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Andrew Zachary's Profile

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Numero 28

Not sure -- I think it might be their address, which is 428 2nd Street.

Dec 09, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Numero 28

Just opened on 2nd street next to "How Do You Roll." Stopped in for a panini at lunchtime and it was quite good. They have a wood-fired pizza oven but do not yet have a permit for it. Nice guys running the place + they have 5 or 6 flavors from Dolce Neve. Worth checking out, particularly once their oven comes on line.

Dec 08, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Carrots

Funny you mention carrots: there's a long section in Dan Barber's book, "The Third Plate," about carrots. His farm-manager has been growing heirloom carrots and brings some into the kitchen at BH@SB. The chefs go crazy because these carrots are at 14 Brix and taste delicious. By comparison, the "organic, field-grown carrots" that are in the cooler come from Mexico and have a Brix of 0. That's right: 0. No sugar at all.

I think most of the carrots at CM and WF have a Brix of 0 or 1. They are mostly tasteless starch. If I'm lucky, some of the local farmers at Barton Creek FM or at Hope FM have Dragon Carrots; these taste like the real thing.

Dec 03, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

M. Odom's review of LaV

I remember that thread - and boy, do I sympathize.

Oct 12, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

M. Odom's review of LaV

Sorry to hear that was your experience. We went once (was a big splurge with kids in college) and did not have that problem.

Oct 11, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

M. Odom's review of LaV

Absolutely not! As you probably know, people do it all the time in California, New York, Oregon, Chicago, Massachusetts, Washington (both the state and the District), and in fact, anywhere with reasonably sane liquor laws.

I always call first to make sure the restaurant accepts corkage and I always offer at least a 1/2 glass to the staff/chef/owner.

Oct 11, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Holy Latkes !!

I feel your pain - I miss great NY delis, bagels, lox, latkes, etc. Have resorted to curing my own salmon and making my own latkes.

I heard some cringe-worthy stories about Mastman that lead me to believe it will never open. Mayhaps Kenny and Ziggy's will open a branch up here? Then again, probably not.

Oct 11, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Secret Tien Hong Chili Oil Source?

Relatively easy to make your own chili oil.

1/3 cup dried red chili flakes
3-4 T fermented black beans (do not rinse), coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T minced ginger
1 cup corn or peanut oil
3-4 T sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a heavy non-aluminum pot. Bring to a low bubble (225 to 250 if you have a thermometer.) Let simmer for 15 minutes. When cool, place in a clean glass jar and keep refrigerated.

Notes: I use the hottest red chili flakes I can find - Penzy's has crushed Indian red pepper at 40,000 Scoville units. Fermented black beans available at MT. Be careful not to let this burn.

Oct 09, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

M. Odom's review of LaV

Across the US, alcohol regulations are set by each state, and sometimes by each county or city. That is the legacy of the 18th and the 21st Amendments; the first of these prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of "intoxicating beverages" across the entire United States; the second repealed the universal "Prohibition" on alcohol at the Federal level but left each state or territory free to set its own regulations.

Since the regulation of the sale, manufacture and transport of "intoxicating beverages" is now explicitly left to the States, the result has been each state has a crazy, patch-work quilt of regulations. Some states, like CA, NY, IL, MA, CT and probably a host of others, do not explicitly forbid you to bring wine to a restaurant. It is up to the restaurant's owner to decide if they will allow it, a practice known in the trade as "Corkage." In California, every good, great or even in-different restaurant I've eaten at will allow corkage for a fee, or perhaps with a limitation on the number of bottles, etc. The same holds true in NY and in IL (or at least in Cook County where your uncle lives.)

When I got to Texas, corkage was a foreign concept that had not yet found general acceptance. Many restauranteurs simply forbid it, even if it is permitted. With all the usual caveats (I am not a lawyer, etc, etc etc) as I understand the TABC regulations, any establishment that sells hard liquor ***CANNOT*** allow corkage. This policy makes absolutely no sense to me. But I have also heard that restauranteurs who violate this rule face harsh punishments, up to and including jail time.

[Editorial comment: The machinations of the TABC are bizarre and simply beyond my ken. Just talk with the brew pub owners who want to sell their product on-site. They were being forced to go through the 3-tier distribution system, meaning that the beer sold on-site had first to go to a licensed distributor, then to a licensed wholesaler, and then back to the brew pub. At each step along the way, the price went up while the quality went down.]

M. Odom's review of LaV

Great suggestion, but the wonderful State of Texas has some severe restrictions on corkage. As I understand TABC regulations, any restaurant that serves hard liquor cannot allow anyone to bring in their own wine.

Bufalina, Wink, and a few others -- charge a reasonable fee for corkage. But any restaurant with a full bar: Uchiko, Congress, La V -- is forbidden to let me bring in my wine. I have heard possibly apocraphal stories that restaurant owners can be fined, lose their liquor license, or even go to jail. All over a bottle of wine.

Sep 27, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

M. Odom's review of LaV

Wine prices are determined by several factors: rarity, popularity, the crazy patch-work quilt of alcohol laws, and by an out-dated notion that a restaurant breaks even on its food sales but makes its money on its liquor sales.

Let's view that list keeping these factors in mind. Most restaurants price wines at 3x wholesale, or roughly 2x retail. (Personally, I think this is an inane way to price and sell wine. No one has asked me for my opinion, though.) For the great bulk of the wines at or under $150, and there are perhaps 100 or more at or around this price point, LaV pretty much adheres to this rule. And I point out that there are truly wonderful wines among this list.

Second: rarity. Some of the wines, like the '45 Latour that lists for $20,500, are among the rarest on Earth. They are great wines, highly sought after, and only available through private sales, at auctions, or at a restaurant. Owning a bottle must be a bit like owning an original Monet oil. If I were fabulously wealthy and wanted to celebrate with one of the greatest Bordeaux ever made, I might go ahead and splurge. But that's my choice, and no different from buying my own 747 -- assuming I could afford it!

Third: popularity. Many of the wines between $200 and $2,000 are insanely difficult to find in the open market. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, "They are so popular no one can buy them anymore." It takes a real effort to find them, and the prices reflect that scarcity factor.

Fourth, our state's insane, antiquated liquor laws prevent La V from buying wines at auction, or from importing wines directly from the winery. All done in the name of preserving the three-tier distribution system that has done so much to line the pockets of the liquor distributors and our local politicians. Just ask the brew-pub guys about their attempts to serve their own products.

Finally, whether you like or dislike the food is ultimately a matter of personal preference. I respect HungryInAustin's opinion about the food and have no interest in persuading him to change his mind. When it comes to the prices on the wine list, let's at least keep them in perspective. There are some true rarities and some collectibles all priced rather high. But there are also lots of true gems at much more modest price points.

Sep 27, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin
1

M. Odom's review of LaV

Your original review (dated 29 Aug) was tepid at best. Any particular reason?

I might point out that the wine list, while admittedly filled with rare and expensive gems (and some of those are truly astonishing wines, well worth the price if you are lucky enough to afford them) is also stuffed with amazing wines at very reasonable prices. But I can certainly understand feeling intimidated by the list and by the knowledge that some of the wines will, I regret to say, always be out of my price range.

Sep 26, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Just got back from Soft Opening of St. Philip

I hate to admit it, but yes, I do. Otherwise my wife won't be able to eat the pizza. Steve has been very gracious about it.

Again, I point out that the SmartFlour crust is not nearly as good as Steve's version, but as a platter for the other superb ingredients, it does just fine.

Sep 26, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Just got back from Soft Opening of St. Philip

Not sure this will help in your quest to find excellent GF pizza at local shops, but SmartFlour makes a very good gluten-free crust. (Available at WF.) My wife is GF, so we usually bring a SmartFlour crust with us to Bufalina.

I think that the SmartFlour is actually pretty tasty, certainly the best of the GF pizza doughs we've tried. But it isn't a patch on Steve Dilley's 00 dough.

Sep 26, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Hard Hat XII

No, not yet. Am eager to try them.

Sep 02, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Hard Hat XII

The "chocolate" factory might be this one:
http://www.chocolaterietessa.com/#

If so, should be an interesting place to work.

Sep 02, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Mastman's Deli Downtown Austin

Dolce Neve makes great dark chocolate gelato, including a variant with bitter orange. But it is on S. 1st and would be a bit of a drive from Melvin's.

May 30, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Hard Hat XII

Unfortunately, no.

Apr 04, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Qui Reservation system sucks

Not sure I see your point.

I'm passing along other people's opinions about the cooking, not about the reservation system. I've not eaten at Qui, so cannot offer a personal observation about either one.

Apr 04, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Qui Reservation system sucks

Just to be clear: my earlier post has nothing to do with stocks, Wall Street, or finance.

I wanted to make the point that the inside scoop on Qui was that it isn't worth the price. There are better choices for your hard-earned money.

Mar 31, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Qui Reservation system sucks

There is a website called Whisper Number that supposedly offers an inside look at the best Wall Street earnings estimates. The Whisper Number on Qui: save your money. I haven't been so have no personal opinion.

Mar 30, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

New Oven

Yes. Lead times are long -- between 3 and 6 months, as each range/cooktop is built from scratch. As I said, the range is great, and I much prefer it to my previous Viking stove. You are welcome to try out the cooktop if you'd like. Just let me know.

Mar 24, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

New Oven

We have a BlueStar range and oven -- the range is great, with superb heat and control. I prefer it to previous range, which was a big Viking. At full throttle, I believe the cooktop will boil water as quickly as the best induction ranges, which is helpful when I'm making complicated dishes. And the simmer burner really does provide a perfect simmer.

I also like that everything is analog - no stupid digital boards that burn out at the most inopportune moments and leave you with a useless hunk of metal in your kitchen. The ignition is the only part you might need to replace, and that should be easy to do on your own. (N.B. I haven't had to do this yet, and don't anticipate any trouble when it happens.)

I took a while to adjust to the gas oven, though. It takes longer to heat up than my previous Viking dual-fuel ovens, doesn't brown chicken as well, and the knobs on the stove can get uncomfortably hot. But, on the plus side, the BlueStar oven gives a more even heat, is better at broiling, and gives a moister heat, so roasted food remains extremely moist.

Like most of life, you pays your money and you makes your choices.

Mar 23, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

New Oven

Wilson Appliance in Dripping Springs has an excellent, if expensive selection of convection and conventional ovens and cooktops. Worth a look, anyway.

Mar 14, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Best coffee in the downtown/SOCO & best local speciality food item to puchase

We appear to have orthogonal tastes in coffee! Flying Monkey is good, though.

Mar 12, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Best coffee in the downtown/SOCO & best local speciality food item to puchase

Some ideas for coffee (in addition to Patika, which is excellent)

Houndstooth at 4th and Congress. Excellent coffees, particularly anything roasted by Tweed.

Medici at 2nd and Congress. Also very good coffee, though not quite as good as either Patika or Houndstooth.

Ideas for take-home items that won't melt or require refrigeration:

Cocoa Pura: cocoa and vanilla covered cocoa beans. Delicious and only slightly less addictive that crack cocaine.

Chocolate Makers Studio - very good chocolate bars. I'm partial to the Orange Confit with Cherries, my wife likes the Espresso. Good balance between the inclusions and the chocolate itself. Might have to eat these before you get home to Canada.

Tweed coffees, particularly Timepiece. Available at Houndstooth. Technically, roasted in Dallas, but only available here in Austin (I believe, anyway!)

Barton Springs Soda Company: good sodas, not sure they are worth schlepping across the border.

More ideas as I think of them!

Mar 10, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

RIP VII

Austin Java in Tarrytown closed for non-payment of rent. Not too huge a loss, but was a very convenient place to hang out.

Feb 08, 2014
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Local Grass fed butter?

Good question, I believe grass but you might call and verify before driving all the way to Georgetown.

Nov 26, 2013
Andrew Zachary in Austin

Local Grass fed butter?

One of the dairy farmers at the Barton Creek Farmer's Market used to make a very small amount of butter. I tried it once, but it had turned rancid and was inedible. I've asked Mill King and Full Quiver if they will make either buttermilk or butter and neither one was interested.

Before you despair, you might check with Dyer Mercantile in Georgetown. They sell raw milk, freshly made butter, and superb eggs, chickens, beef, pork and lamb. (I have no business affiliation with them; I just buy their meats and milk.)

http://www.dyermercantile.com/products

Nov 26, 2013
Andrew Zachary in Austin

black truffle

1,000 euros per kg is a bargain! In the US, white truffles from Piedmont are around $120/ounce. Converting from our bizarre, crazy Imperial units to kilos and then into Euros gives me about 3,000 euros per kg.

FYI, Bufalina sometimes has white truffles on the menu; Steven Dilley imports them almost directly from the markets in Alba and they were/are wonderful. And don't ask about the upcharge, just close your eyes, inhale the amazing aroma, and enjoy the splurge.

Nov 26, 2013
Andrew Zachary in Austin