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Curra's, Habenero, Fran's, Polvo's, Jo's, Baby Greens

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We moved here a few days ago, and while we're waiting for our fridge to arrive we're doing the rounds in our new neighborhood. I realize that most of these places have been reviewed, but thought I'd throw my 2 cents in as a newbie. :)

Curra's: Hub had the queso with chorizo and peppers and it was tasty ~ gooey with just the right amount of chorizo. I had the tacos al pastor which were moist and flavorful and upgraded to their special beans. I'm not a big bean fan but wanted to give them a try and I actually really enjoyed them.I wasn't a huge fan of the margaritas, but it's close to home and we'll likely go back. The service was also great.

Habenero: I was eating light so I had my first taste of Carne Guisada in the form of a taco. Topped with their hot sauce it was to die for! My husband had the Chile Colorado which paled in comparison to my taco, but he still finished it off. I can't comment on the taste, but he said it was good. We also ordered a horchata which we finished off quickly. It had the perfect contrast of sweet and spicy. I can't wait to get back here to try all the other menu offerings, especially their sopapillas.

Fran's: I love the idea of the throwback burger joint, but sadly we weren't impressed with the food. I ordered the Jalapeno burger and my husband had the Hickory burger. The burgers were just "okay" - nothing really stood out about them. Maybe I am spoiled with my In N Out memories, andI will not give up hope that a great burger can be found in Austin. The fries were dried out, but the onion rings were fantastic and huge!

Polvo's: I've seen the debates on this board about Polvo's and even I am a little torn. The presentation of the dishes is great. I like the salsa bar and the margaritas and the atmosphere is fun, but the chow we had just wasn't what we were hoping for. I had the Original Chile Relleno and it was inedible. It was drenched in a bland sauce and the ground beef was loaded up with curry which I am not a fan of. Our tortillas were clearly storebought and after about 5 minutes at our table they turned into rock hard frisbees. My husband's pork dish (again, forgot name) was dried out. Positives were the black beans (guess I am turning into a bean fan?), the margaritas and the service.

Jo's: I had the Chai Green Tea Latte, my new favorite drink, and the Morning Glory Muffin. My muffin was packed to the brim with raisin, carrot and zucchini goodness, and I think we are both now addicted to the Iced Turbo!

Baby Greens: I love the idea of this little place and had a chicken cobb salad. Large chunks of freshly grilled chicken breast, fresh bacon and yummy veggies topped my fresh greens, and the bleu cheese vinagrette was wonderful. I normally don't order bleu cheese dressing due to how heavy it is, so the vinagrette was perfect. I plan on going back soon to try their wraps on one of the flavored tortillas, along with some of their other tasty looking salads.

Well, that's it for now. I can't wait to get out and explore more. :)

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  1. I'll have to say that I went to Polvo's again last night, and it was "okay." I forgot (again) to bring my own chips! I'll eat the leftovers today and see if my tastebuds were simply off last night.

    You may want to try the jalapeno cheddar burger at Artz Rib House.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rudeboy

      I love Polvo's (live down the road and have eaten there dozens of times over the years). But I admit that it can be inconsistent. The first few times I ate there, I was unimpressed, but kept going back because it's a great place to go with a group. Finding the dishes you like there is pretty key.

      The best items on their menu are the fajitas (esp. the Ranchero and Cerveza varieties). I'm also a fan of their caldo de pollo. The queso is top notch and I'm into the al pastor tacos once in a while.

    2. I love Habanero's Fajitas. They are the closest to what I would call authentic that I have tried in Austin (though I think authentic is overrated in terms of deliciousness). The Breakfast choices at Habanero are wonderful and there Roberto's Special (huevos rancheros with a tomatillo salsa and a portion of their fajitas) is excellent if you can't make menu decisions like me>

      3 Replies
      1. re: El General

        Hey General,
        Ever been to Los Comales Graciella on e.7th st?If you're a lover of carne asada get over there soon.It's the finest I've sampled in Austin.You would be advised as well to secret in your own salsa to go with the chips delivered upon being seated as theirs' is a low rung version....they do offer a passable ranchero[suitable for dipping]available upon request

        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          I agree with El General. Habeñero Mexican Cafe's fajitas—and grilled lengua—are amazing. I still haven't gone there for breakfast, but I will do it soon, based on the good reports here.

          I also second scrumptiouschef: My second choice for fajitas in town is Los Comales on East 7th. Everything else I've had there (sides, flautas, tacos with stewed meat, etc.) was not very good, but they sure can grill.

          Thanks for the detailed report, YaYa.

          Best,
          MPH

          1. re: MPH

            If you go to Habanero's on the weekend for breakfast, get there before 10:00 if you don't want to wait.

      2. www.burger-off.com has some great recs but basically Sullivan's offers a ground sirloin burger and for happy hour it is only 5 bucks (a real steal). Same with Roaring Fork. The Tavern is a favorite of mine for the atmosphere (sports bar) and Phil's is a great neighborhood place for the kiddo's, but the burger is good enough for mom and dad to enjoy!

        1. On the burger front, it's officially burger-season for me, and I've gotta start checking out all the little burger joints. I'm most interested in the "throwback" burgs, and that's dissapointing to hear the news about Fran's. Although, I really wasn't expecting much after having tried Dan's (but was hoping that they may be different).

          I recently tried P.Terry's for the first time, and it was rather boring as well. Good bun, mediocre patty (really bland), and poor assembly (a whole head of lettuce in there!). I saw mention that one can order burgers however you want, and I should've probably taken that advice. Maybe grilled onions or something could've picked it up, but still, at the heart of it, it was a bland patty. Great fresh-cut fries, on the other hand, ordered extra-crispy.

          1. Had a little extra time this morning and stopped by Habenero Cafe for a breakfast taco. I have read many good things about this place on these boards and was extremely excited to give it a try. Thus, I ordered up a migas taco to go.

            Once in the car I unwrapped my very hot taco. I could visible see eggs, cheese, corn tortillas, white onions, and jalepenos. Once it cooled, I took a bite of the flour tortilla-- which I found to be nothing special. The migas had a nice flavor of jalepeno, but were a one-note wonder. The taco was in serious lack of salt or other spice. But the most defining characteristic of my breakfast was that it was oily. Read: oily not greasy. I can often find deliciousness in greasy(...mmmm pork fat), but oily is disgusting. I finished about half the taco and threw the rest out.

            I was very disappointed in my experience at Habenero Cafe. Did I hit an off day? Did I simply order the wrong thing? I almost got a machacado taco and changed my mind at the last minute. Perhaps that would have been a better choice? I trust my fellow hounds would not steer me wrong so please help me make my next trip to Habenero Cafe a better one. (With me, you get two strikes before you are out.)

            5 Replies
            1. re: Honey Bee

              It's not just you, I've had their migas...once.
              Bland and boring, I'll stick to enchiladas etc.
              Still love the place.

              1. re: Honey Bee

                Honey Bee,

                If you search this board for the restaurant's name, you should pull up several relevant threads with detailed reviews. I know I've posted a couple of reports.

                Although I've never had the migas at HMC, the ingredients sound about right for a traditional version (except for the excessive oiliness). If you prefer the super-spicy, extra-cheesy, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink variety, then you might not like HMC's take on this dish, even on a good day. At least you know to skip the migas in the future. There's nothing worse than starting your day with a bad taco.

                In my opinion, grilled meats are Habañero's true specialty. I highly recommend the fajitas, especially the fajitas rancheras. I also like the lengua [although they no longer serve the mesquite-grilled variety, just stewed lengua] and Roberto's Special, which is a breakfast plate of huevos rancheros with a side of fajitas. Their carne guisada isn't bad, either, but I prefer other versions in town. It seems like other chowhounds have praised their barbacoa and maybe even their al pastor. FYI: HMC's tortillas are just store-bought; thus, the corn are better than the flour.

                I hope this helps you choose a delicious dish on your next visit.

                Best,
                MPH

                1. re: MPH

                  YAYA- sounds like you were from the West-I so miss, in n out, but I am wondering if you would consider Habenero's close to CA. style mexican we are on the search still and hearing everyone metioning how good the fajitas are there, I am thinking it is tex-mex? We have been planning on trying but have found a great place we keep going back to up North, we love.
                  TIA

                  1. re: familyof3

                    Please, what is the great place up North?

                  2. re: MPH

                    Thanks MPH. Yes, starting the day with a bad taco does indeed begin the day off on the wrong foot.

                    I have enjoyed reading the other posts about Habenero (the only reason the place was on my radar in the first place), but had not read anything specifically on the migas. That is why I was wondering if this dish is typical of their over all taste factor for other menu items. Sounds like fajitas are the way to go next time. Thanks for the input.

                    I did not object to the style of the migas, just the oily factor and the blandness. I advise other hounds to stay away from the migas taco, unless you order other menu items as back up.

                    Next time I will oredr the fajitas