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Apple Annie's

I can't wait to go. Anyone want to babysit 3 very well behaved boys?

The zinc bar sounds way cool. There's a couple of teasers on youtube.

Jun 24, 2009
mwreese in Austin

Good eats in area of Brodie / Slaughter / Wm. Cannon / Manchaca

I love the Bakehouse (5404 Manchaca). I get the dijon chicken sandwich. I think the bun is homemade, comes w/ dijon, swiss and sprouts. We also like the onion strings.

I once had their Mississippi Mud Pie. Wow - knocked my socks off.

May 26, 2009
mwreese in Austin

Bachelor Weekend in Austin: Best Weekend Brunch?

My pick would be Fonda San Miguel.

Love the atmosphere: feels like an old Hacienda, beautfiful landscaping, even a parrot
Love the mango margaritas
There are so many choices on the table, I generally get one small spoon of everything and then am too stuffed to go back.

I think the chef's name is Miguel Ravajo (sp?). He's got a cookbook out.

This is the brunch I take good friends to when they come to town.

IIRC, the crowd is mixed (not entirely young).

www.fondasanmiguel.com for more info and pics, etc.

May 24, 2009
mwreese in Austin

can you cook with corked wine?

Bummer. The answer is as I suspected, no, cooking w/ corked wine isn't the way to go. Generally speaking, "bad" ingredients don't result in a good dish.

It's just so hard for me to accept that my '98 Silver Oak Cab Sauv is undrinkable and totally worthless. I had such high hopes for it. What a waste.

Mar 16, 2009
mwreese in Wine

Allergic to Gluten - where to eat?

I think Apple Annies Bakery & Cafe carries several gluten free offerings. Their spelt chocolate cake is really good. Whole Foods and Central Market used to carry some of their breads and desserts - not sure if they still do or not but you could call Apple Annies and ask.

Mar 13, 2009
mwreese in Austin

parkside scallops, yum!

Wow. I was very impressed with Parkside tonight. I'd been meaning to go for about a year now after one hound posted that their fries were good.

I had an appetizer of red snapper w/ oranges and herbs from the raw bar. $13. A little on the bland side.

The hubby had a patron "perfect" margarita, rocks no salt. Good, but had he known it would be $12 he probably wouldn't have ordered it.

For the main courses, I ordered scallops w/ pureed carrots and oranges $24. The hubby ordered braised beef shortribs and polenta $24 (with a side of fries $4.50).

The fries were very good. I couldn't tell if they were fresh cut but they were fried to perfection with lots of fresh garlic and herbs on top.

Hubby liked the ribs and polenta.

Are you still reading this because OMG, the scallops were out of this world. Perfectly crisp on the top and bottom, sweet and juicy inside. They sat on a soft buttery, carrot puree. They were topped with a mushroom medley: hedgehog and I'm not sure what else. Along side were orange segments and orange juice which gave it a great punch. It was a symphony in my mouth. Just the best meal I've had in quite awhile. I knew it would be too because when I was trying to decide what to order I asked the waitress what was her favorite and she got this big smile and immediately said, 'the scallops".

Mar 12, 2009
mwreese in Austin

Five Guys VS. Mooyah

OMG, ditto! I was so embarassed for recommending the mooyah fries so highly on CH. The first time I got them they were perfect and served w/ the cajun seasoning. The 3 times I've been back - it's been hit or miss, mostly miss, and the seasoning is no longer added by default. Note to self, try new place several times before recommending. French fries are such a quest for me, I let the excitement overwhelm me.

I thought 5 guys fries were better. But I've only been there once. I did not like my burger so much at 5 guys - too much mustard and ketchup. Maybe all places should server those things on the side...

Feb 15, 2009
mwreese in Austin

Indoor temperatures in Austin restaurants

I'm with you. At most restuarants, I'm freezing. I vote we eat more and build up a better fat layer. ;-) When I was waiting tables in college, I remember thinking that it was very rude of my customers to ask me to increase the temperature, I mean really, couldn't they see how hard I was working and that I was sweating already. Yeah, we were obnoxious, we kept the thermostat to our comfort, not our customers. Paybacks are hell.

Jan 18, 2009
mwreese in Not About Food

2008...The year that was...? Your favorite Austin food source this year.What was it? Who did the best job feeding you? What was your favorite Austin food trend this year? Your least favorite? Talk about Austin's food scene of 2008.

The Good:
Cibo - the pork shank w/ gnocci was awesome (too bad it closed)
La Traviata - ate there several times. Fresh salads, love the carbonara, good prices
TacoDeli - the kids got out of their comfort zone and tried new things. LOVE the ceviche (no tomatoes in it - yea!)
Wink - had an orgiastic feast w/ my best friend. Set me back $150 but was so worth it.
Navajo Grill (Fredericksburg, TX) -
NXNW - love the sirloin salad, good prices

Trends - cupcakes, uber fresh ingredients from local growers

The bad:
Rosie's tamale house without a doubt. How can they still be open and Castle Hill Cafe be closed?

Jan 02, 2009
mwreese in Austin

great tables

"The Driskill Grill's Chef's Table is situated in the middle of the action in the kitchen. The Chef's Table seats up to 6 and offers a close-up view of the kitchen action. Our chefs will prepare a custom tasting menu for you and your guests. As our Chef's Table is prepared according to each guests' specifications, a $500 room charge will apply in addition to the cost of food and beverage. Reservations are required."

sounds great but no way can I afford that. The hubby would leave me for sure...

Jan 02, 2009
mwreese in Austin

Best Mole dishes in Austin?

I like the chicken mole taco at TacoDeli. I think the default is flour tortillas - so I request mine on corn. It's fast and not terribly expensive but not the best mole in town. It's a good place to go with kids and thd dog (if the weathers nice, it's well behaved (the dog, not the kid).

Jan 02, 2009
mwreese in Austin

great tables

I've eaten in the bank vault at Main Street Grill in Round Rock (private room w/ table for 4). I've eaten in the booth in the kitchen at Buca di Beppo (kids loved that). I've eaten at the "kitchen" table at pf changs at the arboretum (this was a long time ago, I think it was actually in the bar area). Are there any other "cool" tables out there? Also, what about views (aside from the Oasis). I've heard there are some fun rooftop spots dowtown.

Dec 31, 2008
mwreese in Austin

The Steeping Room, Reservations

I predict it won't be long until they stop taking reservations. It's a conundrum. Most restaurants seem to have gone the way of the waiting list - no reservations (Vespaio). Although some places, like Wink last time I checked, do still take them. I don't know what the critieria is for the decision but each restuarant must decide whom to offend - the people who want to just walk in and wait or the ones who want to schedule their meal in advance and not have to wait. BTW, last time I was at SR I had an amazing coconut cupcake.

Dec 31, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Best French Fries in Austin

Stick a fork in me - I'm done. Ate at 5 guys today. My fry quest is over. These are perfect. I believe peanut oil may be the secret. Burger was lackluster - waaaay too much ketchup and mustard. Pickles were standard crinkle-cut dill slices (I like Mooyah's pickles better). I've been back to Mooyah's a few times and they seem to have consistency issues. The first time I went, I loved the fries. The second time they were undercooked. The third time I asked for extra crispy and they just weren't "right". Can't explain why. I should also mention, the fries I had at 34th street cafe the other night were darn good (but it's an upscale place - so I expect that). I looked up french fry recipes in my favorite cookbook (little yellow farmhouse) and he advocates the double fry method w/ peanut oil. It's a pretty dated book so I'm not sure why restuarants are just now clue-ing in. Anyway, 5 guys is my current favorite cheap/fast french fry source.

Dec 30, 2008
mwreese in Austin

34th street cafe - too salty...

Finding ourselves in the UT area the other night (Texas French Bread was closed) we ended up at 34th street cafe. I hadn't been there in years. It was more upscale than I remembered (candlelight, white tablecloths). We were underdressed but they were empty and didn't seem to mind. I ordered a salad: arugula, walnuts, apple, blue cheese w/ a vinaigrette dressing. It was wonderful. The arugula was fresh and peppery. For dinner I had the mini lamb burgers w/ pesto and feta. The pesto had mint in it. Unfortunately, there was so much salt, I was gulping my water down. Sad, because the flavor could have been quite good. The hubby had hanger steak w/ fries. The fries were pretty close to perfect. The hanger steak came with a green peppercorn demi glace that was again, way too salty. On the upside, they proudly state that many of their offerings (veggies and fruit I would mostly suppose) are from Boggy Creek Farms. It seems that featuring local farms is de rigeur these days, at least for any restaurant worth it's salt. pun intended.

Dec 29, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Food options in NW Austin/Cedar Park

Unfortunately, I live up here. Pickings are slim - you're right about that. I often find myself driving to downtown and South Austin for food. Now that gas prices are lower, it's not so bad. Although convincing the non-foodie hubbie takes work. Anyway, back to the point.

Here are my favs (not in any particular order):
1) Mesa Rosa (like the salsa, love the sangria rita, everthing else is acceptable)
2)Tino's Greek Cafe (also tried DiMassi's, didn't care for it)
3)Hoovers (hubby and I usually split because portion size is way too big)
4)Gumbo's (upscale Cajun place, salads are great, sauces are pretty good)
4.5)stay away from Coolriver (think mullet heads w/ money and pretentious hunting decor)
5)fyi, for bars, we like Sherlocks and Little Woodrow's
6)we love North By Northwest (arboretum area, calamari is real decent, prices are good). It's on the wrong side of 183 for your commute, though.
7)Sambets rocks (I usually get the shrimp po-boy and some gumbo, love, love, love this dive). Sorry your experience wasn't the same.
8) La Madeline is a southbound exit off on 183 (duval?) It's a chain, I know, but I"m addicted to their tomato basil soup.

Wow, I didn't realize 'til I wrote this how narrow-minded my tastes are. I need to add more "exotic" stuff to my palate. This is mostly americana grub. I blame the hubbie. ;-)

Dec 26, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Best French Fries in Austin

Mooyah update: went back the other day and the fries were less crispy and less seasoned. The latter I can tolerate in the absence of the former. bummer. I guess I need to ask for crispy and well-seasoned next time. We all seem to want crispy, I wish more places would just err on the side of crispy.

I think Centerpoint station is on my radar for Wednesday...

Nov 24, 2008
mwreese in Austin

creamy cheese enchiladas

Runny - that's exactly what was wrong with the sauce - thank you. Regarding the filling beef vs. cheese, I checked w/ the hubby and that's what he thinks but now we're not so sure. I shouldn't have waited so long before posting our results. :-) The more I think about it, I think you're right, it was probably cheese and my mind was just stuck on the issue with the imperfect chili. This was a cool place because in addition to a very decent meal, we bowled two games. I am a terrible bowler, but it was fun.

Nov 14, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Best flan in Austin

yeah!!! I'm on my way - thanks for the tip!

BTW scrumptious, I know this is off thread, but I ate at Galloway's today and didn't care for the fried chicken. Blasphemy, I know. We got there at 11:45 and he (Mr. Galloway?, very, very nice man anyway) told us it would be another 30 minutes before it was ready. We went over to Big Red Sun to kill time and came back. It was dry and the sides (potatoes and spinach) were unspectacular. My husband liked his smothered steak and our friend really, really liked his catfish. The brown gravy was quite good. Apparently it was on off day for chicken. :-( The funny thing was, we had a sheet of plywood in the back of the truck and you should have seen the interest it generated in the people loitering around. I was surprised it was still there when we finished lunch. We'll definately give it another try - I know it's a CH favorite.

Nov 14, 2008
mwreese in Austin

creamy cheese enchiladas

Update: We tried Dart Bowl and the cheese enchiladas were good. Not great but good. The cheese was american. The chili sauce was slightly off and I can't describe why. They weren't really cheese enchiladas though. They were beef enchiladas with cheese on top. Loved the atmosphere - felt like we'd time traveled back a few decades.

Nov 14, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Best flan in Austin

My son's friend just broke his arm. Flan is his favorite dessert and I'd like to take him some. I was planning to just wimp out and drive through Taco Cabana but they don't carry it. Any suggestions for flan in North Austin? Nothing too fancy, doesn't have to the *best* in Austin. I've made sopapillas at home and they came out pretty good I suppose I could also just try making it.

Nov 14, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Best French Fries in Austin

We tried Mooyah the other day the fries were great. Love the seasoning. These were the best fries I've had in quite awhile and the burger was darn good too. Cucumber-y pickles. yum. The fries were fresh house-cut and I believe they did the fry2x thing because they weren't mushy on the inside nor greasy on the outside. They do 'em well done here so for me they were crispy enough (finally, that is usually my biggest complaint). $9.28 for a double-patty cheese burger, small fries (still a generous portion) and a medium drink. In the same shopping center as Trudy's on Burnet/183. I'll definately go back.

Nov 09, 2008
mwreese in Austin

creamy cheese enchiladas

cool, thanks for the tip. We're headed out to Dart Bowl today on a double quest: cheeseburger/fries and cheese enchiladas. I think we'll do Jardin Corona for lunch one day this week. I know the american cheese thing seems weird. It took us awhile to figure out what it was that did it for us with cheese enchiladas and one day we finally clued in that it was american cheese. My husband makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich (velveeta) that is in our dinner menu rotation.

Oct 25, 2008
mwreese in Austin

creamy cheese enchiladas

Thanks for the tip. Quotes are great for multi-word searches. There doesn't seem to be any difference in the results for "reales" vs. reales. I don't understand a search engine that thinks it's okay to add letters. But, that's a whole 'nuther topic :-)

Oct 12, 2008
mwreese in Austin

creamy cheese enchiladas

I pre-apologize if someone has already posted this. My searches don't work well on this board. Is there a "tips for searching chowhound" page? I looked for hits for Reale's the other day and every post with the word "real" in it came up. Not "real" helpful. Anyway, my husband loves tex-mex. Especially, cheese enchiladas. However, many places use cheddar - yuck. Cheddar doesn't melt well. He requires something creamier, less oily. He likes Pappasitos (however we went last month and they weren't as good, many of their offerings had slipped, not sure what's going on there) and Matt's El Rancho. I believe the "secret" is that it must contain american cheese. He's also a bit particular about the chile/meat sauce. It should be orange-ish and should definately contain cumin. For a fast, cheap version, he doesn't hate Taco Cabana. I'll go ahead and tell you we've been to El Patio and Enchiladas Y Mas, he was not impressed. After seeing a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives episode, we tried Maria's Fast Tex-Mex. Again, not impressed. We're happy to drive to East Austin, location doesn't matter too much. Any suggestions?

Oct 11, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me

I usually avoid Chuy's but we went there for a co-workers going away lunch about a month ago. We all ordered a steak burrito w/ hatch chiles. It was quite yummy. I avoid Chuy's because they do something grotesque with their Guacamole that I find unforgivable. What is it that they add - I suspect mayo, eeeew. To me, anyone can make a very decent guacamole with 4 simple ingredients: avocados, lime, red onion, garlic salt. So, why is it that so many restaurants screw it up? Okay, I'll stop ranting now, sorry.

Love Fonda San Miguel. :-)

Oct 05, 2008
mwreese in Austin

inexpensive, but good duck entree?

The waitress said it was taken off the menu last week. She said it was a really good dish. If you look at the online menu, the duck was part of the "specialties" section. That entire section is gone from the menu now. They do still have the risotto balls which I really wanted to try. But we couldn't stay, we were on a quest for duck.

Sep 28, 2008
mwreese in Austin

inexpensive, but good duck entree?

Actually made it to the Farmers Market this morning for the first time. I passed on the duck (it was available, $6.99 lb I think) because I figured we'd eat out this weekend.

I made reservations for Stortini at 7 and we checked the menu online to read about the duck entree. Unfortunately when we got there, there was no duck on the menu. The wait staff seemed genuinely distressed that we'd gone to so much trouble and that their website hadn't been updated. They were very sweet and recommended La Traviata. I like La Traviata but I didn't want to brave downtown on a Saturday night with my 12 year old.

We soldiered on and chose Din Ho for our next duck attempt. We got there around 7:30 and they were busy but we only had to wait 10 minutes or so for a table. Sadly, I don't have much experience with authentic chinese and had no idea what to order for myself. I chose safe "beef & broccoli" and it was okay but there were some amazing smelling dishes going past. One in particular was sizzling on a fajita platter type thing - smelled heavenly, seafood maybe? My son ordered the bbq roast duck. Here's his opinion:

"It tastes pretty good but I think it was too much work to get to the meat. A knife would've helped. The skin was really amazing. I think that it was really gross when you go in 'cause you see some guy grab a duck and then you hear loud chopping noises (I'm glad that you don't hear a spurting sound though)."

Sep 27, 2008
mwreese in Austin

inexpensive, but good duck entree?

Thanks for that! I thought I would have posted a review by now but we didn't make it out this week. I'm hoping in the next couple of days we will. I'm leaning towards Stortini (I'm having a bit of an italian craving) or First Chinese. Din ho sounds awesome but I'm not known for my patience and I foresee being disappointed in the service (I know, I know - it's part of the whole atmosphere, need to relax and all that). Plus I'm getting the impression there might be "crunchy bits" in the duck tacos. Not a major problem for me - but he might freak out a bit.

Anyway it's fun to watch his awareness and curiosity broaden. I made it a point to bring home ceviche today for him to try - can you believe, he didn't like it? Oh well, more for me. :-)

Sep 19, 2008
mwreese in Austin

Best "Bang for Your Buck" Steak in Town

ALC is good. I had their filet a few times - seemed like decent quality. We used to go there once a week on Thursday evenings with friends. I liked that it was locally owned. I liked the low "mood" lighting. Consistency varied widely depending on whether Scott or Christian were cooking. This always amazes me about steak places. Seems like cooking a steak to order (rare, medium, well-done) would be a pretty exact science after awhile. I know this thread is about steak but I switched over to ordering the seared ahi tuna and subbing the starch for a house salad. Their tuna wasn't the highest quality (sometimes had tendons or fat - not sure which- running through it). I'm addicted to their spicy balsamic dressing though. Yum!

Sep 16, 2008
mwreese in Austin