Friday, January 27, 2012

Did You Say Pepperoni Soup?!

Only 7 short months ago, I told a tale (over 3 blog posts) of my insane eating vacation in Austin, TX while I was there for the IACP conference. I ate so much BBQ that I was afraid I'd turn into a whole hog and I gave you every last fattening detail.

As luck would have it, Patrick's cousin lives in Austin and was getting married, so I got to go back for the week between Christmas and New Year's. I won't torture you with the details of every single thing I ate, but a few meals are necessary to highlight. Boy oh boy, Austin is quite the foodie town!

Our first meal was lunch right after checking into our hotel. A bunch of us went to a place on South Congress called Hopdoddy Burger Bar. You are right if you think the name is a little odd, so here is what it means: Hopdoddy was created to express the perfect union of burgers and beer: handcrafted beer (hop) + (doddy), the nickname given to the native cow in Aberdeen, Scotland. You learn something new every day!

The line was nearly out the door (usually a good sign) and as soon as I saw the frosty chalices of beer being held by many of the patrons in line, I knew the wait wouldn't be too difficult for us to endure. We all jumped into the line and, even though I don't usually love beer, I couldn't pass up an icy glass of Real Ale Fireman's #4.

We only had to wait about 20 minutes, and they had a great policy where the table is ready for you as soon as you order your food. I went for the burger called The Goodnight, which was Angus Beef, Tillamook Cheddar, Hickory BBQ Sauce and Sassy Sauce. What the heck is Sassy Sauce?! That's a great question, and I don't entirely know the answer to that, but I think it was some kind of mix of mayo and mustard. Whatever it was, it was delicious!

Here I am with my refreshing chalice of beer.

And here is my awesome burger, The Goodnight. 

It was a great burger, perfectly cooked (medium rare, of course), juicy, flavorful and awesome toppings. The bun was great and the sauces were very tasty. Best of all, it was about 65 degrees and sunny, so we got to sit outside and enjoy our food in the sun. Perfect!

The other meal that I have to mention was our lunch at Second Bar + Kitchen on the corner of Second Street and Congress. My friend Rev (better known as Burger Conquest) introduced me to his amazing friend Julie down in Austin, and Julie is engaged to Second Bar + Kitchen's Chef de Cuisine, Ethan Holmes. Julie and Ethan are both totally awesome people, and I wanted Pat to try the Buffalo Frickles I had last time I was in Austin. To my great surprise, Ethan was in the kitchen, so we got to say hi to him as well.

We, of course, started with the aforementioned Buffalo Frickles with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce.I can't say enough good things about them. Spicy, tangy, pickle-y and honestly just downright amazing. Pat was a huge fan of them, as I knew he would be, and we finished the plate off in no time at all.

Next up, and another thing I must give credit to Rev for telling me about, the Pepperoni Soup, truly one of the most unique soups I have ever tasted.

An amazing bowl of San Marzano Tomato Soup with Pepperoni, Melted Mozzarella and Garlic Croutons, you would swear you were biting into a slice of pepperoni pizza with every taste. Ethan, I don't know how you do it, but keep doing it!

Finally, another repeat visit, I had to take Pat to Juan in a Million for the Don Juan Taco, "A secret combination of potato, egg, bacon and cheese in a deliciously hot tortilla" for only $3.80!

I think Pat likes it, don't you?!

We did eat a lot of other great things, like BBQ for Pat's cousin's Rehearsal Dinner, Fish Tacos at the Turf N Surf Po' Boys Food Cart (you have to try the Blue Marlin Taco!) and so much more. Austin is an awesome city with incredible food. I'm going back in March for South by Southwest, and I can't wait for lots of new eating adventures.

What are some of your favorite spots in Austin? I'm looking forward to checking out Congress next time I'm there.

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends. I was lucky enough to spend Christmas, Hanukkah (yes, my family celebrates both) and my grandfather's 87th birthday with my own family in CT, and then the next week through New Year's Day in Austin, TX with Patrick and his family. His cousin got married and we had a wonderful time in Austin!

Here we are enjoying some beer at HopDoddy's Burgers & Beer

I usually don't give into the idea of "resolutions" because I feel like it's just an excuse to wait until January 1st to make important changes to your life, but this year I decided that a few changes were definitely in order for me. I've generally always been fairly active and haven't struggled too much with my weight, but when I moved to New York City and started working in the food industry, let's just say that I haven't been as healthy as possible lately.

For the new year, I made a few goals that I'd like to share, because I think having them written out publically will help me stick to them. Also, as I review restaurants this year, I won't be trying everything on the menu anymore with no restrictions. My new eating plan will have an effect on my blog posts, so it's only fair I share my goals. I made 8, because it's my lucky number:

1. No more Bagel Friday: My office gives us free bagels every Friday morning. I will no longer be participating

2. Replace unhealthy snacks with fruits & vegetables: My faves so far are raspberries, bananas and carrots

3. Take 2 Fish Oil pills every day: I was cursed with high cholesterol and want to try this natural remedy

4. Still allow myself to splurge, but make it count: I love steak. I love fried chicken. I can still have these things, but only in moderation and only for special occastions. And no, "Monday night" does not count as a special occasion

5. COOK MORE OFTEN: At least twice a week, if not more. This also means I need to food shop more often

6. Only go out to get lunch ONCE a week: Or zero times a week, if I can help it. I'm allowing myself once a week in case of emergencies. This will be a big change from my 5-days-a-week habit. Sorry, Seamless. Cooking more means more leftovers, so I can bring lunch from home

7. Drink less: Alcohol should also be saved for special occasions. A glass of wine with my steak or a cocktail with friends. Not 5 beers because the Patriots are on

8. Make smart choices when dining out: I don't need to eat half the loaf of bread or get mac & cheese with my chicken

I'm sure I'll come up with more, but those are my main eating goals for 2012. What are yours?

Let's Eat (Healthy!)
-The Fabulous Foodie