioli and a curiously delicious, thick, white sauce. Next time I would suggest my fries served on a separate plate so they don’t get soggy as they did. But I left satisfied!
What delicious foods have you consumed and not been able to stop thinking about lately?