Wednesday, April 16th

The Spa Buzz

The Spa Buzz is a company focused on the professional growth and networking of spa professionals and they throw events all around the country. While I’m not a spa professional, I was thrilled to be invited to their recent Austin event, where I’d learn about the newest, cutting edge products and maybe even get to sample a few myself.

The day started with mingling over breakfast while we each built a personal schedule of mini appointments with the vendors. Now, I’ve had my share of massages and facials, but I’m no expert. So I scanned the list and picked a few things that were completely foreign to me.

NuFace

The most foreign was NuFace, who makes a handheld device that delivers a microcurrent to lift and tighten the face. They slathered my face with gel and spent about five minutes working on the half of my face. It didn’t hurt at all, but I was aware of an electrical sensation and my face reddened and felt warm. When I compared the two sides of my face, indeed, the treated side looked revitalized and lifted. They went ahead and did the other side of my face so I wasn’t uneven, and I learned that they suggest you do five times a week for 90 days, and then occasionally as needed. At $350, it’ll be a little while before I pick one up, but…yes. I want this.

Spa Ritual

I was also really impressed with Spa Ritual, whose philosophy of “slow beauty” is about feeling good in your skin at any age. The vegan line has some of the most fun nail polish colors I’ve ever seen and I was lucky enough to get to take a few home. The coolest one is Lighthouse Top Effect, which turns any manicure glow in the dark. It charges all day and glows all night. It is incredibly bright! I also took home some Chinese Jasmine lotion and bath salts.

Lira Clinical

I got a full facial and light peel with Lira Clinical products. Ah, it was so relaxing and I walked away glowing. The extensive brand has lines for all global skin types and complete customization. Whatever the problem is, they have a fix. I love retinols, vitamin C, and good protection. I took home a plant stem cell physical sunscreen that I’m pretty psyched to try, as well as a body scrub and silk soufflé.

I picked up a trend forecast from Spafinder and was excited to see natural brands taking advantage of apps/social media and hot springs making a comeback. Spas are looking to branch out into the transition markets to help people going through divorce, job loss, even death. I’m on board with the idea of some pampering to get through life’s rough times.

Some other brands I learned about:

MedSkin Solutions. The scientific brand makes high quality eye masks that provide immediate, visible results. I wore one for about 20 minutes and I looked refreshed and brighter. I’d love a stash of these for when I’m tired.

Cosmedix. Another science-backed line, I tried some serums and reparative eye creams. They have a deep background in corrective products and sell convenient kits indicated for a variety of concerns.

B. Kamins. The Canadian brand uses a Bio-Maple compound derived, in part, from actual maple trees. The high quality products are gentle and packaged more for the consumer eye, ie, less clinical than other lines.

PINO. I took home an Orange Lemongrass massage candle and the smell is bold and invigorating. The full line of spa products have the best scents and are natural and luxurious.

I’ll be counting down the days till my next spa encounter. And now that I’m better informed, I can try new things and stay on trend with the latest and best services.

Tuesday, April 8th

Aberlour and Odd Duck

Aberlour Old Fashioned

Got scotch?

Recently I was invited to taste the line of decadent Aberlour single malts at an intimate dinner at Odd Duck. The menu has changed almost completely since I’ve last written about Odd Duck and I was just as pleased with the new dishes as I was with the opening menu. But first, the scotch.

Aberlour single malt scotch

Aberlour single malt scotch

We smelled, sipped, and discussed a range of scotches aged 12 to 18 years, finishing up with the powerful A’Bunadh. They were all smooth with characteristics of sherry and fruity notes, but were distinctly different and we all had our favorites. I found the 16 year old to be the most drinkable, while Mr. Betty preferred the intense punch of the cask strength A’Bunadh.

All that scotch helped us work up an appetite and we tucked in to Odd Duck’s bread program. The pig head stuffed Parker house rolls are as good as they say!

Spent Grain Bread at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Parker House Rolls at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

As we worked our way through a significant portion of the menu, I particularly enjoyed the mustard theme, finding seeds in the aforementioned rolls, the tater tots with pimento cheese, and the pinto beans with lamb sausage.

Tater Tots at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Pinto beans at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Colorful salads with beets, greens, charred broccoli, and pea hummus had us tasting the rainbow.

Beets with Cultured Cream at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Charred Broccoli at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

From the ocean, we enjoyed an exquisite crab French toast (!) and perfectly cooked redfish. My previous favorite, the pickled shrimp and grits with chicharones remains one of the very best executions of the dish that I’ve experienced.

Crab French Toast at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Redfish at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Shrimp and Grits at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

We were already nearing full when the most substantial dishes arrived. The black olive pasta with braised goat was pure pleasure and Mr. Betty raved about it for a couple days. The stuffed roasted chicken was beautifully presented and we dragged each bite through the savory gravy, picking up brussels sprouts along the way.

Goat Pasta at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Roasted Chicken at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

To cap off a spectacular night, we tried two desserts. The bread pudding had toasted marshmallow, beer caramel and malted ice cream. The buttermilk pie was elevated by celery micro-greens and dollops of sweet tea gel. Both were sophisticated and interesting, just like the scotch.

Bread Pudding at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

Buttermilk Pie at Odd Duck, Austin Texas

It was a night to remember and the symphony of flavors had us warm and giddy. Or maybe it was the scotch…

Wednesday, April 2nd

Food, Apps, and My Journal

I’ve been really busy lately with work stuff, blog stuff, and social stuff. It seems like my schedule starts to get crazy around SX and doesn’t let up for a few months. Here’s an update on what I’ve been doing.

I went to a media event at the much-anticipated La V, and as promised, it was chic and delicious. The light fixtures alone are reason enough to visit. AFBA had their monthly happy hour at the new brick and mortar G’raj Mahal and the bloggers enjoyed bites and sips in the cute outdoor space out back.

I also went to the soft opening of new American Chinese restaurant in South Austin, A-OK Chinese. The staff was nice and I wish them the best of luck, but I’ll continue driving to North Austin for my Chinese needs. Just wasn’t for me.

A-OK Chinese Dumplings

 A-OK Chinese

Keeping with the American Chinese food theme, the people from P. F. Chang’s sent me a gift card to try out their new menu items. But when we ordered, only one item from that menu was available at the location we visited. It was the Shanghai Waldorf Salad and the dressing was incredibly spicy. It was a nice twist on Waldorf Salad, which is one of my favorites. We also had egg rolls, dumplings, Kung Pao Shrimp and Scallops, and Beef a la Sichuan.

P. F. Chang's Shangai Waldorf Salad and Egg Rolls

P. F. Chang's Dumplings

P. F. Chang's Kung Pao Shrimp and Scallops

P. F. Chang's Beef a la Sichuan

In an effort to organize how I…well, organize, I’m trying out the Bullet Journal method. I normally have three to five notebooks lying around with notes and lists pertaining to different projects. It’s been great for me to do something new and have a little guidance into capturing it all in the same spot. I like the idea of using this journaling technique to keep a record of what I’ve accomplished on certain dates and get an accurate picture of how much I can really accomplish on any given day.

Bullet Journal

I’ve also been using a couple great apps on my iPhone lately. Headspace is a guided meditation app that I just started. I’m also using Duolingo to learn French. Maybe I’ll be able to communicate better the next time I go to Paris. So far I’m finding the French easier than the meditation. I’m also digging the Animal Face app because tiger heads on human bodies are hilarious. I’m really breaking the rules by putting animal heads on other animal heads.

Animal Face

Another thing I’m trying to learn is accounting and it is way outside my comfort zone. I took an accounting class in college and hated it. Now that I’m trying to do it for real, with real money, MY money…I still hate it. Anyone have any accounting books to recommend?

My latest kitchen adventures are taking the form of veggie bowls. Quinoa topped with a number of good and healthy things like beans, cheese, pepitas and hemp seeds, raw and cooked veggies, sweet potatoes. Pretty much whatever I have on hand.

Veggie Bowl

Ulysses Press sent me a review copy of the 1990′s Coloring Book and I love it. It would make a great gift for those 25 to 35 year olds in your life. You can win one of your own by following Ulysses Press on Facebook or Twitter. Just leave me a comment to let me know you did it and then I’ll draw the winners name on April 15th.

1990s Coloring Book

What’s the cool stuff you’ve been into lately?

Tuesday, March 25th

Get in My Winebelly

Winebelly Austin Texas

This post is long overdue as Winebelly is hardly the newest spot in Austin. The night I shared this candlelit meal with Mr. Betty and took these dark photos, well, it was at least a couple months ago. But the memories are vivid and I maintain that Winebelly is one of the best restaurants in Austin, in food, wine selection, and ambiance. It has, without question, stolen my heart.

Winebelly Austin Texas

The simple wooden tables and chairs, dark lighting, and instant coziness remind me of my favorite eateries on the East Coast. Old gastropubs, quaint bars, fabulous hideaways for relaxed nights. Hard to believe this little spot is on Oltorf, not in Philadelphia’s Old City.

Shishito peppers at Winebelly, Austin Texas

Chicken Liver Mousse at Winebelly, Austin Texas

We started with Shishito Peppers topped with ricotta salata, a pressed, dried, salty version of ricotta. I pretty much order shishitos whenever they are available. One thing I don’t typically order is liver of any type, but I’d heard good things about the Chicken Liver Mousse. I’m glad I gave it a try; it ended up being my favorite dish of the night. Accompanied by pickled shallots, baguette slices, and stone ground mustard, this was a plate made just for my tastes. Everything I love!

Cured White Anchovies at Winebelly, Austin Texas

Brussels sprout and parsnip soup at Winebelly, Austin Texas

Emboldened by our success with the mousse, we ordered Cured White Anchovies, another dish out of our comfort zone. They were fishy and strong in the very best way. The Brussels Sprout and Parsnip Soup was velvety and decadent. It tasted so fresh and green. The sweetness of the parsnips was cut with bacon, chili oil and fragrant lemon zest. Damn, this was a brilliant soup.

Panzanella Salad at Winebelly, Austin Texas

The Panzanella Salad was dressed with a tart vinaigrette and Idiazabal cheese, a pressed Spanish cheese made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk.

Pappardelle Duck Confit at Winebelly, Austin Texas

Braised Short Rib at Winebelly, Austin Texas

Our final, heaviest plates were to-die-for delicious. Duck Confit Pappardelle was sheer perfection. Not too heavy or rich. The succulent Braised Short Rib was glazed and beautiful, plated with celery root puree. We were too full to order dessert, but hopefully next time we can partake. Winebelly is a great addition to South Austin and we are thrilled to have it close by.

What are you favorite dishes (or wines!) at Winebelly?

Friday, March 7th

What to Eat in Austin

Are you visiting Austin and want a little guidance from the locals? This post is for you. These recommendations and round-ups come from food bloggers, skilled writers, tasters, and photographers. Creative, hungry people you can trust!

Without further ado, here’s your list of expert guides to the Austin food scene.

Mexican Breakfast. Not just where to eat, but what to order and how to eat it.

Mexican breakfast

Photo by Mary Makes Dinner

Barbecue East of Austin. Take a trip outside the city limits for the kind of rustic, smokey meats your only dreamed about or seen in the movies. It’s real, y’all.

South Austin Trailers. Ideal for lunch, late night, or just plain ole’ great outdoor eating, South Austin’s got the best trucks in the city!

Vegan Eats for SXSW. You’re hungry, you’re scared, you’re a vegan out of your natural habitat. Vegan Lazy Smurf to the rescue!

Vegetarian. Austin is incredibly vegetarian friendly and out-of-towners are often proclaiming how lucky we are. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, you’ll still want to hit some places on these lists, separated by region.

South Austin Vegetarian

Downtown Vegetarian

East Austin Vegetarian

In.gredients

Photo by Aneelee

Cajun and Creole. A Louisiana native breaks down the best choices for you, cher.

Indian. Our Indian offerings grow every year. Take a walk down Austin’t spice route and get your curry on. 

Ramen. The Japanese noodle crazy continues, redefining the food landscape of our fair city.

Ramen

Photo by Mad Betty

South Austin Restaurants. Suggestions from the South Austin Foodie herself for Austin’s hottest zip code.

Craft Beer. Undoubtedly Austin’s fast growing market, check out the local brews that make the city proud.

Beergaritas. Mary Makes Dinner drank a lot of beers upended in frozen margaritas to put together this magnificent list. Don’t let her work be in vain.

Pizza. New York style pizza, or Austin’s best approximation. A list curated by a real expert.

Home Slice Pizza

Photo by Craft Taste

Upscale. As well as Austin does casual dining, there is no shortage of fancy, well-executed opulent eats.

Ice Cream. Save room for ice cream! This list features the most interesting varieties.

Desserts. Sweets for you and your sweet. The finest offerings from our finest pastry chefs.

Wednesday, March 5th

The HotList #SXSW Edition

I love a good trend. Especially in Austin during SXSW, when techies show off their newest gear and music lovers prance around like hipster peacocks. The conference is a nod towards what’s new, what’s artistic, and what’s going to happen over the next year.

Podcasts. Everybody cool has got one. The Austin-American Statesman recently started one. The recurring fad of digital media has true loyalists. People who listen to podcasts are passionate and those that create them are confident. Because it’s not easy to listen to your own voice.

Mr. Betty and I joined podcasters When in Austin for their first recording session of 2014 to talk about SXSW. Take a listen here and enjoy our tips, our fumbles, and our South Jersey accents.

podcast

Photo by When in Austin

Style. From sunglasses to sneakers, Keep Austin Stylish guides you to the right gear to wear. Achieve the right balance to looking cool while sprinting around town from event to event. If you pull it off well enough, you might even end up in one of her famous street style posts.

Libations. The parties never stop and the drinks are flowing during SX. Free drinks range from high-end martinis to all the cheap, tasteless beer you can drink. Those traveling from out of town might want to try the new, limited-edition Absolut Texas. They sent me a bottle of the cucumber and serrano flavored vodka and I was surprised at how good it was. The Absolut website provides recipes and my friends and I really enjoyed mixing the vodka with pineapple juice, cilantro, and jalapeño slices.

Absolut Texas

White Teeth. A bright smile is always on trend, actually, so when Influenster sent me the new Colgate Optic White Pen, I was pleased. An easy way to get whiter teeth in just a few days. Have you tried it?

Burgers. Shake Shake will be feeding thousands of hungry SXSWers with a complimentary pop-up. Late night burgers sponsored by Late Night with Seth Meyers? Oh, yes. We want that. Check it out on 6th & Red River (March 8-10) or E. 6th and Brushy (March 11-14.)

Ranch. Willie Nelson’s ranch isn’t normally open to the public, so when there’s an opportunity to get inside the gates, people jump at the chance. For the third year in a row, the Heartbreaker Banquet will take over the ranch with lots of live music and a full day of fun and partying. It’s invite only and therefore exclusive, but there are ways to win tickets.

Monday, March 3rd

Ramen in Austin

This is an updated version of the 2013 AFBA City Guide to Ramen. Leave me a comment and share your favorite dishes with readers. What’s hot (and spicy!) for 2014? 

There’s no stopping the ramen trend in Austin! The city can’t get enough of the hearty steaming bowls of rich broth and bouncy alkaline noodles. Those initiated into the ramen scene (and it is very much a scene, baby) are addicted to the umami, the toppings and the slurping. The uninitiated just need to give it a try.

If you need more convincing, check out local filmmaker Christian Remde’s Culinary Equation fantastic video all about ramen.

Ramen Tatsu-ya

A great option for first-timers,  Ramen Tatsu-ya provides a quirky guide on what to order, how to eat, and definitions for all the unfamiliar terms and ingredients. They offer classic toppings and fun flavors bombs, so you can customize every bowl.

Mi-So-Hot

In addition to the spectacular ramen, they have delicious appetizers and sides including katsu sliders and the world’s greatest Brussel’s sprouts.

Katsu Sliders

Brussels sprouts

Check out their website for the full menu. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 5-10. Lunch is served Tuesday-Friday 11-2 and Saturday-Sunday 12-3.

Location: 8557 Research Blvd, Ste. 126, Austin, TX 78758

*Pro-tip: Get there before 5:00 or after 8:45 to avoid the long line. Or just show up whenever and stand in line chatting with fellow ramen-heads, letting the anticipation build. Also, check out the cool bathrooms.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya Restroom Art

The Dojo

9070 Research Blvd.,#305, Austin, TX 78757

Ramen is but one subject in a textbook of food. The ramen is served in different sizes and uses paitan, a light, milky chicken broth.

Whole Foods the The Domain

11920 Domain Drive, Austin, TX 78758

Austin’s newest Whole Foods boasts a number of fabulous amenities, a ramen bar being one of the most popular. The Texas ramen gives shoppers a taste of Japanese ramen with a twist. Barbecue!

Michi Ramen

The ramen groundbreakers of Austin, Michi Ramen started in a truck, took a break, and reopened in brick and mortar. They are the only game in town to offer a choice of broth thickness like old-school traditional places in Japan. The noodles are slightly thicker than other places and the broth tastes like love.

Michi Ramen

Included in the large selection of sides and add-ons is a barbecue-lovers delight, Chashu Don, burnt ends, bonito flakes and green onions over steamed rice.

Chashu Don

Michi is the most comfortable establishment to sit and enjoy ramen, with plentiful tables and a cozy waiting area.

Check out their website for the full menu. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 11-2, 5-9.

Location: 6519 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78752

*Pro-tip: Leave room for dessert! The mochi, 2 for $3 is shipped frozen from Hawaii and just heavenly.

Mochi

Drunk Fish

10000 Research Blvd #139, Austin, TX 78759

Offering a variety of broths and toppings, this Arboretum hole in the wall is popular with lunchers in a hurry.

Komé

Known for their wide array of fresh and delicious sushi, Komé also makes a kickass ramen. Their efforts will only improve when their ramen-only location, Daruma Ramen, opens on East 6th. Being the most southern ramen-ya will surely earn them an instant following.

Kome tonkatsu ramen

Check out their website for the full menu. Hours are Monday-Friday 11-2, 5-10 and Sat-Sun 12-3, 5:30-10

Location: 4917 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

*Pro-tip: Ramen is only available during lunch hours.

Daruma Ramen

612B E. 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Sister restaurant to Komé, Daruma is fully dedicated to ramen. The tiny 6th Street shop brings in big crowds for its vegan ramen. The complex broth is steeped with veggies and fruit. Very interesting, and different than what anyone else is doing.

Daruma Ramen vegan bowl

Soto

11066 Pecan Park Blvd, Ste 402, Cedar Park, TX 78613

The reputable sushi spot has an acceptable ramen offering, too, pleasing customers with a decadent seafood ramen as well as traditional tonkatsu and shoyu.

East Side King at Hole in the Wall

2538 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

Paul Qui’s ramen offerings are inventive and fun. Especially delicious is the Chicken Tortilla Ramen, a perfect fusing of Japan and Austin. Recent experimentation resulted in a bacon beer ramen that the combines everyone’s favorite two loves.

Chicken Tortilla Ramen

Check out their website for the full menu. Hours are Monday-Friday 11am-Midnight, Saturday 4pm-midnight

More

Chi’Lantro offers occasional ramen specials, delighting post-bar snackers with their Korean fusion ramen. Check the website for locations and hours of ramen offerings.

Banzai Sushi and Grill has nontraditional ramen offerings like meatball and tofu. Hours are Mon-Sat, 11am-9:30pm, Sun 12-9.

Location: 3914 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756

Should you stray from the sushi menu at Musashino Sushi Dokoro you can order from a variety of ramen flavors during lunch hours only.

Hours are Tues-Fri 11:30-2, 5:30-10, Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30

Location: 3407 Greystone Dr., Austin, TX 78731

Tuesday, February 25th

Indian Food in Austin

This is an updated version of the 2013 AFBA City Guide to Indian Food. Leave me a comment and share your favorite dishes with readers. What’s hot (and spicy!) for 2014? 

We’re known for our Tex-Mex, our barbecue, food trucks and vegetarian eats. Indian might be the food genre experiencing the most growth in Austin and I say Bring it on! The versatility and regional variations mean a limitless world of flavors and textures to explore. Ideal for carnivores, vegans, and everyone in-between, Indian food is simply divine.

Bollywood

Asiana

801 E. William Cannon Dr, Ste 205, Austin, TX 78745

Don’t let the rundown strip mall or sparse decor fool you, Asiana makes some great food. Delicious dosas, fluffy naan and some of the spiciest vindaloo in the city. Ask for it spicy and you shall receive.

Naan

 

Biryani Pot

12407 N. Mopac Expy, Ste 200B, Austin, TX 78758

This chain has high quality food, friendly service, and is a very popular lunch destination. Formerly Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine.

Bombay Bistro

10710 Research Blvd. #126, Austin, TX 78759

4200 South Lamar #300, Austin, TX 78704

The elegant, romantic decor of the south location makes for a great date spot.

Bombay Express

13000 North I35, Bldg 12, Unit 216, Austin, TX 78753

Vegetarian.

Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant

3201 Bee Caves Rd. #148, Austin, TX 78746

Cheery service and wide range of options on the buffet.

Chaat Shop

Mobile

Check the website to see when the food truck will be in your area. Try the Chaat Box, a combo meal with vegan choices and a samosa for $7.50.

Chicken Lollypop

1005 E. Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78753

The Mumbai-style Indian Chinese menu satisfies vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Chola

2601 S. I35, Ste. B-400, Round Rock, TX 78664

Leans on Southern cuisine although has some Northern offerings. Known for their weekend buffet.

Clay Pit

1601 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701

downtown favorite, Clay Pit offers a modern setting and delicious Bombay-inspired cocktails. The curried mussels alone are worth the trip.

Curried Mussels

Curry in a Hurry

2121 W. Parmer Lane #114, Austin, TX 78727

This vegetarian spot features a daily curry. Bonus: free wi-fi!

Daawat

500 Canyon Ridge Drive, Austin, TX, 78753

Formerly Indian Spicy Kitchen, the extensive menu and online ordering system makes takeout a breeze.

Gandhi Bazar

3421 W. William Cannon Dr, #133, Austin, TX 78745

12809 N FM 620, #3, Austin, TX 78750

2121 W. Parmer Lane, #113, Austin, TX 78727

Prefer to cook your own Indian food? Stock up on spices and other essentials at one of Gandhi Bazar’s locations.

G’Raj Mahal

91 Red River, Austin, TX 78701

This popular food truck is distinctly Austin. The BYOB has lots of outdoor seating and makes for a great start when bar-hopping on Rainey Street. Update: Brick and mortar in the works!

G'Raj Mahal

Hot Breads Bakery and Cafe

7318 McNeil Drive, Ste 102, Austin, TX 78729

So much more than a bakery, choices run from traditional Indian dishes to savory spiced puffed pastries. A unique concept in Austin.

Indian Palace

3616 Far WEst Blvd, Ste 113, Austin, TX 78731

North Indian cuisine; delivers to surround area.

Lamba’s Royal Indian

41 Waller Street, Austin, TX 78702

Spicing up farmer’s markets, Lamba’s sells a wide range of frozen Indian dishes. They can be found at HOPE and other farmer’s markets in and around Austin.

Madras Pavillion

9025 Research Blvd, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78758

The vegetarian favorite has cuisine from both North and South India.

Man Pasand Grocery

3601 W. William Cannon #750, Austin, TX 78749

A great place to stock up on spices, snacks, frozen meals, grains and more. The freshly made hot samosas for $1.00 at the counter are some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Masala Dhaba

75 Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701

This food truck is a recent addition to Rainey Street and early reviews are extremely positive. Perfect for late night eats while bar-hopping.

Masala Wok

1100 Center Ridge Dr, Ste 300, Austin, TX 78753

10515 N. Mopac, Ste. A-155, Austin, TX 78759

This small chain has classic Indian and Chinese options.

Naanful Indian Grill

11101 Burnet Rd, Ste A130, Austin, TX 78758

2000 S. I35, Round Rock, TX 78681

1335 E. Whitestone Blvd, Ste T130, Cedar Park, TX 78613

Quick, build-to-order dishes. Will deliver, but order early, as their site estimates 60-75 delivery time.

New India Cuisine

2304 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

The South Austin Marathi-style restaurant offers lots of fish and yeast-free naan.

New India

Paradise Biryani Pointe

1779 Wells Branch Pkwy, Ste 102, Austin, TX 78728

They specialize in biryani, but if that’s not your thing, there’s a large menu with lots of diverse options.

Royal India

4894 Hwy 290 West, Austin, TX 78735

Located in the old Estancia Churrascaria building, favorites include a dosa bar and the Royal Feast, a $44 multi-course dinner for two people.

Sarovar

8440 Burnet Rd, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78757

This old Austin favorite specializes in thali and surly waitstaff.

Ganesh

Shalimar

9310 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

The biryani is a favorite.

Spice Mystery

13717 Burnet Rd, Ste 300, Austin, TX 78727

Craving Indian food but your companion doesn’t like it? Spicy Mystery also has an American menu with burgers, fried pickles, and chicken fried steak.

Star of India

2900 W. Anderson Lane, Ste 12D, Austin, TX 78757

Standard buffet of classic dishes in a comfortable setting.

Swad

9515 N. Lamar Blvd #156, Austin, TX 78753

Vegetarian favorites and fun street food. The big-as-your-head dosas are a must try. You won’t even mind the lack of atmosphere.

Mysore Masala Dosa

Taj Palace Indian Restaurant and Bar

6700 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752

For more than 20 years the extensive buffet has been delighting loyal customers. This was one of Austin’s first Indian restaurants.

Tarka Indian Kitchen

201 University Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665

2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757

5207 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745

The little sister of Clay Pit offers many of the same classic curries and fantastic pakoras. The fast, casual counter service has proven to be so popular that they keep expanding, with three locations now.

Mirch Masala

Pakora

 

Taste From India

519 E. 7th Street, Austin, TX 78758

Indian kabobs for the late-night bar crowd.

Teji’s Foods

1205 Round Rock Ave #115, Round Rock, TX 78681

Part grocery, part restaurant, the widely-respected Teji’s has the fluffiest naan.

Whip In

1950 I35 South, Austin, TX 78704

A funky South Austin staple, Whip In is a convenience store with indoor and outdoor live music, a massive selection of craft on draft, and a large menu of fusion Indian eats.

Wednesday, February 19th

Binging on Grapefruit

Recently TexaSweet invited me to attend a grapefruit workshop at the Central Market cooking school. We sliced, peeled, squeezed, ate and drank tons of gorgeous Rio Stars. After sampling several recipes, they set me loose in Central Market with a gift card and I put my new skills (and some fun ingredients!) to work my kitchen.

To get my creativity flowing, I started with a little grapefruit juice and Cava for a fizzy, sophisticated take on a mimosa, the Riomosa. I could drink these forever.

Grapefruit Glazed Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

I loved all the recipes I made, but my very favorite was the Grilled Shrimp with Grapefruit Glaze. The zesty marinade turned into a beautiful glaze that caramelized the quick-cooking shrimp. It was remarkably easy and will be my go-to shrimp recipe from now on.

Pictured with the shrimp is the Quinoa Salad that offered heat, sweetness, and colorful crunch. The fresh and light vegetables were bolstered by the ancient grain, making this hearty salad a meal all on its own.

Giada's Citrus Salad

I wanted to share another grapefruit salad that I’ve been making for a few years. Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe comes together quickly and tastes incredibly fresh. The crunch of the fennel and toasted walnuts play nicely with the grapefruit and orange segments. A light basil dressing is the perfect finish.

Grapefruit Ice Cream and Citrus Bake

For dessert, fresh grapefruit, oranges and pineapple are broiled with butter and brown sugar to create a decadently sweet base for a scoop of light grapefruit frozen yogurt. To make the yogurt, freeze the segments of four Rio Stars for 30 minutes on a sheet pan. Then combine with two lemon yogurts and process in blender until smooth and creamy. Sweeten as desired with honey, sugar, or 0-calorie sweetener. (I used two packets of stevia.) Freeze for several hours or overnight.

Candied Grapefruit Peel

One last grapefruit experiment used some of the grapefruit peel, of which I had a lot! Even the slightest bit of white pith can overwhelm the candy with bitterness, so the most important thing is to make sure to use clean pieces of just the zest. Shaving the zest off with a sharp vegetable peeler made this pretty easy.

Drop the zest in boiling water for 30 seconds to thoroughly clean it and prepare it to cook in the syrup. Drain the water and cover zest with two parts water to one part sugar, depending on how much candy you want to make. Simmer on low until mixture cooks down to a thick, sticky syrup. Then roll individual strips in sugar and let dry for an hour. These grown up candies pair well with a shot of espresso after dinner.

What are some of your favorite ways to use grapefruit?

Thursday, February 13th

Five Places in Austin to Get Stuff Done

This guest post is written by Laura Arnold, blogger at Austinite Tips. Go check out her site for her take on Austin’s best, worst, and weirdest things to see and do! 

Everyone needs to sit down at a computer and get things done occasionally. Yes, you could stay in your house, but you run the risk of being distracted by children, pets, or half-finished home improvement projects. (Building shelves is way harder than it looks on Pinterest, people.)

I’m here to help! These are five of my favorite Austin spots to be productive.

Cenote 

Full disclosure: I don’t drink coffee because I react to caffeine the way most people react to cocaine. Two sips and I’m bouncing around the room yelling ideas for television shows. Not good. (Mad Betty note: I’m devastated for her. Coffee is my life.)

But Cenote is awesome, even without taking the coffee into account. Nice atmosphere, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, reliable WiFi, and delicious food– including cheese plates from Antonelli’s. They also have happy hour from 3-7 on weekdays, so you can reward yourself for your hard work with a local beer. Yes, please!

Cenote, East Austin, Texas

Allen Park

Have you ever sat down to work, then realized an hour later that you’ve spent the whole time looking at Corgi puppies on BuzzFeed? I feel your pain. Sometimes you have to work somewhere without Internet access.

Luckily, Austin’s got a wealth of parks to choose from. If the weather’s nice, I love working outside in Allen Park. It’s got 12 picnic tables to choose from and no admission fee, so you can bring a picnic and stay all afternoon. You might get menaced by grackles, but that’s pretty much the only distraction.

Allen Park, Austin, Texas

Epoch Coffee – Circa 13

Circa 13 opened in mid-December, and there was a glorious period when it was empty because no one knew about it. Unfortunately, jerks like me keep talking about it, so it gets more crowded every week. My bad, y’all.

It’s technically Epoch Coffee‘s sister store, and shares the name, but they’re completely different. Circa 13 is like Epoch’s put-together older sibling. It’s less cluttered, has less graffiti, has gender-segregated bathrooms, has less aggressive music, and isn’t open 24 hours. While it lacks the grubby charm of the original, it’s a great place to sit for hours without anyone bothering you.

Circa 13, Austin, Texas

Faulk Central Library

Need complete silence to work? Would the constant chatter of a coffee shop drive you slowly insane? You should check out the Austin Public Library nearest you– they’re a great option for people who need quiet.

Faulk is the main branch of our library system, and as such it’s the biggest and is open every day of the week. After you’re done working you can treat yourself by checking out something from their surprisingly decent movie collection. (If you haven’t sensed a theme here, I need rewards to get myself to do basic adult tasks. Like paying bills.)

Faulk Central Library, Austin, Texas

Strange Brew

As Austin gets increasingly richer, flashier, and more homogenized, it’s nice to have places that keep the old vibe alive. Strange Brew does exactly that. It’s unpretentious, relaxed, and a favorite of aging hippies. Proof: Strange Brew is one of the few places in Austin that serves hemp milk. I didn’t even know hemp milk was a thing.

But even if you’re not a white dude with dreadlocks and a Legalize It tee-shirt, you should give Strange Brew a try. The baristas are friendly and I’ve really liked everything I’ve ever eaten there. If you’re there in the morning, spend $3.50 on one of their giant breakfast tacos. You won’t regret it.

Strange Brew, Austin, Texas

Laura Arnold lives in Central Austin and works for a local tech company. She spends her free time eating an unhealthy amount of queso, buying Groupons and instantly regretting them, and reviewing Austin activities for her blog Austinite Tips.

Mad Betty note: Go check out these places in Austin to get stuff done. Go get some stuff done, you lazy bums! But first, make sure to visit her blog for other tips and to read more of her insightful and fun writing. Thanks to Laura for the fantastic guest post. Isn’t she so cute, you guys?

Laura Arnorld, Austinite Tips