Childhood Memories with Julie Munroe of Foie Gras Hot Dog

Julie Munroe of Foie Gras Hot Dog  getting ready to bread and fry "scallops."

Julie Munroe of Foie Gras Hot Dog getting ready to bread and fry “scallops.”

Meet Julie Munroe, AFBA member and food blogger for We asked Julie to tell us a bit about her childhood food memories.

1. What was the most (or some of the most) common meal(s) you ate as a child?
We had a big garden and a vegetarian household, so there were typically a lot of vegetables on the plate. Stewed zucchini with hominy, one-dish rice casseroles, baked potatoes with steamed broccoli and cheese sauce.
2. What was your favorite snack as a kid?
Dried bananas – not banana chips, though. We would split the ripe bananas lengthways into the three sections they naturally divide into and dehydrate them until they were leathery, but still a little soft and chewy inside. It was like eating taffy.
3. Tell me about the setting of a typical meal in your family.
We always all had dinner together around the table and I was allowed to be involved in the preparation from an early age. Friday evenings were special because we’d usually have cinnamon rolls, and always rice – rice served with milk and cinnamon, or rice with a savory mushroom curry or chicken tetrazzini-type sauce.
4. Did you have any odd eating habits as a child?
I suppose the fact that we used a good deal of meat analog might count as odd. We had fake lunch meats and gluten “scallops” and such. I was eating Morning Star breakfast patties before they were branded for mainstream grocery stores.
5. If your palate has changed, when did that occur and what did you like differently?
I do eat some fish and chicken occasionally now, and the occasional bite or two of lamb or goat, but it is more an exception than rule for me. My short list of strong dislikes (avocados, fresh tomatoes, grainy Lima beans) is still pretty similar to when I was a kid, but has softened a bit. I’m pretty cool with fresh tomatoes in things these days, at least.
This is a part of our Childhood Memories series. Want to be considered for a future post on your childhood memories? Contact

New vegetarian cookbook “Herbivoracious” leads to dining discovery

Last week, Antonio and I participated in Michael Natkin’s book tour stop in Austin for his new cookbook “Herbivoracious” under the same name as his blog. While we haven’t gotten a chance to cook with it yet (look for future blog posts on recipe adventures we have using this cookbook), we were impressed with the color photography, which Michael took himself.

The event took place at Icenhauer’s on Rainey Street and was catered by its new next door neighbor El Naranjo, who supplied us with wonderful food, including some “can’t stop eating it because it’s amazing guacamole.”  If you’ve heard of the just-opened-last-week-on-Rainey-Street El Naranjo it’s because it was formerly a food truck. The fine dining restaurant is open for dinner only for now and describes itself as traditional Mexican cuisine, but I think you, like us, will find it anything but typical of the Mexican fare you find around here. In fact, we thought it might have more of a South American background from its unique blends.

Sorry for the tangent on El Naranjo, but that just shows how impressed we were!

Anyway, Michael was a gracious host answering all of our crazy questions, such as “Who are you? Why a cookbook? Where are your from? Where are you going next?” All of the answers can be found at his blog

We were excited to receive a courtesy copy of his cookbook with an inscription to the OhSpooners. If you are new to vegetarianism, just looking to cut back on meat or want some more vegetarian choices to add to your repertoire, this cookbook may strike your fancy. After the intro, Michael goes into detail on some of the ingredients and hand tools that are used a lot in the book and may not be familiar with readers, such as mirin, panko and a potato ricer.

The book, which includes 150 recipes, is broken down by appetizers/small dishes, soups, salads, 4 main courses, side dishes, desserts, breakfast and sauces, condiments and basic recipes.

The Spooners can’t wait to try it out and report back!
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Festivals Galore

The Gypsy Picnic has its own festival trailer at the entrance.

This weekend has been filled with festivals for Austin, Texas. The Austin Film Festival, the Texas Book Festival, the Cedar Park Fall Festival (where Antonio and his band Dear Science played!), and, of course, the second annual Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival at Auditorium Shores.

We lined up a mere 45 minutes early—just to be sure we got all the best stuff. My mom kept trying to sneak in; I’m pretty sure that was her favorite part of the day.

By the time 11 a.m. rolled around there was quite the crowd gathered. Trying to be a bit too much like ACL, they played the “Star Wars” theme song as they opened the lines. But that’s where the cheesiness ended and the fun began.

While everyone stayed to the left of the park, I headed across the field, rogue-style making a quick stop at Tenderland for a portabello sandwich, followed by The ZubikHouse for a caprese kolache and then to Holy Cacao for a frozen hot chocolate. Yum yum.

The ZubikHouse's kolaches are made of sweet bread.

Tenderland’s portabello sandwich was good, but not great. It was a good call adding grilled onions, cheese and some sort of sauce, but it could definitely use a little something else for pizzazz—tomato slices? Basil? green chiles? I also think they would make a better impression with homemade buns. That being said, I appreciate their vegetarian option and it was good sized for the price.

The ZubikHouse’s caprese kolache was very yummy, with a very sweet bread, topped with cheese, basil and tomato.

Holy Cacao's frozen hot chocolate is scrumdiddlyumptious!

But the winner of the three from my point of view was the frozen hot chocolate by Holy Cacao. ‘Holy Cacao!’ is right! This drink has all the tastings of hot cocoa except for the temperature. We were all blown away and dear Antonio drank about half of mine, even though I was really just trying to share a sip with him.

Tips for next year:
• Get there early
• Map your route
• Don’t dilly dally
• Grab a few things at once