donnaaries's Profile

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A+A Sichuan Garden in Galleria Oaks

Dan Dan noodles are suppose to be served cold. I ordered this dish from A+A and it's a shame, they basically do the same thing they do to the water boiled dishes and call it dan dan noodles. I guess I have to drive to Dallas or Houston for some real dan dan noodles.

We also tried the twice cooked pork from A+A which was slightly better than the Asia Cafe version but still lacking. The pork belly strips were limp, not a great texture.

I wish we had semi-decent Sichuan cuisine in Austin. I've been to Asia Cafe on three visits and A+A on one visit, and none of them seem to hit the spot.

Jun 09, 2011
donnaaries in Austin

Best Gelato in Florence

Grom was our favorite. All their chocolate flavors are amazing (they use Domori for all their chocolate)

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Grom
via del Campanile, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Jun 07, 2011
donnaaries in Italy

La Tavola Marche Rocks!

I have to echo LD Jenkins' experience, just spent 3 fantastic nights at La Tavola Marche exploring the beautiful Le Marche region and taking cooking classes with Jason (professionally trained chef with NYC kitchen experience and French Culinary Institute experience).

I think the posters claiming that these experiences aren't authentic are too tough. Let's face it, the most authentic experience a tourist can have is to imagine living life abroad (as a expat, not as a native of that country, because you don't have that growing up experience). Your perspective is American because this is the culture you grew up with. Jason and Ashley at La Tavola Marche are expats who have been completely welcomed into their community in Italy (ask their neighbors who come over for pizza night or exchange seasonal produce with them), and they can show American tourists a side of Italy with the insight of having an American "background."

I stayed at a B&B in Chianti run by an Italian family, and while the experience was authentic and lovely (beautiful property), the communication barrier is greater than just the language itself. They saw us as American tourists, and recommended things that they thought tourists would enjoy doing, like a day trip to San Gimignano. We are tourists, it's hard for them not to see us that way. Jason and Ashley also see us as tourists, but understand that those who have taken the off the beaten path to visit their property prefer the "road less traveled," and recommend experiences that we would treasure, such as a visit to a local grappa distillery, or market days in nearby towns, or a boating trip out to the Adriatic with a fresh catch lunch. Though both experiences were lovely, I felt that I got much more out of the stay with Jason and Ashley, the American expats.

Jun 07, 2011
donnaaries in Italy

Dumpling Kitchen [San Francisco]

Soupcon, I grew up in Shanghai and can vouch that traditionally, shengjian is done with the flat side down. Though you're right, in recent trips to Shanghai I have seen them done both ways. Food trends do change.

Coming to Austin for the week on Saturday

Smitty's and Kreuz are smiliar in style (used to be the same family) and Smitty's has more atmosphere, although brisket is better at Kreuz. I don't know if it's worth it to reschedule your trip around this, three is better than two, but how much better?
Around Austin I'd say you should definitely hit up food trailers since that's the defining thing in Austin dining right now, if I had to pick one I'd say try Odd Duck, "upscale" small bites with focus on local, in season ingredients. In the same parking lot is Gourdough's, big donuts with novelty toppings like bacon and maple icing or more normal toppings like grilled bananas. Since you're coming from California, might as well give cheesy Tex-Mex a shot. I like Trudy's, others like Maudie's, Chuy's, etc.
Also chicken fried steak is another food that kind of defines Texas, long discussion here on the best in Austin: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/93088

Nov 18, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

THEY WANT HOW LITTLE? Reasonable Beyond Belief Food Pricing In Austin Part 1

Cheko's in Brentwood has 99 cent breakfast tacos that have twice as much filling as any other standard breakfast tacos. Authentic fillings, too, in addition to the standard stuff there's chicharron, nopalitos, and machacado.

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Chekos
1304 W Koenig Ln, Austin, TX 78756

Nov 18, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Coming to Austin for the week on Saturday

I believe Smitty's is also closed on Sunday. In fact, a couple of years ago when I went to Lockhart on a Sunday the only one that was open was Black's.
Where are you coming from? If out of state, then I would say get Tex-Mex and chicken fried steak and items that are Texas specialties. If you're coming from within Texas, my suggestions would be different.

Nov 18, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

gypsy picnic: trailer food festival on 11/06

I'm a bit disappointed to see some major players in the Austin Food Cart scene missing from the lineup. But nonetheless, will definitely go and check it out.

Oct 28, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Mueller's in Taylor...now just "Meh"

We were at Smitty's this past Saturday. Sausage was still great (can't beat that snappy casing) and pork ribs were barky and tender and seasoned well. But this is Texas BBQ, and their brisket was drier and less flavorful than even the last time I went. Snow's in Lexington and Franklin BBQ's beef brisket is tiers above Smitty's brisket (the version I had Saturday).

Oct 28, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

BBQ- Blacks v Smitty's V Salt Lick

Third Franklin's. That's serious Texas BBQ out of a trailer. Smitty's and Kreuz has history, atmosphere, and great BBQ to go with it. The last couple of times I went to Black's, I felt that other than the decent side dishes, they've really slipped compared to the other Lockhart places. Salt Lick has decent BBQ and a good sauce, but you don't come to eat Texas BBQ for sauce. It's living off of reputation.

Another serious contender is brisket at Snow's in Lexington. But they are only open on Saturdays (and usually run out by 11:00am, opens at 8:00) so depending on time constraints, may not be an option.

Oct 17, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Eating At The Noble Pig In Austin

Also of note: the oyster Po'boy has been replaced by the Creole catfish sandwich on the menu:
http://donnacooks.files.wordpress.com...

Oct 12, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Eating At The Noble Pig In Austin

Just had lunch there on Sunday. The Noble Pig Sandwich was delicious, juicy and sharp with that housemade mustard. I thought there was plenty of meat on the sandwich, not wimpy at all. Potato salad was not at all undercooked (and the presence of olives was a nice surprise, not too many, just enough). If I have any complaints, it's that the sandwich was just a tad too salty with all three kinds of meats being strong in the flavor department. Perhaps the problems reported in this thread are just little inconsistencies that is fairly common with a new restaurant.

Oct 12, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Best food truck in Austin?

Get in line with everyone else at Franklin's BBQ. That is great brisket (possibly the best in Texas) coming out of a trailer.

Sep 29, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Texas Monthly BBQ reviews

That's too bad to hear that Snow's brisket didn't show well at the festival. I've been out to Lexington twice to try to brisket at Snow's, and each time it's been excellent. Tender, smokey, melt-in-your-mouth rich. Don't let the festival discourage you from a trip to Lexington, I do think their brisket is worth it. They also serve up great BBQ chicken there. But I don't really care for their ribs, a little mushy in texture and not enough bark.

Sep 20, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Austin Restaurant Week

Have a reservation at Aquarelle for next week.

Sep 17, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Best ny/nj pizza in austin

I'm new to the Austin area but one of my favorite closeby places is House Pizzeria. We've had the margherita and a couple of their specialty pizzas and all the ingredients have been fantastic (fresh).

Also Little Deli & Pizzeria in Crestview serves up a nice floppy, NY style pizza. I think the owner is from New Jersey. Killer pastrami sandwich, too.

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Little Deli
7101 Woodrow Ave, Austin, TX 78757

Sep 16, 2010
donnaaries in Austin

Trying to find a good Americanized Chinese Place

Pan Acean in Coppell isn't bad for Americanized Chinese food.

Has anyone eaten at Los Cucos in Plano?

Yeah it's the same chain.

New foodie store in The Woodlands

They also have their own dry aging case for beef, nifty. Can't wait to check it out next week.

Nov 24, 2008
donnaaries in Houston

Awesome Malaysian Foods

That curry laksa is a great dish in this cold weather!

Central Texas BBQ

So... BBQ sauce has Ketchup syndrome.

Nov 20, 2008
donnaaries in Texas

New foodie store in The Woodlands

Looks promising from the website (http://www.hubbellandhudson.com).
Does anyone know what their store hours are?

Nov 18, 2008
donnaaries in Houston

Wedding venues with tasty catered food?

While the arboretum is certainly beautiful, it's not exactly easy on the budget, just something to keep in mind.

We might be able to help you more if you have specific price range in mind. How much per head? How many people attending the wedding (this makes a big difference in choosing a venue).?

Veggie bibimbap in DFW?

Are you talking about the one that only has Korean characters on the sign? They do have an excellent bowl of bibimbap.

Upscale authentic Chinese Restaurants in Dallas/Irving area

Agree with Lewisville that food at Little Sichuan is very good. However, your delegation is coming from China on a business trip, I don't think the casual atmosphere (equivalent to your everyday lunch stop in China) is going to leave the right impression. In China, group dining like this is most often done in the private rooms of a large banquet restaurant, which Kirin Court offers. I would suggest to call ahead of time and reserve a table at one of the private rooms rather than eating in the loud main dining room. Maxim's also has these private rooms but the atmosphere isn't quite as nice.

Best jacket required in D/FW?

The Chef's Tasting Room at The Mansion still requires a jacket though the main dining room does not. And if you're doing The Mansion for a special occasion, drop the extra $40 for the Tasting Menu rather than the regular 3-course prix fixe. When it comes to flawless service, no place does it like The Mansion. I was just there last night and it's a meal I will remember for a long long time.

Dallas Visitor Seeks Great Wine List at Great Prices

Check out Lola. Wine list is very reasonably priced.

Upscale authentic Chinese Restaurants in Dallas/Irving area

Kirin Court? It's not exactly upscale, but it's definitely not divey.

[DFW] Dog Friendly Sunday Brunch

Cafe Toulouse and Taverna both have dog friendly patios and a decent brunch.

[DFW] Brunch in Addison this weekend

There's Blue Mesa... and Maguire's has a good brunch. I always forget about them.