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May 1, 2014 04:33 PM

Austin Food Memories

This sort of relates to the "most missed restaurants" detailed in past threads, but I'm going for specific, ethereal moments from restaurants past and present. I have a few (I may have mentioned these before):

1) 2005 family style dinner at T&S Seafood on N. Lamar. My birfday. I think that we had a 10 or 12 group, and they just kept bringing out all this seafood. Now that T&S is going, it will just be nostalgia.

2) Acorn Cafe on Guadalupe circa 1993. My sister and I were riding bikes, and we were freezing and heading north uphill. Rolled up to the place, and the sign said the soup du jour was chicken and dumplings.. Sounded soooo good at the time. Sat down, and the German lady that owned the place said, gruffly, "we're out - we have spinach cheese." I was imagining the worst, but it was the best soup ever and I've made it many times since. Lentils and nuts and shit in a veggie broth, tons of spinach, and shredded baby swiss drizzled over the whole thing. My sis and I get all bleary-eyed when we talk about it.

3) Rib festival 1990's - sorry to repeat it here from another post. But I was on bikes with friends, we were starving, potentially high, pocket full of cash, and we rolled over town lake smack dab into a pork rib festival (before food festivals were cool).

4) Fist time I'd ever seen orange beets in the late 90s. Dinner with a very close friend in the front window at La Traviata. Seared scallops with baby greens atop grilled golden beet disks.

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    1. Biking to Les Ami on dreary days and having their powman's lunch next to the fire.

      After a full day of sailing going to (was it?) Good Eats on Barton Springs (where Billy's is now) and getting chicken fried chicken and a big beer.

      Still love going to Green Mesquite on a summer day and sitting in the back yard having wings, slaw and okra with a big schooner of beer.

      Going to Ski Shores BEFORE the land owners took it away and made the food suck.

      8 Replies
      1. re: amysuehere

        Those are all good ones that I remember well. Had forgotten about Les Amis. I got into a shoving match there a long time ago (like 1990) with a dude that was pestering my sister. I always got the Plowman's (or the $2 beans and rice plate because I was on a tight budget in college).

        1. re: amysuehere

          Oh, forgot one or two...

          There was this bbq joint on Westlake Drive in the back of the mall that now houses the Popeye's Chicken that we'd hit on our way out to the sailboat that had a big ice vat full of free beer. Good times.

          Does anyone remember the Cajun place that used to be on the corner of 360/2222. It was before they built the strip mall there and it was a sad little tin-roofed shack, but made the best Cajun we could get at the time. I may be remembering it waaaay better than it really was.

          1. re: amysuehere

            Alligator Grill. We used to go there for happy hours after work. They had 10-cent crawfish and 10-cent peel & eat shrimp specials.

            1. re: tori_atx

              Nope. Alligator Grill was on South Lamar near the 1/2 Price Books with the big patio with the live oak. We used to live behind Kerby Lane and used to walk there all the time for the cheap eats.

              As a side note, we were there when they were doing the filming for Office Space, so we were "evicted" for several weeks, but had fun watching.

              1. re: amysuehere

                Five Star was the BBQ joint behind the Popeyes. Sadly it's gone and replaced with a mediocre pizza place now (yaghi's was there for a while and it was very good though).

                I miss Mad Dogs and Beans. I didn't go to college in Austin but when we moved here in the late 80s we lived up around Seton and would ride our bikes down to it in weekends. Also miss Ted's. Hard to find a gyro anywhere close to as good although the aforementioned Yaghi's is close.

                1. re: ftf

                  Sadly, I never went to Mad Dogs and Beans (that I remember anyhow). I do remember going to Ted's quite a few times. That was a huge space I think at 4th and Congress. Ted would always flirt with one's girlfriend or wife. Or you could use the term "leer."

            2. In the mid-80's I enjoyed the Capitol Grill on 6th Ave. (not to be confused with the more recent chain). I recall a baby coho salmon grilled over mesquite that was one of the best fish dishes I ever ate.
              Good Eats on Barton springs had the best 'ritas in town. They had a lime press attached to the bar and would squeeze to order.
              And the Thundercloud sub shop neat Town Lake served cold pitchers of beer after a run!

              5 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                Hey Veggo - are you referring to "City Grill" that was just off 6th? I used to work there and it was one of the only places in town that focused on very fresh fish (as I recall). We had this large grill and it was fired with mesquite, and we had coho salmon on the menu. One could order from a choice of five different sauces to accompany. It was in an old building.

                I was a waiter, and when you showed up for your shift, there was freshly cooked fish for the staff to eat for FREE! I was making $16+ per hour there in 1990, which was great for a college student.

                1. re: rudeboy

                  I always wanted to go to City Grill, but at the time we were starving students.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    I think that was it. What a meal! Thanks for rekindling the memory!

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      City Grill was a big favorite when I was dating my hubby. We both reminisce about the great fish and an amazing steak we had there. Building was charming, too.

                    2. re: Veggo

                      Capitol Grill had a GREAT duck and andouille gumbo. Really nice place. The project to widen Congress and fancy up the sidewalks in 1983 really did the place in, unfortunately. It was a wonderful place. Unpretentious, open late, and very good food.

                    3. In the very early aughts, Roy Henry's Chicken & Waffles on Ben White Blvd near Manchaca Rd was our go-to weekend breakfast and bunch spot. Excellent waffles, enormous and well-seasoned fried chicken, hot water cornbread, and an array of southern style veggie sides. Oh, and rather budget-friendly.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ret3

                        And hoe cakes - I loved that place!

                      2. One time we had such a long wait at the Magic Time Machine that we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to their waiting room-- they said no one had ever done that before and they were impressed enough that they gave us free beers to go with it.

                        Calabash on Manor Rd. made me realize that it was possible for salads to taste good. Bitter End was the other place that had one of the first salads I liked.

                        I liked the colanders-for-lampshades idea at the defunct Cafe Spiazzo in Westlake so much that I duplicated it at home.

                        One night I met some friends at Stelline's in northwest Austin and it ended up turning into a first date with a friend-of-a-friend and we went out for the next year and a half.

                        Stopping by the Fillin' Station for dinner after swimming all afternoon at Barton Springs.

                        Pot roast at Barbara Ellen's on highway 71.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tori_atx

                          Oh, Barbara Ellen's had real broasted chicken, too.