Monday, June 29, 2009

Chowing in Northern California

Blogging may be a bit spotty this summer as we spend some time here and there away from Austin. In Northern California, it's all about eating seafood and eating on the water. We spent a weekend in Monterey, Carmel and Santa Cruz and had the chance to sample some good seafood, Mexican, frozen yogurt and a delicious wedding reception meal at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Indian Palace

We decided to give Indian Palace a try after finding out about their buy one buffet, get one half price deal using the coupon on their website. Indian buffets can really spoil you, because it's hard to go back to ordering Indian food a la carte when you've had the chance to sample 6 different dishes at one meal. Indian Palace had a nice variety of various dishes, including options for meat eaters and vegetarians. They also had tasty samosas, soup and dessert.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yogurt r Rock

Yogurt r Rock is actually up in Round Rock, not Austin, but we just can't get enough of these new selve-serve froyo places popping up all over the place and simply must try them all. If you haven't been to one yet, you get an empty cup and fill it with as much or as little of a variety of froyo flavors as you want. Then you pick your own toppings and pay for the whole thing by the weight. Such a great concept. Some of the spots around Austin include Yogurt Planet, Yogurt Spot & Swirll.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lone Star Kolaches

We stopped by Lone Star Kolaches to bring home some delicious breakfast.. why aren't all states as obsessed with kolaches as Texas is? It's a mystery to me. The soft, slightly sweet bread and delicious fillings of fruit, cheese or meat.. and so cheap. Lone Star Kolaches often has bags of fruit kolaches for half price near closing time. Twelve kolaches for $6!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Max's Wine Dive

Max's Wine Dive is one of the newest additions to the Austin restaurant scene. They've already got a location in Houston, and have just expanded with this downtown Austin location. The quote you'll see on waiter's shirts is "Fried Chicken & Champagne? Why the hell not?" And that basically sums this place up. Lots of nice wines paired with basic American food classics dressed up. We went for brunch, and to start off, I was a little disappointed that the cheapest wine on the menu was $7 for a glass. Most places around town will have at least a wine or two for $4-$5 for us cheapskates. Anyway, I ordered a glass of sangria ($7) and Ryan stuck with coffee. For our brunch entrees, I sampled the nutella & banana stuffed Texas toast ($10). It was good- but I should disclose that I personally feel you can never go wrong if you smother something with some nutella. It bugged me a little that I asked for it without the bacon that comes with it since I don't eat bacon and didn't want it to go to waste, but our waitress brought it with the bacon anyway. In the future I'm better off sticking with a $5 nutella crepe at the new crepe places around town. Ryan had the Eggs MAX: eggs, prosciutto and greens over Texas toast ($9). He enjoyed his as well, and the presentation was nice, but I think we're both a little *meh* about Texas toast in general. I mean.. is it just a thick piece of white bread? Oh no... Do we sound snobby in this post??

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

El Arroyo

El Arroyo will satisfy your Tex-Mex cravings. They have a variety of menu items, and the restaurant has lots of indoor and outdoor seating with funky decor all around, including a big blue bus.

We tried the BBQ chicken enchiladas, which were tasty and came with rice and beans, and the stuffed avocado. For appetizer we had the spinach con queso, which turned out to be queso with fresh spinach leaves sprinkled on top. Not quite what we expected, but still good!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Crêpe Crazy

Yes, Austin is experiencing a crepe explosion! Crepe Crazy is a small stand located at 5th & Congress. I don't know how the guy working here is able to sit there all day in the hot summer while whipping up amazingly delicious crepes, but he does. We've been twice so far and can't wait to go back again. There are a variety of both sweet and savory crepes, sweet crepes range in price from $3 to $5.50 and savory are in the $5 to $6 range. They are open during lunchtime so pop by on your lunch break from work. They also have evening hours for the late night crowd. Below you see the cinnamon & sugar crepe ($3) and the nutella crepe which is filled with strawberries and bananas ($5.50)... and a large pic of the inside. Excuse me while I drool for a minute.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Smitty's Market

Smitty's Market (along with Kreuz Market) is technically in Lockhart, not Austin, but it's pretty awesome so we decided close enough. Note that this isn't the sort of place you go for the atmosphere, unless you like standing in line next to a fire pit in the middle of summer. You order your meat by the pound and they give it to you on some butcher paper with some Wonder bread or crackers; if you like, you can get "side dishes" (e.g., a hunk of cheese or some onion). But you're not there for the side dishes -- you're there for the meat. Saying this is a good barbeque is kind of like saying Mozart had some catchy tunes. The brisket is amazing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shoal Creek Saloon

I don't eat crawfish. I mean, I don't even really like looking at them. I'm kind of cringing at the photo below. Ryan spent some of his childhood in New Orleans, so eating crawfish is old news to him. Shoal Creek Saloon just finished out crawfish season with their daily crawfish boils about a week ago, so check back when the season starts again next year. In the meantime, head over there for a variety of Louisiana cuisine and some beer.
Crawfish were $6.99/pound, and we also ordered french fries for $2.49, hush puppies for $3.29, and I tried a bowl of garlic soup for $5.29. Very thick & garlicky!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pad Thai

Yes.. this is a new Thai restaurant called Pad Thai. It's a little difficult to find, the place is tucked into that new-ish shopping center just off I-35 about halfway between downtown and 183. The center with Bed, Bath & Beyond and a Home Depot. Also a bunch of futuristic blue solar panel sattelite looking things in front. What are those things?! Anyway, Pad Thai is tucked in there near the Jamba Juice, Which Wich & Chipotle, in the restaurant-ish area of the center. Once inside, you can see they've really put forth effort to shake the feeling that you're near a Home Depot.

The food is great too. Of course, I had to order the Pad Thai since it was the name of the restaurant, and the dish was fresh and tasty. Not as awesome as Chom Som but it still hit the spot. Ryan tried a chicken stir fry (can't remember the name) and it was spicy, much spicier than you'd normally expect from an Asian restaurant mostly patronized by Americans. Unfortunately we can't find a website or online menu and our memories are poor but as we recall most of the dishes were in the $8-$10 range. Go shopping for some lumber and a duvet set and then hit this place up!