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St. Philip

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Philip Speer, Culinary Director of the Uchi group heads up one of the hottest new ventures in town at St. Philip. I need to go back to do a more thorough review as my 1 trip so far was pre-opening. But I thought I should post my highlights as it is topping many best of […]

Hightower

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I was pleased to be offered an opportunity to try the new lunch menu at the Hightower on East 7th. I always get anxious about finding parking downtown but things were off to a great start to pull up to a reasonably sized parking lot. The inside is full of warm wood and soft lighting. There […]

Snow Monster

DSCN2221

Since this is Texas, we go from sweaters to shorts on a weekly basis. So frozen treats are good on warmer days or even on cold ones to reinforce the short chill. Snow Monster near Braker and North Lamar specializes in bubble teas and snow ice topped with fresh fruits, tapioca pearls, and custards. Choose your ice […]

Sip and Stroll at Central Market November 6, 2014

cmholidayguide

GRAB SOME WINE AT CENTRAL MARKET’S FESTIVE “STROLL” Preview the coming season’s offerings Nov. 6 To get in the holiday spirit, Central Market is hosting a storewide Holiday Stroll. The event serves to highlight Central Market’s holiday items and provides a generous sampling of the foods and beverages CM will be offering this holiday season. […]

Big Reds and Bubbles

bigredsbubbles2014

If you are looking for a fancy, dress-up event to kick off the holidays, The Wine and Food Foundation throw a mean party at the Driskill every year. Some of the best restaurants in town provide tasty bites. And you get to sample dozens of the best red wines and champagne in the world. I […]

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St. Philip

DSCN2301Philip Speer, Culinary Director of the Uchi group heads up one of the hottest new ventures in town at St. Philip. I need to go back to do a more thorough review as my 1 trip so far was pre-opening. But I thought I should post my highlights as it is topping many best of lists for the year.

St Philips occupies part of the space that used to be Cannoli Joe’s which was an all-you-can-eat Italianish food. Although better than many buffet places, the pizza there was flabby and greasy. So the beautiful pies that Speer’s crew are turning out are truly tasty. We had the Wild Mushroom with Ricotta, Baby Kale, and Umami Sauce ($14) Not sure what was in the umami sauce but it is my new favorite condiment. I think it would easily make catsup its bitch.

DSCN2305Forget Chicken and Waffles and try the Churros and Chicken. I don’t think this is still on the menu but I really liked the spicy and creamy dipping sauces with the boneless chicken breast and mini churros. The menu updates often with seasonal items and the creative whims of the chef. Had to mention this one though with churros coming up as a new hot item, I really liked the creativity of the savory sweet pairing.

DSCN2294The restaurant seems small but that is most likely due to the eager anticipation that still packs the place on a nightly basis. Tables are close but great for people watching. There is also a huge bar with a long list of Texas beers and wines on tap. Yes, even many of the wines are on tap. There is also a nice porch area outside for the inevitable wait if you try to pop in. Service is friendly and attentive, even bringing us cold ice water outside on a warm day while we had a brief wait on our table.

DSCN2311Speer is still one of my favorite pastry chefs in town. Although he may not be baking on a day to day basis, you can bet he is training and guiding the crew filling the huge pastry case that has its own dedicated area. One of the main reasons I need to return is because there were only slim pickings left on our visit but we did enjoy a rootbeer snickerdoodle, a soft oatmeal cookie, and a puckery sweet lemon chess pie.

So for Uchi dining standards but with wholly new flavors check out St. Philips and see what’s new.

 

Hightower

DSCN2399I was pleased to be offered an opportunity to try the new lunch menu at the Hightower on East 7th. I always get anxious about finding parking downtown but things were off to a great start to pull up to a reasonably sized parking lot. The inside is full of warm wood and soft lighting. There is a huge, gorgeous bar and a tiny postage stamp sized kitchen. But the chef is working his magic despite the petite work area.
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The chicken liver pate is rich and complex. It comes with quince jam and candied peanuts for salty sweet fix that ain’t your mama’s pb&j. ($7)

DSCN2388The gnocchi with house made ricotta, Brussels sprouts greens, butternut squash puree, turnip confit, almonds and sorghum was my favorite dish of the day. The pillow soft gnocchi on the warm winter puree with bitter greens and slightly sour turnips would be especially comforting on a chilly winter day. ($12)

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The fried oysters with sriracha aioli, flying fish roe, sunflower sprouts and avocado oil was interesting. It is served as an open face sandwich with practically a full salad on top as well as on the side. The thin crispy bread gave a needed textural contrast to the plump oysters and pop of the fish roe but made for an extremely messy sandwich. Forge ahead as best you can with a knife and fork. It’s worth it. Owner said they were looking for a new bread source, so it might change to more traditional looking. ($12)

DSCN2414As a pastry chef, I always have to try dessert and appreciate ones that are made in house and not your typical pie-cake-ice cream. And the tiny kitchen did not disappoint with a twist on the classic buttermilk pie. A thin layer of custard is baked sans shell in a wide bowl which gave an especially chewy/crunchy texture to the edge of the “filling”. The bits sprinkled on top are toasted meringue with a pretzel crust crumble for the crunchy, salty bits you usually get from a crust. It also has a chiffonade of mint which took me a bit to decide if I liked. A personal pastry prejudice is mint on top of desserts. Less often now but frequently in the past, desserts were topped with a sprig of mint more for a pop of color than for the flavor profile. But in this case, I decided I liked the fresh green mint with the sour-sweet custard. ($5)

DSCN2393So if you are looking for a reasonably priced lunch downtown with parking (and maybe a tasty beverage or 2) check out the Hightower. They also do brunch both Saturday and Sunday with similar offerings. And thanks to the Hightower for having me in. I’ll be back with friends soon!

 

 

 

 

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Snow Monster

Since this is Texas, we go from sweaters to shorts on a weekly basis. So frozen treats are good on warmer days or even on cold ones to reinforce the short chill. Snow Monster near Braker and North Lamar specializes in bubble teas and snow ice topped with fresh fruits, tapioca pearls, and custards. Choose your ice […]

November 29, 2014 1
cmholidayguide
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Sip and Stroll at Central Market November 6, 2014

GRAB SOME WINE AT CENTRAL MARKET’S FESTIVE “STROLL” Preview the coming season’s offerings Nov. 6 To get in the holiday spirit, Central Market is hosting a storewide Holiday Stroll. The event serves to highlight Central Market’s holiday items and provides a generous sampling of the foods and beverages CM will be offering this holiday season. […]

November 3, 2014 0
bigredsbubbles2014
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Big Reds and Bubbles

If you are looking for a fancy, dress-up event to kick off the holidays, The Wine and Food Foundation throw a mean party at the Driskill every year. Some of the best restaurants in town provide tasty bites. And you get to sample dozens of the best red wines and champagne in the world. I […]

October 30, 2014 0
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Wine and Swine

                  Get your tickets now before they sell out. Wine and Swine is one of my favorite events of the year. A fall celebration of all things porky to benefit the Austin Food and Wine Alliance. Hope to see you there! Tweet

October 27, 2014 0
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Cochon is coming, Cochon is coming!

So much going on this weekend! Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance first bloggers conference, Byte of Texas,  a fabulous sounding fundraiser for local Springdale Farms, my birthday And Cochon 555 is coming to Austin. If you have not heard, Cochon 555 is an epic traveling pork battle featuring local chefs in a competition using heritage breeds […]

September 22, 2014 0
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Byte of Texas Speakers

I am so excited about the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance first ever conference called Byte of Texas. On September 27-28 here in Austin we will be hosting bloggers from far and wide to come learn, discuss and grow ourselves and our blogs. Hope to see you there! Here’s a description of the event: Byte of Texas […]

September 8, 2014 0
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Cooking Planit Slide Show

I am testing a new slider for the Cooking Planit Blog. Check out some of our great recipes. Tweet

September 8, 2014 1
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Menu for the Big Chill

  Menu is in for the Big Chill on June 26. Tickets still available here.   Drinks Chameleon Cold-Brew   The Dude- Orange White Russian   Good Pop   “Pop”tails featuring Strawberry Lemonade and Hibiscus Mint   Bites The Carillon   Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Jumbo Lump Crab, Crisp Wonton and Yuzu-Koshu   Celtic Seafare   Irish Soda Bread […]

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