Tuesday, January 8, 2013

SpotlightOn - Austin for Foodies

Clockwise: Walu Walu, Wagyu Hot Rock & Biendo roll
Christmas was different this time around for me. Rather than head home for a tropical and rambunctious holiday season, a couple of my sisters and I convened in Austin. The result ended up being a low key, yet delicious, week spent eating, reading, sleeping & squeezing a few treadmill sessions in to counter the vast calories consumed. Below read up on my top Four Suggestions if you are heading to Austin! (Be prepared when you head down to SXSW or ACL!)

1. Uchi - Sushi lovers rejoice! This is not your average go to sushi place. In fact, I recommend you veer off of the roll mindset and try a variety of their dishes. Everything we had was superb, the service was amazing & the decor & ambiance left you feeling cool. Recommended dishes: Walu Walu (this was my fave - oak-grilled escolar, candied citrus, yuzupon, myoga), Wagyu Hot Rock ("sear it your­self" wagyu beef, ponzu, Japanese river rock),  & Biendo (tempura shrimp spring roll, nuoc mam, grapes).





El Diablo burger, fries & Lil Prick drink
2. Hopdoddy  - This is where burger addicts gather and wait in line in order to bite into a juicy piece of heaven. I love burgers, but seldom find burgers I love. This place was so good I had to go back before I left Austin! They make their own bread, source their items from local providers & can make a mean drink (the Lil' Prick was amazing) for you while you are waiting to get a table # (oh and they make their own beer too!). Do not be intimidated by the wait! This place is a must! Recommendations: El Diablo burger (Angus Beef, Pepper Jack, Carmelized Onions, Habanero and Serrano Chiles, Salsa Roja, Chipotle Mayo), Llano Poblano burger (Angus Beef, Pepper Jack, Roasted Poblano Chiles, Apple-Smoked Bacon, Chipotle Mayo) & I heard wonders about the Primetime burger (Texas Akaushi Beef, Brie Cheese, Truffle Aioli, Arugula, Caramelized Onions, Steak Sauce) but sadly a third visit did not fit into my itinerary.

Queso fundido con chorizo & torta de huevo
3. El Alma Cafe - When you walk into this place you feel as though you walked into your Mexican Aunt's patio and are about to rejoice in some home cooked goodness. Thankfully, that is exactly what the food conveyed. It is the best home cooked Mexican food you could ask for. Their house salsas are delish! And so was everything else! Recommended items: Queso fundido con chorizo (melted jack cheese with crumbled sausage served with flour tortillas), Ensalada with chicken (romaine, spinach, grilled panela cheese, jicama, corn, tomatoes and avocado salad served with chipotle ranch or lime olive oil vinaigrette), Tostadas de Tinga (crispy corn tortillas with refritos, tinga de pollo, corn
slaw, queso fresco and guacamole served with white rice) & for brunch: Torta de Huevo (open faced scrambled egg sandwich with chorizo, jack cheese, refried beans, crema, avocado and pickled jalapeños served with spiced crispy papitas). Man I am getting hungry!


Poached shrimp spring rolls & Grilled McAllen
Flank Steak Banh Mi
4. Elizabeth Street Cafe - Of all the restaurants I went to this by far conveyed the hippest scene! I felt as if I was in one of the cool cafes found in New York City's The Village. The cafe serves French Vietnamese cuisine which is quiet hard to explain and thus was very hesitant to try out. However, it was delicious, healthy and very satisfying. I can't describe, just go and try these items: Poached Shrimp Spring Rolls (with Avocado, Cilantro, Bean Sprouts, Jalapeño, Lime Zest and served with Sweet Chili Vinegar, Ginger-Jalapeño, & Peanut Sauce), Grilled McAllen Ranch Flank Steak Banh Mi (Served on House-Baked Baguette with Homemade Mayonnaise, Cucumber, Daikon, Carrot, Sambal, Cilantro, & Jalapeño) & Keffir Lime Fried Chicken Bun (Rice Vermicelli Bowl with Lettuces, Herbs, Cucumber, Carrot, Roasted Peanuts, & Nuoc Cham).





 Hope you give these a try and may your bellies be as happy as mine were!



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