Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Junk Food Review: Salted Caramel Moon Pies

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

This is part of Things I Shouldn’t Be Eating: A Continuing Series.

I found this at an HEB:

A Salted Caramel Moon Pie.

Obviously I had to pick it up.

How does it taste?

I wouldn’t waste your money. It tastes like a Banana Moon Pie without the banana, so it still has that faint artificial petrochemical tang, a faint hint of caramel, and a tiny bit of salt.

That’s not good enough.

The Banana Moon Pie is a nostalgic taste from childhood I occasionally indulge in. By comparison, the Salted Caramel Moon Pie is just a disappointment.

When I want a subtle dessert, I’m not reaching for a Moon Pie. I want the the sweet junk food rush of caramel to hit my tongue like jackhammer. The Salted Caramel Moon Pie doesn’t deliver.

Restaurant Review: September 20, 2014: Pour House Pints and Pies

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Pour House Pints And Pies
11835 Jollyville Rd (Austin, 78759)
(512) 270-4740

This is essentially a sports bar that serves pizza. The pizza was pretty good (but could have used more cheese to hold our “four meats plus onions” toppings in place), but the fried mozzarella was undersized for the price, and the service was indifferent at best.

Unless you want to watch sports, there’s no reason to go here instead of Reale’s just up 183.

Restaurant Review: Maggiano’s Little Italy

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Maggiano’s Little Italy
10910 Domain Dr #100, Austin, 78759
(512) 501-7870

  • Pepper Grinder Rating: 0 (They had several impressive pepper grinders in a server cubbyhole, but neglected to offer any to us.)
  • Bathroom Rating: 3
  • WiFi note: There’s free WiFi…if you’re using the conference room and have a password. Otherwise the restaurant seems to be built within a Farady Cage, as my iPhone frequently was unable to connect to AT&T at all.

Maggiano’s offers up tasty, overpriced Italian food. In that sense it’s much like Brio, with the added hassles of being in the Domain, which makes it hard to get to. We also had to wait for a table, even though I had made reservations (though we did get there a little bit early).

The first disappointment after being seated was the free bread: uninspired baguette rounds (though at least they were served warm) with unspiced olive oil. Both Reale’s, with their delicious breadsticks, and Brio, with a more interesting bread assortment and spiced olive oil, do a better job in the bread department.

The crab cakes appetizers were good, but not $15 for two good.

Service was attentive, with numerous free drink refills without having to ask.

For my entree, the veal picatta was both nicely done and had pretty generous portions (which is only fair, considering the price). I thought the angel hair aglio olio was underspiced.

For dessert I had a perfectly caramelized creme brulee with fruit.

It was a very good meal. It also cost some $50, without any alcoholic beverages. That, dealing with the hassle of The Domain, and dealing with the hassle of the crowds (“Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”) make it hard to recommend.

If I’m hungry for great Italian food, Monday through Saturday I’m probably going to go to Reale’s if they’re not too packed. If it’s Sunday (when Reale’s is closed), I’d pick Brio over Maggiano’s.

[Cross-posted to The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.]

Yelp’s Top 100 Places To Eat Include Six from the Austin Area

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

So Yelp has release a Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. list. Their ratings, being based on actual diners, are very different than high-end restaurant critics, and include six places around Austin:

  • 8. Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX
  • 35. Turf N’ Surf Po Boy, Austin, TX
  • 85. Uchiko, Austin, TX
  • 86. Little Deli & Pizzeria, Austin, TX
  • 91. Taste of Ethiopia, Pflugerville, TX
  • 99. Uchi, Austin, TX
  • Quick thoughts:

  • Yeah, because it just wasn’t hard enough to get Franklin BBQ already.
  • Uchiko and Uchi are run by the same people.
  • I’m really happy to see Taste of Ethiopia on here. It’s a swell joint run by great people.
  • By comparison, only one place made the cut in Houston, and none in Dallas…

    (Cross-posted to The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.)

    Saturday Dining Conspiracy Restaurant Review: Imperia

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    310 Colorado St. (Austin, 78701)
    (512) 472-6770

    We’d been hearing good things about Imperia for quite a while, so we thought they were a good choice for the first SDC of 2014.

    It lived up to the hype.

    Imperia serves up pan-Asian fusion cuisine that draws equally from Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisines (and probably a few others as well) in an attractive, understated space in the warehouse district (or what used to be called the warehouse district; they keep changing names and I don’t think there are any warehouses left). There’s a bar, but it doesn’t seem overemphasized the way it does in other downtown establishments.

    We started off with the pork belly steamed buns, which were delicious but definitely smaller than the steamed buns you get at the average dim sum restaurant. The calamari was very good, with a nicely light batter, but not enough to eclipse perennial champion The Clay Pit. For sushi, we picked something that stretched the definition:”The Hot Mess,” which the menu described as “Snow crab and shrimp atop a honey and avocado roll. Topped with Dynomite [sic] sauce and Kochijyan butter,” to which I can only add “what they said.” The individual portions were very tasty and came out in an escargot dish. (I also had two pieces of unagi, which were fine but undersized.)

    For my entree I had “Kinoko to Suteki,” which is a very savory steak and mushroom dish; the portions could have been a bit bigger, but it was in-line with downtown Asian fusion expectations. I also like the portion of Pad-Thai Dwight and I spilt.

    I can’t find an online listing for the dessert I had, which involved creme brulee, ice cream, caramel sauce and decadence. Service was pretty attentive.

    We ended up getting several entrees and appetizers, so the bill was substantial: more than $150 for three people including tax and tip. You’d be hard-pressed to get an appetizer, meal and drink for under $20, but you could probably do it for around $30. Just keep in mind that you’re not paying for Chinese food, you’re paying for a downtown Asian fusion restaurant, and adjust your expectations accordingly. (The biggest difference between Imperia and the late, unlamented Austin location of Roy’s is value. Though we ended up spending about as much at both places, we didn’t feel like we were being ripped off, and we didn’t leave still hungry.)

    Besides price, the biggest problem with Imperia is their location in the warehouse district downtown. Unless you want to use the valet parking, there’s a good chance you’ll have to park several blocks away (I found a metered space on Republic Square). But Imperia is well worth the hassle, either for special occasions or if you already live downtown.

    (This review will also appear on The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.)

    Finnish Bread Ad, As by Ingmar Bergman

    Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

    Don Webb alerted me to this Finnish bread ad which is so depressingly grim that it’s hilarious:

    Translation to the only dialog: “Well are you hungry or not?”

    On Don’s Facebook page, Marc Laidlaw suggested that the father and son might be the same actors who were in Rare Exports, and I think he might be right.

    I worked with a Finn once, and he said Finnish National Health care didn’t bother with such frivolities as Novocaine when they were drilling your teeth when he was growing up. No wonder they kicked the Soviet Union’s ass in the winter war…

    Restaurant Review: July 27, 2013: Prima Pizza Pasta

    Saturday, July 27th, 2013

    (Here’s a restaurant review in route to its place on

    Prima Pizza Pasta
    6001 W Parmer Ln (the same corner as the HEB)

    Once upon a time, this space was a CiCi’s pizza. And it closed. How hard can it be to make a profit at a pizza place when your primary ingredient is cardboard?

    So I was somewhat skeptical when new pizza place went in there. Though situated at a semi-major intersection at Parmer and McNeil, it’s as far as you can get from the center’s anchor store (HEB) and still be in the same center. So how good could their chances be?

    After more than a year: So far, so good. It really helps when you serve excellent pizza.

    Things started off right with the garlic cheese bread, which was excellent; a fellow diner said it was better than that served at Reale’s, which is high praise indeed. Also good were the free rolls. (Alas, the calimari remains nothing to write home about.)

    The pizza itself remains excellent, an exemplary example of the new York style soft thin-crust pizza; I’d have to compare it back-to-back with Reale’s to see which I prefer. In fact, I like the pizza so much that I frequently pick up a slice or two on Fridays. At some point I also want to try some of the non-pizza dishes, which have received a fair amount of praise from fellow diners. And the service from our waitress was also excellent, with many an preemptive soft-drink refill.

    If you like pizza and live anywhere north, you should definitely make an effort to check out Prima. So far they seem to have remained undiscovered, and have plenty of uncrowded seating to enjoy some delicious Italian food.

    Random Image Seen on the Road to Houston

    Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

    “For I am the way, and the truth, and the life, and no one comes unto the McNuggets but through me.”

    Pointless and Awesome

    Monday, June 10th, 2013

    There are many things that are pointless, and some that are awesome.

    Here’s something that’s both:

    Pointless: Because there’s absolutely no practical point in having your food delivered by quadrocopter if your waitress has to stand there and guide the Quadrocopter to your table using an iPad.

    Awesome: Because they’re still flying food to your table in a quadrocopter.

    I may have to eat there when I’m in London for Worldcon next year…

    William Shatner Would STILL Like You To Avoid Setting Yourself on Fire

    Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

    Just as I did last year, I bring you a public service announcement from William Shatner: try not to set yourself on fire while frying a turkey:

    For those with low Shatner thresholds, the advice is:

  • Don’t overfill the pot with oil.
  • Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.
  • Always fry your turkey away from your house.
  • Properly thaw the turkey before cooking.
  • Use a grease-approved fire extinguisher.
  • If you’re going to fry a turkey, this is pretty sound advice.

    And now, new for this year: The remix!

    And remember: It can even happen to professionals, as last year Sambet’s Cajun Cafe managed to burn themselves down frying turkeys.