YaYa's Chow Report
Some of you may remember that about a month ago I meticulously planned out my chow itinerary for our visit last weekend. The night before we left for Austin, we had to put our beloved dog to sleep. We almost didn’t go but felt like it was probably a good idea to get out of town and for many reasons I’m glad we did.
Because everything happened so fast, my chow itinerary was left at work and I wasn’t always in the mood for eating so we pretty much winged it based on my memory of what was good in Austin.
Now for the chow.
Friday ~ We arrived at the airport and were running late, so we stopped at THE SALT LICK before claiming our luggage and shared a brisket sandwich. Really good for airport food, and despite splitting it we were satisfied until dinner.
Dinner was at EL CHILE. I can see why it’s a board favorite. We had the queso dip with chorizo and the flour tortillas were fluffy and addictive. I am not a huge fan of chipotle so I didn’t love the salsa, but hubby enjoyed it. Our drinks were really good, especially the Mexican martini and prickly pear margarita. For our entrees hub had a steak (forgot the proper name of entrée) and I had steak fajitas. We wanted to take advantage of the Texas beef. My fajitas were covered with melted cheese in a spicy almost creamy sauce that I sopped up with tortillas. Guac was fresh, I just wish they had given me a little more than a tablespoon. The service was out of this world phenomenal and we had a really nice time. I can’t wait to go back!
Saturday ~ Had an early appointment with our broker so we missed breakfast. We went to THE COUNTY LINE for lunch. The atmosphere and view were neat, the food was just okay. I had the brisket and rib plate and barely ate a quarter of it. The brisket was a little dry and the rib was really fatty. I also didn’t like their sauce. My husband had a rib, something I can’t remember and the sausage. The sausage was the best thing on the plate. The homemade bread with honey butter and sausage was my favorite part of the meal. The beans and potato salad were kind of blah and service was okay.
We wanted to hit CEDAR DOOR for a Mexican martini, but based on the prior events were really up to a lot of drinking. We did keep our dinner reservation at WINK. We walked in and were introduced to a man I think was the owner? He remembered our names the entire night and made us feel right at home.
For dinner we selected the tasting menu with the wine pairings. What a treat it was. First course was an ahi tartar – fresh and comparable to some of the nice ahi we have out here in San Diego. Second course was a seared scallop. I don’t like scallops, but I loved this scallop. Meaty and melt in your mouth. Third course was duck breast that was very lean and cooked to perfection. Fourth course was a filet, one of the best filets I have had in my life. Tender and buttery it left me wanting more. Fifth course was a cheese plate which was decent, but missing one of the cheeses presented on the menu. No one told me that a different cheese would be substituted which was a bit of a bummer because the one that wasn’t included is a favorite of mine. Against our better judgment, we decided on the trio of desserts. I say it was against our better judgment because when we got the dessert plate, we realized how stuffed we were and only had a bite of each dessert! The crème brulee had a thick crust of carmelized sugar, which I love. Too many places do such a thin layer these days, I rarely order crème brulee anymore. The dense chocolate cake (forget the actual name) was rich and not too sweet, but my favorite was the lemon meringue. It was the perfect balance of tangy and sweet lemon custard on a meringue cookie. The service was excellent, and my only complaint lies in the fact they took zero time to explain any of the wine to us. A quick flash of the wine bottle and they ran off. I cannot wait to return to this restaurant next time we are in town. Highly recommend!
Sunday ~ We ate breakfast at our B&B and then met my husband’s brother and his family for an early lunch. We wanted to go to EASTSIDE CAFÉ but were unable to due to the marathon. Instead, we went to Magnolia Café. I had the migas (I know, doubtful it’s the place to go in town for that). The rest of the table had standard diner fare. Affordable, filling and great place for the 4 year old.
Dinner was at CHUYS, the family had heard of it and wanted to go there. I was too tired to try to pick somewhere else and was without my chowlist. The restaurant was hot and packed, the margaritas were not very good and the food mediocre. I liked the chips and salsa, but the overall experience was nothing to write home about. A touristy thing to do, and we were tourists. Good company made it enjoyable though I doubt we’ll return unless we get a special request from someone visiting us. Great service though.
My husband and I had a drink that night at GUERO’S. The drink was good but the servers were very unfriendly. I guess one thing I was a little surprised about the inconsistency in service at the restaurants. It was really hit and miss.
Monday ~ Breakfast again at the B&B.
Lunch was at ARTZ RIB HOUSE. OMG, YUM YUM YUM. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. The servers were very surly, but they could probably throw the food down on the table and I’d eat it. Hub got the Monday rib lunch plate and declared the ribs the best he’s ever eaten. The rub on those ribs is out of this world. I cannot believe how much meaty goodness was on the bone. I had the brisket sandwich and dipped it in the sweet smokey sauce. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Potato salad was just how mom made it for family picnics, and my husband thought the slaw was great as well. All in all, a fabulous meal, a great deal and we can’t wait to go back.
We loved Austin so much that we bought a house in SoCo. There are many days of chowing in Austin ahead for us. :)
Thank you for following up with a report...you must have good taste, because you liked what I like and didn't like the things that I don't like so much
Your husband must have had the country style ribs at Artz - they are damn good!
Sorry to hear about having to put down your faithful friend, but glad you were still able to have a good time here. I'll look forward to reading your future Austin Chow input.