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conquer's Profile

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Golden Corral

Yes, when I was a teenager living with my dad in Round Rock. It was his favorite restaurant. I remember Christmas Eve one year our car broke down and was stuck at the mechanic's. We decided to walk (two-and-a-half miles in thirty-degree weather) from the mechanic's to the nearest Golden Corral to have Christmas Eve dinner while waiting for our car. He was a Chinese Civil War refugee in his teens, and en route of the escape he would have starved to death (many of his classmates did) had he not stolen into a sty in the countryside near Wenzhou, and helped himself to the slop from the trough. For the rest of his life he saw food with the same kind of urgency.

Since college I hadn't been, but I went back in 2011 when he passed. It was awful. Totally ruined my memories. Lesson: don't revisit childhood memories!

Sirloin Stockade has *excellent* rolls, though (especially when they're piping hot, right out of the oven - buttery, soft, yellow, with a nice brown crust).

Dec 17, 2014
conquer in Austin

Gordough's Public House

That does not look appetizing to me.

But I'm personally sick of this high-fat/grease-laden/'retro' food trend. Just because you put bacon in it doesn't mean it has flavor.

While I'm at it, though I appreciate underused body parts (by Western standards anyway) showing up on menus more now, why pretend you're doing something radical and charge - pardon the pun - an arm and a leg, when that Chinese/Mexican/Pakistani/Jewish place down the street is serving exactly the same thing? What does it take just to get a simple, nice cut of well-cooked steak without all the hype/attitude/fanfare around here?

Ok, rant over.

Dec 16, 2014
conquer in Austin
2

Female Sushi Chefs: do they exist?

Like they can't tell if something smells fishy.

Nov 13, 2014
conquer in Not About Food

What turns you off about restaurant restrooms?

Trash can for paper towels by the door. I ain't touching that handle.

We all know it happens, but we never like to think it actually does... [moved from New Jersey board]

Surveillance cameras? Open kitchens?

Oct 21, 2014
conquer in Not About Food

Qui Tasting Room

Has anyone been & would recommend? Does the price include bev pairings? How does it compare to Barley?

Oct 09, 2014
conquer in Austin

Read the whole menu then decide or stop when you see something you want?

What's an appropriate amount of time for browsing (or being let to browse) a menu?

Oct 06, 2014
conquer in Not About Food

Sending food back, what about the rest of the diners?

Answer: Extremely obnoxious.
Next?

Sep 15, 2014
conquer in Not About Food

Sichuan River

'I no speak English' is the most useful English phrase I've learned.

Sep 10, 2014
conquer in Austin

We hit a Top Ten spot

I couldn't agree more. I don't get Sway. Thai food is supposed to have extremely clean flavors, not heavy or saltish or sugary (Americanized). If Thai Kun's like that, count me out.

Aug 22, 2014
conquer in Austin

Dang Bánh Mì

I went when they were giving away free entrees during their soft opening.

$10 banh mi's? Um, no.

Aug 08, 2014
conquer in Austin

Birthday coming up, Best French in town?

How is Artisan Bistro lately?

Aug 08, 2014
conquer in Austin

Birthday coming up, Best French in town?

A late dinner (10-11 pm) in the private backroom of Hopfields sounds charming.

Aug 06, 2014
conquer in Austin

Birthday coming up, Best French in town?

Arro - overpriced and just doesn't feel French to me (their prix fixe is $25, but I don't think a croque is birthday-worthy)

LaV - best atmosphere, so-so food, can't believe they have the gall to call themselves Provençal(-inspired)

*Chez Nous - old-school bistro

*Justine's - newer, hipper version of Chez Nous; con (or pro, depending) - loud; funny how it calls itself brasserie, though

Péché - best for happy-hour/Warehouse-bouncing

Annies - a cut below Chez Nous and Justine's

*recommended

ps You wouldn't feel out of place in shorts in any one of these places maybe except LaV.

pps Post-Aquarelle, Austin's sorely missing un restaurant.

Aug 06, 2014
conquer in Austin
1

Sichuan River

A woman at A+A I talked to on Saturday said it had nothing to do with them. Maybe it was originally going to be an expansion, but they decided to part ways? Anyway.

Aug 05, 2014
conquer in Austin

Sichuan River

Yep, that's what A+A told me in Chinese.

Aug 05, 2014
conquer in Austin

Sichuan River

Went today for lunch. Menu/prices comparable to other Sichuan places in town. Traditional/American menus. Ordered Chongqing chicken, spicy fish filets, cold cut plate. Big portions. High fish-to-veg ratio. Fish was very tender. Hella spicy. Best was the cold cuts: you get to pile a plate high with whatever you want from a half-dozen rotating items (today - sliced beef, chitterlings, pickled chicken feet, wood ears and peppers, spicy bamboo shoots, baby bok choy) on buffet table in back for $8.50 - prob one of best deals in town. Beef and chitterlings were esp well done. Solicitous service. Will be a regular spot for me in south.

Aug 02, 2014
conquer in Austin

Mang Dedoy or other Filipino?

I went last weekend. The lechon was too fatty. Frankly Ho Ho does a better roast pork. Kare-kare and veg coconut curry were fine. Nothing to write home about - still, RR should be happy for anything it can get.

Aug 01, 2014
conquer in Austin

Bush's Fried Chicken in RR,TX

I gave up their gizzards for Lent two years ago, and I'm not even Christian.

Aug 01, 2014
conquer in Austin
1

Sichuan River

Finally, a win for south-of-the-river.

A new Sichuan joint, Sichuan River, will open (has opened?) in Tien Jin's stead at Westgate. Apparently one of A+A's owners pulled an A+A on their own place. (For those who don't know, A+A splintered off from Asia Cafe a few years ago.) Odam is a bit inaccurate here:

http://www.austin360.com/weblogs/the-...

Anyone been yet?

On a related note, northern Chinese seems to be the new it:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/chen-z-austin-3
http://www.yelp.com/biz/julies-handma...
http://www.xianfresh.com

Halleloo!

Aug 01, 2014
conquer in Austin
1

Rudeboy's right, we need a "favorite dishes" thread !!!

There's 'a most distinct distinction,' as is said, between 'best things you ever ate' and 'your favorite dishes.' For instance, I would never call the $300/bite of kaiseki Matsusaka beef one of my 'favorite dishes.' The latter falls more in the lines of good, comfort dishes (often non-fancy) I could go to on an daily basis:

NS-5 (now S-NS5) at Sap's - pork slices, ground pork, fish meatballs, surimi crab in pork broth. $7.50. Must get w/ the flat rice noodles, and ask for ground peanuts.

#1 lunch special at Sunflower (5 spice chicken) - the most tender chicken I've ever tasted.

Roast pork at Ho Ho Chinese BBQ - a revelation (no take out, must eat in)

Pan fried buns at Sichuan Garden (again no take out, must eat in)

Yukhoe (beef tartare) bibimbab at Korea Garden

Yuca frita con chicharron at El Zunzal

Um pouco de tudo apps plate at Rio's - half price at happy hr

Aji de gallina at La Chaparrita

Frozen mango pudding, ras malai, and shahi tukra at Chola.

Jul 29, 2013
conquer in Austin

Crispy-skinned roast pork to die for

at Ho Ho Chinese BBQ.

Much better than Din Ho's and First Chinese's. The meat is succulent, tender and just slightly salty, and there's not a drop of grease on the skin roasted to perfection, to the point where it almost tastes fried (and there's plenty of it). Puts any Latin American or 'upscale' place I've been who try to do some variation of 'crispy pork skin' to shame. I almost wanted to tell them they're charging too little for this. If you have a small appetite, save the meat for take-home, but definitely finish the skin at the restaurant as it doesn't keep (testifies to its freshness).

Also cleaner/nicer than DH and FC. I would come to this place exclusively if I didn't live south.

Jul 29, 2013
conquer in Austin
1

I Guess I'm No Longer in the "Cool Group"

They recently repainted (waste of money, imo).

Highly recommend their tamales (wrapped in plantain leaves), fried yuca w/ fried chicharron, and tamarindo. They also serve some of the spiciest salsa (w/ black pepper) I've ever tasted.

One of my top 5 restaurants in Austin right now.

Jun 14, 2013
conquer in Austin

I Guess I'm No Longer in the "Cool Group"

Cafe Josie (revamped)
Rio's Brazilian
Buenos Aires Cafe
Justine's (don't know how crowded they are on Mondays)
Chez Nous (oldie but goodie)

If you don't mind a lack of atmosphere: La Chaparrita, El Zunzal, Hana World Market (cash only)

Jun 14, 2013
conquer in Austin

Favorite Breakfast Tacos

Taco Joint by campus on San Jacinto. Hands down. They make a more Sonoran style flour tortilla (thinner, crispier, dustier, and fattier, kind of yellow and translucent, almost like an Indian paratha) than the doughy white Texan kind.

Anyone know any place else that serves this kind of tortilla?

May 06, 2013
conquer in Austin

Sugartooth Bakery (E 5th St)

I just had the best cupcake I've ever had. Then I found out it's vegan.

Worldview shattered.

The cupcake was from Sugartooth Bakery on E 5th. The chocolate cake was moist and toothsome, but still spongy and airy - like a cake (imagine that). And all of it peeled off from the liner easily. The ample chocolate frosting was smooth and rich, not 'sugary.' The chocolate - of course - ganache filling oozed when you sank in. It actually rested in a pocket in the center, like a lava cake.

I had no idea it's vegan until I looked at their website. Simply puts all other cupcakes I've had (including an America's Test Kitchen recipe) - vegan or not - to shame. Whoever the baker is, is a genius. Whenever I hear someone say a dish is a 'revelation' I usually think they're pretentious. But if anything is 'revelatory,' this cupcake must be it.

That is, you didn't know something could taste this way, but you know it's the way it should've always tasted.

Jan 18, 2013
conquer in Austin

Open bar & tipping...

It's tacky to 'host' a party but leave the tip for your guests to pay. Include 25% tip in the bill and instruct servers/waiters not to accept additional tips.

I never tip tip jars, or as I call them, when-entitlement-meets-guilt jars. People need to work out their Oedipal issues elsewhere.

Nov 21, 2012
conquer in Not About Food

Royal Indian - not quite

That actually sounds more interesting than just plain old Indian. I'll have to give it a try.

Do they have a buffet?

Jun 05, 2012
conquer in Austin

I know it's been discussed before, but... Ramen?

Do they make the ramen themselves?

The best ramen I've had is a kuro ramen in a little strip mall in Milpitas. Black garlic and fresh-made noodles, with a side of tuna sashimi over rice. $10.

Apr 12, 2012
conquer in Austin

Vietnamese beyond pho--Lily's Sandwich

What service? It's definitely more a cafeteria a la Asia Cafe than a restaurant. I've never tipped there. The owner has always been friendly to me though: once when I asked for some cream puffs, he could have given me the ones in the display case, but he went in the back and got me fresh hot ones.
If you want a hot sandwich, it helps if you ask for your sandwich toasted.

Apr 09, 2012
conquer in Austin