More Mussels Please

Hey ya’ll! Hope everyone is having an awesome Monday. I am having a great day since I don’t have to go to class. Sucks to be all those other people who go back to school today. The perks of going to grad school at Columbia. I love still having a week and a half off. I’m living the life. Today I got to go see Hunger Games, for a second time, with my mom, and I got frozen yogurt (OMG how I miss you so much). For today’s post, I’m going to share more about my trip to DC with ya’ll. I swear it is not the only thing I talk about. When we woke up on our third day in DC, we ended up going back to the zoo in the morning because the zoo keeper told us that they let the animals out in the mornings when it is cold and let them go back inside later.

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I was excited since I love animals and we missed a lot of the ones the day before due to the bad weather. However OMG I can’t believe the animals were out because it was freezing. This was the start of the polar vortex and man was it already getting chilly. I did get a lot of steps in though, which was awesome. I’m pretty obsessed with my fitbit. We averaged about 20,000 steps a day while in Washington. It is a great walking city! After we went to the zoo, we decided it was time for lunch since we didn’t have breakfast. The night before we had debated about a lot of places, but settled on Brasserie Beck. They were known for their mussels, so obviously it was the right choice for us.

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If it wasn’t obvious to ya’ll, we started with a half lb of mussels. Oh god I died. These were amazing. No joke. They were in a mushroom cream sauce with smoked bacon and fresh wild mushrooms. This sauce was something that you would typically find on a classic hearty Italian pasta dish, but instead our mussels were soaked in it. Plus it was served in a hot skillet, which kept the mussels and sauce hot the entire time we were eating. My brother and I pretty much drank this sauce through bread. I wouldn’t be surprised if we ate an entire bread basket while dipping it in and soaking up the sauce. I wish we would have gotten more of these because they were just that good.

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My little brother ended up getting a sandwich because he wanted to have a small break from eating so much seafood. He was debating back and forth between a few good looking choices, but decided to get the pork shoulder sandwich. It looked pretty good. He let me have a bite, so I can definitely vouch for it. The meat was incredibly tender and the bun was toasted slightly. I thought it was simple yet delicious. I thought it was a good choice, but he decided he should have gotten something else. It came with a side of fries and these three dipping sauces. I thought that was cool that the restaurant gave three different sauces, although one was a bit weird. The odd one out was a curry mustard. It was a little too spicy with odd flavors mixed in it. The other two were white cream sauces.

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My dad of course stuck to one of his favorite seafood items and what the restaurant was known for: mussels. The picture is a bit blurry because at this point I was already focused on my own food and I wanted to chow down. He ended up getting Thai style mussels. These were also crazy good. Not as good as the mushroom ones, but different. I like that throughout the trip we never had the same style of mussels. Each kind was prepared differently, which was really nice. That made it seem like we were trying out different foods. These had a ton of Thai spices in the sauce, which soaked into the mussels. Overall it was a really tasty dish.

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I ended up going for a healthier and lighter option. I chose the diver scallops salad, which contained scallops, arugula, red onion, oranges, and avocado. There was a light vinaigrette that was lightly tossed on top of the salad. It was a nice change to all the heavy food we had been eating over the past few days. I have such a weakness for scallops. I find them to be incredibly tasty and meaty for such a small amount. The salad gave me a really fresh feeling and for once I wasn’t full after a meal.

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Just look at that bad boy hiding in a bed of leaves. I probably would have been happy with just a plate of scallops, but I feel as if I needed a serving or two of just straight vegetables. Sometimes when I go on vacation I don’t exactly stick to my morals and eat my daily servings of fruit and vegetables, so I always feel better when I have a salad or some type of vegetable at a meal. Anyways Brasserie Beck lived up to its fame with the mussels and the non-mussel dishes were also delicious, so it was definitely a hit. After we paid the bill and the guys used the bathroom, we headed on our way to that day’s activities. Thank god we ended up going on the metro because it was starting to get colder and I thought I would die in my nonexistent outfit (JK I was wearing clothes, but my pants were so thin that my legs were freezing).

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This was the day of museums. We pretty much just walked down streets going into every museum possible. Thank god that everything was free. Otherwise that would have been one huge museum bill. This was taken at the Hirshhorn museum, which was definitely an interesting place. It was a modern art museum with some hilarious things inside. My brother and I had a great time exploring it, but my dad not so much. I think with modern art you just kind of have to let your mind free. The building was kind of like a doughnut, which I really enjoyed. We went to a few other art museums that day, which were much smaller galleries.

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We also ended up at the airspace and science museum, which was pretty fun. My brother and I got to do the simulators, which I definitely recommend. It is only 7-8$ depending on which one you do and you don’t pay to visit the museum, so I just think of it as paying for a ticket to the whole museum (which is MASSIVE btw). I’ve actually been here before, so I wasn’t that excited. The simulation was great though and I thought I was going to vomit afterwards. Fun times obviously. My dad enjoyed the museum a lot though. He spent some quality time with the exhibits. I was slowly dying at this point, needing a break before dinner. Thankfully after the museum, we went to rest for an hour before our dinner. I’m going to share the epic dinner with ya’ll tomorrow. You won’t be disappointed. It is droolworthy with quality food porn.

What is the best museum you have ever been to?
Do you have a favorite piece of artwork?

For the Love of Churro

Hey ya’ll! I’m back for day 2 of my trip to Spain. The second day, we were still in Madrid. Since we got so much sleep the night before, we decided to start the day early in Madrid. I was in the mood for breakfast (something that I did not eat that much on the trip, which made me very sad since that is my favorite meal of the day). We ended up going for a very unconventional breakfast: Churros con chocolate. We wondered off into the streets of Madrid to San Gines, a very popular churreria in Madrid.

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Hello to these crispy cakes of goodness. When a lot of people think about churros, they think of covered in cinnamon sugar. However churros in Spain are pretty plain. Just fried sticks of heaven. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfection. You could either order yours with a cup of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee. My brother and I both got ours served with hot chocolate. This was a huge plate of churros. Somehow we managed to eat it all, but it definitely kept us full for hours and hours.

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When we ordered hot chocolate, I was thinking it was going to be a hot cup of liquidy chocolate silk. However this was not the case. The hot chocolate actually is very thick. It seems just like a cup of melted chocolate, which it probably was. I should have acquired more information on it, so I could have shared the wonders of this delicious cup with ya’ll. It was perfect to go with the churros though because with each dunk of churro in the cup, the churro would be coated perfectly and it wouldn’t drip that much. Three cheers for no messes! After we finished up our churros and took a minute to let our stomachs rest, we set off on our journey to the Prado Museum.

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This is the outside of the Prado. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, which made me very sad. We ended up getting there about 15 minutes early, which was good since we were able to get to the front of the line. If you are ever in Madrid, this is a must do. Get there early because by the time it reaches 10 am when the museum opens, there is a huge line wrapped around the museum and you will have to wait a while in the heat. We had this hilarious tour guide in the museum. She was making us crack up laughing while still educating us on all the wonderful paintings in the museum. We saw tons of El Greco, Vasquez, and Goya. We spent a lot of time at the museum, but it was totally worth it.

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Next we walked all the way to Retiro park. It was so gorgeous. There were tons of different types of plants. My favorite were the trees that were shaped like broccoli. They were quite funny to look at. The people that cut them did a very good job at shaping the plants. This park was huge. It felt like we could walk forever and still discover new areas of the park. We walked to the water, which was so nice. People were rowing boats on the water, which looked like a lot of fun. We then trekked further through the park to find a beautiful structure that awaited us!

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Hello to the Cristal Palace. It was so hot inside haha but it was so beautiful. They had these circles hanging from the ceiling in different colors. It was gorgeous. There were also matching circles spread throughout the floor. It was a really cool thing to find in the middle of a huge park. I definitely recommend for anyone in Madrid to spend some time in the park. Maybe have a picnic or layout by the water.

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For lunch, which was around about 3 pm, we went to this lovely place called Malaspina. This is a MUST. The place was so amazing. Probably the best meal we had in Madrid! This was a tortilla espanola. It was sooooo cheesy in the middle. I love anything that has melty cheese in the middle. The egg and potato part of the tortilla was delicious too. It was served on a perfectly toasted piece of bread. This was definitely the best tortilla espanola we had on the whole trip.

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This may be the best Spanish tapa dish ever. Patatas bravas. They are small pieces of potato topped with a delicious spicy sauce. After this time of having them, we ate these suckers everywhere we could find them. These were definitely one of the best things I discovered on the trip to Spain. I am definitely going to have to recreate these and make a healthy version. I miss them so much. It was like a staple of my diet while I was there. The sauce was the perfect amount of spicy. Not enough to burn your mouth, but just enough to give you that little kick in your mouth. The potatoes were also crispy just like I like them. They reminded me of hashbrowns.

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Just your average Iberian ham on top of some toast. This was delicious. Such a simple dish, but so tasty. I love how thin the ham is. It is perfect. My brother gobbled this plate up. He loved the Iberian ham more than anything on the trip, well besides the patatas bravas.

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This just looks like heaven on a plate. You can’t go wrong with melty cheese on the top of anything. This was a different kind of ham with cheese on top of toast. This may have been my favorite dish of the meal besides the potatoes. It was so rich and creamy from the cheese. The cheese provided a sweet flavor while the ham added a small amount of saltiness. Then the bread added a nice crunch to the dish. It was perfect.

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Of course we had to have a plate of calamari. This one was fried perfectly. We topped it off with some lemon juice and started devouring away. I love tapas because this was a small amount of calamari. If it was a large plate, I’m not sure if I would be able to consume it all with my brother. We really enjoyed this calamari though. I like it when it is in the rings. Although, as seen from my post yesterday, I obviously don’t have a problem eating pieces that look like baby squids.

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After we took a very long siesta (which is much needed every day), we ended up going to House Sorolla. It was the house of the famous Spanish artist, Sorolla. It was so beautiful outside. There was a huge garden in front of the house. We then went inside to look at the gallery. It was a pretty small gallery inside, but the colors of the paintings were very gorgeous. It was a nice museum. The weather was also perfect, so they had the windows open inside the house. It was definitely an interesting way to view art.

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This was the only day that we ate three meals. I know, we were very unhealthy the entire trip. Not eating a lot everyday, but walking all over the place. This meal was also super delicious. It was more of a seafood place, which we had been craving. My family loves seafood, so anytime we can get fresh fish we are there. This dish was shrimp with garlic and some other kinds of ingredients in a hot bowl. It was super delicious.

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This may be the best cheese plate I have ever had. It was a mix of goat cheese and brie. Brie is my favorite cheese. My brother is obsessed with cheese and bread, so that is why we ordered this dish in the first place. It was served with a bowl of caramelized onions! I told ya’ll that you would be seeing those suckers again on my blog. Who knew that it would be so soon! I liked mixing both cheese on a piece of toast and topping it with caramelized onions. It was delicious.

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These were tigres, which were fried mussels. They were so delicious. This was amazing. How can you go wrong with something fried? The inside was creamy and delicious. While the top was fried crispy. We only had these one other time on the trip, which made me very sad. I love mussels. However they were so delicious and I’m glad I have a picture to remember them. My dad loves tigres so much, he always goes on and on about how the tigres in Salamanca are sooooo amazing (I think we heard that story about 5 million times hahaha).

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This is a beautiful looking plate. Underneath the delicious crispy Iberian ham, there is sauteed mushrooms. Two of my favorite things on one plate. These mushrooms weren’t as great as the place we had the night before, but it was a different yet still delicious flavor. I really enjoyed the ham on top. It added a salty flavor to the mushrooms.

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Finally we had paella. I love paella. It is so amazing Filled with all kinds of seafood. My favorite may have been the calamari that was hidden beneath the rice. I was in love with this dish. Unfortunately this was the only paella we had on the entire trip. I was sad, but we were eating so much good food that I didn’t seem to really notice until the end of the trip. My tummy was so happy after this meal. We ate soo late too. We had dinner at like 1030 pm! We finished at around 11 something. It was quite weird, but so typical for Spain. People are out strolling at 11 pm with their children in strollers. I found this to be very interesting. Anyways day 2 was such a success. We were having so much fun that I couldn’t wait to explore more of Spain!

Have you ever had paella?
What is your favorite fried food?

Seattle on the Mind

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had a good Friday. I ended up sleeping about 12 hours, which was much needed. I’m still sort of tired, but there is a Disney movie marathon on ABC family (HECK YES). Not to mention that….

65515_3847089145135_682114429_nMy best friend is back in Austin for the weekend! I’m so happy because I haven’t seen her since October, which was sooo long ago. We are going to be spending a ton of time together in the next few months. She is here this long weekend, I’m going to NYC in februrary, and then we are going to Ultra Music Festival in Miami in March! I love her. Anyways back to more important things like what I’m going to talk about today. More fun things about my trip to Seattle.

DSCN0113We decided to wake up somewhat early (10 am lol) to go get brunch at a place called Portage Bay Cafe. Funny story is that my dad just typed in portage bay into his phone, so we ended up driving to some residential neighborhood in Seattle. After we ended up having a 45 minute wait, we decided to drive around and look at the University of Washington (I wouldn’t mind going there for my masters). It was so beautiful, but then we went back to the restaurant to get our grub on.

DSCN0115Hello to this gorgeous plate. My brother ended up getting the lemon curd french toast for breakfast. When you ordered certain items on the menu, you got to use and abuse their breakfast bar. The bar was filled with various fruits, whipped topping, syrup, brown sugar, and some dried fruit. It was heavenly. The lemon curd was tart and delicious. The added toppings just added to this perfect dish. My brother wanted to burst afterwards.

DSCN0117He also ordered a side of potatoes to share with me. They were perfectly seasoned and crisped to perfection. I’m glad he ordered them because I needed something to go with my meal.

DSCN0114I ended up ordering the steel cut oats. This meant that I got to use the amazing breakfast bar. I topped mine with some brown sugar and fruit. I had strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, some local type of berry, and some raisins. In my mind it was just okay. I personally think I make better oatmeal, but then again how can you really screw up oatmeal. I was trying to eat somewhat healthy, which is why I didn’t choose something else.

DSCN0086This building was so pretty and unique. We ended up going to the EMB musuem, which was dedicated to music. It pretty much only had rock music in it. Obviously not my favorite, but my dad wanted to go so we went along with it.

DSCN0099One of the coolest parts of the museum was that there was this room where you could play various musical instruments and have jam sessions. My brother and I jacked one of the jam rooms, which had a drum set and two types of guitars on it. I definitely rocked out the drums (I had no idea what I was doing) and my brother jammed on the electric guitar. It was hilarious. We then left the room and went to a mixing board. It was kid like fun.

DSCN0093Probably my favorite part of the museum was the leather jacket exhibit. I am a huge fan of leather. Seriously I go no where without my leather coat. It was definitely one of the greatest investment pieces in my wardrobe. Anyways they had the coolest jackets on exhibit there like this one above. I love crazy prints. There were other jackets with studs, jewels, and colors. It was leather jacket heaven.

thFor dinner that night, we ended up going to a place that was on Diners, Drive-ins, and dives. My brother and I were so stoked because it is one of our favorite shows. The place we went for dinner was called Bizarros. It was definitely a bizarre place.

DSCN0118The lighting is a wee bit weird because inside the restaurant the lights were dimmed with an orange hue. Also there were crazy things hanging from the ceiling such as upside down bicycles, a recliner chair, and a window frame. For one of the appetizers, we ordered the mussels. They were so divine. The restaurant is Italian, so they had the classic flavors. My brother and dad ended up using the bread to eat up all the sauce in the bowl too. It was just that good.

DSCN0119My brother has a love for bruschetta, so he ordered that for our second appetizer. I was expecting the classic dish with diced vegetables on top, but oh how I was wrong (in a good way). The perfectly toasted bread was topped with goat cheese, figs, and a delicious honey based sauce. It was a sweet version of the dish. I had died and gone to foodie heaven. No wonder this place was on diners, drive-ins, and dives.

DSCN0125I definitely ordered the best main course. I got the wild mushroom tagilatelle. Oh my, how delicious it was. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly and the creamy sauce went well with the noddles and mushrooms. It was so good that my brother and dad were eating it too along with their dishes. Hungry guys, typical. If you are ever in Seattle, you definitely have to go here. It is so much fun and the staff is extremely friendly!

I hope ya’ll have a good Saturday. I know I will. I’m going on epic adventures with my two best friends. I better go get ready.

French Bakeries and Glass Art

Hey ya’ll! I hope you are all having a fantastic Friday. To be honest, I’m extremely exhausted. My Thursday night was filled with cupcakes, friends, and fun times. I didn’t go to sleep till really late and then I woke up super early. That leads to one exhausted girl. Continuing on my trend of Seattle, today I’m writing about our first full day in Seattle.

DSCN0028We woke up around 11 am the first day, and were ready for a fun adventure in the city. We decided to head down to Pike Place Market. It is a popular tourist destination, which was evident the day we went because it was crowded with tons of people. Not to mention the original Starbucks was across the street and there was a long line out of it every day.

DSCN0034This was what filled the long hall of the Pike Place Market. Sweat treats, fresh fruit, and locally made treasures. We ended up stopping at a dehydrated fruit stand, and bought some apples with cinnamon sprinkled on them. They were delicious. We then wondered for a while eye balling each shop until we decided to get some apples to snack on later in the room (honeycrisp, my favorite).

DSCN0046My brother and I were getting hungry, so we decided to go into this little French bakery on the corner of the street. We had yelped it before the trip, and we know it had gotten 4 and a half stars so you know it is going to be good. There was even a long line, so that also had to mean that it was legit. We were excited especially my brother because he loves French bakeries more than anything in life (besides dying his hair).

DSCN0043This was my box of goodies. I got French macarons, which are definitely one of my favorite bakery treats. I got a lemon and pistachio macaron for myself, and the third one is mocha for my dad. I also got a cute pink eclair. Pink is my favorite color and it looked so adorable in the pastry case that I had to have it. Everything was delicious. The macarons were so rich with flavor while the eclair was creamy and rich. Win. My brother got tons of tarts and croissants. My favorite thing of his was a croissant filled with raspberry jam. It was golden and flaky with a sweet tart flavor from the raspberry jam. It was perfect.

DSCN0051After we had our sweet treats, we ended up walking around a while until we formulated a good plan. We got on the monorail (it only has two stops), and went on to an area that had the space needle and tons of museums. This probably is the favorite part of my trip. We went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. It was the most beautiful museum I have ever set foot in.

DSCN0067Chihuly is probably the greatest glass artist I have ever seen, which is saying a lot because I saw beautiful glass work in Venice when I was there years ago. One of his classic pieces, which can be seen many places around the United States, are his boats. They are either filled with these glass balls or crazy glass structures. A story we learned at the museum is that Chihuly would create a glass ball and throw it in a random pond or lake. The local kids would play with the balls, but would always return them to their original place. I thought that was really neat.

DSCN0058Chihuly is probably most well known for his ceiling masterpiece at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Of course there was a similar piece in the museum. It was in a smaller room, which was really cool because the different colors reflected all over the walls. It gave the room a magical feel.

DSCN0061This was probably my favorite room in the entire museum. It was pitch black in the room except for the installation. It was lit up and it glowed throughout the room. Each view of the long piece gave you a different spectacular view.

DSCN0105After walking for hours and going to a couple of other museums and cool tourist spots, we headed back to the hotel to make dinner plans. We decided to go to Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar. It was amazing. For an appetizer we ordered mussels that had thai flavors and were in a thai coconut broth. These were some of the best mussels I have ever had. The various Thai flavors brought into the dish delivered a whole new flavor to the palate.

DSCN0109Our second appetizer was a crab cake. You can’t go to a seafood restaurant and not get a crab cake. Once again the restaurant brought in sweet Thai flavors that created  whole new crab cake experience. They were fried lightly, which provided the crisp yet sweet flavor of crab. It was delicious.

DSCN0110This beauty was my main course. I think I definitely picked the best dish of the three of us. It was Mahi Mahi on top of jasmine rice. It was a sweet Thai sauce that contained nuts, snap peas, and cucumber. This dish was perfect. There was not a single flaw. The fish was cooked perfectly, the flavors were on spot, and the dish was beautifully presented. All in all it was an amazing dinner.

Hope everyone has a good Friday night. I’ll be staying in tonight because I am too dead to do anything.

A Foodie Adventure

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. Mine was pretty good. I went out to celebrate my best friend’s last weekend in Austin (I’m seriously depressed about this since we have been friends since freshmen year of high school). Anyways lets go on to happy thoughts like fun foodie adventures. My family and I love trying out restaurants in Austin, so when my brother suggested that we go to Perla’s on South Congress, we were of course all down to go eat some good food.

The decor of Perla’s is so cute. It has an aquatic theme with a boat atmosphere on the outside (unfortunately not caught in the picture). My brother blended right in with the theme of the restaurant with his blue hair. They were packed full of reservations, but somehow we snuck in a table as long as we were out by 7. No problem.

We decided to order three appetizers for the table to share. One of our first appetizers was mussels. Oh god, they were so good. The mussels were soaked in some kind of sauce with peppers and other chopped up bits of yumminess in the bowl. The toasted bread was perfect to dip deep into the bowl and soak up the liquid. Thumbs up for this dish!

This picture is a little blurry, boooo. Who cares though? This was probably my favorite appetizer of the night. Fried oysters. Really you can’t go wrong with anything fried. They were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The oysters were served with this spicy thick sauce that took it to that special place in food heaven. I would seriously go here just to order about ten plates of these. I couldn’t eat ten plates, but I would so go down trying.

The last appetizer we ordered was a crab cake. It was really good. I liked that the restaurant placed some fresh arugula on top of the cake because it gave it some extra flavoring. I didn’t care for the large amount of onions they placed underneath it, but it was still delicious and the crab cake disappeared within 30 seconds of it being placed on the table.

For my main entree, I ordered the lobster roll with a side of fries. Good choice on my part. The lobster was extremely fresh and mixed with the perfect amount of mayonaisse. The bun was toasted to perfection and had a sweet taste to it. This definitely hit the spot on my lobster roll craving. I have been missing lobster rolls ever since I left Boston in August. The french fries were just okay, but then again I’m not going to a seafood restaurant to focus on their quality of french fries.

We decided to order one side, which was asparagus in Bearnaise sauce. They were actually really good for just a side. The asparagus was grilled and super crispy, which is my favorite way to eat them. Then they weren’t overly drenched in sauce, which I appreciated a lot.

We did end up ordering a dessert, which was a salted caramel pudding with coconut cookies on the side. Somehow I forgot to take a picture. Probably because my camera kept dying. Oh well. It was really delicious anyways. This is definitely going on my recommendation list of restaurants in Austin. If they have happy hour specials then I will definitely be there because those appetizers are so good.

Hope ya’ll have a great Monday!