Discada Taco Truck Uses Unconventional Cooking Style in Austin

Discada Taco Truck Chefs in Austin

Chef Xose Velasco (left) and co-chef Alejandro Macias (right), outside the Discada taco truck

What do farming machinery and tacos have in common? If you ask the chefs at Discada, they'll tell you it's the modified plow disc from a tractor, a cooking method traditional to northern Mexico.

With one of the shortest menus you've ever seen, this Austin taco truck brings a cherished childhood recipe to life, using a preparation technique that's one of a kind.

Thank you, Discada, for sharing your story and food with me. All opinions are my own.

Childhood Tradition to Food Truck Manifestation

Discada Taco Meat in Austin

Chef Xose preparing the taco meat in the discada, which provides even heat distribution

It all began when Discada chef Xose Velasco and his buddies, Anthony Pratto and Sean Donahue, got together to celebrate in Velasco's backyard.

Still in their teens, the boys were taken by Velasco's father's taco preparation. In the backyard, several layers of meat and vegetables would slowly simmer on an open flame for hours, in the signature "discada," or plow disc.

The hot food was finally served on warm tortillas, complete with salsa and lime juice. Velasco soon learned the cherished family recipe.

"Discada cooking, also known as cowboy-wok cooking…has been used for generations," Discada's website says. The discada, which functions as a kind of wok, allows even heat distribution throughout cooking.

As the friends grew up, Velasco, Pratto, and Donahue found themselves in different parts of the state. Get-togethers came with the expectation that Velasco would bring a discada, to cook the tacos so dear to them all.

It became obvious that the discada taco needed to be shared with everyone, and thus Discada opened. Austin was an obvious choice, given how much we love our tacos here.

Let's Talk Tacos

Discada Tacos in Austin

Discada tacos: meat, onions, jalapeños, pineapple, salsa verde, escabiche

Chef Velasco and co-chef Alejandro Macias have been friends since before their voices cracked. The two keep each other accountable to bring their best. They went through multitudes of recipes before coming to an agreement on what to serve from their truck. The agreement was a big deal, given they had never come to one in the history of their friendship (they're from rival cities).

The taco meat marinades for 24 hours. It takes six hours of slow simmering in the discada, and plenty of seasoning and patience for this delicious taco to be born. Prep is usually half a days' activity and probably the most labor-intensive part. Salsas are made in-house. The pink escabiche is unique to Discada, and guaranteed to light your mouth on fire. (Seriously, it's hot.)

The menu is simple: only one kind of taco in plates of one, five, or eight tacos. You can add a side of elotes (corn) for an additional charge. Topo Chico is available to wash it all down.

Discada's crew and I had a good time chatting up a storm. Velasco and Macias's camaraderie is infectious, and you can taste the love and memories in the food. The truck sells out regularly, even though it's only been open a few months!

Little Truck, Big Plans

Discada East Austin Taco Truck on Rosewood

Discada taco truck on Rosewood in east Austin

Discada recently showed off its wares at Austin Monthly's Best of Austin party. The tacos sold out quickly, as people returned for seconds and thirds.

Going off of how much Austinites love Discada, Velasco, Macias, Pratto, and Donahue hope to continue their partnership by simply making more food. A detailed expansion plan is in the works. In the meantime, head to the little trailer located on Rosewood for a taco that tastes like happiness.

Chef Xose Velasco Holds Discada Tacos

Chef Velasco holds his pride and joy, Discada tacos

Tuesday through Thursday 3-10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 3-11 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday
1319 Rosewood Ave. – Website

 

@theAustinot wants to know:

Have you tried Discada yet?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Discada Taco Truck Uses Unconventional Cooking Style in Austin appeared first on The Austinot

No Bad Days: Insider's Guide to Lake Travis

Lake Travis GuideWhen Austin's summer temps surpass a punishing 100 degrees, it's time to cool off in a swimming hole. Lake Travis, roughly 30 minutes from central Austin, has been a watery, refreshing respite from Austin's heat, traffic, and citified stress since 1942. This is your detailed guide to spending a flawless day in and around Lake Travis.

Lake Travis, one of a series of manmade lakes around Texas, is a branch of the Colorado River. The Lower Colorado River Authority created Lake Travis when it built Mansfield Dam (part of the Highland Lakes project to create lakes throughout central Texas).

The lake measures approximately 63.5 miles, snaking up and around west Travis County nearly to Marble Falls. It's our largest body of water in the area and has spawned a lifestyle centered around boating, water sports, yacht rock, and easy living.

I spent a few days out at Lake Travis in order to share these adventures with The Austinot's readers. These tips are a good start to getting to know the area and its activities. Enjoy!

Several of these businesses offered a comped media experience in exchange for my honest opinion and inclusion in this article. All opinions are my own.

Let's Get Physical

Briarcliff Marina

Briarcliff Marina on Lake Travis

Briarcliff Marina with The Lighthouse Restaurant & Lounge on the cliff above (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

Swimming and boating pop into mind when one thinks "Lake Travis." Briarcliff Marina in Cat Hollow is a one-stop spot for all of Austin's boating needs. This spacious marina rents boat slips and actual pontoon boats. Our group went out on a pontoon boat for the day, swimming and touring a good stretch of the lake. Each pontoon boat holds up to 12 people, so rental fees are reasonable for a group.

I suggest stocking up at Briarcliff Marina's little store on the dock before setting out to explore Lake Travis. Once you leave the large wake-free area, stop the boat and jump in for a swim. Keep going for a bit, and you'll pass Lakeway and reach Pace Bend Park (more below), a fun spot to hang out.

Remember Lake Travis winds through the hills for miles and miles. So if Pace Bend is too crowded, you can go a bit farther to find a more secluded cove. However, it's best to boat with someone who knows the lake well. On the more narrow bends in the river, you'll need to be careful. The points extend beyond what is visible and you don't want to hit them.

406 Sleat Dr., Briarcliff, TX – Website

Pace Bend Park and Cliff Jumping

Boating on Lake Travis

Travel a bit farther from Briarcliff Marina or Pace Bend Park for a more chill day on Lake Travis (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

The nine-mile stretch of Pace Bend Park's shoreline makes it a celebrated destination. The park has dedicated swimming coves, two boat ramps, 20 campsites (some primitive and some with hookups), plus trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. This is a great spot to hang out and people watch.

Speaking of people watching, you can observe or even join the more adventurous at the limestone cliffs. In a couple of  places, the water below these cliffs is deep enough for swimmers to jump into. Some jumpers approach the cliffs by land, while others scale the limestone structures from the water.

If you are the cliff-jumping type, please go with a local who knows the safer spots to jump, where the lake is deep enough. Have fun, but be careful!

2011 Pace Bend Road N., Spicewood, TX – Website

Waterloo Adventures

Waterloo Adventures Lake Travis

Spend a day challenging yourself at Waterloo Adventures (Credit: Waterloo Adventures)

I am excited about Waterloo Adventures, a new water park and obstacle course on the Volente side of Lake Travis. This bright, massive obstacle course on the lake is part Ninja Warrior course, part bouncy house, all fun. Opened in late June 2018, this new attraction is already selling out regularly, so don't forget to book your reservation in advance.

A day with Waterloo Adventures includes both active and passive fun. Start by boating to Adventure Island and the obstacle course where you run, climb, jump, and slide your way to the finish line for 45 minutes. Then play on a giant blow-up slide, trampoline, and springboard jumping tower to your heart's content. Next lounge on the private beach under a (provided) umbrella or climb into a hammock for a nap.

14529 Pocohontas Trail Suite A, Leander, TX – Website

Eating, Drinking, Live Music, and Sunsets

The Lighthouse Restaurant & Lounge

Creme Brulee French Toast at The Lighthouse

Creme brûlée French toast is a crowd pleaser at The Lighthouse (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

Enticing diners from both water and shore, The Lighthouse Restaurant & Lounge was once known as Willie Nelson's Lighthouse and owned by the musician himself. With new owners, the eatery serves comfort food and drinks with a view, and occasionally live music. Fortify yourself with a meal, then mosey on down the hill to Briarcliff Marina to hit the water, or grab drinks and appetizers while watching the sun set on the lake.

We tried the no-frills but tasty Bloody Marys and the solid brunch. My favorite of the day was the creme brûlée French toast, served with fresh berries. This dish is always decadent, but I appreciated that The Lighthouse's version isn't overly sweet.

The popular chicken fried chicken Eggs Benedict is exactly what it sounds like: a large, stacked plate of Texas eats covered in Hollandaise sauce. For those wanting healthier fare, you can also order a custom omelette.

The motto here is #brunchsohard. Gazing out onto the lake, stuffing our faces, and listening to music made us really feel it.

513 Sleat Dr., Briarcliff, TX – Website

Poodie's Hilltop Roadhouse

Poodie's Hilltop Roadhouse Burgers

Jeff Warren Johnston plays for the hungry masses at Poodie's Hilltop Roadhouse (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

"No Bad Days" is the motto at Poodie's, frequently spoken by Poodie himself. Also known as "The Hilltop," this classic honky tonk dive bar is just up the road from the lake in Spicewood. It was founded and run for decades by Poodie Locke, Willie Nelson's longtime stage manager, until his death in 2009.

You can likely imagine the "back in the day" stories this Lake Travis original holds under its hat. Talk to any Poodie's regular (and about 90 percent of the patrons are most days), and you'll get an enjoyable earful of old Austin and famous names. Willie's not the only legend to have graced Poodie's stage or bar.

Sharon Burke, who went in as partner with her husband in 2006, took over as owner after both men passed away. Burke honors the spirit of Poodie by booking talented local musicians seven days a week. While the menu and feel of the dive bar have stayed the same, Burke makes improvements where needed.

Sundays at Poodie's are something of a neighborhood gathering. Tessy Lou Williams and the Shotgun Stars play most Sundays, though we enjoyed a show by Jeff Warren Johnston the day we visited.

The menu is classic bar food. The signature Poodie's burger with green chiles and cheese is big and satisfying, and they'll even make the black bean veggie burger "Poodie's style." Apart from that, the fried okra and wings are tasty.

Dive bars and honky tonks have my heart, and Poodie's is no exception.

22308 TX-71, Spicewood, TX – Website

Shack 512

This casual restaurant in Volente has good reviews and offers traditional lakeside food: burgers, salads, sandwiches, pasta, and grilled meat dishes. I didn't have a chance to eat at Shack 512, but as a former Girl Scout, I know when I go, I will order the Lakeside S'Mores.

The view here is a big part of the appeal for sure-the website boasts, "We do sunsets!"

8714 Lime Creek Road, Volente, TX – Website

Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar

Oasthouse Kitchen Interior

Oasthouse's interior is cozy, rustic, and inviting. (Credit: Bread & Butter Public Relations)

Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar is a quick drive from the lake, and offers an upscale dining experience for those wanting to make a night of it. Oasthouse fits the bill for a fancy date night or lively happy hour. Happy hour runs longer than most, so I'd recommend stopping in for drinks and appetizers, or one of the tantalizing desserts.

8300 N. FM 620 E. – Website

➡ Keep reading: Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar Delivers Upscale Pub Grub to Area Hungry for Flavor

Day Into Night Fun

The Reserve at Lake Travis

The Reserve Lazy River on Lake Travis

The Reserve lazy river overlooking Lake Travis (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

This expansive residential and resort area is a lake lover's dream. I could see spending a week here easily. The Reserve has a marina with complimentary boat slips for guests plus kayaks to rent. There are also tennis courts, a well-stocked fishing pond, and a lodge on the lake's edge for special events.

For me, the jewel in the crown is the pool area. The Reserve's pool complex has a kiddie pool, hot tub, stunning infinity pool, adult-sized water slide, and a large lazy river. The lazy river ambles around the property and has a swim-up bar and casual restaurant.

This complex does not offer day passes, as it is a residential area, too. But Austin residents and other visitors have two ways to visit. The first is a monthly membership for access to all of the amenities. The second is to rent one of the luxury cabins or cottages on the grounds. They are beautifully decorated and several of them overlook the lake.

19926 Thurman Bend Road, Spicewood, TX – Website

Cypress Valley Canopy Tours

Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in Spicewood, TX

Hold on for this zipline adventure (Credit: Cypress Valley Canopy Tours)

Cypress Valley Canopy Tours takes visitors through an extensive canopy tour atop ancient cypress trees. The adventure includes five ziplines, two sky bridges, and an optional rappelling platform. From start to finish, expect to spend about 90 minutes to two hours.

What I love the most about Cypress Valley Canopy Tours are the overnight accommodations. Do you ever dream of sleeping in a treehouse like Tarzan? Cypress Valley will hook you up! Except it's a treehouse glamping experience rather than roughing it. Each treehouse is designed to sleep two to six people, and the Ranch House on the ground sleeps up to 14. Zipline canopy tours are required, though, when available.

1223 Paleface Ranch Road S., Spicewood, TX – Website

➡ Keep reading: Explore Your Wild Side on a Day Trip to Cypress Valley Canopy Tours

Mix It Up a Little

Hill Country Galleria

Hill Country Galleria Dining

Dining at Hill Country Galleria

If you need a shopping fix or want to sit out a summer storm, never fear. Right up the road from Lake Travis is Hill Country Galleria. This area is home to all of the usual shopping suspects, but also boasts a huge, gorgeous lawn, stage for concerts and special events (scheduled during every season), and a splash pad for the kiddos. Local businesses share space with national brands at Hill Country Galleria.

Try a cup of Joe at Bee Cave Coffee or an ice cream cone at Austin favorite Amy's Ice Creams. For dinner, I suggest Buenos Aires Café, Argentinian cuisine. I specifically would point you to my favorite dish at Buenos Aires, the gnocchi quartet, with pumpkin-cinnamon, sweet potato-chipotle, cilantro-jalapeño and fresh herbed potato dumplings.

There's always a lot to see, do, eat, and drink at Hill Country Galleria. Watch the schedule of events to keep up to date.

12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave, TX – Website

But Wait, There's More

Lake Travis Guide

Float, boat, water ski, or swim your way to bliss at Lake Travis (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

Lake Travis is home to several distilleries and breweries, and more seem to be opening up regularly. Of course, The Oasis remains a favorite for many, but remember you are going for the view. As with many tourist spots, don't expect much more than a killer sunset.

With Austin's rapid growth, it is inevitable that the outlying areas, including Lake Travis neighborhoods, will grow, too. Nonetheless, that casual, lakeside vibe keeps on keeping on. The people who live there help preserve that old Austin feeling.

In closing, I need to give a huge shout-out to my friend and long-time Lake Travis resident, Christine Prater with Moreland Properties. She inspired this article and generously shared her insider's view of Lake Travis.

 

@theAustinot wants to know:

What are your favorite things to do and eat around Lake Travis?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post No Bad Days: Insider's Guide to Lake Travis appeared first on The Austinot

Atx&o Showcases Austin's Small Businesses

Brown Sisters atx&o Austin, Texas

Meet the Brown sisters, the creatives behind atx&o (Credit: Erica Tello)

Here at The Austinot, we highlight local businesses, events, and movers and shakers. So it makes sense for us to acknowledge those with a similar mission.

Few do local story sharing as well–or with as much style–as atx&o, the brainchild of sisters Ashley and Becky Brown. Whether through curated web series, quick hit spotlights, or events, atx&o is making waves and bringing people together.

I recently sat down with the Browns to flip the script and shine a spotlight on them, and the work they do.

Atx&o by Way of Chicago

Ashley and Becky Brown With Austin Yogi Gustavo Padron

Ashley and Becky Brown practicing yoga with local instructor Gustavo Padron (Credit: Erica Tello)

The Browns grew up in Chicago. But as is the case with so many of us, they felt a connection with Austin upon arrival. Ashley Brown made the move in 2015 and was immediately "in love with this city." Becky Brown visited for Austin City Limits Music Festival that year, and moved soon after. "I was instantly pulled in by the magic of Austin," she told me.

When not working her day job, Ashley immersed herself in all the Austin happenings she could. She attended events, maker fairs, and everything that caught her eye. She wanted to know what people were were up to, and how she could join the scene herself.

Meanwhile, Becky, a hair stylist, got a real sense of Austin's entrepreneurial vibe while chatting with her customers. Learning about the community and its residents helped the Brown sisters feel connected, strengthening their bond with the city.

Eventually, the sisters realized the power of these stories and how they could impact others. "We went down this path because we talked to one business owner and realized that she felt she was the only one going through a certain experience. But then we learned that someone running another business was feeling the exact same thing," Ashley explained. "We got to be the connector." The Brown sisters decided then that they wanted to get the stories of local businesses out to the Austin community.

On Valentine's Day 2017, the sisters launched atx&o, a platform through which they could showcase stories from local artists, businesses, and organizations. "ATX" represents their hyperlocal approach, and x&o is a nod to the love they're giving back to the community.

Every Austinite Has a Story

Ashley and Becky Brown at Prohibition Creamery

Ashley and Becky Brown speaking with Laura Aidan of Prohibition Creamery
(Credit: Bailey Boswell)

Ashley and Becky recognized early on that their fans were busy professionals who may not have time to read a full story. That's why their content lives primarily on their website and Instagram.

"We don't consider ourselves to be bloggers," Ashley told me. "We want to be quick hits." Additionally, atx&o prides itself on showcasing people from all backgrounds. The sisters make it a real focus to, as Ashley described it, "elevate the diversity that isn't always represented in Austin's Instagram media portrait."

Followers of atx&o can expect short, day-to-day posts about the Brown sisters' visits to local businesses. There's also the ongoing series, "Maker Monday," which features chefs, graffiti artists, jewelers, and anyone else making something in Austin. Check out the post about Tony Perez, the founder of Ramona Press and artist behind one of Austin's most iconic murals.

There is also the popular "Woman Crush Wednesday" series that features female entrepreneurs doing their thing. Learn about women like Naomi Seifter, founder of the delicious and healthy restaurant Picnik, as well as her original line of Butter Coffee.

Finally, there are the curated series, where you can learn about Austin favorites like Prohibition Creamery through Ashley and Becky's interviews.

"We love the underdog," Becky said. "Laura Aidan from Prohibition Creamery was a software engineer for 10 years, then quit her job, went to ice cream school, and opened Prohibition." These local businesses undoubtedly love atx&o right back.

Like most the small businesses they cover, atx&o has pivoted and adapted over time. Through it all, their goal remains unchanged. "We want to present authentic content that shows the experience we are having at these businesses," said Ashley.

Highlighting the Good During Times of Change

atx&o online Austin business series

atx&o's ongoing series (Credit: atx&o)

Austin is growing fast, and with that influx of people comes change. Rent is going up across the city and small businesses are having a tough time competing. Some have even called this the "Summer of Shutters" for all of the business closing down. Locals need our support more than ever, and atx&o is doing its part.

Ashley and Becky plan to keep producing content that is fresh and interesting, in an accessible and tangible format. Not only that, but more events are on the way. Coming up is the Lamar-Bor Day Crawl on Sept. 2, 2018. This event is a pop-up market meets bar crawl that will feature small businesses on South Lamar, one of the areas that has been hardest hit by rising rent.

Keep up to date with the Labor Day festivities, as well as Ashley and Becky's atx&o storytelling, by following the duo on Instagram and their website.

 

@theAustinot wants to know:

What local business should Ashley and Becky Brown showcase next?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Atx&o Showcases Austin's Small Businesses appeared first on The Austinot

Insider's Look at Austin Central Library's Impressive Six Floors

Austin Central Library Six Floors

There are six floors to wander through and explore at Austin Central Library (Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

Even though Austin Central Library has been open for a while now, I recently visited for the first time. The building itself is stunning and I was pleasantly surprised by what the library offers to visitors.

Of course, you can check out books and other media. It's a library. But did you know you can record a podcast from one of the shared learning rooms? Or that there are reading porches and a rooftop garden? How about the newly opened cafe?

I could have spent all day at Austin Central Library and can't wait to return for another visit.

Austin Central Library Features

Austin Central Library Sign

Welcome to Austin Central Library (Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

Austin Central Library occupies an impressive 200,000-square-feet. There are six floors to explore, which house a variety of books, music, and other media. Kids and teens have their own rooms. The teen room even has its own lounge.

There are 14 shared learning rooms where you can hold meetings or study sessions, record podcasts, and more. Computers are located throughout the library. And there is seating everywhere.

I visited on a Saturday afternoon and was impressed by all of the space, allowing everyone to spread out, lounge, and just enjoy their surroundings. 

Outdoor Reading Deck Austin Central Library

Each floor has an outdoor reading deck (Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

What I loved most about the library was how many areas there were just to lounge. It seemed like there was a seating area around every corner. Each floor has an outside reading deck overlooking Lady Bird Lake. With the funky decor and gorgeous views, these decks are some of my favorite spots in the whole library.

The entire building is well-lit, colorful, and cozy.

Austin Central Library Rooftop Garden

The library even has a rooftop garden where you can hang out and grab a coffee (Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

If you venture to the top floor and head outside, you'll find the rooftop garden, featuring the largest solar installation in Austin. If you aren't into that sort of thing, you can still grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the view.

View from Austin Central Library

Gorgeous view of Lady Bird Lake and the Long Center from Austin Central Library's rooftop garden
(Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

Or you can head back down to the main level and visit Cookbook Cafe. This is a newly-opened restaurant right inside the library and it's delicious. The cafe offers breakfast and lunch/dinner menus, plus baked goods and drinks, including coffee.

Cookbook Cafe is managed by Elm Restaurant Group, the team we know and love from 24 Diner, Italic, Irene's, and Fareground.

Cookbook Cafe at Austin Central Library

Make a stop at Cookbook Cafe for breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break (Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

If you want a souvenir of your visit, the library has a gift shop on the main level. You may also be able to score some recycled books for sale. And don't forget about the art gallery!

Tips Before You Visit

After visiting Austin Central Library, I thought of some helpful tips:

  • Parking is available on-site, but there are limited spots. If the garage is full, then try the garage at City Hall.
  • If you are interested in membership, you must be an Austin resident.  If you live outside of Austin, for example Cedar Park, you can apply for a TexShare Card.
  • The library hosts some really cool events, so be sure to check the events calendar.
  • The library has limited hours, so plan ahead!

I was really impressed by Austin Central Library and can't wait to spend more time there. It's in a beautiful spot downtown, where you can relax for a full day. The kids will love it, too!

For more information, events calendar, maps, and more, please visit Austin Central Library's website.

701 W. Cesar Chavez St. 

 

@amandalgagnon wants to know:

What is your all-time favorite book?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Insider's Look at Austin Central Library's Impressive Six Floors appeared first on The Austinot

23 Must Eat Korean Street Food In Seoul, Korea

Tteokbokki, fishcakes, banana milk, Korean fried chicken, and live octopus - here are the 23 must eat Korean street food in Seoul, Korea!

The post 23 Must Eat Korean Street Food In Seoul, Korea appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar Delivers Upscale Pub Grub to Area Hungry for Flavor

Oasthouse's veal schnitzel northwest Austin

Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar's veal schnitzel is one of a dozen reasons to visit this fun and friendly culinary destination

When my wife and I moved to northwest Austin in search of cheaper rent and closer proximity to family, our downtown friends sighed and asked, "Where are you going to eat?" Upon first glance, the stretch of FM 620 between Steiner Ranch and Lakeline Mall offers little in terms of tasty grub not sourced from a freezer. Our culinary outlook seemed grim.

Fortunately for us, Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar lies minutes from our garage and steps from my son's daycare. An oasis of upscale yet accessible culinary delight, this neighborhood gastropub has become my family's go-to for bar bites, date nights, and everything in between.

The visit described in this article was provided compliments of Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar. All previous and subsequent visits were not. All opinions are my own.

Northwest Neighborhood Thirsty for Something Better

Oasthouse Kitchen and Bar interior

Oasthouse's interior is cozy, rustic, and inviting (Credit: Bread & Butter PR)

Born Iranian and raised Austinite, Oasthouse owner/chef Amir Hajimaleki has been combining the flavors of his blended cultures since high school. After receiving classical French training at Le Cordon Bleu, Hajimaleki jumped around several local spots until landing at Kona Grill. There, he learned the ins and outs of running a restaurant, knowledge which complemented his already stellar skills in the kitchen.

After opening District Kitchen + Cocktails with his brother to resounding acclaim, Hajimaleki looked for his next venture. After careful consideration, he landed in the Four Points area of northwest Austin and built the sort of restaurant the area desperately needed.

Largely comprised of reclaimed wood, tasteful furnishings, and the occasional tree from a friend's backyard, Oasthouse's decor is best characterized as rustic elegance meets down-home comfort. Rather than dominating the experience, the environment is like a great bass player, delivering a groove that allows food and conversation to take center stage.

Upscale Food With Pinkies Down Attitude

Oasthouse Kitchen Burrata + Strawberry starter

Burrata + strawberry starter is an explosion of fresh fruit, creamy cheese, and toasty sourdough

With a menu this robust, why should anything detract from it? After spending 10 minutes with Hajimaleki, it's easy to see where the heart of Oasthouse's culinary vision dwells. This chef believes food should be adventurous enough to challenge the palate, yet cozy enough to be enjoyed without trying too hard. Combine that vision with a vigilant focus on keeping the menu seasonal and sustainable, and you have food worth venturing to FM 620 for.

At my recent visit, my first course was the outstanding burrata + strawberry starter. Bursting with the aroma of fresh strawberries, the cheese's creamy texture balanced out the fruit's subtle acidity. Combined with a crisp toasted sourdough, this dish combined textures and flavors to an absolutely stunning result.

Next was a spot-on veal schnitzel with housemade mushroom gravy and German bacon potato salad. I've had schnitzel so tough you could stop an attacker with it, but Oasthouse's take was tender with just enough chew to make it authentic. The gravy and chopped porcini and oyster mushroom blend provided a rich, warm texture to the veal while the accompanying potato salad delivered just enough vinegar acidity to brighten up a hearty dish.

Oasthouse Kitchen redfish entree

Oasthouse's redfish entree blends rich lemon thyme risotto, jalapeño butter, and broccolini to stunning effect

And then there's the king of the tasting. All hail the Texas gulf redfish entree. This beautifully grilled redfish, covered in jalapeño cilantro butter, provided the right amount of heat to an already flavor-packed fish. Add to the party a lemon thyme risotto worth holding up banks for, and a broccolini so well prepared that I forgot it was broccolini. Outstanding meal.

Luscious Libations at the Kind of Spot Every Neighborhood Needs

Oasthouse Old Fashioned

Oasthouse's old fashioned is top notch (Credit: Courtney Pierce)

Not to be outdone by the food stuffs, Oasthouse's beverage program follows the same ideals: keep it local; keep it fresh; and keep it authentic. Head bartender Zach Sasser has curated an inspired cocktail menu that includes signatures like the incredible Wild Child (single barrel reposado, Buffalo Trace bourbon, blueberry simple syrup, lemon, orange bitters) and classics like a spot-on Sazarac.

And dare I say Oasthouse is home to one of the finest old fashioneds in all of Austin? Easy to make, difficult to perfect, this cocktail is my entrance exam to bar acceptance. Spoiler alert: Oasthouse passes with flying colors.

The craft beer program is also top notch. Since I'm a beer geek first, everything else second, I appreciate that Oasthouse always has something new and interesting on tap. And like everything else, the beer program evinces a heart for keeping it local. Hyper-small breweries like Altstadt, Rentsch, and Whitestone have found regular tappings on this wall, and other surprises appear monthly.

The good-time vibes go on and on. When my wife and I moved north two years ago, we expected a life of Dominos Pizza and Chicken Express. Thanks to places like Oasthouse Bar + Kitchen, we've been able to enliven our palates, indulge our love of craft drinks, and reconnect over brews and bites in a laid-back, welcoming setting. A wonderful place to eat, drink, and enjoy some of the finest food 620 has to offer.

8300 N. FM 620 – Website

 

@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:

Where do you get your foodie fix in the Four Points neighborhood?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar Delivers Upscale Pub Grub to Area Hungry for Flavor appeared first on The Austinot

How to Rosé All Day in Austin

Rosé at Texas Wine Revolution Festival

Enjoy rosé at the annual Texas Wine Revolution Festival

Rosé has definitely become a thing across the country. Popular hashtags such as #roseallday and #yeswayrose are rampant on social media and come printed on just about everything, from t-shirts and tote bags, to wine glasses and smartphone cases. Fortunately for us, Austin has not escaped the trend.

Whether you want to go out, stay in, or even attend an entire festival dedicated to pink bubbly, here's an all-encompassing guide so you too can rosé all day in Austin.

Thank you to the establishments featured in this article for allowing me to sample their drinks at no charge. All opinions are my own.

Going Out?

Enjoy rosé at the following establishments in Austin.

Kitty Cohen's

Poolside frosé at Kitty Cohen's Austin

Poolside frosé at Kitty Cohen's

This beloved 1970s-themed patio bar and cocktail lounge has become synonymous with the flamingo wallpaper that covers the bathrooms…and its rosé. Kitty Cohen's serves up frosé (frozen rosé) and non-frozen bottled varieties for your sipping pleasure.

2211 Weberville Road – Website

➡ Keep reading: 5 East Austin Patio Bars for Happy Hour Bliss

Aviary Wine & Kitchen

Rosè Selection at Aviary in Austin

Rosé all day at Aviary

With a "wine for everyone" philosophy, how could you possible go wrong by choosing Aviary as your next rosé-all-day destination?

Under the menu section entitled Jane Mansfield, the entertaining legend has been pronounced "the high priestess of the pink palace" by the establishment.

Guests will find eight rosés to choose from, including native Austin Dandy Rosé and more unusual varieties such as the Hirzuta 'Zuri' from Txakoli, Spain.

Don't miss half-off bottles every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m.

2110 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website

Italic

Rosé at Italic in Austin

Italic is pouring everyone's favorite pink drink (Credit: Resplendent Hospitality)

Italics's happy hour is rosé-centric. Need I say more? If that's not enough to entice you, the team recently added 12 different rosés to the menu, all of which are Italian and sure to cool you off.

Plus, you can enjoy those same bottles for half the price from Monday to Friday, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

123 W. 6th St. – Website

➡ Keep reading: Taste Emotional Italian Food at Chef Curren's Italic Restaurant.

24 Diner

Looking for a more casual destination? Somewhere to enjoy a glass of Brut Rosé with your chicken and waffles? How about a glass of Pinot Noir Rosé with your lunch? Look to 24 Diner for all that, plus more. This local restaurant has a great selection of still and sparkling rosés and it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rosè 24/7 at 24 Diner

Drink rosé 24/7 at this Austin diner (Credit: 24 Diner)

600 N. Lamar Blvd. – Website

Irene's

Rosé for $5 at Irene's in Austin

Drink pink at Irene's (Credit: Resplendent Hospitality)

Read carefully because you may never be the same after I tell you about the rosé situation at Irene's.

Ready? Okay, I warned you. You can sip $5 sparkling rosés all. damn. day. If that's not the best news you've ever read, then I don't know what is.

506 W. Ave. – Website

➡ Keep reading: Irene's Restaurant and Bar Tastes Fancy Without Being Pretentious

House Wine

With 100 wines on the menu, you can't go wrong by heading to this hidden gem tucked away behind P. Terry's on Barton Springs and Lamar. Sit on House Wine's relaxing bungalow patio and sip one of the rosés from Italia, Spain, or France for $10 or less.


408 Josephine St. – Website

➡ Keep reading: Best Spots to Sit & Sip a Glass of Wine in Austin

Lenoir


Although I've never dined inside Lenoir, I am a frequent visitor to the wine garden for a host of reasons. At the top of my list: the charming atmosphere, great fare, and–you guessed it–phenomenal wine list.

Lenoir currently offers two rosés by the glass and three by the bottle to quench your thirst.

Stop by the beautiful patio from Tuesday through Sunday, 5 to 6:30 p.m., for the happiest of hours!

1807 S. 1st St. - Website

➡ Keep reading: 5 Grown-up Austin Wine Venues With Tasty Food Options

Winebelly


This wine house is like a slightly fancier version of House Wine. At Winebelly, you'll find tapas, extensive list of wine, including 12 rosés, and a classy yet chill neighborhood vibe.

519 W Oltorf St. - Website

Take Your Rosé Home

If you don't feel like going out to one of the restaurants above, look to the Austin-based brands below to get your rosé fix at home.

Dandy Rosé

Dandy Rose Austin Texas

Cool down with Austin's own pink bubbly

Pink bubbles made from 100 percent Texas grapes and a female sommelier? Yes, please! Dandy Rosé poured onto the rosé market in 2014 and never looked back. Ever since, its dry crispness has been helping locals fight the central Texas heat with style.

While you can find Dandy Rosé at many restaurants and and bars in town, I think it's best enjoyed sitting poolside or in the comfort of your own home.

Website

➡ Keep reading: Available to Austinites Only, Dandy Rosé is Made with all Texas Grapes

Sway Rosé by Yes We Can

Sway Rosé by the Can

#YesWeCan rosé anywhere

Yes, you can enjoy rosé anywhere, thanks to Texas' first ever canned rosé. It's made with 100 percent Texas high-plain grapes, and you'll taste hints of guava, passion fruit, and fresh strawberries. It's perfect floating down the river or hanging poolside.

Website

Texas Wine Revolution

Texas Wine Revolution Rosé

Try all the shades of rosé at this annual festival dedicated to the pink drink

#DrinkTexasPink all day by attending this annual festival dedicated to Texas-grown rosé. Texas Wine Revolution festival goers can sample selections from 25+ different wineries, and enjoy live music, local food, and educational talks on the gorgeous Horseshoe Bay Resort grounds.

Website

 

@dollarsaenz wants to know:

Where's your favorite place to sip rosé in Austin?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post How to Rosé All Day in Austin appeared first on The Austinot

so•ca is Where Your Brunch Dreams Come True

Yesterday, I met up with one of my North Carolina darlings for what turned out to be the dreamiest brunch date. Danae and I had never been to so•ca and we went without any preconceived notions. Our server Jessica told us that their name so•ca signify South of the Tropic of Cancer. The inspiration for the menu is focused on the geographic region just south of the Tropic of Cancer. We nibbled on a yuca stuffed bread with pickled onions while we pored over the menu.

Our brunch spread was perfect.

Carne y Huevos; hanger steak, garlic roasted fingerling potatoes,
fried local egg, red pepper hollandaise, bitter greens,
cilantro vinaigrette; $18

The classic steak and eggs had a unique cilantro vinaigrette that you'd like to just lick off the plate. Steak is cooked the way you want it and I hope you go with medium rare!

Crab Stuffed Avocado jumbo lump crab,
preserved tomato, onion, peas, cilantro aioli, choclo, local radish; $12

The crab stuffed avocado was such a cooling appetizer. In my mind, you can't go wrong with avocado or crab, but the star of this dish, surprisingly, was that preserved tomato. Pickled and delightful. I've never had anything like it before!

Pork Belly Benedict; white corn arepa, avocado hollandaise,
slow poached eggs, chicharrón, tomato; $14

If there's pork belly on the menu, it is very likely I'll order it. This Pork Belly Benedict was such a decadent way to start my Saturday. I felt so relaxed and happily subdued as I scooped up the creamy yolk with each bite of my seared pork belly. The pork belly was crispy on the outside and juicy in the middle, just how I like it. The chicharrón gave the dish a nice crunchy contrast.

Tres Leches; milk soaked sponge cake, lemon curd,
blackberry yogurt, baked meringue cookies, mango ice cream,
kiwi gel, whipped cream; $10

We were debating between ordering the Churro Waffles, which was another brunch entrée as the dessert, or the Tres Leches which was available as a dessert all day. Tres Leches won out and what a beautiful choice we made! When the gorgeous plate came out, I was reminded that the talented Pastry Chef Brittany Grantham is the Pastry Director of so•ca. I've experienced her works of art at another Raleigh restaurant gem, bu•ku. Every component was delightful on its own and even better in combinations with each other. That mango icecream though. We agreed we could order just the mango icecream in a bucket and be very happy.

So that concludes my first impression of the wonderful so•ca. I can't wait to check out their dinners! Word has it that on Tuesdays from 5 – 7 pm they have complimentary wine tastings with half-price bottle night! Wine discussions are lead by their wine director Troy Revell.

so•ca

2130 Clark Ave
Raleigh, NC 27605
http://socaraleigh.com

Questions: So tell me, friends. What are your favorite brunch items? How do you like your eggs

Follow my eating adventures and happenings on Instagram. You can also see what is catching my attention in the food world on Twitter and Facebook.

The post so•ca is Where Your Brunch Dreams Come True appeared first on Girl Eats World.

7 Best Charleston Restaurants To Eat At On Your Visit

Best barbecue, biscuits, fried chicken, ice cream, and happy hour oysters in Charleston, SC.

The post 7 Best Charleston Restaurants To Eat At On Your Visit appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

The Austinot Weekend Concert Picks: August 3-4, 2018

Austinot Weekend Concert Picks August 3

Happy August, brave soldiers of the Austin music scene! According to the calendar, we're on the downward slope of our "surface of the sun" weather pattern. But we locals know better. We'll be dealing with this summer swelter until November.

To keep things as cool as humanly possible this weekend, we recommend you check out a pair of aggressive hip hop producers, local soul/funk, and a classic blues/rocker's CD release show. Dig the music and listen local!

Friday, August 3

NGHT HCKLRS Band Austin

Credit: NGHT HCKLRS

NGHT HCKLRS w/Fort Never, Interrobang, more

@ Sahara Lounge (1413 Webberville Road) – 10 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. – Facebook event

Dark, intense, and dripping with a synth/hop grind culled straight from the depths of your nightmares, NGHT HCKLERS is pure hip hop fire. While their work with ATX hip hop luminaries like Zeale have gained them local acclaim, tracks from the 2017 EP "HaHaHaHaHaHaHa" combines classic trap beats with smart samples, and the aforementioned evil synth. To truly appreciate NGHT HCKLRS, you need to experience a live set. Do so Friday at east side Sahara Lounge.

Also playing: soul/pop act Fort Never, Interrobang brass band, and a variety of assorted DJs filling out the sets.

Saturday, August 4

Ray Prim Live

Ray Prim (Credit: Katie McDowell)

Ray Prim w/Graham Wilkinson, Paul Oscher

@ Continental Club (1315 S. Congress Ave.) – 8 p.m. – Event page

My appreciation for and admiration of the wonderful Ray Prim have been heavily documented on this blog, but let me say it again. If you've never seen Prim and the band play live, then make Continental Club a mandatory visit this Saturday. A spicy blend of soul, pop, rock, and funk, Ray Prim's diverse music remains grounded in smooth vocals and genuine heart. All it takes is one listen of the heartfelt point/counterpoint ballad "Hey" or the southern soul jam "Find a Suit" to make you a fan for life.

Also playing: folk rock virtuoso Graham Wilkinson and blues legend Paul Oscher.

➡ Keep reading: Ray Prim Celebrates New Record During Soul-filled Set at North Door

Ian Moore w/ Eric Tessmer

Ian Moore Austin Musician

Ian Moore (Credit: Daniel Work)

@ Antone's Nightclub (305 E. 5th St.) – 8 p.m. – Tickets

There's nothing better than listening to masters perform. At the age of 50, Ian Moore is better than ever as time marches on. This birthday event is also a celebration of Moore's newest EP "Toronto," a six-song tour de force of blues rock.

Tunes like "You Gotta Know" blister with fuzz guitar and staccato drum shots, while "Looking for the Sound" is reminiscent of a '70s-era pop/rock jam. Classic without feeling dated, Ian Moore's latest effort is easy to recommend to anybody who digs old school rock-a-blues with an edge.

Also playing: ATX guitar virtuoso Eric Tessmer.

 

@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:

Where are you going for live, local music this weekend in Austin?

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post The Austinot Weekend Concert Picks: August 3-4, 2018 appeared first on The Austinot

Via 313 Dishes Out Authentic Detroit-style Pizza at 5 Locations

Detroit-style pizza Via 313 in Austin

Via 313's Detroit-style pizza packs maximum flavor, from the cheese caramelized crust to the gooey center

Whether you've tried Detroit-style or not, Austin has the place for you to chow down on these delicious pizzas. Via 313 will have you dreaming of cheesy crusts and pizza toppings for weeks once you've gotten a taste.

What started as a food truck on East Sixth Street quickly became an Austin favorite, growing into a local empire. Since 2011, Via 313 has expanded from one trailer to five different locations throughout our area.

Guys Behind the Pies

Via 313 Pizza Owners Brandon and Zane Hunt

Via 313 owners Brandon and Zane Hunt

Austin was first given a taste of Via 313 heaven in 2011, when the original trailer opened on East Sixth Street at Waller. The owners, brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt from Detroit, wanted to give a slice of their hometown to Austin through a different pizza experience. And boy, did they accomplish their mission! These mouth-watering pizzas are layered with all types of goodness, complete with a caramelized cheese crust and sauce on top.

Via 313 offers all of the classics to meet any foodie's needs, from basic cheese, to the carnivore, to the herbivore. But you'll also find a wider range of pizzas that will have you asking for seconds. My favorite is the Detroiter, with pepperoni both under and over the cheese.

A post shared by Via 313 Pizza (@via313) on

All of these pizzas are square-shaped. This is because they're baked in metal trays, like the ones used on the automotive assembly lines at the Big Three.

Via 313 now serves bar-style pizza, with thin crusts that share the same cheesy edge as the Detroit-style. However, you can only try bar-style at the eatery's brick and mortar locations.

The restaurant also has a food and drink special every month that benefits a charity. As of this writing, Via 313 has donated to AIDS Services of Austin as well as Austin Pets Alive! Additionally, the team has started carrying ranch dressing (a much needed side when I'm chowing down on pizza), and 100 percent of proceeds from each side of ranch goes to the charity of the month.

For those of you who've had a hard time keeping up with Via 313's rapid expansion, here's a rundown of the current five locations. How many of them have you been to?

Rainey Street (Craft Pride)

Via 313 Pizza on Rainey Street Behind Craft Pride

The trailer on Rainey Street is located behind Craft Pride, so you can get your beer and pizza fix at the same time

Via 313's second trailer landed on Rainey Street in 2013 and hasn't moved since. You'll find it in the backyard of Craft Pride, so visitors can get the perfect combination of beer and pizza. This location also serves brunch on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

Note: the Rainey Street trailer has limited hours from Monday through Friday, not opening until 5 p.m. You can stop by on weekends starting at noon to get your pizza fix.

61 Rainey St.

Oak Hill Centre

Oak Hill Via 313 Restaurant

The Oak Hill location was the first brick and mortar restaurant for the Via 313 family

Via 313 made its move into the brick and mortar scene in April 2015, with its location in Oak Hill. This was also the first location that opened up for lunch during the week, which is how I nurtured my personal pizza obsession in Austin.

With a communal table and bar seating, you have multiple options for your eating experience. Detroit-style fans can order online, but you'll need to stop by the store for pick-up.

6705 Hwy. 290 No. 503

North Campus

Via 313 Pizza North Campus

Via 313's North Campus location (Credit: Brittany Highland)

The second brick and mortar location opened March 2016 in North Campus, replacing what was once Blackbird and Henry. Not far from campus, it's the perfect place for University of Texas students to grab some delicious pizza to get them through their studies.

Via 313 fans can place orders online, but–like Oak Hill–you'll need to visit the store to grab you order (no delivery).

3016 Guadalupe St., Suite 100

East Side

Via 313 Pizzeria East Sixth Street

You can stay cool indoors or outdoors at Via 313's East Sixth Street location

Via 313 opened its third brick and mortar in March 2018, located not far from where the original trailer used to sit on East Sixth Street. In addition to serving the same menu as the other restaurant locations, this spot also has a full bar. Expect a nice patio with picnic tables. Plus, there's a misting system to keep you cool in the Texas heat. They thought of everything!

You can order online for this location, but will need to stop by the store for pickup.

1802 E. 6th St.

West 6th (Buford's Backyard Beer Garden)

Via 313 Buford's Backyard Beer Garden

The original food trailer has made its home at Buford's Backyard Beer Garden

The original trailer was relocated when the East Side restaurant opened. It eventually landed on West Sixth Street at Buford's Backyard Beer Garden. This venue has indoor and outdoor seating, along with several bars where you can order a beer to wash down your pie.

If you want to eat at this location, make sure you save your visit for Wednesday through Sunday. Via 313 opens at 5 p.m. on those days. You can order online ahead of time and stop by the trailer to pick up your pizza.

700 W. 6th St.

Website

 

@theAustinot wants to know:

Have you been to any of Via 313's locations to try its Detroit-style pizza?

 

The original version of this article was published Sept. 25, 2013

***
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!

The post Via 313 Dishes Out Authentic Detroit-style Pizza at 5 Locations appeared first on The Austinot