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Foiled by Fonda San Miguel again.

My last two experiences at Fonda were less than stellar. Kind of embarrassment when I took a friend there from San Francisco. I fondly remember the sunday brunches there but haven't been to a brunch in a long time.

La Condesa is great. Also try Barley Swine. If you want BBQ, then do Rudy's or Lamberts. I'd avoid Salt Lick and County Line. (All these locations are downtown/SoCo and north of town; I don't have much knowledge of places far south of the river...)

May 27, 2012
pwang in Austin

Stiles Switch BBQ

This brisket experience was similar to mine. I went a few days after they opened and while the brisket was certainly cut the right way (c'mon, a Texas BBQ joint would actually screw that up?!), but it tasted like underdone roast beef. My wife's chopped beef sandwich was just so-so.

I can't believe someone would say this place is up there with Franklin's! Maybe I'll give them another shot in a few months, but then again, by that time the weather will have warmed up and I'll be making my own melt-in-your-mouth brisket on my Big Green Egg...

Feb 13, 2012
pwang in Austin

Good Dim Sum?

I like Shanghai pretty well. We used to go to T&S a lot but just felt it was too dirty and crowded. The atmosphere is better at Shanghai and I have no complaints about the food.

It's too bad Fortune closed - they were really excellent.

I've never tried the dim sum at Chinatown but I've had dinner there a couple of times and was quite underwhelmed. Is their dim sum better than the quality of their dinner entrees?

Jun 12, 2011
pwang in Austin

Chronicle Restaurant Reader's Poll 2011

Some real WTFs in the Reader's Poll:
Manuel's above Fonda and Vespaio?
Salt Lick over Ruby's, Rudy's, and Franklin's?
Get Sum over Shanghai and Fortune for dim sim?
Din Ho and Suzie's over Asia Cafe???

And I don't understand how Phoenicia beats out MT as an ethnic supermarket... Maybe someone can enlighten me.

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Vespaio
1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

May 19, 2011
pwang in Austin

Franklins vs Saltlick: can only do one...can't choose on my own

Franklin's.

Don't bother with Salt Lick. Its primary purpose is keep the foreigners out of Lockhart.

May 03, 2011
pwang in Austin

Korean Fried Chicken

I went to Somunanjib this weekend. It was my 1 year old son's first Korean food, and he loved the banchan (not the kimchi, of course) and the seafood tofu stew, which we ordered non-spicy.

I've only had Korean Fried Chicken once before, in NYC, and the stuff at Somunanjib is definitely on par. Its presentation is not as fancy as the place in New York, but neither was its price as outrageous. We did a half-order of spicy and a half-order of sweet. Both were great, although I preferred the spicy. We got the sweet fried chicken for my son, and he loved it as well.

We'll definitely be back. Thanks to lixlix to alerting us about this place!

May 03, 2011
pwang in Austin

BIG GREEN EGG

Agreed, pulled pork should be at 225 grill temp (which means 240-250 dome temp).

I think a 16 hour pulled pork at 250 would be much too dry.

Apr 29, 2010
pwang in Cookware

I ate at Texas Monthly’s Top 5 BBQ Pits in One Weekend.

You might also want to give Franklin BBQ at ~38th and IH-35 a try. It's pretty good, although they smoke the brisket at 250F which is well on the high side IMHO.

http://www.franklinbarbecue.com/

Apr 13, 2010
pwang in Austin

I ate at Texas Monthly’s Top 5 BBQ Pits in One Weekend.

Actually my wife and mother-in-law had the same impression of Louie Mueller's. They didn't think the brisket or ribs were all that.

Then again I have a Big Green Egg so maybe I've spoiled them. :)

Apr 13, 2010
pwang in Austin

Olivia, La Condesa, Parkside , Aquarelle and Wink - have five reservations and can only keep two

La Condesa: Haven't been, so can't say.

Olivia: No. The last (and, to be fair, the only) time I went, two people in our party of 8 or so didn't finish their entrées. I had a steak or some such that was good but not on par with Austin Land & Cattle or Ruth's Chris.

Parkside: Good, rather seafood-centric. Don't know how good the veggie options are if they don't eat seafood. Additionally, I the Californians might (and the Hawaiian definitely) will be able to get comparable or better seafood in their native areas. (Parkside's oysters are very good, though.)

Aquarelle & Wink are two of my favorite restaurants in town, and they always have great vegetarian options. If I were in your shoes I'd go to these, on account of the veggie constraint and also because I've never had a bad meal there, the waitstaff has always been great.

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La Condesa
400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

Apr 13, 2010
pwang in Austin

County Line Am I missing something?

Yeah, you pretty much got it right. I've only been once, and most of it was unexceptional. The only thing that stood out was the smoked turkey - that was really quite good.

Actually, now that I think about it, I would have to rate County Line's smoked turkey a little bit above Rudy's. (But Rudy's outranks County Line in all other respects, including the banana pudding... actually, just thinking about Rudy's makes me hungry... I think I'm going to lobby for Rudy's for dinner tonight.)

Oct 06, 2009
pwang in Austin

Apple Annie's

When I went back two weeks ago, we had some service issues, but the food (the plat du jour, a roast chicken of some sort) was OK.

Jul 25, 2009
pwang in Austin

Athenian Grill?

Their food is great, a little overpriced for lunch but consistently good. I personally have a soft spot for the lemon chicken soup and the pot roast (which lately has been a little salty).

Jul 15, 2009
pwang in Austin

Meh! Experience @ Uchi!?

For good sushi, try Tomo up on Parmer. When my wife and I just want good, fresh sushi, we usually go to Musashino or Tomo. (Disclaimer: I haven't been to either establishment in like 4 or 5 months, but I have no reason to believe they have gone downhill.)

Jul 14, 2009
pwang in Austin

Apple Annie's

I got take-out lunch there on Friday. The linguine was delicious and the pear and walnut salad was outstanding, as usual. (Well, a little heavy on the balsamic but that's because I got the bottom of the tray.)

I'm glad they're back!

Jun 28, 2009
pwang in Austin

BBQ trip report - City Market, Black's, Smitty's

Your coworkers were correct about IronWorks and Stubbs. Honestly I think Rudy's in town is pretty much about as good as you're going to get... It's sad but most good BBQ around Austin is... around Austin, and not in Austin itself. I'm glad to see you were able to get out to Lockhart and get some good meat, though.

Salt Lick has name appeal but the meat is not that spectacular. (Actually my wife tends to feel sick afterwards from their grease, which does not happen with other BBQ places.)

Jun 28, 2009
pwang in Austin

BBQ trip report - City Market, Black's, Smitty's

What do you mean "inferior cuts of meat that are half fat"? Do you mean slices that include the point of the brisket? When you say "high quality", are you just referring to the flat of the brisket?

Jun 28, 2009
pwang in Austin

Any places in town to get a Konro grill

Does anyone have any tips on where I might get a Japanese tabletop clay hibachi grill? I found some places online that were selling them for about $70, but that seems expensive.

Jun 07, 2009
pwang in Austin

Fredericksburg peaches on 290?

Just a quick question for folks: are the peaches sold out of the back of trucks along 290 and 71 as good as the "real deal" down in Fredericksburg? Is there a compelling reason to make the drive to get them from the orchards?

Jun 07, 2009
pwang in Austin

BIG GREEN EGG

I bought one last July and have loved it. It can be as easy to use as a standard charcoal grill, but you can get it much hotter or much cooler than a metal charcoal grill.

As far as I know, the Weber products in the same price range are giant gas grills, which just do not compare to a charcoal grill. If all you're doing is charbroiling, then the gas grill will work fine. Anything for which you care about moisture control or low temperature or extremely high temperature will be much better on the Egg.

It is extremely versatile. I've done 16 hour briskets and 12 hour pork butts, as well as 4-minute 800 degree steaks. I did a turkey last Thanksgiving and the relatives and the wife *inhaled* it. We are remodeling the kitchen now and we are not going to get much of an oven, simply because most baking-type of things will be done on our BGE. I attended Texas Eggfest this year and everything from chicken wings, pizza, and pies all came out wonderfully on the egg.

Jun 06, 2009
pwang in Cookware

scallion pancakes

And by way of nutritional disclaimer: the Chinese "churros" are literally called "grease sticks" in Chinese, so just be forewarned that they are not the most healthful food in the world. But they sure are delicious when dipped in the soy milk.

(They are also commonly chopped up and served in congee, so folks may recognize them from their dim sum experiences.)

May 05, 2009
pwang in Austin

scallion pancakes

For English-speakers, try pronouncing it as "Tsong Yeoh Being"

May 05, 2009
pwang in Austin

Best Vegetarian Dish at Asia Cafe (not too spicy)?

Did you guys try the Stir-Fried Pea Leaves? Those are usually a favorite, except that if you get it too late in the season, the greens start becoming more stringy and tend to get in between your teeth.

Also, you can get the "Szechuan Hot & Spicy Rice Jelly", which can be tuned in its level of spicyness. (The jelly itself is pretty bland, and comes immersed in a bowl of the very red but less-spicy-than-it-looks Szechuan pepper sauce.)

If you are feeling adventurous, you can get the Sweet & Spicy Lotus Root. Lotus roots, when cooked, will produce some goo from its starches (like mixing tapioca powder with water). This combines with a crunchiness to make a very interesting texture. I personally love it, my wife is OK with it but not wild about it, and my parents think it's as good as the ones they make at home (with lotus roots harvested from their own pond).

Mar 19, 2009
pwang in Austin

Hard Hat Report Volume 2

I always welcome reports of new Thai places showing up near me, but the Village shopping center is not too far away from Koenig & Lamar, where Titaya is located.

Mar 18, 2009
pwang in Austin

Credit card security on receipts?

I got some soup at the Jason's Deli in Hancock shopping center last night, and noticed that on the merchant's copy of the receipt, they had printed my entire credit card number.

Has anyone else noticed this at any other restaurants in the area? Is this something we can convince a proprietor or manager to change?

Mar 18, 2009
pwang in Not About Food

Austin crawfish

We had some at Quality Seafood this weekend and they were alright. More small ones than usual, but some were a good size. It was spicier than Sambet's. They were charging $3.99/lb and $2.50 if you wanted a couple of potatoes and some corn. The corn was a bit soggy but the potatoes hit the spot. It was all quite good, actually, except for the average size being a bit small.

Mar 18, 2009
pwang in Austin

Best Smoked Turkey?

I'll second the recommendation of the turkey at County Line. Most of their BBQ is rather forgettable, but the smoked turkey was moist and delicious.

Dec 03, 2008
pwang in Austin

Disappointing meal at Wink: is it (still) one of Austin’s ten best?

Actually, I think Titaya (at Lamar and Koenig) is better than Madam Mam's, and has much easier parking.

Dec 03, 2008
pwang in Austin

New Korean restaurant near Shanghai?

Chosun Galbi

Incidentally there is a great Korean BBQ in LA by the same name. I spoke with a guy there a few months back and he said they were slated to open mid-November, but that didn't happen. (My friends and I pulled up that night and were greeted with an empty parking lot, so we went to Aster's instead.)

I definitely look forward to having another Korean BBQ option!

Dec 01, 2008
pwang in Austin

five guys burgers and fries

No way, another former Chattanoogan here in Austin!

I noticed the Five Guys on Hixson Pike (my folks live out past HIxson High), but never got around to eating there. If they are as good as everyone here claims, I'll have to recommend it to my parents.

Oct 29, 2008
pwang in Chains