Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Asian Food in Austin: 2014 Edition before I stuff my face in Asia

Not long from now, I will departing to the other side of the planet to embark on an eating journey that will no doubt leave me with a Winter Wardrobe several sizes too small. While I’m gone, here’s my list of restaurants in Austin to get a taste of the East.  Last year’s expanded list is here:
Xian Sushi and Noodle House is serves hand pulled noodles, pulled to your specifications. You can have thick noodles, thin noodles, or even flat noodles. I suggest the traditional beef noodle soup as a starter. They also have a great happy hour and reverse happy hour!
Here's the beef noodle soup at Xian Noodle House. 

Shabu Hot Pot and Noodle House (formerly Chenz) is your go to stop for hot pot. While it is a perfect communal and interactive meal on a bitterly cold day, I would eat it alone on a warm day.
Chen’s Noodle House (related to Shabu, but not related to me) is another go to for Chinese noodle dishes.
Don't miss the crispy rice at Umai Mi. The texture is delightful.

Rice Bowl Cafe has the best three cup chicken. The garlic in the dish is worth a cross city trek. Don’t forget the green onion pie when you are there. 

Snow Monster is the new boba tea. Shaved ice has been popular in Asian countries since before I was born. It is just now being discovered here in Austin. Sit down, have one, and get a taste of my mother country.
A lovely twist on deviled eggs.

Kin and Comfort is a little more off the traditional beaten path. However, it is so well executed that even my mother was pleased with the fusion of Southern Comfort and Asian Cuisine. I ordered one of everything on the menu, and you can too.
Umai Mi is not in Austin, but it deserves a nod not only in the Asian food category, but it also deserves a nod in the San Antonio restaurant category. Chef Jason Dady has done a fantastic job putting a modern flair on Asian cuisine. My favorite was the eel dumplings, hands down.
These are some amazing eel dumplings at Umai Mi.

[Coming up] Angry Bear is Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki’s version of Chinese food. Having sampled their mapo tofu at a previous event, I can attest that your socks will be knocked off.
[Coming up] Wu Chow by Mat Clouser and CK Chin should be on your radar. As the choices for satisfactory dim sum in Austin are slimmer than a saffron thread, this new restaurant is a welcome addition. I can’t wait for it to open.

Friday, October 3, 2014

2014 Great American Beer Festival Facebook Social Graph

The Great American Beer Festival of 2014 is underway, and my first post is a social one. It isn't specifically about the festival experience or beer as those will come later. This data was pulled on Oct. 3, 2014.

I present to you the Great American Beer Festival Facebook Page Like Network. This data is a network of pages that GABF likes, and their liked pages liked. Some of the connections are pretty obvious, but others are a little less so. Enjoy the graph and enjoy the festival, safely!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

St. Philip's Pizza Crust from Heaven

St. Philip is nothing short of answered prayers. We now have it - another amazing restaurants in South Austin to join the likes of Lenoir, Sway, and Odd Duck. Here's some recommendations from my first visit.  *Disclosure: I really like Uchi, Uchiko, and the staff there. I guess I'm biased in that I'd like their next venture.

1. Get a beer. Their beer list is thoughtfully crafted so you ought to start with one.

2. Meatballs. I had the chicken meatballs, and I dipped my pizza crust in the white sauce. The meatballs are so juice and flavorful. The flavor of chicken comes through while being perfectly balanced with the spices, herbs, and sauce.

3. Pizza. Specifically the mushroom pizza. The crusts of the pizzas are amazingly tender and fluffy with a crispy bottom. It is like eating clouds of heaven. My heaven is pretty awesome. The mushrooms pizza is drizzled with an utterly delicious umami sauce that is pretty much savory orgasm in a bottle. The mushrooms were so earthy and meaty that it was as if you were eating in the middle of a forest. I was one with nature, and a pizza.

I had some left over pizza the next morning. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH yes!

4. We were gifted with a dish of potato chips. If you thought something s basic couldn't be improved, you are wrong. These chips are delicately paper thin with a salty and tangy crunch. Do not skip.

5. A version of chicken and churros that is sure to make you go "Wha?"

5. Pick up some goodies on your way out.

Like these fine buttery goodies.

Or this lovely chocolate smores snowball? 

St. Philip is still has a few days to go before they officially open to the public on Oct. 2nd. I hope you can wait until then!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Modern Korean Cuisine at Hanjan, New York City

During a trip to New York City, I had the absolute honor of trying out Hanjan, a modern Korean restaurant.  The food was was utterly stunning with contemporary twists on traditional flavors.  I'm so thankful for the experience. 

I didn't look at the menu so I can't say for certain which dishes these were, except absolutely delicious.  The tofu pictured above was cool, firm, yet silky and creamy.  The sauce on it brought back nostalgia like no one's business. 

For the kimchi enthusiasts, this offering is sure to please.  Not only was the kimchi perfectly executed, the perfectly stacked and aligned leaves were nothing short of perfect presentation. 

Get some skewers.  Like all of them.  Korean grilled meats some of my favorite dishes. 

This is probably the best seafood green onion pancake ever.  The seafood and green onion were enclosed in crispy wonderfulness.  This is like traditional green onion pancake on crack. 

I think these were the spicy dumplings.  They were wondeful pillows of spicy goodness.  Eat with the egg yolk to truly experience what it feels like to be rich. 

And more skewers. 

And this fried rice was just done well.  Really well.  There were little crunchy caramelized bits at the bottom, which indicates you did it correctly. 

And for dessert, some sorbets and red beans.  I was in food heaven when I tried these.  They were slightly sweetened, clean, and refreshing.  Thank you, Hanjan, for the hospitality!  I will be back in the future.