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TarquinWinot's Profile

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Fatty Crab: Hip Fleece Joint

I made no claim to be an expert on either Malay or Malaysian food, but thanks for being unnecessarily condescending. I've never been to Malaysia, but would like to, as long as the people there are significantly more polite than yourself.

I should have known better and avoided a place that does not offer Nyonya cuisine, yet still manages to do it poorly. That's quite an accomplishment to have a lack of a dish fail in execution. I can't conceive of this, my uneducated palate failing me again...

Dec 15, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Your favorite underrated burger?

I don't know if I'd compare them to McDonalds (at least McDonalds I crave intensely when hungover).

I agree with the sentiment, however. Burgers are like Mexican food, something New York just can't seem to wrap its head around in a way for me to want to wrap my mouth around. For you New Yorkers, it's like eating Pizza in other parts of the country. You wonder, what's in the water, or ground chuck (which, like water, in necessary to life) so that they can't get this right?

Not to say all NY burgers are bad. I like the Spotted Pig as well. Anyone tried the burger at Resto? I've heard it's good. Less precious, I've tried the burger at that dive on 2nd Ave, around 9th, and say it's one of the better I've ahd around here. It made me ill, in a good way.

Dec 12, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

two boots pizza:

I like the unorthodox cajun toppings. The jalapeno pesto makes my forehead bead up a bit.

But the cornmeal absolutely ruins it for me too. I think cornmeal on the bottom of a pizza is one of the greatest culinary sins, for which there is no pizza puragtory. It's straight to hell.

Dec 03, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

potato chips: apply directly to the sandwich

Who hasn't ever had a good chip-wich? Great roadtrip food.

Perhaps more exotic, has anyone ever had patato chip cookies with smashed up Lays inside. I have a friend with a recipe and they're surprisingly delish.

Dec 01, 2008
TarquinWinot in General Topics

My parents love Lupa and Babbo. Where do I send them next?

I tried it for brunch the other weekend. My friend ordered the spicy duck burger, which I was able to taste. It was pretty good, though I'm a little addicted to quack. My prime corned beef hash should have used a big more corning, but it was serviceable.

Chelsea Clinton was eating there too, and seemed to be enjoying herself.

Nov 26, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Any places serving weekend brunch on this Black Friday?

Ideally I would still be full from Thanksgiving sport-eating this Friday, or at least have a leftover turkey sandwich propped precariously on top of my distended belly watching Football. However, this year I have some out of town guests which means Thanksgiving out , and plans for some brunch the next day.

Does anyone know if any of the well known brunch spots are giving little ol' Friday weekend credentials in order to help sate the hunger of holiday shoppers? Or a place that typically has brunch service of Friday anyway?

I was hoping for the E. Village as a convenient locale. I am in love with the online menu of this place Joe Doe ( http://www.chefjoedoe.com/menu_brunch... ) , across from Prune. They have jewels like pork jowl benedict on the menu, and a Philly Tongue Steak sandwich (phew!). Subtopic: anyone tried this place? Do I seem obsessed with food from the face? I haven't checked to see if they're open for brunch Friday but I'm not optomistic. God only gives us so many gifts to be thankful for.

Anyway, any advice would be helpful and appreciated. Oh, and we've got a vegetarian weighing us down like a side of brussel sprouts, fyi.

Nov 25, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Fatty Crab: Hip Fleece Joint

Sorry you were so disappointed as I rather liked my last time there. We had a group of six or so and so ordered quite a variety, managing to miss both of the two dishes you had. I can't really speak to them.

The place is what it is and it's hard to fault an establishment that so unapologetically embraces it's pretention. First, it adds some welcome spice to the West Village where spicy usually tops out at Arrabiatta. Also, while certainly over priced, and not the best example of the cuisine, it can be hard to drag a group to Chinatown on a Friday night and call it an occasion (I know, I try, often). I sing the praises of Nyonya when I want inspirational Malay rather than Malay inspired, but we are social animals and my laksa is salty enough without my tears of lonliness falling into it.

If this imagined violent restaurant-jacking ever occurs and you some day return with an anchovy stuck at your back I'd recomend the titular Chili Crab dish. The chicken dish rather surprised us too (nasi lemak, I guess). I was disappointed with the laksa, which they describe as a traditional noodle soup. Is it traditional to have soggy noodles? It was a bit like Laksa Boyardee. It laksa'd something? Anyway, our waiter was accomadating for someone that much more attractive than me, and for the most part steered us well with frank advice.

Nov 24, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

My parents love Lupa and Babbo. Where do I send them next?

I generally like Batali places, though his attempts at restaurant empire may show some of the strains of over-exansion. Perhaps that's a bow to Roman authenticity, acting the part of a late-empire Caesar in restaurant openings.

While aware of anecdotal fallacies, I had some of the most attentative service of my life at Esca, to the point it was almost awkward. The guy was almost too friendly.

One person who wasn't too friendly in a recent encounter was the clogged one himself. I spotted him once at the Spotted Pig and didn't say anything (though the restaurant name suddenly made sense?). But then I saw him yet again a few weeks later at Grey Dog. I return to the table with my cheese, bacon, and egg sandwich and there he is talking to my roommate. I sat down and jokingly accused him of stalking me, which he did NOT find funny at all. Maybe it's because he was there with his little bambinos, but the whole thing turned sort of awkward. This is a lesson of not making gods of men, particularly when they wear orange crocs.

Nov 24, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Chinese-Midtown East

If it's not too west for you there's Evergreen Shanghai on 38th between 5th and Madison. It's rather authentic Shangainese cuisine, also with the typical tso-tso American options. It was recommended to me by a girl from Jiangsu province.

I guess if you're there you may as well travel the extra little bit over to Szechuan Gourmet for some of the best stuff in Manhattan, unless you can't do the "spicy."

I don't mind the Chinatown Joe's Shanghai but avoid the one in midtown like a Chinese cholera outbreak. I think the soup in their soup dumplings was poo water. And it's got marked up Midtown prices.

Nov 24, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Tapas Bar Brawl-El Quinto Pino vs. Txkito

Well, maybe having this restaurants a crawl away from each other inches both these places closer to Spanish authenticity. It'd be nice to have a tapas-row so we could all do a little tapas dance from place to place.

Hopefully the campers-clad men stay at their Mom's place in Barcelona.

Oh, it's too late...

Nov 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Fun + Spicy + Inexpensive

I think this is the best reply. A sichuan hot pot is one of my favorite communal eating experiences short of time traveling back to some sort of Viking feast.

I would add Malay restaurants to this list. I've really liked Nyonya, or alternatively Fatty Crab for more scene, and not quite as enjoyable food.

I'm not sure why the original post asks for spicy and then names not particularly spicy places. I'm never sure what spicy is for Northeasterners.

Nov 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Taim doughnuts?

I agree, they give you enough of the aioli with the fries. I suggest a falafel sandwich (green!) with fries for about the same price as the platter and you will surely leave fala-full.

On the topic of the aioli, I usually don't even use it. When they deliver they give you two little cups of sauce which I feel are more complimentary condiments. One's a sort of orange-yellow and tastes like an Indian pickle, and the other is like an Isreali chimichurri. I don't know what either is called but both are delicious, and I'd be interested in their real names (with a pronunctiation guide). I'd like to impress them there to spite my gentility.

Finally, I want to make an unsolicited comment about the staff at Taim. Is it just me or are they amazingly friendly there? I have a good experience every time and leave like a sufgunayout stuffed full with good tidings.

I want to try these doughnuts, by the way.

Nov 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Looking for Peking duck w/ mantou (fluffy buns) not pancakes

From my time in Beijing I'm partial to the pancakes myself. However, if your love of mantou goes beyond duck, you might want to check out this place: http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

It's a sandwich shop based around Mantou in Tribeca. I haven't had the pleasure yet myself.

Oct 28, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Hill Country: Most overrated BBQ in NYC

Sadly, the "Top 5" this year, Snow's (#1), Kreuz's, Smitty's, Louis Mueller's, and City Market in Luling are quite some distance from Plano. Most of the landmark locations for Texas BBQ are located in and about the Texas Hill Country near Austin. You might just want to ask around for good BBQ in Dallas, or check on the board here, for recs. If all else fails, and you don't want to settle for a Dallas steak, it appears there's branches of the Rudy's BBQ chain in Frisco.

If determined, pehaps the closest (and definitively the best) of this years top 5 is Snow's in Lexington. It's a little under 4 hours from Plano to Lexington, which in Texas distances might be considered short. Here's a "review" I did in July: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/538140

To keep this at least somewhat related to Manhattan, the sausage at Hill Country is actually shipped from Kreuz's (that's the correct spelling) in Lockhart. So, to that extent, Hill Country is comparable to Kreuz's in that it's the same food. People can squabble over how much skill it takes to correctly smoke a sausage link, but I'll excuse myself from that debate.

Oct 28, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Hill Country: Most overrated BBQ in NYC

Oh, don't sweat it. I don't know what your opinions of Texans are, but I just thought comments like "the setup of the place, while maybe perfectly suited for Texans, was annoying to say the least" came off as a little strange. I'm not a Texan so I don't have a grounds on which to be offended, whether you meant anything by that or not. Maybe I read too much into it.

Also, if these people were perfect capitalists, you're right, they should have planned more for the Texas game. The 'Horns plug was meant as a joke. That said, it's a pretty time-intensive cooking method. And to say that many places run out of BBQ is not a cop out, it's the truth, and it ties into the larger point of my post. It's a restaurant that reflects (imperfectly) a different style of doing things, and while you may find it annoying, to many it's not so out of the ordinary.

I have no attachment to the place, aside from appreciating it as a restaurant where New Yorkers can experience Texas BBQ, even if it runs contrary to their expectations. I'm not going to discount your opinion, which maybe on that night was totally accurate. Maybe, what I'm trying to say, is we should all try and be careful of calling a place over-rated, or bad example of a cuisine, or suggesting it's inauthentic, just because it's a type of food we don't care for.

Oct 27, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Hill Country: Most overrated BBQ in NYC

Well, any discussion of food involves individual tastes, of course, but this post seems to result from hostility directed at the unfamiliar and the wrong set of expectations. I've heard similar complaints from lots of New Yorkers who wouldn't know Texas BBQ if it kicked them in the chaps. Your constant use of the term "on line" is quite the shibboleth here.

Let's first say this, as a preface. Texas is a unique style of BBQ, and while not actually my favorite sub-genre of BBQ, I like it for what it is and have visited all 5 of Texas Monthly's "Top 5 BBQ in Texas." Of course this makes me no more qualified than you when it comes to what tastes good, but I know examples of the food fairly well. This is the most authentic TEXAS BBQ you're going to get in New York. I'm not sure why you put the term "authentic" in sarcstic quotes if you seemingly have no basis to judge either way? And why the unnecessary undercurrent of hostility to Texans? If you loathe the Lone Star state so much why go here?

All that aside, I think your order may have affected your experience. I suggest the lean brisket. I recently posted regarding Hill Country, discussing the confusion their use of the term might result in: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5653...
But there lean is the way to go. It has little to do with how thin the stuff is sliced. Their jalapeno cheese sausage isn't actually "theirs" but shipped from Lockhart, Texas, the finest terrior in the world for Texas BBQ. If you dislike that, I don't know what to tell you, really.

I agree, and have discussed, how they do get a little busy and all over the place with the sides. I can find the set up a little annoying as well. The place is far from perfect. However, some criticisms here are just so misplaced. Too expensive? You are in Manhattan, I think there may be a little more overhead in those head of cattle. Running out of food? It's annoying, but the best bbq in Texas routinely runs out by about 10:00 in the morning.

Perhaps the most misguided comment of all is the one regarding the Longhorn game. I think cheering on a huge 'Horns win is the single BEST reason to run out of BBQ. I think most Texans would agree.

Oct 27, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Hot sauce - who has the best?

I second the neon-green jalapeno sauce at Kwik Meal (though I asked if they could actually give a little container of it on the side the other day because I forgot to ask for it in the sandwich itself and was denied).

I rather like the hot sauce at Mamoun falafel, which seems the same at both the W. and E. Village locations. I think that may be the only thing that may draw me occasionally back to Mamoun's after Taim's falafel stole my heart.

It sounds like we're talking about a rather expansive definition of hot sauce to include most salsas. I'd be curious if anyone has run across a good avocado salsa (not guacamole) around town.

Oct 23, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Poll: Best Mexican Food in NYC?

Thanks for the clarification, I was mixing up my things starting with "T" and ending in "ingo." I'm big into al pastor off the spit so I'll keep my fingers crossed and hopefully report back soon.

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Poll: Best Mexican Food in NYC?

Maybe. That's more tongue-twisting (for those of us with bad spanish) isn't it. I haven't been to either. If they're so close I'd be interested to hear how (or if) they compare.

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Poll: Best Mexican Food in NYC?

I just updated my post as you were typing. Tulcingo Del Valle was the place I was trying to think of. If a torta al pastor is your go to order then I trust your taste and look forward to trying your recommendation sometime soon.

Does Tulcingo put chopped up bits of pineapple in their al pastor? (asking in fear) I prefer it without.

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Opinions on the best Gastro-Pubs!

Sorry to hear about your bad experience here. I'm somewhat conflicted about this restaurant since I enjoyed my one meal there, but wonder if their "gnudi" might be a reference to the Emperor's New Clothes quality to the place.

I want to suggest something for diners in the future, and would be interested to hear if it effects anyone's experience. When we ate there we forewent the formidable wait and went up to the bar to eat. Beyond the hostess we only really interacted with the bartender, who took our order, and provided some of the better service I've had in New york. It probably would have been appropriate for the guy to cut us off (I was pretty drunk) but instead he gave me a few free drinks. He was the opposite of aloof. I wonder if we just got really lucky, or there might be something to be said for bar dining as an option here. Maybe it's one way around the Spotted Pig's spotty service?

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

BBQ near Penn Station

In Texas the fatty brisket is lean, and lean is fatty. In one of Hill Country's few concessions they give meaning to the common, non-Texan usage of the terms. Lean is lean, and "moist" (an unpleasant word, I think, it sounds like how I feel after a long jog or something) is fatty. Got that?

So, get lean. It's a decent rendition of authentic Texas BBQ, and probably the best example of that style brisket you'll get in the city. Also, get the jalepeno cheese sausage, which they ship from Kreuz's outside of Austin. It's the real deal.

An aside on sides. I think that's one of the big weaknesses of Hill Country. They have too many sides, and they're all over the place (another concession to NY expectations, I think). I think they should concentrate a bit more. If you're really after authenticity, the landmark 'cues in Texas would typically have Potato Salad, Slaw, and Beans (max). Sides are typically kept to Mrs. Baird's whitebread, pickles, onions, jalapeno, maybe some cheese and saltines. I'm not so much a purist and enjoyed the Black Eyed Peas (as food, not music). Please, Hill Country, get rid of the kitschy "cavier" title already for the BE Peas. Also, the Green Bean Casserole tasted like Mom would make (You can be the judge if that's good or bad).

I went last Sunday and got a 1/4 lb lean brisket, jalpeno sausage, and a couple pork ribs and the black-eyeds. It was a disgusting amount of food for about $25. Something like that might give you a good sampling, if that's what you're after.

Finally, you may want to plan out the after-effects of this adventure and make sure you're close to a bathroom on that train car wherever it's chugging you off too. I'll look forward to your "clean bathroom near Penn Station" post.

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Chinese - NYU Area

I second this rec. I did not order any of the Americanized food this time around (but I did try some at the St. Mark's branch once). If it's comparable to their Sichuan food it should be tasty and high quality. I suggest getting "comfortably numb" with some sichuan peppercorns, if only for a few of your dishes. Their cuisine, despite some sanshool elitism, is comparable to the stuff I had at Spicy and Tasty last time around. And you can get the Mao cuisine without the "long march" to Flushing.

Also, don't know if you're a student or not, but the place doesn't have a liqour license yet so it's BYOB. You can save some money by bringing your own Qingdao sixer, or whatever. They were very accomadating with our beer, and also with our gluttony. The actually asked if we'd like to move from our 2-top to a larger table because we'd ordered so much food.

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Poll: Best Mexican Food in NYC?

The search for good mexican food in Manhattan is like searching for a nopale thorn in a haystack. There seems to be a proliferation of "Mexican" food in New York, but most of it is not very good. I've only recently returned to New York and have started my search for a dependable place anew, but most runs from mediocre to something that makes the poor chef call his mother in Puebla, weeping apologies.

Your best best may be trying the ball fields out in Red Hook on a weekend, which are suppose to have an array of Mexican and Central American cart foods. I'm really upset I haven't made it out there yet to speak on its offerings.

I've tried a few places though, and can offer a few leads:
-My current, uncomplicated favorite may be a taco truck on 14th and 8th called Taco El Idolo. The guy working there was exceedingly nice(the most obvious sign of authentic Mexican food), despite at first telling me they had "pork." When I began to ask about the style of pork on offer he knew I was conversant and served me a very tasty carnitas torta. The al pastor was less impressive (it sadly had pineapple chunks, but they were minimal). I'd like to go back as my 5 bucks got me a nice torta with a healthy (in amount, anyway) layer of avocado. The place had a liquid achilles heal, however; there was a severe salsa deficiency (both in variety and flavor).
-Calexico, the taco cart in Soho, recently won the Vendy award for best food cart. Haven't tried it but the pictures made it look delicious, and I've heard very good things.
-There is supposed to be a supermarket on 9th or 10th ave in midtown with a back counter that runs counter to typical mexi-mediocrity. I'm too lazy to fish around for the name right now but it's something tongue-twisting if I remember correctly. Hopefully they twist some tongue into a good lengua taco, but I haven't had the pleasure.
(I looked it up, Tulcingo Del Valle on 10th is what I was thinking, menu looks great)
-Tried "Pinche Taco" recently despite the ridiculous name. Would you name a place "Fuckin' Hamburger?" I thought it was all right, better than average for Manhattan, and predictably overpriced.
-It was some time ago but I sampled Florencia 13 on Sullivan, which adverstises itself as Cal-Mex. I like the idea better than the food. The items were familiar names to those who grew up on California Mexican (Chile Verde could be my favorite thing in the world) but the taste didn't match the description. Very good Margaritia's however.
-I've had a few people tell me that Mexicana Mama in the West Village is actually good. I struggle to believe this, but one never knows. Any place that decorates that heavily with garish paint and Virgin Mary statues seems to be overcompensating, and the food typically needs Our Lady's divine intervention.
-"Hell's Kitchen," while obviously trying for something more high end and Mexican inspired than mexican per se, was terrible the time I ate there. Less than inspired, it was insipid. My mole was flavorless and my chicken dry and cottony. Maybe it was an off night... but Oaxaca it was not.
-I tried some place in Meatpacking, want to say "Los Dados." Not good.

Hope that helps, happy hunting.

Oct 22, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Who has the best soup dumplings?

Well, I went and answered my own question regarding fried soup dumplings. If anyone wants to spare themselves a similar monologue you can find them at Shanghai Kitchen on Bayard, which was also a nice enough place in the non-dumpling areas as well. They refered to them as "Fried Tiny Buns," despite being far from tiny.

Maybe tiny refered to the soup content. Very low on the soup here. While I was in Shanghai these things seemed to "peter north" their contents all over the place when bitten into. Green Bo, across the street, seems to have similar item which I'm hoping beyond scalding hot soup will be better.

Sep 27, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Who has the best soup dumplings?

I have somewhat of an ancillary question; hope you all don't mind. I first had soup dumplings while in Shanghai and was shocked the first time I had them stateside, the naturalized versions bearing little resemblence to those of my original tasting. It wasn't until I watched an episode of "No Reservations" that I discovered that those first dumplings were actually FRIED soup dumplings. Are those available anywhere in the city? I'm on a diet...

Sep 27, 2008
TarquinWinot in Manhattan

Snow's BBQ... Texas Monthly was right.

I've been in and out of consciousness most of the day, suffering the ill-effects of a severe meat coma. Now, in this brief moment of lucidity, it's a struggle to draw the energy to even type. My fingers moving across the keyboard evoke ten little versions of the sausages from this morning, flashing my memory back to a misty dawn in Lexington. In this reverie the after-effects of my gluttony come flooding back faster than BBQ sauce from an Ozarka squeeze bottle. If I don't survive this, I'm happy to have my last will and testament be a testament to how good Snow's BBQ in Lexington actually is.
First off, I hope no one is too offended that this is on the Austin board (anonymous people of the internet get picky about the weirdest things). There is, as yet, no Lexington board and I won’t hold my breath (to hold one's breath in Lexington would deprive you of the sweet smoke wafting through the morning air). I thought about throwing this to the Texas board, but who knows what type of person posts there. Not to mention, the good folks of Austin have a duty to know what a 45 minute Saturday morning drive from their doorsteps can deliver.
And you do want to drive on a Saturday morning. Snow's is only open on Saturday's, and after Texas Monthly let the cat out of the bag, naming this the best BBQ in Texas, the brisket's been flying from the smokers. A few weeks back we arrived at 9:30 AM to find them completely sold out. We weren't going to suffer the same fate this morning. Early birds and worms and all that... except with brisket. We left Austin at 6:45. The drive out, taking you past out-of-scale churches actually provides a nice reflection on your early morning journey, making you think there might actually be something worthwhile to the much hyped early-rising of the protestant work ethic.
We were certainly rewarded. After a brief wait, we were the first ones through the side screened-door once the place opened. What to say? I can't even really recall the menu. Perhaps it will flash before in my life’s last moments, which feel increasingly close. I can recall that there were 4 main food groups represented: brisket, pork (steak and ribs), chicken, and sausage.
Brisket first. This is the best Texas BBQ, ever, period, full stop. I know why they call it Snow’s, because this brisket simply melts like snow. I will scoff if I ever hear brisket described as fork-tender, because this was finger-tender. Pushed between your thumb and forefingers a slab would spread itself out like a deck of cards. It was a winning hand for sure. Actually, the brisket’s difficult to even handle, it being so prone to fall apart. W.B. Yeats and Chinua Achebe must have had this brisket in mind as their muses.
I'll temper my enthusiasm somewhat. Some parts of the brisket were better than others, proximity to fat obviously in play. The meat only suffered compared against itself, however. It was all good. I actually liked the inconsistency, if you can call it that. It was a nice reminder that this wasn't factory BBQ, a place pumping out carnivorous cogs. The brisket was a living thing, unlike the cow it once was. It's a nice contrast from so many of our modern meals where restaurants are based around expectations, and the only surprises are when the Chili's waiter forgets to put the dressing on the side of your Quesadilla Explosion salad.
The pork ribs were similarly delicious, exhibiting a moisture and meatiness that kept us feeding at their trough.
As for the rest of the menu, it was sprinkled with slightly less magic, if equal dry rub. I only had a small portion of the pork steak and found it alternately fatty and dry. Despite the smoke ring shared between them, those fatty and meaty sides never really became wedded in BBQ matrimony. One of my companions disagreed with my assessment. By way of disclosure, I'm from California originally, and I'm always keen to see pretty much anything and everything get married.
Speaking of controversy, things to never discuss with people: religion, politics, the Great Pumpkin, and sausage. I love sausage but I find it one of the most contentious points of BBQ conversation, as it’s of such wide consistency and flavor. This sausage was good, but I kept adulterating it with Jalapeno from the counter. I really love heat. I felt the sausage in attendance this morning was a noble attempt, but once you try a jalapeno cheese, or chipotle sausage, I ask you, is there ever any going back to plain? To me, Jalapeno Cheese is the eudemonia , while plain sausage may be, at best, the missing “link” in a progression to perfection.
Speaking of plain. The chicken was good, but still BBQ chicken. One of the employee's made me smile by shouting for another order of "yard-bird," as my father would call it. I hope I don't hurt any feelings while I turn partisan here for a second. I don't see the point of expending the effort of Texas BBQ traditions on chicken. The meat simply doesn't have the fat content to undergo the transfiguration (with every holy connotation), the BBQ apotheosis of fatty pork or a beef slab. I wish I could say it was just my opinion, but it's actually science (a science, I'm sure, understood in Lexington better than evolution itself). It seemed a popular order among the inevitable yuppies who lined up later in the morning, sipping Starbucks into their personally-trained abdomens. We eyed them suspiciously with our lazy-lids and slack jaws, dripping with grease. They swarmed, wearing "ironic" western shirts pulled from their closet.
"Oh my god Honey, can you believe this place? Go get the digital camera."
"Where is it?"
"In the glove box of the Prius!"
"I can't find it!" (this time yelling from the front seat)
"It's in the iPod sleeve!"
"What?
"iPod sleeve!"
"I can't hear you over the Vampire Weekend!"
It's was sad. In contrast, I'd like to say, in closing, how amazing the people actually working at Snow's were. Arriving early, the first one's there, we got to see the pre-orchestration. To refer to their pit, is to hearken to the pit of symphony. But while everyone was busy, it wasn't workmanlike. Everyone involved was so warm, from the teen girls working the register to the grandma pit-boss (my most admired figure of feminism since Rosie the Riveter). “Hellos” and “good mornings!” shot at us from every direction. They seemed happy to see us and happy with their jobs. I'd quote some Frost lines on avocations and vocations that it reminded me of, but I think that guy’s a hack. Anyway, one woman there basically forced free (quite good beans) upon us, and brought us out a roll of napkins in a way that made her feel like a friend's mom, rather than a BBQ-trix.
Food, and folks. The whole experience was amazing. I hope they can keep the quality up of both the brisket and their smiles. Hopefully, I survive my food coma to sign their praises again.

Jul 12, 2008
TarquinWinot in Austin

Best BBQ in Texas

Snow's is now far and away the best brisket in Texas. If people claim to have had it and not liked it I'll ask them if they've eaten it at 7:30 in the morning, straight off the 'cue. last time before this one they were out by 9:30 am.

By the way, if you're even talking about how a place has good chicken you should do some self-examination. I like how the folks at snow's rightly refered to it as yardbird.

Jul 12, 2008
TarquinWinot in Texas

Shanghainese or Northern Chinese cuisine in Austin?

This isn't very considerate to your prompting but I'll take any opportunity to endorse Asia Cafe. While firmly located in the bamboo thicket of Sichuan cuisine it's delicious and authentic. Of course, you can expect some cross over dishes with Shanghai cuisine that might get your fix.

I lived in Suzhou in Jiangsu province and the dumplings were evocative of many I had there. The green beans and eggplant are transportative.

That said, I would like to die by being encased in a giant soup dumpling and drowning. I miss them desperately. Other areas of China can't even seem to manage them correctly, so I don't imagine a passable imitation coming to Austin any time soon. But sometimes I think I'd settle for an unpassable with its "adam's apple showing."

Jul 10, 2008
TarquinWinot in Austin

El Borrego de Oro

I really enjoyed the Birria plate but I had one issue: Birria envy.

My friend and I both ordered the plate but he was graced with so many more crispy bits than myself. His plate was gilded with that sweet carniverous carmelization. I really coveted my neighbors plate, and while my own was delicious, how I wanted to worship at the alter of his golden lamb.

Next time I may request the crispy bits specifically.

Jul 10, 2008
TarquinWinot in Austin