Category Archives: food blog

Food Find: Searsucker

searsucker-cocktail

Searsucker serves some of the best tasting, often locally sourced dishes downtown.

shishitos-searsucker-austin

I’ve had them for brunch in the past, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I went there for dinner service.

tuna-tartare-searsucker

I popped in at 5:30 to make it in time for happy hour drinks, and loved that the selection ranged from select wines to various, creative vodka and gin infusions. The infusion-based cocktails were tasty enough to make my partner exceed his usual limit of “just one.”

searsucker-art

If you didn’t know already, the decor is absolutely spot on. They even have skylights to let just the right amount of sun in for the perfect romantic setting.

searsucker-surf-n-turf

Chef Louis came out to see what we were in the mood for, and made suggestions that fit in with my low-carb ways. Everything that was set in front of us made our eyes widen, and stomachs growl. (Who can resist tuna tartare wrapped in prosciutto, or perfectly cooked scallops?!) We had some of the prettiest, tastiest food that one could imagine, and our server never let my glass go empty.

searsucker-dessert

My partner finished it off with a beautiful dessert, and I snuck a piece despite all that diet-stuff I normally adhere to. Do yourself a favor and pop in to Searsucker for happy hour, and see if you want to stick around for a full meal; I guarantee they’ll entice you.

All Night Long: Monday’s Best Happy Hours

phonto

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being swanky on a budget. Here’s a list of some of my favorite happy hours that last well after the usual 7 o’clock cut-off:

Hillside Farmacy: Enjoy half price east coast oysters, and $5 cava.

East Side Show Room: Fancy cocktails for $5, and discounted snacks (such as pork ribs).

Olive + June: Half off piccoli piatti and wines by the glass.

The W: $6 wines and local spirits, $5 bites, and $4 beers.

Jeffrey’s: Half price bar food, and $2 off drinks.

Peche: $5 cocktails, and half off select menu items.

Eddie V’s: $1 Louisiana oysters, $6 wine and cocktails, and a lot of delicious, discounted food.

Winebelly: Select bottles are half off.

Olivia: 30% off appetizers and bottles. $1 off drinks.

 

Mellizoz: Let’s Taco Bout It

mellizoz-fish-taco

Mellizoz makes some of the best tacos in Austin, and there’s absolutely no argument against that. See that fish taco? You can’t argue.

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How about the ‘Escobar’ filled with carne guisada?

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See that little face drawn on the fresh avocado? You aren’t going to tell him to his adorable, little face that he’s not delicious.

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Oh, maybe you’re vegetarian, and you think Mellizoz doesn’t have your back? Think again: Shroom. Tacos.

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Have you had one of the greatest green salsas town? Okay, we know Taco Deli has a magical one too, but just look at that stuff up there.

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Argument = won. Mellizoz makes some of my favorite tacos, and often has $5 off PayPal deals. You must try them!

Media Tasting at Kenichi

Hamachi with Kung Pao Chili Oil
 You know who’s a big, fat jerk? I am. I enjoyed this beautiful media tasting at Kenichi over a month ago, and just now got around to writing about it. (I promise I live-tweeted the whole thing though.) My crazy life, which includes seeking a new day job right now, may have put blogging on a temporary hold, but no longer! Let’s talk about the amazing food I got to try.
Escolar
 The hamachi was the clear hit of the evening for me. If you make anything even slightly spicy I’ll be turned on by it. The escolar, and delicious pre-meal bites (they even had shishitos!!) were all top-notch. Zero complaints here, and I’m rather picky.
Seared Tuna
 The caramelized onions added a sweet element to the proscuitto-wrapped tuna.
Sea Bass
 I normally love sea bass, but my only hesitation on this was the sauce. I still enjoyed it immensely, but would’ve preferred to have the fish’s flavor shine through more than the sauce.
New York Strip?
Dessert was the perfect wrap-up to a perfect meal, that featured more courses than I have decent photos of. That’s right, there was more!! I loved that the dessert was served like a flight with many different tastes and textures. The ice cream egg in the nest was my favorite, my dining partner loved the chocolate, and the rest of the table went nuts for the cheesecake. There was truly something for everyone, and everything went beautifully – without ever being cloyingly over-the-top sweet. Each course had a sake or wine pairing, and I couldn’t have asked for a better dinner. 
Get thee to Kenichi tout de suite!

Trapped in Manhattan


Specialty Rolls at Jing
I recently got back from a trip to Manhattan, and I thought I’d share some of the deals I found. Admittedly, I was wandering around aimlessly through Hell’s Kitchen back and forth from a fashion trade show, but I actually found some good stuff! For starters, Jing, a Chinese and sushi restaurant in the famous “Restaurant Row” of Hell’s Kitchen. Decent, cheap, but nothing worth going back to (unless you too wind up lost and hungry in that part of the city). It did the trick, and was particularly easy on the wallet.
 Let’s move on to bigger, and better things:


Lentil Soup (surprisingly flavorful!) at Rafaella
On a particularly cold and miserable day, I decided to stop into Rafaella in Chelsea (near Hell’s Kitchen). The signs boasted of “Lunchtime Happy Hour!” and I was sold.
Salad with Smoked Salmon at Rafaella
Lunch specials run Mon-Thurs from 12-4, and feature a fantastic wine list at a discount. I chose a bubbly, knowing that usually the bubbly is exempt from most discounts, but nooooooope! My bubbly was half off too! High-five, Rafaella!


 The staff is French, the guests do not seem to be local, and guess what? THEY HAVE A SCOUTMOB DEAL! I normally wouldn’t have noticed, but I’m an avid Foursquare user and caught wind of the discount. That meant my booze was half off for the happy hour, and my lunch was the same for me having found the deal. Hopefully it’s still going on, if so, take advantage!

My take on the food? It was great for the price that I got.

Tapas at L’Ybane
 I think I died and went to happy hour heaven at least twice in New York. I found deals left and right, which made the business trip feel more like a vacation (at least for a few hours). One of the best deals I found was at L’Ybane. French staff, dim candle-lit tables, and one hell of a “Chef’s Choice” $20 deal later… I’m completely in love. The aforementioned deal, which my table ordered two of, is enough to make everyone full with plates still spilling off the table. Expect a ton of cheese, olive oil, and dolmas. None of these are a bad thing.
Scallop Ceviche at Fish
I was trying to do this thing in chronological order, but I can’t save the best for last. Fish is absolutely my favorite place in Manhattan. They have this deal called “Red, White, & Blue” where you get a glass of red or white wine and six Blue Point oysters for $8. It’s good. Sooooo good.
Red, White, & Blue at Fish
 The oysters and wine were one of the most obscenely beautiful deals I saw in all my time in Manhattan. It was great. I would go back. That ceviche in the other picture? They need to offer something crunchy with it. Who just spoons ceviche?? Is that an Austin thing? I loved it, I just wanted crackers, chips, something…
 The last thing I will mention is Kodama. One of the best, most wallet-friendly sushi places I found near the theatre district. Also? We were the only white people in there. I don’t know how to take that, but considering that most people weren’t speaking English, I have a good feeling that we were onto something good. 




Lunch at Banger’s


Banger’s is the new sausage and beer garden on Rainey Street that’s famous for their 103 taps. I’ve been 3 times so far, and though they’ve been less than perfect when I went, I love it. Perhaps it’s because they carry sours?


The first time I went was at night (hence the shotty photography). They were incredibly busy, and their famous tap wall was broken. I’m chalking that up as a one-time thing, but it did have a profound effect on our enjoyment of our evening. This is a place where you come for the beer and stay for the sausage! Or is that the other way around? 


Who knew that fresh, sliced tomatoes could be such a win? This delicious side comes with basil and can have goat cheese added on for as little as 75 cents. Trust me, this simplistic side is a must.


Also on the healthy produce list? Pickled vegetables served up in a mason jar and extra briny. These, I could live without, but did like them.


The sausages are both sizable and endlessly customizable. You have 3 vegetarian sausage choices (I choose the mushroom one), and more meat options than you can shake a piece of venison at. After that, you choose your type of bun, garnishes (including BYFO peppers which stands for “Burn Your Face Off”), and sauces. 


You’re going to want to put the spicy mustard on the side, and think hard about whether or not you want the BYFO peppers. I’m Cajun, and this place terrifies me when it comes to heat. Spicy really does mean spicy to them.


My partner got the chili cheese fries. It’s literally a tray filled with, well, what’s shown above. It is a monstrosity (portion-wise) and should be shared by, I don’t know, 50 people? 


The very best time to come is during lunch. They have an “Executive Lunch” deal which is any sausage, any side, and any Texas draft for $8. Sausage and beer fans rejoice!


Oh, and they have a deal with a tattoo artist. Really. You can get a free tattoo of the Bangers logo if you like them that much. I like them a lot, but only enough to make Executive Lunch a regular staple to my diet.

Truth be told, food has come out wrong 2 out of the 3 times we went, but the errors were minor and all new restaurants are going to experience growing pains; so grab your dog (there’s a dog run!), a drinking buddy, and your appetite. I think Banger’s is really going to impress you.

Blogger Happy Hour at Hugo’s

Hugo’s graciously hosted a happy hour for food bloggers to come in and sample their offerings. I’ve been to dinner and brunch there previously, so I knew what I was in for.


We started with the shrimp cocktail shooter, which had just the right amount of spice, and moved onto shrimp and grits.


There weren’t many vegetarian items, but the Mexican street corn wraps proved to be a rabbit-safe option. I loved that the fact that they were wrapped up in lettuce!


The next course that came around was Hugo’s famous “duck cigars,” which paired duck confit with balsamic blackberry ancho jam.


By the time the chorizo spiced pork ribeye came out, everyone was stuffed. I made room for the green onion mashed potatoes anyway despite the fact that I knew dessert was coming.


The cuatro leches boasted 4 types of milk, and the chocolate bread pudding won our table over as the crowd favorite.


Overall, Hugo’s is fairly priced Southwestern food with pretty good daily drink specials from 4-7. They have an enormous patio, free garage parking, and some the most mind-blowingly inventive house-infused tequilas around.




Dinner at Lucy’s Fried Chicken


For Lucy’s Fried Chicken, I’m going to paste my Yelp review since it was pretty accurate, and contains all that I wanted to say:

I really want to give this place 4 stars, but it’s kind of hard after you almost choked on oyster shell pieces in 10 of the 12 you ordered (not to mention after having tasted the quality oysters at Parkside, they weren’t that great). Now for the good stuff:

*Awesome staff: They’re extremely friendly and comped aforementioned “choking hazard oysters.”

*Cute location: It’s just past the main drag of South Congress, and I like the kitsch.

*Decently priced wine: Holy moly! I can drink a glass for under $6 that DOESN’T come from a box that tastes like poison? (Maybe they deserve those 4 stars after all.)

*Enormous portions of good, fried chicken.

All in all, I like it. Being that I am pescatarian- oysters were the only thing, aside from a vegetable skewer or potatoes, that I could eat. My partner had the chicken, and I’m pretty sure he’ll go back for more. Parking is rough, and I’d kill to see them add some more affordable bubbles to the list since fried chicken and Champagne were made for each other.

Pro-tip: Sit at the bar when there’s a wait, it’s full service!