Posts filed under ‘Austin Eats’
Like I mentioned earlier, Olive loves eating and she eats solids like she’s been eating them her entire 6 month existence.
Alert: Tomorrow we go for her 6 month checkup. I’m excited to see what she weighs and how tall she is, I’m not excited for when they give her shots and make me cry all the tears.
I’ve created some graphics to hit home just how much fun we’re having with Olive’s food journey. We love discovering her favorites and least favorites. She has likes and dislikes (duh), but still something I think is SO COOL. We created a mini human, and just like all other humans, she’s going to have her own little personality.
First and foremost…
This is muy importante! Okay, not really. But I’m on a constant mission to have only cute things. True story. There are millions of products out there that will make your baby’s food journey visually appealing for the both of you. We have this and this and this and love them all.
My sister-in-law gifted me this fantastic book for Christmas this past year. I read it and fully intended on making ALL of Olive’s baby food so I could control exactly what was going into her body, down to every mouthful. Welp, that didn’t exactly happen. I do make some of her baby food, but only about 25% and that’s probably being very generous. When I’m not mushing and mashing and squirting milk directly from my boob into Olive’s mashed avocado (this has happened on more than one occasion), I buy baby food pouches. I buy them because I kind of love their package design (I’m a designer. Deal with it) and they usually boast being organic and I love that on the ingredients list I will find no more than 5, totally pronounceable words. We like this brand, this brand, and this brand.
Despite us always joking that Olive is a chunk (I mean, she’s in the 50th percentile for every stat, hardly qualifies her as the Michelin Man), she doesn’t like every food and sometimes she’s downright uninterested in eating. The kid is always more interested in what’s on the table around her rather than the food at hand. The crinkly pouches of food and her sippy cup filled with water are always cooler than a spoonful of zucchini.
Olive has become so aware of both her older sister and big brother these days. She’s always reaching for them and smiling when they walk by. Unfortunately, neither one of them wants anything to do with her. I punish them by sometimes forgetting to feed Rocco. KIDDING.
What is Olive having for dinner tonight you ask? zucchini, banana, and amaranth. Thanks to this baby food journey I’m also learning new words/foods.
Every time we pick up Olive these days we feel our backs slowly breaking. This kid, she be gaining weight STEADILY. Which is great.
Things that weigh just as much as Olive:
1) A bag of bricks
2) A cubic yard of wet cement
3) An apartment
She’s currently rounding out her first week of solid foods. We were going to wait until she was 6 months old but we instead made it to 5.5 months. Ya see, we’d be drinking things and eating things and she’d start yelling and reaching for whatever it was. She totally let us know she was ready. The first time she ate rice cereal she ate it like she had been eating it her entire life.
Like a boss.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving this year. We were able to sit back and not travel (I loathe traveling during this holiday) and I managed to whip up some tasty recipes thanks to the internet and the Food Network.
If you haven’t checked out Closet Cooking yet, you need to (his newest Thanksgiving leftover post is gravy). This guy makes amazing traditional and not-so-traditional recipes and takes incredible photos of them all. I was shown this recipe by a friend weeks ago and vowed that it would be a part of our Thanksgiving table this year. It got rave reviews.
As did the stuffed portabello mushroom caps that Ina from the Food Network showed me just two days before Turkey Day. My dad’s fav part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing, this year I said I’d take it on. He was skeptical and worried (to the point where he made a small dish of his tried and true stuffing recipe). Needless to say, his turned out dry and mine turned out FABULOUS. I dare say that it was the talk of the table :-)
Saturday Alex and I took my mom out for a birthday lunch to Mother’s Cafe & Garden in Hyde Park. A place I’d been meaning to try for the past few years. I knew it had to be pretty good since it was a meat lover that recommended this vegetarian only restaurant to me.
So Saturday I got my chance. My mom and Alex both enjoyed artichoke and mole enchiladas while I had their mushroom, black olive, and spinach quiche with a yummy limeade.
The ambience was great, quirky and peaceful and the food was quality. I’ll be back.
Across the street we spotted Antonelli’s Cheese Shop which we’d both read about in Austin Monthly and decided to check it out. It’s an adorable yet sophisticated shop with great owners that really know their product. The service was impeccable and we were able to sample whichever cheese, salami, chocolate, honey, etc. that we pleased. After many oohs and ahhs Alex and I decided on a sharp cheddar from England and raw Tupelo honey. The two paired great together and I knew it would be a hit at home with some rice crackers and vino.
On the way out we sampled some incredible chocolate made in the St. Louis area with only the highest quality of ingredients. I forget the brand, d’oh. Upon trying their milk chocolate variety I exclaimed to the owner:
“Was this made with goat’s milk?”
She responded with a puzzled look because it was made with cow’s milk…however, upon reading the ingredients was informed that goat milk powder was also added.
Schwing! Let’s just say that eyebrows were raised while she uttered, “You have an impeccable palette!”
It kind of felt awesome. I can’t say that palette is educated in the wine area but dammit I know my chocolate!
P.S. Alex never believes me when I say I can taste goat’s milk or cheese for that matter. Says it doesn’t taste any different to him than cow’s milk or cheese. Which I think is crazy talk…having him standing right there during my victory made it that much sweeter :-)
My love affair with my favorite celebrity chef continues. I saw the following two recipes on two different Giada At Home episodes and knew I had to try them both.
We’ll start with the dessert item, because I’m wacky like that. I mean it was the first of the two recipes I saw on her show anyway. These blueberry marscapone turnovers (which I lovingly refer to as my mini pies) were divine. Especially straight out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream and nutella drizzled on top. I MEAN SHUT UP. nom.
you can WATCH how to make these here. Unfortunately, I can’t find the written recipe.
The second recipe was for stuffed peppers. I tried making these back in high school. And while I remember the filling being tasty I was disappointed with how undercooked the peppers were. Back then I didn’t have Giada to hold my hand and tell me to fill the pan 3/4 of the way up with either hot water or hot chicken/veggie broth in order for the peppers to get CRAZY tender. And oh my garsh were they tender. FALL APART TENDER. They tasted so divine, and the golden layer of cheese on top was perfect. For the recipe go here.
Now I didn’t follow either recipe to the letter. It’s just not my style. I think Giada would respect this as I like to put my own personal touch on culinary delights.
For the blueberry marscapone mini pies I didn’t use egg wash to bind them, rather plain ole water. And for health and mostly clean up reasons I decided not to fry them. Baking them was far easier and makes them even more like mini pies…instead of fried pies (OMG FRIED PIE. WHERE?)
And for the stuffed peppers I made my own stuffing of garlic couscous, fresh wilted spinach, sauteed onions and bell pepper (used from the tops of the bell peppers that I cut off), artichoke hearts, fresh from the garden tomatoes, and sharp cheddar. OH and don’t skip the basil sauce for topping, it really made them sing (sweet nothings to me). Tip, I used the rest of the marscapone from the mini pies instead of creme fraiche in the basil sauce. How very resourceful of me.
Both items were served for a dinner party we had that night. It was also the same night that Alex found a runaway dog right before the guests arrived. Good thing Giada taught me to prepare the food way ahead of time and put it in the oven when guests arrive :-)
We made our first stop on our journey to find the best breakfast taco in Austin this past Monday.
Taco Xpress on S. Lamar can’t be missed (literally), while traveling down the busy street you see what seems to be a junk yard with brightly colored objects in it (kidding…well not really). The place is definitely funky and DELICIOUS.
I ordered a breakfast taco with egg, cheese, potato, and chorizo as well as a picadillo taco and horchata. Alex got two picadillo tacos as well as a barbacoa…and a friend ordered some queso that we sampled.
All the food was great, my chorizo breakfast taco was definitely the best I’ve had in Austin so far (crazy right, on the first stop I’ve already topped my list of favs) and the picadillo was the perfect blend of spice and flavor. The salsas frescas were full of bright flavors and a good amount of heat. My first time trying the famed horchata was faboo. It was perfect match to a taco because it instantly cooled down your mouth after a spicy bite! And as I was telling my dining mates, it had a distinct flavor that brought me straight back to childhood. I STILL can’t put my finger on the exact spice/memory I was tasting. It’s going to drive me nuts.
I wish Taco Xpress had another location because I would frequent the place…for now I’ll have to deal with making the trek down south for some yummy am snacks.
Onto the next…La Mexicana Bakery here I come!
…to find the best breakfast taco in Austin.
I know where to find my favorite taco in Austin but as far as breakfast tacos go they’re always just good…I want to find one that is GREAT!
Places I’ve already tried that are just good are Rudy’s, Taco Shack, Jim’s, Taco Cabana (I lie, these aren’t that good), and J&J BBQ.
The following are a list of places I’d like to hit that I’ve either heard have great breakfast tacos or through some extensive googling have read about their am treats!
Taco Xpress is up first this coming Monday which we have off. Woot. I’ll report back!
Anybody in Austin with other suggestions that I should hit up???
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cook one recipe out of each of the cook books I own. We only have about a dozen or so so it shouldn’t be toooooo hard.
I’ve only cooked out of one up until today and just because I want to be counter productive I decided to cook out of that same cook book today.
So not much progress made on the resolution front but I really adore that cook book and sometimes it’s hard to break away.
I made spaghetti con vongole (clams). Well that was the plan at least, of course the only thing we forgot at the store was spaghetti. oops. The penne worked fine but it wasn’t quite the same of what I remembered from a seaside trattoria we ate at in Positano.
Also a note to those who wish to try cooking this recipe, scrub your clams before using them rather than just soaking them. There was a bit of sand in the sauce…not my favorite. But the flavors were delicious at least.
This past weekend my brother married his partner Jin. The event was held at Mandola’s Winery in Driftwood, Texas and was lovely.
Besides us enjoying the ceremony, beautiful weather, wine tasting, and each other’s company we enjoyed what was the best meal I’ve had in years.
Some highlights were the antipasto platter during the tasting, the four cheese hand-made ravioli, and the cheesecake which I believe was life changing!
I’m not ashamed to admit that The Food Network is my all time favorite network. HGTV, Bravo, and The Travel Channel are really high up there, but alas, they lack in comparison…for me at least.
But of the three, Giada is my food TV personality soul mate. I want her home with its amazing vistas of the Pacific, mature agaves, modern architecture, and her many cooking accessories.
The above is an accessory I’ve seen her eggs housed in several times…so naturally I needed it. The item has been on my list of things I want/need for awhile now and I was able to cross it off this past Saturday.