Thursday, October 14, 2010

Green Corn Project Fall Festival

The Green Corn Project Fall Festival is soon! I went last year, and it was fantastic. There were lots of tastes from some of the best restaurants in Austin, for only $35 a ticket. You can buy tickets for this year's festival, which is on October 24, on their website.

Plus, you're supporting a good cause. Green Corn Project puts in organic gardens in the yards of elderly, disabled, and low-income Austinites, as well as in elementary schools, and teach the recipients how to maintain them. Pretty incredible, right?

So go!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baguette House

It's not often I find myself in far North Austin, but when I do, it's usually because of a restaurant.

Since I moved to Austin three years ago, I keep hearing about Baguette Houses's bahn mi. The sandwich, a Vietnamese creation inspired by French cuisine, is made up of marinated meat, fresh chilies, cilantro and a quick pickle of carrot.

After hearing that Baguette House had a vegetarian version, I thought it was worth investigating.

The restaurant itself is brightly lit and utilitarian, and the menu is rather small. It's clear that the sandwiches are their specialty, and almost everyone in the restaurant was eating one.

Mr. Man and I each got a tofu bahn mi, and we split an order of fresh spring rolls.

The rolls were tasty. Standard, but tasty. I noticed that, among the tofu and herbs, there was some twisty gluten - a mock meat of some sort. It didn't have much flavor, but did lend kind of a meaty texture. I think I'd leave it out next time, as the rest of the roll was fine.

Spring rolls. Fresh herbs make them tasty.

The sandwich was actually really good. The tofu was delicately flavored, and the fresh jalapeno slices were laid to the side, so diners could place them in the sandwiches themselves to control the spice level. Those particular jalapenos were on the mild side, so a few more would have been welcome. Unfortunately, the sandwich also had the mock-meat gluten on it. Really, it's not that offensive - the flavor is minimal. But if it doesn't add much flavor, I don't think it has a place on my plate.

The vegetarian bahn mi - excellent bread, OK filling.

The bread, however, was fantastic - crisp on the outside with a crust that shatters when bitten, giving way to a soft and chewy interior. Yum. My favorite part of the sandwich. If I lived closer to Baguette House, I might buy their baguettes and make my own sandwiches with them.

Baguette House
10901 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753

Monday, January 11, 2010

TRIO Breakfast

After a loooong holiday season that involved my apartment getting broken into, a trip to very cold upstate New York and a missed connection that very nearly required a night spent at O'Hare (thankfully, we were able to get on the stand-by list and make it onto a plane just a few hours after our missed plane left) and some really cold days, things are finally settling back to normal in Austin.

On a recent Saturday morning, the man and I ventured over to TRIO at the Four Seasons for breakfast. Having not been to TRIO before, we both thought breakfast was a fitting introduction to the swanky restaurant.

We were immediately seated, and a waiter brought coffee right away. The coffee was fresh, very hot and strong, and served with heavy cream. Yum.

The menu presented lots of delicious-sounding choices, and waiters carried plates of great-looking food like waffles, eggs and fresh fruit, but I knew what I wanted: TRIO's famous pancakes.

I got the Trio, one banana-blueberry, one gingerbread and one oatmeal-pecan pancake with warm maple syrup, caramelized bananas and candied pecans. Do you see these things? They're the fluffiest, tallest pancakes I've ever seen.

Fluffy, pancakes goodness

And they were fantastic - soft, chewy and piping hot. Of the three, my favorite was the oatmeal-pecan pancake. The soft crunch of the pecans was wonderful with the moist chewiness of the pancake. My least favorite was the gingerbread, but I'm not a big gingerbread fan anyway. In fact, I'm not sure why I got a gingerbread pancake at all.

I was tempted to get an order of their griddled hash browns, too. I love fried potatoes (who doesn't?), and they were hard to pass up, but in the end, I'm glad I did. I couldn't finish my pancakes, and I don't know how I would have dealt with a plate of probably delicious potatoes and a full belly.

The man got the Farmers Market Breakfast, with two eggs, a corn cake with blackberry sauce, a yellow tomato with chevre and herbs and a bowl of grits (subbing grits for the sausage). I tasted all but the eggs, and while the tomato was a little underripe and crunchy, the grits were heaven - luxuriously creamy and covered with sharp Cheddar cheese.
Farmers Market Breakfast

I'm already planning a return trip to TRIO, hopefully this time for lunch or dinner. Or maybe their happy hour, a great deal with half-price bar appetizers.

TRIO at the Four Seasons
98 San Jacinto Blvd