Found My Utopia. It's Called Brewery Bhavana

Brewery Bhavana

I found a magical place, y'all. Brewery Bhavana is a flower shop, brewery, bookstore, and dim sum restaurant all in one beautiful space. I have had a crush on Brewery Bhavana from afar for a while when I was researching the Raleigh-Durham area before moving here. When I finally stepped into Brewery Bhavana, I felt a sense of euphoria I don't remember ever feeling just by being in a restaurant.

The Interior Design, Bookstore, and Flower Shop

I love bright and elegant interior design with ample natural light. A skylight illuminateed the center of the restaurant and the bookstore and flower shop.

Brewery Bhavana

Flowers in Brewery Bhavana

The back wall was lined by a lending library which patrons are welcome to peruse. The books available to purchased were near the entrance. I smiled when I saw one of my favorite books read this year is being sold. I love that I can drink craft beers and dine on dim sum style food while sitting in a bright room lined with books and flowers. If you want to overload your happiness sensors, go with people you love. That's what I did, and we had such a great time together, we went twice in three days.

Brewery Bhavana

Brewery Bhavana

The Dim Sum Offerings

The menu was heavily influenced by traditional dim sum but was also innovative and creative! Scallion pancakes were served with oxtail and bone marrow. We had a feast of dumplings. From soup dumplings to flaky spinachy curry puffs, to seafood dumplings served in a clay pot, to edamame dumplings. The lo mein noodles and General Tso chicken both stayed true to their comforting expectations with no surprising twists. We enjoyed both the green beans and the Chinese broccoli. The Chinese broccoli came in this scrumptious broth that I kept stealing sips of. Sugarface, his mom, and I were all very happy with the food. The three of us most favored the crab fried rice, which was wrapped like a present in a thin sheet of fried egg. If you like crab, I implore you to order this dish! As for their beers, I sampled their mango sour beer and it's just lovely, with hints of tangy sweetness.

Brewery Bhavana

Brewery Bhavana

Brewery Bhavana

Brewery Bhavana

Brewery Bhavana

When I was chatting with Sugarface as I was attempting to put words to my feelings about Brewery Bhavana, he said something that I'd like to echo. He said that Brewery Bhavana might be the happiest he's been when trying a new restaurant in our new state. It's a bold statement but I'm going to second it! It'll be hard to beat such a unique and winning combination! Can't wait to go again (and again).

Brewery Bhavana
218 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601
https://brewerybhavana.com/

The post Found My Utopia. It's Called Brewery Bhavana appeared first on Girl Eats World.

Symphony BATS Get Intimate Look at Austin Classical Music Scene

Austin Symphony BATS

BATS members with Austin Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Peter Bay

Austin has one of the oldest orchestras in the state of Texas, but the Austin Symphony is lesser known in comparison to other music options here in the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin Symphony Orchestra provides a stunning season every year with talented guest musicians, moving classical pieces, and a fun Pop Series that nurtures a healthy sense of nostalgia.

In my opinion, the best way to get in on the fun is to join Austin Symphony BATS. Symphony BATS is the orchestra's personal fan club. As such, members get a behind-the-scenes look, while celebrating their love for music with special social events and parties. 

What Is Austin Symphony BATS?


Austin Symphony BATS (which stands for Be At The Symphony) is a young professionals group closely associated with Austin Symphony Orchestra. BATS was created 19 years ago, when one of the founding members rounded up a bunch of his friends to go with him to go to an Austin Symphony show.

He reached out to Maestro Peter Bay, inquiring whether he could speak with Bay about Austin Symphony after the performance. Bay agreed, and brought the visiting musician along to the restaurant where they met. This was the beginning of a mini series that provided an in-depth look at the symphony. Tom Sellers, a current symphony board member, thought the idea was great and wanted to grow the concept. Austin Symphony BATS was born.

Today, the organization provides a chance for local professionals to meet over their passion for music, socializing at a variety of educational events, Austin Symphony shows, and parties. BATS membership is restricted to 200 people, which allows members to get to know each other and develop working relationships.  Since membership is open to all types of professionals, there's a variety of industries and careers that wouldn't normally mix. Members typically range between 25 and 45 years of age, but can be older.

What Are Some BATS Events?

Austin BATS Event With Musician

BATS members experience the intimate side of symphony performances

BATS membership comes with tickets to four pre-selected Austin Symphony shows for the season. Members get seats together in the Mezzanine (which, to my delight, has been dubbed the "BAT wing" by the organization). The remaining BATS shows for this season include:

  •      Dec. 2, 2017: Beyond The Score
  •      March 22, 2018: Cameron Carpenter, organ
  •      May 19, 2018: Olga Kern, piano

After each concerts, BATS hosts a post-performance party at a local hot spot. Food and drinks are covered by membership fees and sponsored by Twin Liquors, a long-time supporter of BATS.

BATS also holds one social event monthly. But it's not all about partying it up. Members receive behind-the-scenes knowledge about Austin Symphony Orchestra, through events like "Q&A with the Maestro," a chance to meet face-to-face with Maestro Peter Bay and ask questions about the orchestra.

Another event allows members to watch a symphony rehearsals before a show. (I was shocked to learn the symphony only rehearses together four times before each show. Talk about skill.)

While the symphony may have a stereotype of being for stuffy, older individuals, it's truly a place for everyone to have fun and celebrate beautiful music. If you'd like to join Austin Symphony BATS or learn more about the organization, you don't need echolocation to help you out. Visit asobats.org for more information.

If you want to venture out and see what else the current Austin Symphony Orchestra season holds, access the full listing of concerts.

 

@theAustinot wants to know:

Have you been to an Austin Symphony Orchestra concert before?

***
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 Symphony BATS Get Intimate Look at Austin Classical Music Scene appeared first on The Austinot

Have You Done Brunch at These 6 Local Restaurants in Austin?

Austin Brunch at Native Hostel

Fried chicken sandwich at Native

Brunch is a way of life. There's an art to finding the perfect place, with the perfect vibe, that serves that egg just the way you like it. Austin originals Magnolia Cafe, Kerbey Lane, and Juan in a Million have fan followings that could put a celebrity to shame. The oldies are goldies, and nobody doubts that. But consider having a go at some of the newer restaurants Austin has to offer. I did the research for you, and suggest these six local spots to satisfy your brunch cravings.

1/ Chicon

Elvis at Chicon for Austin Brunch

The Elvis at Chicon is Texas toast, caramelized bananas, nuts, ham, and whipped cream

Contigo's sister restaurant is a happy proponent of meat. Chicon's brunch menu features classic dishes like eggs Benedict and steak hash. But believe me when I tell you: the fare doesn't fit the "classic" definitions. Take the eggs Benedict, for example. A rye English muffin is covered in caramelized onions and delicious pulled pork, topped with a perfectly poached egg and rich hollandaise.

Then there's The Elvis, a creative take on Elvis Presley's famous peanut butter and banana sandwich. When the plate arrived, my first thought was, "Wow!" I found myself taken in by this clever deconstruction consisting of peanut butter mousse, Texas toast, caramelized bananas, and ham.

1914 E. 6th St., Ste. C – Website

2/ Eberly

Eberly brunch in Austin

Short rib hash and avocado toast at Eberly (Credit: Eberly)

This South Lamar restaurant has become a favorite among Austinites due to its contemporary American food. And when the gorgeous plates are served in just as gorgeous a space, it's difficult to stay away for long.

Eberly's short rib hash is a wonderful mixture of mushrooms and pickled jalapeños, accompanied by a couple of eggs, sunny-side up. Charcuterie lovers relish a healthy selection of cured meats, like duck, ham, and salmon. For a quick and filling bite, try the avocado toast. The menu also has brunch favorites like hot cakes, chicken and waffles, and plenty of house-made pastries to keep you full. The cocktail menu features brunch classics like the Bloody Mary, mimosas, and Bellinis.

Head over to Eberly on the first Sunday of the month to discover local vendors and their fares. Shopping, mimosas, and pancakes in one place? It doesn't get better than that.

615 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website

➡️ Keep reading: "History Drenched Eberly Serves Reimagined Classics in a Dazzling Space"

3/ Holy Roller

Holy Roller Soft Serve and Fries in Austin

Soft serve and fries at Holy Roller (Credit: Holy Roller)

Brunch. All. Day. I bet that got your attention! Holy Roller opened its doors not long ago, and it doesn't take much to understand why it's become popular. The all-female-owned restaurant prides itself on its "whimsy food." The Sunday School Brunch is a must. The menu is covered in clever religious puns that translate just as delightfully on a plate. The restaurant even created a "seven deadly sins" display, featuring pastries and cocktails.

My favorite items at Holy Roller are the fries. Yep, the fries. I didn't expect to love the combination of fries and soft serve ice cream, but I did. Enough to have gone back a couple of times already. For your sake, I hope you can find it in yourself to give this strange but delicious combination a shot. For a more filling option, give the trash fries a try. This place is a special mix of Mexican street corn, American fries, and Texas gravy.

509 Rio Grande St. – Website

4/ Rosen's Bagels

Rosen's Bagels Lox in Austin

The lox and an iced latte at Rosen's Bagels

For those days when making decisions is not an option and coffee is of utmost importance, try Rosen's Bagels. The bagel shop is housed at Wright Bros Brew and Brew Co., so its a given that the coffee will be strong and good.

The menu is small and features unique flavors of schmears, such as caramelized shallots and bacon, lime, poblano and scallion, and maple syrup almond. I tried the lox and the turkey, both of which were excellent and filling. However, my heart remains with the schmears, as I lean toward ordering an everything bagel with a tiny sized serving each of the lime, poblano and scallion, and caramelized shallots and bacon schmears.

500 San Marcos St. – Website

➡️ Keep reading: "5 Bagel Joints in Austin That Are Anything But Basic"

5/ Native

Austin Brunch at Native

Brunch spread at Native with French toast, Scotch egg, and fried chicken sandwich

Native's brunch menu is full of surprises. It's classic at first glance, but what you taste is a whole new world. I've never had a Scotch egg that wasn't grease-heavy, until Native served its version to me. It's crunchy, light, and oozes with a perfectly runny yolk. The sausage is a special blend created by Chef Virginia Pharr that complements the rich egg yolk.

The cardamom French toast is made with Pharr's special brioche recipe. It's so flavorful on its own that there's no need to slather it with maple syrup. It's citrusy and dense with a healthy dose of cardamom. The French toast is served with a coffee Chantilly cream, fresh berries, and blackberry syrup.

For a more savory option, the fried chicken sandwich is a must. The biscuit is made in-house and topped with a perfectly fried piece of brined chicken, slathered with roasted serrano gravy, and finished off with a sunny-side-up egg. It's inspired by Chick-fil-A's hot fried chicken sandwich, but Native's version is far ahead on the curve.

807 E. 4th St. – Website

➡️ Keep reading: "Native Hostel Goes Beyond Lodging With Restaurant, Co-working, Events"

6/ Le Politique

Croque Madame at Le Politique in Austin

Croque Madame at Le Politique (Credit: Wynn Myers)

This casual patisserie and coffee shop is where you go when traditional French fare beckons. Escargot? Check. A raw bar with oysters, shrimp,and lobster? Check, check, check, and check. Le Politique offers a customizable cheese board that lets diners choose from three, five, or seven varieties on the available menu.

It's a beautifully-designed space with equally beautiful food, especially the pastries. If you're a carb lover, like yours truly, Le Politique offers a variety of traditional French baked goods like croissants, pot de creme, and madeleines. Once you try it, you'll find yourself telling everyone about the Croque Madame, with it's gooey comté and ham center, and a light sauce mornay.

110 San Antonio St. – Website

 

@theAustinot wants to know:

What's your new favorite brunch 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 Have You Done Brunch at These 6 Local Restaurants in Austin? appeared first on The Austinot

29 Iconic Macau Foods You Have To Eat

Portuguese egg tarts, pissing shrimp, pork chop bun, and African chicken - here are all the iconic Macau foods you have to eat.

The post 29 Iconic Macau Foods You Have To Eat appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

25 Best Spots For Vegan Food In Austin

Vegan restaurants in Austin serving vegan queso, chorizo, pizza, brisket, ribs, ice cream, tacos, mac & cheese, and doughnuts.

The post 25 Best Spots For Vegan Food In Austin appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

Indulge in Fine Wine and Local Food at Big Reds & Bubbles

Big Reds & Bubbles Wine Event in Austin

Enjoy a wine-oriented night at The Driskill Hotel (Credit: Charles Quinn Photography)

Cheers! Austin's most anticipated and absolutely fabulous wine event, Big Reds & Bubbles, is right around the corner. This annual celebration of red and sparkling wine, put on byWine and Food Foundation of Texas, goes down on Nov. 17, 2017, at The Driskill Hotel. Local chefs will be making food on site; live music will set the rhythm for the evening; and the wine will be flowing like a river.

Wi ne Lovers, Rejoice!

Big Reds & Bubbles Wine Tasting Event

Try a variety of wines at Big Reds & Bubbles (Credit: Charles Quinn Photography)

With nearly 160 different wines and food from 12 local restaurants, this event is a wine lover's fantasy. Big Reds & Bubbles furthers Wine and Food Foundation of Texas' mission to promote wine and food culture in Austin, through education, exposure, and social interaction. Executive DirectorPeggyHanley spoke with zeal about the upcoming 15th anniversary of Big Reds & Bubbles, telling me what she's most excited about this year. (SPOILER ALERT:It's the wine.)

Part of the beauty of Austin is its culture; and its wine and food culture is growing and improving every year, Hanley said. We bring the people-the wine community-together to learn about, taste, and appreciate wines.

What to Expect This Year

Vintage Porto Tasting in Austin

Vintage Porto was on the tasting list in 2016 (Credit: Charles Quinn Photography)

The wine comes from around the world, affording attendees the chance to try wines they may not be exposed to otherwise. Whether it's a region, grape, or label, Big Reds & Bubbles, with its massive list of wines, introduces discerning VIPs and wine novices to something new each year.

Upon entering the ballroom, attendees begin with a welcome wine, something trendy to open the palate and instigate conversation. Wine and Food Foundation of Texas really wants people talking about wine and sharing wine-related stories with each other.

Food Bites at Big Reds & Bubbles in Austin

Local chefs dish up savory and sweet bites at the event (Credit: Charles Quinn Photography)

VIP ticket holders are in for a special treat this year: an hour-long session with two of Austin's Master Sommeliers, June Rodil (June's All Day) and Devon Broglie (Whole Foods Market Global Beverage Buying group).

Restaurants around town love bringing their bites to the event. Since attendees make up the ultimate wining and dining crowd in Austin, savvy restauranteurs know they are the ones to woo with gorgeous bites, enticing them to visit for a full meal later. A handful of devoted restaurants return to Big Reds & Bubbles each year to feed the tipsy masses. In addition, Wine and Food Foundation makes certain to invite restaura nts to participate for the first time. This keeps it fresh and satisfying for everyone involved.

Giving Back Through Big Reds & Bubbles

While the social aspect of such a posh affair is undeniably part of the appeal, Wine and Food Foundation also works to build a healthy, dynamic community of wine and food lovers in Austin. Big Reds & Bubbles holds a silent auction, and a portion of the proceeds go toward practicing what the organization preaches. Hanley notes that year-round, the foundation raises funds to provide support to organizations that work within the life cycle of wine and food.

Popular urban farm,Urban Roots, with its focus on teenagers and community development, is one such beneficiary. Wine and Food Foundation also helps build wine culture and knowledge in Austin, by funding scholarships and travel to national and international wine-centric events, such as TEXSOM and Somms Under Fire. Hanley wants to see the organization amp up its support and outreach in the coming months.

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

Wines and Bites

Big Reds & Bubbles Attendees

Attendees wear giant smiles at Austin's favorite wine and food event (Credit: Charles Quinn Photography)

This list of participating wineries and restaurants in by no means complete. But it gives a sampling of some of the companies participating this year, and where they are based. Keep in mind that several global wine distributors will also be attending and pouring for the crowd.

Wineries:

  • Alexander Valley Vineyards (Calif.)
  • Chapel Down (U.K.)
  • Ehlers Estate (Calif.)
  • Gerard Bertrand (France)
  • Gloria Ferrer (Calif.)
  • Huneeus Vitners (Calif.)
  • Jordan Winery (Calif.)
  • King Estate Winery (Ore.)
  • Long Meadow Ranch (Calif.)
  • Maison Louis Latour (France)
  • Pedernales Cellars (Stonewall, Texas)
  • Rombauer Vineyards (Calif.)
  • Segura Viudas (Spain)
  • W&J Graham's (Portugal)

Restaurants:

Pre-holiday Party Time

Wine and Food Foundation of Texas committee member, Ketan Patel, gushes, Big Reds & Bubbles is one of my favorite events of the year, as it falls perfectly into the holiday season kickoff. The variety of wine is always impressive, and the restaurants that partake in the evening always bring top-notch bites. It has established itself as a tradition among my group of friends.

Tickets are on sale. Don't delay if you want to go! VIP tickets are already sold out, and regular tickets sell out each year.

Kee p reading with our collection of wine-related articles

@theAustinot wants to know:

What is your favorite wine-focused event in Austin?

***
We always have unique content on theAustinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out ourBest of the Austinotnewsletter 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 Indulge in Fine Wine and Local Food at Big Reds & Bubbles appeared first on The Austinot

17 Iconic Foods of Italy You Have To Eat In Rome

Spaghetti carbonara, cacio e pepe, gelato, tiramisu & Jewish fried artichokes - you have to eat these foods of Italy when visiting Rome.

The post 17 Iconic Foods of Italy You Have To Eat In Rome appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

7 Restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham Area to Get Your Sandwich Fix

EDIT: For those of you not in the area, Research Triangle Area includes the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. They make up a geographic triangle in North Carolina and have a big research presence

When I was younger, I thought sandwiches were boring. Bread with just stuff in the middle was how I looked at it. Thankfully, with age, I wised up. Sandwiches can be fantastic with appetizing filling! And I'm paying them more mind and am basking in our honeymoon phase. I have been exploring the world of sandwiches in the Research Triangle Area of North Carolina and am happy to share with you a list of winning sandwiches.

7 Restaurants in the Research Triangle Area to Get Your Sandwich Fix

1. Na' Mean

4823 Meadow Dr. Suite 108, Durham, NC 27713
http://www.kokyubbq.com/nmean/

Na'Mean

Baht Mi; BBQ short rib, honey peanut sauce, chilies,
cucumber, mint, cilantro, pickled vegetables, KoKyu
chili sauce, crushed peanuts; $12

Upon pulling up to Na' Mean and seeing that it's tucked inside a quiet strip mall, I'm already smiling to myself. You may remember how I feel about strip mall ge ms. Just glancing at their creative menu made me happy. There were banh mi inspired sandwiches the first half of their menu, and noodle and salad bowls the second half. When I took my first bite of the Baht Mi sandwich, which has BBQ short rib, honey peanut sauce, chilies, cucumber, mint, pickled vegetables, and their housemade chili sauce, I was converted to a loyal fan. I am excited to work my way through the rest of the menu.

2. Beasley's Chicken + Honey

237 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601
http://ac-restaurants.com/beasleys/


Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich; buttermilk bread
with house made pickles, iceberg lettuce
and buttermilk herb dressing; $8.50

(In the blurred background) Classic Chicken Sandwich;
iceberg lettuce, special sauce, potato bun; $6.50

Beasley's Chicken + Honey was my first experience of an Ashley Christensen restaurant and though I admired her from afar, eating at Beasley's endeared me to her work even more. I had been scouting the area for Nashville Style Hot CHicken and was almost certain that it doesn't exist in the area when I got wind of Beasley's Chicken + Honey having it on their menu. That spicy sandwich had me sweating in seconds, and yet, I'd go back for more. It hurt so dang good. I also tried their fried chicken sandwich, and what i t lacked in spicy kick, it made up in uncomplicated pleasure. Mmm, that perfect crispy batter on the outside and the juicy chicken on the inside!

3. Raleigh Times

14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601
http://raleightimesbar.com/


Bangin' Shrimp Po' Boy; s easoned fried shrimp, lettuce,
Vietnamese slaw, sesame oil,
and a spicy yum-yum sauce; $12.95

Far East Reuben; beer-braised corned beef,
collard green kimchi, swiss cheese,
special sauce on grilled rye; $11.95

One of my Austin friends, Patrick, would ask me if I made it to Raleigh Times anytime we caught up since I moved to the area. He kept mentioning their Reuben. I finally heeded his advice and tried their Reuben (blurred in the background of the photo above), and their shrimp po'boy. And I loved both their sandwiches so much that I'm certain I'll only order these two sandwiches when I return. Maybe future dining companions will broaden my experience by ordering other things that I can steal bites of, but I'm smitten with these two sandwiches. The Reuben had kimchi collard greens. I've yet to have a Reuben with collard greens, much less kimchi collard greens. It worked pretty well! The shrimp po'boy was just as delightful with their Vietnamese purple slaw. I highly recommend both sandwiches!

4. Merritt's Grill

1009 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27515
https://www.merrittsblt.com/


Merritt's Single BLT; toasted bread of your choice,
bacon, bacon, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, salt,
pepper, and ba con; $7.15 / Extra $1.31 for avocado (worth it!)

I like when a restaurant or business does one thing so well, they can operate their business with just that one thing if they wanted to! Such is the case with Merritt's Grill and their BLT. They have other things on their menu besides the BLT but really, just get the BLT. I add avocado to mine and have to refrain from humming happily as I eat this famed BLT sandwich.

5. Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen

1305 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
http://www.sunrisebiscuits.com/

When in the South, you must partake in the chicken biscuit sandwich. And if you're in the Research Triangle Area, the place for chicken biscuit sandwiches is an unassuming drive-thru establishment opened only for breakfast and lunch, called Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. I've learned this humble establishment has become somewhat of an institution for the chicken biscuit sandwich. I decided to order my chicken biscuit with added pimento cheese, to give it another layer of Southern charm, and because I'm a glutton, I ordered a hash brown and slipped it into my sandwich. Um, if that's too much for you to handle, just the chicken biscuit will probably make you happy too!

6. William Gourmet Kitchen

2114 N Carolina 54, Durham, NC 27713
https://www.williamsgk.com/

William Gourmet Kitchen

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich; lightly breaded fried chicken tossed
in honey buffalo sauce with lettuce,
tomatoes, red onions & dill pickles
on a toasted Brioche bun; $8.29

And because I'm not done talking about fried chicken sandwiches, also pay a visit to William Gourmet Kitchen. Another unassuming establishment that specializes in down-home diner cooking. I quite enjoyed this Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, with the option to add either blue cheese or ranch dressing. No fancy hoopla to it, just extraordinary in its ordinariness

7. Spanky's

101 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
http://www.spankysrestaurant.com/


Spanky's ALT; arugula, tomato, avocado
and house-pimento cheese on wh eat; $9.5 /Add bacon $11.5

Spanky's is a college sports bar on Franklin street. It's fun to go to admire their wall of caricatures of celebrities and esteemed public figures who have graduated from UNC. It's a fun game to play with your dining buddy to see if you recognize anyone. But back to the topic at hand, sandwiches!! Their ALT with a side of their sweet potato tots is my standard order. Served with arugula and a layer of gooey pimento cheese, this sandwich is so good, you don't even need to add bacon. But that's your prerogative!

Over to you now! Did I miss your favorite sandwich? If you're not from the RDU area, please comment and tell me about your favorite sandwich.

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 7 Restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham Area to Get Your Sandwich Fix appeared first on Girl Eats World.

11 Best French Fries In Austin

If you are what you eat, then I would be a French fry. If only I could profess my love for fried potatoes, whether thinly sliced, wedges, crinkle-cut, curly, topped with garlic, smothered with cheese, or dipped in housemade aioli.

The post 11 Best French Fries In Austin appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

7 Restaurants in the Research Triangle Area to Get Your Sandwich Fix

When I was younger, I thought sandwiches were boring. Bread with just stuff in the middle was how I looked at it. Thankfully, with age, I wised up. Sandwiches can be fantastic with appetizing filling! And I'm paying them more mind and am basking in our honeymoon phase. I have been exploring the world of sandwiches in the Research Triangle Area of North Carolina and am happy to share with you a list of winning sandwiches.

7 Restaurants in the Research Triangle Area to Get Your Sandwich Fix

1. Na' Mean

4823 Meadow Dr. Suite 108, Durham, NC 27713
http://www.kokyubbq.com/nmean/

Na'Mean

Baht Mi; BBQ short rib, honey peanut sauce, chilies,
cucumber, mint, cilantro, pickled vegetables, KoKyu
chili sauce, crushed peanuts; $12

Upon pulling up to Na' Mean and seeing that it's tucked inside a quiet strip mall, I'm already smiling to myself. You may remember how I feel about strip mall gems. Just glancing at their creative menu made me happy. There were banh mi inspired sandwiches the first half of their menu, and noodle and salad bowls the second half. When I took my first bite of the Baht Mi sandwich, which has BBQ short rib, honey peanut sauce, chilies, cucumber, mint, pickled vegetables, and their housemade chili sauce, I was converted to a loyal fan. I am excited to work my way through the rest of the menu.

2. Beasley's Chicken + Honey

237 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601
http://ac-restaurants.com/beasleys/


Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich; but termilk bread
with house made pickles, iceberg lettuce
and buttermilk herb dressing; $8.50

(In the blurred background) Classic Chicken Sandwich;
iceberg lettuce, special sauce, potato bun; $6.50

Beasley's Chicken + Honey was my first experience of an Ashley Christensen restaurant and though I admired her from afar, eating at Beasley's endeared me to her work even more. I had been scouting the area for Nashville Style Hot CHicken and was almost certain that it doesn't exist in the area when I got wind of Beasley's Chicken + Honey having it on their menu. That spicy sandwich had me sweating in seconds, and yet, I'd go back for more. It hurt so dang good. I also tried their fried chicken sandwich, and what it lacked in spicy kick, it made up in uncomplicated pleasure. Mmm, that perfect crispy batter on the outside and the juicy chicken on the inside!

3. Raleigh Times

14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601
http://raleightimesbar.com/


Bangin' Shrimp Po' Boy; seasoned fried shrimp, lettuce,
Vietnamese slaw, sesame oil,
and a spicy yum-yum sauce; $12.95

Far East Reuben; beer-braised corned beef,
collard green kimchi, swiss cheese,
special sauce on grilled rye; $11.95

One of my Austin friends, Patrick, would ask me if I made it to Raleigh Times anytime we caught up since I moved to the area. He kept mentioning their Reuben. I finally heeded his advice and tried their Reuben (blurred in the background of the photo above), and their shrimp po'boy. And I loved both their sandwiches so much that I'm certain I'll only order these two sandwiches when I return. Maybe future dining companions will broaden my experience by ordering other things that I can steal bites of, but I'm smitten with these two sandwiches. The Reuben had kimchi collard greens. I've yet to have a Reuben with collard greens, much less kimchi collard greens. It worked pretty well! The shrimp po'boy was just as delightful with their Vietnamese purple slaw. I highly recommend both sandwiches!

4. Merritt's Grill

1009 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27515
https: //www.merrittsblt.com/


Merritt's Single BLT; toasted bread of your choice,
bacon, bacon, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, salt,
pepper, and bacon; $7.15 / Extra $1.31 for avocado (worth it!)

I like when a restaurant or business does one thing so well, they can operate their business with just that one thing if they wanted to! Such is the case with Merri tt's Grill and their BLT. They have other things on their menu besides the BLT but really, just get the BLT. I add avocado to mine and have to refrain from humming happily as I eat this famed BLT sandwich.

5. Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen

1305 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
http://www.sunrisebiscuits.com/

When in the South, you must parta ke in the chicken biscuit sandwich. And if you're in the Research Triangle Area, the place for chicken biscuit sandwiches is an unassuming drive-thru establishment opened only for breakfast and lunch, called Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. I've learned this humble establishment has become somewhat of an institution for the chicken biscuit sandwich. I decided to order my chicken biscuit with added pimento cheese, to give it another layer of Southern charm, and because I'm a glutton, I ordered a hash brown and slipped it into my sandwich. Um, if that's too much for you to handle, just the chicken biscuit will probably make you happy too!

6. William Gourmet Kitchen

2114 N Carolina 54, Durham, NC 27713
https://www.williamsgk.com/

William Gourmet Kitchen

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich; lightly breaded fried chicken tossed
in honey buffalo sauce with lettuce,
tomatoes, red onions & dill pickles
on a toasted Brioche bun; $8.29

And because I'm not done talking about fried chicken sandwiches, also pay a visit to William Gourmet Kitchen. Another unassuming establishment that specializes in down-home diner cooking. I quite enjoyed this Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, with the option to add either blue cheese or ranch dressing. No fancy hoopla to it, just extraordinary in its ordinariness

7. Sp anky's

101 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
http://www.spankysrestaurant.com/


Spanky's ALT; arugula, tomato, avocado
and house-pimento cheese on wheat; $9.5 /Add bacon $11.5

Spanky's is a college sports bar on Franklin street. It's fun to go to admire their wall of caricatures of celebrities and esteemed public figures who have graduated from UNC. It's a fun game to play with your dining buddy to see if you recognize anyone. But back to the topic at hand, sandwiches!! Their ALT with a side of their sweet potato tots is my standard order. Served with arugula and a layer of gooey pimento cheese, this sandwich is so good, you don't even need to add bacon. But that's your prerogative!

Over to you now! Did I miss your favorite sandwich? If you're not from the RDU area, please comment and tell me about your favorite sandwich.

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 7 Restaurants in the Research Triangle Area to Get Your Sandwich Fix appeared first on Girl Eats World.

How to Road Trip to Round Top Any Time of Year

Round Top City Limit Sign

90 folks can't be wrong about this charming Texas town (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

Up until now, Round Top, Texas, has been synonymous with one thing-antiques. That's because twice a year for many years, is has been the go-to destination for antique buyers and sellers. However, this quaint little town, founded in 1831 and currently home to 90 people, is bustling with new establishments as townspeople have aimed to make their home a year-round destination, wit h upscale shopping, dining, and lodging.

I recently set out on the open road to see what the fuss is all about. Upon completing the hour and a half drive from Austin, I was overwhelmed by how much there is to see and do. I intended to take a day trip to Round Top, see a few things, and head back to the big city. But I got so caught up in sight-seeing that I ended up spending the night. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this 640-acre town is shaping up to be the next Gruene or Fredricksburg. So without further ado, here's your ultimate year-round guide to Round Top, Texas.

What to Do in Round Top

Shop the Town Squares

Henkel Square in Round Top

Henkel Square is one of three town squares visitors can stroll and shop (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

In 2010, Mark Massey began hauling old farmhouses and other buildings from a bygone era into Round Top. It was his vision to restore the buildings and make them places where artisans and restaurateurs could set up shop. Together, Massey and his family purchased land and revamped what is now referred to as Henkel Square.

Today, Henkel, as well as Rummel and Bybee Squares, are top shopping destinations for visitors to the town. Wander the squares to find everything from antiques, to boots, to hand-crafted leather goods. And be sure to stop by The Round Top Chamber of Commerce, located in Henkel Square, to say 'hello to Massey and load up on brochures containing d etails on area happenings.

102 N. Live Oak St.

Attend the Antiques Fair

Moore Antiques in Round Top

Moore Antiques is one of the many antique shops lining Highway 237 (Credit @dollarsaenz)

If you stick around any small Texas town long enough, you'll hear it all. Tall tales, old wives tales, legends, and straight up rumors. One of the stories you might hear is how Round Top Antiques Fair got started. Although some say it began four miles south in Warrenton, a few locals s et me straight. It all started with one woman and one building. Emma Lee Turney hosted a two-day antiques show in 1968 and called it Round Top Antiques Fair. In 1969, due to the growing success of the show, Turney decided to make it a semi-annual event and extend it to Riffle Hall. From then on, the overall show grew exponentially every six months.

Now the fair is held over two and a half weeks, twice a year: once in spring and once in fall. It's estimated that over 100,000 people visit the area during those times. You can find participating vendors strung up and down highway 237 and throughout the surrounding communities.

First-timer?It can be an overwhelming experience, but Loot Rentals teamed up with the hosts of the podcast I Was Just Saying That for a Roundtable on Round Topthat offers tips and advice about sh opping the festival.

Other helpful resources include:

Find Local Fare at the Farmers' Market


Every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., local farmers bring the freshest veggies, spices, cheese, sauces, breads, flowers, pastries, honey, and tea to market. Don't miss the chance to shop the best local produce in the area. This way, you'll have something tasty to nibble on the ride home.

Town Square, 102 Main St.

Catch a Concert at Round Top Festival Institute

Round Top Concert at Festival Institute

Catch a concert at this stunning venue (Credit: Festival Hill Facebook)

Round Top Festival Institute was established in 1971 by concert pianist James Dick. The music institute currently provides education programs and concerts throughout the year. If you aren't lucky enough to catch a concert or aren't in a musical mood, it's worth taking a tour of the insanely gorgeous grounds and hearing about the organization's history.

248 Jaster Road Website

Junk Gypsy Company

Junk Gypsy in Round Top

Junk Gypsy Company, purveyors of the world's finest junk (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

No visit to Round Top would be complete without stopping by the famous Junk Gypsy Company headquarters. In 1998, sisters Amy and Jolie, and their mother Janie Sikes, hit the road to buy and sell junk at flea markets all over Texas. Coincidently, the Sikes found they could make a life and start a busine ss from their wandering ways.

Amy and Jolie went on to star in two of HGTV's Garage Sale Wars specialsand work with several country recording artists, such as Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley.Partake in the gypsy life by shopping hippie-meets-rocker-chic clothing, home decor, and accessories curated by the Sikes.

1215 Texas 237 Website

St. Martin's Catholic Church

St. Martin's Catholic Church in Round Top

This ti ny church holds mass once a year on All Souls' Day, Nov. 2 (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

On the left-hand side just outside Round Top if you're coming from La Grange, sits the world's oldest active worship Catholic church. The tiny place of worship was started in 1888 and contains 12 benches that can hold about 20 people. This little piece of history is a must-see, but drive slow or you'll miss it!

1215 Texas 237 Website

Where to Eat and Drink in Round Top

One of the things that blew me away on my visit to Round Top was the quality of dining establishments in town. Even in a thriving metropolitan like Austin, it can be challenging to find places where the food, service, and atmosphere are all worth writing home about. Whether you're looking for breakfast, l unch, or dinner, here are a few places in Round Top that are doing it right.

The Garden Co. Feed and Firewater

Rib-eye Steak at Feed & Fire Water Garden Co.

Rib-eye steak is served with chimichurri and sauteed asparagus at The Garden Co. (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

The Garden Co. sits under one of the most beautiful trees I've ever seen in my life. This eatery is little sister to the Marketplace & Cafe in Schulenburg, and is serving up farm-to-table fare you'd expect from a neighboring big city. My group tried the sea bass, rib-eye steak, and grilled portobello mushrooms. Only food this flavorful could have us all eating in silence.

104 W. Wantke St. Website

Royer's Pie Haven

Royer's Pie Haven in Round Top

Homemade pastries + freshly-roasted coffee are on the breakfast menu at Royer's Pie Haven (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

Whether it's sweet or savory pies, coffee drinks, or a heavenly breakfast you crave, make a beeline for Royers Pie Haven. Pie Queen Tara Royer has been baking up homemade goodness for friends and family since she was a child. In July 2011, Royer decided to create a sanctuary for the world to enjoy her baked goodies.

On the breakfast menu for my group? Fluffy, buttery blueberry scones and expertly-crafted coffee drinks made with beans from a neighbor, Two Sparrows Roasting Co.

190 Henkel St. Website

Keep reading: Royers Pie Haven Serves Old Fashioned Goodness From Scratch

Two Sparrows Roasting Co.

Two Sparrows Roasting Co. in Round Top

This coffee purveyor roasts and sells coffee from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Ethiopia (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

While sitting outside Royer's Pie Haven, it's easy to get entranced by the smell of freshly-roasted coffee that lingers in the atmosphere. After savoring every bite of my breakfast scone, I followed my nose to the wooden coffee roaster building to get the scoop. I'm not sure when Two Sparrows Roasting Co. opened, but that's not important. All you need to know is that they roast coffee beans from five different countries and their nitro cold brew is the best I've ever had. But don't take my word for it. Stop by to bask in the warm, perfume-like aroma of their freshly-ground beans, and pick up a j ug of cold brew so smooth you can skip the creamer.

188 Henkel Circle Website

Honorable Mentions

  • Royers Cafe: Down on Main Street, you'll find a famous little gem of a cafe that Bud the Pieman Royer and his family have been running since 1987. Since then, the cafe that can only seat 40 people at a time has been serving contemporary comfort food like the grilled shrimp BLT on jalapeo sourdough and grilled pork tenderloin with peach n' pepper glaze. Also on their menu: a list of more than 60 wines and, of course, Royers homemade pie.
  • The Stone Cellar & Round Top Dance Hall: Yummy eats, craft beer on tap, live music-what more could you ask for? Pay a visit to this friendly neighborhood hangout to enjoy it all.
  • Prost Wine Bar: If you want to hang with the locals, then this is the place to go. Nearly everyone I ran into in town raved about this beautiful little wine bar, located in Round Top's most historic building. Stop in to enjoy a glass, a bottle, or purchase a case of wine from around the world.

Extend Your Stay atThe Vintage Round Top

The Vintage Round Top Lodging

The Vintage Round Top's Boho Cottage combines boho and glam elements, and sleeps up to 8 guests
(Credit: @dollarsa enz)

Paige and Smoot Hull are owners of The Vintage Round Top and active members of The Round Top City Council, helping to further the mission of making the town a year-round destination. The Houston couple designed The Vintage Round Top with the motto Live Intentionally in mind. It's apparent in how they run their business and the design of their vacation rentals.

In fact, whether you're staying in The 1450 House or The Boho Cottage, the design is in the details. A well-placed cowhide rug, hand-picked black picture frames from Europe, and old cotton gin doors repurposed as kitchen doors all add up to a stunning visual and textile experience.

Both accommodations mix what the couple calls modern vintage style. In short, it's hip; it's got soul; and it works beautifully. Everything in this house has a story, and both male and female guests can relate to it. We designed it this way because if everything were from only one store, there'd be no conversation.

The 1450 House at The Vintage Round Top

The 1450 House flaunts vintage farmhouse decor and sleeps up to 6 guests (Credit: @dollarsaenz)

Call the fabulous 1450 House or The Boho Cottage a home away from home, whether you want to take part in the Antiques Fair or are looking for a quiet getaway any time of year. The property is within walking distance to seven shows when the Antiques Fair is in full swing, and is a one-minute drive to downtown Round Top. I can tell you from my own experience, you won't want to leave such luxe and tranquil accommodations.

1450 N. Hwy 237 Website

Round Up and Head to Round Top

Whether you're visiting for the day or a whole weekend, this little town nestled in the Texas countryside has sophisticated yet unique shopping, dining, and lodging options that might make you consider permanent small town living.

@dollarsaenz wants to know:

What's your favorite thing to do in Round Top, Texas?

***
We always have unique content on theAustinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out ourBest of the Austinotnewsletter 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 Road Trip to Round Top Any Time of Year appeared first on The Austinot

11 Austin Event Venues To Host Your Next Event

Planning an event in Austin? We've done the research for you. Here are the best Austin event venues to host your next event.

The post 11 Austin Event Venues To Host Your Next Event appeared first on A Taste of Koko - Austin's Top Food & Travel Blog.

Risks Reward Austin Beer Lovers at Hi Sign Brewing

Hi Sign Brewing Beer Flight

A wide variety of fantastic beer awaits you at Hi Sign Brewing in Austin (Credit: Bill Tucker)

This article marks my three-year anniversary of writing for The Austinot. In my role as Contributing Blogger and now Lead Blogger, I'm proud to represent this unique blog and contribute to its mission of celebrating everything I love about this fine city. Looking forward to many more years of good eats, great music, and diving into the heart of Austin entertainment. As always, thanks for r eading.


To stand out in Austin's beer scene, you need to be different. Far too many breweries jump out of the gate with the standard core four: light beer, ale, IPA, porter. Five years ago, the strategy made sense. But with new competition popping up every month, up-and-coming brew masters need to bring something special to the table.

By peppering its tap list with a blend of left-of-center styles and traditional brews, Hi Sign Brewing has managed to make a quick, positive impression on the local beer scene. If you're looking for something accessible yet different, this brand new spot is sure to satisfy beer lovers of every taste.

Hi Sign Brewing's Dream Realized


While Hi Sign is a relative newbie, owner Mark Phillip pe is a seasoned veteranjust not in the world of beer. Phillippe is retired Marine Corps. As his service concluded, he found himself looking to the next stage of his life. Inspired by the lifestyle and work of his friends Tito Beveridge (founder of Tito's Handmade Vodka) and Clayton Christopher (founder of Sweet Leaf Tea), Phillippe decided to follow his passion and open a brewery.

His first task was to find a world class brewer to bring his vision to life. After months of searching, he recruited Andrew Shelton to helm his beer program. With experience at breweries like Revolver and Cigar City, Shelton brings a unique style and perspective to the craft.

The second vital component was a name. Inspiration came from Phillippe's memories of time with his father in a remote cabin outside Lincoln, Mont. To help mark the road, another camper created a makeshift sign out of an old barrel top, painted it white, and spelt Hi in reflective tape. Hi Sign road was born.

Rustic , Relaxing Vibe


Despite being situated in an industrial area, a stone's throw away from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Hi Sign mirrors Phillippe's love of the outdoors and all things rustic. Inside, the tap room is divided into two sections: the main bar area and a TV area that's perfect for watching sports. Long picnic tables provide ample seating. Coupled with a variety of games like cornhole and adult-sized Connect Four, it feels like a lively backyard party.

The brewery also boasts a spacious, inviting patio designed for outdoor hangs. It isn't clear whether live music is in the Hi Sign forecast, but it should be. With clever elements like a giant chalkboard and TV showing the flight paths of every plane passing over the airport, Hi Sign's environment is as unique as its beers.

Diverse, Interesting Beer

A post shared by Hi Sign Brewing (@hisignbrewing) on < time style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px;" datetime="2017-09-09T05:13:19+00:00">Sep 8, 2017 at 10:13pm PDT


But beer nuts aren't about the ambiance. Hi Sign made a name for itself in the Austin beer scene by delivering high-quality brew the minute it opened. The flagship beer is The Astronaut, a smooth and velvety double IPA. Massive hits of grapefruit and mango dominate the nose and taste, while the beefy malt backbone lingers on the palate. Naming a beer this big as your flagship is a bold move, but the flavors rise to the challenge.

Aside from The Astronaut, other everyday offerings include Shamus, a rich, malty Irish red ale, and Christie the American, a light, refreshing blonde ale. Up until recently, the brewery also had a deliciously decadent beer entitled Blood Orange Ubu ntu Coffee Stout. Essentially a chocolate orange candy in a glasssubtle hints of orangey citrus playing beautifully with a bitter coffee finish. It shouldn't work, but it does! NOTE: As of this article, Hi Sign has one keg left. So it may be gone when you visit.

Unlike many new breweries, Hi Sign has more one-off beers than mainstays. My flight had a blueberry-infused version of Christie, and a dry, true-to-style Octoberfest marzen. Of all the specials, the Futureman East Coast IPA was my favorite on my last visit. One of craft beer's newest trends, this hazy IPA dials down the hop bite in favor of fruity juiciness. The flavor profile is a pineapple nose that gives way to mango and other citrus during the sip.

Keep reading: Tip Back a Glass of Our 8 Must-try Austin IPAs

Hi Sign's Bright Future


And the innovation isn't stopping there. In the corner of the TV room, two barrels are aging Ubuntu Stout, while several other styles are currently in the works. Hi Sign started canning the Shamus Irish Red and Christie blond earlier this year, with plans to expand to the West Coast IPA and (to my eternal delight) The Astronaut.

When a brewery arrives on the scene with a clear vision and out-of-the-gate quality, it can be something special. Hi Sign has delivered on both fronts, with a relaxed tap room and impressive selection. The next time your flight is delayed and you're en route to the airport, stop at Hi Sign to while away the time. You won't be disappointed.

1201 Bastrop Hwy Website

@BillTuckerTSPwants to know:

What's your favorite brew ery in the Austin beer scene?

***
We always have unique content on theAustinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out ourBest of the Austinotnewsletter 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 Risks Reward Austin Beer Lovers at Hi Sign Brewing appeared first on The Austinot