Welcoming the New Whole Foods

Hey ya’ll! It’s hump day. To be completely honest, it always takes me a few hours of each day to realize what day of the week it is. Oh how I am going to miss break. Luckily I get to ease back into school next week with only one day of class and one day of work. Thank god or I might die from the exhausting schedule that I have. Now I have some big news. A new Whole Foods opened up in Austin today in the Domain. I have been waiting for this thing for two years. It is just like the one downtown with a few different twists. When I extended my trip home, I was so excited that I was going to be home for the opening ceremony.

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For those of you that don’t know, Austin is the headquarters for Whole Foods and it is where the company originated. I feel like that is one of our cities claims to fame. I’m proud of it too because I am all about my healthy living and nutrition agenda. Austinites love keeping Austin weird by supporting local businesses. Whole Foods is something that most Austinites can’t live without (on the list are Longhorn football, yoga, Torchy’s Tacos, etc). This is why this place was a freaking zoo. My brother and I had to park in a parking garage so far away because every spot was taken and the dirt lot was full. This was insane.

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One of the cool things that Whole Foods did was that if you were one of the first 500 people at the opening then you would get a free Austin bag with goodies. I’m Jewish. Obviously I woke up at 7 am just so I could get a bag filled with free things. It wasn’t that bad actually. I ended up being 447, barely made it! I was so glad I got it though because it was a really good deal. I love reusable shopping bags not only because I hate dealing with plastic bags, but also because they can be used for so many other things like carrying my laundry to the laundromat or returning items to clothing stores. The bag also came with a nice sized freezer bag. That can be used for chilled bottles of wine or icecream, but maybe both for Galentine’s day that is February 13th (for the reference PLEASE watch Parks and Rec)! While we were waiting in line, staff from Whole Foods came around giving out stress balls in the shape of fruits and vegetables. I got myself a carrot. These were super cute and I was like I could totally do something like this for my future dietitian practice!

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Hello to you dark chocolate peanut butter cup. I love you too. This was just one of the many delicious treats that was in the bag. I love Justin’s more than anything. Seriously one of the best companies for organic peanut butter treats. One of my favorite things of theirs is the 80 calorie squeeze packs. I discovered them at a Whole Foods in NYC and I died. Other things in the bag include Lucy’s Gluten Free Cookies, black bean chips, tons of different types of tea, a bottle of soul water, omegabar, chocolate chip cookies, and so much more. It was a nice thing to do for the loyal customers in my opinion. Plus I now have more shopping bags, so win win!

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One of the best parts about a grand opening is all of the samples. Once again, the free things. I swear it is just something in my genetics that calls to me when I see the word free. The samples at Whole Foods were on point today. This was a piece of salmon that was grilled outside and seasoned with some spicy cajun spices. Amen. There was also an amazing piece of flank steak outside on the grill. It was incredibly tender and juicy. Other sample highlights include ramen broth, lobster tail meat, a shucked oyster, and tons of fresh fruit. I felt like I was in foodie heaven.

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Oh yeah, you heard right. I said a ramen sample because guess what? Our new Whole Foods has a ramen bar. Now that is what I am talking about. I ended up sampling the pork ramen broth, which was simple yet delicious. I will definitely have to come back next time I’m in town when the heat dies down, so I can get a huge bowl of ramen. The line was ridiculous. I hate crowds also, so that was a huge problem for me. People were walking so slow in the store that it was impossible to move around. I had to bust out my New Yorker moves a couple of times in order to get around.

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Wait, you don’t have a restaurant in the middle of your Whole Foods? Well we do. There was the cutest open building in the middle of the new store. It was a draft and oyster house. Beer and oysters. I could particularly do without the beer since I don’t drink a lot, but I would definitely line up for the oysters. They are really good. We got free samples of the oysters, so I can definitely vouch for this place. Also the fact that the inside was extremely crowded vouches for it too. I would definitely love to be able to sit down next time and enjoy an entire plate of oysters instead of just a sample. The ambiance was really cute too because it reminded me of a country porch. A place to kick back with a beer and some oysters.

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Speaking of oysters, this Whole Foods actually has a serving station where you can just make yourself a box of oysters to go and shuck yourself. I don’t really like the idea of shucking oysters myself, but I like that they have this option available for the real seafood foodies out there. There were so many different types of oysters to choose from, which was also really nice to have access to. That way in case you don’t like a specific type of oyster, you aren’t stuck to just having that. The Whole Foods really went all out on the seafood part.

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When it comes to Whole Foods, you definitely can’t forget to mention the desserts. You can’t live without a huge cookie cart that has three levels of different types of cookies on all four sides. My brother dug into this station and got a ton of cookies. I ended up sampling a pistachio shortbread, which was to die for. All you could taste was the tasty pistachio flavor, which was great because I hate when things say they are some flavor and there is only a small hint of that flavor. This cookie was great.

So lets get to the things that I didn’t like about the Whole Foods. For one the dessert section was very tiny compared to the downtown one on South Lamar. Also since the dessert section is small, there is no chocolate fountain. That means no caramel apples, which my mom loves. I think that there is a smaller amount of actual products to buy in comparison to the other massive location too. However I definitely won’t complain because I’m very happy that there is a massive Whole Foods near my mom’s house now. It is very convenient to us. I will definitely come here every once and a while when I’m in town.

Have you ever been to the Whole Foods in Austin?
What is your favorite thing(s) to get at Whole Foods?

The Secret Menu at Torchy’s Tacos

Since I’ve been home in Austin for the break, I’ve been trying to hit up all of my local favorites. That includes Torchy’s Tacos, which is one of the best places in the world. No joke. I’ve been there at least twice since I’ve been back and I plan on going there on my way to the airport when I leave. These tacos are amazing. They are creative, fresh, and very unique. Recently it has come out that there is a secret menu at Torchy’s just like there is at many other establishments such as Starbucks and Jamba Juice. I decided to branch out and test out this “secret menu”.

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Say hello to The Hipster. What a cute name. I love that about Torchy’s. They have creative names for each taco on the menu. I’m not sure why this is particularly the Hipster, but I do know one thing. This taco is amazing. The taco is panko-breaded fried tuna topped with bacon, green chiles, black beans, corn, cilantro, and cojita cheese. You can either get it on a flour or corn tortilla. The sauce served on the side is an avocado sauce. Oh how wonderful that all sounds.

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I mean just look at this delicious taco. The panko bread crumbs on the tuna are crispy, but not too bready. I like that they use panko instead of breadcrumbs because it is a healthier and tastier option in my opinion. The tuna was fresh and cooked to a medium rare. The avocado sauce was creamy and cool, which calmed down the hotness from the fried fish. All of the toppings went well with it too, which was kind of surprising because I don’t really think of corn and black beans when I think of a fried tuna taco. I would definitely get this again.

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This bad boy is the Trailer Park Hillbilly Style. It is your typical trailer park with a twist. It comes with a fried chicken tender topped with shredded cheese and queso, green chiles, and ranch. The twist is that it has chorizo and bacon on top of it. Really you can’t go wrong with a good piece of fried chicken. I think there is a trend here with my tacos: green chiles and fried things. I loved this taco. The chorizo gave the taco a little more spice and kick to it. Plus I just love cheese, so this taco in general is one of my favorites without the Hillbilly style.

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Hello to the holy grail of tacos. This one actually might be my favorite so far on the secret menu. It is the ace of spades. GET THIS IMMEDIATELY. You will not regret my reference to get this taco. I’m drooling just looking at it. It has jalapeno sausage links, grilled brisket, a fried egg, green chile queso, cojita cheese, sour cream, and if you want diablo sauce. Diablo sauce is too spicy for me to handle, so I opt for it to not be on the taco. I get this one on a flour tortilla. Oh how amazing this taco is. I don’t think I can even describe it. Just stare at the picture for a good few minutes and you will understand the greatness of this taco. It is a little messy from all the queso, so have tons of napkins around.

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The key to the secret menu is to know what you want before you go to Torchy’s. If you do not say what you want correctly they will pretend like they do not know what you are talking about. I still have a few more things I would like to try on the secret menu, so I will definitely keep ya’ll posted. If you are ever in Austin, COME HERE. It is an Austin staple.

What would you like on your taco?
Have you ever tried a secret menu item at a store?

 

WIAW: Goodbye To Austin

Hey yall! It is that awesome time of the week, What I Ate Wednesday. This awesome day is hosted by the lovely Jenn, who thought of the great idea of sharing drool worthy pictures of what everyone eats every single week. Ummm yes! Best idea ever. This week I am going to do a more sentimental post. I am going to do a goodbye to Austin post in regards to food. For the few weeks before I moved to NYC, I had to stop at all my favorite Austin local foodie places. I didn’t make it to every single place, but that is what vacation is for. I also didn’t take photos at some places and some foodie adventures were epic fails like the time I tried to go to SnoBeach at 8 pm (apparently it is closed at that hour, but who knew). So lets get this foodie party started.

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Of course I had to get the holy trinity of hamburgers before I moved away from my meaty state of Texas. Hopdoddy was a must on the list of goodbye Austin foodie places. I ended up getting the turkey burger, which is definitely one of the best turkey burgers I’ve had apart from my own. It is such a juicy burger for being a turkey burger. That is what I love because it is so hard to find a good one that isn’t dry. The cheese that pairs with this burger is perfect. It comes with a light sauce and some vegetables too. Definitely one of my favorite burgers on the menu. If you ever go, it is called the Continental Club! Get it (or every other burger because they are all freaking amazing).

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You can’t go to Hopdoddys without getting some fries and green chile queso. At least my mom, my brother, and I can’t go without getting these delicious treats. This green chile queso has the perfect amount of heat with cheesy goodness. Yes when I talk about cheese I tend to make up descriptive words, but I think you get the picture. Fries in queso is probably one of the best combinations that there is. The crispness of the fries goes perfect with the smooth texture of the queso. Then you have the potato to calm down the spice from the green chiles. It is always a win when you order the queso (probably true anywhere in Texas).

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Cupcakes are my friend. Ya’ll know that. I bet ya’ll are surprised that I didn’t go to Capital City for my goodbye Austin post, but oh wait I did. I just don’t have a photo of it because I brought a oatmeal cream pie with me on the roadtrip to NYC. I did manage to snap a picture when I went to Hey Cupcake in Austin. This is such a staple for Austin. Almost everyone can recognize the huge pink cupcake sitting a top of any Hey Cupcake store or trailer. I ended up getting the Michael Jackson, which is chocolate cake topped with cream cheese frosting, and the Double Dose, which is chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Oh man. These cupcakes are HUGE. And packed with delicious flavor. The cupcake flavors are so simple, but they are good. The cake is moist, the icing is not too sweet, and there is no lack of icing. It is amazing. That is why people always come back because the product is perfection.

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There was definitely a goodbye stop at Chinatown for some dim sum smang session. This was actually my graduation brunch, which we waited until August to have. I know, so weird. It was worth the wait though. I love the BBQ pork buns more than life. They are steamed to perfection. The BBQ is sweet and chopped up in fine pieces, so that you don’t get a bunch caught in your teeth. This was a fantastic meal. My brother kept wanting to eat more and stuffing me to the breaking point. Seriously. At one point he wanted to order like 5 desserts. Ummmm I love sweets, but not that much. He only got 3 desserts instead haha. I am looking forward to experiencing the greatness of NYC dim sum.

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Ya’ll better not be surprised that there is a snowcone in this picture. I may have not made it to Sno Beach, but I did make it to Casey’s New Orleans snowcones. I ended up getting a blackberry snowcone with condensed milk on top of it. It was pretty delicious. The blackberry syrup actually tasted like fresh blackberries, which is pretty impressive for a sugary syrup. I like this place because the syrups are very quality. You know that you will always get a top of the line when you go here.

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Lobster rolls in Texas! Such an odd goodbye. Since I’m going to a city with more access to lobster and lobster rolls. Dock and Roll is such an amazing place in Austin though. I had to say goodbye. Who thinks of putting bacon fried chicken on top of a lobster roll? Only these guys. If every place had creative lobster rolls I would be the happiest girl on Earth. This lobster roll definitely made my day. It was really hot outside, so that may have been the only downside. The lobster was extremely fresh and there were huge chunks of it in the roll.

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For my goodbye lunch with my grandparents, they took me to one of my favorite restaurants. The Roaring Fork. This place is so good. I ended up getting this green chile pork carnitas. Oh my god. It was so spicy. I thought I was going to die. It was delicious though. Totally worth sweating in a restaurant for (okay – I didn’t actually sweat, but it was pretty hot). Luckily they had the air conditioner on hard core. The crunch of the corn tortilla was perfect with the soft texture of the pork. The pork was amazing. It just fell apart in your mouth. It was topped with loads and loads of cheese too, so you know it had to be good.

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SUSHI SUSHI SUSHI! Couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to one of my favorite sushi places in Austin: Tomo. Seriously perfection on a plate. Japanese lasagna, ex-girlfriend, double D, say my name. Ummm yes those are the names of the rolls and that makes me happy. Where can you go to have delicious sushi with hilarious names? Only in Austin. We like to keep things weird, real weird. Maybe Workaholics should move to Austin since they are always wanting to get weird. Ha. Such a lame joke. Yeah I’m pretty lame, but I eat good food.

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Austin is like the mecca of taco heaven. There are so many great options of places to eat tacos at, but one of my favorites is Torchy’s Tacos. There is one literally down the street from my house, which is AMAZING. There are trailers sporadically throughout the city and actual storefronts like the one in my neighborhood. I have the Baja Shrimp Taco and the special taco of the month, which was fried chicken on top of a waffle on top of a fried egg with bacon on the top and drizzled with maple syrup. UMMM YESSSS. Maybe the greatest thing that I have ever eaten. You need to go here at least once a month to see the different taco of the month because they can get pretty crazy and are always delicious. The best part is you can always order your taco on corn or tortilla. I think some tacos go great with corn like the fish tacos, but the ones with fried chicken need to be on flour. Who cares if it is super unhealthy? It is tasty.

Well that is all folks! I hope everyone had a happy WIAW and technically it is Thursday, but that is because I had to deal with TWC for about 2 hours yesterday, so I couldn’t finish my post before class then when I got out of class I had a friend come over. Woo. It was a crazy Wednesday, but I survived.

If you were to move, where would you say goodbye to in your city?What is your favorite meal where you live?

WIAW the Art of the Party

Hey ya’ll! We are halfway through the week. Exciting. Today is the first day I woke up and was not sore. Success. I’m on my 4th day of Insanity and 2nd day of Hip Hop Abs. Shaun T does both of these workouts and it is quite funny to see the difference between him in both of them. In Hip Hop Abs he is super cheesy and hilarious while in Insanity he is super intense and motivating. I gotta love those workout videos. I think I like them because I can do them on my time and get an intense workout. I really hate the whole idea of driving to the gym, etc etc. Anyways today is my favorite day of the week, What I ate Wednesday. Thanks Jenn for hosting such a fantastic day every single week! Today mine has a special theme, ART. I love art and Austin is surrounded by art as you will see throughout my post.

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In Austin there is this really cool place called Hope Garden (although the name may have been changed) where graffiti artists can come and express themselves on the walls of this place. There is this huge castle behind all the walls too, so I think the name may have something to do with a castle. This was one of my favorite pieces at the place. I took my best friend when she was in town from Boston and it was cool seeing so much artwork in one space. I love graffiti to be honest. I really don’t think it should be illegal if it is like this or Banksy style.

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For breakfast I had chocolate blueberry flourless pancakes. These were delicious. I made a blueberry compote for the topping. Such a good idea. I will definitely be sharing this recipe with you tomorrow. I ended up making two servings of it. That was probably because I used egg whites this time instead of just a regular egg. I probably would have had even more if I used a 1/4 c to scoop out the batter, but last minute I was like why not use a 1/3 cup. I made 8 pancakes total. I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!

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Healthy snack alert! I made kale chips. I am obsessed with kale chips. Usually my roommate makes them and they are so crispy and delicious, so I thought why not create my own. I think I put too much kale on one pan, but they still came out crispy. I topped mine with nutritional yeast, Parmesan, and olive oil. Such a winning combination. Kale is really good for you, so I definitely recommend making these or making a salad of kale in order to get a large amount of nutrients.

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I was walking town lake in Austin when I saw this one. We were just about to go across a bridge to walk the other side of the lake when I noticed this. I love shoes, so obviously I had to snap a picture of this. I love that small little things like this are just hidden all around the city waiting for someone to discover it. I think it just makes us more unique. Keeping Austin weird.

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You know I had to throw a salad into the mix. This one has spinach leaves, veggie patch falafel, and slices of mushrooms that I stole from my brother. He wasn’t using them anymore, so I thought why not throw them in my salad. These falafel balls are amazing. They are from the same company that made the meatballs I used in my meatball sub recipe, so you should definitely check out all the products they have to offer. I swear vegetarians get the best frozen food products. Noms.

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My favorite banana truck has been open for a little while now for the new season, so I obviously had to go get me one of these bad boys. I just got a plain one. It had dark chocolate and was rolled in sprinkles. I follow them on instagram and they have specials occasionally, which I’ve been really wanting. One of them was called an Almond Joy. It had chocolate, caramel, coconut, and chopped almonds. It looked like a banana heaven on a stick. I can’t wait to check out what this week’s special is.

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This is what I am probably obsessed with most in life. Cauliflower crust pizza. Ever since I made it for the blog, I have been eating it non-stop. This has honey bbq sauce, sliced ham, pineapple, and low moisture mozzarella. It is so good. I think I cooked the crust perfectly this time. It was crisp and browned just the way it should be. The honey bbq may be the best sauce to put on the pizza. It is sweet yet tangy. It goes well with the citrus flavor of the pineapple and the saltiness of the sliced ham. This recipe is my best friend.

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This is an iconic graffiti in Austin besides the I love you sign. It says never give up and has pacman next to it. This is on town lake too. I think it is super cute and motivational especially for the runners and bikers that always go past it on the trail.

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Since summer is upon us, my mom and I decided to get some fresh fish. Halibut is our favorite and it was on sale at Central Market, so we were like why not? We also ended up buying a spicy soy glaze for the fish. It wasn’t spicy at all and had just the right amount of flavor. The halibut was meaty and cooked perfectly. The meat just flaked off as you dug your fork into it. I made a side of green beans for it. Yep, canned green beans. Can’t live without them.

I hope you all have a fantastic WIAW!

What do you think of graffiti? Is there a lot around you?
What is your favorite kind of art?

A Birthday Dinner

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. My Sunday was pretty great. I had volleyball practice with my girls, which was super fun, and then we went to help raise money for the maccabi organization at a wing bar in Austin. Only a few of the girls went after practice, but it was fun to spend time outside volleyball with them. Anyways for today I have a restaurant review of a trendy place in Austin known as Paggi House. We ended up going for my grandfather’s birthday this year, and in years past. My uncle deals wine to the restaurant, so it is always extremely great service when we go.

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This looks interesting. It was cast iron wild mushrooms topped with panko crusted cheese and garden fresh herbs. The cheese melted in your mouth and provided a nice crunch from the panko breading. It went along great with the mushrooms. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and sauteed in the cast iron pan. I wish we would have had more of this dish because it was that delicious. I really enjoyed the appetizers throughout the night. The mushrooms tasted like butter and when paired with the cheese it was like tasty explosions in your mouth.

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Sorry about the dark images, the restaurant was dark and only lit with candles at our table and the light from outside. This was a sweet potato soup topped panko crusted chevre, red curry and fennel. Paggi house must really love fried cheese balls. Not that I’m complaining because they are the most amazing thing to ever exist. Cheese is definitely one of the greatest foods in the world, so a fried ball of it is great. This soup was creamy and rich. The sweet potato flavor was not overwhelming, and the cheese melted in the soup so it made it sweeter and creamier. The herbs provided a certain flavor to the dish, which was very enjoyable.

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If my entree wasn’t so mind blowing, I would say this was the best dish of the night. It was the special small plate of the evening. It was pork belly topped with apples, foam, and a sweet aoili sauce. It was the amazing. The pork belly was so tender and packed with a ton of flavor. While the apples provided a nice crunch to the soft meat. The sauce was creamy and rich, which just added to the variety of flavors that was packed into this small plate. We ended up ordering three of these for the table, and I totally kept snatching bites of it.

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This picture is the worst, but the dish was so delicious. It was grilled tuna tataki. It had pickled ginger, avocado, basil, and orange gastrique. The tuna was extremely fresh. It was a light appetizer that provided a ton of flavor in such as small dish. My grandma loves raw tuna appetizers, so we of course ordered two of these. In my opinion, I’ve had better tuna tataki. However if you don’t consume a lot of raw tuna then you will probably think this dish is amazing.

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Hello to the star of the night. This may have been one of the best pieces of fish I have ever had. This was the special of the night. It was gulf red snapper with crab meat and avocado. The fish was extremely fresh. The crab meat was such a great addition to the dish. I can’t remember the sauce on it, but it was extremely light and had a hint of lemon in it. The meat just flaked off the snapper with every single bite.

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It was perfectly pan-fried. The fish was crispy in just the right amount. This may have been the best dinner I have had at Paggi House. We have been there three times for my grandpa’s birthday, but this definitely was the shining moment of the restaurant. In my opinion, they should make this special a regular on the menu since it is so delicious. I think that it would sell a lot. My mom and I both ordered the dish, so obviously it will be popular. Who doesn’t like crab meat on top of a perfectly cooked fish? A sick person that is who.

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For dessert, they had made an Italian cream cake. I am definitely not a fan of this cake. It tasted more like a weird version of banana bread. I’m a simple girl when it comes to birthday cake. I like buttercream icing and white cake. To be honest, someone could just buy me a container of delicious buttercream icing and I would just eat that with a candle in it. I love it that much.

 

I hope you have a fantastic Monday!
What is your favorite type of birthday cake?
Where do you like to go eat on your birthday?

Sushi Wasted

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone for so long, but I have exciting news. I got accepted to my first graduate program! I got into TWU at Texas Medical Center for a Masters with a thesis in nutrition and exercise physiology (SO EXCITING)! I’ve been crazy busy with my last two weeks of my bachelors degree in nutrition, but I promise I have tons of fun things to share with ya’ll coming up. So what do I have for you today? Sushi Wasted? Whaaaat? Yes, my favorite sushi place in Austin, Roll On Sushi Diner, had an event called Sushi Wasted because they were notifying the world that they are open on Sundays now. It was all you can eat sushi! My brother and I obviously had to go to enjoy this feast!

photoThis was the menu for the night. The best part was that you could eat as much as you wanted off this menu and get a free drink, salad, and miso soup. I’m game. The rule was that you were only allowed to order three things per person at a time, which was really smart because you wouldn’t get overwhelmed with food and it would keep things organized. The only thing that I wish was different was that there were more rolls! This place has the most creative and fresh rolls.

photo(1)This was the salad that came with the meal. It was nothing special, but the dressing was actually really delicious. I wish I found out what it was because I would love to recreate it to use on my own salads. Also eating a salad made you feel like you weren’t about to just gorge on a ton of sushi rolls. I like that small healthy touch (not that sushi is that unhealthy for you – mainly the sauces and use of white rice instead of brown).

photo(2)This was the miso soup and it was pretty delicious. I had never had miso soup before this (I know shocker), so I was surprised that it was so good. It had mushrooms, green onion, and tofu in it. I loved the surprise of tofu. It was a good way to pre-game the feast that we were about to crush.

photo(3)This was the shrimp tempura roll. It was pretty awesome. I have to say that the staff did a pretty fantastic job at making sure that you got everything you ordered. There were only a few slip ups, like the time we got two shrimp tempura rolls. We weren’t complaining though because this roll was tasty. It had tempura fried shrimp, avocado, cucumber, sushi rice, nori, and it was topped with spicy mayo and unagi sauce. The fried shrimp provides a nice crunch when you bite into the roll while you have a spicy flavor coming from the sauces. However the sweetness of the unagi balances it out. We had never had this roll, so it was nice to try it.

photo(4)Hello to one of my new favorite rolls at Roll On. The Red Dragon Roll. It was a simple roll, but it was packed with a ton of flavors. It was a California roll topped with spicy tuna, spicy aioli, unagi sauce, scallions, and Roll on crunch. I would definitely order this again off the normal menu. The tuna that was on top was extremely fresh and added a nice flavor to a average roll.

photo(5)This is probably one of the greatest rolls ever. It is so creative and is full of unique flavors that you would not expect in a sushi roll. It is the Respect My Asparaguh roll, which you have probably seen on my blog a multitude of times. It has asparagus, candied walnuts, goat cheese, sun dried tomato, and it is topped with a balsamic glaze. The goat cheese provides a rich creamy flavor to this amazing roll. Order it immediately, you won’t regret it.

photo(6)This was the chef special roll. I forgot to write down what was in it, but it had some really interesting flavors. It sort of reminded me of typical Mexican flavors. It packed a punch in it. There chef specials change every few weeks, so you probably won’t be able to get this again unless they use it as a special.

photo(7)This was the Hawaiian roll. They did a lot of variations on the California Roll. This one was just topped with tuna. It was nice, but nothing special.

photo(8)Here is yet another variation on the California roll, but called the Sunshine Roll. This one had salmon on top of it. I preferred the one with tuna instead because I have a deep love for tuna, but it was still good. Just not something I would order off the regular menu because I prefer their crazy rolls.

photo(9)Hello, Mr. Grouch roll. It has roasted chicken, green chile, jack cheese, caramelized onion, arugula, and chipotle aioli. Now this is what I’m talking about. Roll On has the most creative rolls I’ve ever seen. They use non-traditional ingredients such as caramelized onions and roasted chicken to create pure food genius such as the Grouch roll. This is definitely on my must always order list at Roll On.

photo(10)This is pure heaven in a roll. Not even kidding. Definitely one of my top 5 rolls in the sushi adventures I’ve experienced in the 23 years that I’ve been alive. This is the Lo-Burn roll. It is shrimp tempura, unagi and jalapenos tempura fried, and topped with spicy aioli, unagi sauce, and scallions. I can’t even come up with the words to describe this roll because it is seriously mindblowing. If you are lucky to ever make it to happy hour, this roll is only about 3.95$. If you live in Austin or close by, definitely check it out and order this.

photo(11)This roll was another crazy one. It was the Rasta roll. It had blackened shrimp, mango, roasted red pepper, scallions, curry, jicama, and cilantro topped with a spicy mayo sauce. I’m not sure this roll completely worked. I think it would be better with the blackened shrimp and a bunch of fruit instead of all the vegetables. I think this roll could be really amazing if they tweaked it a bit.

photo(12)We got some pork dumplings. They were pretty good, but the health nut in me wishes that they were steamed rather than fried. I don’t know why, but I just enjoy steamed things over fried any day. Here was another time there was a little slip up. They ended up bringing us two plates of dumplings. Not complaining though because they were good. Although at this point we were about to vomit from eating too much.

photo(13)This is one of the best appetizers I’ve had at a sushi place. It is the sticky ball of greatness, but really just called Sticky Ball. It has sushi rice, krab and spicy tuna stuffed inside an inari pocket tempura fried and topped with wasabi mayo and unagi sauce. It is a fried ball of delicious flavors. Not to mention the sweet sauces that top it. I am in heaven every time we order this. This time they chopped it up into four pieces, which was really nice.

We ended up eating a lot more than this, but I thought there was no need to take a million pictures of the same thing over and over again. The third mishap came when the waiter dropped off two pieces of salmon nigiri. I’m not a big fan of nigiri because I think it is just so plain and boring, but my brother was nice and ate a piece. The best part is that we think it was for a table behind us because they were complaining that they only came there for the nigiri. REALLY? This place has some of the most delicious and creative rolls, and you came for the nigiri? I’m not sure if you know this, but you can get standard nigiri anywhere, even the grocery store. We laughed so hard that we were tearing up. It was a great night with my brother.

Vietnamese in Austin

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone, but I’ve been dead. I’m not even kidding. When I landed back in Austin from my time at Ultra in Miami, my feet were completely swollen. Turns out I had edemas in both of my feet with two plus pitting, my arthritis was in my knee and finger, I had a virus, and many other scary complications. Yeah my life sucked for a week. Now that I’m back, I’m going to share a delicious find in Austin for you. I love Vietnamese food, so when my mom suggested this place one night I decided sure why not?

lPhonatic. It is located in a shopping strip next to a walmart. I know, I was sort of skeptical at first because of the location plus I’m extremely loyal to my favorite Vietnamese place in Austin: Tam’s Deli. However I was starving and I thought it would be much more tastier than a salad from Which Wich. We decided to go in and try it out.

IMG_3453This place is really interesting. The menus are all on these electronic screens that are lined up against the wall before the cash register. There are even some delicious looking pictures on each menu. The first two menus consist of appetizers and pho bowls. The third menu has noodles and the last menu contains kids meals, drinks, and desserts. Once you finally figure out what you want, you go to the cash register, order, and they give you a number to take to your table. Your food probably won’t all come out at once if you ordered appetizers. Sometimes the appetizers even come after the entrees. Crazy, but who cares.

photo(1)Hello to the greatest thing to exist on the planet earth. This is now one of my favorite items. They are bahn mi sliders. It uses a soft bun, that usually is served with roasted duck in traditional Chinese restaurants, and it is topped with grilled pork. There is daikon, carrots, cilantro, and this delicious mayonaisse sauce that covers the bottom of the bun. Three come on a plate, so it is the perfect appetizer to share or the perfect meal to have for yourself. I am constantly craving these bad boys. I am so glad that my mom lives down the street from this place.

photo(4)This is the crispy tofu appetizer. My brother ordered this as his meal the last time we went, which I thought was a good idea. It definitely wasn’t enough to sustain you though. It was freaking delicious. The tofu was lightly fried and cut into the perfect size squares. Then it was seasoned with a little spice, but not so overwhelming that your mouth was constantly on fire. I would order this as an appetizer again for sure.

photo(2)One thing they do well at Phonatic is cook pork. The pork there is so juicy, tender, and well seasoned. I have not had a bad piece ever. I decided to get an order of pork spring rolls. This was such a good decision. They were really simple, but because the pork was cooked so well they ended up being extremely flavorful. I would definitely order these again. The peanut sauce was perfect with them too.

photo(3)Obviously since the place is called Phonatic, they are known for their pho. My brother ended up getting a simple pho with just pork and noodles in it. He then topped it with jalapenos, bean sprouts, and cilantro (the place has a bar with various toppings and condiments you can add to your food). I have to say it was really delicious. The soup was hot and flavorful from soaking up the pork and other spices.

photo(5)However I think I win with best pho. I got the shrimp and pork dumpling pho, which was such a good idea. I was really craving a warm soup with good dumplings. The dumplings were soft and fresh while the soup was the perfect temperature. There was also Chinese broccoli in the soup, which I’m a big fan of. I would definitely order this soup again. I actually wish I had it right now.

I hope you enjoyed this review. I definitely recommend that you check it out if you are in Austin. You won’t be disappointed.

One Trailer At A Time

Hey ya’ll! It is Thursday and I couldn’t be happier. Tomorrow I am flying off to Miami to go celebrate the wonderful thing known as Ultra Music Festival. In case ya’ll don’t know what it is, the festival is the largest dance/electronic music festival in the world. I can’t wait. Anyways for today’s post I thought I would write about something I love: food trailers (hopefully you aren’t sick of my posts on this topic). I can’t help it that Austin has a million trailers. My best friend from college was in town and we decided to go on a trailer adventure in order to get a good taste of Austin.

crepe-mille-1Back to an old favorite. South Congress is such a good area that has tons of food trailers, shopping, and weird little Austin things. I went here on my birthday weekend, had an amazing crepe in the rain, and decided that I must go back in order to try another one. I was excited because I started eating meat again, so I was going to get to try one of the many savory crepes that were available.

photo(3)Oh look at that beauty. We had the pork floss crepe. I think this one was even better than the last time I was there if that is even possible. It had authentic Chinese shredded pork and it was topped with thai chili sauce. An Asian crepe? Definitely the best way to go. The weather was perfect and so was the food. The pork was light like cotton candy and the sauce wasn’t too spicy. It also didn’t soak the crepe into a soggy mess, which I definitely appreciate. Yelp needs to get their stuff together because Crepe Mille definitely deserves at least 4 stars, not 3 and 1/2.

photo(4)Ya’ll know I have a huge weakness for snowballs. When we were walking up South Congress, I spotted this thing from a far away distance. Yes, my eyes are special and they locate things that I love in life. This trailer is new in Austin, so I thought I would test out the snowball quality of yet another stand.

photo(8)I decided to order the Cinderella. It was a mix of blue coconut and toasted coconut. As you saw in my last post, I love coconut. As soon as I saw on the menu that there was double the coconut then I knew I was going to get it. It was delicious. The only downside was that there was more blue coconut than the toasted coconut, so it sort of got overpowered. The other problem was that it became liquid very quickly, but I still thought it was tart and had a good flavor.

photo(5)While I munched on my snowcone, we waited for this interesting looking trailer to open up. They had an entire patio in front of their trailer! That was crazy cool. Since there was a cheese sign in front of the patio, we thought that the trailer probably sold something having to do with cheese or grilled cheeses. Obviously that meant we were going to check it out since cheese is one of our favorite food groups.

photo(6)Cheesey goodness. We decided to order the via 206. The sandwich had cheddar, gruyere, balsamic apricot fig jam, and it was on beer bread. I wish the sandwich was bigger. That was my only complaint. It was perfectly grilled, the cheese was melty and goey, and the fig jam provided a sweet taste to match the cheese flavors. I wish I lived down the street, so I could get myself a grilled cheese everyday.

capital-city-bakeryOf course I had to take my best friend to my best food truck: Capital City. Oh how I love these baked goods. Seriously best vegan treats in all of Austin. Maybe even the best desserts in Austin, but I love all desserts so that would be hard.

photoCapital city makes the cutest iced sugar cookies on the planet. When I saw this little cat in the bakery window, I just had to get it. It was delicious too. The cookie was soft and chewy. The icing was not too sweet and there wasn’t an excessive amount on top. I am definitely a fan of the cookies now (NOTHING is bad at this trailer, I swear).

photo(1)There were so many wonderful cupcakes in the window. However out of the corner of my eye, I saw her toasting some marshmallows in the back. Then I looked to the other side and saw a line of cupcakes waiting to be topped with the marshmallows. Hello, s’mores cupcakes. Of course I was going straight for that one. The cupcake was moist chocolatey goodness while the icing was a subtle sweet flavor. Not to mention the extra chocolate on top with the marshmallow. This cupcake was amazing. My friend ended up getting the blackberry lemon cupcake, which was also as delicious.

2The final stop was of course one of the greatest trailers in Austin: Gordough’s. My friend had heard a lot about this wonderful trailer not only from me, but from her family friend who lives in Houston. He told her that Gordough’s is a must! I wasn’t going to complain about going there because it is so good.

photo(7)This looks sort of like a pile of mush. It was definitely a super delicious pile of mush. We got the Sarah’s joy donut, which was chocolate and coconut. Pretty much like an mounds bar, but on a donut. The donut was also stuffed with coconut cream. Ummm YES. We ended up taking it to go because we were full at the time. We wanted to snack on it later though, so I guess that is why it looks like a pile of mush.

lA much prettier picture of the Sarah’s Joy donut. This is obviously not my picture because it is beautiful. All of my pictures look like a huge pile of junk. You can drool though and enjoy.

Have an awesome day and I’ll probably be on hiatus for a couple of days while I’m in Miami. Pretty much all I’ll be doing is dancing, raging, and sleeping. No time for blogging.

My True Love

Hey ya’ll! Today’s post is probably more on the foodie aspect rather than the conscious aspect of the blog. I am taking you back to a wonderful place that I have already reviewed once. This is definitely one of my must go to places if you are ever visiting Austin. Hopdoddy burger bar is an Austin staple for me. It has only been open for 2 years, but it is just that amazing. It has taken over the Austin burger scene (obviously there are still other good places, check out Min’s list of burgers in Austin).

Warning: Not all of this food was consumed in one sitting. It was spread out over many visits. This is just a declaration of my love for Hopdoddy!

photoThis may be the best veggie burger in town. It is named the La Bandita (so cute, I know). It is a black bean corn patty with avocado, arugula, cilantro pesto, and chipotle mayo on whole wheat bread. It also comes with goat cheese, but I’m not a fan of overwhelming amounts of goat cheese, so I opted to switch it out for tilamook cheddar. It was a good decision. This burger has some Mexican flavors to it, hence the name of La Bandita. It is amazing. The burger falls apart a little bit because of all the ingredients, but it is easy to eat and extremely delicious for a vegetarian option.

photo(1)Specialty shakes. One of the main reasons why I love Hopdoddy. Their shakes are hand churned and made from fresh ingredients (oh wait, everything is made from farm fresh ingredients there – another reason of love). This beauty is the peppermint patty milkshake that was a wintertime special back in December. Man oh man, it was minty, cool, and creamy. You can’t go wrong with a pink drink (in case you didn’t know pink is my favorite color).

photo(3)Blackboards as menus? Specialty burgers? Colorful chalk? Yes, yes, yes, I love you Hopdoddy. Why are you so cute and creative? I’m not sure, but it keeps me coming back. I just love how they write their specialty items on the chalkboards above the ordering station. Usually they have a burger, some milkshakes, and some adult beverages on the three menus that spread across the top.

photo(4)Of course I’m going to get the specialty burger if it is as awesome as it says it is. My oh my was the Gangham burger delicious. The bulgogi beef was top notch. If you ever see bulgogi beef, GET IT! It was much better than regular beef if I do say so. The kimchi on the bottom of the burger gave it those classic Asian flavors and went well with the beef. Also sriracha mayo? Um yes please. Can I get that in containers by the gallon to put on all my food? I wish because it was one of the best sauces I’ve had (that is saying a lot because Hopdoddy has a crazy amount of sauces to choose from).

photo(2)Shake, shake, shake it up. Another specialty shake please! This one here is the red velvet shake, which is currently the flavor of the month. It has chunks of red velvet cake and cream cheese icing swirled into the shake. Umm YES. It was pretty delicious. So if you are in Austin for South by Southwest or you are visiting, go get this immediately. The special for last month was a thin mint shake with actual thin mint cookies in it. Yes, it was amazing. To be honest, anything with girl scout cookies can’t be bad.

photoMmm a mountain of fries. We usually split a large order of fries between 3-4 people because trust me, you are going to be full from your burger. Their fries are seasoned perfectly and you have a wide selection of sauces to choose. You can also get green chili queso though to dip your fries in! Queso and fries? Yes it is a pretty great combination. Try it and you will be glad that you did.

photo(6)That looks sort of disgusting. Then again usually gross things tend to be the most delicious. This is the Terlingua burger. My current favorite regular menu item. It is made with angus beef, chili con carne (chili with meat for those of you that don’t know your basic Spanish), corn fritos, tilamook cheddar, and sassy sauce. Pretty much a frito pie, but on a burger. Greatest creation ever? I think so.

photo(5)Here is a delicious close up of the wonderful burger. I know it sort of makes me want to puke, but in a good way. Look how toasted and delicious the bun looks! Man I wish I had this in front of me because I would definitely gobble it up. Although I use Saturdays as my day to treat myself. Usually/almost always that includes a trip to Hopdoddy. We tend to go about once a month on the weekend as our family treat since the burgers are a little pricey (specialty burgers run about 10$ while every day menu goes from 7-12$). The burgers are definitely worth it, plus you can split fries with whoever you go with since the portions are huge!

Have a good afternoon! I’m going back to studying about soluble and insoluble fiber, the effects on digestion, and how fiber helps reduce risk of certain diseases (boo biochemical nutrition class). Thank you fiber for being a probiotic (maybe I’ll give ya’ll an educational post about fiber)!

Barley Swine (Take 2)

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone for a long time. I’ve been a busy bee. Traveling around the US, applying to graduate schools, and of course the busy work of being a senior in the undergraduate nutrition program while working on a review paper. What have I been up to food-wise? A LOT! So I’m going to bombard ya’ll with a crazy amount of posts about restaurants, recipes, and places I’ve eaten at on my travels. The other night my dad, my younger brother, and I went to the Barley Swine in Austin. We love this place so much because of the exquisite small plates that are offered there.

DSC02741This is grilled broccoli, fermented chili, and crushed duck egg. The crushed duck egg was creamy and smooth with a hint of garlic that melted perfectly in the mouth. The broccoli was crispy and was a nice combination with the fermented chili that was scattered around the plate. This was definitely one of my favorite dishes because of the garlic chips in the dish added a nice hint of flavor the already perfect dish.

DSC02742This was the second appetizer dish. One of the good thing about all the appetizer plates is that they are all vegetable based. On this plate were hay roasted beets, mole, crispy rice, and goat cheese. It was delicious. I’m not a big beet eater, but this definitely has changed my mind. The beets were soft, which was great when you added in the crispy rice since it gave it a nice crunch. The variety of flavors in the dish were amazing. I definitely will go for more beet dishes after this.

DSC02743This thing looks like a pile of goop.However it is an amazing pile of goop. Underneath the garlic chips there were bay scallops, cauliflower, masa, raisins, and chipotle. The chipotle provided a sweet smokey flavor to the dish. It was amazing. The scallops were tiny, which was nice because I hate when there are only one to three large scallops. The cauliflower was creamed into the sauce, so it wasn’t overwhelming.

DSC02744Hello to one of the greatest dishes of the night. This was goat, walnut, kohlrabi, fenugreek, wild rice, and green garlic. The goat was cooked to be extremely tender, so when you bit into the meat it fell apart in your mouth. That is my kind of meat. The sauce that went along with it was so creamy, and added a sweetness to the tender cooked meat.

DSC02745I’m still not sure what to think about this dish. It is a soft poached egg, celery, dill, popcorn, and fermented goats milk. Yes, I did say popcorn? I am not sure the popcorn was so great on the plate, but when you had a bite of the egg with the goats milk it was extremely delicious. The foam was one of the interesting parts about the dish. I was sort of ambivalent about the dish.

DSC02746This dish was perfection. This was a smoked steel head trout, fennel, pine, and shiitake mushrooms. This was like a high end and creative version of lox. It was like a Jewish girl’s heaven. All I needed was a fancy bagel to go along with this dish and it would have been like Saturday Kiddush bruncheon after services. This was one of the specials they had on the board, so if you go within the week definitely get this dish.

DSC02748This looks a little creepy, but I promise it is good. It is lamb sausage, mint, sunchoke, and bacon broth. BACON BROTH?!? Yes, one of the greatest things that has ever existed on the planet. I wish you could order bacon broth everywhere you went because it is just that amazing. The lamb sausage had a wide variety of flavors with a bit of a kick. It was spicy, but the perfect amount so it didn’t overwhelm you.

DSC02749I could eat ten of these plates because it was just that awesome. It had bacon, brussel sprouts, hot sauce, hay butter, and hoe cakes. I love the hoe cakes at Barley Swine. They are delicious. The bacon was thick square pieces that went along nicely with the crunch of the roasted brussel sprouts. The hot sauce on the plate had a nice addition. It was more of a sweet hot sauce, so it wasn’t too overwhelming to the palate.

DSC02750What is this? It is pig three ways. It is crispy trotter, pig’s face, and loin. The rest of the goods on the plate are pinto beans and sauerkraut. The crispy trotter was stuffed with foie gras and some cheese. That may have been my favorite because you definitely can’t go wrong with anything that is fried. However the pig face is also extremely delicious. They cook the face of the pig and once the meat is extremely tender, the chef cuts out the softest pieces to serve on the plate. The loin was delicious, but the others were my favorite.

DSC02751This dish was the best of the night. The picture is a little dark because the restaurant started to change the mood for an upcoming party at 7:30. This was duck, foie gras, carrot, lavendar, farro, and hibiscus. The duck was crispy on the outside and extremely tender on the inside. It was the perfect cooked duck. The foie gras was heaven. It was so soft and melted in your mouth as you combined it with the farro and cooked carrots. I wish I could have eaten this dish over and over again.

DSC02752Time for dessert. Always one of my favorite parts of the meal. This was a meyer lemon tart, basil, quinoa granola, and rooibos tea sorbet. The lemon was sour and sweet at the same time providing for a delicious treat.

DSC02753Chocolate heaven. I have a huge weakness for chocolate, so as soon as this dessert came out I had my spoon ready to dig in. My family laughed because they discovered my biggest weakness (they kept getting annoyed because I would slap their hands, so that I could take a photo of each plate). This was a milk chocolate ganache topped with sweet potato marshmallows, whiskey, and orange. I was in heaven. There was also chocolate meringue chips that topped the dessert. It was amazing. I had died and gone to a chocolate bliss world.

If you are ever in Austin, please please go to this restaurant. You should order 3-4 small plates per person in your group. We ordered everything, but then again we like to eat a lot of food to sample everything a place has to offer.

Have an awesome weekend! I’m off to watch Once Upon A Time and Revenge. I love being on spring break and having time to relax!