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Seeking a restaurant in Austin with both a good beer selection and a tasty macaroi and cheese

Blackstar's mac and cheese is pretty excellent (get it on a veggie plate...their other sides are also delish!).

May 09, 2011
ashes in Austin

Katsudon

They make it at Maru on Burnet (near 45th). I've never had the authentic dish, but I really like the dish at Maru (has egg, onions, and sauce mentioned by others). It's fairly inexpensive. My husband and I used to go there fairly regularly and each get a Katsudon and then munch on a few sushi rolls after. Haven't been in about 6 months though.

Dec 02, 2010
ashes in Austin

Best Places to eat at The Domain

I live really close to the Domain and often end up there by default. My husband and I really enjoy the food and drinks at the newer Gloria's and the price is reasonable compared to most other spots in the area. We also like the happy hour at Jasper's (all night as long if you are in the bar/on the patio) that includes a number of lower priced apps and $5 cocktail specials. And, while the menu is way too long, the sushi at Sushi Zushi is good (especially compared to other options in the area). I've had excellent service there in the bar and have had good luck with takeout. The menu is daunting, but most items we've sampled have been tasty.

I would avoid Magianno's at ALL COSTS. Have had both atrocious food and service there. North is nice. Nothing special but they do a few things well and the patio is nice. And, I like the wine flights at Cru but there is a bit of sticker shock.

Nov 16, 2010
ashes in Austin

I just returned to Austin--looking for Asian fast food

I can't really think of any drive thru asian restaurants anywhere in Austin. But, Sushi Zushi in the Domain delivers (never used the service and not sure of the area of service). And, most places will take call in orders for take out (I go to Maki Toki on Braker often).

Get Sum Dim Sum is another option for something other than your standard Chinese take out fare (search the board for reviews....some here are not fans, but I've always liked the food there). In general, I've found that the Chinese delivery options in my area of North Austin (Metric area near Parmer/Braker) are NOT good (same old dreck and bland brown sauces over greasy meats and sad, sad rice). But, there are lots of places where I can pick up food.

We're fans of several of the Banh Mi spots on North Lamar. Lately we've been hitting up Baguette House in the Chinatown Center, but we also like Thanh Ni and Tam Deli (again search the board for reviews of these spots). And, for something completely different try the cajun style pho at Hot Boiled (shopping center at Parmer and Mopac). Their spicy crawfish pho is a favorite of mine when I need to clear up a head cold.

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Baguette House & Cafe
10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

Tam Deli & Cafe
8222 N Lamar Blvd Ste D33, Austin, TX 78753

Oct 05, 2010
ashes in Austin

Dining lineup

I really like the Brunch at La Condesa. I had the huevos chilangos once which was out of this world: slightly spicy, wild boar chorizo ( a little greasy...but when is chorizo not greasy), poached egg, quinoa cake (maybe my favorite part), and greens (arugula when i was there) melded with some great sauces. YUM! One of my friends actually dreams of this dish often. I have also had a daily special that included house smoked artic char and poached eggs that was equally yummy. The star of the show though are the dessert offerings. We usually order 2-4 for the table (depending on how many people we are with) and they are all some of the best desserts I've had in Austin. I've never been for dinner, but have heard it gets a little raucous and scenester in the evenings. Brunch, in my experience though, is much calmer, never packed, and lovely.

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La Condesa
400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

Sep 24, 2010
ashes in Austin

Sushi Zushi

We had dinner at the Domain location on Saturday night. We ate in the bar so that we could watch the game. While I'm not yet totally sold on the food, I'll return based solely on the excellent service. The bartender that waited on us was excellent. He kept our drinks full (even while making drinks for the rest of a mostly full dining room...we were the only bar customers) and was super polite. The managers were quick to change the channel and even turned off the terrible muzack and turned up the tv volume for us (without us asking).

We stuck to rolls (my husband's sushi preference) and sampled 4. The San Antonio was really interesting and tasty. A spicy salmon roll without rice and wrapped in cucumber. I'd definitely order it again. We also had the Valentine which featured soft shell crab (ok...although the crab was a little on the fishy side), a Caterpillar, and the St. Petersburg ( I can't for the life of me remember what was in it). The fish was all very fresh. The weird thing was the nori. They wrap most rolls with rice on the outside. And the interior nori tasted stale....and strangely crunchy. This was mainly noticeable on the end pieces of each roll. It wasn't so strange as to send it back but definitely something we noticed.

We also had drinks. I had a fabulous fizzy blackberry drink with vodka from their specialties menu that was great. Husband drank 22oz Sapporo on draft and was very happy.

In terms of quality of the fish, I think this is a step above Maki Toki. Living in the neighborhood, I'll still rely on Maki Toki for lazy night takeout and when I want to keep things cheaper. I'm interested to hit up Sushi Zushi's HH and see how that is. And, I'll be back to try more from the EXTENSIVE menu. Know though, that their rolls are complicated. Most feature 5-8 ingredients (aside from the rice and nori). Next time I'll probably try a little sashimi to simplify the experience ;)

Sep 21, 2010
ashes in Austin

Maki Toki on Braker/Metric

We get takeout here with some regularity on nights when I can't even think about cooking and am tired of pizza delivery. It's fast and affordable. Plus, it's right around the corner from my house. Is it my favorite sushi in town...No. But, is it a good pinch hitter....Yes. I've never gotten bad fish here and the folks who work there are really amenable. I'm sure you could ask for spicy or other sauces to be left off or on the side.

Aug 26, 2010
ashes in Austin

Gloria's Restaurant in The Domain Is Open

I went about 2 weeks ago and had no problem with the dress code. One male member of our party was wearing shorts and a tshirt with flip flops. My husband wears sneakers (pumas or chuck taylors) at all times so I'm assuming he was wearing them that night. We got no flack at all. Very strange.

As for the food, we really enjoyed it. We started with a ceviche sampler. The scallop ceviche was a little bland...needed salt. But, scallops aren't my ideal ceviche ingredient. The shrimp and fish versions were great though. I'm fairly certain the ceviches (along with the rest of the apps) are on special during happy hour. I can totally see myself enjoying the ceviche with a mojito (these were also great) on a hot summer day on the patio.

For the entree, I had the grilled quail. Aside from a little difficulty in getting to the meat (I forget that quail is often eat with your hands type fair) the meat was juicy and tasty. It was accompanied by really creamy refried black beans, fried plantains (sweet and tasty) and rice (which I tend to skip). The others in our party all had the surf and turf menu item (steak and shrimp) which was a real steal at around $13. They especially raved about the chimichurri.

I want to go back to try the pupusas and tamales. And, I like that there is another place in the domain where I can go for a nice meal without breaking the bank. All in all, I liked it and plan to return. Sorry that your experience was not great Mrcbro.

May 03, 2010
ashes in Austin

Chinese buffet?

Despite work colleagues claiming otherwise, I found the food and Fujian to be awful. The place was also filthy when we visited. And, despite the huge dining room they had over half blocked off so that everyone was crowded in to a packed area (complete with screaming children hurling food and too close tables). AWFUL!

Apr 12, 2010
ashes in Austin

Nuernberg Brauhaus: New German in Pflugerville

Scrumptious- My husband and I adore the food at Taste of Ethiopia in Pflugerville (on Grand Ave. Pkwy). It is, hands down, the best ethiopian cuisine I've had (NYC, Austin, etc.). Plus, the owner is very friendly and cares for you like you're family. I'm pretty sure I posted an earlier review about the spot.

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Taste of Ethiopia
1466 Grand Avenue Pkwy, Pflugerville, TX 78660

Apr 12, 2010
ashes in Austin

3 meals in St. Louis...where should a single diner eat?

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. While I never made it to Niche (was too busy with conference and other work) I had several great meals.

Wednesday I had a late lunch at Mosaic on Washington Ave. This was great! I had the soup and sandwich combo opting for a daily specialty soup (Roasted Beet and Bacon...sounds so wrong but was velvety smooth, rich and delicious) and their take on a Ruben. I followed this up with the Dulce de Leche dessert: caramel gelato with caramel drizzle, basil crema, and a little waffle cone. The flavors were excellent together; I especially liked the interplay of the basil and caramel.

THat night I took a cab to The Hill and decided on simplicity. I ate at Guido's pzzeria and tapas, partly because of the outdoor patio tables. Because good red sauce/gravy is hard to come by in Texas, I ordered a simple fettucini with sauce topped with yummy lightly breaded and fried zucchini slices. It was homey and the perfect comfort food.

Thursday I had a quick lunch at Teutenberg's near the hotel. I had the BLT which was nothing special but a good value. The service here was great though. Very friendly (even the kitchen staff).

Thursday night I decided to go see the Delmar Loop area. After a little window shopping I ended up at Eclipse for dinner. I started with the grilled pear salad. Although the pear was only lightly grilled (could have used a little extra time on perhaps a less hot grill), the pancetta vinagrette and greens were a great compliment. For my entree I had the Trout with Pea and Ozark Mushroom hash. The trout was perfectly crispy and had a great spice rub that I never quite figured out the components of (cinnamon? tarragon in the hash??). The mushrooms were a nice juxtapositions and the peas a sweet spring note, but I could have done with a little less boring potato in the hash. I'm a sucker for dessert and bread pudding so I over indulged a little and ordered their version. Advertised as a homemade white chocolate and blueberry bread, the bread was little on the soft side (would have liked a little more crusty caramelization) but the whole dish was very good.

Friday I made the mistake of heading to the zoo (Good Friday=desperate parents trying to entertain kids and stoller mafia in full force) but enjoyed the walk through the park. I wanted something easy and comforting before heading to the airport. I stopped at an "upscale sports bar" on Wash. Ave. a few blocks from my hotel, Overunder. I tried their mac and cheese with crab added in. It was creamy and delicious but might have benefitted from a sharper cheddar.

Overall, I liked the STL and enjoyed the food offerings!

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Teutenberg's
701 Olive St, Saint Louis, MO 63101

Apr 05, 2010
ashes in Great Plains

3 meals in St. Louis...where should a single diner eat?

I'll be at a conference in St. Louis Wed.-Fri. and am looking for suggestions on where to eat. I'm staying at the Roberts Mayfair on Saint Charles and will not have a car. I'm not afraid of public transport if reliable or a not too long cab ride. I'll have time for dinner on my own Wed. and Thurs. night and then lunch Friday before heading to the airport. I'm a Texas native and looking for what's good in St. Louis. I'll eat pretty much anything and would love one nice meal (where a single diner won't feel to put upon) and maybe a local favorite. I've read a lot about Niche and would like any feedback on their food (esp. whether a single diner...don't mind eating earlier in the evening...would be ok there).

Mar 27, 2010
ashes in Great Plains

Hard Hat Report Volume 2

Link to website??

Dec 08, 2009
ashes in Austin

Happy Hour - NW Austin, Domain / Arboretum area

I've enjoyed the happy hour at Jasper's in the Domain. It's all night as long as you're seated in either the bar or patio area. There are a number of food specials for $5 plus a $5 drink list with some interesting martinis, etc. All other alcohol is discounted (think $1-$2). I had the "fancy" corn dogs last time and nibbled on a friend's chicken wings and pizza. Pretty tasty stuff, esp. for the price.

Nov 10, 2009
ashes in Austin

Is there good bread in Austin ?

They have a pretty tasty baguette (not exactly artisan..but better than any other baguettes I've had in town) at the Banh Mi shop Baguette House in the Chinatown Center on N. Lamar. I'm pretty sure they sell them for around $1.50 each.

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Baguette House & Cafe
10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

Oct 29, 2009
ashes in Austin

Hard Hat Report Vol 3

As I was driving into work this morning I noticed that they had finally lit up the sign at Hat Creek (on Burnet) and a banner was draped over the front announcing that the Drive Thru is now open. Can anyone confirm?

Oct 16, 2009
ashes in Austin

Fun places for a crowd to go out in Austin? Not food specifically, more drinkin'

I would suggest heading toward the Warehouse district (closer to Lamberts). After my rehearsal dinner this summer, several of us went to Lavaca Street Bar (on Lavaca btw. 4th and 5th). It's nothing special but does have cheaper drinks (a full bar) and large tables in their extended back room that helps with large groups. It's a pretty typical bar vibe (pool tables, big screens with ESPN, skee ball!) but the crowd tends to be a little older (upper 20s and 30s as opposed to the 6th street college crowd).

After a friends rehearsal in January, we went to Gingerman. I haven't been to their new location (also on Lavaca near 4th) but I've been told they still have a patio with long tables that are also good for groups. They have a great beer selection but no liquor (a few wine selections).

If you want a trendier bar with dancing I've enjoyed a few visits to The Madison (on 5th...maybe btw. Lavaca and Colorado?), and although it is a little to yuppie for me The Belmont tends to get good reviews (both of these places might be a little tougher if you have a really large group).

Oct 14, 2009
ashes in Austin

Good Middle Eastern?

As far as I know they closed down about 6 months ago with no plans to relocate.

Oct 13, 2009
ashes in Austin

The Good Knight

Just wanted to put a review in for the food at this little bar on east 6th. We were looking for late night dining (after 9pm) after seeing San Jose Taiko at the Long Center. We weren't in the mood for Austin diner standbys or an overly pricey downtown meal. After a failed attempt to try out Frank in the warehouse district (closed for a private party) we decided on our second choice, The Good Knight. And, I'm so glad we stopped in.

I really like the feel of this place: not overly pretentious, dark and cozy, with a friendly staff. The food was also wonderful. They have a very small menu here but are doing good things with what they do serve. Our server was quick to report that they were out of the gazpacho but had substituted a lentil soup (which I saw a near by table enjoying). The rotating pate selection was a chicken liver mousse (another near by table had this and from their ecstatic expressions this is definitely on my to try list for the next visit). My SO and I decided to keep it simple and both ordered the Chicken Pot Pie. Served in a smallish soup bowl (the little brown ones with handles that you often see french onion soup in) the portion looked small upon arrival but was just right for our later meal. They have also managed to take a dish that can be heavy, clunky and overbearing and make it a creamy thing of beauty. The sauce was definitely made with real cream and well seasoned with hints of thyme. Swimming in this sauce were nice chunks of chicken (tasted like roasted breast meat), large but perfectly tender hunks of carrot, potato, and slivers of mushrooms. This was topped with a delicate and flaky puff pastry topper. We both cleaned the bowls, but were satisfied with portion.

We followed this with the dessert options. The SO had the chocolate pot de creme. Served in a teacup, this was nothing overly special. But, it didn't fall into the pitfalls that plague this dish at so many other restaurants. There was no icky skin, the cream on top was fresh, and it didn't taste like JELLO brand with a fancy name. Instead it was rich and had a dark chocolate flavor that the SO loved. I had the bruleed coconut chess pie. A nice slice of pie was served with a light blue berry topping (with real berries!). The coconut and sugar on top had been freshly bruleed to give it a crackly top. And, the chess filling was oh so good.

I'm really impressed with the quality of food being served here in what appears to be a microscopic kitchen. It's a great later night option. They don't try to overpack their menu with too many options, and I think this lends itself to the success of our meal. I'll also say that I was impressed with the cocktail menu and the bartender seemed very knowledgeable. I just had a Kir Royale to start and the SO had a draft beer, but I look forward to returning and branching out on the cocktail menu.

Sep 29, 2009
ashes in Austin

Austin Restaurant Week

Went to Green Pastures last night and had a lovely time. I called on Sunday to make the reso and they were booked up except for an 8:30 seating. This was fine as we were hoping for a later dinner.

I'd never been to the restaurant before and was surprised by this little plantation style oasis tucked away in 78704. We were promptly greeted and shown to a table. In terms of service, I could see that they were certainly at capacity and there were a few hiccups that came from a restaurant unaccustomed to such a large crowd on a Monday (or at least this is my guest). Our waitress, who was in charge of all 6 tables in our room of the house had been seated with three tables in quick succession (ours being the last). She handled this well and with ease, but I'd guess that our slightly later arrival than the other two parties caused us to wait a little longer for our food. Our group of four though happily chatted and polished off a bottle of Malbec in the interlude.

The food on the whole was very good and an excellent deal at the $25 per head price tag. For the starter, I had the tempura lobster tail. The lobster was sweet and succulent although slightly overdone (what can you expect when you throw lobster in the fryer). The chimichurri sauce was great. I was unsure of this pairing when I saw it on the menu but the flavors were right on. The menu reported that the lobster featured sweet corn puree but I never found it...perhaps they were running low on the corn. Regardless it was tasty. Two of my companions had the quail three ways (a breast, asian style legs, and a cranberry? sausage) and liked it although my husband reported that the quail sausage was a little dry. My other friend had the brie three ways dish. She particularly raved about the soup saying she could have eaten a whole bowl.

For the entree, I chose the trout. The fish was perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the shrimp and crawfish sausage that topped the filet. The sauce was delicious although I didn't really get the saffron taste. The mashed potatoes (these tasted the same as those with my lobster although they supposedly featured different flavors) were fine and the chard was well done without a hint of bitter. One other at my table also had the trout. We both cleaned our plates. My husband had the flat iron steak and he said it was very good. His only complaint was that because of the thick cut of the steak it was a little rarer (he ordered it medium) than he would have liked. He didn't rave about the accompaniments but he did polish them off. I will add that to my eye it was a very nice cut of steak, not something you often see with a flat iron in this town. My other friend had the garbanzo bean dumplings. She loved the flavors and commented on how well the sauce worked. It was a heavy dish but featured a lot of nice veggies, done well. The desserts were also good, but by this point I was pretty stuffed. I only made it through about half of my bread pudding, but I really enjoyed the creamy jack daniels sauce. The clear notes of cinnamon and nutmeg spoke to the onset of fall. The boys at the table also enjoyed the pecan ball, vanilla ice cream rolled in sweetened pecans and topped with hot fudge.

All in all, I'd say job well done. I'm not sure if my pocketbook will let me run back right away, but I'd definitely go back.

Sep 22, 2009
ashes in Austin

Taste of Ethiopia

We had dinner here Saturday and also instantly fell in love with the place. I've had Ethiopian in NYC, Chicago, and also at the other Austin restos (Karibu and takeout from Aster's) but this was hands down the best I've had (I claim no expertise on the cuisine though).

First the service: SOOO warm and friendly. Like going to someone's home despite the strip mall setting. Winnie is a delight and mothers you through the whole experience. Her other servers/helpers are also very polite, accomodating, and welcoming. At the end of our meal we were offered free coffee service. Winnie explained that it was Ethiopian NEw Year and hat they would be preparing special coffee for all their guests. We stuck around for this treat and it was excellent. She roasted the beans in a pot and brought it around to each table so we could enjoy the smells. Then everyone was served delicate espresso cups of the wonderful brew. It was a great end to an even greater meal.

Next, the food: We shared the Beef Tibs (marinated chunks of beef in a nicely spicy sauce with tomatoes, onions and jalapenos) and the Vegetarian Super Combo (two types of lentils: yellow split and red split=Misir Wot; Eggplant Wot; tomato, lettuce and feta? salad; collard greens=Gomen; green beans and carrots=Fasolia; and cabbage with tomato and carrots). This easily could have fed 3-4 people, and the two of us had dinner for just under $40 before tip. It was a feast for the price. The beef was tender and nicely spicy but not overpowering. Our favorites, by far though, were some of the veggies. We had plowed through all the cabbage in just minutes. It was unlike any cabbage dish I've ever had and my SO, who usually balks at cabbage on his plate, gobbled it happily. The collards and green beans were also excellent. The red split lentils were nicely spicy but the yellow ones were the only thing we didn't return to for seconds. It wasn't that they were bad, just bland compared to all the other tasty options. The eggplant was also phenomenal. They managed to make eggplant with the skin still on tender but not mushy, not an easy task. As others have reported, the spiced iced tea (I couldn't place anything definitively) was a delight. And, the injera was fabulously done, something I've yet to find in Austin. It was neither tough or overly thick, but rather light and spongy with just the right twangy flavor.

The setting is well done for a small space. The warm yellowy walls make the small interior inviting. I quickly forgot I was in a strip mall. The nice traditional woven baskets on the tables serve as the perfect nestling home for the food when served. And, I look forward to dining on the patio when not in the middle of a deluge (It was dry despite the rain but unpleasantly humid outside).

Overall an A+. I can't wait to go back and take friends. And, it seems they are quickly becoming a N. Austin favorite. My SO reports that their lunch buffet has received rave reviews from his Dell coworkers. He tells me that guys who are not daring and live at chain restaurants even love it.

Make the drive and you're in for a treat!

Sep 14, 2009
ashes in Austin

Help Feed My Cravings Please!!!

While I have yet to make it in, Sagra (I've had good cocktails and pizza there) right by campus has all you can eat mussels on Tuesdays for around $14 (check their website for details). No clams, but maybe the quantity of mussels would suffice.

Sep 11, 2009
ashes in Austin

Hard Hat Report Vol 3

Hat Creek is the same as the trailer that was located behind the now defunct Star Bar. I've never tried their burgers but heard praise from fellow bar patrons on a visit SEVERAL months back. According to their website (http://www.hatcreekburgers.com/) the trailer will be relocating. It doesn't specify when the site at the old Arby's will open. But, it looks worth a try.

Sep 08, 2009
ashes in Austin

Terraburger Is Open (Sort Of)

I stopped by Terraburger last night after weighing the options of Mighty FIne (which I've previously tried), Elevation (haven't been yet), or sticking a little closer to home and going to Culver's. Overall, it was a good experience and made me want to go back.

First the GREAT. I ordered the vanilla shake on the suggestion of a friend and by god it was a heavenly experience. It tasted like actual vanilla and was not to cloying or sweet. It didn't have that frothy whipped taste like Mighty Fine or that marshmallowy blech of P. Terry's. I also like the use of the fat straw like those used in boba teas. Made the slurping a lot easier. I was very sad, but sated when I finished this shake. I can't attest for the other flavors, but vanilla was awesome. I'll definitely be back for a shake.

The good: I ordered the mini burgers (three to an order) because I'm a sucker for anything in slider form. The meat was good. Yes, it could have used a little more seasoning but I did like the cook temp (there was still a little pink which is a good thing) and the thickness of the patty. The bun was tasty and I really liked the pickle (thicker...a little more substantial than those measly things you often get). I added the white cheddar to the sliders. And for the 95 cent upcharge, I'd like to see a little more cheese. I also really (and suprisingly) liked the organic ketchup. I'm usually a heinz or nothing girl, but I found it tasty.

The ok: The fries started off good. Piping hot, well salted, with thicker flakes of salty goodness and I love hand cut for the simple fact that you get the potato skin. But, I think they need to rethink the cone container. It funnels down all the oil so that half way through your fries are limp and a little gross.

The needs work: I was a little off-put by the wait for food. There was only one person in front of me in the drive through and yet I waited at least 10 minutes for food. Either the car in front of me ordered the mother load or they need to get the system down a little better. I was right in front of the pay window the whole time and could see at least 10 workers scrambling around. With that many hands on deck there should be no problem getting food out promptly. I'll give you a extra minutes to mix my shake but 10 minutes is too long. And, while waiting 3 employees (I guess the window staff and some loan workers who after observing for a while seemed to have no clear job...the manager?) simply stood around gabbing. One finally noticed that my order was up (god knows what was happening with the poor soul in front of me) and she handed my food out the pay window so I could drive off. I was ready to be a little peeved, but that milk shake made it ALL BETTER.

Aug 12, 2009
ashes in Austin

Mama Roux

Scrumptious-

The room is VERY small, but they've added some brick detailing and lots of mardi gras/new orleans paraphenalia to make the strip mall feel dissipate. I will say that despite the size, the room was never overly loud nor did I feel too close to my neighbors. There are a number of four and two seaters tables along with a banquet and tables along one wall. White table cloths adorn each table, although there are also these weird plexi covers that help avoid constant tablecloth replacements. This choice takes away from the "white table cloth atmosphere" and seems a slightly schizophrenic design choice.

No bar. It appears that as of now there is only wine and beer. I'm not sure, space-wise where they could squeeze in a bartender or bar space either. As far as I could tell, the beers were all bottled with a heavy emphasis on Abita. I didn't notice Live Oak or other popular local brews, although my glance at the beers was cursory. I know though that the hubby chose Shiner (after being denied his Fat Tire) and likely would have gone for the Live Oak, Fireman's 4 or other local brews if they had been available. The wine list was ok at a glance if a little pricey for some of the names that I recognized. All wines are only by the bottle except for a house chardonnay, either a merlot or cab, and a white zin. All of these are only $5 a glass. I had the Chardonnay. To be honest, when it comes to white wine I am very easy to please and I liked what they poured. Not an oaky chard, with some sweeter notes. And the pour was VERY large.

With the size of the space, I think they've done as much as possible to erase the strip mall ambiance aside from a few overly cheesy mardi gras posters. If they can make adjustments on service (i.e. the quality of waiters is better across the board...of course I'm like a magnet for crappy waiters) and perhaps work on spice profiles so that dishes have different profiles and less of an across the board unknown and all powerful cajun spice (don't get me wrong....it's tasty but after eating for 20 minutes thinks tend to start tasting more or less the same...still tasty but the same).

Does this help?

Aug 11, 2009
ashes in Austin

Mama Roux

The hubby and I also hit up Mama Roux on Saturday night. Overall it was a good experience. Not mind blowing, but we'll definitely go back.

The main problem that I had was the service. I think we got the "fill in" waiter you mentioned above. He never described the specials to our table (I didn't even know these existed until I heard one of the more seasoned wait staff members describing these to another table). He also did not know the beer menu AT ALL. While Fat Tire was on the drink menu, when the hubby ordered it, he was wishy washy...not knowing if they actually ahve it. When he returned 5 minutes later to the table, he reported that they did not sell this beer. Odd? Perhaps they should reprint their beer list to reflect their actual offerings. Overall, he was just a slow waiter, and other waiters were always delivering drinks, food or other things.

The food was very good. We started with the crawfish popcorn, which was lightly fried and very well seasoned with a nice tart aioli dipping sauce. We really liked this. I then ordered the Catfish Mama (Bat Guano's right the portions are HUGE and I could barely eat half). The crawfish and shrimp in the sauce was very generous, plentiful and large sweet shrimp. And the portion on the sides (cajun cabbage and red beans and rice) was also a lot. While everything was good, by midway through the meal everything started to taste the same. I was wishing for a little more distinction between the seasoning and flavors. But for the price and the portions sizes, I enjoyed it. Hubby had the Salmon Le Roux. As he put it, you can't argue with salmon wrapped in prosciutto, but he wasn't blown away, the salmon was a little more well done than he prefers. He also wasn't a cabbage fan but didn't want to double up on the starchy sides. Perhaps making a dinner salad an option for a side would be a good improvement.
I think this place has a future, especially with the predominance of chains in the the area. And, most tables were full at 7pm, usually a good sign. I think with some tweaks here and there they could be great. I never ate at the couple's other restaurants, so I can't compare. But, it's nice to have an affordable place in the hood with fish dishes.

Aug 10, 2009
ashes in Austin

Ultimate BLT

My SO and I are partial to the BLT at Gabbi's Burgers and Dogs (located on Gracy Farms near the intersection with Burnet/Duval/Mopac...the same shopping center as Mangia and Taco Deli). Lots of great thick cut bacon, not super greasy, fresh tomatoes and lettuce and decent fries to boot.

May 04, 2009
ashes in Austin

Need Wedding Cake: Austin, Texas, HELp!

We're getting our cakes done by Lori at Classic Cakes by Lori in Dripping Springs. It's a bit of a drive out there (although we're getting married in Bee Caves). But, her cakes are super yummy. Her french vanilla puts any other "white" cake to shame. And her butter cream is rich but not too sugary (she uses salted butter to cut the sugar rush). She's friendly and also very reasonably priced. I had expected to spend around 600-700 for cake (bride and groom cakes for ~100 guests) and Lori only charged just over 400!

Mar 30, 2009
ashes in Austin

NYC in ATX?

Uchi does a limited number of items on an authentic Japanese charcoal yakitori grill. I'm a fan of the pork belly (i think it's called the bacon steakie).

You can find steamed pork buns at a lot of the local dim sum joints.

Oct 27, 2008
ashes in Austin

Need dinner party suggestions (Italian theme)

I'm planning a dinner party for about 20 people (could be 30 if all invited show) and need some help with the menu. This will be be buffet style and laid back in terms of serving/eating (think late 20 somethings with lots of vino and very hungry). I had a similar party in the past and will stick with some of the favorites but need to round out the menu.

Thus far I will be making a Sausage and Pepper Lasagna, an Eggplant Parmesan, and Gnocchi with Gorogonzola Cream Sauce. I'm thinking of adding grilled chicken and/or shrimp with pesto and a Spinach Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole. I'll also have a large salad (likely Caesar). What is missing? Are there flavors I am forgetting? I've added in a Spagetti Carbonara in the past. I'm also trying to keep a balance between meat and non meat dishes (menu needs to be vegetarian friendly).

As for starters I'm at a bit of a loss aside from the usual suspects of tapenades and an antipasto platter. Any suggestions for quick and make ahead?

Finally dessert is stumping me. I want to make Tiramisu but need a good trusted recipe. And, I'd love to make it more cocktail friendly, perhaps a cupcake or other single serve suggestion.

I'm open to suggestions and have plenty of time to prepare (3 weeks).

Jan 07, 2008
ashes in Home Cooking