Reviews from a long weekend in Austin...
I was in Austin this weekend, visiting my DH who is there most weeks for work (I flew out to see him rather that the other way around). A quick rundown of eats, all are within walking distance of his apartment downtown (near Whole Foods)..
Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar & Restaurant (Friday Lunch): had some nice fish taco's. I'm OK with TV's while eating if they are running surf video!
Wink (Friday Dinner): Our most enjoyable meal of the weekend. We had 3 small plates each (potato soup, mussels, pork belly for me, potato soup, beet salad, and scallops for him) plus a shared cherve cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake was the best thing we had all weekend. It was served on a shortbread cookie with poached pears. The mussels and beet salad were excellent. The pork belly was a touch sweet, and the scallops a touch salty, but that could just be our tastes. The wine list is interesting and well priced (many bottles <$40), we had a nice Vouvray which paired well with all our plates. The staff was friendly (but not overbearingly so) and enthusiastic about the food. Definitely going back!
Saturday: Visited the SFC Farmers market downtown in the morning, and picked up a nice assortment of greens and root vegetables, as well as a Guinea Fowl and a dozen Guinea Fowl eggs. Lunch was a salad with soft cooked eggs (which were quite good). (The remainder of the bounty went into soup for later).
Congress (Dinner Saturday): We did the 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings. These types of dinners are hard for me to judge... I tend to set a high expectations which are difficult to meet. There were a couple of excellent courses (beef tongue, squid soup), but several of the courses suffered from "too many things on the plate" ... for example dessert was raspberry jello, cream something, cake something, green tea ice cream, meringue bits and just brought to mind all the Top Chefs that have gone home for desserts. We each had a plate (not the same courses) which where salty (suspect a heavy hand with finishing salt). The wine pairings were well done, including a dry sherry (something I don't normally drink) with a razor clam and sweetbread ravioli, and a nice cab with the steak course. The service was very good.
24 Diner (Late breakfast on Sunday): Had to wait 20 or 30 minutes for a table, but it was worth it! I had the waffle breakfast with sausage. The waffles are done with a yeast risen dough and really excellent. DH had the French toast, which used a cakey bread and had a very indulgent vanilla cream on top. Good coffee too. Surprised this doesn't get more raves on this board.
Cru (Dinner Sunday): One of those evenings with perfect weather, and we had a nice table on the patio. Good selection of wines, and nice menu of cheesy things! We had the pear and Gorgonzola pizza (with honey) which was quite yummy, the beet salad, and then a cheese plate. The staff was quite knowledgeable about the wines and the cheeses. A great end to the weekend.