December 29, 2009

24 Diner: Where to take a break from dieting

I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I stopped into 24 Diner before Christmas when my anticipated romantic date of ice-skating at Whole Foods fell-through. *Sigh* Instead, I chose to eat my heart out at 24 Diner which is located pretty much across the street.

After perusing the menu ... debating between cheeseburgers, hamburgers, sandwiches, breakfasts ... I decided, to hell with it! Why eat healthy?! I'm not on a diet ... at least not for the next hour and a half. I shall order the Pork Belly Sandwich!

And that I did do with a side of house fries. The pork belly was nicely tender topped interestingly enough with some pickled cabbage. Is this a pork belly banh mi?! Maybe. The pork belly is already a pretty thick and meaty flavor to get lost in ... having the crunchy, distinct pickled taste of the cabbage gave the sandwich a nice kick. This plate was ginormous ... I only ate half. And thankfully, they use normal ketchup. GOD, the Highball uses "homemade ketchup" which pisses me the hell off. Who gives a damn if you use homemade ketchup. I want my Heinz, damn it. It's like telling me you have some homemade Dr. Pepper. Kind of.

Anyway, I want to go back and try some of their breakfast options. The french toast looks out of this world. I'm still awed at Galaxy Cafe's ...

24 Diner
600 N. Lamar
Austin, TX 78703
Open 24 hours



November 24, 2009

The Hearty Vegetarian: Mr. Natural

It took a lot of kicking and pulling to persuade my boyfriend to come to Mr. Natural. I think a lot of people immediately assume that when a restaurant is purely vegetarian or vegan, then the food must be bland or at least ... not as good as if it had meat.

This has obviously been proven wrong, not only in their case but with so many other Austin restaurants: Daily Juice, Mother's, Veggie Heaven, Bouldin Creek ... it must obviously taste good if the demand is high enough to open this many unique vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

Mr. Natural is a mexican-focused vegetarian restaurant, but many of its pastries and entrees carry influence from elsewhere. They make AWESOME pastries, as you can see in the pictures below. They had stacks of fresh-made apple pies that were still warm by the entryway. Seriously, they are pros at pastries.

Their empanadas look unreal. Like someone picked the moon from the sky and stuffed it with some pumpkin and baked it. They offer tons of vegan baked goods too. I had a vegan cupcake on my birthday at work from here, and it was bomb. Vegan cake tastes like normal cake, folks!

Alas, what I came to Mr. Natural for was a good hearty meal and I found it. I tried their Tofu Migas and they truly encompassed the hearty vegetarian meal. Actually, I think this dish is vegan. It's crispy tortilla strips cooked in ranchero sauce and scrambled tofu. I've generally liked dishes that substitute egg with tofu. It's a pretty genius idea, since the texture of a scrambled egg is pretty similar to that of crushed soft tofu. Another place that uses this replacement is Jo's ... where you can get the No-Egg Tofu Salad Sandwich which is one of my favoritest sandwiches in Austin. As for possibly being the best migas in town ... these definitely are high up on my list now. They are definitely the best vegetarian/vegan migas in town. I tried Cafe Mundi's awhile ago and it was ... gross. Mr. Natural's were awesomely spicy and I forgot ever needing meat in my life for a second.

Finally, a pumpkin empanada. Not my favorite ... and it's not because it wasn't a good empanada. I think it would have been better with another filling. I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin, but it wasn't bad. For those pumpkin lovers out there, this is probably the pastry for you. In addition, they make fresh pumpkin pies as well. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Besides all of this good food, Mr. Natural has a section of their restaurant dedicated as a health food store. They sell supplements, herbs, etc. They also have a weekly yoga class at the E. Cesar Chavez location.

I am definetely a fan of this place. It's got great ambiance and so much to offer!!! I almost want to be vegetarian to be a legit Mr. Natural fan, but I like chicken too much.

Mr. Natural
East Location:
Monday - Saturday
Open from 8 A.M. - 8 P.M.
1901 E. Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78702

Phone - 512-477-5228

South Location:
Monday - Saturday
Open from 8 A.M. - 8 P.M.
2414- A South Lamar
Austin, TX 78704



November 18, 2009

How to Die Happily on S. Lamar on a Full Stomach After Lunch

Well, first, you need to drive to S. Lamar circa lunchtime... and hit up Lulu B's first.

It has been a while since I've revisited Lulu B's ... and thanks to Dishola's 10% off twitter deal that day, I decided I had no excuse. I don't know why I don't come here more often. I get really excited whenever I tell anyone about it or hear someone talk about it. I think it's the best banh mi in a reachable distance if you're a student or you live in central/downtown Austin. Plus, who doesn't love a foodstand?! It's like we love sitting outside of a foodstand on a cold, windy day with napkins flying everywhere ... why? Maybe it makes us think we're tougher...? Yes, that is precisely why I go to foodstands (not).

Lulu B's looking it's finest with a true Austinite and his road bike perched outside the window. Aww.

Unfortunately it took too long for these babies to come out, but once they did... they were devoured. Freshly made summer rolls with excellent spicy peanut sauce.

Chinese barbecue pork banh mi. This picture just brings about such warm, happy feelings. This sandwich is maybe the best thing ever? I'm pretty sure I'd be satisfied with a good plenty of things once I smother it in sriracha, but I mean ... the toasted bun, all of the crunchy veggies, the bbq pork ... and sriracha ... AHHHH, i die... but not yet.

Why can't you be open 24 hours? That's my only suggestion.

Guess where we went next. Can you believe that there was any room left in our stomachs?! We went to none other than buzzworthy Gourdough's. Gour[met] Dough[nuts]. After splitting huge summer rolls and eating an entire banh mi. My picture only showed you half.

Part of their extensive gourmet menu. We decided to get something that was easily splittable, so we settled on the ODB pictured below:

Think funnel cake 7.0. Like, someone made a funnel cake and improved it 7 times and finally, it became the ODB. This genius plate-like setting of doughnut holes filled with cream, covered in icing, and then topped with coconut. Yeah you think you're dead... because this seems a lot like heaven, doesn't it? Ahhh...

But anyway, to really die, you need to come to the realization that you've eaten an amazingly cheap and tasty lunch at 2 awesome S. Lamar food stands. You're at 95% risk now of having a heartattack... so you might as well go stand in the middle of the road... because there will be Lulu B's and Gourdough's in heaven... I hope.

Lulu B's
2101 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 921-4828

Tue-Fri. 11:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sat. 11:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m

1219 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

Mon-Sun. 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m (woohoo!)



November 15, 2009

Dishola's Dish-for-Dish Campaign

As one of Dishola's Ambassadors, we've been working like crazy for this campaign ... why? For every meal that is reviewed on the website unti 11/30, and Whole Foods will donate a meal to Meals on Wheels. It's such a great cause and it really takes no effort on your part.

You basically just have to blabber out your thoughts on what you've eaten (who doesn't want to do that?) and post a photo and voila! We're basically helping you be a more active foodie... the latest and greatest trend, don't you know?

We've been in talks with so many beloved local Austin restaurants to participate in daily Twitter deals that will make your taste buds jump for joy! Cornucopia, One Taco, Lucky J's, and Maki have already participated in the past few days.

But this is just the beginning ... I'll give you an idea of some restaurant Twitter deals coming up: Lulu B's, Fricano's Deli, Uchi, Sugar Mama's, Polka Dots, Portabla... and that's not even everyone!

So definitely keep your eyes peeled.

Follow Dishola on Twitter here @dishola and happy dish-for-dish deals will be floating your way.

Eating makes you a better person, especially in this occasion. :) Dine, Dish, and Donate!



November 5, 2009

Fricano's Deli: Everything You've Been Looking For

This is the place you've been waiting to find. Fricano's Deli is that secret cult of elite sandwich eating people that you've been hoping to stumble upon. Fortunately for me, I live within 30 seconds walking distance of it.

This place is so tiny and it's always packed at lunch time. I felt like I was standing in someone's kitchen... it was awesome. They're super friendly, accommodating, and affordable.

All of their ingredients are fresh and they have a pretty extensive sandwich menu along with homemade spreads. They even have a sandwich where they literally put every meat and topping they have on it. I think that's going to be what I get next time. And then on top of that, they also have side salads, soups, and desserts... which I think some are vegan.

And my sandwich: The Turkey Special with Jalapeno Spread and Italian Rustic Bread. I love sandwiches with sprouts and the cucumber gives it an extra crunch. Then to top it off, you've got avocado mixed with the spicy jalapeno spread... and the soft rustic Italian bread. Awesome.

If you want to be in the elite sandwich eating club, this is where to go. Just sayin'.



October 28, 2009

El Chilito: Sunshine and Frozen Sangria

Oh food stands shmood shtands (jk I ruv food stands). You know who really made walking up to a window and eating outside in Austin a trend? El Chilito, my friends. The spin-off of El Chile that lures us with its yummy treats across 35 to the land of Manor. I find myself there when I am at a loss for where to eat and it always makes me happy. I refuse to ever let go of this addiction. There would be serious withdrawal.

El Chilito with it's awesomely retro sign. Wow, it's such a trendsetter. No, but really, I do like their sign.

And the window where you order from that is fly-free, yay. Not to mention their menu consists of many tasty delights which I have yet to explore. I would really like to try some of their paletas with interesting flavors ... like ... horchata, lucas (?), and pickle (?!).

Hey, but when it comes to frozen treats on a nice sunny day in Austin, TX ... it's hard to pick a paleta over El Chilito's famous frozen sangria. Yeah, this thing will last you your whole burrito and you will feel great afterward. You can also get it to go, which I feel is illegal, but ... anyway, you can get it to go.

On to the food ... I'm not the biggest fan of their salsa. It's too mole-y for me. If I want mole, I'll eat mole. But when I want salsa, I want spicy-ass salsa for my chips. But their guacamole is great. So get that instead! Unless you really like mole and want it on your chips.

Finalmente, the Tinga de Pollo. This is my favorite burrito there. I've tried some others and this one still reigns as my fav. It's described as a "braised chicken in a chipotle tomato sauce." Definitely tasted the tomato and the chipotle together which was really great. The chicken is always nicely shredded and tender so you don't have awkward chunks falling all over the place.

Lastly, as an added bonus ... if it does get cold in Austin, El Chilito offers blankets. This was taken in January '09 ... and see, I'm still drinking my frozen sangria like it's not 40 degrees. No worries.

Highly recommended if you are new to the Austin area and in search of easy-to-like-pretty-authentic Mexican. Well, no. I take that back. Highly recommended to anyone. When was the last time you went there? You should go back.

El Chilito
2219 Manor Dr. (there is also another location on Barton Springs)
Austin, TX 78722
512 382 3797



October 13, 2009

Galaxy Cafe: French Toast that is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

I apologize for my lack of food updates. To be honest, I have had an embarrassingly copious amount of great food in the past 2 weeks. My excuse: my 21st birthday, endless amounts of schoolwork, and jobsearching.

I will post about one of the restaurants I had over my birthday weekend: Galaxy Cafe. Surprisingly this one stood out from all of the restaurants I tried over the weekend which included: Eastside Showroom, Korea Garden, and Uchi. You must be wondering... why?!?! I don't know, maybe I was just in the mood for something a little less pretentious. Something that I could feel less compelled to evaluate... food for the sake of food, right? Like... I just wanted breakfast, haha. I didn't want to go to this restaurant because there was a "buzz" ... and it ended up for the best. :)

Our breakfast drinks: Mimosas and Iced Coffee.
Yeah if you know me, I am ADDICTED to anything related to coffee. Off topic, someone get me some of that Iced Cafe Bustelo in a can please. Where do you find that canned goodness?!??! As an iced coffee guru, I would say that Galaxy's was a bit creamy for me. It was like in between the Mojo from Epoch and the Turbo from Jo's ... but more on the Mojo side of the spectrum. Jo's Turbo is a little overkill for me ... especially if you ask them what the hell is in that glass of a heartattack.

Speaking of heartattacks ... um, FRENCH TOAST DELUXE, let's be friends forever!!! This reminds me of all of the breakfasts I've had at "nice brunch places" ... like Russell's or Magnolia ... where the one thing that would have really been the icing on the cake (or in this case, the strawberries on the french toast) ... would have been super FRESH FRUIT. I don't want mediocre fresh fruit. I don't want canteloupe-tasting strawberries. I don't want mushy watermelon. Give me these beautiful gigantic sliced strawberries PLEASE. And and and thank you for a huge non-soggy french toast... generously covered in powdered sugar. It was awesome. The bread was the cinnamon-y kind of unsweet ... which is perfect because you want your sweetness to come from the garnishings. And garnishings they did provide. Sigh.

And of course, MIGAS! Yeah, still on the search for Austin's best migas. These weren't Austin's best migas... unfortunately. I still have yet to find those, but they were decent. Would have been better with chorizo and black beans. That seems to always be my recommendation, huh. Why give refried beans when you can give black beans? That's all.

Galaxy Cafe
1000 W. Lynn St.
Austin, TX
512 478 3434