Food Finds I


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There are two kinds of people in this world: those that eat to live and those that live to eat. I was raised by a family of food fanatics, thus I've inevitably become one myself. When I wasn't studying for spelling tests or practicing my multiplication tables, I can recall flipping through the Houston edition of the Zagat food ratings book to help my parents come to a decision on our Friday night restaurant of choice. Youngest child syndrome, much?

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That foodie in me hasn't in the least bit faded; if anything, it has only developed with matured taste buds.

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Much in thanks to food blogs and

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foodstagrams, I'm always seeking the next best dining adventure and crave discovering new twists on old favorites.

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{interior of winflo}
Austin--I'm happy to report--is extremely accommodating to the foodie type with new restaurants opening regularly, each always making a bold statement with the menu, interior design, dining atmosphere or a combination of these elements.

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I took full advantage of the foodie playground that is Austin while living here this summer. My friends and I added new favorites to our list of old habits like Whole Foods, Zocalo, 34th Street Café and Hopdoddy.

Here are five of the favorites with more to come in this three week Food Finds series.

Fresa's Chicken Al Carbon 
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Some of the freshest fast food you'll ever consume. You'll come hungry and leave happy as this Tex-Mex walk-up/drive-thru joint will never leave you with that unavoidable way-too-full feeling that say, Maudie's, Matt's, or the like is notorious for.
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The fresh aesthetic of the menu coordinates well with the curb appeal of Fresa's, which stands in what once was a photo finishing drive-thru. The restaurant earned serious streed cred from the start coming from the same owners of Perla's, Lambert's and Elizabeth St. Café. Loyal clientele and newcomers alike will agree the hype was well deserved.
my order: Jerez Salad / #2 Wood-Grilled Chicken Meal
next time: Classic Torta + Mexican street corn
rating: ½
good for: a Saturday morning outdoor picnic (excellent bfast tacos) with the Duncan park in walking distance // sippin' on an Agua Fresca and sharing a fresh charcoal chicken order curbside while people/car watching on Lamar

Walton's Fancy + Staple
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The more laid-back of Sandra Bullock's two Austin spots, Walton's Fancy + Staple, is as charming as its name makes it sound. It's the kind of place where the ambiance enhances the taste of your food,  and it just so happens the food ain't half bad either.
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So, people like me who are suckers for that kinda stuff (a plant shop in the back, curved glass cases full of sweet fetishes, tin ceiling tiles and chalkboard menus) keep comin' back.
my order: Challah French Toast (my word, this stuff's insane) / Ham on Pretzel sandwich
next time: Roast Beef Bleu sandwich, honey almond bee cake
good for: ladies who lunch or just people who brunch and enjoy the perks of a perfectly pressed cappuccino and the feeling of a fresh issue of the Wall Street Journal wedged between your fingertips

Winflo Osteria
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Upon our visit, Meghan, Peyton and I weren't sure if the restuarant was named after the neighboring street or vice-versa. Either way, this Italian spot (which I've found are few and far between compared to other cuisines in Austin), is nestled under lit trees which simply beg you to request a table outside on the patio deck.
my order: beet salad + fettucine al pesto
next time: gorgonzola salad + rigatoni
rating: ½
good for: a casual date night when the weather is cooperating // a GNO with several bottles of wine for all to share

Burro Cheese Kitchen
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Sometimes it's the simplest foods that we find ourselves falling in love with over and over again. Personally, I've found this love affair with cereal, a good  PB&J, and a grilled cheese. While most are more than satisfied with Kraft wedged between barely grilled Miss Baird's, I've been spoiled with more gourmet versions lately. After William confessed he was envious of my sandwich at the Meltdown on 40A in Seaside, I promised to wait for his return to the states to try Burro--a food trailer on South Congress. Well worth the wait.
my order: Croque-Madame -- sour dough, smoked ham, fontina + pesto aioli, topped w/ a fried egg & dulce de leche
next time: Via 206 - beer bread, cheddar, gruyere + balsalmic apricot fig
rating: ½
good for: a Friday lunch after a Thursday downtown // a unique place to show a visitor to our lovely state Capitol that will leave them with something to talk about when they return home

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I saved the best for last with dessert. Though I'd acclaim myself (and several of my best friends) a certified fro yo critic, the occassional trip for the real deal, like Amy's, never fails to satisfy my late night sweet tooth. This specialty flavor ice cream shop on South Lamar, Lick, has been on my radar for quite some time now and I finally tried it with my friend Olivia last night. I ended up trying the more offbeat flavors (goat cheese thyme honey, pb&j, roasted beets and fresh mint) as testers and ordered more conventional flavors when it came to decision time.
my order: dark chocolate w/ olive oil + sea salt, milk & cookies, mint chocolate chunk
next time: lemon lavendar / caramel salt lick
rating: ½
good for: "honest" ice creams that don't shy away from combining the world's best flavors (goat cheese, balsalmic, hill country honey) into the world's best dessert. bonus: it's not terribly rich, so feel free to sample 3-4 scoops and spring for the waffle cone

Not to hate on the "eat to live-ers", but sometimes I think your enjoyment of food can be a direct reflection of your overall enjoyment of life. It's one of the few things that ties this whole world together, and remains one of the finest forms of art as chefs are constantly finding new ways to convey the spirit of food. Until next time, bon appétit!


Unknown said...

you have my stomach growling. unfortunately Norman doesn't quite live up to Austin's food scene.

i am definitely a live to eater.