Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dinner with Chobani at Parkside

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to dine with Chobani during South by Southwest in Downtown Austin at Parkside. Of course my answer was YES!

 Great food and great company? Count me in anytime. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Chobani, they are the Greek yogurt company who makes yummy authentic Greek yogurt you find at the grocery store. 

For dinner, they invited us to Parkside on 6th Street in Austin for a Chobani inspired menu. Each of the 5 courses featured Chobani's Greek yogurt within the course. I loved how creative the menu was! Have you ever thought about yogurt jerky? Me neither! 

It was such a wonderful evening getting to know Emily and the girls from Chobani - they were awesome. Not to mention getting to hang out with some fellow Austin food bloggers. 

 I loved that I could haul out my huge camera AND my iPhone and no one minded since they were all food bloggers too! We all had fun analyzing, photographing and discussing food. Basically my dream evening.

Ok onto the food! 

Appetizer Course:

Chilled avocado soup, blood orange, smoked trout caviar, calabrese chili 

I hate to start with this one because it was my least favorite dish out of all 5! This was my first experience with trout caviar and I can't say I was a big fan. It was like liquid fish exploding in my mouth. And avocados? In cold, liquid form? Not my favorite either. But I did love the contrast of the blood orange with the avocado and the "chili" aka fresh vegetables were crunchy and fresh and were delicious. 

First Course:

 Local beet salad, celery root, mache, coriander, yogurt jerky, puffed mustard seeds 

 Okay, I loved this course! I didn't know I liked beets so much! Fresh, colorful beets, were the star of this dish and I ate every bite. The yogurt jerky was fun and playful but I'm not sure if I ate every bite! :)

Second Course:

Grilled prawns, caramelized yogurt, petite carrots, Ras el Hanout 

  I loved the presentation of this dish-so many colors and textures. The shrimp was great! 

Third Course: 

Braised beef short ribs, yogurt farina, morello cherries, and green garlic. 

 This might be my favorite photo I've ever taken. Ever. 

Also, this may be the best thing I have ever eaten. The beef was so tender it feel apart and I loved the green garlic and the contrasting sweetness of the cherries.
 What an absolutely beautiful dish! I nearly licked the plate...

Dessert Course:

Yogurt custard, Texas strawberries, compressed mango, almond soil, basil ice cream

First of all, why have I never thought of almond "soil"? They might as well have called it crack-it was both sweet and salty and it was the perfect complement to the tangy yogurt custard and the sweet strawberries and mangoes. 
And that basil ice cream? So refreshing and palate cleansing.
 I wasn't able to eat all of it but I definitely licked the plate clean of that "soil."

At the end of our meal we were lucky enough to hear a few words from the Chef himself!

Shawn Cirkiel is the head chef and basically a culinary genius. He has been honored as Austin’s youngest five-star chef from the Austin American Statesman. He spoke genuinely of his love of fresh local ingredients and his love of Chobani yogurt and what fun he had incorporating it into our dinner. 

Honestly, it was such a wonderful evening. I loved eating amazing food but also hearing about what an awesome company Chobani is and how they are committed to real food. not to mention Emily was lovely and so were the other Chobani crew members.

 Natalie from Food Fetish, me and Emily from Chobani
 Jeanine and Jack from Love and Lemons
 Chatting it up after dinner

Here are a few photos of the restaurant:

photo courtesy Parkside
View from the private room we were in upstairs

 Their second floor patio. As you can see, Sixth Street was a LITTLE busy that night!

Thanks so much to Chobani and Parkside for an amazing dinner! In case you want to learn more about their philosophy and their yogurt check them out here

Also, if you are ever looking to make some healthy changes to your cooking or baking, they have this helpful little graphic that shows you how to convert from less healthy options. 

 I love the idea of replacing butter and mayonnaise with Greek yogurt in baking and cooking!

Disclosure: Chobani invited me to dinner with them at Parkside but didn't ask anything of me in return. I simply loved my evening with them and their products. All opinions are my own honest ones :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Insta-Yum February

I feel like I have been slacking in my instagramming of food as of late. Perhaps I have been enjoying my food too much to bother posting photos?

 We had a blast checking out the new Gordough's restaurant. They serve giant donuts covered in yummy sweets and fruits. They also serve burgers on donuts and sandwiches on donuts! Crazy fun! (although hello heart attacks!)

 Cream cheese fruit donut from Gordough's. 

 Delicous steak with goat cheese butter over rice from Manuel's in Austin.
 Seriously this melted in my mouth. 
Not to mention then I had the most amazing flan of my life (pictured below).

I don't like flan but this changes my mind. It is firm not soft and has a coconut crust that is heavenly. Seriously, if you go to Manuel's definitely order the flan!

 A new sandwich from Jason's Deli- chicken with roasted onions and peppers. It was really good-too bad I don't remember the name of it!

Mac n' cheese pizza from Pinthouse Pizza in Austin. My friends ordered this but it was good! I don't know if I could eat a whole pizza of it but I had the Cannonball (meat pizza).

 Lovely salmon with green beans and tabouli from a luncheon at the Hyatt in Austin.
 Awesome beef crispy noodles from First Chinese BBQ in Chinatown in Austin. 
These were delicious-definitely get them if you go! 

 A Texas Roadhouse date for Valentine's Day meant that we needed a Bloomin' Onion!
 I have to say we didn't need it- we had plenty of food and 
this was a little too greasy for our taste. 

 I also tried a bubble smoothie for the first time from Short N Sweet Cafe in Chinatown! The smoothie was really good but I don't really like those tapioca balls at the bottom. They didn't taste like anything and every time I sucked one up through the straw it threw me off! 
But if you like bubble smoothies, this place was good and had lots of flavors!

 My corn fritters I made for cooking club. Get the recipe here!

 Asian pastries from Texas bakery at Chinatown. 

 Chicken and bell pepper pizza from Newk's cafe. Dip this in ranch and you will love me. 

 Yummy virgin Pina Colada from the Gristmill Restaurant in New Braunfels. This drink combined with the onions rings below = perfection.

 The best onion rings I have ever had. Crispy, flavorful batter from the Gristmill Restaurant-beautiful views, great service and delicious food.

 Yummy grilled cheese sandwiches from the Burro food truck at South Congress.
 They have artisan grilled cheese sandwiches and I tried the Waylon Willie- "beer bread, redneck cheddar, gruyere, caramelized onions, pepperocinis & spicy maple bacon sauce." They were a little slow since each sandwich was handmade fresh. 
Also, they are pretty small sandwiches but very flavorful!

 Barbeque sandwich from Taylor Cafe. I wasn't very impressed with their food. It was good don't get me wrong-but not great. Although it was a fun experience trying out a local hangout and the owner, who is in his 80's is there every day! Next time we go to Taylor for BBQ I hope Louis Mueller is open! (this day it was closed due to TWO pit fires!!)

Potato crusted chicken over pasta from Olive Garden
The pasta wasn't great but the chicken was really good. 

This chocolate mousse cake from Olive Garden was actually really good! I especially loved the little crunchy chocolate balls on top!

Any new recommendations for places for me to try?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Corn Fritters with Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

For Cooking Club this month, my friend Janssen was in charge of picking a theme. We've previously done food from Smitten Kitchen, a "mini" food theme, a Luau theme, Holiday treats and this month Janssen chose the blog, Perry's Plate

There were tons of great options from her blog but I couldn't get these corn fritters out of my head. And typically, I love fried food but try to avoid making it at home because it's a hassle and it smells up my house :) So you KNOW these had to be tempting if I was willing to go through all that! 

I loved the crispy texture of the fritters and the spice from the coriander and cumin. Not to mention, I love corn in just about anything and the sweet and spicy dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment.

Make these as a party appetizer and they are sure to be gobbled up!

Corn Fritters with Sweet Dipping Sauce
recipe courtesy Perry's Plate

Fritter Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water
2 cups of corn kernels (about 3 cobs if using fresh corn)
4 large scallions or green onions, finely sliced (about half a cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Heat-safe oil for frying 

Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 large clove garlic, minced


To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium high, let boil for 10 minutes or so, until the mixture becomes somewhat syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, ground coriander, and ground cumin in a medium bowl. Add egg, lemon juice and water. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the corn, onions, and cilantro. Stir until just combined.

Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. When oil is hot (shimmering not smoking), spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons worth of fritter batter into the pan to form one fritter, patting it down with the back of the spoon as soon as it is in the pan (I used a cookie scoop to easily slip the batter off in small similar shapes). Fill the pan but leave about 1/2 inch between the fritters in the pan. Let cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping the fritters when they are nicely browned on one side. When browned on the other side, remove the fritters to a plate lined with paper towels.

Add oil as needed to keep the bottom of the pan well coated. Note that the fritters will likely splatter a bit as you are cooking. So, use a screen splatter guard and be careful.

Makes approximately 16-20 small fritters, depending on how large you make them. Serve immediately with the sweet chili dipping sauce. (These fritters should be eaten fresh so they have the crispiness.  I recommend making them immediately before serving and eating right away!)


Friday, March 8, 2013

Meet Austin: Your Mom's Burger Bar

One of my new goals for 2013 was to try a few new restaurants a month in Austin. It seems like an easy goal because there are so many great choices but it's actually the hardest goal because there ARE too many good choices!

I love finding new places from deal sites like this great burger joint I found from TravelZoo.

Your Mom's Burger Bar in Austin (off Airport Blvd) is famous for it's stuffed burgers and they didn't disappoint. I tried the "Willie Nelson" which was "a 1/2 pound burger stuffed w/ American cheese, tossed in honey BBQ sauce then topped off w/ bacon, a fried onion ring & B.B. King sauce on Texas toast." Can I just say, yum? Although I'm a sucker for anything with barbeque sauce and onion rings!

And the fries were really good. And the fried pickles were good (but a little too thick for my taste). And finally, those sweet potato fries drizzled with caramel were awesome. Definitely order those if you go. 

We really enjoyed our lunch there and the owner was a fun nice guy. It's not a huge place so I wouldn't recommend a group over 6 as the tables don't really accommodate it.

Anyways, stop by if you want a fun place and big juicy burger! We loved it!

The "Willie Nelson" (without the Texas toast)

The James Brown (with pulled pork)...I had a bite and it was good!

The Robert deNiro- " A 1/2 burger tossed in Mom's marinara sauce, stuffed with monterey jack, then topped with Italian sausage, parmesan cheese, tomato & grilled onions on a bed of fresh spinach on a toasted bun.

Irish "Nachos" aka cheese fries :)

This post is completely my own opinion. I was not compensated in any way for my opinions. I just liked this restaurant and wanted to share it with y'all!

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