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?

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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.