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Apr 12, 2007 09:21 AM

Another week of eating out

Refrigerator gets here today and we can finally start eating in, which I am actually looking forward to at this point! Here is a quick rundown of our latest dining experiences:

Shoal Creek Saloon ~ Along with Blacks, the standout of my most recent dining experiences. I ordered the shrimp po boy "Reynoldo Style." I received one of the most magnificent sandwiches I have ever had. The waiter and his friend actually clapped when I ordered this sinful delight. On a big crusty french roll sat a generous helping of juicy fried shrimp. Reynoldo Style meant it was topped with grilled onions and jalapenos and I also asked for cheddar cheese. It wasn't nearly as greasy as it sounds, or maybe the bread sopped it up. The japalenos gave it a big kick, and at times I dipped it in their sweet/tangy tartar sauce. With my husbands help I finished one half, and sadly couldn't bring it home for leftovers since we have no refrigerator. I'm counting the days until I can get back there to order it again.

Chilsolm Trail - The pork ribs were super greasy and contained about 90% fat and 10% meat. I wasn't a big fan of the ribs or the sides.

Black's - OMG out of this world brisket. I am still fantasizing about it. Moist, juicy, flavorful and everything I had hoped it would be. I also had a side of banana pudding which was good, but could have used more bananas.

Gueros - Close to home so we hit it in a pinch. Tamales were dry even with a helping of queso on top, while the tacos were a little better. My margarita was really good though, I think that would be the only reason I'd go back.

Cuba Libra - What a great place! With 10 or so variations on mojitos and a huge selection of rums for your own tailored cubra libra, we loved this find. I had a few raspberry mojitos while my hub and friend tried one that was a cross between a cuba libra and a mojito, and we shared an appetizer sampler plate which had veggies samosas, huge coconut shrimp and a chicken quesadilla. The samosas and shrimp were the best on the plate. The shrimp were fresh and not too greasy. We also had the bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with shrimp and cheese. Even my friend who doesn't like bacon OR jalapenos loved these. They weren't too spicy and the shrimp and cheese cut the heat.

Halcyon - After a long night of bar hopping we hit Halcyon for some s'mores. They provide a large plate of marshmallows, two wrapped Hershey bars, graham crackers that we roasted tableside. I can't wait to head back for this nostalgic treat. :)

Alamo Drafthouse - Oh sweet Alamo, I now see what the hype is all about. My friend visiting from SF couldn't figure out why this place hasn't gone nationwide. The sangria was a bit fruit punchy but light enough for me to have two glasses and still want more. The fried pickles were spears instead of chips which was a nice change, and the mozarella sticks were ooey gooey goodness. My husband had the Enter The Dragon pizza which he devoured (I had a few bites and loved the jalapenos on top), and I had the Smokey and the Bacon with a fried egg on top. I wish the egg was a little more on the runny side, but I'd order the sandwich again in a heartbeat.

Vivos - Their Mexican Martini was too loaded down with orange, so it tasted as if I was drinking diluted orange juice. I can't tell you what we ordered, because the food was that unmemorable. Not bad, just not remarkable. I did like the ambience, but since the food and drink was a bust for me, not sure if I'll return.

Green Mesquite ~ We were fairly unoriginal here with me ordering the brisket plate and hub ordering the brisket sandwich. The brisket tasted like old cafeteria roast beef. Compared to Black's, it was the McDonald's of brisket. Tough, grey, unflavorful, blah. We tried to spice it up with the sauce, but it was sickeningly sweet and actually made it worse. On the plus side, my potato salad was picnic style and just how I like it, and the fried okra was good. We ordered pecan pie for dessert as this was the first place in Austin we had ever eaten a meal and still been hungry, and it was alright as pecan pies go. The flavor was there, but the crust was very soggy and it had an unusual consistency.

Maria's Taco Express ~ My barbacoa taco was very bland, and my al pastor didn't live up to some others I have had around town. I did like the queso and the chips, along with the live music. I think we may have just ordered the wrong thing because I know I've seen the place rec'd a lot.

Thundercloud Subs ~ Sadly, we weren't fans and didn't finish our sandwiches. I had a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, my husband had the Italian. The meat wasn't a very high quality and the sandwiches just seemed flavorless.

Chuy's ~ I wasn't a fan of this place for dinner, but we hit the place up for their $3.00 margaritas and nacho bar. The nacho bar has queso, ground beef, beans, several salsas and it's complimentary. A great deal and pretty filling.

Austin Java ~ The "Junior Mint" is a mocha-mint coffee drink of deliciousness. My husband loved the Vietnamese Latte (I thought it was REALLY sweet), though they automatically iced it instead of serving it hot which we both thought would be better. Their specialty, the Java Chai Latte is in the running with the Chai Green Tea Latte at Jo's for my favorite in town.

Daily Juice ~ We split a large Manic Organic here which was pretty steep at $7.00. It was, however, the best smoothie I have ever had in my life. Growing up in Northern California, I like to think I know my smoothies. :D It was a delicious mixture of bananas, organix soymilk, vegan dark chocolate chips, pecans and organic vanilla. I can't wait to head back there to try their fruit offerings, yum yum!

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading! I'm having a blast eating my way through my neighborhood. :)

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  1. Great post, I'm going to have to try Blacks and Shoal Creek (just for that po boy!)

    1. Great post, YaYa. I think you and I have very simular tastes.

      It's probably been three (or more!) years since I went to Shoal Creek. Have to try that again soon, as it's now patio weather. Never been the CT. Take your word for it. Alamo (though I still miss my chicken pesto pizza...) is still a regular stop. Vivo's is bland-bland-bland. Only one I disagree on is Green Mesquite (of course you got the brisket - I agree on that). I usually get one of three things: chopped beef sandwich, quarter chicken plate white meat or they make some WONDERFUL smoked chicken wings. Last time I went to Maria's, I was disappointed. I used to love the tacos al carbon with tons of chimichurri sauce. Now I just go to Whole Foods and buy a jar of the sauce. Thundercloud, man I'm surprised that place stays in business. Chuy's only has two dishes I like - chimichanga with tomatillo sauce and Elvis Chicken. Great patio though. Been ages since I went to AJ, but I remember the eggs benedict being acceptable and the coffee being good. Again, not a bad patio. Only went once to Daily Juice and I felt they were too expensive for what they were.

      So there's my two cents...for what they're worth.

      Again, thanks for bringing some places out into fresh air. I'm getting ready to redo my kitchen and am dreading "out to eat burnout"

      1 Reply
      1. re: amysuehere

        Vivo's falls neatly into the"people will eat anything" category.Watery overpriced margaritas and tacos w/no flavor... at least they overcharge for everything so the herd that packs in there nightly gets what they came for.

      2. Y'know, somebody who's palate I generally trust also told me that Cuba Libre had great tapas. I called BS on him, but he was pretty insistent that I should abandon all skepticism I had of this trendy nightclub serving decent food. I don't see myself rushing there, but will certainly consider it if the opportunity presents itself.

        I recently tried Thundercloud's and find it to be another one of those "Austin institutions" that, unfortunately, just doesn't deliver good food. I can at least see the charm in places like Chuy's or P.Terry's, but Thunderclouds doesn't even have that -- it's a sub-shop with mediocre sammiches.

        1. Nice post. And thanks for the reminder about Shoal Creek. I miss sitting out on the back deck knocking down drafts and reading a book while munching on some catfish and crawfish. Best slaw in town, too, thanks to the grated pickles.

          I'm not sure what's worse about Thundercloud: the prepackaged pressed meats and processed cheeses, the wilted veggies or the canned soups. It may have been good back in the day, but the day has since passed.

          1. I think you merely ordered the wrong margarita at VIVO's. Just get a frozen margarita. They are huge and the bartender will top it off with tequila. Even a person with a strong tolerance will be drunk off just two. I will say though, that the food has always just been passable and unmemorable...possibly because of the amount of tequila I've injested by the time it gets to the table.

            Thundercloud is only good for one thing....the office special. Not many places offer egg salad any more. Add to this bacon and cheese and it truly is a cardiac delight as they advertise. The rest though is in my opinion better than subway but not much else.

            Next time you're at Daily Juice try the Manic Organic. It's sooooooo good! Banana, soy milk, vegan dark chocolate, pecans and vanilla. It is tasty tasty dessert its sorta good for you.

            I also agree with other posters that the Chooped Beef at Green Mesquite is good. Plus its usually quick and fast. I used to get take out when I lived in 78704 and was craving BBQ.

            Nothing beats the Alamo. I will be so happy next weekend when I get to go enjoy Hot Fuzz with the requisite order of fried pickles and bucket of Lone Star.

            Finally, Cuba Libre used to do half priced apps during happy hour (not sure if they still do) and they used to be (when I went downtown more often) one of my favorite happy hours for food (that and 219 West). The food is quite tasty for a bar. On Thursdays they also do a girls night early, Martinis and a Manicure. For $10 you get a tini and your nails done!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ashes

              I am not a fan of frozen margaritas so I think Vivo's is out for me. Not sure if you read my post, but I did order the Manic Organic at Daily Juice. :p I loved it!

              Thanks for reminding me about Martinis and a Manicure, I had forgotten. I can't wait to try it out!