delicious discourse

Counter Cafe

Posted in restaurants by delicious:discourse on July 28, 2008
Counter Cafe, courtesy of flickr.

After a morning of cooling off at Barton Springs, Matt and I were hungry and faced with where to eat. Oh, the dilemma. It really never ends. The answer always alludes me and I end up going to one of my tried and true favorites. Driving north on Lamar, for once, I knew where to go, Counter Cafe, which has long been on my list but always slipping through the holes (figuratively speaking) in my brain.

We found a parking spot right up front (this never happens to me), and looking like we had just come from the Springs in wet bathing suits under our clothes, we walked into the cool slice of heaven that is Counter Cafe. A woman greeted us with a wide smile and a friendly hospitality. She insightfully noted we had been at the Springs, and insisted that after a swim in that 68 degree water, one would stay cool for 5 hours. Yes, she is right.

Seated right away, in one of the tables (the cozy restaurant consists of a long counter with seating and one row of tables along the wall) we decided to go for the blueberry pancake special andthe pimento cheese sandwich. After deciding on the food, I observed the restaurant, reminding me of an old-school diner. The patrons were a mix of college students and  random regulars.

The pancake was loaded with fresh blueberries and the pimento cheese sandwich was a gourmet grilled cheese delicacy. Oozing with real pimento cheese holding together two thick slices of bread, half was enough to to satisfy. My only regret is I could only try two things on the not-to-large menu. Next time one of the two will have to be the migas.

Counter Cafe (Courtesy of flickr)
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El Chile: Taking away the pain

Posted in restaurants by delicious:discourse on July 27, 2008

After a long day of moving in he high Texas summer heat-yes, I am crazy–Matt and I were in dire need of some a margarita or two, and some serious cooling off. With our entire bodies hurting and exhausted from squat-thrusting and bench pressing furniture all day, and then rearranging all my stuff to fit in his house, it took us hours to decided where to go to make the pain go away. We wanted margaritas, we knew that much. We had both been to El Chile before, but honestly I had never been that impressed with the food. So, after seeing “Quesadillas de Chorizo – Grilled flour tortillas filled with Chihuahua cheese, chorizo and potatoes” on the menu and a call to see how long the wait was – zero minutos – for two people, our decision was made.

Immediately seated, we informed the waiter we needed margaritas—Perfect Margaritas made with Herradura, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice on the rocks—two please. They really were perfect, exactly as margaritas should be, limey and not too sweet. The pain instantly lessened as the strength of the tequila worked its magic in my blood stream. Armed with margaritas, we perused the menu, deciding to go straight for main dish, even though those quesadillas sounded scrumptous. Before the waiter came to take our order, minutes after dropping off the margaritas, Matt has already downed the entire thing. “You must be thirsty”, the waiter inquired. “Yep”, said Matt, “it has been a long day. I’ll have another.”

It was no surprise Matt ordered fish tacos since he had been talking about them since he had fish tacos at Polvo’s Friday night. I on the other hand suprised myself by ordering the Enfrijoladas-chicken enchiladas, topped with a black bean puree, pico, queso fresca, and strategically drizzled with crema. When they arrived, I had an out of body experience, and the next time I looked down they were gone. The chicken filling was perfectly spicy and the black bean puree added a comforting salty earthiness, with the crema pulling it all together. The white rice, I prefer to typical Mexican rice, proved a perfect vehicle to sop up the extra black been puree. Matt was impressed with the fish tacos, I am assuming, because nothing was left on his plate either. Served in double corn tortillas, a generous portion of fish, was topped with a large avocado slice and a cabbage-lime slaw.

The Perfect Margarita and deicious sustenance combination took all the pain of a long hard day away. It was the perfect pain killer. I will be putting this one in my medicine cabinet.

(I forgot to mention this salsa—smokey goodness with a chipotle-adobo taste. A welcome variety from the typical salsa served at Mexican food joints.)

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Recreating the “Dahlia” at home

Posted in restaurants by delicious:discourse on July 27, 2008

If you are a die-hard fan of “the Dahlia”, as I have grown to call it, the Blue Dahlia as everyone else knows it, you will be happy to know you can recreate the simple goodness of the Brie tartine with apricot preserves and walnuts in the comfort of you own home. Just buy, or if you are ambitious—make, fresh bread. In addition purchase some Brie of your choosing and make sure you have some sort of preserves, oh, and don’t forget the walnuts–preferably whole walnuts that have not been broken to pieces. To assemble, simply slice bread in half long-ways, place a thin slab of Brie on each half, add a dollop of the preserves, and garnish with the nutty goodness of a walnut. The fun part, there is an infinite number of combinations between different breads, Bries, and preserves. Knock yourself out, go nuts, be creative.

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A Rather disappointing cake….

Posted in whim by delicious:discourse on July 8, 2008

You can imagine my disappointment when after not only driving from Austin to Fredericksburg to pick up a cake from the renown Rather Sweet Bakery, but of dreaming of this cake ever since I discovered the place, the cake turned out Rather unremarkable. After my first bite, I thought I must be mistaken. The cookies at Rather Sweet are out-of-this-world, I kid you not. Maybe I should be more specific, I have only tried the oatmeal-cranberry and the chocolate-chip pecan, and both were deep in dimension and wide in size.

July 4th happens to be my grandfather’s birthday. I firmly believe that everyone should have a cake on their birthday, so I took it upon myself to provide a very special one for his 79th celebration. My choice of Italian Creme Cake loomed promising, even more so, when I picked it up and it looked beautiful and weighed a ton (no joke), in my mind an idication of a dense moist cake that would take you to the heights of sweet satisfaction. After 70 miles in a car, an anticipation building feast, the effort of homemade icecream the cake was ummm… dry. Yes, dry. You read correctly. And my dense, textured, rich Italian Creme Cake was white and flat.

I will not write off Rather Sweet just yet. Maybe I ordered wrong, maybe it was a bad day and the cookies are too good and the dream to sweet. But at this point, I am sketpical.

A burger unlike Texas has ever seen….

Posted in recipe by delicious:discourse on July 3, 2008

The Aussies have something to teach us all—thinking outside the food box. Courtesy of Gourmet magazine, this leaning tower of manly goodness ( I say this because this monstrosity is clearly not feminine in any way shape or form), is what I attempted to eat last night, in addition to homemade sweet potato fries and a wonderful salad. From the bottom up—bun, grilled pineapple, meat patty (we used lean bison), a fried egg, slab of tomato, Asian spiced mayonnaise, and bun. The recipe calls for pickled beets, but we opted out. I was skeptical about all the different flavors, but all blended well together. It was definitely a nice break from your typical meat, cheese, bun, lettuce, onion, and tomato. If you are looking for an adventure in burgers, this would be your recipe. It also works well if you are nostalgic for the land way down under……

THE Aussie Burger

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Blue Dahlia, Take Two

Posted in restaurants by delicious:discourse on July 2, 2008

So, I dragged M to Blue Dahlia last night. I couldn’t even wait a week from my last visit. At first he claimed there was not enough animal protein on the menu, spoken in true guy fashion. He surprised me with an order of the hummus tartine with tomatoes and avocados served on whole wheat bread, which he adored (and no, he did not use that word) once he got past his blind hunger. I ordered the porcini ravioli with basil pesto and parmesan. Seved al dente, it was simultaneously earthy and heavenly.

I already have a lunch scheduled there three weeks from now—a girl has to have something to look forward to.

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Your vino. My vino

Posted in restaurants by delicious:discourse on July 1, 2008

So, unfortunately I am not a big “drinker”. I can already hear you cringe. How can you be a foodie, and not love love wine? To be honest, I just haven’t gotten into it for no particular rhyme or reason. But last Friday, I found the perfect place to “get into” wine….drumroll please….Vino Vino in Austin, Texas.

From the unassuming restaurant front, I had no idea what to expect. But walking into the cool, dim, dark- wood restauarnt with cream walls from the opressive Texas summer heat was a simple slice of heaven. The space is actually of impressive size; a deep, but wide rectangular room, with wine balls decorating the high wall space.

Walls of wine.

My two friends and I sat at the bar, which allowed us to interact with owner, Jeff, who is onevibrant character. His perogative, it seems, is to express his love of wine so much that it rubs off on you, even just a little bit. When I promptly informed him that I wanted some “bubbly” he directed me to a sparkling wine from Valencia, Spain—torre oria, a cava brut rose. I was skeptical, could this guy really be directing me to the cheapest class of bubbly??? That was until I tasted the darker than a rose-lighter than a red liquid in my glass. Desrcibed on the menu as “lush & lively red-pink bubbles all full, fleshy & spicy with oodles of ripe red juice. like deeply kissing a spice-soaked raspberry”. I couldn’t agree more, even if I have never kissed a spice-soaked raspberry.

To munch on, we ordered the sliced gravlax–cured salmon served with dill cream cheese and baguette. One word–divine. I felt so sophisticated. A special avocado soup, caused C to claim it was the best thing she has ever put in her mouth.

Even though only one glass of wine per person was comsumed (expcept for A who is quite the little connoisseur), we did not feel the need to leave until 3.5 hours later. Vino Vino provides a little haven, while the world spins on around you.

vinovinotx.com

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