Saturday, April 21, 2018

Friendship Vacation: Austin, Texas

We weren't born to pay bills and die. Seeing more of the world (not just Epcot) is something I wanted to work on this year. Also my fav gal pals and I are trying to do at least one trip a year. Since last year Allegiant decided to postpone our flight by 26 hours we all had free vouchers for our next trip. Austin was the pick! All I heard was raving reviews of BBQ, tacos, and rooftop bars. Austin sure lived up to all those expectations. Here's what I saw, but mostly ate. 

This place was the first place we visited upon getting into Austin. It was kinda our welcome to the fact that every place is going to have the coolest outdoor patio with cafe lights. We got there early enough to to still enjoy breakfast tacos. All of us went for the "The Tomas" which had bacon, potato, egg, chorizo, and cheese, with frozen pickle pear margaritas to wash them down. Both were really good with an authentic feel.
This was one of the coolest place we visited. Honestly if I lived in Austin this could be my go to place. Coffee and beer? Outdoor patio with chickens? Succulents everywhere? There is no downside. The first time we visited we went with the cocktail flight followed by a beer flight. The cocktail fight was really good. The drinks were a good variety of flavors. The only downside is the last drink was supposed to be a boozy frozen coffee, but both days we were there the machine wasn't working. The beer flight was a great idea since it was our first day because it gave us a chance to try four local beers to see what we would want to buy to keep at our AirBnB. 
They had large beers for $6, two thumbs up. I got the Day Trip Pale Ale. Plus there was a really cute puppy there. 
I has been wanting to go to Snooze since I had tried to go in Denver but it was a hour and half wait so we couldn't get in. Little did I know there was one in Austin. We started off the meal with some spicy bloodys. We had a super cool waiter that advised us that there was a special pancake on our way. Ten minutes went by and nothing happened so we assumed it was some kind of joke. Seconds later this beautiful pancake arrived. It was a pecan maple bacon with white chocolate chips and cinnamon butter. Without a doubt this was the best pancake I have ever had. I would say get it when you go, but it wasn't even on the menu. 

Péché was one of the Happy Hour spots we came acorss when we were researching where to go. It was definitely a hit. They had a bunch a craft cocktails and then for Happy Hour a bunch of selected drinks and appetizers for just $5. For food we went with their Mac & Cheese which was made of two types of cheese and duck confit. Honestly probably the second best Mac & Cheese I've had (after VanBarry's of course). We also grabbed their fries to munch on. They were perfectly crisp with garlic and salt. For my drink I got the Royal Bees Knees which had vodka (I replaced the gin), lavender honey, and lemon. 

$2 Mimosas. This place surpassed my expectations in food and service. The whole entire time we were there they were offering $2 mimosas and frozen bellinis. Our server was so attentive, any time I had 25% of my drink left he was there to see if I was ready for my next. He also used to work at Disney which is always fun. Who doesn't love a brunch where you can get a pizza. We all split their margherita pizza and a side order of breakfast potatoes. 

The atmosphere of this bar was the really interesting part. It was fully made out of storage containers put together. For my drink I got a simple cherry limeade, which was fun because it had slushie ice.  
This is another one of those places that if I lived in Austin I would be here all the time. It's a circus themed bar with a slide in the back. Not to mention they have a 196 ounces moscow mule. Which probably was meant to be shared by more than 3 people but you gotta work with that you got. Already craving to go back there again.

Soft-serve and fries. What a genius idea. We honestly wanted to go to this place from the moment we started to research. You get chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream and a platter of fries for $6. This should honestly be offered at every restaurant. 

Yes, this looks like a pathetic serving of BBQ, but that is what I loved most about this place. You go through a counter and serve yourself whatever sides you'd like and then you get to the counter and let them know what meat you'd like and how much. Then you just pay by weight. Ended up with two slices of brisket and mac & cheese. The brisket was amazing! Lived up to the "brisket is best in Texas" hype. 

This is something I wanted to do for the longest time. This was one of those twelve people bikes that go around downtown bar hopping. Throughout your trip you are able to drink a beer since the bike has no motor. Another thing to keep in mind is that since there is no motor if you stop pedaling the bike does not move. Our driver, Michelle, was great. She explained it as doing a spin class. It sure did live up to that. Our tour was only 2 hours, I wish it could had been an hour longer. On our tour we stopped at three bars and got one drinks at each. First was a gummy bear shot, then an alcoholic capri sun, and lastly ending with a beer. 

Overall a great vacation and definitely a place I would visit again. Plus they had the greatest Whole Foods Market in the history of ever. 
Friday, March 2, 2018

New Eats: February

My goal of trying new foods continues into February. Good to see I was able to get one month into my new year's resolution without giving up. But I guess with a goal like this, it's not hard to keep up. I've been keeping up with my growing list by bookmarking anything that looks good on my Yelp account. Here's this month's run through of new restaurants.  

Everything was pleasing about this place from the aesthetics to the tacos themselves. You walk in and order at a mini window and then there is outside seating around the corner. The walls are covered in fun murals and the tables have fun geometric patterns. We started off with their white and red sangria. The white was definitely better in my option, it was a spicy strawberry lime. For tacos, I went with the fried cheese and the normal pork. Both had an avocado creme which was to die for. 

I've heard about this place from everyone in Winter Park. I knew they had great gourmet doughnuts from all the pictures. So naturally I had to go.  They had 8 different options to pick from. We decided to split the pistachio and lemon curd one. I have been on a lemon curd kick ever since I picked up some from Trader Joe's. Both were great! I love the glaze on top of the pistachio and the lemon curd one was a yeast doughnut which is my favorite kind. I did see there was crème brûlée doughnut in the back that I will be returning for. 

This place recently opened up over on 192 west of Disney. Here they hold a lot of pride in the fact that they use fresh ingredients. It was all very good plus they had a build your own burger option. I went pretty basic with just white american cheese and BBQ sauce. Something interesting they had here was that you can get your burger made into a salad. I did not try it that time, but it definitely piqued my interest. 

A ginger, lime, & prickly pear slush at a farmer's market. What else could I ask for? 

What a cool new idea in downtown Orlando. It was a single site market that featured restaurants around Orlando and then a bar. This time we sampled Gnarly Barley and the bar. From Gnarly Barley I got the Johnnie Mac n' Cheese which was roast beef, mac n' cheese with an au jus dip. It was beyond fantastic. They had the option of getting a half sandwich for $5 or a full for $9. I love making one meal into two so we all know with what I picked. But honestly this sandwich was so good I could have gotten a week's supply and have been happy. For my drink I went with the blackberry lemonade margarita. It was fantastic! Great flavor and solid alcohol content. Plus served in a mason jar for bonus points. 

Rose Gold Margarita 

I just had to have it once. Plus it was #NationalMargaritaDay so it made sense. The coveted "Rose Gold Margarita" It was actually pretty good, and I usually don't get down with gold tequila. The flavors and rose color came from guava and mango. I opted in for a salt rim instead of a golden sugar. 

I've been wanting to try these Grilled Cheese Flights for weeks. On Friday's at La Femme Du Fromage from 4 - 8 p.m. they offer gourmet grilled cheeses with beer pairings. Left to right we had a prosciutto havarti, portobello blue cheese and a gouda bacon jam. My favorite was the prosciutto havarti but I think the best pairing was the bacon jam matched with the cream ale. It had a very breakfast taste.

This event was a last minute decision (like the day before and call out of work) because there was a band I really wanted to see. But boy did the food make it all worth it. In total there was probably 40 different vendors so it was really hard to make a decision on what to eat. I tend to gravitate towards anything involving mac & cheese. My number one food item was probably the pork sandwich from Jimmy Hula's.  

My most recent adventure is to knock out the Central Florida Ale Trail. Which is essentially a list of all the breweries that are local to Orlando. I've decided it will be best to divide and conquor by area. This month we went through downtown/Winter Park area.  

For Orlando Brewing we decided to do something a little special. About once a month they have a Doughnut and Beer pairing. Which I have found over the past couple months is extremely hard to get tickets for. But finally my time had come. It was really fun! The doughnuts were amazing from Orandough. It was cool to see how they match the flavors in the beer with the doughnuts. My favorite was the Blueberry Lavender one. Now I want to recreate this at home with friends. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Eats: January

Most people's New Years resolution is to lose weight, which is kinda mine (tryin' to get a 6 pack). But another one of mine was to start trying new restaurants. I have a terrible habit of trying something once, loving it, and then never trying somewhere new again (@VanBarrys). For only being one month in I would say I've been pretty successful. Here's the round up. 

The Waterfront is actually located right across the street from VanBarry's so I've been staring at it for months. I finally decided to go. I ended up visiting on a Tuesday so they had a bunch of Taco Tuesday specials. I started off with a peach sangria ($4) and chips and salsa ($3). I love when places have specials depending on the day because it makes my food choice so much easier. For my entree I ended up going with pork tacos and garlic fries. It was all extremely good. I will be returning, mainly because I saw the menu had a Moscow mule slushie I didn't get to try due to it being 40 degrees that day. 

Holler & Dash is located right outside of Celebration. They describe themselves as a southern biscuit house. Anything with biscuits I can get down with. My favorite thing on their menu was just the plain ole' biscuit gravy with a fried egg on top (bottom in the picture).

This is one of the new quick service locations that opened up at Disney Springs along with three other restaurants. They have six types of pizzas to choose from, I went with the basic basil and mozzarella. It was pretty good, my only complaint is that I would like for the cheese to be a little more melted down. For now at least I'll probably keep going to Blaze when I'm at Springs craving pizza.  

So yes, I have been to Raglan Road before. But I had never tried the dessert flight. After seeing a bunch of pictures of it on social media I knew I had to have it. The way it works here is the flight is chef's choice and will be 4 mini versions of desserts they have on the menu. From every picture on social media I've seen it's been this exact grouping. Left to right we have Trifle Sinful, Dunbrody Kiss, Apple and Peach Crumble, and Ger's Bread & Butter Pudding. All four were wonderful, but my top choice was the bread pudding closely followed by the lemon curds. 

This is a another place I saw a couple people posting about on Instagram so I thought I'd try it myself. Now this place is the definition of hole in the wall. When driving there the only reason I found it was because I decided to take a U-turn and circle around again. It was on the little alley street I took to turn around. Here you can order a whole pizza just like any other place or they have a deal where you can do two build your own slices. On mine I decided to go with gouda, broccoli, pepperoni, and red peppers. It was cooked to perfection thanks to the stone oven. I will definitely be returning but I could probably just go for one slice next time...

Yes I know. Mac'd Out also isn't a completely new place for me. It's located at Plant Street Market where I visit 2 to 3 times a week for Crooked Can (especially on Mondays, 30% off for CMs). At the market there is probably about 6 places you can grab food from to enjoy with your beers. This Mac and Cheese right here is your best option. They have a bunch of pre-made options as well as a create your own choice. The one above is broccoli, roasted red peppers and steak. This is my best creation yet. After having this it earned my title of best food at Plant Street Market. 

This Little Piggy is a new BBQ place that just came into Plant Street Market. I think I stumbled upon it on it's opening dayby accidentally crashing a company party at Crooked Can. I swear I didn't see the "Reserved Patio" sign until the party was over. Oh well. We picked up some fries and brisket. I really wanted to try their pulled pork but the lady working said they were out because it was so good. I guess that's enough incentive to go back again? The brisket was great but I was really blown away by the fries. Every piece has skin and was doused in salt. My kind of fry. 

I'm still constantly searching for new places to try, my Yelp list keeps growing. So far this New Years resolution is going pretty well (the eating food one, not the 6 pack...) Let me know if there are any places on your Orlando must go to list. 
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Top 12 Items From Food & Wine 2017 (so far)

Food and Wine has officially been going on for a month and I've made it there nine times. The menus look great this year. The only downside so far is that it is way too hot outside and that they took the prickly pear margarita off the menu at Mexico. I will slowly (very slowly) get over that. Here's the list of my top 12 trys so far: 

 Zesty Cheeseburger and Cheddar Cheese Macaroni Handwich from Craft Beer 
10/10 I will be getting this again and again.
Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread
I hate to say this but I liked it even better than Canada's Cheese Soup.
Frozen Mojito 
It's frozen, mint and Florida is still in the 90s.
Warm Indian Bread with Pickled Garlic, Mango Salsa and Coriander Pesto Dips
Great deal, I thrived with the pickled garlic.
 Pistachio Cardamom Bundt Cake with Chocolate Coconut Mousse
Packed with Pistachio flavor.
Teriyaki-glazed SPAM® Hash with Potatoes, Peppers and Onions and Spicy Mayonnaise
I tried Spam and loved every bite. Great F&W breakfast option.

Italian Margarita 
Favorite Epcot drink, p.s. this can be found year round.
 Schinkennudeln: Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese
I could live off this stuff. I have to stop myself from getting it every time.
Crème Brûlée with Housemade Rasberry Jam 
The perfect small sweet snack. 
Orange Blossom Brewing Foxtail Cold Brew Coffee Pilsner from Orlando, FL
@Foxtail @OBB, would you guys please can this?!
Eastern Florida Flight and Western Florida Flight 
Loved every single one. Even the stout. 
 Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Very good, wish the serving was slightly larger and it was more frozen. Blaming FL for the second one.

Save yourself time. Get a giftcard. To try everything at Food & Wine it will be $1515. Challenge Accepted.