Pizza

NOVA Launches New Menu

NOVA Launches New Menu

OhSpooning recently got the chance to check out NOVA’s new menu, which is launching just in time for hot summer nights on its outdoor patio. I hadn’t had the chance to visit before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I would recommend NOVA for a date night or happy hour.

Located along Rainey Street, the restaurant has nice, big windows and a decent sized patio. I like that you could move around its space and get a completely different feel depending on where you’re at. Downstairs, a bar and bar tables stretch the length of the room, which is bright and sunny during the day. Upstairs is darker and more intimate with a see-through walkway along the area above the bar. The patio is light and airy and has the feel of a friend’s backyard with metal tables and chairs scattered along its pebbled path.

The chef is young and energetic and his excitement about the food spreads. We were given dishes to share throughout the evening. The night brought us NOVA’s double macaroni, risotto, flat bread pizza, veggie tacos and hummus. The restaurant makes its own ham in house, which I found out means it cures its own ham (I wondered where they hid the pigs…).

The chef takes chances, making every day food with a bit of a twist. The veggie tacos are unique in their use of asparagus and arugula and a yummy dressing, along with other tasty tidbits. The hummus was very unique, with the addition of coconut and ginger, making me feel like I was on the beaches of Hawaii instead of Austin, Texas.

For drinks, try the Tudor 77 for $12: Aviation gin, hibiscus syrup, lemon, cava rose and lavender bitters. Not too sweet, this drink has a delicate flavor that will go with a variety of foods.

Give NOVA a try and let us know your thoughts!

NOVA tudor 77

Eating in Texarkana

Eating in Texarkana

Last month, I took a trip home to good ol’ Texarkana. As you can imagine, most of what we do in our family is talk about where we’re going to eat next. However, in Texarkana, there are few places to eat. Restaurants close there frequently as residents leave whatever restaurants are there for whatever the latest chain has opened. Even chains like Johnny Carino’s have closed, but the original restaurants especially have a hard time staying open.

On this particular trip, we didn’t have much of a plan, so for lunch my mom and I had a hard time to decide where to eat, but ultimately chose Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant. It’s one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area. Located in downtown Texarkana, it has a good atmosphere, great queso and good veggie fajitas. My mom and I shared the fish and the veggie fajitas and had plenty of leftovers, both of which comes with a bowl of soup.

Later, we got a bit hungry again and decided to make cheese and wine plates. Who doesn’t love a good cheese plate? Ours included dried apricots, grapes, crackers and cheese, alongside a glass of red wine.

And then there was Twisted Fork. Twisted Fork is a pretty modern “foodie” place in Texarkana, with specialties such as quail and waffles, shrimp and grits and seared duck breast. It’s a bit overpriced given the city. After all, it’s cocktails are priced the same as some of Austin’s best cocktail bars, even though everywhere else in Texarkana charges about half the price of drinks in Austin. But they do have Hendrick’s gin and you know how we feel about Hendrick’s! (You can listen to our podcast with Hendrick’s here.) However, the food was very tasty and the atmosphere was fun, using none other than twisted forks to decorate.

Mom and I shared a pizza—basically a margherita pizza, which they call ‘The Mean Green.’ Dad chose a burger with an egg on top. It looked delicious! They have a pastry chef on staff and next time I definitely want to give dessert a try (the lemon-honey panna cotta to be specific!) as well as sit on the bar side of the restaurant for a view of the kitchen—I think food tastes much better when you see it prepared!

So, if you happen to be going to Texarkana, these are my suggestions: Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant and Twisted Fork. If you happen to make the journey, let me know what you think! I’m also taking recommendations for my next visit. 🙂

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Childhood Memories with Mark Collins

1. What was the most (or some of the most) common meal(s) you ate as a child?

I always complained terribly about meatloaf night and often refused to finish my plate. It wasn’t until Junior year of high school that I realized the exact same meatloaf was the main protein when my Mom made pitas – a meal I typically requested for my birthday dinner. So I started eating meatloaf after that and now it’s one of my most favorite dishes.

2. What was your favorite snack as a kid?
My sister and I would put velveeta cheese on English muffins, sprinkle it with salad seasoning and toast it in the oven. We didn’t have a name for them until one morning my mom became exasperated over how quickly we went through English muffins and called them “stupid cheese things.” The name stuck.

3. Tell me about the setting of a typical meal in your family.
All four members of the family sat down to dinner together every night. Most times my mom prepared something from her repertoire of 15-20 dishes she could cook from memory. Every Friday was pizza night and we’d usually sit down and watch TV while we ate.

4. Did you have any odd eating habits as a child?
Nothing particular comes to mind but I’m sure my family members would disagree.

5. If your palate has changed, when did that occur and what did you like differently?

Goodness yes. When I first moved to Austin I lived with a chef and she exposed me to so many exciting culinary wonders, in addition to making me appreciate staples like onions and mushrooms. Now I try as many new foods as possible, from goat brain curry in Bangalore to ant egg tacos in DF.

Sleeping At Last on Food and Creativity

by Antonio F Delgado

I had the opportunity to run into Ryan O’Neal from Sleeping At Last. We got to talk about his love for baked break with cheese, how all of his important decisions are made at a Giardano’s Pizza in Chicago and what it takes to be creative. Enjoy Spooners!

Foodie Foto Featurette /// Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 North Boulevard
Richmond, VA

(804) 340-1400

 

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