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Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me Feed Me

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scrumptiouschef Dec 31, 2007 09:41 AM

What restaurant did the best job of feeding you in 2007?

What joint did you find yourself returning to time and time again because you knew you were going to be fed...fed well...fed tastily...fed til the cows came home.

I have a million contenders[if Slims wasn't 1000 miles from here they would win]:Taqueria El Rinconsito,Sam's,Little Thailand,Tacos El Rico,Gene's,Willie's,La Michoacana's deli,Taqueria Diego,Los Altos,Backstage,Reggie's....the list is endless but this is a zero sum question and there can be only one.

GALLOWAY'S SANDWICH SHOP.

Yeah,I said it.When the chips are down and you need a plate of deliciousness with no nonsense,no scene and no cognoscenti my spot is Galloways.The man's menu is totally diverse offering food from all major food groups[Salt,Fat,White Flour and Sugar].When you prove to be a repeat customer the plates get bigger and bigger conjuring an E.12th St. version of the groaning board.

Two squares a day are available.A very fine breakfast...flapjacks,biscuits,fried eggs,sausage et al...lunch however is the real star.Any given day may feature Beef Tips,Chicken and Dumplings,Pork Steak,Meatloaf,Fried Chicken...all the side vegetables are good southern style offerings.Greens,Blackeyes,Mashers,Mac and Cheese,Pinto Beans et al.Cornbread comes with and is good,real good once you slather it with butter or one of the very good gravies.Finish things off with a slab of the best Sweet Potato pie in Austin and you just got fed.

Galloways doesn't receive the acclaim of the more popular restaurants [Lola's,Hoovers,Threadgills etc] but this man is serious about his soul food.

It is the finest Austin has to offer.

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  1. Mersenne twister RE: scrumptiouschef Dec 31, 2007 09:59 AM

    I enjoyed Galloway's this year. Very good choice, sir.

    Mine has been Lola's.

    Too bad Ben's Longbranch is no more -- last time I checked. The Soul Food Wednesdays were very much in line with Galloway's fare.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mersenne twister
      c
      chowinginaustin RE: Mersenne twister Dec 31, 2007 10:46 AM

      Mine has been Galaxy Café. It became my favorite after walking or running townlake stop off for weekend breakfast. The BF and I ate there almost every weekend during the summer. We still haven’t treated ourselves to the delicious looking stuffed French toast. But everything else we have tried is great. We have even hit it up a few times for lunch and have always been satisfied.

    2. AustinJohn RE: scrumptiouschef Dec 31, 2007 02:05 PM

      #1 - The return of Mother's. #2 - Juan in a Million - The name says it all. #3 - Flip Happy Crepes (the people are as beautiful as the crepes). John

      1. g
        gulch RE: scrumptiouschef Dec 31, 2007 03:19 PM

        Gotta say it, hands down Lambert's!! It is my dining room. From the warm greetings by all, always excellent service, innovative comfort food. This is coming from a gal who really isn't even a big meat-eater. Just have to give them props, have not been disappointed in fact I am wowed each time I return and no I do not work there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gulch
          t
          taliesin15 RE: gulch Jan 1, 2008 07:02 AM

          Expensive: Uchi is the best. Cheap: Sam's BBQ is the best. Biggest discoveries of 2007: Sazon (S. Lamar) and Pastor on E. Riverside.

        2. h
          Hsien_Ko RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 1, 2008 07:14 AM

          Who fed us the most and fed us well in 2007?
          Tacodeli and Ruby's BBQ
          It works well for our small family dynamic. Our toddler doesn't care for fancy stuff like waitstaff, but the food at these two joints is great.

          1. shanntastic RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 1, 2008 11:03 AM

            For me and the bf its gotta be: 1) Korea House, 2) Tomo Sushi, 3) Curra's.

            1. f
              foodiegal71 RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 1, 2008 02:31 PM

              #1 is Sazon for me. Especially the Conchinita Pibil. Hands down my favorite dish of 2007. #2 is First Chinese BBQ and the #106 (duck and wonton noodle soup).

              As much as I would like to say that Asia Market Cafe is in my top discoveries this year, I've found that it really doesn't agree with me. It makes me sad too because it tastes so good!

              1. v
                verily RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 1, 2008 03:13 PM

                It has to be Asia Market Cafe. I used to live within walking distance of it and brought home dinner from there quite often. I've moved a few miles away so it's not nearly as convenient now, but still worth making a drive to get takeout.

                Tacodeli would be second.

                2 Replies
                1. re: verily
                  c
                  Carter B. RE: verily Jan 2, 2008 03:16 AM

                  Asia Market for me as well though we have stopped going as much these last few months. Azul Tequila may be taking the replacement for 2008.

                  1. re: Carter B.
                    c
                    Carter B. RE: Carter B. Jan 2, 2008 09:54 AM

                    I had lunch at Tam's today and I've forgotten how much I miss it. It was my goto place from 2002-2006 and it might make a comeback this year.

                2. g
                  gilintx RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 1, 2008 06:01 PM

                  Pho Van on Research kept me in good pho in 2007. Tony's Southern Comfort kept me in good mac n' cheese and liver n' onions. Best discovery this year was probably the solidly excellent Mexican at El Borrego De Oro. I'm pretty sure it will be on my '08 list.

                  1. k
                    KPeff RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 1, 2008 06:35 PM

                    I'm going to have to say Sarah's Mediterranean Grill.

                    It's cheap, simple, and fast. Sarah's definitely put some pounds on me. Made me feel like I was a kid again and had to finish everything on my plate.

                    1. BTAustin RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 2, 2008 05:32 AM

                      Another great topic scrumptiouschef. For me it's the new El Regio at Ohlen and 183. The chicken's still the best thing you can eat and the last Al Pastor I had was world class too....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BTAustin
                        Nab RE: BTAustin Jan 2, 2008 06:05 AM

                        While Asia Market Cafe has been reliably keeping me happy this past year, the one go-to place that has always been there for me, when I don't know what I feel like eating, when I'm happy, sad or mad, has been El Regio (Riverside outpost for me).

                        In fact, I started out the first day of this year with that crazy bird.

                      2. m
                        mkwng RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 2, 2008 07:09 AM

                        Must be Hog Island Deli on Lavaca.

                        1. a
                          A Ron RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 2, 2008 10:17 AM

                          Madam Mam's on Westgate.

                          1. amysuehere RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 2, 2008 10:51 AM

                            Looking back, I think we went to Eddie V's happy hour and Boulevard Grill a lot

                            1. p
                              professor_ted RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 2, 2008 11:46 AM

                              Even though I was there last Sunday while two gentlemen waited no joke 1 hour for an eleven-taco call-in / take-out (they just lost the order and then took 30 min. on the reorder), the Fajitas Guajillo (pork) at Polvo's brought me joy more often than any other dish in town in 2007.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: professor_ted
                                amysuehere RE: professor_ted Jan 3, 2008 04:51 AM

                                I have to agree that the fajitas always keep us going back (clear across town). We just didn't go there as often this year.

                              2. j
                                jjs21582 RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 3, 2008 08:23 AM

                                Easy for us - Musashino and East Side Cafe!

                                1. MPH RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 3, 2008 01:31 PM

                                  I love this thread because it shows that most local chowhounds enjoy their best food experiences off the beaten track. Many of the places mentioned in this thread have zero advertising budget and just focus on simple, delicious food. In addition, reading about everyone's chow memories is inspiring me to revisit or check out quite a few spots.

                                  But this is a tough question to answer, scrumptious. My chow radar is pretty new-discovery-oriented. Some restaurants that I covered earlier in my Tex-Mex series (like Seis Mesas and Abarrotes Mexicanos) are great, but I haven't visited them recently. Instead I'm focused on all the taco trucks at La Pulga, which I'm still in the process of exploring. Plus, I may have a new contender for a good Mexican restaurant on the east side, but I'm still checking out the menu. (More details to follow in my next report in the series.) I'm also probably unusual in that I almost never go back to the same place more than five or six times; thus, no one eatery has a numerical advantage in terms of their chances to feed me.

                                  Still, I agree with many of the choices already expressed here: El Rico (barbacoa; tostadas; potato-and-egg tacos), El Rinconsito (carne molida; carne deshebrada), Tony's Southern Comfort (fried chicken drumettes; fried chicken & waffles), Reggie's (fried chicken gizzards; good lord, the fried catfish), Galloway's (sweet-potato pie; any stewed-meat dish), Hog Island (all the traditional sandwiches), Asia Market Cafe (especialy the pork dishes, although their overall food quality has been hit or miss for me lately). The Backstage Steakhouse in Spicewood is consistently my first choice for "high end" dining; I've posted about excellent meals there at least a dozen times. I'd also have to echo Nab's and BTAustin's recommendations of El Regio—and add a vote for La Regiomontana next door. I love the chargrilled chicken and green salsa at the former and the tacos bañados, tostada Siberia, and tortas at the latter. The El Regio/La Regia one-two combo is my go-to choice when I have to eat something good—fast—and I just can't risk another mediocre meal.

                                  As for places that haven't been mentioned yet, I've been very well-treated this year by La Hacienda Meat Market (carnitas; barbacoa; guisados), Saigon Market (roast pork) and the next-door Pho Saigon (pho; bun bo hue), TomGro Grocery (cabrito; carne guisada; pork-chop tacos), and Habañero Mexican Cafe (fajitas, regular and rancheras; Roberto's Special of huevos rancheros with fajitas). I am also becoming addicted to Bandera Molino in San Antonio (barbacoa; lengua guisada; amazing housemade corn and flour tortillas), but that's a topic for the Texas board.

                                  Thanks for starting another great discussion, scrumptious. Focusing on deliciousness is the perfect way to start 2008.

                                  1. rudeboy RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 3, 2008 02:58 PM

                                    I'll have to say that the one place where I've had consistent quality at an affordable price is the (subsidized) Windmill Cafe, located in the Freescale Facility on Parmer. We wind up for lunch there quite often - it is open to the public but not advertized. That's about tied with Asia Cafe, which is the other top lunch place for me.

                                    This past year has been all about cooking at home, but for dinner out, we frequented Sunflower, El Regio, apps at Sampaio, Jr. Whoppers at Burger King (no lettuce, light mayo, no ketchup, mustard, extra tomato, pickles and onion), Brentwood Tavern (not really for food quality but the overall experience - the veggie quesadilla with chili poured on top was awesome), and in the beginning of ther year, Polvo's (before the incident).

                                    Overall, however, I've felt a bit out of the game. Baby is due March 5th - it is unclear what 2008 will bring. It seems that there is no time to write anymore...........I'm not even on Home Cooking.

                                    Alas - headed to Amaya's tonight!

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: rudeboy
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                                      foodiegal71 RE: rudeboy Jan 3, 2008 04:33 PM

                                      All right, I'm so confused about El Regio. There are many hounds who's opinions I value highly who love this place. I've tried the one on Stassney numerous times and I keep coming to the same conclusion: dry, bland, boring. If I put it in a tortilla with beans, onion and lime, it's fine, but I've had better.

                                      Am I missing something? Do I need to try a different location? Am I just messed up? Help me fellow hounds. I don't want to be missing out on something!

                                      1. re: foodiegal71
                                        MPH RE: foodiegal71 Jan 3, 2008 05:06 PM

                                        I frequent the El Regio on East Riverside because that location is convenient to me and because it generally has high turnover. If the chicken has been sitting around all day, then it's more likely to be dry. The style is pretty simple: Chicken that has been marinated (in a mix of chiles and citrus juice) is then mesquite-grilled until it has a good blackened exterior and a moist interior. Ideally, even the white meat is still pretty juicy. For me, that's been the norm rather than the exception. The blistered whole onion(s), Mexican lime halves, rice, tasty frijoles a la charra, delicious salsas (especially the green), and white-corn tortillas just seal the deal. El Regio's consistency and high quality are particularly impressive when you factor in the essentially fast-food-like nature of their work environment.

                                        With the exception of some barbecue joints outside of town, most places serving whole, grilled chickens in Austin have nothing on El Regio, in my opinion. I especially dislike the tasteless, rubbery, rotisserie-cooked chicken with the slimy skin that's available (for much more money) at Whole Foods and their ilk.

                                        1. re: foodiegal71
                                          Nab RE: foodiegal71 Jan 3, 2008 06:50 PM

                                          I can only suspect that it's the Stassney location and/or you are getting birds that have been sitting around too long. Perhaps the Riverside venue has higher turnover, but I've actually never once encountered a dry & bland bird there FWIW.

                                          They are two different franchises if I'm not mistaken.

                                          Their chicken wasn't the 'best' thing I ate in 2007, but they were the place that I probably frequented most when I wanted something reliably tasty, a go-to place, a good buddy I could always count on. Yep, this was actually an easy decision for me.

                                          1. re: Nab
                                            f
                                            foodiegal71 RE: Nab Jan 5, 2008 02:44 PM

                                            All right, that settles it. I need to check out the Riverside location. It might be, also, that I make the best roast chicken I've ever eaten and I'm just biased :)

                                            But, I'm giving it another shot. Because I do love that onion. And I do like the beans.

                                        2. re: rudeboy
                                          s
                                          stephanieh RE: rudeboy Oct 3, 2008 09:54 AM

                                          "Polvo's (before the incident)"... what incident?

                                          I know I'm resurrecting a kind of old thread, but I've recently become obsessed with trying Polvo's for the first time. It must be a subliminal thing. I've read the name so many times on this board that, until today when I did a search and re-read every mention of Polvo's for the last year, I thought it was a big CH fave I'd been missing out on. Turns out, there's some disagreement... even more intriguing. But, if there's an incident I should know about that might have a bearing on my decision... rudeboy? anyone?

                                          1. re: stephanieh
                                            rudeboy RE: stephanieh Oct 3, 2008 11:26 AM

                                            Steph - they had a policy of autogratuity on a table of 4 people or more. I got in an argument with the waiter over that, but we worked it out. I just didn't like that policy. The food that night, however, was fine. In fact, their food is consistently good to me. I think that some people have a problem with the popularity of the place - maybe they feel uncomfortable around "hipsters" or something. It is almost borderline obsessive. The crowd, to me, is hipsters mixed in with families, older people, babies, etc. Anyhow, I think that my tastebuds work pretty well. You should go - my favorites are the fajitas al guajilllo, chile relleno original, camarones or fish a la plancha, veracruzana, or the enchiladas exoticas (I like the hustaca sauce). Stay away from more "normal" sounding things, and explore the seafood side of the menu. Have a couple of the house margaritas, then come hope and write up a report!

                                            1. re: rudeboy
                                              s
                                              stephanieh RE: rudeboy Oct 3, 2008 12:46 PM

                                              Thanks rudeboy! I, too, hate autogratuites. Why don't restaurants understand that it hurts them, both in customer goodwill and monetarily. Most times the amount they add is less than we'd have tipped, considering we usually round up. At any rate, I'm even more psyched to go now with your recommendations.

                                              Just how hip are these people? Am I going to feel mortifyingly unhip? Doesn't matter, I'm just unhip enough to not care. But, you'll have me worrying more about what to wear now. ;-)

                                              1. re: stephanieh
                                                l
                                                Lara_Noel RE: stephanieh Oct 3, 2008 01:00 PM

                                                I'm not up on hipster ways, Steph, but I can say with confidence that Polvo's is super casual, meaning that t-shirts and flip-flops are totally acceptable attire.

                                                1. re: Lara_Noel
                                                  s
                                                  stephanieh RE: Lara_Noel Oct 3, 2008 01:05 PM

                                                  Cool! Thanks Lara! And I do have some super cute flip flops. (I'll never get used to the fact we can still be wearing them in October here. I put away my white sandals though, you know, after Labor Day and all)

                                                  I guess I should practice not saying things like "cool" and "super cute" if I'm going to try to be hip.

                                                  1. re: Lara_Noel
                                                    rudeboy RE: Lara_Noel Oct 4, 2008 07:15 AM

                                                    Lara is right - I didn't mean to give the impression that there's any sort of "uniform" to wear at Polvo's. The place is pretty dumpy. You could literally sleep in yesterday's clothes, get up and go for a bikeride all day, and then go straight to Polvo's.

                                                  2. re: stephanieh
                                                    s
                                                    scrumptiouschef RE: stephanieh Oct 3, 2008 04:58 PM

                                                    Stephanieh,
                                                    Your descent into hipster culture must include:skinny legged pants,a white leather belt with double punched holes all the way around,frosted tips on hair that's just kind of been hacked at,a shirt that's waaaay too small[preferably torn and to do with a band that preceeded your birth by at least ten years]..but you must never,EVER wear flipflops,unless your below the age of ten,pregnant or a fratboy.Regarding the food at Polvos:pick out your favorite[the ones you agree with]posters and see what they have to say.

                                                    1. re: scrumptiouschef
                                                      s
                                                      stephanieh RE: scrumptiouschef Oct 7, 2008 12:38 AM

                                                      Scrumptious, I have none of those things, and wasn't willing to hack at my own hair to get hip. And there were no bands with t-shirts ten years before my birth. I'm not sure there were even bands??? (And don't say "big bands"... yeah, I was rockin' a Benny Goodman shirt, whatup?) Sooooo... I went in my normal weekend clothes and my "don't care" attitude.

                                                      The short story is, I loved the Fajitas al Guajilla, but my husband called it "so-so" and it's not likely we'll be back until he's forgotten. It's my fault for being a little too excited, so I over-hyped a bit. Then, you know how some things just kind of sour you on a restaurant, regardless of the food? They kind of just hit all my pet peeves all at once....

                                                      1) Hubby and I had just discussed cutting back spending, so when I was on Polvo's website checking out the menu, I noticed they had a coupon. I *never* use coupons, but what the heck, right? So, I presented it when we ordered and the waitress had to go back and ask her manager. She came back and said it was "ok". But, then when we got the bill, she'd forgotten to take it off. I wanted to ask about it (nicely), but my husband didn't want me to. He'd already added the tip and signed the cc receipt.

                                                      2) Because of the coupon, we had to order two drinks (to get second entree 1/2 off). I normally drink water, but hey, I'll order a soda to get the discount. Freakin' sodas come out in 12oz cans and turn out to be $1.75 each!!! Highway robbery. That's the price we pay when we get refills. So, we rationed, then switched to water.

                                                      3) As soon as we sat down, a guy came around and asked if we wanted chips. We said "sure". Then, no salsa came, but I'd read about the salsa bar here, so I asked the waitress if that was included. She said the chips were $1.75 and the salsa came with. Those chips were the worst chips I've had in a Mexican restaurant. Bad chips that are free are fine, and I don't think much about it. Bad chips I pay for really annoy me. There were three salsas. We sampled two of them. I kind of liked the one that tasted like lime, vinegar, and garlic, with some heat. But, neither of us ate a lot of salsa.

                                                      Ok, by now, I'm sounding like a cheapskate... which I might be just a little, but it's Mexican food. Mexican food is supposed to be cheap. We ended up spending about $10 more than we usually do when we eat Mex out. (That's not apples to apples since we did order a little differently).

                                                      Now for the food... and, please understand, I'm not truly a CH when it comes to Mexican food. I've been in a cheese enchilada rut for a very long time. I can't discuss authenticity or preparation of Mexican food or compare Polvo's to a string of other restaurants. So, if you care to stop reading, it won't hurt my feelings.

                                                      Thanks to you guys, I didn't go for cheese enchiladas this time (but, one day, I do hope to try their enchiladas exoticas, and I may come back here for a tutorial on those sauces with names and no descriptions before I do. Those options are overwhelming!) I did get the Fajitas Guajilla (I chose beef) and I loved them. Loved. Loved. Loved them. I've never ordered anything called Fajitas before, because I always thought of them as the things that pass by me in Chili's leaving a trail of smoke and making my hair and clothes smell like that the rest of the day.

                                                      These fajitas were nothing like that. They don't bring them out a smoking plate. Someone has already posted a beautiful picture of them here... http://menuinprogress.com/2008/06/bee...

                                                      This is a heaping plate of flavorful marinated tender beef, with perfectly caramelized onions, perfectly toasted pecans and peanuts, hot dried peppers (I'm sorry I don't know my pepper types, but the first one set my tongue on fire and took what felt like a good thirty minutes of rice and sour cream to get back to normal. Note: I may be a lightweight. Another of the peppers was charred beyond recognition and wasn't hot at all, it just tasted like when you scrape the really good burned bits off the bottom of a skillet after you've cooked something yummy). There were also raisins thrown in, but I didn't taste them outright, I just got a hint of their sweetness in some of the bites. I loved this dish because of how different it was from anything I've had. I've not had that flavor combination before, and it really worked for me. The roasted pecans, especially, gave it a real "autumnal" flavor. Some bites had heat, some were a little sweet, some nutty, it all worked for me. You have to love burnt things a little to love these fajitas. It's the caramelization and toasting that made this hearty and interesting and different.

                                                      My husband had the chile relleno. He doesn't emote about food, but as I said before, he thought it was "so-so". He had The Original, which comes with the "special red sauce" (which looked orange to me). I tried the sauce, and didn't love it, but that may be a preference thing because I can't explain why I didn't (sorry rudeboy).

                                                      So, that's my Polvo's story. A story of highs and lows and a food I loved that I might never get to taste again because the restaurant let us down and hubby has a long memory. (I am going to try to make a version of those fajitas at home, though.)

                                                      1. re: stephanieh
                                                        rudeboy RE: stephanieh Oct 7, 2008 01:07 AM

                                                        Hey, you gave it a whirl.....I hate those chips too, with a passion. I actually don't like their three salsas from the bar all that much. I usually skip it and put the $1.75 toward ceviche.

                                                        I hate when restaurants are stupid about their own coupons.

                                                        Glad that you at least liked the fajitas, though!

                                                        1. re: stephanieh
                                                          s
                                                          scrumptiouschef RE: stephanieh Oct 7, 2008 08:35 AM

                                                          stephanieh,
                                                          http://www.nps.gov/archive/edis/ediso...

                                                          I'm sure with some heavy thrifting you can round up a Handel shirt somewhere...maybe Hutto?

                                                          At any rate,I loved your report.Nice and long with lots of descriptors.The way a good review should be.

                                                          I've not been to Polvos in years[too many bad memories both food and otherwise].But it sounds like your palate may be adventurous enough to start hounding down for real.

                                                          Earlier in this thread MPH breaks down a best of list that is a soul fulfilling journey into the heart of Austin's Tex-Mex scene.Pick out a spot and hit it.Write it up.I look forward to your next report.

                                                          1. re: scrumptiouschef
                                                            s
                                                            stephanieh RE: scrumptiouschef Oct 7, 2008 12:04 PM

                                                            Handel... ouch! ;-)

                                                            I'm glad you enjoyed the report. I always enjoy reading yours as well. Hubby will probably be choosing restaurants the next few weeks (or so) until I can live this one down. And I can pretty much guarantee it won't be one of the places on MPH's list. DH likes the familiar. To his credit, though, he rarely wants to go to chains.

                                              2. tom in austin RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 3, 2008 04:53 PM

                                                Tied for first: El Meson, Tony's Southern Comfort. Thanks for the extra pounds, you two beasts.

                                                1. j
                                                  jwynne2000 RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 5, 2008 04:28 PM

                                                  Nice post, chef.

                                                  For me, it's Midori (183 and Anderson Mill). Excellent cuts of fish everytime. Very nice service everytime, and they don't nickel and dime you with soup, salad and wasabi (I'm talking to you, Kenichi). Their prices rock -- order one of those boats full of sushi, sashimi and rolls, and you'll feed four people no problem for $70 total. Ahoy!

                                                  1. s
                                                    ShadowHamlet RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 5, 2008 06:22 PM

                                                    This is fantastic list for the new year. Too bad it happened right after I resolved to eat in more often and save money. This is the fastest dropped New Year's Resolution ever!

                                                    1. sweet100s RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 6, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                      Overall, I'd have to say HEB / Central Market, Costco, and me! Because I travel so much, when I'm here I tend to cocoon, and resolved this year to improve my cooking skills. Had 3 significant local chow-ingredient finds this year:

                                                      1) Bone-in, Skin-on whole turkey breasts from HEB
                                                      Very hard to find anywhere but HEB: bone-in skin-on whole turkey breasts. I brine, inject (1/2 white wine, 1/2 butter) and then grill a 5lb turkey breast for ~ 1.5 hours at 350degrees, pulling when the meat probe says 162. See photo attached.

                                                      I love a good sandwich. However, it is easier to make a great steak than a great sandwich. To make a great Turkey-Ranch-Swiss or related variation, I combine that turkey with:
                                                      - with good thin sourdough slices or fresh bollilos from HEB,
                                                      - a slice of melted swiss or provolone on the sourdough
                                                      - a teaspoon Sandel hot diced cherry peppers,
                                                      - mayo, lettuce and halved, seeded, salted, and toaster-oven broiled cherry tomatoes

                                                      I make half the breast into turkey salad with lemon, basil, and a splash of sherry vinegar. Really delicious, and very inexpensive way to create a lot of protein for snacks and meals.

                                                      2) Santa Maria Tri-tip steak roasts from Costco
                                                      Also very difficult to find Tri-tip steaks anyplace else in the thickness and packaging Costco uses. This cut has replaced bone-in rib-eyes as my favorite steak. For rub and baste, I follow "Morrow Bay Rich's" recipe for Santa Maria tri-tip: http://pnweggfest.com/forums/photos/p...
                                                      I sear them at 700 degrees for 1min15sec each side, rest them for 15 minutes while bringing grill (Big Green Egg) down to 400, and then roast them till they get to 127 degrees. Pulling them at 127 means that when you re-heat them for delicious snack nibbets, you can get them fully warm/hot without taking them past medium.

                                                      3) Quiche Lorraine recipe from Cooks Illustrated.
                                                      I love eggs, and started to appreciate Quiche from a good one from Soup Peddler, but they are not offering it as often now. The Cooks Illustrated recipe for quiche Lorraine was the best of several I tried (pic attached).

                                                      When out of the kitchen, my favorite meals of 08 were:

                                                      Both for the food and experience: Restaurant Jezebel in downtown Austin.
                                                      Had a special for the evening - a tower of shrimp dish and heard of palm salad. There was a lot going on in that main course dish. Someone could write an essay on it! As much as the food, I enjoyed the experience of dining there. The service was so on. Starting with when I walked through the door, they made me feel special for being there. Each person of the restaurant staff I interacted with had a type of politeness and graciousness.

                                                      Both for the food and experience: Steeping Room in the Domain
                                                      I discovered how delicious really good cheese trays can be, and the fun of sucking on rosemary sprigs swimming in the honey. Their Lychee Black is my new favorite tea. From an experience standpoint, it's perfect for a sunny mid-afternoon break while catching up with a girlfriend you haven't seen in a long time.

                                                      Mostly for the food, but decent experience too: Ciolas in Lakeway
                                                      Had a rack of veal in sweet pepper sauce w/ spinach rissoto. Didn't expect the level of deliciousness in this dish, which is more traditionally a pork chop type of prep. The Veal was moist, flavorful, and cooked to between medium to medium rare as requested, and the sweet pepper sauce w/ chunks of very fresh pepper was a perfect balance between tangy and sweet. The risotto was the best I've every had stateside; not too goopy, not too salty, just delicious cheesy creamy goodness with spinach woven through. Did not enjoy the baked clam appetizer (too bready; didn't like the flavor) but the veal and risotto more than made up for that.

                                                      For the creativeness as well as deliciousness, 2 Japanese restaurants:
                                                      - Tomo Sushi on Parmer Lane
                                                      It seems like the result of what creative and skilled American guys can do when applied to the challenge of how to make sushi rolls more interesting.
                                                      - Hayashi in the Wolf Ranch Shopping Center, Georgetown
                                                      Everything created by the person on the other side of the sushi bar was delicious and beautiful. I ordered by simply just by telling the chef what I liked, starting with salmon skin. He made the most artful Salmon Skin salad I've ever had, and continued with an intricately prepared seafood shellfish salad. Can't wait to try more from their menu in 08, especially their Duck Tataki (w/ duck breath meat?)..I wish their website had more photos: http://www.hayashigrill.com/

                                                      Mostly for the experience: Joe Dimaggio's in the Domain
                                                      Because I dig the teal-colored high-backed booths and the ambience of the place. (also enjoyed the antipasto platter

                                                      )

                                                      I've been on a quest to find great Migas to have for lunch when coming back from the airport. No one place has been consistently great. Sazon provided the best single-time Miga's experience, but the next time there was almost no egg in them (scandalous!).

                                                      Thanks Chowhound for improving the quality of my chow!

                                                      -----
                                                      Restaurant Jezebel
                                                      914 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701

                                                      Ciola Italian Restaurant
                                                      1310 Highway 620 S C-1, Austin, TX

                                                      Tomo Dachi
                                                      4101 W Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78727

                                                      Hayashi Sushi & Grill
                                                      1019 W University Ave, Georgetown, TX 78628

                                                       
                                                       
                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sweet100s
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                                                        SpaceAgeNinjaCowboy RE: sweet100s Jan 10, 2008 08:50 AM

                                                        As far as consistently keeping me drooling and delivering whenever i need a 'fix', I'd have to say both Taco Deli,Flip Happy and Hoover's have both done outstanding jobs on keeping me satisfied. Great topic btw Chef.

                                                        1. re: SpaceAgeNinjaCowboy
                                                          amysuehere RE: SpaceAgeNinjaCowboy Jan 10, 2008 11:53 AM

                                                          Ah! I can't believe I left out Flip Happy! Yes, yes, yes to FH!

                                                      2. o
                                                        organicfoodlover RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 18, 2008 11:26 AM

                                                        DH and I tend to visit West 34th Street at least once a week for lunch (salad mostly for me), Curras Grill about half that much, Magnolia Cafe (south) a few times a month for either breakfast or lunch and then on/off we go to Peony, Wheatsville Deli counter, Clay Pit lunch buffet, Ruby's, Eastside Cafe, and a little place up on Bee Caves that I can't remember the name of. Mostly I'm looking for low fat, low salt, quality food with an emphasis on vegetables that's still affordable. It's a reach at most places but these are usually good bets for me.

                                                        1. f
                                                          fjfjfj RE: scrumptiouschef Jan 21, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                          i live on the northeast side, so for me itd have to be a tie between galloways (everything), el risconsito (their tacos make me weep), burgertex (tip: call your order in five or six minutes ahead of time, then just eat there), springhill catfish (all-you-can-eat catfish, for real), stallion grill (drivethrus five minutes from home are gods gift to man) and willies bbq (the boudin and meat are off the charts)

                                                          id include reggies but you never know when hes open (good thing galloways is right next door)

                                                          now all i have to do is find a close sandwich shop, a pizza place, and some asian restaurants (it used to be t&s but for some reason my stomach violently rebels when i eat there) and i will never have to find a new place to eat ever again

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: fjfjfj
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                                                            scrumptiouschef RE: fjfjfj Aug 30, 2008 02:48 PM

                                                            My being well fed at Little Thailand continues apace in 2008.With little else to interest me on an early Friday evening I decide to motor out to Garfield for a nice Wok Seared Ribeye from Surin's kitchen.

                                                            This is a seriously underrated steakhouse.I've mowed my way through the Thai menu and it's delicious[is there a better Thai restaurant in the area?Please don't say Madame Mam's]but lately I've been stuck on the Ribeye.It's a select cut from HEB,not of particularly good raw quality but seasoned and properly seared it is delicious.

                                                            The Beef arrives on a giant platter with sides of Fried Rice,Salad[ Iceberg topped with Purple Onions and Tomatoes]Grilled Mushrooms and Fried Onions.Surin's Ranch Dressing is the best I've ever had in a restaurant.It inspired me to start a Ranch topic on the board earlier.For something so easy to make it's amazing how many clip joints around town masquerading as restaurants don't take the time to make it from scratch.

                                                            The Ribeye is a little chewy but the flavor is on.It's in the 14 oz range with perhaps two ounces being unedible gristle.The Fried Rice is good if slightly dry.The mushrooms and onions which serve as a garnish are wonderful and perfectly complement the meat.

                                                            This entree is served with a cup of the house Cabbage soup which is always on the menu and is an excellent restorative.A small Fried Eggroll comes with and is good if non descript.

                                                            The hang is always outstanding.Dick[co-owner,Chef Surin's husband]is an elderly curmudgeon and a very fine host/maitress.He keeps his beer ice cold and serves it in frosted mugs.I quit drinking the Sing Ha[Thai Malt Liquor]when the price shot up a while back but the Miller lite checks in at 3 bucks a pint.It'll drink.The Ribeye special is now $17.95,seems like only yesterday it was 12 bones but everything's going up round here.

                                                            The jukebox is outstanding with all the David Allan Coe,Waylon Jennings and Dean Martin you might imagine from a machine of this vintage[plays 45s].

                                                            Little Thailand is all charm.It would fit in well on a little side street in New Orleans and is one of Central Texas great culinary treasures.Dick's getting on up there in years now so I've increased the frequency of my visits in the last couple years.We're not going to have him forever[or maybe he'll outlive us all who the Hell knows?]so let's enjoy him while we can.

                                                            1. re: scrumptiouschef
                                                              rudeboy RE: scrumptiouschef Aug 30, 2008 11:50 PM

                                                              OK, I'll bite - Madam Mam's is better than Little Thailand. Although I've only been to LT once, but with a group and sharing. Out of six dishes, the beef salad was the best, but some of the others were just, ummm not as flavorful as I'm used to. Felt like they were dumbing it down for "the clientele" or something. I had a great time, though, and we all got pretty lit in the bar area, and made some good friends.

                                                              Solution - flag this post for insouciance, then edit out the statement about Madam Mam. When you say "Little Thailand is all charm" in the same post about a chewy ribeye and increasing prices, plus the word "nondescript," you can't really throw a dig at the only person in town who serves Kao Soi and other northern Thai dishes.

                                                              1. re: rudeboy
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                                                                mwreese RE: rudeboy Aug 31, 2008 11:41 AM

                                                                Took me awhile to realize this was an older thread but I'll respond anyway.

                                                                Freescale Windmill Cafe used to be way better when a different company had the contract (was ARAmark is now Compass). Used to have homemade tortillas and an awesome morning chef (Rolando). Loved those breakfast tacos - miss 'em. Now we have a DIY taco bar and it doesn't take long for those tortillas to get pretty dried out under the heat lamps (we won't even talk about the eggs). The employees that drift in past 9am are SOL as far as tacos are concerned.

                                                                Love Tacodeli. Discovered it last Monday ate there 4 times in the past week working our way through the menu. Love the prices, love the Monday & Tuesday specials. Can't wait to try the ceviche.

                                                                Casino El Camino - makes me feel like I'm in on an Austin secret.

                                                                The hubby and I really like NXNW. I'm a little peeved at them for changing the silver lake salad recipe (used to be: salmon, spinach, mustard dressing, red onions, green beans. Now they've jazzed it up with fruit and I forget what else). But their prices keep the hubby happy and I've liked everything I've tasted (calimari, risotto, garlic fries, meatloaf - all yummy).

                                                                What is the deal with food trucks? Are they the new Tuscan? I read an essay (Houston newspaper?) about them about a year ago and now I feel bombarded by people raving about food trucks. They're all the rage. Haven't been to one in awhile. For probably a good 20 years there was one at 1604/I37 (anyone leaving San Antonio towards Corpus would pass it). My Dad worshipped those tacos. Not sure if the taco vendor is still there or not - he seemed like he was on his last legs a few years back when I dropped by. IMHO, street food is almost always delicious whether it's from a truck or a booth or whatever. A friend of mine came back from Hawaii raving about the fresh conch from the roadside vendors that most of the touristas wouldn't touch but the locals were lined up. Too funny.

                                                          2. Scargod RE: scrumptiouschef Oct 3, 2008 12:32 PM

                                                            We were visiting but I really enjoyed Chuey's, Ruby's Q, Trio and Fonda San Miguel. I'm a Texan that lived in the Dallas area 50 years and Austin is a pretty familiar place.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Scargod
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                                                              stephanieh RE: Scargod Oct 4, 2008 02:26 PM

                                                              Scargod, sshhhh, don't tell anyone here you liked Chuy's. It's not what the cool kids are doing these days. ;-) But, FWIW, I like it too.

                                                              Now, please, Austin 'hounds, be gentle. Don't turn this into another anti-Chuy's rally. I promise I'll never recommend it to anyone who uses the word "authentic". I promise I'll only recommend it when someone says they're coming to town with ten kids and a screaming baby and Grandma. You gotta admit, though, that's a good rec for a family. ;-) I love you guys! *wink*

                                                              1. re: stephanieh
                                                                m
                                                                mwreese RE: stephanieh Oct 5, 2008 09:28 AM

                                                                I usually avoid Chuy's but we went there for a co-workers going away lunch about a month ago. We all ordered a steak burrito w/ hatch chiles. It was quite yummy. I avoid Chuy's because they do something grotesque with their Guacamole that I find unforgivable. What is it that they add - I suspect mayo, eeeew. To me, anyone can make a very decent guacamole with 4 simple ingredients: avocados, lime, red onion, garlic salt. So, why is it that so many restaurants screw it up? Okay, I'll stop ranting now, sorry.

                                                                Love Fonda San Miguel. :-)

                                                            2. p
                                                              pdusan RE: scrumptiouschef Oct 4, 2008 10:47 AM

                                                              I can't stop going to Zen's and Cabo Bob's! Once I started eating VEGAN in January, I thought I'd just never eat another good meal, but no!

                                                              Zen's has a great gluten free, vegan menu as well!

                                                              Cabo Bob's--Best Burrito I've every eaten, and I'm picky! And they have DUBLIN DR PEPPER, and other cane sugar drinks. (I had no idea what that was, but mmm...!)

                                                              Just go try it! THEY MAKE THE TORTILLAS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU, AND HAVE 4 FLAVORS!

                                                              Also, This is the Best Vegan options I've seen anywhere--they don't slack on anything--they even have brown rice!

                                                              Oh yeah!

                                                              1. Kaya_n_Austin RE: scrumptiouschef Oct 17, 2008 02:49 PM

                                                                I'm jumping in on this older thread...but I guess at this point it's really the Feed Me Feed Me of 2008. Mine are:
                                                                1. El Pollo Regio/Pollo Rico on Stassney. I've eaten there uncountable times. Or rather, gone through the drive through and eaten at home. Haven't actually sat at the picnic tables, ever. I'm addicted to the green sauce.
                                                                2. Gene's New Orleans Style Poboy. Mmmmm...oyster poboys. Sweet tea. I <3 Gene's.
                                                                3. Umi Sushi Bar. Where else can you get dance music and decent happy hour prices on sushi? Not just anyplace...Club Umi! And draft beer--even import-- is cheap during happy hour, too.
                                                                4. Frank & Angie's. This is my go to lunch spot. Salad & a two topping slice. Mmmm. A dinner plate sized salad and a slab of thin crust pizza. I go so often I know the managers. Hi, Laurie!!!
                                                                5. Austin Land & Cattle. Love their black & blue ribeye. Love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.
                                                                6. Juan in a Million. I love a breakfast that costs under $5 and the Don Juan El Taco Feo with a cup of coffee is perfection. I can't ever finish one Don Juan so I ask for two tortillas and split it into three tacos. I eat two and take one to go.
                                                                7. China Hill. I'm a little ashamed to say that this is one convenience restaurant that I frequent for those nights I don't feel like cooking or going out or even picking up. They deliver fairly quickly and I like their hot & sour soup. I'm sure there's much better chinese food out there but hey, this is okay stuff. My guilty pleasure.
                                                                8. Maudie's. My SO's favorite. It's good TexMex but I prefer to break out of the mold and visit other places...ones with barbacoa and homemade corn tortillas. However, we ate here many, many times this year...sometimes 3 times a month.
                                                                9. Conan's. Aside from the lame, drugged out staff at the location closest to me, this is my favorite deep dish pizza. After 9 months of ordering, I have finally learned that "ummm...it'll be ready in 30 minutes" really means it will be done in an hour.
                                                                10. Vespaio. I'm still in love with Vespaio although I usually avoid the restaurant crush by going early and eating at the bar. Vespaio, my heart belongs to you. Don't tell my SO.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Kaya_n_Austin
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                                                                  Rene RE: Kaya_n_Austin Oct 17, 2008 09:15 PM

                                                                  Frank and Angies pizza is great right out of the oven. Not so good to reheat, but sitting in that joint and having pizza is very fun.

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