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Greg Spence's Profile

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Small Food For Foodies

OK, I know that Chowhounds aren't foodies, but it's a convenient term. I've got a friend coming in town this weekend from Abilene. He loves great food, but he's had his stomach stapled so he can only eat 3 - 4 ounces at a time, and nothing too fatty. We've done Mushashino and Asia Market; are there any other suggestions? The rest of the group of six are normal eaters and we're all omnivores. Thanks in advance.

Jul 10, 2008
Greg Spence in Austin

Roadtrip between Austin and Shreveport on Hwy 79

While I agree that Louie Mueller's is a must stop place for brisket, ribs and sausage, they usually run out of food by 3-4pm.

Jun 25, 2008
Greg Spence in Texas

Easter brunch - with kids

Definately Eastside Cafe on Manor Road. They're set up for kids, they like kids and the food is great at brunch And lunch and dinner..

Mar 19, 2008
Greg Spence in Austin

Whassup with Curra's

Rudeboy saves the day! I had a meetinng with 10 people scheduled at Curra's Long Bar last night and if it hadn't been for a last minute check of CH, we would have been waiting in the rain. As it was, we went to Little Woodrow's for $3, 25 oz domestic beers and pizza, wings and fried pickles.

The Pizza had a decent thin crust but was overly cheesey. The pepperoni and sausage topping was pretty good, with a nice, fennely sausage. The wings tasted strongly of vinegar, which I didn't care for and the pickle chips were way over breaded. The food comes from the place called Woody's next door, but the wait staff at Woodrow's carries menus and takes your order and payment. I'm curious about the steak night. Any comments?

Jan 25, 2008
Greg Spence in Austin

Oysters in Austin

Has anyone had any especially good oysters this season? The three times I've had gulf oysters recently, they've been remarkably neutral, lacking any flavor at all. No brininess, no sweetness, no metallic notes, nothing. Not bad, just blah. The source was Quality Seafood twice and the Alligator Grill once.

Jan 14, 2008
Greg Spence in Austin

Sausage help

Smoked, dry cured, cooked or raw?

Nov 28, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

MUST EATS?

I am white, but I'm not feeling particularly insecure, so I'll chip in that my favorite Tex-Mex is Enchiladas y mas on Anderson Lane. It's great stuff, incredibly caloric and thoroughly delicious, as Tex-Mex should be. I always get the same thing; cheese enchiladas with chili sauce. I've tasted many other things on the menu and have yet to find a dud. In the morning, the migas con queso are some of the best in town. You have to eat Migas while you're in town. It's the classic Austin breakfast.

For barbecue, there is one place in town that on a good day has brisket and sausage that rivals the boys in Lockhart: House Park Barbecue. It's just west of Lamar on 12th and is only open weekdays from 11:00 to 2:30. My usual is a brisket and sausage sandwich (why choose?) because the sides aren't that great. I also find their chicken lacking, with a tough skin and meat that's just OK.

Nov 28, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Lard

I've bought freshly rendered lard at Fiesta on I-35 several times. It's in tubs, back by the meat counter. I bought some as recently as September to make tamales.

Nov 27, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Highly Rated Central Texas Wine/Beverage

Check out Alamosa's Dry Rose and their top of the line red (the name is escaping me.) They're shockingly good. The owner/maker trained at UC Davis and did some winemaking in California before he moved to Texas. He's an interesting guy who makes terriffic wines.

Nov 27, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

downtown -- good (quick) lunch options?

Unfortunately, Delaware is long gone. IMO, Thundercloud is just plain bad. The bread is somehow soft and tough at the same time and the ingredients are lousy and meager. You'll be a very happy 'hound if you bike over to 12th just east of Lamar and have excellent barbecue at House Park Barbecue. I'll also second the motion for La Traviata. Despite your proximity, avoid Kyoto. It's really bad. Really.

Nov 14, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Central Texas BBQ

I'm in complete agreement with you about the Salt Lick. As I've said before, the best things about the Salt Lick are the cole slaw and the BYOB policy. I'll take my cabbage and beer at home, thanks, and save myself the drive.

Nov 07, 2007
Greg Spence in Texas

Chowhound Assignment:Late Night-Streetside.Downtown Austin Texas.

Don't forget the often touted burgers (which are excellent) and the fun, funky atmosphere of Casino el Camino. It's my only regular stop on Sixth.

Oct 29, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Business Dinner

I really don't like the food at Iron Cactus. I've had "prime" hamburgers there that were filled with gristle, meager and lousy taco salads, stinky shrimp, and over cooked flautas. Yuck.

I'd recommmend Eddie V's or Vespaio, with the emphasis on Vespaio. Both places have excellent wine lists, but Vespaio has some of the best food in Austin. If you call ahead, you might be able to reserve the wine room at Vespaio, which would be great for a casual business dinner.

Oct 29, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Suggested graduation party venues?

I had my birthday party at Din Ho this year and it was great. We ordered way too much food but somehow managed to plow our way through till the plates were empty. My favorites were the roasted (bbq) meats, the baby bok choy with black mushrooms, the sauteed snow pea greens and the Singapore street noodles. We had plenty of Tsing Tao and still came out at about $20.00 per person. In all, it was a fantastic feast.

Oct 25, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

What are the best foods to buy at Costco? [Moved from General Topics Board]

I like most of what I buy at Costco, and I think the cheeses are an especially good deal. What I don't like at all is the flavor of the jumbo shrimp, sold by the pound at a seperate counter. They are sourced from China and Vietnam, are farm raised, and are utterly flavorless. We ate some side by side with some wild Texas shrimp, and the difference was incredible. You'll be much better off paying more for shrimp out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Oct 23, 2007
Greg Spence in Chains

Great meal for visiting friend

I'm going to have to disagree with rusty on the Iron Cactus. I've been there more times than I care to admit and the food has been uniformly poor in quality and preparation. I do, however, enjoy the occasional tequila flight.

I will agree that the second floor balcony of the SFA is a very nice place for a drink, and the downstairs restaurant, The Roaring Fork, is very good and I enjoy the semi formal southwestern atmosphere. TRF also does one of my favorite duck dishes in town, sided by a terriffic rendition of green chile mac and cheese.

Oct 16, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Central Texas BBQ

Undercooking brisket is not the style in central Texas. As an old Kreuz loyalist, it pains me to see the place serving undercooked meat and oven cooked sausage. The pork chops are still consistent and good, but I find myself going to Smitty's more and more.

Oct 15, 2007
Greg Spence in Texas

Pho & Great Steak

I have also had good luck with steaks at Eddie V's. I went in August to the north location and they had a special of a bone in, prime, 30 day dry aged new york strip that was the best steak I've ever had in Austin and one of the best steaks I've had anywhere. It was expensive at $60 but worth the price. Unfortunately, the brabant potatoes were like potatoes poached in grease, with no crust whatsoever.

Oct 04, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Sushi-Mikado or Musashino?

I went to Mushashino with three friends this past Saturday and had omikase nigiri and sashimi prepared by the owner. It was superb. For $80/pp, we had excellent fish (including otoro), a piece of american "kobe," and generally a procession of perfectly fresh, creatively presented dishes until we cried uncle. I honestly have never had a better sushi experience outside of NYC.

Oct 03, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Jewish deli in Austin?

I've never had anything more than a medicore experience at Katz's, and most often the food has been just plain inedible. I try it about once a year, it seems, hoping to find that decent deli food can be had in downtown Austin. Instead, I invariably send my food back to the kitchen for another try, and wind up being served crap twice.

Oct 02, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Bored of Options Spicewood/Mopac

You know, despite all the positive things I've heard about Dog Almighty, I had one of the worst hot dogs I've ever had there a month ago. It had more in common with a kid's viena sausage than with a decent hot dog. And 75 cents for sauerkruat? I'll take a pass on the whole thing.

Sep 12, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

The Rib Eyes at Mesa Ranch

I've only been to Mesa Ranch once, and it was a year ago, but my experience was not so great. The service was outright surly and the bone in ribeye was not a great steak. It was poorly marbled and had little flavor, and was sided by a paltry two spears of asparagus. I will admit that my companion's chicken fried venison was pretty good; still, I haven't been back and it's not on my list.

Aug 21, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Best Duck in Austin?

You know, Roaring Fork does a very credible roast duck, and sided with their mac & cheese, it's a plate that's hard to top in town.

Aug 02, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

The Worst Fish and Chips in Austin?

I've had the fried cod and fries at Quality Seafood and it was terrible. The cod was extremely dry and flavorless, the batter soggy and cool and the fries pedestrian at best. Stick with the catfish here.

Jul 23, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Dress code

The Headliner's club does indeed have a dress code, as do the other private clubs in town. If you're invited, don't expect the flip flops to pass muster.

Jul 11, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Dinner suggestions for solo traveler?

Very close to you, near the intersection of Spicewood Springs and Mesa is the sister restaurant of Castle Hill, Mirabelle. The food is excellent (continental/southwestern), the wine list has some real bargains and I'm perfectly comfortable eating there solo. I find the quality of their seafood to be excellent, and while we're on the subject of seafood, Mushashino at MoPac and Greystone has superb sushi. Nonsense on the idea that we're too far inland to get excellent seafood. Air freight moves us right to the coast.

Jul 09, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

First time in Austin.....from NYC.. [Moved from Texas board]

Coming from NYC, cuda will recognize Kyoto for what it is, basically cat food grade sushi. Uchi is the place to go in Austin. Another Austin experience downtown with great food and atmosphere is Las Manitas, between second and third on Congress. They serve very good Mexican breakfasts and lunches and the place feels like old Austin.

Jul 03, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

First time in Austin.....from NYC.. [Moved from Texas board]

Twill, I agree with your assessment of Thundercloud Subs and would add that across the street (12th) from Thundercloud is a true Austin experience, House Park Barbecue. It's only open for weekday lunches but the barbecue is far superior to the County Line's, which is basically a tourist trap.

Jul 03, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Pig Roast

There's a local Cordon Bleu trained chef named Kristian Kleck who I've seen do everything from standard Texas barbecue for four hundred to fajitas for 25 at private parties. Everything's always excellent and no details are missed. I know he's done both whole hog and kid goat on this massive pit he has; I think he's your guy. He can be reached at 512.771.4246.

Jun 13, 2007
Greg Spence in Austin

Fry Me Up

For at least ten years, there have been restaurants here in Austin, Texas that have stuffed avocados with chicken and cheese, then breaded and deep fried them.

May 22, 2007
Greg Spence in Features