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Foodheads-- Why bother

s
singlemalt Jun 12, 2007 09:56 AM

I made a special trip by there based on all the hullabaloo and reviews. Got a mediocre, thrown together sandwich, average tasting pastrami with a cup of soup (Lubiya, or someting close that, although thick with vegetables, tasted mainly of salt. The iced tea, mix of regular and sweet, had a pungent taste that was foul like perhaps it was old or had a chemical of some kind in it. The place is run down with a mish mash of tables and chairs, which probably adds a certain degree of charm. Basically, the food was simply not that good. Tried to eat outdoors but was driven in by the flies. I realize that food attracts flies but perhaps they should try a little insecticide to hold down the fly population. Of course, some would object to the chemicals being used around their food. But can vegan's eat flies which is more than a small possibility at that place. For my money and belly, I would have been better off going around the corner to New World Deli.

  1. f
    foodiefound Jun 12, 2007 10:24 AM

    Don't go for the pastrami... go for the Lamb and grilled eggplant with cucumber dill mayo or the gypsygrove (pork tenderloin - although, admittedly it is oftentimes overcooked - tabasco, a fried egg, their amazing slaw... try to get it on cibatta). In other words, go for a specialty sandwich. They're not famous for a reuben, pastrami on rye or ham and cheese. They're famous for their flair for fresh, seasonal ingredients, making absolutely everything from scratch, and their love of playful sandwiches. Try one of the two mentioned above or the chicken special and you cannot go wrong (avoid the lami though - the salami slams you with salt and is a hard bite to recover from in terms of hydration).

    The soups can be a bit hit or miss since most are made only a few times and are not well practiced regulars on the menu, but sometimes they are exquisite. Also, give their salads a try; the cobb and spring green are my favorite.

     
    1 Reply
    1. re: foodiefound
      s
      singlemalt Jun 12, 2007 10:46 AM

      Re: 'lame, agreed,my wife got that one.

    2. austx03 Jun 12, 2007 11:20 AM

      I agree with foodiefound, go back and try the Lamb. I think it is great. Never been disappointed with it. Ask for a little extra sauce on the side. Also try the Pulled Pork. It has a vinegar based spiced sauce with avocados. Real tastey. This one might be my new favorite. The sandwiches other than there specialty items are not really any better than anyone else. I've never noticed the flies, but then since I live close I usually get mine to go.

      2 Replies
      1. re: austx03
        d
        Dave Westerberg Jun 12, 2007 03:09 PM

        Yes the lamb sandwhich is incredible.

        1. re: Dave Westerberg
          s
          strommie Jun 14, 2007 08:39 AM

          Hold on a sec!

          I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE Foodhead precisely for the Lamb/Eggplant sandwich. I have had it three times in 2007 alone (not once, not twice - but thrice!) ... and each time, there was about an ounce of lamb in that sandiwch. They used to provide some actual meat on the inside. But they have started skimping, so they've stopped getting my business.

          Try the lamb sandwich, but when you wind up with about two bites of lamb - say something to the people in the kitchen. Maybe if enough people complain ... I figure if I'm paying $8 for a sandwich and tea, I want something in that sandwich.

      2. femmenikita Jun 15, 2007 05:11 PM

        I have lived within walking distance from foodheads since it opened, and it is definitely one of those places that has suffered from serious consistency problems. When it's good, it's really good, and when bad, well...you found out. I agree with everyone here that their lamb-wich with eggplant is their best dish. I also recommend substituting their "ice box pickles" for the regular cole slaw that comes on the side of the sandwiches. These are thin slices of what I presume are house made new pickles, served in a (too small!) cup. But they run out early during lunch rush, so sometimes they're hard to get, though it's worth asking. Also, now that I am eating mainly vegetarian, I will vouch for their "hummus-cucumber-lettuce-tomato-muenster cheese" sandwich. That is a build-your-own that I often order, but it is only "great" if ordered on "buttered and grilled" sourdough, specifically. I am also a huge fan of their "Zippy Dill" mustard. If you like hot mustard, this will make your mouth water and your nose ache ever so slightly in a wonderful way. I think the main thing is to go to FH when the owner Chip is working. This seems to be during the weekday afternoons. I have been at other times and though the staff was pleasant (gave me free cookies!) they also forgot to grill my sourdough, and seem like nonchalant students working for minimum wage. As is so often the case here in Austin, service and food suffer because restaurants hire people who dont give a damn about the food, and who are not professional servers, but that's another ball of wax... I will also vouch for the Foodhead oatmeal raisin cookie (always large and always soft, and cinnamony) and the coffee (if you like it thick and strong, as I do....). I would avoid the breakfast tacos....salty eggs and caardboardish tortillas....Best of luck should you ever venture back!

        2 Replies
        1. re: femmenikita
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          professor_ted Jun 17, 2007 07:40 AM

          I have been to foodheads I would guess 20 times in the two years since moving to Austin in 2005 and I rarely fail to order the gypsy grove: spicy & sweet cabbage relish, a medium fried egg, roast pork, roast ham, am I forgetting anything? It's a unique sandwich and if you like egg and meat sandwiches - a must try.

          1. re: femmenikita
            f
            friendhead Jul 4, 2007 12:18 PM

            As a resident of 34th St with a huge group of extended friends and relationships to foodheads, i feel i must vouch for their commitment to delicious food. granted it is a very scotch tape and twine type of place, but the portions are the most generous i've seen around this city in quite some time and the options are unparalleled. there is something for any lunch craving and if you are questioning between pickles or cole slaw, also go for the potato salad (for carnivores only) which is german style with dill and pickles and roasty onion, mmmm.

            it's is hard to tell with the laissez-faire attitude of austin's service industry who cares and who doesn't, but my experience with foodheads has always been friendly and eager to please, especially when they are missing something they usually offer. Some may criticize for inconsistency, but it appears they want give new and different options and offer a bit of creativity to their established menu, for instance, their new apple pork t sandwich with a spicy crunchy apple relish, smoked gouda, and honey dijon aioli.

          2. o
            organicfoodlover Jun 18, 2007 01:20 PM

            I have to agree with the "why bother"? I've tried several things there as I work very close. We've even gotten sandwiches for company lunches and the overall rating was "let's not do that again." Everything we ever got was laden with whatever the "dressing" of choice was for the sandwich to the point of being soggy and greasy. And the service was just not there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: organicfoodlover
              g
              gkx Jun 18, 2007 06:59 PM

              I totally agree with the comments about inconsistency. When it's good, it's great, but catch them on a bad day and it's a real disappointment.

            2. austx03 Jun 19, 2007 05:24 PM

              We went yesterday for lunch and both had the Pulled Pork. It was wonderful. A really flavorful sandwich. If you have not tried it, I promise it is sure worth it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: austx03
                s
                singlemalt Jul 4, 2007 12:46 PM

                So basically we have a place with two good items on the menu, if in fact they are available at the time you are there. Not much of an endorsement for driving across town. Thanks to all of you for your replies. j.

              2. ilbranzino Jul 5, 2007 12:41 PM

                Order the 'lami' sandwich next time and let me know if you wanna reconsider. I can't get off that damn lami sandwich. Had one for lunch today aamof.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ilbranzino
                  curlykerry Jul 6, 2007 02:18 PM

                  I went by for the first time today and had the lami. Delicious! Slightly reminiscent of fried baloney sandwiches of my childhood...except for the homemade bread, vine-ripened tomato, fresh mozarella, baby spinach and blackberry balsamic vinagrette. I had half a sandwich (which was plenty) and the cream of mushroom soup. Unfortunately, the soup was a dissapointment. Watery and almost grainy with all those tiny mushroom bits floating around. I wanted it to be, well...creamy. But I will go back to foodheads to try more soups...and have another "lami"!

                  1. re: curlykerry
                    p
                    professor_ted Jul 14, 2007 08:48 AM

                    the gypsy grove is the one that keeps me up at night craving. a great combination! everything else there could fail and i'd still go there for that delightfully caloric treat.

                2. p
                  Paul Silver Jan 17, 2008 09:14 AM

                  I went to Foodheads based on the recommendation here at Chowhounds and ordered the Lamb sandwich. It was tasty but I prefer the the Lamb & Braised Onion sandwich at Cipollina's which is: Roasted leg of lamb, mahon cheese, balsamic braised onions, lettuce & tomato.
                  For me the Braised onions add a sweetness and creamy texture that marries with the lamb.

                  Nevertheless I really enjoyed the environment at Foodheads with the casual decors, big round wood table, sunlight streaming in for reading my newspaper, radio tuned to KUT.
                  I will go back soon to try the Gypsy Grove sandwich.

                  7.25

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Paul Silver
                    p
                    Paul Silver Jan 18, 2008 12:59 PM

                    I went back for the Gypsy Grove Sandwich with Pork, Ham, Fried Egg, etc.- a tasty combination of flavors and textures. Except they used a baguette that was too small for the abundant ingredients. I asked about this and was invited to ask for a larger toasted Ciabatta bun the next time. They aim to please and I will be back.

                  2. tom in austin Jan 18, 2008 07:25 PM

                    A recent lunch trip to this place revealed that their sandwiches are Pretty Darn Good.

                    The Gypsy Grove was excellent (although quite rich!). The chicken sandwich was passable but still pretty darn good, even with mayo-from-a-jar adorning it.

                    Bravo! I can hardly wait to visit again!

                    1. t
                      toripowell Jul 19, 2008 03:46 PM

                      I don't eat out a lot, but I like to sit with my laptop and a latte for a while. Can I do this at Foodheads or is it purely a dining joint? Also, can I order just half a sandwich?

                      1. s
                        strommie Sep 22, 2008 02:41 PM

                        I'm actually updating my last post on this.

                        I complained last year that I stopped going to Foodheads because that lamb-and-eggplant sandwich I once loved had grown increasingly skimpy on the lamb.

                        I hadn't gone back to Foodheads until today. I got the lamb sandwich again. And again, I was so disappointed at the three bites of lamb in that sandwich.

                        I paid $10.44 for my sandwich and tea. I was definitely overcharged. The only redeeming thing about my visit was that the weather was nice and I enjoyed sitting outside.

                        I really want to love Foodheads, but I'm now convinced that my once-beloved lamb sandwich is being very deliberately pared down to the point that it's nowhere near the $8.25 they're asking.

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