Sunday, October 5, 2014

Satellite Bistro & Bar - Restaurant Review

One of the worst brunch experiences we've ever had.

The table and chairs were dirty with food residue, even though they had just been cleared.

It took almost 30 minutes and at least 3 requests to get menus. We had begun looking up the menu on our phones when they finally arrived.

After we signaled to the waitress that we were ready to order, it took her another 15 minutes to return to take our order. She apologized and said that they were short staffed. At that point it had been 45 minutes since we sat down.

We requested that the fruit come out first for my 1 year old nephew, since he was starving and having a meltdown. They brought the strawberries out but tried to give them to another mom with a baby. As soon as I saw her shrug and say, "Sure, I guess we'll take them," I intercepted the fruit and brought it to our table. She acknowledged that she had not ordered it.

Two of the four napkins brought to our table had food residue, as did two of the four appetizer plates.

An hour and fifteen minutes after we sat down, our food arrived. The truffle Parmesan fries were limp and hardly had a hint of truffles. My husband's migas had been sitting under a heat lamp for a while. My chicken wraps arrived with some rotten and cold-damaged lettuce leaves, as well as a hair on the plate.

The only pleasant things about the experience were the live music by Combo Mahalo and the weather outside on the patio. We won't be returning to this restaurant.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fried Okra Recipe

My uncle grows fresh okra in his backyard, so lucky me that I got to try out this fabulous recipe for fried okra!

Please note that I didn't have any cornmeal on hand so I used whole wheat bread crumbs - yum!

Serves 4
15 minutes prep time
15 minute cook time
30 minutes total

  • 10 pods organic okra, sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 organic brown egg, beaten
  • 1 cup organic cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. In a small bowl, soak okra in egg for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4. Dredge okra in the cornmeal mixture, coating evenly. 
  5. Carefully place okra in hot oil; stir continuously. 
  6. Reduce heat to medium when okra first starts to brown, and cook until golden. 
  7. Drain on paper towels.

Found this recipe at Allrecipes. ENJOY!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lovely Lenoir - Restaurant Review

Lenoir has one of the most wonderful prix-fixe menus we've ever experienced, and at a fabulous $45 per person! Fresh food, a good variety of choices, medium sized portions (not too small or too large), inventive flavors, beautiful ambiance, and a very nice wine list make this one of the best restaurants in Austin!

On any day but Sunday, you can choose three items from the menu no matter what category they belong to (Field, Sea, Land, Dream). I chose a salad and two seafood courses. The octopus was the best I've had in Austin!

Love it, and can't wait to return! Parking can be challenging, but it's well worth the effort!

Turf N' Surf Po Boy Food Truck - Restaurant Review

This is a super fun food truck that I've loved since they had a location at 2nd and Congress. This new location sports a new truck (very reminiscent of the old) in The Picnic Food Trailer Park on Barton Springs. It's one of my new favorite food truck parks because of the ample parking, real bathrooms, and tables with shade and fans.

Ralph, the owner, of Turf N' Surf (in the black shirt and hat), is super friendly and has lots of great suggestions about what to order. I always get the fried oyster tacos ($14), and my sister ordered the blackened monk fish tacos ($15) because Ralph said that its taste and texture were similar to lobster - and it was! We also got the sweet potato fries ($4). The portions were all very large - we had to take most of the fries with us. We shared the tacos, which were fresh and excellent, especially with the flavorful veggies that they were loaded with (slaw, red onions, tomatoes, greens).

I look forward to many more visits to Turf N' Surf!

Pho Thaison - Restaurant Review

Heard about this restaurant through an acquaintance who is a relative of the owner. Was excited to potentially find another go-to restaurant for Vietnamese food. We tried it out during lunch on Tuesday.

The restaurant needs some remodeling. Everything looked old and shabby and the vinyl booth seats were repaired with what looked like black duct tape. There were a lot of flies in the restaurant.

It took a while for our food to arrive - at least 20 minutes, which is quite long if you have just an hour for lunch.

The shrimp spring roll ($2) was a nice way to start off my meal. It was soft and yummy, and I really enjoyed that they served it with warm peanut sauce. My chicken pho ($9) was average sized and came with all of the usual sides (bean sprouts, jalapeño slices, basil, cilantro, and a slice of lime), but I did have to tear off a few slimy leaves from the herbs. 

My husband's chicken vermicelli ($9) was about half of what other restaurants served, and the fish sauce was way too sweet. It wasn't enough for him and he ended up finishing my pho.

The restaurant served a complimentary bite of dessert with a small cup of green tea to end the meal - a nice touch.

Overall, pricier than other comparable Vietnamese restaurants, and the food isn't good enough to justify the higher price. Wouldn't order the vermicelli again, and it's usually one of the dishes we crave. Disappointed.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar on Anderson Lane - Restaurant Review

Tried Hopdoddy Burger Bar for the first time this past Monday. Met a good friend and her son for an early lunch. We were able to order right away. The restaurant was clean and staff were friendly, although the ordering process is not obvious to anyone new.

I ordered the Continental Club ($8 or $9 - turkey burger with bacon, arugula, Provolone, and pesto on whole wheat - I had them leave off the mayo) and the Truffle Parmesan fries ($6.50). I felt that the burger could have been really great - it's a wonderful combination of flavors. However, the turkey patty was too salty for my taste, as was the Parmesan and chive topping on the fries - I ended up scraping off the topping before dipping the fries in the truffle aoli, which was really yummy.

My friend ended up taking half of her burger and fries home - the portions were filling. Her son liked the grilled cheese that the restaurant offers for kids.

There are so many interesting burgers that I'll probably try a different one next time, and get the regular fries or a different side.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Royal Blue Grocery - Review

What a wonderful place! I've been a loyal customer since this location's opening. I have lunch at least once a week here - everything is always so fresh and interesting (fabulous grass-fed beef burgers on Wednesdays for just $5, and Thai Friday for just $8). Also pick up wine, beer, eggs, milk, breakfast tacos, chips and salsa, and veggies.

The customer service here is so great that if they don't have a veggie in the case, they'll check the kitchen for me to see if they have what I need in the back - just awesome and has saved me from having to make a run to Whole Foods just to get one jalapeño pepper!

George is a truly amazing business man, and his store makes such a contribution to the community! So happy to see so many new RB locations opening up!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

El Alma - Restaurant Review

The interior of the restaurant was too hot and there were too many flies buzzing around! Did not enjoy the experience.

The food was okay but not so amazing that I have to return.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

La Condesa - Restaurant Review

Love the collection of salsas, and the ceviches are always excellent!

Chicken is always too salty! I've started getting the fish or opting for a restaurant that isn't as salty.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

I've yet to try this recipe, but my mouth is watering just reading it! I found it on this page.

A PureWow Original Recipe

Makes 6 servings
Start to Finish: 1 hour

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head organic cauliflower
  • 1½ cups plain oragnic Greek yogurt
  • 1 organic lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons organic chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon organic cumin
  • 1 tablespoon organic garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set aside.
  2. Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)
  5. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.
  6. Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a big green salad.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cleaning Burnt Pots and Pans

I cook, he cleans up afterwards. But, he hates having to scour the sometimes burnt-on oil stuck on our stainless steel pots and pans. Lucky for me, there's a fabulous blog called Apartment Therapy that had these great instructions that really worked!

  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water (depending on the size of your pan)
  • a burnt stainless steel pan
  • a scourer
1. Fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of water.
2. Add the vinegar.
3. Bring the pan to the boil.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda - it will fizz!
5. Empty the pan and scour as normal; if necessary add an extra bit of dry baking soda.
6. If there are any super stubborn marks that don't come off with scouring, make a paste of baking soda and a couple of drops of water. Leave the paste on the marks for a while and return to clean as normal.
See the original post from Apartment Therapy:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dior Cruise 2015 new makeup look - love the eyes!

I'm not a huge makeup person and I have almost no eyelashes, which is probably why I like this look so much - very clean with just a hint of drama. See the details here:

Easiest popcorn recipe ever!

I've been popping popcorn in a brown paper bag in the microwave for the past few years, but recently my microwave has been overheating so I've been searching for another healthy alternative. Check this out - it's one of the easiest and most delicious popcorn recipes I've ever tried!

  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup organic popcorn kernels
  • organic fine sea salt to taste

  1. In a stainless, cast iron, or enamel pot, preheat over medium heat, add the oil/ghee and 3 kernels, then cover.
  2. All pots - When a kernel pops, add the rest of the kernels and cover. Shake to distribute and turn off heat for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn heat back on and tilt the lid to let the steam out - no need to keep shaking. 
  4. Remove from heat when the popping subsides to about 2-3 seconds between pops (about 2-3 minutes), and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  5. Toss with salt and serve.

  • Add truffle oil to the olive oil truly delightful snack. About 1 teaspoon should do it!
  • Add liquid smoke to the olive oil for bacon-flavored popcorn. Beware that the liquid smoke is mostly water, so be prepared for lots of splattering!
  • Add freshly grated Parmesan and chopped dried rosemary to the popped corn.

Exciting news!

I've long thought of starting a lifestyle blog, not one that was solely restricted to wine. While I love wine and will continue to blog about tastings, I'll be adding little gems that improve my life, and that I hope contribute to yours as well!

Think about these future lifestyle posts as best practices for life! Cheers!