Category Archives: Restaurants We Luv

Snooze Finally Opens in Austin, TX

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We first stumbled upon Snooze on a trip to Denver back in November of 2014. At the time, we felt like it would fit right into the Austin dining scene. I mean who in Austin doesn’t love all-day brunch? Well, back in April of 2015, Snooze announced they would be opening an Austin location and we have been waiting (im)patiently ever since. After several delays (hey, they wanted it perfect), Snooze is finally open on South Lamar! The manager also mentioned a June opening for the North Lamar location. Read More

Restaurants We Luv: Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen – Austin, TX

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Friday is a very important day for me. Not only is it the last work day of the week, but it’s also the day my department typically goes out to lunch. Being located downtown, we have so many options for great food. Sometimes, however, eating with a group can be a challenge, especially when it comes time to split the check and tally the final bill. Enter Lucky Robot. Not only does the recently opened Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen have tasty food, their iPad ordering system makes splitting the check a breeze.   Read More

Restaurants We Luv: La Condesa – Austin, TX

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Up until a couple of weeks ago, La Condesa had been on my “Places to Eat list” for much too long. It took a visit from Anthony Bourdain to finally bump it up to the top of my list.

I loved the atmosphere of La Condesa. The big floor to ceiling windows brought in a lot of natural light. Mixed with the vibrant colors and decorations, the restaurant gave a great first impression.

We started off with the Guacamole Tasting for the table. I thought all the options were good, but my favorite by far was the Chipotle puree and toasted almond guacamole. It had a nice smokey flavor and the chipotle brought a subtle heat without being overly spicy. I also liked the crunch the toasted almond brought.  Read More

Restaurants We Luv: Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew – Austin, TX

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With Franklin BBQ getting so much national attention, you may not have heard about one of the newest additions to Austin’s booming BBQ scene. Opening in December of 2011, Stiles Switch BBQ is definitely the new kid on the block, but they’re serving up  delicious BBQ. Maybe that’s because Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick, formerly of historic Louie Mueller BBQ, has been putting out great BBQ for years.

I heard about Stiles Switch when it was mentioned in February’s Texas Monthly Article “Of Meat and Men”  (which is a fantastic article) and decided we’d have to try it out. When we arrived at Stiles Switch BBQ, the first thing I noticed from the outside was how nostalgic the building looked. Located in the old Violet Crown shopping center, they really did a good job of creating that 50’s feel.

The inside was spacious, with a few flat screen TVs showing college basketball games. The walls were covered with photos and neon signs. I really liked the vibe of the restaurant. The staff was super friendly and even took us out back to see the pit. Most importantly, it passed my first test for a BBQ joint. It had to smell like BBQ!

We ordered as much food as we possibly could. We tried the Brisket, Switch Original Sausage, Pork Ribs, Turkey, Potato Salad, Pinto Beans and Lemon Vinaigrette Cole Slaw. The food was awesome.

I especially liked the pork ribs, which were seasoned and cooked perfectly. The moist brisket was outstanding. Not too fatty, with a nice seasoned crisp bark (the outside part of the brisket). The lean brisket was a little dry, but BBQ is not meant to be a health food. Order the moist brisket for Pete’s sake! The turkey was fantastic. The sausage was good, but I’d like to try the jalapeno cheddar sausage on our next trip. We really liked all of the sides. The Lemon Vinaigrette Cole Slaw, which was really refreshing and light. A nice change from most heavy mayo based Cole slaws. For dessert, we tried the banana pudding, which included whipped cream, chocolate pudding and Oreos. Disclaimer: I may be slightly biased here because I love banana pudding and Oreos. When they put the two together it kind of blew my mind.

All in all, I’d have to say we really enjoyed our visit to Stiles Switch BBQ and would highly recommend it. It’s hard to believe they’ve only been open for a few months and are probably still working out some kinks. Stiles Switch BBQ is located over in the historic Violet Crown Shopping Center at 6610 N. Lamar. For more information visit StilesSwitchBBQ.com.

Photo Gallery:

 

 

Irie Bean Coffee Bar – Austin, TX

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“Irie” is a Jamaican word meaning “it’s all good” or “a state of harmony.”

Last Thursday I attended a media event at Irie Bean Coffee Bar to check out their new Caribbean menu. Prepared by Chef Zach Hanson, formerly of the Four Season’s Trio, the new menu was created to bring island inspired street food to the thriving Austin food scene. The new menu features several entrees all reasonably priced ($7 at the time of this article). Overall, I was impressed with the quality and balance of the food and the precise execution of each dish.

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Griddle Cake

When I saw this listed on the menu, I wasn’t all that excited; however, I was pleasantly surprised. Made from a combination of quinoa and sweet potatoes, the griddle cake had a great crisp texture and a wonderful flavor. The pickled onions and fresh baby greens are a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the coconut sweet onion sauce. Highly recommended.

Calypso Jerk Chicken

An interpretation of traditional jerk chicken, this dish features jerk-seasoned chicken thigh served with a mango-habanero BBQ sauce, slaw and a side of Irie rice. The dish had a nice kick, but the spice did not overpower the other flavors.

Jerk Fish Tacos

Served on a roll for the tasting, this was my favorite dish of the night. The Tilapia was perfectly seasoned and cooked, and all the components worked so well together. I guess you could say that the fish tacos for me were “irie”.

Pulled Pork Slider

The pulled pork slider features slow-cooked pulled pork topped with Mango-Habanero BBQ sauce and a fried plantain served on a Hawaiian roll. The pork was cooked perfectly and was not fatty or greasy, which sometimes is a problem with pulled pork. I also loved the crispy texture of the fried plantain, which was a nice contrast to the bread and pork.

Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 10pm. In addition to the new menu, Irie Coffee bar serves Certified Organic & Fair Trade coffee, and has a great selection of local, domestic and foreign beers and wines. They also have a great back patio with a stage for weekly live music.

Location:
2310 S Lamar
Austin, TX 78704

For more information visit http://www.iriebean.com/.

Miette – San Francisco, CA

By | Desserts, Restaurants We Luv | 2 Comments

If you are looking for a sugar fix, Miette is sure to deliver this and so much more. Conveniently located inside the San Francisco Ferry Building (and several other locations),  this cute bakery has what you need to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Our favorites include:

    • Cupcakes (named the best cupcake in America by Food Network)
    • Classic french macarons
    • Cakes
    • Cookies
    • Homemade marshmallows (just to name a few!)

We tried their signature Gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting.  I must say they were DELICIOUS.  If you can’t make it to San Francisco they also have mail order directly from their website.

Their macarons were simply the best I have ever had! The soft chewy texture made you want to keep coming back for more.

Their strawberry shortcake was so moist and light I felt like I was eating a bit of heaven on a plate.  This might have been one of my favorite desserts in all of the city!  But lastly their macarons were simply the best I have ever had.  The soft chewy texture made you want to keep coming back for more.  Luckily we were staying right across the street from this bakery so we made it a daily ritual to try something new, as you should too!


 

Restaurants We Luv: Wayfare Tavern – San Francisco, CA

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I’m sure you are all familiar with celebrity Chef Tyler Florence.  However, I bet few of you have ever heard of his restaurant Wayfare Tavern.

If you are like us and don’t live in the bay area, finding this place and actually getting a reservation is apparently like winning the culinary lottery.  Lucky for us, we had a wonderful concierge at the Hotel Vitale that managed to get us 2 of the most coveted seats in this tasty tavern.  After eating there for our three year wedding anniversary, it’s easy to see how this is one of San Francisco’s top restaurants.

Starting out with the ambiance, the place is filled with young, classy business execs sipping on a cold brew at the bar hoping to get a seat inside.  Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait long before the hostess escorted us upstairs into the small but cozy dining room above all the chaos.

 

If you are looking for a quiet intimate dinner, this is not the place for you. However, the service alone made this restaurant the BEST dining experience I ever had.  (But make sure you make your reservations early, because the place is so small it’s very hard to get a reservation or else you might be stuck waiting for service at the bar which is often packed).  You have a designated beverage filler who makes sure you are never thirsty in addition to your waiter, who might I add had the best recommendations and was so kind and attentive. Our waiter Lane, thoroughly explained the menu to us, made great recommendations and made us feel at home.

Appetizer:

We started off with the Steak Tartare, which apparently is AMAZING.  I am not one to eat raw food, but my husband on the other hand could not stop raving about how this was the best thing he’d eaten in San Francisco.

Stake Tartare Wayfare Tavern

Entrees:

Moving onto the entrees, John ordered the Wayfare Tavern Burger “Le Grand” with a fried egg and I had the famous organic fried chicken.  I will now say that his burger was THE BEST hamburger I have ever had in my entire life.  This is probably due to the fact that it consists of 4 pieces of choice meat that have been grinded together to perfection.  Thanks to the world wide web, I found this link to the recipe. It’s easy to see how some claim this to be the best burger in all of San Francisco.

 

The organic fried chicken, although a bit pricey for fried chicken, was quite tasty.  I was sad to find out that it didn’t come with any sides aside from roasted garlic and herbs, so lucky for me I shared the fries that came along with my husbands burger which was enough for the 2 of us.

 

Dessert:

For dessert we opted for the Summer Berry Shortcake with Creamsicle ice cream.  It was so light and refreshing, the perfect summer dessert.  The ice cream was the best part!

 

Our Thoughts:

Overall, the food, service, and ambiance make this one of our new favorite restaurants and we will be sure to visit it on any future trips we make to San Francisco and you should too! We highly recommend it.

Restaurants We Luv: La Boite Cafe – Austin TX

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Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, macarons are made from a combination of egg whites, sugar, almond powder and food coloring. The cookies are filled with butter cream frosting, jam or ganache and come in a variety of colors and flavors. These small cookies have become a world-wide favorite.

Recently, I heard about La Boite Cafe on Twitter. Built from a re-purposed shipping container, La Boite features not only macarons, but also french style baked goods, fresh beverages, and sandwiches.   With a green mindset, this company really puts it’s mark on the Austin foodie scene.  We tasted a number of things on the menu but really enjoyed the macarons. In fact, we ended up taking a dozen home with us to share with our family.  The variety of colors and flavors were very exciting to try.  I recommend this creative cafe to anyone who has a desire to indulge in these heavenly little bites.

[box type="info"]Insider tip: Take some home, pop them in the fridge, and enjoy after the filling has hardened.  We actually preferred them when they reached their refrigerated temperature.  It was tastier and less messy![/box]
[image type=”frame-css3″ align=”none” width=”300″ caption=”La Boite”]http://www.luvs2eat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/La-Boite-Front.jpg[/image]
Featured macarons: (changes frequently)
[list]
  • Fleur de sal
  • Pistachio and Chocolate
  • Orange Blossom
  • Coffee and Chocolate
  • Peach
  • Bananas Foster[/list]
[image type=”frame-css3″ align=”none” width=”199″ pad=5 caption=”Macarons. Yum!”]http://www.luvs2eat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/La-Boite-3.jpg[/image] [image type=”frame-css3″ align=”none” width=”300″ caption=”Chocolate Brioche”]http://www.luvs2eat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/La-Boite-4.jpg[/image]
Location:

1700 South Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704

Restaurants We Luv: Franklin Barbecue – Austin, TX

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Recently featured in Bon Appetite as the best BBQ in America, Franklin BBQ has quickly become the talk of the town. With lines forming at 9 a.m. and BBQ selling out as early as 1 p.m., I was extremely excited to get the chance to try it out. Think five year old kid on Christmas Eve excited. My wife and I both had a random Thursday off together, and what better way to spend time together than to eat great food!

Franklin BBQ 3

The one to two hour wait sounds terrible, but time seemed to pass quickly. I’ve waited in longer lines at Disney World with the end result being much less satisfying than Franklin BBQ. We met some interesting people while waiting including folks who’d driven in from Houston just for lunch and Diana even made a new four legged friend. It’s all part of the Franklin BBQ experience.

Most of the line was in the shade, but the worst part of the wait was the 15 minutes we had to spend standing in the sun shortly before we made it inside the building. Thankfully, there were waitresses selling reasonably priced Shiner and Lone Star (it’s OK to drink beer before noon in Texas) as well as other cold beverages. Once arriving at the counter, you are greeted by Aaron Franklin himself. Friendly and enthusiastic, you can tell he takes pride in his food and it shows.

Did the BBQ live up to the hype? Absolutely. The thing that amazed me the most about all the meats was that I made it half way through the meal before I realized I wasn’t using sauce. If you are a BBQ sauce lover, they do have a variety of tasty BBQ sauces including  an espresso sauce with a distinguished flavor. The meat was all so moist, well-seasoned and had such a great flavor there was no need for sauce (even though all their sauces are delish).

  • The brisket was moist, perfectly seasoned and had an enjoyable smoky undertone that doesn’t overpower the meat.
  • The turkey (my wife’s favorite of all the meat options) was probably the best turkey I’ve ever eaten.
  • The ribs fell right off the bone and had a mouthwatering flavor.
  • The sausage was great, but it would be hard to order sausage as a substitute for the ribs, brisket or even turkey. I’d recommend ordering an extra link on the side instead of as a substitute for the other meats.
  • The pulled pork sandwich combined pulled pork, coleslaw, pickles, onions and tasted as good as it looks.

The sides were a great compliment to the meat.

  • The potato salad was simple featuring a mustard base, perfect for non-mayonnaise eaters like my wife.
  • The coleslaw was tasty. At first glance, it looks like your average creamy coleslaw, but looks can be deceiving. The coleslaw includes a tangy flavor with a hint of vinegar.
  • The beans were good for beans, but I’d have a hard time passing up the the other sides.

I would highly recommend Franklin BBQ to anyone. If you’re going to go through the trouble of waiting in line, plan ahead. Bring a camp chair and have a cooler in the car. Order a ton of food and then pack your leftovers in the cooler on the ride home. My wife and I did this and we’ve been eating off of our leftovers for a couple days. It reheats very well.

Franklin BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

To find out more about Franklin BBQ, visit their website at http://www.franklinbarbecue.com/.