Saturday, April 2, 2016

more. worth your time

more. is a relatively new restaurant in the Glenwood South area.  Its menu was appealing enough that a group of us gave it a try tonight.  I'm happy to report that the food was so good that I'll return when the menu next changes.

The restaurant encourages you to share all of the dishes, so we did.  Every dish was at least good, and some were considerably better than that.  The two best plates were the sliders, which were rich and creamy and delicious, and the perfectly cooked hanger steak with chimichurri.  I and a few others also thought the mac and cheese was excellent, though it was too heavily herbed for some tastes.

The service wasn't up to the meal, and the high seats were rather uncomfortable, but I'm happy to forgive them those failings in return for the delicious meal.

Check out more.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Top 5 lessons from today's trip home from Austin

5.  Anyone who tells you that 10:00 a.m. is too early to eat Amy's ice cream is wrong.

4.  If you want to sell breakfast tacos, don't let them sit out so long that they look dusty.

3.  Continuing to work frantically on a laptop while a plane bounces from turbulence can make your row-mate feel sick even when he's not doing anything except turning green.

2.  False eyelashes (no, not mine) can be so long and so wet that they can get stuck to your eyebrow.

1.  Some people think the right reaction to bouncing their luggage off first your head and then your stomach (yes, my head and my stomach) is to say, "What's your problem?"

I do not like those people.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Emmer & Rye

is a new (to me) Austin restaurant that I visited tonight for the first time.  Its serving style is one I had not seen before:  a short printed menu that the chefs augment with carts of additional dishes, about ten a night, that waiters bring to your table.  As their site explains, the ever-changing dishes on the carts let the chefs prepare dishes that reflect exactly what is available from their source farmers each day.

We sampled several dishes from the main menu and quite a few of the small plates on the carts.  I enjoyed all of the dishes, with the lamb belly (from the menu) and pickled vegetables (off a cart) being my favorites.

No dish, though, gave me that magic "wow" moment in which you realize the chefs have created something wonderful, surprising, and still amazingly delicious.

For my taste, Emmer & Rye is a good restaurant and a fun place to eat, so I recommend it on those terms, but it is not at the level of the very best Austin has to offer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

COUNTER 3 . FIVE . VII wows once again

If you live in Austin or visit here, and if you are interested in great food, you need to book a dinner reservation here.  COUNTER 3 . FIVE . VII, which from now on I'll call "Counter," offers only three menu options:  a three-course, a five-course, or a seven-course meal.  Each totals about the same amount of food, but the larger the number of courses, the more work for the restaurant's half dozen or so chefs, so the higher the price.

I've tasted one each of the three- and five-course menus, and I've now eaten the seven-course option three or four times.

Every single meal has been fantastic, and tonight's was no exception.

The menu relies heavily on local ingredients and always leaves a bit to your imagination.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Every bite of every dish was delicious.  A particular standout was the dish titled "Rhubarb,"

which blended Newsom's ham with brown butter and many presentations of rhubarb.  I had no clue how good that vegetable could taste.

As you eat, you get to watch the chefs both prepare and then present your dishes, so it really is dinner and a show.

I've now been to Counter enough times that I recognize the chefs and a few of them recognize me.  Tonight, while talking with the pastry chef, I mentioned that growing up I thought the only way people ever ate cauliflower was as a stringy, snot-like mass, and so I hated that vegetable.  I was in my twenties before I ever tasted a piece of the vegetable raw.  One of the chefs heard me and treated us to their cauliflower dish,

which presents the vegetable almost as a main meat course.  Various takes on cauliflower are all over that plate, and they combine into an amazing, rich, meaty dish that was also a highlight of the meal.

Go to Counter.  Pick the menu you want--I'll always recommend the seven-course--sit back, and trust the chefs to present you with amazing dishes that you would otherwise never have experienced.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Uchiko continues to be great

For dinner tonight, a group of us tried the omakase, or chef's tasting menu, at Uchiko, one of my favorite Austin restaurants.  The meal was once again delicious, a wonderful blend of hot and cold dishes.

A highlight was one of the day's specials, which we added to our menu: the gyutoro nigiri.  This little gem was a piece of Wagyu short rib that they cooked sous vide for 72 hours and then quickly and lightly seared before presenting it atop a perfect bit of warm rice.  The beef literally melted in your mouth.  We were all smiling as we slowly consumed our individual bites.  I probably could have eaten a plate of these rascals, but at the same time, one bite was perfect and so was exactly right.

As I have before, I once again recommend Uchiko to anyone who lives or visits here.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Upping my first-night barbecue game

It's my first night in Austin, so as usual I went out for barbecue, a food sure to raise the IQ and gladden the heart.  This time, though, I decided to up my game by moving from The County Line By the Lake to (the relatively new) Cooper's in downtown Austin.

Click an image to see a larger version.

The reason is simple:  as much as I love the County Line for historical reasons, every single dish at Cooper's tastes better than its counterpart there.

As always, I went for the brisket, sausage, and beef rib, this time with a side of mac 'n cheese.

(The food above, by the way, is for two people, and we ended unable to finish it.)

The sausage at the two places is close, but the brisket and beef rib at Cooper's are among the very best I've ever tasted.  The worst bite of brisket I've relished at Cooper's is better than the best bite of brisket the County Line has ever served.  The beef rib is succulent and rich and flavorful and perfectly spiced, easily the best beef rib I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

After barbecue on a Monday night in Austin, you have only one choice:  drive to a nearby Amy's for a small cup of ice cream.  I made that same choice, and the result was a delicious pairing of blueberry and strawberry mango ice creams.

Ah, Austin, I am ready for you now.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Now is the time of our movie discontent

because very few films of note are likely to hit the Triangle area between now and Captain America: Civil War.

This sad fact can mean only one thing:  time to catch up on films I've purchased on DVD!


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