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renz's Profile

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Oak Hill

I've had several nice meals at the Tokyo Teppan sushi restaurant in the HEB strip near the Y. We split the Love Boat (off the menu now, but still available), which is a huge amount of sushi and sashimi with some beef and chicken teriyaki, grilled mushrooms, etc., and a veggie tempura app, for $40. Could esily feed 3 or even 4 reasonable people; we gorge ourselves. Their tako salad is delicious as well.

Jul 17, 2009
renz in Austin

Lunch btwn San Antonio and Austin

I'm happy for any excuse to stop at the Tap Room in San Marcos and have some of their ribs. Everyone I know likes their wings, too, but I'm not an expert there. The ribs are amazing, though.

Jul 17, 2009
renz in Austin

Ross Old Austin Cafe in Austin Texas

I went there for lunch during the bar exam this past February. Chicken tenders were good, gravy was good. Baked potatoes were large and generously topped. People who work there are very friendly and overall it's a nice vibe.

Jul 04, 2009
renz in Austin

El Pollo Regio

Try this recipe from Rick Bayless:

I made it with much less or no cinnamon and it's pretty close. Needs tinkering to be an exact replica, but they are very very similar.

Jun 20, 2009
renz in Austin

Ultimate BLT

one of the few places I pop in for lunch during the workweek is Sweetish Hill. I always order the BLT in my combo, which is very simple and basic but very well executed: generous crispy bacon, just enough lettuce, decent tomatoes, and mayo on some of their toasted white bread. I only wish their soups were as consistent.

May 02, 2009
renz in Austin

Calf Fries

Third world HEB?

Mar 15, 2009
renz in Austin

Local source for unusual cooking chemicals?

The agar agar at Whole Foods is in at least 2 different places: powdered form in the bulk spice section, sheet form with the Asian pantry ingredients.

Dec 30, 2008
renz in Austin

Local source for unusual cooking chemicals?

I got it too! I haven't yet gone out with this book in mind, but I know that most of these ingredients are also sold as nutritional supplements, so I would check with the health food stores (including Whole Foods, but also Sun Harvest and supplement stores). You might need to free them from their capsules, of course.

You can definitely get sheet and powdered agar agar at Whole Foods and Central Market, and you can find many of the gums at Whole Foods in the baking section. Look for the shelf that is devoted to gluten free baking, and you'll finding xanthan gum and many of its brethren eg., guar gum. I think you'll also see sorbitol there but not sure. Xanthan gum is actually widely available because it is very common for gluten free baking.

Glucose is also around in many places, including Hobby Lobby and Walmart, in the cake decorating section (which is not with the food, but with the crafts), along with glycerin. You can also hit All in One Bakeshop as Brian rec'd and support a local shop. There you will also find various invert sugars and acetate sheets.

As for Ultra-Tex 3 and its ilk, I am assuming that will require online purchase.

Dec 30, 2008
renz in Austin

Shops carrying high-quality turkey parts?

We are only 2, and we're determined not to eat any more industrial meats. I'd really just like to buy a thigh or 2, maybe a split breast half. Does anyone know where I could find free range, responsibly-raised, etc. turkey parts?


Nov 21, 2008
renz in Austin

What's the Difference Between Fertilized and Unfertilized Eggs?

There is a gap in the system somewhere, because last night i was making a cake and almost passed out from revulsion when there was something with legs inside my egg (luckily I didn't crack it straight into the batter). These were organic eggs from the supermarket.

I am not a squeamish person, but this was the closest I ever came to vomiting from sheer disgust.

Oct 15, 2008
renz in Features

lulu b's:vietnamese sandwiches/snacks in 78704!

I finally stopped in for lunch today and don't expect to return. I waited nearly 25 minutes for a single bbq prk sandwich (arrived at 12:45ish, food in hand just after 1:10). The veggies were fresh and the meat fairly tasty, but overall the sandwich was very dry and more difficult to eat than it was delicious. I definitely missed the pork pate--or any kind of spread or condiment--that I like on banh mis. And 25 minutes is just too long. It seems to have gone from family-run establishment to hipster hangout, but I wouldnt care about ambience or wait if the food was good enough. Sadly, it wasn't.

Oct 08, 2008
renz in Austin

Stealing Bar Glasses

And to springboard off gloriousfood's comment, I enjoy reading the shitstorm of comments every week, which I suspect has become the point.

Sep 04, 2008
renz in Features

Pancakes from a Can

I totally understand the allure of ready-made pancake mixes. It's not rocket science, but it is a pain in the ass if you're the only person who eats pancakes in the house, as I am. I've tried making them from scratch or making homemade mixes, and it's too much trouble for what I consider junk food (white flour batter served with butter and syrup). So I bought the can and had hopes for it, thinking it was the perfect thing for someone in my circumstance. But no, it made these oddly textured, very flat, almost web-like, plasticky pancakes that didn't taste good at all. The ingredient list didn't look questionable, so there's something in the execution that is off.

I look forward to someone figuring it out, because if it made good pancakes, this would be a recurring item in my fridge. As it stand, I'll have to wait until I visit my mom to have pancakes.

Sep 02, 2008
renz in Features

Who's selling local tomatoes?

Sorry for my ignorance, but what is IGA?

Aug 28, 2008
renz in Austin

Who's selling local tomatoes?

Thank you for letting me know that, I had no idea (admittedly clueless about all this kind of info). Can you tell me, around when would the second round of tomatoes start, so I know when to be on the lookout again?

Aug 26, 2008
renz in Austin

Is there good bread in Austin ?

My favorite bread in town so far is the semolina loaf at Central Market. Maybe just because it's the only semolina bread I've had, but every other bread seems like a pale (and literally underbaked) imitation of real bread.

Aug 26, 2008
renz in Austin

Who's selling local tomatoes?

At the start of the summer I had no problem getting great local tomatoes at Wheatsville, Boggy Creek Farms, and Whole Foods, and got hooked. But the past few weeks (as tomato season peaks, as I understand), I haven't found anything that has the taste and texture of local, non refrigerated tomatoes. The worst, even, were the BCF tomatoes (and I was there first thing in the morning, so should have had decent pickings).

Does anyone know where I might be able to get my hands on the real stuff? The farmers markets are quite difficult for me to make with my schedule, but if that's the only place, then I'll do what I can.

Aug 25, 2008
renz in Austin

Is Fido Invited?

I don't want to repeat anything else said previously, but another point here is that the dog in the particular question was a pit bull. I don't meant to promote stereotypes against certain dogs and it saddens me to think how many languish in shelters (and I know that they can be trained to be just as friendly as other breeds but hey, it doesn't sound like there was a lot of training and limit-setting here), but the truth is pits are commonly classified as "aggressive breed" dogs that, in addition to making some folks nervous, are actually banned from many apartment buildings.

I hope this question was at least partly made up or enhanced for editorial purposes, because it's disturbing to think someone might honestly not know the answer to this.

Our older dog had bad separation anxiety when we first got her, howling and howling the second we closed the door. But we couldn't be slaves to that for the rest of her life; it was in no one's best interest. It took time, and lots of "easter egg hunts" of carrot bits all over the apartment (to keep her distracted) but we were able to leave her for longer and longer periods alone, so that it's nothing to her now.

Aug 19, 2008
renz in Features

Trouble on the East Side? El Regio and La Regiomontana “Temporarily” Closed

The sign was either painted over or otherwise covered, I noticed today.

Jul 31, 2008
renz in Austin

Any places that serve good offal?

I had some delicious sweetbreads at Chez Nous.

I haven't had luck finding good sweetbreads to cook at home, only big beef ones.

Jul 31, 2008
renz in Austin

Bastille Day

I went a couple of years ago when they were just doing a complimentary cold bfufet in the bar of the restaurant. Vegetables a la grecque, pate, things like that. I don't recall any wine specials but we did drink a couple of bottles of rose.

My overall impression: the food was delicious and expertly prepared. The staff was the rudest most condescending bunch of pricks I've ever encountered anywhere (no, they weren't even French). Even if it is one of the only places in town for French food, I will never, ever return.

Jul 17, 2008
renz in Austin

Can someone please explain chicken and waffles?

To bring it back to Austin: where can one find this served in town?

Jul 10, 2008
renz in Austin

Brioche in Austin

I've also had so much difficult finding brioche (plain) that I ended up trying to make it at home. If you find a good source, please report back.

I checked Whole Foods on Lamar and, at least on the occasions I was there, they didn't have any (although the Arboretum location said that Lamar carried it, it's an infrequent thing or maybe I have bad timing). I check almost every time I go and never have seen it.

Central Market definitely carries challah; I haven't tried it. Whole Foods probably has it as well.

Jun 24, 2008
renz in Austin

Any more urban farmstands, etc.?

I know of the big 3 farmers markets, and I've been enjoying Boggy Creek Farms, but I wonder if there are any other farms/farmstands that I've been missing out on. I'm not talking CSAs, but places like BCF where you can buy directly from the farmer, on site.

Jun 23, 2008
renz in Austin

bahn mi

Just to update, Banh Mi Express has been gone for I don't know how long (sign's still up, though) and Hai Ky took their's off the menu. So one of these day's I'll have to drive over to that trailor everyone's buzzing about.

Jun 22, 2008
renz in Austin

Best bulk organic grains and beans

The one on the north side seems to have a larger bulk section, but I wouldn't necessarily say it has a wider selection. Hard to tell because it's set up quite differently, with many legumes and grains in barrels that you scoop into Personally I find it easier to use the regular bins that open on the bottom, which is what you'll find at the S. Lamar location.

However, I think Whole Foods (downtown) is the best for legumes and possibly grains, especially if you don't like Central Market. Sun Harvest has a smaller selection than either of them.

Some HEBs have decent bulk sections as well.

Jun 13, 2008
renz in Austin

What Austin-y gift would you send someone?

If you consider salsa, I'd recommend this one from Texas Texas:

I picked up a jar on a whim recently and absolutely loved it, ate it with a spoon. I think I got mine from HEB or Wal-Mart of all places, but it is local, and it's so delicious, just a perfect classic salsa.

May 27, 2008
renz in Austin

Blue Star Cafeteria

seen the chef buying goods at boggy creek farm, fwiw.

May 13, 2008
renz in Austin

Doña Emilias South American Grill

I've been a couple of times with groups and mostly enjoyed it, and I got to sample a fairly wide part of their menu. What I remember particularly enjoying were the calamari (light crisp batter and just lightly fried), goat cheese appetizer (the tostones are a little bland but the cheese and the sauce are very tasty), and the beef empanada. There was a mixed meat appetizer that seemed too blatantly like kitchen scraps, though. It would have been better but some of the meats were a bit overcooked (pork). They do a larger version on the entree side, and the meats were cooked properly, go figure.

For main dishes, my favorite is the shredded beef stew. It comes with rice on the menu, but if you ask for the mashed potatoes instead, it's fantastic. The beef has a great flavor. The steaks are nicely done, but the pork chop is more memorable with a guava sauce. I wasn't impressed with the stuffed chicken breast, though my mom really liked it. She was also a big fan of the blackened salmon. The sea bass was awesome, but I try to avoid ordering sea bass. They also do some potato cake thing for vegetarians that was really good (stuffed with cheese) but really rich (stuffed with cheese).

Out of the desserts, I'd only strongly recommend the plantain flambe. It's delicious. The others were good but not very special (molten chocolate cake, flan, tres leches).

They have an awesome hamburger on the lunch menu, too, served on these sweet-ish buns.

You might sample them at happy hour, see if you like the flavors, before shelling out for a whole meal. The mojitos are good, and they have salsa and jazz sometimes.

May 11, 2008
renz in Austin

Chicken Fingers and French Fries

If you go again, you can ask for the fries well done/extra crispy.

May 08, 2008
renz in Austin