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Tortuga Flats - any impressions?

We went yesterday during happy hour. I think they've done a great job with the decor and the patio. Feels much more fun than the strip mall it's actually in.

We had the habanero wings, shrimp ceviche, and a couple of tacos. I really wanted to like the food, but it was sadly underwhelming. The wings were just kind of salty and flavorless and the tacos were okay but dry. The shrimp ceviche was probably the worst offender... they bring out this mixture in a mason jar, then dump it into a bowl. How long ago did they put it in that jar? Pretty unappealing.

Margaritas were very tasty though and a good deal during happy hour ($5).

Apr 19, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Tortuga Flats - any impressions?

Wow... I've never even heard of this place, but the menu looks great.

How's the ambience? Slowcooked said it was "round rocky"... does that mean strip mall-y?

Apr 17, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Lunch in North/Northwest Austin

Margaritas (Parmer and McNeil) has an excellent plate: Naked chile rellenos. Get it with red New Mexico sauce and charro beans.

Ajishin (same shopping center)

Pour House (if you can have beer w/ your lunch)

The League near Avery Ranch has quite a few plates that are WAY better than other upscale sports bars.

Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza (next to The League)

Apr 01, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Vegetarian friendly in the Austin airport?

Annies is hands down the best food in the Austin airport... it's actual real food.... and it fits the vegetarian bill

Mar 12, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Solo dining with a good book...

We've been to that WF 7 or 8 times and never had an issue with parking. The biergarten in the front is great. The oyster bar inside with 43 badass taps is also great, but seats maybe 15 people, so it's always SRO... probably not great for chilling with a book.

Mar 12, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Hard Hat XI

The Fire in the Hole website makes it look like a food truck kind of operation. Is this location in RR a brick and mortar? Did it look like it was open yet?

Jan 28, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Menudo

You like menudo, but don't like the tripe? That's posole.

Jan 18, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Hard Hat XI

Sign up on Parmer, just east of Mopac near the Filipino store:

Coming soon: Heaven Bakery

Jan 05, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin

Hard Hat XI

It's in the plaza with the Whataburger, right next door to Eggroll Express

Jan 02, 2014
jwynne2000 in Austin
1

Hard Hat XI

In the shopping center at the intersection of Parmer and McNeil - "Coming Soon: Verts".

Score. :)

Dec 31, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin
1

Badass Apple Pie

They did have them and they were $14.99, as advertised. I'll be mowing through tomorrow before the resolutions kick in. Did you pop yours in the oven first or just go at it cold?

Dec 30, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Badass Apple Pie

Thanks for the info. I'm going to check out the north Central Market today to see what they have.

I've been dreaming about apple pie ever since having a divine intervention over Thanksgiving from a little bakery in North Port, Long Island called Copenhagen. Best ever.

Dec 30, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

RIP VI

Al Forno Pizza next to Little Woodrows on Parmer is gone. Looks like it will reopen as Brooklyn Pie Company, which I understand has multiple locations around town.

Dec 07, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Arro

How does the nicoise salad compare to Hopfields? If it's better than theirs, I'm there in a heartbeat.

Dec 02, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

La Condesa Closed -- Alternate suggestions?

Check out El Alma on Barton Springs road. Never disappoints.

Nov 26, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Help for business dinner in Austin

Thanks for the report back. By the way, I love this:

(until I found myself at the Continental Club watching Jimmie Vaughan - not really sure how that happened, but glad it did!)

Nov 23, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Help for business dinner in Austin

For business meals in the downtown area that are not steakhouses:
- Roaring Fork
- Max's Wine Dive
- Trio

Just south of the river:
- Zax Pints and Plates (my #1 go-to for business lunches/dinners... and your guests can actually park here without having to valet)

Nov 14, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin
2

Round Rock Report

Agreed on Greenhouse. Very fresh, straightforward food, with some decent beers and wines. A must-try if you're in the area (going to Ikea or something).

Nov 10, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Soto anyone?

Great review, lixlix. Thanks for posting.

Oct 31, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

New job in Round Rock - What's Good?

Yes, I've been there once, for saturday lunch. Fun (albeit small) little selection of Texas beers. I had the BLT you listed above. Delish. I'm bullish on this place.

Oct 26, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Is CH Austin on life support?

Call me an eternal optimist, but I still believe in Austin Chowhound.

Yelp is not helpful. Eater is good if I want to know about brand new restaurants or bars within a 5 mile radius of downtown, but I'm convinced their writers have never ventured north of 45th street. And the comments section turns into an unhelpful playground very quickly.

And that's what I still love about this board. If there's some great chow in Round Rock or Del Valle that we need to know about, let's talk about it and not worry about the scene. And, <knock on wood> I've yet to have a post deleted.

Oct 22, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin
3

Bufalina

I saw several tables with kids there when we went. If they're reasonably well-behaved and not prone to running around, it shouldn't be a problem.

Food is very good, approaching great. The decor and ambiance is 101% hipster, which is not to say it isn't nice. As an example, they bring your check to you in an old pulp fiction novel. Seriously.

Oct 22, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Epicerie, a clean, well-lighted, place

I've been there a few times. The breakfast was decent. I had a mushroom pappardelle there once though that was damn near perfect. I'm not sure if it's on the menu all the time.

The bulk cheese and meat prices seem astronomical, so I've only just looked and pretended that I'm interested.

Oct 22, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Soto anyone?

Wife and I went on our anniversary last week. We kinda went all out and had...

Enoki Mushroom Soup - Very delicate and nice depth of mushrooms. Lesser places would overcompensate with extra salt.

Spicy Avocado Salad - The menu description: "avocado, cucumber, crabstick, flying fish roe, mixed with spicy mayo". This was also very good, but in light of everything else we ordered, this was a tad heavy in retrospect.

Jalapeno Hamachi - Very nice warm up to the main show.

Soto Sashimi Maki - tuna, king salmon, hamachi, albacore wrapped in cucumber. I loved that this didn't have any rice. Keeps that "oh my god i'm full" feeling at bay so you can really enjoy the nigiri...

Nigiri (they are one per order) - Eel, mackerel, white tuna, toro, uni, and shiitake mushroom. The mackerel is my gold standard for any sushi place, because it can start getting really fishy if it's not really fresh. Soto's is the best I've ever had, period. All of their fish is so noticably fresh that it's easily in the eschelon of Uchi, and far above Mushashino, Tomo, and others big players in town. The uni had been flown in from California that day, per our waitress, and was just lovely. The shiitake mushroom nigiri was just for kicks, but turned out to be a real jaw-dropper.

Red bean creme brulee - creme brulee on top, red beans underneath. Hell yeah.

Like many others have posted, it's a really pretty restaurant in a really strange location. But it's not far from where I live, so it's nice to have some really top-notch Asian chow up here since Spin closed. Service was attentive but not overbearing like some others experienced. It's pricey, but I feel like the quality of the food and the craftsmanship in the kitchen suits the price point.

Oct 22, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Is CH Austin on life support?

All i ever use Yelp for is the convenient summary of basic restaurant info right at the top (phone #, hours, patio seating?, etc.). Nothing more.

Oct 22, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin
2

Specific what to eat downtown questions

<<smacks forehead>>

I can't believe I left Craft Pride off the list for #5. 50 or so taps, every one of them from Texas breweries. I hope you're thirsty. :)

Oct 08, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

New job in Round Rock - What's Good?

Greenhouse Craft Food is now open:

http://greenhousecraftfood.com/

Oct 08, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Specific what to eat downtown questions

Since you're staying near the Convention Center, Rainey Street is very close and I'd say is a must-see part of town if you haven't been here before. I'll go out of order here, and ensure you don't have to drive or cab to any of these....

5) Austin's locally made brews are plentiful and excellent. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't check some out. Best beer bars you can walk to:

- Easy Tiger
- Chicago House
- Bangers (on Rainey Street)

Ginger Man is okay, but they are very slow to rotate their selections. They've had 3 or 4 Spatens on tap since 1994 (stretching the point to make the point).

6) They focus more on dub and reggae, but an hour or two at Flamingo Cantina is a great Austin music experience (and not one you'll read about in the brochures). For more rock and metal, go with Red River Street north of 6th Street (Mohawk, Beer Land, Club DeVille, Stubbs...maybe 2 or 3 others)

4) Iron Works should be able to put together a decent BBQ sandwich for you. You may also run across a BBQ trailer in your downtown wanderings too. They pop up here and there at different times. Just follow the smell of burning oak.

2) & 3) Maybe to nudge you toward some Mexican food that you and your wife might not have tried before, give El Naranjo a look. A pricier ordeal, but the food is excellent and the rellenos are top notch and inventive, from what I remember. Again, walking distance for you, on Rainey Street

1) I can't help you much with CFS. All over town, I find so many much bad or mediocre CFS that I've stopped trying. Not worth the artery real estate. Walk to Bangers instead and try one of their 9 or 10 great house-made sausages.

Oct 08, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Counter-service gastropubs in Austin

On the same street as Drink.Well is Workhorse. It leans more toward traditional bar food, but it's done pretty well. Excellent tap selection.

Vino Vino may fit the bill if you get a seat at the bar (and you like wine)

Also check out Epicerie. I had a mushroom tagliatelle there once that was absolutely killer.

Oct 02, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin

Wangs. Aka wings

I second the Green Mesquite wings. Smoky, perfectly done, coated in some fusion of bbq and buffalo sauce. Indulge and get onion rings as a side, and a Shiner Bock. Sit outside, enjoy!

Oct 02, 2013
jwynne2000 in Austin