Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Spooners would like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s day!

We hope your lives are filled with love and adventure.

Today, we share with you the cookies my (Tiffany’s) mom made us for Valentine’s Day. She had to mail them, so there are a few cracks, but beautiful none-the-less. And tasty! Enjoy!

Foodie Foto Featurette /// Garridos

Garrido’s
360 Nueces Suite #10
Austin, TX 78701

(512) 320-8226

Date Night: Sagra

On our second date, Antonio kidnapped took me on a several hour date that began at Sagra Trattoria and Bar, an Italian restaurant on San Antonio Street. He was trying to make a good impression after his mistake on date No. 1, where he cut the date short because he had other plans. He claims he was meeting up with friends for dinner, but it sure sounded like he had double booked dates to me.

This was a restaurant where he felt comfortable—after all he used to work there—and we had brunch on the front patio in nice weather.

That’s where I fell in love … with the Sagra pizza. He’ll tell you my love for him grew at a much slower pace, but he was on to something bringing me to a place with such great food. Since that fateful day in January 2011, we have been back many times for happy hour and date nights.

The Sagra pizza includes a classic Italian tradition—an egg atop the pizza. This may not sound like a good idea to you, but that just tells me you haven’t tried the Sagra pizza yet. For $15, you get a whole pie topped with tomato sauce, egg, grana padano, spinach, mozzarella and truffle oil. Their other pizzas are also delicious.

Last month we visited them and got the funghi pizza  for $14 with mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and fontin. It was good, but I still missed the Sagra pizza, which we returned to on our date night last night.

I also really enjoy their libation menu, which includes not just creative cocktails, but also apertivos—an appetite stimulator—and digestivos—which helps settle your meal. My favorite so far is the apertivo Perucchi Vermouth Blanc with flavors of chamomile, ginger, lemon, cinnamon and orange blossom for $5. It comes in a tiny, tiny cute glass that I enjoy slowly sipping on before my meal comes. The flavors meld together so amazingly.

We also enjoy the wine selection, which comes in three sizes: a glass, a quartino—about a glass and a half—and a bottle.

Outside of the pizza, we highly recommend the fried calamari and the arugula salad, although I can’t recall us eating anything we didn’t love at Sagra. Also, while we rarely eat dessert at most places, unless it’s a special occasion, we usually do ask for their dessert menu. They change their gelato regularly and have great custard-type desserts featuring fruit.

We hope to see you at happy hour some nice evening enjoying the front or back patio, which reminds me—all the seats in the house are quite romantic. Enjoy!

Sagra Restaurant
1610 San Antonio St. Austin, TX, 78701,
(512)535-5988

Foodie Foto Featurrette /// Eastside Pies

Eastside Pies
1401 Rosewood Avenue
Austin, TX

(512) 524-0933

 

Ringing in the New Year

For New Year’s Eve, Antonio was sick with allergies and we ended up deciding to stay in, so I decided to make a big dinner.

I had already copied several recipes I wanted to try out, using the “Cook This” notepad made by Knock Knock. I decided to make Cream of Mushroom Soup, which I found over at YumSugar, Mushroom and Potato Gratin from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma, Not Real Macaroni and Cheese (unfortunately I don’t have the original source on this as I just copied it into Evernote sometime ago) and a salad of mixed greens, avocado and a homemade vinaigrette.

Basically if you weren’t a fan of mushrooms or cheese, you would hate this meal. As it turns out, that was not the case, for Antonio, myself, or his roommate Rolando.

The whole project took me several hours and dirtying almost all of the dishes at the Baylor House. Everything smelled so good and it was pretty much the first time I had cooked for Antonio, so I knew it was a waste when he said his nose was so stuffed up he couldn’t smell anything.

We finally sat down and toasted to the good life and the new year and being thankful to friends and all the things we have. We all realize we have little to complain about compared to many, many others.

I was pretty happy with how the meal came out, even if we had to start on the soup and salad while the gratin continued to bake.

The salad and dressing was good. My secret recipe consists of half balsamic vinegar, half olive oil, a splash of honey—and this time I added some fresh thyme since it was on hand.

The mushroom soup was wonderfully aromatic and the splash of truffle oil divine! I can’t wait to pour truffle oil into many future dishes.

The gratin proved to be a lot of trouble for how it came out—I don’t think I got enough salt and pepper in the layers to make it worth its while. I also would have loved for the potatoes to get crispier, but we were all hungry by the time the buzzer went off. However, I got to use the mandoline Antonio bought me for Christmas, so it was worth it.

The mac and cheese was Antonio’s favorite. I liked how creamy it came out.

The next night ate in again and made grilled cheese and tomato soup. It took all of 15 minutes to make. Antonio said, “This is the best meal we’ve had in a long time!”

It’s the simple things in life, spoons!

Here’s to a yummy year!

 

My Favorite Food Find Of 2011 /// The Slayer Dog

The other night I was asking the other spooner about how her part of 2011 was, which led us to start laughing at the silly videos we made for the Slayer Dog at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year. I had almost forgotten that we had even made them.

On the first day of the festival, I noticed Frank’s was promoting something called the Slayer Dog. I thought to myself, “This is amazing! I have got to try this!” But the lady at the table told me to try back tomorrow.

Saturday morning, I visited Franks again. The kind lady behind the table looked worn from answering the same question. “We won’t have them ’til tomorrow,” she muttered.

By the time Sunday came, I was determined to get my hand on this dog. Buzz was stirring at the festival. Rumors were flying that Slayer wanted a Slayer Dog as well. I wish I could find a source to confirm this instance.

Upon arrival at the fest on Sunday, I made a B-line for Franks. The same poor girl told me that Frank would send a tweet when the dogs were ready. I told her that although the idea sounds great, text messages were coming in late due to a lack of bandwidth at the festival. Finally she said, “Just be back around 5 p.m.”

I based my entire day around this moment. At about 4:30, I was the 10th person in line. Quickly, people started to migrate. After about an hour of waiting, our friends at Franks passed out “tickets,” which were napkins with the words “Slayer” written on them in blue marker. If you got a napkin, you got a dog. Everyone else was turned away.

From this point forward, I will let the videos explain how the rest of the evening went!

I hope you enjoy one of my favorite food moments of 2011! Spoon away!

 

 

 

 

Who Are You Spooning With?

Just in case you weren’t sure, food is important to us. And quality food is even more important. But the one thing take precedence over that is who you are with.

Our motto is …

It’s not always about where you spoon but who you are spooning with!

Last year, I reunited with a wonderful couple, Jessica and Clayton. They know how to make my heart smile and I really wanted to have Tiffany meet these wondrous people.

Clayton is a quadruplet and grew up in Copper Canyon, Texas. Jessica and I met when we were both waiting tables at Macaroni Grill in Grapevine. After work, we would regularly head to Chili’s and celebrate the day.

It seemed only proper that we meet there again for a reunion. You can say what you want about Chili’s but they have great comfort food. Their loaded French fries are just like I remember it.

We laughed, hugged and stayed far too long.

Sometimes, you just need to go back to your roots and remember where you came from. Sometimes, you need to hug the ones you love and make new memories. And if I need to travel to Dallas to see the people I miss, then you can find me at Chili’s having an El Presidente.

Chili’s
6251 Long Prairie Road
Flower Mound, TX 75028-6210

(972) 355-5826

Hanukkah With Rock Love Austin

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah and we got a super-sweet invite to Rock Love Austin‘s Hanukkah party.

Previously, I had attended a Messianic Synangogue but had never spun a dreidel or had latkes.

Let me tell you, if you have never had a latke before, you are missing out! Our host, Zack, made latkes with traditional sides of sour cream or apple sauce. Latkes are splendid little potato pancakes made with onions, flour and egg. Zack went with the staple brand Carmel and they were superb.

Our hostess, Caitlin made a delicious Dr Pepper cake.  This cake, filled with Dublin Dr Pepper, is moist and has a thick layer of frosting. The recipe is on super-secret lockdown but I highly recommend you making this cake for your next party (Tiffany: You can get the box from Dublin Dr Pepper).

Zack and Caitlin created the perfect atmosphere. Zack had spent the previous week creating the perfect playist of 50 Hana songs aptly titled, Chanukah Playlist! For the Jews and their Goy friends on Spotify. Zack lit the Menorah for the first day of Hanukkah and rallied the troops to spin the dreidel. You will quickly find that I take driedel spinning quite serious. That’s what happens when you get competitive!

 

Review: Rosie’s Tamale House

Rosie's Tamale House is decorated for the holidays.

Heading toward Spicewood, Texas, on Hwy. 71 West for a meeting, I spotted Rosie’s Tamale House.

I’d heard it was a Bee Cave staple and I had a few minutes to spare, so I dropped in for a breakfast taco to go.
To go is right! In just a few minutes my order was ready and I was on my way.

The inside of the restaurant is decked out for Christmas with festive lights, a tree and other decorations, which seems appropriate since the building appears to be an old house turned dining area.

While you wait on your food, there’s a wide bench at the front to sit on, with photos reflecting Rosie’s past posted on the wall behind the bench.

I got a breakfast taco with potatoes, eggs and cheese on a flour tortilla. Two items of choice come on the taco for $2, but extra additions are just a quarter more. The tacos are wrapped in foil, which keeps the delicious cheese melted until you arrive at your destination.

When I opened the taco, I was delighted to see a lot of cheesy goodness melted on the taco as well as the aluminum foil it was wrapped in. The potatoes were well-cooked—not in the crispy sense, but in the well-boiled sense. I typically like crispy potatoes, but somehow the soft ones worked in this stuffed breakfast taco.

I should have asked for salsa as it didn’t automatically come with any, but the results were still really good. I also ordered coffee, which came in a big styrofoam cup and a lid so I wouldn’t spill it on myself while driving (which happens more than I care to admit).

It’s definitely a spot I’d recommend and I hope to try their tamales someday—maybe on our next trip to El Paso we can order some for the road.

In September, there was a post on their Facebook page alluding to it possibly closing, so make sure and stop by while you can!

 

Rosie’s Tamale House
13436 HWY 71 W., Bee Cave, TX 78738
512-263-5245 • www.facebook.com/pages/Rosies-Tamale-House/110809575603130?sk=info

Pizza Pizza Pizza with Eric Pulsifer

A few weeks back, our dear friend Alex had a Birthday and she wanted to celebrate in style. She asked all her friends to bring a pizza of their choice. And our buddy Eric stood above the rest – physically and foodically!

Who can say no to a Jalapeño Popper–stuffed Pizza?

By Eric Pulsifer ///Junk food gourmet

My go-to homemade pizza topping is Spanish chorizo, a cured smoked meat more similar to high-quality pepperoni than the greasy, lymph node-laden skillet magic that is Mexican chorizo. But Alex already had the gourmet pizza down, and I felt an itch to make the kind of pizza that would only sound appetizing to a reasonably health-conscious person after a few drinks.
I was tossing around the idea with some other pizza partiers about making something deliciously trashy — using low-quality ingredients to create a guilty pleasure of a pie with the sort of fare reserved for bachelors and teenagers. Funny enough, I’m willing to be bet my pie was still probably healthier than the stuff the big chains call pizza.
My initial thought was to make a crust stuffed with that staple of the lonely man diet, the Pizza Roll. However, recalling that those little pockets of sauce and square bits of meat aren’t actually very good, I opted instead for a crust stuffed with gorgonzola-filled jalapeño poppers.
The recipe is simple, and the result was tasty. This made a 10″ round pizza with a couple of leftover poppers for pre-pizza snacking.
1 tube of pizza crust
2 boxes of frozen Safeway Gorgonzola Gems
1 box of frozen spinach artichoke dip
1 cup of Velveeta shreds
1/2 a cup of corn meal
1 tablespoon of cheap olive oil
Sprinkle some corn meal on a nonstick tray. Spread the dough out on top of the tray, rub olive oil over the center and add additional corn meal. Surround the pizza with a barrier of halfway cooked (as per instructions) Gorgonzola Gems and roll the crust over. Spread halfway cooked spinach artichoke dip in middle, top with cheese and throw in the oven. Bake at 425 degrees until crust is golden brown.