Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ginger Man

The Ginger Man is a great beer lover's bar downtown. They've got a zillion beers on tap, as well as a lot of bottled beer. They've also got some great happy hour specials, like Logo Pint Night on Mondays, where you get to keep your pint glass for every beer you order, and on Thursday from 6-6:30 every beer on draft is only $3. See their website for the list of beers on tap and the list of bottles.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wheatsville Co-op

This grocery is "owned by its members." You pay $15 per year or $70 for forever to be a member. Membership allows you to buy everything at regular price all the time, and also gives you access to special 10% off days and other member discounts and coupons. For us non-members, we're allowed to pay regular price during our first visit, but if we were to return a second time and still not buy membership, we'd have to pay 7% extra for our groceries. So, if you're in there for the first time, make sure they know that.
They've got a lot of health food, and a lot of stuff that caters to vegans and vegetarians, including a deli in the back with lots of pre-made food. You can find some of the same stuff at Whole Foods. So, the membership is probably only worth it if you're vegan or vegetarian and want a little more variety.

Why do they have a hungry dinosaur on top of their store, you ask? Beats me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Viva Chocolato!

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than over gelato, wine and chocolate?
Viva Chocolato serves lunch (paninis, soup, etc), coffee drinks, and fondue... but the main attractions are the glass case full of chocolate truffles and their many flavors of gelato.

A medium cup of gelato is $4.50. We tried the Pana, it was quite delicious. We also took advantage of their happy hour, which is from 3-7. For happy hour you can pair a glass of wine (red, white or sparkling) and one of their chocolate truffles for $5.95.

Chen's Noodle House

Chen's Noodle House is a tiny place up in north Austin, in the same shopping center as Asia Market, which we'll hopefully blog about soon.
Don't worry, they have an English menu too!!

Stir fry with noodles, $7.50. Leek pancake, $2.50. All of their dishes are made with the most delicious hand-made noodles.

Beef noodle soup, $6.50.

Mansion at Judge's Hill

The Mansion at Judge's Hill is a boutique hotel and restaurant all rolled into one. As soon as you approach it, you start getting excited, because you think, look at this place! The food must be amazing, right? It is.
Inside the dining room. The space is small and very romantic, perfect for a really nice dinner out. When we arrived for dinner at 9 PM, the dining room was almost full. We managed to almost close the place down which is why I was able to snap this picture of the empty side of the dining room.
"Chef's first tasting." I guess we don't eat at fancy places enough, because we were a little confused by this. It was a tiny piece of bread with a scrumptious something on it. I guess the chef wants you to taste something delicious while waiting for your meal... just because?
Smoked duck with cherry bread pudding and haricort verts, $26. Ryan kept saying "this is amazing" and enthusiastically nodding his head, so this meal gets two thumbs up.
Housemade pappardelle with pesto, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, parmigiano-reggiano, $19. This was quite tasty, I had not had pappardelle before and I think it's my new favorite pasta.
Flourless chocolate soufflee, $8. It was somehow both light and rich at the same time, and the sauce was amazing. Definitely recommended!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sao Paulo's

Ok, I confess.... I forgot to bring my camera to Sao Paulo's, so the photos you see below were definitely stolen from the restaurant's website. Sao Paulo's is a Brazilian restaurant not far from campus. We went yesterday for their happy hour, which is from 2-7 PM ($2.99 for margaritas, plus other drink and food specials). All we had to eat were appetizers from the happy hour menu with our margaritas, which were delicious. The margaritas were small but actually surprisingly strong. The photo you see below is what you can expect if you decide to splurge on a dinner item.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tapioca House

Tapioca House is across from campus, just a couple doors down from CoCo's Cafe which also sells Taiwanese food and bubble tea.
Oops, we kinda got excited and almost finished our bubble tea before remembering to take a picture. Most of the bubble teas cost $2.50. Sorry... no photos of the food. They've got a variety of meals on their menu for only around $6.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jamba Juice

I know Jamba Juice is a national chain and you can find 50 zillion locations in every medium to large sized city, and everyone has been here so it's sort of silly for me to blog about it in Austin. But their smoothies are just so delicious and addicting! And they really hit the spot after an afternoon of walking around downtown or on the hike and bike trail. So I just wanted to point out to new people that there are several locations around town. This one is the downtown location, at 6th and Congress.

Dona Emilia's

Dona Emilia's is a great South American restaurant downtown. It mostly caters to the lunch/dinner crowd during the week, so if you go on the weekends you'll have a whole wing of the restaurant to yourself and very prompt service.

The plantain chips are a must. $4.

Seared Ahi Tuna, $11. Pico Rico Taco- Yuca hash browns, mozzarella cheese and kiwi pico de gallo, $2. Chicken Empanada, $5. Everything is yummy. If you're there before 2:30, you can order off the breakfast menu and the lunch menu.



Kick Butt Coffee

We stopped by Kick Butt Coffee after the comedy show at Coldtown Theatre, and guess what? Kick Butt Coffee was having a standup comedy show in their shop. This place is really funny and quirky, they have Chinese throwing stars and nunchucks for sale on the counter. They also have a constant rotation of entertainment- live music, comedy, poetry readings, etc. So, it may not be the best place to sit and quietly read the paper, but it is a good place to be entertained.
We decided to sit outside because we were all comedy-ed out for the evening. The americano was $2, and the chocolate peanut butter frappe was $3.80. The frappe was amazing! You'll love it if you like those candy flavored coffee drinks.

Mekong River

Mekong River is a small restaurant tucked between bars on 6th street. I've actually never been to a place that has both Vietnamese & Thai food in one restaurant, so I was curious.

The yam patties appetizer was delicious, they were hot & crispy and served with sweet and sour sauce. $4.50.
Ryan ordered the Mekong River bowl. I think I read somewhere that if a dish has the same name as the restaurant, you should definitely order it. Ryan was smart because his dish was amazing and mine was just so-so. $7.50
Pad Se-Ew with chicken. It was decent, but I've had better. $8.95.
We finished off our meal with fried bananas. Ate them so fast we didn't get a chance to take a picture. I have no idea if fried bananas are actually a common dish in Thailand or Vietnam, but anytime I see them on a menu I have to get them. The best dessert ever!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coco's Cafe

Coco's Cafe has two locations, one right across from campus on Guadalupe, and the other up north near Hong Kong Supermarket.
They have tons of different kinds of bubble tea drinks and smoothies. We got Milk Tea and a Java smoothie. Um.. I think they were about $3 each.
Spiced kelp, $1.75. A half-order of green onion pancakes, $2.77. Both delicious! They also have more substantial food, including a bunch of soups, if you want more than just a snack.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Zax Pints and Plates is a fairly new restaurant on Barton Springs. They're unique in that they have an extensive selection of good beer on tap as well as really good quality food. We tried Zax out for Restaurant Week, which means we got a 3 course meal for $25 each. We were impressed- the food was delicious, from salads to entrees to dessert. I think I've developed a new respect for salads.
Caprese Salad: Roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil with balsamic reduction.

Zax House Salad: Candied pecans, pears and bleu cheese on mixed greens with house vinaigrette.
Scallops Meuniere: Large sea scallops pan seared and finished with white wine, lemon, butter and parsley served with a pistachio goat cheese polenta and green beans.
Grilled Mahi Mahi: Fresh Mahi grilled and topped with a roasted corn avocado salsa, cilantro oil with an herbed orzo and sugar snap peas.
Blueberry Crumble: Cobbler dessert topped with vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate Torte: Dense chocolate cake garnished with Creme Anglaise and raspberry puree.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Austin Restaurant Week!

Restaurant week (which is really half of this week and half of next week) is upon us! Lots of upscale Austin restaurants are offering 3 course meals for $25 or $35. Check out the menus and make your reservations now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Manuel's is a great Mexican place downtown. We stumbled upon it months ago when walking around searching for a place to go for Sunday brunch and loved it, so had to return again and blog about it.
Interior of the restaurant, with the live jazz band that plays every brunch:
Mimosa, $4. Mango Daiquiri, $5. Chips and salsa, free.
Huevos Rancheros, $8. Ryan cleaned his plate pretty quickly so it's safe to say this is good.
Corn Masa Gorditas, $7. These I recommend. I had them last time we came and still remembered them, and had to get them again.