Tag Archives: Food & Wine

Eating Our Way through Texas

Recently, my mom and my grandma visited Austin. We had such a fun time touring the city and of course, sampling the local cuisine…

Our first stop was The Mighty Cone trailer on South Congress Ave. I ordered a shrimp cone, but Mom and Grandma opted for the “classic” Hot and Crunchy Chicken Cones – chicken breaded in sesame seeds, almonds, chili arbol flakes, sea salt, sugar, and corn flakes, topped with mango slaw and chipotle aioli, then wrapped in a warm tortilla. While they weren’t the easiest things to eat (at one point Grandma confused the cone with the tortilla and took a bite out of both), they sure were tasty. Mom was glad to have checked the iconic food trailer off her Austin bucket list (she had wanted to try a “the chicken cone place” ever since I sent her the recipe, which was featured in Food & Wine).

Mom and Grandma enjoying their first Mighty Cone

The next day we went to Fredericksburg and shopped around. We were in awe of all the culinary novelties at Der Kuchen Laden – a kitchen store located in what was formerly the Fredericksburg Hospital (weird, right?). And then we went on a hunt for the perfect Christmas ornament for Mom’s friend Debbie. We finally settled on one, but I can’t reveal it here, just in case Debbie is reading along!

In the courtyard outside Der Kuchen Laden

For lunch, we went to Rather Sweet Bakery and Café, where Christian and I dined no less than three times on our honeymoon (yes, it’s that good). Mom and I saw Rebecca Rather – the Ina Garten of Texas – in the courtyard!

A cup of watermelon gazpacho at Rather Sweet

After touring the Japanese peace garden at the Museum of the Pacific War, we decided to give our feet a rest and get some coffee at the Java Ranch, where they “don’t dial 911″… (only in Texas!)

Don't mess with Java Ranch

Feeling a bit adventurous, we drove out to Becker Vineyards for an afternoon wine tasting. Mom tasted a Viognier for the first time, and Grandma sampled some of the lighter red grapes, like the Prairie Rotie and the Claret.

Outside the Becker Vineyard tasting room

To finish the day, we feasted at the recently-renovated Fredericksburg Herb Farm, that featured a new dining room, an expanded spa, and a B&B. It was totally different from when Christian and I had lunched there during our honeymoon, but the food was still decadent!

Housemade ciabatta with chive butter at the Herb Farm

Three Generations of Bastron women at the Herb Farm

The following day we toured the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. It was a poor year for wildflowers, due to the fact that we’ve had very little rain. But it was still fun to tour the grounds and to “hunt” for bluebonnets.

Hunting for bluebonnets at the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center

Our grand finale was a southern brunch at Olivia Restaurant. Their chef, James Holmes, was recently featured in Food & Wine. Little did Mom and Grandma know that they would be dining at not one, but two Food & Wine-acclaimed Austin restaurants that week. We Bastron women have a talent for sniffing out good food, wherever we are.

Olivia Benedict: braised flatiron beef, poached farm eggs, hollandaise, biscuit

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Sustenance: a Week in Review

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On Monday, we woke early, had an early breakfast, and Sarah went for a long bike ride. When she returned home at 10:30 a.m., she was already hungry for lunch. While an early start makes for a more productive day, it wreaks havoc on a regular meal schedule. It was 2:30 p.m. and already her tummy was growling. Perhaps it was the warm, humid air that swept through Austin that day, or perhaps it was because HEB had mangos on sale for $0.50 each. Whatever the reason, a mango lassi sounded like a really, really good idea. Two mangoes, a cup of Greek yogurt, a splash of milk, and a bit of honey later…sayonara hunger pangs!

On Tuesday, we were determined to use the Napa cabbage that had been sitting in our fridge since the last CSA pickup. In the past, it had sadly gone to waste as uneaten coleslaw. Inspired by a recent visit to The Peached Tortilla (thanks Betty Hahn for the gift card), we decided to make our own kimchi (a fermented Korean cabbage, similar to sauerkraut, but spicier and sweeter…a great topper for just about any sandwich-like food). The jury is still out on whether or not this will be safe to eat. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to this risky culinary endeavor!

For Wednesday dinner, Christian made Tawainese-style Three Cup Chicken with Thai basil and red chiles. Sarah, at first skeptical of all food that appears to be Chinese take-out, soon concluded that the meal surpassed her expectations. In the end, we dubbed the meal “Thunder Thighs with Terrible Rice.” Why such a strange name you might ask? Sarah purposely didn’t follow the cooking instructions for making arborio rice, thus making it “terrible” in the eyes of an Italian chef, but “just right” for our purposes. The “Thunder Thighs” portion of the name originated from the fact that we were making chicken thighs, while listening to an “Earth Sky” segment on the radio (yes, we are nerds). Apparently, paleontologists (our fellow nerds) had recently discovered a new species of dinosaur and appropriately named it “Thunder Thighs.”

On Thursday night, we had to catch a meeting at The Canine Center about dogs and babies (don’t get any ideas, yet!). Having no time to fix a meal, we zapped our Thunder Thighs and Terrible Rice in the microwave and scooted off to our meeting.

Friday night Sarah whipped up some Red Lentil Soup that she read about in a recent edition of Food & Wine. Apparently, it’s a recipe inspired by the red lentil soup at Soup Cycle – a soup delivery service in Portland, Oregon that brings your order to you on a bicycle!

This morning (Saturday) we breakfasted on Beet Cakes (thanks Stefanie Leacock for the recommendation!) and Ginger Lemongrass Sodas. Not bad for a couple of kids sans culinary degrees.

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