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Tex-Mex on Austin's Southeast and East Sides, Part 13

Rudeboy - noooo, don't fall into that trap. My 2 1/2 yr old daughter eats what we eat (mostly) - she was weaned on hog jowls, sweetbreads and veal toungue at Parkside. "Pesto Pasta", sardines (only fresh grilled and only for breakfast ), lamb, artichokes, asparagus and rasberry sorbet fill her favorites list. She asks for pork belly with fair regularity. She knows not of chicken fingers or the golden arches.

In truth, some Mexican food is out for her. She's not there yet with hot/spicy food. But, she warms my heart everytime she says, "No papa, I don't just want meet. I want fat, too."

Jul 11, 2011
AustinBear in Austin

Falafel/Lebanese cuisine in Austin?

Another vote for Jerusalem Gourmet. I'm picky about my falafel (very, I'm middle-eastern) and they do a good job.

tom's tabooley? really? They don't even make good Tabouleh (or Humous).

May 18, 2011
AustinBear in Austin

The Worst Fish and Chips in Austin?

I like B&D. The 'chips' may not be chips, but they're well fried. The fish is not cod, but it's very well fried. My mother in law is from the UK and loves it, others have also rated it well.

Worth a try, chips aside. Much better than any other F&Cs I've had in Austin.

May 18, 2011
AustinBear in Austin

Good Indian Food in Austin

I like like it. Each time I go, I really enjoy my meal. As time goes by, I begin to think maybe it was not as good as I remember. Then I go back and find it is. Mostly well done, not overly spicy dishes (though I do like very spicy). I also like that it it BYOB.

Garlic naan is good, but so are many of the dishes. I would not say it is spectacular, but very good, very solid. It's a little more subtle than many. Like I said above, not overly spicy. But as you eat, the taste builds as you realize the layerd flavors.

For those that have not been, be aware that it's an all outdoor place (think trailer/tent/restaturant). I'm going Wednesday, so I'll comeback and comment on some specific dishes.

May 02, 2011
AustinBear in Austin

Bess Brunch

I agree with NWLarry - Took about 12 people to brunch there. It was very good. Dinner has never been bad, but barely makes good. It mostly just wallows in mediocrity.

The eggs benedict with the crab add-on will bring me back.

Jun 30, 2009
AustinBear in Austin

Dinner in Franklin and Brentwood, TN

I third the NO to Corky's. I second the yes to Martin's. Went there for lunch today and it was very good BBQ. I'm not from here, but have been eating pulled-pork for about 40 years (my mom hails from Jackson) and I know it when I taste it. The 'green beans' were so good looking, I took a picture. More pulled pork than beans. Vegetables a Spaniard would love!

Mar 17, 2009
AustinBear in Kentucky & Tennessee

new Italian in old Mars

Sagra review - Went last night. The calamari was excellent - crisp and tender. Lots of tentacles (which I like). Skip the sauces and just add lemon and salt. The beet salad was a B to B+. The pizza was horribly dissapointing. The sauce tasted like it was not for the pizza but a cooked-down onion, garlic pasta sauce base. Not fresh tasting, but long simmered tasting. Too acidic and too roasted in flavor. It completely overpowered the topping that were supposed to be on there (what truffle oil). It made me wonder if they ran out of their pizza sauce and used whatever else they could find (pasta sauce). Might try again just out of curriosity. Would be interested to here other expriences with the pizza.

Oh, and by the way, our server very professional. Noticably excellent. I usually don't write on service (it' about the food...), but again, noticably better than most.

Dec 23, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Sushi Quest

Let me just a take a quick moment of your time and SLAM Maru. It's shocking to me that is gets good reviews. Well, shocking's an overstatement. Let's just say I disagree. While the fish is not necessarily old, but it's also not what I'd consider FRESH - It has no glisten, has mediocre texture, is not always properly cut (per species), it's just very blah.

Now for the rice - terrible, terrible, terrible. Cold, hard grains, crushed grains, too tightly packed, not nearly enough vinegar. This is not sushi rice. It's just a little oval of hard packed starch. It ruined what might have been mediocre fish.

As for the cooked food? The tempura is not. No lacy, delicate covering here. Just a bland, hard, dense, unbroken casing of batter. That is not tempura in any shape or form. Blech...Wife had the katsu - it hurt her feelings it was so bad. How hard is it to make good fried pork for goodness sake?

People probably like it because it's cheap, BYO and the sushi is 'not too old. This doesn't make it good...

Uchi is by far the best, I just can't seem to get out of there for less than $150... my own fault. Mushashino very good. Maiko okay, but not great by any means.

Nov 29, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

The Burger House

Hilarious. I guess you read the Three Forks review....

Nov 29, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Three Forks

"...and at times had a soft, pasty consistency that I associate with meat tenderizer."

Perhaps they Jaccard the meat? (Jaccard is a certain type of tenderizing hardware...)

Nov 29, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Tex-Mex on Austin's Southeast and East Sides, Part 13

Did you say, "...fatty, porky stew?"

You're speaking my language. Thanks for the report (and you too MPH). Will check it out and report back. Perhaps the weekend after this next (traveling).

Nov 20, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

weirdest foods in Austin?

Thanks. I'll try it. Hit LM again this weekend with two rookies. They loved it. Never would have gotten there on their own. Barbacoa and carnitas were freshly made and excellent. Ditto on the nopales (puerco y verde), lengua (verde). The chile (mini) rellenos were jalapenos this week and were very, very hot (really too much so, I couldn't tell what was spicey and what was not for the next 20 minutes...).

Nov 20, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Trio at The Four Seasons

Went there last night. Sat at the bar, had some apps and did some wine tasting. Overall, I liked it. I think I liked it more than any high-end restaurant I've been to in Austin, except maybe Uchi. I walked away feeling I could go back, order pretty much anything and get at least a good meal. It was not all great, but no dissapoinments (unlike most of my high-end experiences here in Austin).

Tomato- Watermellon Salad: Ordered under duress due to seasonality of the main ingredients. But, it was solid. It had a scoop of avacado-basil mouse on top and it worked. Well balanced from an acid level standpoint. Fruit was good. Would have been better two months ago, I'm sure.

Crab Fondue - Would usually never order this. Expected to hate it and did not. It was full of crab which I'll call high quality frozen lump meat. The sauce was good, not too much of a floury bechamel which often sinks this sort of dish. I was told it had cheese in it (I'm against cheese and seafood, philosopically speaking), but it was mild and creamy and worked - especially with the Chardonnay tasting (another thing I generally don't 'do', but decided to step out of my box).

Side Order Gnocchi - I always order gnocchi with trepedation. I was pleasantly surprised. They were indeed soft as pillows, roasted to finish and sprinkled with some gorgonzola. It would have been more succesful with the cheese melted and 'creamed' a bit, but I learned to take just a bit of cheese with each piece.

'Bacon and Egg' - Essentially three cubes of pork belly with a whole 'fried' egg in panko. Now, it was the shape of boiled egg, with the panko coating. It appears to have been magically peeled raw, covered in panko and flash fried to keep the yolk runny. We figured out how they did it and asked and were proven correct. Go eat one and figure it out. If like this sort of thing, you'll be glad you did. The pork is on a bit of a sweetish reduction, the egg on a lightly dressed pile of frisee. Apparently they serve it for breakfast too.I'll be back for that dish in the morning...

The service was good, but they make it hard at the bar. They have no running water, but the bar tender has to leave the bar to get water. Not good. The door is a sliding door and is slow to open and close. Also sometimes a runner brought the food, but other times the bartender had to walk it all the way around (they don't/won't pass you food from behind the bar).

All in all, I'll be back and feel good knowing I can run in there and grab a few bites at the bar in 'safety'.

Nov 08, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

weirdest foods in Austin?

Off-Topic - I was about the recommend Las Comales since it is so close, but found you already are enlightened (good Norteno style, no?). My wife swears I bought an investment lot up on 10th near there just so I could go there more often...Then I found the counter at the la Michoacana...Also, check out the verde- guacamole in the 'deli' cooler in the back, near the chicharones 'display'. A good take home item.

Nov 08, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Dry-Aged Steaks in Austin?

Ahh, 55. I too greatly lament the passing of Harrell Ranch and the Meat Shop. I did talk to Bubba (ranch manager) and he still is raising a few of the wagyu and wagyu/angus cattle. He'll sell whole beeves or halfs.

I've been doing a lot of grass fed lately and find corn fed less flavorful now. Whole foods says they'll age the local grass fed on request. I may try that. The bison at the saturday downtown farmers market is excellent and I'm going to ask them if they can age. I'll report back.

A good home aging trick is simply to put a steak or two on a plate unwrapped in the fridge for about a week. You get a week of ageing and it gets alot of moisture out. Good for previously wet-aged steaks...

Nov 07, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Flying Saucer to Land in Austin!

So this is not the Flying Suacer of San Francisco fame?

Nov 07, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

weirdest foods in Austin?

I have not seen or heard of anything I consider 'weird' in Austin, my weird bar is pretty high (though I do think the orange cheese-stuff known as queso is weird, like velveeta...)

However, I found a taco that is unusual (vs. the normal carnitas, guisada, asada, lengua, sesos, tripas, etc). It's the chile-relleno taco at La Michoacana market on E 7th. It's not weird, but rare. I don't know that I've seen one before. There is not much too it, but it's simple goodness. They make a small chile relleno (w/queso blanco) and put it in a (corn for me) tortilla. It's simple and good (from a 'street food' POV). Oh, you can also get roasted sheep head there too (like a lamb/mutton version of barboracoa). I keep missing it, since every day they do different meats, but I'll try it an report back.

BTW, it's one of the best taco counters I've been to here in Austin...Choose with your eyes. Somethings are better and fresher than others - depends on the day. Order well and you'll be rewarded.

Nov 07, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Bombay Grill on Bee Caves

I hope that is true. I used to go often (about 3 years ago) and it was quie good. I was there about 6-8 months ago and it seemed to have declined dramatically. I won't rehas the detail due to the (positive?) change. Will try again.

Nov 07, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Great Gizzards!

There is a gas station on the east side of 35 just north or south of Oltorf (sorry I can't do better). Wait, it's just north of the Home Depot I think, on the east side of 35 . Anyway, I stopped in for gas, got a chicken thigh at the fried chicken counter inside and then realized they had gizards. I'm going back...

Nov 07, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Zoot restaurant in Austin

Wow. What a different experience I had. It was very, very good. I was there with my wife and three people from different parts of the country (CA, PA and CO). All enjoyed it greatly. I had the duck. It was the best duck I've had in my life (including Chao Vit at Chao Vit in Saigon, for those in the know..), period. I've eaten duck on 5 continents...The staff was very nice and service was very good. Only complaint was that the mains came a bit slowly, but we enjoyed the time talking. The out of town guests still talk about what a special meal it was and it was months ago...

Nov 07, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

East Side Pies, other attempts at NY pizza [AUS]

I agree with the Rouunders rec. I'm not going to say it is great or amazing, but I will say it is the most 'NY style' I've had here. My favorite in NYC was Grimaldis for real coal oven pizza. Joe's in the East Village is my favorite slice...Ask for it well done and don't get more than one or two toppings. As I mentioned in a very recent post, too many toppings automatically disqualifies a pie from being NY style IMHO...

May 25, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Pizza in Austin

I've not eaten at several of the favorites (Eastside, Salvation, etc.). However, I've eaten at Homeslice a few times and was enormously underwhlemed. It was okay, but not great and certainly not New York Style. From what I've tried, Rounders is the most NY style I've had.

And, yes, I moved here from New York. Try a regular pie (cheese) or perhaps the sausage, maybe add ricotta and tomatoes if you're feeling crazy. More than a couple of toppings automatically makes a pizza *not* 'New York style'...Oh, and ask for it well done to get that 'authentic' crunch...It's no Grimaldi's or even Joe's, but it's not bad.

May 25, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Good Indian Food in Austin

Unfortunately, Austin has some decent Indian food, but nothing great. I agree with others, Swad is good. I also like Bombay Grill on Bee Caves.

Whatever anyone tells you, don't go to the Clay Pit! Or, if you go, go for the location and ambiance, but not for the food. My two cents...

I'm absolutley astonished to find that people like it (to each his/her own). I ate there three times, once for lunch and twice for dinner. I kept thinking I'd ordered the wrong thing, got them on a bad night. Each time it was equaly bad. They use frozen, crinkle cut vegtables for goodness sake. Tell me you like the atmosphere, but don't tell me the food is either good or authentic! While some have said their Indian friends, family or selves think Clay Pit is the best in town, those of Indian heritage to whom I have spoken merely scoff at the place.

May 25, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

M I A in Austin???

Bagels in Austin? No, there are not...Not baked here. Just round bread with holes in it. Try the frozen H&H bagels (from NYC) found in the Central Market frozen food section.

Breakfast, nope, none to be found. Magnolia? Kerby? So sad....

Try Taqueria Arandas on S 1st. Nice eggs with beans and papas for under $3.00 before 11a, about $3.35 after 11a. Nicely cooked sunnyside-up...We now have a Galaxy in Clarksville. One choice of eggs - scrambled. Enough said...But, their burger is good.

Mar 29, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Hoek's Pizza Shuts It's Doors This Saturday Night

We're not losing a thing. Hoek's is not owned by the same person that owned it a few years ago. I had it a couple of weeks ago. It was *terrible*, not what it was in years past.

Goodbye and good riddance. The wake was held last year....

Mar 29, 2007
AustinBear in Austin

Madam Mam's Westgate [AUS]

Having moved to NYC from the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived for over 30 years (my wholelife), I really missed having great Thai food (NYC mostly doesn't). I was very happy to find great Thai in Austin.

Both Berkeley and San Francisco have large Thai populations and hence - great Thai food. In fact, I lived a few blocks from a buhdist temple that had a Thai congregation who cooked, served and sold unbeleivable Thai food on the weekends (what's not to like about having agreen papaya salad made from scratch before you eyes, with the maker asking you how hot or fishy you like it?).

Madam Mam's is in that league. I'd put it up there with the best I've had including in SE Asia. While I have not been to Thailand, I went to bordering Malaysia and ate at some really great Thai owned Thai restaurants within sight Thailand. I'd say Madam Mam's is nearly as good as those (it would be tough to beat the lobster and other seafood plucked right out of the near by ocean or even dining room located tanks..).

I'd easily put Madam Mam's in my Austin top 10.

Jan 20, 2007
AustinBear in Austin