2008...The year that was...? Your favorite Austin food source this year.What was it? Who did the best job feeding you? What was your favorite Austin food trend this year? Your least favorite? Talk about Austin's food scene of 2008.
My favorite food trend is booming number of restaurants based in trailers. Nothing beats eating while standing in a parking lot. Really. Not being sarcastic.
Jezebel for both food and service. They definitely make a special occassion one to remember.
For value Ventana is a heck of a deal and very tasty. And the student chefs really appreciate the feedback.
Chon Som for Escolar, Beluga for the Ahi Tower.
Biggest disappointment was Olivia.
Cibo - the pork shank w/ gnocci was awesome (too bad it closed)
La Traviata - ate there several times. Fresh salads, love the carbonara, good prices
TacoDeli - the kids got out of their comfort zone and tried new things. LOVE the ceviche (no tomatoes in it - yea!)
Wink - had an orgiastic feast w/ my best friend. Set me back $150 but was so worth it.
Navajo Grill (Fredericksburg, TX) -
NXNW - love the sirloin salad, good prices
Trends - cupcakes, uber fresh ingredients from local growers
Rosie's tamale house without a doubt. How can they still be open and Castle Hill Cafe be closed?
For me, the best was starting to get a CSA box from Johnson's Backyard Garden. Its really encouraged me to be more adventurous in my cooking. It's kinda fun to get a high quality mystery box every other week. It's a bit like a game trying to find a use for all the stuff.
For food, I think probably Sugar Mama's was the best find this year. I still like their bar cookies to the cupcakes, but some of them are phenomenally good.
We had a meal at Aquarelle just about a year ago that was one of the best meals I've had in this city.
I also discovered the catfish at Green Mesquite which I think is quite tasty.
Mostly, I've been bummed by just okay food that falled short of expectations. Hey Cupcake for example. I like the concept, but I really can't eat the product. I've tried, honesty to god I've tried, but blech. Din Ho has been off the rotation since a lousy meal, as has Sunflower.
The good: Bun Bo Hue at HEA Cafe, NS8 with Tofu at Madam Mam's (Tom Yum w/ vermicelli and tofu), green beans at Asia Market, pork and duck at First Chinese BBQ, roasted salsa at Polvo's, the fish dish I discovered at Polvo's this year (can't remember the name of it, but has a brown butter type sauce on it), the scallop salad at the seafood venue at Whole Foods, the Seitan Gyro at the vegan venue in Whole Foods, happy hour at the new Paggi House, Bahn Mi at Than Mi
Food Trends I Liked: Cupcakes
Food Trends I didn't like: Food trailers--I've yet to be knocked out by any of these places.
Most overrated restaurant: Olivia. Blah.
Okay, I'll bite, FWIW
Best sort of newish food place==Trio, the renovated Cafe at the Four Saisons. The interior is cool and spiffy and more relaxed. The colors of the interior are warm and inviting. The food is great (won't go into it here) and up to the standards of the Cafe, as is the service. Professional, attentive, not overbearing waitstaff. What I really liked, and I don't think they had this a the Cafe, is the flight of 3 wines, 2 oz. per, brought to you on sort of a wrought iron hanger device. So cool, along with a card describing each one.
Most impressive and surprising place--- Flip Happy, a trailer place near Schlotzky's. Thanks again to Amy Sue for finding this place but I have been there only once, got the Morroccan crepe and was wonderfully impressed. I hve tried to go again a couple of times, but each time the wait was about 30-40 minutes long. Hope success doesn't ruin these ladies.
Best fun place- Uchi's. Need I say more. I enjoy the creative way they design their dishes. Also like the small portions so one can "graze"
Biggest bamboozle, ripoff of the Austin community and really p.o.'s me, as if you can't tell---The Hyatt ( is that correct?) Hotel company that wanted to destroy "just a Mexican restuarant". After all the "hellabalou", arguing, backbiting, and closing of the place, now they are backing off. The last I heard the building have been knocked down and there is a pile of rubble there. Intel redux. Why doesn't the city of Austin make these people post performance bonds.
Best little funky place with multiple personality disorder-- Cafe de Bella. Ate there once, had a sandwich and was very impressed, Quite tasty with fresh tasting ingredients. Owner(?), manager is a real cool, cheerful lady from south of here, ie, as in Central America or someplace like that.
Thass' all for now. Bon Appetite