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.

Foodie Foto Featurette /// Thanksgiving 2011

The holidays can be crazy! Everyone is trying to get gifts and cook extravagant meals.

I plead guilty to the previous statement. I love a little hoopla – no drama, just hoopla. It can make the ocassion a little more boysterous.

But last year I may have gone too far.

Long story short, we attempted a huge meal for 9 adults and 5 children. Sage-infused turkey, honey-glazed ham, white cheddar, truffle mac and cheese and a slew of other that leave my mind at this moment.

Earlier that morning, my dad talked about how he watched a video on kitchen fires.

In the end we overstuffed the oven, the marshmallows on the candied yams fell over and caught the oven on fire.

In comes my dad: patient and well-versed in the ways of putting out a kitchen fire. He followed the steps to a ‘T’ and no one was hurt. Thanksgiving dinner was a mess but the house was okay.

This year we opted for a stress free meal. My aunt Lori suggested we grill. Given her training at the French Culinary Institute in New York, I thought this was a great idea.

No arguements, no fire and lots of smiles.

I think I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Who you callin’ food snob?

On more than one occasion, our love of food has caused the Spooners to be called food snobs. This post should clear things up.

I love IKEA. It’s big, it has cool, cheap things and it’s from Sweden, which makes it unique coming out the gate. But my favorite thing about IKEA? The food! Seriously, I miss my days of being able to get two hot dogs and a drink for $1.50 (because I don’t eat hotdogs anymore—not because they stopped this wonderful deal). Now I’m stuck with a slice of pizza and a coke for $2, and I can live with that.

My friend Eric also loves IKEA food, although he goes a step up and eats at the sit-down cafeteria in the middle of IKEA (I find it a little difficult to find and why would I pay $7 when I could pay $2?).

So, when I saw that IKEA was having a Christmas buffet for $9.99 at the Round Rock location, we made a plan. I’d go during my lunch break to get tickets, since I worked the closest.

I should mention that Antonio was dubious of this plan, later asking, “are you guys serious about this?”

Um. Yes. IKEA has, like, the best food ever… He’s never eaten their meatballs or lingonberries, though, so I guess we’ll let it slide.

On Thursday, a week and a day before the event, I show up at IKEA, grab a slice of pizza and a Dr. Pepper and head over to the cafeteria, where I assume they’ll be selling the incredibly cheap tickets to the wonderful smorgasbord of food, including (but not limited to) smoked salmon with horseradish sauce, assorted herring, Christmas ham, liverwurst pate, assorted cheeses, meatballs and lingonberries (of course), glogg, gravad lax with mustard sauce, must I go on?

The lady approached me from the back of the cafeteria as I waited semi-patiently at the checkout stand anticipating my four tickets.

“Is this where I get tickets to the holiday buffet?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. We’re sold out,” she said with pity in her eyes.

“Can I ask when you sold out,” I asked, knowing that if it had been the day before I would be scorned!

“Last week, actually,” she replied.

Phew.. at least I wasn’t close—that would have been more tragic. We also did a longshot and searched craigslist in case any poor soul had bought tickets and then realized they no longer had taste buds, but alas, everyone knows the place to be Dec. 9 is IKEA’s 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. buffet line. Next year we’ll be prepared!

If you would still like to learn how to celebrate the holidays like the Swede, mosey on over to their site for a how-to guide: www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/rooms_ideas/winter_2011/like_a_swede.html.

Random Act of Kindness – Foodie Style

 

ARC in Austin Texas, Robert, Sunny, Hank and Leslie

A couple of weeks ago, Tiffany sent me a blog of a girl named Robyn who celebrated her birthday by producing a random act of kindness for each year of life she was granted.

Each of our birthdays have already passed this year. But, we promised each other that we would embark on this journey next year. What is a better way to celebrate than to give people a random gift?

A few years back, singer-songwriter Denison Witmer gave away 30 songs for his 30th birthday. And for years I have been wanting to do this but I just get distracted.

///

History has shown that no matter the culture, we celebrate with food. It happens in the Torah and the Bible and I am no stranger to this ancient concept. I am always pushing to celebrate by cooking a unique meal, going out to a nice restaurant or even trying a new happy hour.

It reminds me of my dear friend Brandon Jordan. He and I worked together at Macaroni Grill in Grapevine, Texas, when I was in college. Brandon had this great phrase for any and every occasion.

“We should celebrate the day!”

No matter what happened, good or bad, Brandon was up for celebrating with a drink. He would celebrate the fact that the day was over. He would celebrate the fact that he made great money that evening.

Over the past few weeks, I thought, I should do things for others more often. My life is more inwardly focused than I like to admit and I want others to celebrate life!

With that idea in mind, Tiffany and I began the long drive from Austin to El Paso. We sang songs and wrote children’s poems to pass the time.

///

So much a little cup can do!

At a stop in Sonora, Texas, I asked Tiffany if she wanted a cup of coffee and before she could answer, a random lady at the coffee station said, “I would love a cup.”

I poured myself a cup and then raced to the register. I told the cashier that I wanted to pay for 3 cups of coffee and told the the cashier what the random lady was wearing.

Tiffany and I quickly got back into the car and were filled with joy. As strange as it may sound, I had all the better parts of anxiety as if I had committed a crime. But instead we had paid for a cup of coffee and, hopefully, brought a delightful surprise to a stranger.

///

For weeks, we had been talking about how we wanted to see “The Muppets” movie as a family. We made our game plan and I offered to get popcorn for the family. As I stood in line, I heard a brother and sister behind me discussing their options. They quickly made a selection and continued to talk about their day.

When I got to the counter I placed the order for my family.

“I would also like a No. 2 for the people behind me.”

The cashier asked, “What would they like to drink?” I quickly told him that I was unsure and he could ask them. I paid for the items and walked away. As Tiffany and I were pouring far too much butter on our popcorn, the cashier hunted us down.

“They said they aren’t with you,” he muttered.

“I know. It’s OK. I wanted to pay for it.” I said as he stared at me in disbelief.

///

I have been leading a bible study with the Austin Stone Community Church for some time. And the weather in Austin has been warmer than normal prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. However, this week, the nightly lows have been below 40 degrees. This has been hard on the homeless community. My good friend Leslie mentioned that selected gloves and beanies were $1 this week at Target, where she works. After a chain of emails, the group had modified plans to pass out hot chocolate, bananas, granola bars, little debbie snacks and crunch bars along with beanies and gloves.

Upon arriving we learned that the ARC holds around 200 people and had already been filled to capacity, leaving nearly 40 people outside. Our group focused our efforts on the individuals left outside. A few people got to call their families. Others shared their fruit and snacks.

I was blown away at how much joy is shared in a bottle of water, hot chocolate and an earnest conversation.

Here we were celebrating the day with complete strangers and I didn’t want to be anywhere else in that moment!

****

I am not mentioning any of this to get a pat on the back. But I simply wanted to call others in the spooning community to action. Let’s put a smile on other people’s faces.

Let’s truly help make this world a better place 1 spooner at a time!

Review: Ate. Cafe

ate. cafe menu

Recently out in the Lakeway area during the lunch hour, I had about an hour to spare when I saw ate. cafe at Lohman’s Crossing and RR 620, near The PJ Shop.

Seeing its European bistro feel with an outside patio, I decided to pop in to see if there was anything that looked tasty.

A quiche lorraine caught my eye, but since it was packed with ham, that was out. I asked the young man behind the counter if they had any other quiches and he pointed me toward the fugazzetta ($8), which looked much like a slice of pizza, but tasted more like a savory tarte filled with grilled onions, red bell peppers, asparagus, oregano and mozzarella cheese.

Although it was already prepared, the waitstaff heated the pastry-filled goodness along with a light side salad.

I thought I’d be starving afterward, given it was just a slice and a small side salad, but I was very fulfilled by the last bite.

Fugazzetta with a side salad1

There isn’t a lot of seating outside, but since the weather has been so balmy lately, the iron patio furniture out front is a nice place to meet a friend and pop into a few of the local shops within the shopping center. I enjoyed the friendly waitstaff, delicious food and relaxing atmosphere.

The menu consists mainly of sandwiches, salads, tarts, breakfast items, coffee, wine, beer and desserts.

Ate. cafe, owned by Rodolfo and Jesica Buonocore, serves breakfast lunch and dinner Tues.–Wed. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Thurs.–Sat. 8 a.m.–8 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and is closed Mondays.

ate. cafe
2127 Lohman’s Crossing, Ste. 310
512.263.4933
www.atecafe.com

 

 

This Weather

So, about the time I started getting excited about soups, stews and hearty meals, the weather in Central Texas did it again—it turned to high temperatures, leaving me confused about what I should be eating. I want to be eating pumpkin soup, roasted veggies and veggie chili, but it just doesn’t seem right drinking pumpkin spice lattes while wearing a tank top and flip flops.

The dilemma reminds me of some of our Christmas holidays in Texarkana growing up. Usually it is really cold come Dec. 25, but every once in a while, there’s a small hiccup in the weather order and Santa brings tropical weather along with his sleigh instead of snow.

Our family tradition was to light a fire and read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, followed by playing the Chipmunks Christmas record and opening our annual present of pjs and a board game to play that night. I can recall a few Christmas Eve’s when my parents said to Hell with saving on utilities and cranked the air conditioner up so we could carry on our annual fireplace traditions.

I’m not quite to that point yet, but I do feel like I’m having to postpone my fall loves—warm sweaters, leather boots and hearty meals—for the time being.

You can ask my family—I love holding on to traditions. But as things change—going to El Paso for Thanksgiving—and don’t change—the summer that would never end—I guess I’m just going to have to go with the flow. Another few months of summer salads certainly won’t hurt my fitness plan and at least the weather has been warm enough for my workouts.

What are some of your favorite fall traditions and have you been able to enjoy them this year?

Fun Fun Fun Food 2011 Day 3


What a way to end the festival. Here are a few items that we learned about at the fest this year.

  1. Most large entree items run about $7
  2. Snacks run about $4
  3. Fun Fun Fun Fest serves mixed mixed mixed drinks!
  4. Don’t try and sneak in your own liquor if Slayer is playing. You are going to get the pat-down!
  5. Slayer inspires people to create: Slayer dog by Frank and Progress Coffee roasted and packaged bean to the sweet tunes of Slayer
  6. Don’t mock the Slayer dog! [More on that soon enough]

At the same time, we got to see some great bands, such as Hum, Del the Funky Homosapian, Baths and Tiffany’s new favorite, Austra!

Tiffany: “Not Austra! My favorites were Lykke Li and Passion Pit!”

And nothing goes better at a festival than new food.

I began the day by taking a wager on Blue Ribbon BBQ. Although I hadn’t realized it at the time, I have had their BBQ before. Blue Ribbon has a store front on 4th Street, at the base of the Frost Tower. Sadly, the sandwich never looks as good as it does on the picture. At first glance, I was disappointed with my selection. The presentation was sub-par but what could I expect, I am at a festival.

After my first bite, my mind quickly changed. 3 generations of BBQ purveyors had done me right. The brisket BBQ sandwich made my taste buds dance.

Tiffany here! I ate my first meal of the day at home, but while Antonio was waiting for his Slayer dog, I stopped over at Snowie for the sweet potato and black bean quesadilla. I loved the flavors of black beans and mashed sweet potato, but I must admit I couldn’t really find the cheese it spoke of. It came with a red pepper sauce to dip it in, which also complemented the flavors nicely.

Next time, I want to try what they call the Neptune—sauteed zucchini, squash, black beans and cheese. I am a big squash and zucchini fan—yay, fall! Snowie primarily sells snow cones and fair food, but I guess they figured out the secret to success—have something for the veggie-tarians!

 

Blue Ribbon BBQ
120 E 4th St, Austin, TX 78701 
(512) 369-3119

 

 

November Courtyard Event

We’re hoping you’ve already heard about this and RSVPed, because if you haven’t, well, it’s too late to do anything about it now. Today, Launch 787 sent out an email saying the first 100 people to RSVP got to attend the November Courtyard event on Thursday, which includes nibbles from The Meat House and a little drinky from Waterloo Gin. It’s free to those who RSVPed, with the hopes that you’ll donate a few bucks to Austin Involved. If you were quick on your fingertips and RSVPed, we’ll see you there. If you weren’t, we can’t help you get in, but we do hope to post a few pics here post-event.

Either way, we hope you’ll check out Austin Involved, because it’s a movement we can get behind—a volunteer movement. Visit the website or Facebook page to see how you can get involved. The idea is simple: Members donate $25, which goes to the charity that the most Austin Involved members choose each month by vote, and then they put in time to do a volunteer project as well.

Eat, drink, be merry and share the wealth!

Fun Fun Fun Food 2011 Day 2

Antonio with his Steak Frite Sandwich from Aquarelle

Day 2 of the festival was better than the first.  We had the opportunity to taste some great food.

Tiffany and I made our way to the Handshake tent at the “top of the afternoon.” Although the weather has been cool here in Austin, the mid-afternoon sun was hot enough to justify a milkshake. After working through our choices, we agreed to an oatmeal shake with chocolate chips and blueberries. Sadly, our mix-ins got left out, but hearts were filled with joy when we tasted this shake. You couldn’t come closer to an oatmeal cookie wit out… well… err… eating an actually oatmeal cookie. The service was fun and we are definately heading to Handshakes for their grand opening next week!

Between Donald Glover, Ra Ra Riot and Kool Keith, Tiffany reminded me that this was going to be the only time in our schedule to get a decent meal and relax for a moment. Tiffany chose to wait in line for Crepe Crazy. Crepe Crazy may have the largest selection of items at the festival, divided into sweet and savory selections, for whichever your heart desires in the moment. While she really wanted the Banana Nutella, she chose a proper dinner item – the Sun-dried Tomato Veggie Crepe, smothered with monterrey jack cheese, sliced tomatoes, spinach, sauteed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoe pesto. Before you order, know that you will be pointing out what you would like on the menu unless you know sign language. This trailer is impressive with their fluid efficiency – despite being one of the more popular tents, the wait is not long and it’s fun to watch them expertly make crepes and fold in the fresh ingredients.

For myself, after waiting in line for 10 minutes, I learned that Franks had run out of bratwurst. I was offered a hot dog but I thought I would wait for the much anticipated Slayer dog, offered only on Sundays!

In a moment of desperation, I hopped over to the Linda Chan’s. The line moved fast and service was quick. In the end, I picked up the chicken with fried rice. This was a game time decision which I began to second guess myself as the words fell from my lips. I managed to order the one food that is often under-seasoned and quickly dries out. But Chan’s surprised me in all the best ways.

By the end of the evening, Tiffany and I needed a pick-me-up. We swung by the Progress Coffee tent for two cups of joe.  However, we were the last cup – as in singular cup. The staff at Progress was nice enough to grati our cup for the inconvienence.

A few bands later, I was hungry again.

In a hunt for a nibble, I selected the Steak Frites Sandwich from Aquarelle. This Sandwich was over the top and bursting with flavor. Who can say no to stripped steak, pom frites, covered with pepper and parmesan all stacked between a bun. I submit that you cannot. Plus, this late in the evening, the staff at most places are tired and severly overworked. But not Aquarelle, our server Kylie was over the top! Good job, guys! Tiff and I need to stop in soon for a full dinner!

All in all, it was a good day for food! Let’s do it again at Fun Fun Fun Fest. These spoonies are ready!

Aquarelle Restaurant Français
606 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX
(512) 479-8117

Crepe Crazy

Handshakes Trailer
1104 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78702

Linda Chan’s Chicken

Progress Coffee
500 San Marcos Street, Austin, TX
(512) 493-0963