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NYC (insert WDC)?! Get a rope...

I'm so confused. How exactly does a Texan (he *is* a Texan, right?) come to this kind of conclusion? What's next, talking about the importance of eating brisket with a fork and knife?

May 15, 2015
gilintx in Austin


The wife and I discovered Johnson's Backyard Garden's carrots a couple of years ago, and that's all we've eaten since. I honestly had never given carrots that much thought before washing and bagging some of these at the farm on a work day. These are the carrots the OP is missing.

Dec 03, 2014
gilintx in Austin

Which Churrascaria?

In my experience, the extra cost meant better quality meat at Fogo de Chao. It's not that I didn't think Estancia was good, it's just that I thought Fogo was better. And while I would not necessarily be willing to pay more for a better quality salad bar, I think it's wise to do for meat, particularly since these are steakhouses we're talking about.

Oct 01, 2014
gilintx in Austin

Zagat's Top 10 Austin Burgers

Can't say I've been to all of these, but they sure did pick a couple of dogs. While I have friends who seem to like them, I've never personally had a Mighty Fine experience that went anywhere beyond 'Sorta Meh.' I've found Phil's Icehouse's burgers to be thoroughly forgettable (and barely seasoned). And Huts? They were ok a decade ago, before the burger wars began in earnest, but like so many Austin institutions, they've cruised on their reputation for far too long without bothering to up their game. I personally would rather have seen old-school pancake-flat burgers like Dan's on the list too, but it looks like the trend is going the P. Terry's small-and-tall direction.

Aug 28, 2014
gilintx in Austin

New Middle Eastern food restaurant located near Braker & North Lamar

Wife and I were here on Sunday, and enjoyed it very much. We both ended up having chicken scahwarma, her on a plate and me in a wrap. The chicken was delicious - very well seasoned with an unexpected fragrance that I'm going to guess was sumac. Veggies were fresh and well prepared, and the bread that came with my wrap was exceptional. The place was well maintained and well trafficked, with numerous tables of families and a steady line the whole time we were there.

There are a couple of interesting touches that let me to wonder what the country of origin might be for these dishes. The inclusion of gherkins (or some other pickle)on my wrap made me think these might be Palestinian versions of these dishes. There was also some sort of cheese or yogurt on my wrap, which I frankly had never seen before. Very tasty, and well worth checking out, if only for the unfamiliar bits. We will definitely be going back.

Aug 25, 2014
gilintx in Austin

Franklin Barbecue lines on a Thurs/Fri (or Lockhart?)

Since you're already at the airport, Lockhart or Luling would be ideal for you. Just head south on 183 and you'll be in Lockhard in about 20 minutes. Another 20, and you'll be in Luling. You would be hitting these just in time for the lunch rush, which is just about perfect for the freshest stuff.

In Lockhart, I would recommend Smitty's over Kreutz. In Luling, you'd want to go to City Market.

Have fun!

Aug 13, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Hill's Barbecue market - Early report

Went by Hill's BBQ on Steck yesterday. They appear to be doing a soft opening, and are only serving lunch right now. For the time being, they open at 11 from Monday to Saturday, and close when the meat sells out. I went by at about 2 yesterday, and they seemed to be cleaning up already.

Ordered the typical spread for me and the Mrs.: brisket, sausage, ribs, beans, and close slaw. Prices were decent. I paid a little over 20 bucks for a half pound of brisket, a sausage link, two pork ribs (about 1/4 pound), and two individual sides.

The brisket was tasty, if a bit under-seasoned. The rub was good enough, and the meat was still moist, meaning that the fat still melted. Unfortunately, the total lack of a smoke ring was the one strike against it.

The St. Louis style pork ribs were my favorite thing on the plate. They have two varieties - molasses and mustard. I had the mustard. The flavor was good, the meat tender, and there was no overwhelming sauce flavor to anything.

Sausage was decent enough. Two types here, too, a regular and a jalapeno. The regular was a fairly typical finer grind link. Good pop on the casing. Nothing amazing, but certainly not bad.

Barbecue came with two cups of sauce; a molasses and a mustard. The molasses was a little too sweet. Mustard was surprisingly tasty, and went well with the sausage in particular. Sauces are an aside, as far as I'm concerned, but they were there, so I tasted.

Beans were typical barbecue beans, simply prepared and with chunks of burnt end to give them a smoky flavor. Cole slaw was different - jicama and cilantro gave it a nice twist - but pretty tasty.

All in all, not a bad start. I would not put these guys in the top tier of local places yet, but they were certainly as competent as Rudy's for slightly less dough. As they continue to work with their meats, I can see a lot of potential for this place. They're being pretty low-key for now, but hopefully they'll start to crank out more food in the near future. I'm looking forward to hearing more reports, so bring 'em on. Hills is located on Steck, between MoPac and Shoal Creek Blvd., just next door to Lowe's.

Aug 11, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Most Legit Soul Food in Austin

Second for Southern Hospitality. It's been a long time since Threadgill's has been any good, and Hoover's surely started out promising, but my last experience there left a lot to be desired. I was a huge fan of Tony's Southern Comfort for the short time it was around, but they've gone away now. Southern Hospitality isn't amazing or anything, but it's at least passable, and the fried chicken is actually pretty damn good.

Aug 04, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Homemade yogurt, fermentation stage got too hot

If you've still got starter, you should be able to get the process going even if you have dead yogurt in your milk. I've never done this myself, so I don't know if it will be weird in any way, but I can't think of anything that would happen right off the top of my head.
By the way, holding yogurt at about 110 is in some ways easier to do physically. I pack 120 degree milk with starter into a glad container which then goes in to a cooler. The cooler is stuffed with a sheet or some towels and shut over night. Lately, I've been putting the hot pad in as well, but I don't think it's totally necessary.

Jun 04, 2012
gilintx in General Topics

Pig Ears

HEB at Rundberg and Lamar has them.

Jun 04, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Your best Swiss chard recipes

We had very good luck with this Swiss chard gratin from Alice Waters:

Like creamed spinach, but a little bolder.

May 31, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

What to do with whey from ricotta?

It works well as a substitute for milk in most baking recipes (your mileage may vary), it can be sweetened and drunk chilled, it is good for watering plants and pets. I know I'm forgetting a lot.

May 31, 2012
gilintx in General Topics

Why is the Olive Garden so reviled?

I think the difference between Olive Garden and other chains is the way they present themselves. Applebees, Chili's, Friday's et al, don't really sell themselves as a fine restaurant to go to when you get that big promotion; Applebee's sells affordable family dining, and the other two are just places to grab some pizza shooters and extreme fajitas while you watch the sports ball game and drink light beers. If you listen to what Olive Garden claims, they claim to sell fine, authentic, Italian, cuisine. I'm no fan of Red Lobster either, but at least the claim that the food is "from the sea" is accurate. Olive Garden's food may be palatable to a broad range of American palettes, but it is in no way "fine," "authentic," or "Italian."

May 15, 2012
gilintx in Chains

Pesto Sauce from Costco

Tasty stirred with rice.

May 15, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Which rice for asparagus risotto

I have no experience with them, but vialone nano and carnaroli are supposed to be the best for risotto. Arborio is generally what's used here. All three are acceptable.

May 14, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Mozzarella Failure - Help!

It needs to be kneaded hot. Toss the curd into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it for about 30 seconds then try again. My cheesemaking guide says it needs to reach a temperature of 135 fahrenheit to stretch properly. Keep kneading hot, then put back into the nuker for 15-20 seconds at a time to keep it very hot when it cools down.

May 13, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Summer Sipping - alcohol & otherwise

Some great ideas here already. I've been looking for non-alcoholic recipes for summer drinks lately. Here are some of the things I've been experimenting with:

Agua fresca (basically just fruit pulp, water, and sugar. I find it helps to steep the puree overnight then strain. I've only made strawberry agua so far, but this will be happening more often.

Shrubs (fruit muddled with vinegar for a few days then strained). I've done this once with cider vinegar and loquat. The concentrated syrup mixed with soda water is wonderfully refreshing, and I'm told that the vinegar is good for the hot weather. Will be trying this with summer berries soon.

Horchata (sweetened rice water). Very light and fresh. I steeped a puree of ground rice, cinnamon, and raw almonds in water, then strained, added a touch of vanilla and some simple syrup. This is nice like this right out of the fridge.

Ginger syrup, hibiscus syrup: both prepared by simmering large quantities in water, then using the strained liquid to make a simple syrup. Mixed with either fresh water or soda water.

May 07, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Need help with Science Fair food

Cheese (pref. something squishy).

May 03, 2012
gilintx in Not About Food

What did you have for breakfast today? [old]

Anson Mills oatmeal with milk and sugar. Wheat toast with raspberry preserves. Whole foods coffee.

May 03, 2012
gilintx in General Topics

Meatball subs?

I've been having some serious cravings lately for a meatball sub, and I'm looking for any favorites in town I've been missing. So far, my experience has been limited to Thundercloud (yuck), Spec's (surprisingly dull), and Delaware Subs (pretty decent, actually). Here's what I consider a decent meatball sub:

light, nicely seasoned meatballs
flavorful sauce applied judiciously enough to not drown out my bread or meatballs
bread with a nice chew and a little substance to it, not something that will turn into a wad of sauce-soaked goo before I'm finished eating.

OK, hounds: what Italian style meatball subs am I missing?

May 03, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Please Don't Put Onions or Shallots In Your Gazpacho

My wife is also prone to migraines from raw onion. Her solution is to soak the (diced) onions in water before using them. That takes enough of the bite out of them to not affect her. As for your gazpacho, you might give it a little time to mellow before giving up completely. The acid in the tomato should take a little bite ouf of the shallot.

May 02, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Where should an aspiring cook begin?

Learn to make eggs to order. Eggs are deceptively tricky, and it takes pretty good chops to do them properly scrambled, over, poached and sunny side up.

May 01, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Help With Mother's Day Menu

My wife had great success bringing a basic green bean salad to things like this last summer. It's simply blanched green beans tossed with a dijon vinaigrette, some finely sliced shallot, and some toasted nuts. Can be served at room temperature, looks pretty, and is a real crowd-pleaser.

Apr 30, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Best Thing YOU Ever Ate, Austin

The salt and pepper shrimp at T&S seafood. White pizza at Home Slice. Green mole at brunch at Fonda San Miguel. Oxtail mac & cheese (I'm sure it had a better name than that), at Foreign and Domestic, but it's not on the current menu. Marrow bones at Parkside.

Apr 26, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Yume Dog from Peached Tortilla truck.

A quick google got me the following description:

Yumé Dog (all beef hot dog, wasabi mayo, tonkatsu sauce, nori, crispy onion strings).

That at least gets us a list of ingredients, I suppose.

Apr 25, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Austin Burger Smackdown!

The wife and I hit up Hopdoddy on Anderson on their first day open today. Had not been to the South location, so this was a first for both of us. We were very pleased with the experience and the food both. There was no evidence of first day hiccups, and even the bigger than usual crowd was handled quickly. Food was hot and fast, and service was good. I can't compare the burgers to the other location, but the meat was flavorful, the specialty burgers thoughtfully composed, and the fries crispy, hot, and properly seasoned. My classic cheeseburger was a touch on the done side (I had ordered it 'pink') but the wife's mushroom sandwich was spot-on pink. Wife had her sandwich on a gluten-free bun, which she declared about as good as she has had. We'll definitely be going back.

Apr 23, 2012
gilintx in Austin

Seared scallops with minimal fat

Grill or broil. Brush with a touch of butter if you want a crust.

Apr 22, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Traditional Ethnic Recipes

Check YouTube. I searched "Mexican cooking" and "Ethiopian cooking" and got several hits that looked like videos of mom or grandmom making traditional dishes. Can't vouch for the recipes, of course, but they look pretty darn authentic.

Apr 22, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

rapid simmer

Is there something with your simmering that you haven't been able to get right yet? It appears to be tripping you up. Which dishes have you tackled so far? If they turned out ok, you probably simmered just fine.

Apr 22, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking

Date night dinner

Frites are delicious when they are fresh from the fryer, but don't really hold for very long. If you want to have a leisurely time, you might want to reconsider something requiring that much attention. Maybe roast potatoes instead? Or a gratin?
Both entrees sound great, though if it were up to this 40-something, I would say chicken.
As for wine, either of these dishes would pair nicely with a bubbly. Of course, I think almost everything goes well with champagne.

Apr 20, 2012
gilintx in Home Cooking