happy hour

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!

AFBA Happy Hour: The Hightower

AFBA Happy Hour: The Hightower

The Hightower in East Austin is hard to classify.

Outside the patio is nice and large, perfect for grabbing a drink before heading home. In July, that did not seem like the best option, so we asked to be moved inside, which they so kindly obliged. Inside is a bit dark (and very hard to take good pictures in 🙂 ) but the atmosphere is relaxed for a nice after work happy hour.

About 15-20 people showed up to July’s happy hour—whether that’s because we didn’t have a happy hour in June or because there was free food is hard to say. We each got two free drink tickets. The drinks were fairly strong, so I gave away my second ticket. I would have liked my drink, the Deep Eddy Splash, to have been a tad bit sweeter, but it was refreshing none-the-less.

The rugged, small bar has surprisingly good food, which ranges from classic-with-a-twist American food to traditionally ethnic dishes.

At The Hightower, the chef takes the always-popular Brussels sprouts ($5) and adds peanut butter and golden raisins, to create something different than you’ll find elsewhere. The fried chickpeas ($4) were a nice, crunchy pre-dinner treat. But the real favorite seemed to be the roasted pork jowl with rice, egg yolk, burnt avocado, cucumber, pickled shallots and house sriracha ($14). I tried a bite before the bowl got stirred up with all the roasted pork jowel and it seemed top notch!

I’ll definitely recommend this place to coworkers for a future happy hour. Thanks for hosting us!

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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AFBA: Happy Hour at Finn + Porter

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By Tiffany Young

Last Wednesday, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance held its monthly happy hour at Finn + Porter near the Austin Convention Center. If you haven’t made it to Finn + Porter, the bar is hopping during happy hour, the cocktails are refreshing and the appetizers are tasty. I couldn’t try many of the appetizers, since they were meaty, but the one above was good! Check out more photos in this slideshow:

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AFBA RIO Happy Hour

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By Tiffany Young

As part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, we get to try a lot of really cool places that we wouldn’t necessarily think to try on our own. One such place is RIO Rooftop Lounge on Sixth Street, near Benji’s Cantina and 219 West (no longer on West Street).

For our day-before Halloween happy hour, the food bloggers were invited to check out the rooftop lounge to try some nibbles and wine. There weren’t many pescetarian options, but the wine was really good! The sliders looked good, but don’t really work with my diet.

But what I’d really recommend going to RIO for is the view! On a nice day, this place has a great view, not only of downtown, but of it’s own rooftop pool, which I really want to swim in this summer. I’m pretty sure it’s not actually for swimming, but that would rock in the heat of Texas.

The cabanas are nice for smaller groups, but since we are not a very small group, we lounged about the many couches and congregated around a few tables strewn about the deck.

RIO Rooftop Lounge
601 Rio Grande, Ste. 200/300
Austin, TX 78701