food

Delicious Films: 5 Movies for Foodies

imageSorry folks! We’ve been a way a while, busy working on our The Tiny Bots kids music video Shake It Like a Cupcake  the past few months. Yep-that’s right! We’re also in a children’s music band. But now that that’s launched, I hope to bring you some more food news, and break into some healthy foods as well. Antonio is really focused on marketing for Garrison Brothers and his band Oh Antonio and His Imaginary Friends, so he’ll be on break for a while longer.

Enough housekeeping. Let’s talk food!

Some friends and I recently brought movie night back into our lives. Every few weeks we get together and someone different picks the movie and brings the food. This week is my week and, of course, I wanted to pick a foodie movie. Here’s the list of movies I considered. Ultimately I decided on Chocolat, but I’d love to hear from you on your favorite foodie movies for future consideration!

1) The Waitress This quirky movie is not the most uplifting but is real and pulls at your heartstrings. A waitress, played by Keri Russell, who is in a lousy marriage to an overbearing husband finds out she is pregnant. After she meets the local doctor and begins an affair with him, she finds the strength to carry out her pregnancy, but it’s not until after she gives birth that she realizes her strength is her own and has nothing to do with the men in her life.

Food: You’ll enjoy the pies she makes throughout the movie with names like I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby pie and I Hate My Husband Pie.

2) Chef Who doesn’t love a second chance story? This movie is set when a chef at a respected restaurant quits his job. He begins to flounder, not just in his profession, but also in his relationships. When he decides to quit it all and restore a food truck and go across country selling Cuban sandwiches, he may just find the adventure of a lifetime and the answers he’s been looking for for success.

Food: You’ll love a look into what it’s really like converting a trailer into a food truck and seeing knife skills and cooking up close.

3) The Hundred-Foot Journey An Indian family in France sets out to find a place to start an Indian restaurant. When they break down in a small town, how are they to know one of the country’s best restaurant is just across the street? But is competition always bad? It seems to be when the competition has loud music, colorful decorations and a string smell just steps from your classy, expensive well-known traditional restaurant in France.

Food: You’ll love the search for perfect mushrooms, the perfect omelette and the difference between French and Indian kitchens (and settings).

4) Babette’s Feast Imagine you’re a well known chef who ends up in a super pious town that hires you to cook the blandest food for them year after year. And then you decide to gift them with the one thing they do not want using all of your money, so that you’ll be stuck there. That’s basically the plot and it’s amazing.

Food: The preparation for this feast will blow your mind!

5) Chocolat Apparently, there are a lot of food haters. I’m starting to see a trend here. Vianne and her daughter arrive in a small French religious town and opens a chocolate shop. The churchgoers try to resist, but one by one Vianne entices the villagers into her shop to chat and try a chocolate. Things come to a head when the gypsies move onto the river nearby–will the church allow things to continue down this road?

Food: At the end, a lovely dinner for the elderly diabetic woman brings friend and foe together for a wonderful dinner party of the most delectable foods.

San Francisco: Brenda’s French Soul Food


Brenda's storefrontOff Polk Street, in San Francisco, I found the most delightful surprise. I had passed numerous diners—usually a favorite of mine, those diners are—but they seemed to lack life in the Union area of San Francisco. And so I began
looking up restaurants nearby and came across Brenda’s French Soul Food. It had good reviews, so I wandered around the extra 1/2 mile until I finally came upon the unassuming outside. Just a sandwich board, the name and a door with black metal decorative grating around the door and windows.

A man was cleaning the door as I went to open it, but he quickly opened it and led me to an empty table near the front. The inside was fresh and new, though imitating the old in that way restaurants do: A mural on the right of a crawfish with Bon Voyage Shipping Co. on top of old brick, silverware held in Cafe de Monde empty coffee canisters.

Brenda's wallI ordered coffee and water right away and then was left to familiarize myself with the menu. Everything looked and sounded delicious, but the beignet flight ($10) held my interest. I knew I couldn’t eat four beignets even before I saw how large they were, but the chance to try all four flavors was too strong: crawfish, apple, chocolate and plain.

When they arrived, after a neighbor and I realized we didn’t have spoons and so conspired to use our knives to swirl our coffees, I was very, very pleased. Three of the four were dusted in confectioner’s sugar, with the fourth—the only savory beignet—dusted in cayenne.

beignets

 

I started with the savory crawfishcrawfish beignet beignet, which was creamy inside with scallions and cheese. I enjoyed every bite, which reminded me of my time in New Orleans.

I then moved on to the sweets. Not remembering which of the beignets were which, I dove into the one just after the crawfish. It turned out to be Granny Smith apple, which tasted like a sweet apple pie with its cinnamon and honey butter filling.

Savoring each bite, I thought I could go on when the waitress came by to see if I needed a box. “Oh no,” I said naively. “I think I’ll just have a little more.”

But by the end of the second beignet I had to admit she was right. I needed a box—I could not take another bite.

I later shared the chocolate beignet at lunch, filled with molten Ghiradelli chocolate filling with my brother and his friend Mary. And the next day I finished off the plain for breakfast. Essentially the four beignets lasted me three meals over two days for ten dollars. Amazing.

I’ve already added Brenda’s French Soul Food to the list of recommendations for friends visiting San Francisco (all the rest can be found at If Only), so you know it must have made an impression.

The specials also looked amazing, with Creole pot pie with cheddar biscuits and green salad. I can’t wait to go back and try their lunch or dinner menu, but until then, I have my memories.

 

Moved: The Omelettry

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This has been a long time coming, but it’s still sad to see a business that is so iconic closing down shop. The good news is, it will still be in Austin, but the cute little muraled building (above) at 4811 Burnet Road will no longer be its home.

The Omelettry is moving a little further north (and closer to me!) to 4631 Airport Blvd. (right). Yes, it will be in a shopping center and yes, it seems it is keeping with its cash only policy. I am hoping that in its new location I’ll think of it more often.

I’ve always loved the bright oilcloth tables, the laid-back atmosphere and the old-timey feel and I can’t wait to try the new restaurant, which opens this month. The menu includes lots of omelettes of course, but also, pancakes, oatmeal, granola, French toast, huevos rancheros and more.

I wish I had gotten to say goodbye to the old location, but alas, it was not meant to be. See you on the flip side, The Omelettry!

Mueller: Xian

Located in the Mueller development near the H-E-B gas station, Xian is a quiet little restaurant to grab a quick bite to eat. Whether on the run with coworkers, or meeting a friend for lunch, stop in here.

The ambiance is nice and casual, with black granite tables and a bar almost the length of the small restaurant. I especially like that there are mostly booths, as it feels more intimate. I loved the  black and white mural all along the opposite wall from the bar. xiang muralMy instinct was to get sushi, but with my coworkers both getting noodles, I decided to go with the pack. I got the fried noodles from the lunch menu ($7.95), which comes with miso soup. Allison got the vegetable noodle soup from the regular menu, which also looked delicious ($8.50). The noodles are hand pulled and you get to choose from six different kinds: Vermicelli, Spaghetti, Thick Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Pappardelle and Triangle.

xiang fried noodles

The waitress informed us that the only difference is the texture. I got vermicelli, which is a very thin pasta. If you like spice, you’re definitely going to have to add your own, but the homemade chili oil provided is delicious.

The only drawback is parking—we definitely had to go round and round for parking, but if you park on the street side, you may have better luck.xiang noodle bowl

Love: Fresh noodles and great lunch and happy hour specials.

Xian
www.xianfresh.com
1801 E 51st St, Austin, TX 78723
(512) 469-7878
xiansn51@gmail.com

Hours
Mon.–Sat. Lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; Dinner 5 p.m.–10 p.m.
Sun. noon-9 p.m.

If you’re in northwest Austin, Xian recently opened a location near 620 and US 183 behind the IHOP:

Allandale: Elevation Burger Closed

Allandale: Elevation Burger Closed

I’m never a big fan of restaurants closing, but the good news here is: Elevation Burger in the Arboretum is still open.

I have to admit, I only visited this location at the Northcross Mall Shopping Center once—mainly because it was next door to Tarka, which I have already said I’m a big fan of. But, I am glad Elevation Burger is still kicking at Great Hills, because they stand for some of the same things I do:

  • 100% organic, grass-fed organic beef
  • Fresh fries cooked in olive oil
  • Recycled waste

Plus, the burgers and fries taste great. They also have two veggie burger options. I’ve talked myself into making a visit. I hope you support them, too.

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The open location is:

(512) 608-4054

South Austin: Chi’ Lantro BBQ

How cute are these?

How cute are these?

Editor’s Note: OhSpooners received free appetizers as part of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance monthly happy hour.

If you’ve never had Chi’ Lantro BBQ, you’re in for a real treat! This Korean barbecue-inspired joint began as a food truck, bringing kimchi fries to the masses at events such as Blues on the Green and ACL Music Festival. Now the food truck is a full-fledged restaurant at 1509 South Lamar in South Austin and soon to open a location in the former Man Bites Dog location at 5222 Burnet Road, which closed in March.

We recently attended AFBA’s monthly happy hour for free apps. It was a much smaller affair than we’ve had the last few times, which was wonderful because we could actually talk to our fellow food bloggers about what they’ve been up to.

Since we’d only had Chi’ Lantro from food trucks previously, we got to try some new additions to the extended restaurant menu, including kimchi fried rice balls ($6), k-pops ($7.50 for 6; $20 for 20) and guac and chips ($6.50). You can still find their truck locations on their website.

While the kimchi fries are always going to be the main staple for me, I must say the kimchi fried rice balls will be added to the repertoire. Antonio said the chicken wings (aka k-pops) were like butter dissolving in your mouth—and who doesn’t love butter? One was spice, the other not so spicy, so you get your choice between gangnam sauce or honey butter.

It’s kind of a small restaurant, but it wasn’t busy for happy hour, so you should be able to easily chill with a few friends after work.

Love: Kimchi fries and fried rice balls as well as the clean, happy atmosphere and nice staff. And that a new location will be coming to my ‘hood soon!

Allandale: Tarka Indian Kitchen

TarkaThe modern-looking Tarka Indian Kitchen can be found in the Northcross Mall Shopping Center behind Dos Batos Tacos near Ross.

This is one of my go-to places when it comes to grabbing dinner to-go after a long, hard day of work.

It’s casual enough to not feel weird if you’re in your workout clothes, but nice enough to go for a date. They have comfortable bar stools at a counter for those waiting for to-go orders and they are pretty fast. They usually offer a water glass during your wait, too. If you don’t want to wait, order ahead online. You could also order a glass of wine for your short wait.

I pretty much always get the same thing—Dhingri Mattar Paneer. It’s a tomato sauce, with paneer, mushrooms and peas, and, of course, spices. Here you can order mild, medium or spicy. I prefer medium as spicy is really spicy, but the mild almost tastes like tomato sauce.

If you’re feeling really hungry, throw in some vegetable samosas and an order of garlic naan. You’re looking at about $15 for the whole kit and caboodle.

Love: Quick, fast solution that always tastes good and is so easy to take home.

Tarka North Austin
2525 W. Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 323-0955

Hours
Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Brunch at Grace’s

Brunch at Grace’s

In case I haven’t already said it (too many times), I love brunch. Recently, my friends and I have begun enjoying the much cheaper version of brunch at home. Not only is it a more cost effective way to eat brunch, but no one is going to kick you out because there’s a two hour wait outside. Brunch at home allows you to catch up on your own time. I also enjoy watching other people’s cooking process.

Last week, I was invited to yoga with my friend, Grace, and her sister. Since it’s kind of a tradition that we go for brunch after, Grace invited me to her house to have brunch with her siblings (2 of them anyway).

I had never seen an omelet maker, but I really liked the simplicity of it. It doesn’t seem like you have to worry quite so much about flipping it just so to keep all the stuff inside.Of course, I never can decide if a kitchen tool that is specific to making a certain thing is worth it, since you have to find a place to store it and really a pan works just fine, but it did look awfully easy.

I also got a house and garden tour, getting to pull a baby carrot out of Grace’s just-now blossoming garden. Her backyard is just as cozy as can be. Since I’m looking for a house or condo, I’m paying close attention to what makes a home cozy, and Grace has that down completely. From her art studio to her garden, you feel completely at ease just hanging out. I can’t wait to have my only little space so I can reciprocate!

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Pin it. Make it. Eat it. — Spinach Rolls

Pin it. Make it. Eat it. — Spinach Rolls

The joke among people on Pinterest is that they pin lots of things, but never actually make any of the things they pin. However, I’m proud to say I take my obsessive pins to the next level by trying to make at least some of them happen.

Since most of my Pin experiments have turned out well, I plan on posting them here and then linking to the recipe so you can try it yourself.

For instance, these Miniature Spinach Parmesan Puffs helped me get rid of fresh spinach I had on hand and tasted delicious. I’d recommend them as an appetizer or for a potluck since they are so quick and easy to make and hold up well even after they come to room temperature.

If you’ve had great success with recipes you’ve pinned, be sure to share them with us! Happy pinning!

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AFBA Happy Hour: Trace

AFBA Happy Hour: Trace

Tonight the OhSpooners got the chance to try Trace‘s happy hour* as part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance monthly pow-wow. Trace is an upscale dining establishment located within the W hotel in downtown Austin. The weather was great, the cocktails were spicy and the food was delicious. I especially enjoyed the cheesecake with grapefruit on top (not pictured), although everything was excellent.

Our friend, Emily Teachout, promotes the restaurant, so we were especially excited to check it out. She did not let us down. The staff was very helpful and you really can’t beat the view—perfect for people watching. The prices for happy hour, I’m quite surprised to say, are very reasonable. Crab cake for $7? Yes, please! I’ll definitely have to go back.

Crafted cocktails are $7 during happy hour.
We recommend:

JALAPENO & CUCUMBER LEMONADE
Deep Eddy vodka, jalapeno, lemon juice, cucumber water

Until we meet again!

*Food  and drinks were courtesy of Trace.

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