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Great quick lunch spots in central Austin

My current favorite is Surf & Turf Po-Boy, which has moved into the kitchen of Lavaca Street Bar at 4th and Lavaca. I almost always get to-go, and it's tasty and filling (if a bit messy). My go-to is blacked shrimp tacos, or blackened shrimp salad if I'm feeling like eating (a bit) healtier.

Other places I hit up on a fairly regular basis are Thai Passion for the curry of the day on Monday (red) and Thursday (panang), although usually more often in the cooler months. I still get to-go at Athenian grill on occasion, although I burned out on it and/or it's going downhill as I don't seem to enjoy it as much as I did a few years ago. I'll also throw Jo's, Austin Java, and Annies in the mix on occasion for a salad or sandwich.

Aug 13, 2013
Royale in Austin

Benji's

I like that they're using local, sustainable, humanely-raised ingredients (and that more and more Austin restaurants are doing so in general). The higher priced ingredients accounts for some of the higher priced entrees, but most of the joints using such ingredients and charging such prices make up the difference in creativity or novelty. You can find Benji's items on dozens of other menus around town. Maybe "trendy" will keep them afloat for a while, but it will be interesting to see its ultimate longeivity.

Jun 05, 2013
Royale in Austin

Inexpensive but impressive apps for non-profit fundraiser?

I'm helping plan a non-profit fundraiser that's being held during cocktail/happy hour (5 pm to 7 pm) on a Saturday at a private home in late April. Luckily we've had the booze donated, and are now trying to figure out what apps to serve. We are trying to make it as inexpensive as possible so more funds go to the non-profit, but also "nice" enough to make it "worth" the $50 suggested donation. Ideally, it would be something (or a few things) that can be served at room temperature, do not require utensils (and if we could even avoid plates, that'd be great too), and require little to no prep or pre-assembly. We were trying to think whether there are any local restaurants that have a dish/dishes that would scale up for this purpose (and might be interested in an in-kind donation...?). We've contacted a few caterers, but being Saturday during wedding season, we didn't have much luck or the price or minimum was too high. And the bulk, frozen app type things from Costco/Sams aren't appealing either. Any other ideas/suggestions?

Mar 22, 2013
Royale in Austin

Looking for a trendy and tasty restaurant !

Sway is pretty trendy right now (and at dinner runs a 2 hour wait!). It's upscale/modern Thai and quite good in my opinion.

Mar 22, 2013
Royale in Austin

Picturing casual gourmet, fresh seafood and veggies, creative, good

In addition to Asti and Enoteca, I also recommend Fino and Texas French Bread.

Fino is Asti's "sister" restaurant and is more all-over medeterranean with some great seafood dishes. My husband and I love their paella, particularly the squid ink.

Don't let Texas French Bread's name turn you off. It's a sandwich/pastry/coffee place by day, but in the evenings the 29th Street location turns into a nice bistro with very local, fresh items on a weekly menu. I've had some pretty good pasta and seafood dishes there. Bonus is you can bring your own wine, and they often run Groupons (and happen to have one today!). My husband and I go there often for an "open that bottle night" when we have a nice bottle that we want to drink with something better than just a takeout pizza but don't want to hassle with a corkage at a nicer place with their own wine list.

May 01, 2012
Royale in Austin

Austin Food & Wine Festival

Mike, we tasted:
1. 2002 Bollinger Grande Annee Rose Champagne;
2. 2009 Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots;
3. 2009 Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc (I didn't get much of this one as a wind gust caused the side of the tent to blow over my water bottle and knock over this glass. Luckily my husband shared his);
4. 2010 Craggy Range Pinot Noir;
5. A 2006 Chianti (I neglected to write down anything else on this one, whoops!)
6. 2009 Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon.
And, as a bonus, I got a signed copy of Ray Isle's pocket wine guide for knowing that Food & Wine magazine originally started as an insert in Playboy ;-)

We were one of the last to get seats to this tasting. It was almost all VIP badges. The dust was definitely a problem, particularly on the first day. Maybe they'll spring for better grass at Auditorium Shores like they did after the ACL Festival dust bowl. It's particularly bad when it accumulates at the bottom of your wine glass and you can feel the grit in your teeth!

May 01, 2012
Royale in Austin

Austin Food & Wine Festival

I also attended (a Weekender/$250 ticket) and I agree with your criticims, but overall I enjoyed myself and would go again. I was more motivated by the Wine portion of the event, and got to attend 3 different wine events with 3 flights of 6 wines each (roses, sparkling, and "superstar [expensive] wines") and try quite an array of wines inbetween each event at the bar (yes, there was an open bar with beer, wine, and coolers of water, tea, and soda) and at the "grand tastings." Waiting in line to get a seat at each event was a bit of a drawback, but there was a group of us so always someone to go get drinks for the rest made it bearable. And I agree that there wasn't enough food. Some small bites at the grand tastings, and some pastries were passed around on Sunday morning at one of the events, but overall not nearly as much food as booze. I learned from my mistake on Saturday and had a full breakfast on Sunday and stopped at the East Side King for a snack mid-day. I also agree that the tents were too small (I can see why the wine ones needed to be limited, but for the cooking ones and the grand tastings, they should have been bigger) and they should give out tickets or something to people standing in line so people know if they're going to get a seat or not.

May 01, 2012
Royale in Austin

Hard Hat Vol IX

Not sure if this has been noted yet, but I saw a temporary sign for Bob's Steak & Chop House downtown walking back from lunch today. Best I can remember it was at 3rd and Lavaca, in the vacant building next to the Ginger Man. I googled it and didn't find any related news, but I assume it's the newest location for the Dallas institution of the same name?

Apr 03, 2012
Royale in Austin

Austin Help: Best - Most entertaining area to stay in downtown?

The W restaurant, Trace, isn't much to write home about. I've enjoyed spending time in the W bar, and the Moody Theater, but I've never been in one of their hotel rooms. I imagine that the rooms are at least as nice as other W hotels, most of which I've enjoyed (some more than others). If the OP is looking for a newer/corporate style hotel, the W would probably be my first recommendation. But I think the San Jose, Driskill, and others have more character. Any are a walk or short cab ride to great restaurants and entertainment.

Feb 27, 2012
Royale in Austin

Austin Food and Wine Festival- worth going to?

I ended up buying a pair of the "weekender" tickets for my husband and myself for our anniversary. We both enjoyed the past Hill Country Food & Wine festivals, and weren't too put off by the lines. I'm looking forward to not only the "grand tasting" events, but also the demos throughout the day, especially the wine related ones. If the lines in the grand tasting end up being too long to taste much, and the demos end up being too crowded to learn much, then we may not buy tickets again for next year. But, we're optimistic that it will be an enjoyable weekend and are looking forward to it.

Feb 27, 2012
Royale in Austin

My favorite things from Central Market

The "Kitchen Sink" cookies are to die for too. They have chocolate, oatmeal, pretzels, potato chips, butterscotch (or maybe peanut butter?) chips, and all kinds of other goodies, hence the name. They're one of the only store-bought baked goods my husband will touch, and we struggle to not finish the whole bag in one sitting.

Jan 24, 2012
Royale in Austin

Austin Food & Wine Festival

And for $250 it's only two days. The only event on Friday is a VIP event, and VIP tickets are $850!

But, I've definitely spent $250 in food and beverages over the course of a weekend in the past, so maybe I can rationalize it if I don't eat or drink anywhere else during those two days?

Jan 18, 2012
Royale in Austin

Austin Food & Wine Festival

The schedule/lineup has been announced: http://www.austinfoodandwinefestival....

Worth the $250 ticket price? What demos/seminars most interest you? I always enjoyed the Hill Country Food & Wine festival, but this is certainly much different. It's good to see a good number of locals in the "talent" pool, on both the food and beverage side.

Jan 18, 2012
Royale in Austin

Opening: Lucy's Fried Chicken

Does anyone know from where Lucy's sources their chicken?

Jan 12, 2012
Royale in Austin

Hard Hat Report Vol 7

Just this morning I noticed scaffolding around the old Louies 106 location in the Littlefield building at 6th and Congress. It may just be work on the building in general, but I hope the space is being renovated for an exciting new eatery. Anyone know?

Jan 11, 2012
Royale in Austin

Best Wine Book for Novice

I second the recommendation of Oldman's book. I grabbed it while on a trip, ended up reading it cover to cover on the plan, and find myself constantly using it for reference.

Dec 16, 2011
Royale in Wine

Any suggestions for good yeast rolls for Thanksgiving?

I'm reviving this thread because I've been assigned to bring rolls to a office pot luck Thanksgiving meal. We don't have a kitchen at the office, so the rolls will have to be eaten at room temperature. The Sister Schuberts mentioned last year don't sound like they'd hold up too well once cooled. Any other suggestions for good pre-made yeast rolls?

Nov 14, 2011
Royale in Austin

Hard Hat Report Vol 8

Is CoalVines taking the place of Trace?

I dined at the one in Dallas when my husband lived up there when we were dating. The pizza was pretty good, thin crust and fresh toppings, but probably won't be the top pizza in town. What we really enjoyed was the wine list. Extensive and reasonably priced.

Sep 26, 2011
Royale in Austin

A Great Grocery Store That Also Delivers? (Hyde Park Area)

Greenling is the most well known grocery delivery. I think Whole Foods might also have a grocery delivery, but I've never used it.

A lot of my graduate school friends who didn't have cars here in Austin used the ZipCar service when they needed to do larger scale grocery shopping. May be worth looking into.

Jun 08, 2011
Royale in Austin

need suggestions for great box lunches or to go meals

If I'm remebering correctly, I think Antonellis will even do all of the above (cheese, bread, charcuterie) plus some wine and maybe one of the preserves or desserts they sell, and put it in a picnic basket for you.

Jun 07, 2011
Royale in Austin

Exploring Maudie's Menu

Maudie's chicken fajitas have been my favorite in town for a while. I love that they give you a generous serving of the sauteed onions, peppers (green bell and jalapeno), and tomatoes. Sometimes I nix the chicken and go veggie all the way, it's that good. But when I'm in the mood for chicken, it's always juicy and flavorful--not just a grilled and sliced chicken breast. I've never gotten a tobacco-y batch, so I can't help out with identifying what seasoning (or other item) caused that experience.

And I love their queso. It's totally the melted mix of who knows what tex-mex cheese(s), but it's perfectly garlicy and delicious. I don't stray from those two items (except to get a margarita), and I always go home happy.

May 31, 2011
Royale in Austin

Need advice for some inexpensive wedding wine and bubblies!

We served the Gruet Rose at our wedding last year, and the guests raved about it. I keep a couple of bottles in the fridge and open them whenever the occasion calls for some bubbles, and I'm always reminded of wonderful wedding memories. Good stuff.

May 05, 2011
Royale in Wine

Suggestions? Food & Live Music - the Austin Experience

If your guests will be in town on a Thursday, I think Shady Grove's live music series has started for the year.

The other place off the top of my head is the Broken Spoke. Not sure if there is much in the way of vegetarian or seafood options. I believe their menu is on their website.

Another option is the Oasis. I believe they have live music on weekends, and it's a nice place to take out of town guests for the view. I'm sure they have some vegetarian and seafood dishes, although a warning, they're not known for great food.

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Broken Spoke
3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Shady Grove
1624 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

Apr 12, 2011
Royale in Austin

Hard Hat Report Vol 7

Just this morning I noticed construction at the old Tower Records at 24th and Guadalupe. There was a temporary sign that indicated it would be some sort of noodle place. The name began with Noodles or Noodle, but the rest of the sign was obstructed from my view. There is a lot of competition in that area, so hopefully this will give some of the competition a run for the money.

Mar 30, 2011
Royale in Austin

CHOW Tour Austin, Your Thoughts On Where to Go?

No one has discussed breakfast tacos yet, and I think it's something that's fairly unique to Austin. Sure, any restaurant can put some eggs and bacon in a tortilla and call it a breakfast taco, but in Austin it's the go-to for a "to go" breakfast and has spawned multiple trailers and taco joints. My favorites are Tacodeli (the original location on Spyglass when the weather is nice, or the new location on Lamar when it isn't) for the Jess special, and Torchy's for anything with green chili added.

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Tacodeli
12001 N Mo Pac Expy, Austin, TX 78758

Jan 24, 2011
Royale in Austin

Mexican Wedding/Russian Tea Cookies in Austin?

Thanks angusb and dinaofdoom. I got a box of the Giovanna's brand at whole foods, and while they were delicious, they were in fact ridiculously expensive.

The cookies that La Mexicana gave me when I asked about their wedding cookies were disappointing. I'm going to stop by Mi Victoria after work and try Chuy Bakery if that doesn't work out, and possibly swing by the farmers market on Saturday morning. I appreciate all the feedback!

Feb 02, 2010
Royale in Austin

Mexican Wedding/Russian Tea Cookies in Austin?

Do any stores or bakeries in Austin make Mexican wedding cookies aka Russian tea cookies? We are looking to buy a bunch for wedding favors and have had no luck finding any in the area. Thanks!

Jan 30, 2010
Royale in Austin

What to Order at Enoteca Vespaio?

Oh no! That was one of my favorites in town! I'm really disappointed that it's gone. I doubt I'll return to Enoteca, since that pizza was the one thing that kept me coming back. I wonder why it was taken off the menu?

Aug 19, 2008
Royale in Austin

Horrible Experience at Austin Java

I'm a fan of Austin Java for that very reason. I'm a student and I enjoy getting a full breakfast or lunch (rather than just a pastry or cold sandwich), coffee, and studying for an hour or two and not having to worry about camping out on one of a servers four or five tables and causing him/her to lose tips. I do admit that it can be annoying to order food and then have to scope out a table, but at a busy order at the counter type restaurant it can be unavoidable.

Are there any other similar full menu, order at the counter, coffee shop style places? During finals time I find that I get a little tired of Austin Java, and I'd love to find a similar place.

Apr 15, 2008
Royale in Austin

"gourmet" foods you liked as a kid

Most have already been mentioned- smoked oysters, pomegranties, artichokes, crab legs, and creamed spinach. My mom likes to tell a story about how my pre-school class went around the room sharing favorite foods, and all the other kids said the typical "hot dogs, pizza, mac and cheese, etc." and when it came to me I said "crab legs." Apparently some of the kids went home and asked their moms about it who then told my mom. Apparently 5 year olds eating crab legs in central Texas wasn't all that common.

Feb 21, 2008
Royale in General Topics