Category Archives: restaurant

Dinner at Corzaon



Enchiladas Suizas

 Corazon at Castle Hill is a place that I live relatively close to, but have unwittingly avoided for quite some time. The large sign outside their door begging for potential patrons to try their happy hour, and even the Groupon deals I’ve seen them advertise weren’t enough to bring me in. One slightly rainy day, I decided to venture in.  What I found inside greatly resembled an episode of Kitchen Nightmares.

Guacamole
 The place was mostly empty, save for one or two tables of elderly couples. Upon first entering the few chairs available at the bar dead in front of the door. I almost always like to sit at bars, and this was one bar I felt was set a little too close to the entrance. We started with guacamole and the queso fundido. It was an accident that I started with the guacamole (I requested a side order, received the large appetizer portion). The queso fundido was just watery, sub-par queso with nothing else done to it, and a stack of mixed tortillas. The salsa that came before was smokey, almost vinegary. It was one of few salsas I’ve declined to practically drink.

Tuna Tartare

We put all of our order in at once, and I’m wondering why they declined to inform me that the tuna tartare would have come with the side of guacamole I requested. Could’ve saved me a few bucks, and also made me reconsider ordering the tuna tartare as my main course in the first place. It was tuna covered with guacamole. I never thought I’d say this, but at this point I was so sick of tasting avocados I thought I’d never want to see another. Tuna tartare should normally be light, relatively unadulterated, and taste like tuna. This was a sad additional order of guacamole, that had a few chunks of fish beneath. Perhaps the fish didn’t taste so fresh, and this was a tactic to cover it up? I couldn’t taste it, so I can only assume.

Adventure Time! (You may not get that reference.)
My partner did enjoy the chicken enchiladas, so I suppose it wasn’t all a loss. We both admitted that they looked more like Little Debbie Zebra Cakes and less like something appetizing, but in the end he said they, “tasted much better than they looked.” Admittedly, the drinks were relatively inexpensive.

It should come as no surprise to you that my overall stance is that I don’t really like Corazon. Their menu had everything from duck breast to Mexican food to a cheese and fruit plate on the menu. It was very unfocused, and I suppose with so many different styles and options, they couldn’t really master any one type of food. I still respect their happy hour drink prices, and hope that the menu gets a revamp soon.





Dinner at Michi Ramen


Vegetarian Ramen at Michi
 You can’t escape Austin’s current ramen fetish, and the craze doesn’t seem to be losing momentum. In fact, by the time I finish this post I suspect at least two new ramen restaurants well pop up (not really, but in coming weeks… really).  If you don’t mind leaving the safety of downtown Austin, journey just a few minutes north to Michi. Besides, it’s the only ramen joint that currently has a permanent veggie option.

And that veggie option is good.

Burnt Ends
My partner ordered the first ramen on the list, “Michi.” You can choose to have your ramen light or stout, and the general consensus is that stout is the way to go. His friends ordered Meat Lover’s, and all four of us paid extra to make it “extra spicy.” The consensus overall was, “That wasn’t spicy AT ALL.” Said disappointment aside, I returned another day for lunch and requested that they make it “Extra, extra spicy,” and that time they delivered. I suppose if you hope for spice you’d better really stress it to them, otherwise it’ll be a bit lackluster. 

There are a lot of different things you can add on to the ramen. Green onions are free, but everything else will cost about $0.50-1 extra. I prefer the less expensive onsen (lightly boiled egg) to the ajitama (marinated soft-boiled egg). As far as sides go, the burnt ends (chashu, or rather pork) were a hit amongst the carnivores. I think they preferred it to the ramen, but these were the types to find ramen a bit exotic for their tastes.

Pistchio & Cherry Blossom Mochi




I thought the veggie ramen was fantastic, filling, and richer than expected, but what meal is complete without dessert? I’ve had my fair share of Asian desserts, and then some. No one else at the table knew what mochi was, but I was quick to insist that everybody have one! We weren’t as thrilled with the cherry blossom flavored mochi as we were the pistachio, but come on… nothing beats pistachio ice cream. 

Main complaint? That iPad ordering system gets awkard when you pay the bill, but it isn’t enough to keep me from coming back. If you haven’t had ramen at Michi yet, go!






Brunch at Russian House

Fish Delicacies at Russian House
Nestled between Eddie V’s and Rivals Steakhouse downtown you’ll find one of Austin’s newest bars with a surprisingly decadent menu. Forget bar food, this is authentic Russian, comrades!

Cocktail with Champagne, Vodka, & Berries

The breakfast drinks were $5 a piece, with the full menu offered (food AND drink-wise!). Have you seen the list of crazy vodka infusions that they do? You can have insane mixtures late at night or with brunch at Russian House! I strongly recommend having a designated driver if you feel compelled to start that early.

Decorations at Russian House

The entrance to Russian House features a taxidermied bear, Russian soldier costumes for you to wear in photos, and more Soviet kitsch than you can shake a sickle at. The adorable patio has hand painted strawberries on the ceiling, and in the back there’s a beaded curtain leading to an even cuter dining room. The middle is a vacant dance floor (unless you’re there at night).

The blinis (shown above) run about $3.50 and up, and come stuffed with various meats, cheeses, and even caviar. My partner went with the ham and cheese version.

Mashed Potatoes

The mashed potatoes were cheap as well, and very different from other mashed potatoes. They were somehow more dense and chewy.

The Virgin Mary?

The fish delicacy appetizer is about $15 and is more fish than one  person can handle. Two of the fish types were hot smoked, and one was cold smoked. The quality was good.


Sour Cream
They thew in a side of bread and sour cream that tasted more like creme fraiche, which I absolutely loved. My only complaint was that I wished they served more dill… and that the waitresses weren’t sort of dressed up like maids. That part was a bit weird for me.

Overall, I like Russian house. It’s weird, it’s kitsch, and the prices are completely fair. Go at night, go if you feel like clubbing, go for Sunday brunch, or even just go for lunch. They somehow manage to do it all without failing at any particular part of it.





Blogger Tasting at Soleil

Scallop at Soleil
Recently, as the last few streaks of sunset spread across the sky, we were treated to a blogger tasting at Soleil

View of Lake Travis at Soleil
Soleil is on the lake, practically connected to The Oasis, and promises a breathtaking view with your meal.

Watermelon Radish at Soleil
We started off with light bites, champagne, and various other dazzling finger foods brought out on trays by excited waitstaff. It appeared that the people working there were as hyped about what we were about to eat as we were.

Foie Gras at Soleil
Given that I often lean vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian while my partner leans towards, well, everything – I was pleased to find that they were graciously accommodating with my dietary preferences.

Edamame-Filled Ravioli at Soleil

The “Amber-friendly” items turned out to be even better than my partner’s; I assume that they were, because I liked them so much. They were a little heavy on the cheese, but I wasn’t complaining.

Fried Goat Cheese at Soleil
I’m not usually one for fried food, but the carnivores around me swiftly descended upon my fried goat cheese dish. I was pretty distracted by all of the truly perfect wine pairings they had lined up with each course.

Scallop at Soleil
Everyone else got bacon on their scallops, but mine was just fine without it.

Apples, Caramel, and Cheese at Soleil
The dessert courses (that’s right, more than one!) were phenomenal. Most of the other bloggers at our table admitted to normally passing on dessert, but we all happily dove in again and again as the plates came out. We were apparently competing to see who could stuff themselves the most throughout the night.

Soleil
Given that we were at a blogger event, it’s hard to not walk away having had the absolute greatest time, but I am hesitant to say that this event was lovely only because I was in the company of local food writers. I believe that the ambiance, view, food, service, and wonderful little touches such as the live jazz band all equaled a difficult-to-match dining experience.

In fact, almost everyone that was there has already made plans to go back. After all, the partner said it was his favorite food event we’ve ever attended to date.

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.

Brunch at Sagra

Sagra is best known for their half-off pizza happy hour (5-6:30), but we decided to stop in for Sunday brunch. I think it’s safe to say that it’s now one of my partner’s favorite brunch spots in town.

They started us off with a massive basket of delicious breads. In search of slightly healthy fare, I decided to order smoked fish (shown above).


Most of the menu was egg-centric, but some truly Italian dishes were also offered. Wood-fired pizza for breakfast? They have it.

Same goes for carbonara.


The biggest draw to Sagra for brunch would have to be the $1 mimosas and bellinis. 

If you’re looking for a nice meal in a cozy house off the beaten path of downtown Austin, go to Sagra.


Brunch at Blue Dahlia Bistro

Blue Dahlia Bistro is an east side gem with delicious offerings perfect for a weekend brunch.


Their famously delicious tartines (open-faced sandwiches) are truly divine. I had the salmon which was accented with lemon and dill, a very Swedish-like dish.


My partner had the meat and cheese plate, which alone would have been almost enough food for the both of us.


My favorite part of Blue Dahlia is the ambiance. I feel like I’m in a European cafe! The cheap mimosas on weekends, and weekday happy hours with $4 tartines, inexpensive beer, and wine as low as $3 a glass are close runner-ups.

If you’ve never been, go!

Dinner at Barley Swine

Barley Swine is the greatest f@$&!*ing food I have ever had in my life. Just ask anyone that has ever been there. In fact, I’m here for the second time and live-ish blogging it right now.


Defintely sit at the bar. Do not question me on this. Just do it, and preferably on a Wednesday (we’re here right now and there’s zero wait, last Wednesday was just 30 minutes!).


There are more photos that I’m taking even now that I just don’t have time to edit and draw on. Just take my word for it: their menu listings don’t sound phenomenal, but they are in fact, better than Uchi. I said it.


I clearly showed up with a dessert fiend (not naming names *cough, cough “Errol!”*). I loved the locally sourced, fresh-focused menu, and despite being pescatarian, I was able to enjoy everything we ordered. The daily specials are not to be missed!


I know that I don’t have flowery words to describe the incredibly balanced blend of favors and textures in each dish, but nor do my friends that come here. They often say,”If I had to choose between Barley Swine and sex, I’d choose Barley.” If I eat here enough, that just might be the choice I have to make (goodbye, skinny jeans).


Overall, the plates are small, the food is more affordable than you think (though still up there), and the staff is phenomenal. I couldn’t decide if the chocolate ganache dessert worked better as a kitteh or a dragon do I’ll let you, the readers, decide for yourselves.



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!