Happy 2014!

Hello, 2014!

It’s been nearly 4 months since my last post and I am so so ashamed.  But I have been doing things, and here is the post to prove it!

I had to travel a bunch to Grand Rapids, Michigan (which is a tundra right now, I’m glad I haven’t had to go lately) for work and it’s actually a pretty cool town.  There’s a bunch of good craft brews along with some good places to eat.  My favorite place is the Winchester (http://www.winchestergr.com/) where my coworkers and I shared this awesome roasted cauliflower appetizer.  Notice the dramatic presentation of the whole head stabbed through with a large knife.

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The mussels with tomatoes and sausage were pretty good too.

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Airport Chiles margarita? You betcha.

I also had this weird spaghetti pie thing…

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As usual, I’ve probably eaten at Tacodeli another 50 times, but here are two of my favorites, the Delibelly (pork belly special, only on Saturdays) and the Heather (refried black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and fried cheese).

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Summer Eats from Coast to Coast

Here’s some of the amazeballz things I’ve been eating/drinking this summer:

1.  This photo is reaaaally old but brunch here was amazing and The General Muir (http://www.thegeneralmuir.com/) is my oldest friend and future chef business partner’s favorite place to eat in Atlanta.  Highly recommended.

The Avenue A open faced bagel:  nova, schmear, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber, onion.

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2.  While in sunny SAN DIEGO for the 4th of July, I had lunch with my lovely mother at Prep Kitchen (http://www.prepkitchen.com/) in Little Italy:  to start, probably one of my favorite cocktails to date, London’s Burning.  Gin, jalapeño, avocado and lime.

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Followed up by a cold corn puree soup:

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And mussels with garlic, white wine, cream and fries:

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Dinner Lab – Tour de France

In my first Dinner Lab event in awhile, I saw an all-French menu and had to go.  Chef Jacques Richard lived and cooked in France until moving to Austin and is now a chef at Whole Foods.  His menu is a tour around the different regions of France, with each course representing a different place.

Course 1:  Gironde, Atlantique Ocean.  Baked stuffed mussels, ham, butter, pastis, bread crumbs

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The mussels were really tiny, but the clam itself was nice and light, and they didn’t dry out in the oven, either.  Not sure if it was just a garnish or not (most of the snobs around didn’t eat it), but the sautéed spinach was also delicious.

Course 2:  Lyon.  Lyonnaise Salad, red wine dressing, Lardons, croutons, poached eggs

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The problem with an event like Dinner Lab, where a chef is serving 50 or more people without a real kitchen, things have to be cooked in advance and they have to sit around.  Poached eggs are just not going to be good if they sit around.  The egg had to have been quail or some other small bird, so it was small, and was overcooked, rubbery, and the yolk was so small none of it was runny.  The intent of the salad was good in theory, had the yolk broken open and combined with the vinegar dressing to coat the salad, but it ended up flopping.

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Eden East at Springdale Farm

I was set to go to the soft opening of Eden East (located on the east side at Springdale Farm) a month or so ago, but both nights ended up being rained out, so I was very much looking forward to spending an evening eating out on the farm.  Eden East is a reservation-only (you can do them all online via Open Table, a sigh of relief for me, who is a serious phone-a-phobic) weekend-only restaurant right on the grass by the farmhouse on Springdale Farm.  The menu is seven courses prix fixe set at $60 and changes every weekend based on what’s freshest coming off the farm.  We also had both vegan and gluten-free diners and they had no issues being accommodated, which is always a plus.

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The atmosphere at Eden East is relaxed and quaint under the shade of a huge tree laced with hanging lights.  I also enjoyed the long picnic-style tables that allows you to interact with parties on either side of you.  It also added to the excitement when you saw your neighbors drooling over the courses you still had coming.

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

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Dinner Lab – The Duck

There are some animals I really like to eat.  I’m sure you’ve all realized I really REALLY like to eat pigs.  Want to know what else is close to the top??  Ducks.  Cute little Donald Ducks any and all ways.  So imagine my elation when I received this menu for a Dinner Lab event (if you’re confused about what this is, see here: https://thegirlwhoate.com/2013/05/15/dinner-lab-austin/) showcasing the Duck.  I found myself drooling just reading the menu and knew I had to have it.  All of it.

Note:  Please excuse the crap quality of the pictures in this post… iPhone pictures without flash in not-so-great lighting.  Better than nothing?

Cucumber Coconut Gazpacho Storrel, candied duck skin, jalapeño, lime zest (WHY ARE COLD SOUPS SO GOOD?!)

That candied duck skin on top UGH

That candied duck skin on top UGH

Chiogga Beet and Duck Cracklins Strawberries, roasted oyster mushrooms, preserved lemons (oyster mushrooms yummm)

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What’s been going ON

It has once again been awhile, but this post is going to catch y’all up with what’s been going on.

Two weekends ago I hopped a plane back to the bay area for Bay2Breakers.  If you don’t know, the LA Times describes Bay2Breakers (or B2B) as the following:

Bay to Breakers is an annual footrace through San Francisco that typically involves a lot of costumes, drinking and partying and little actual racing.

It is always the my single most favorite day of the year (unless the Patriots happen to win the Super Bowl) because it’s just a big weird and sloppy parade where I somehow miraculously run into nearly all of my friends.

I started off the weekend with a burrito from my FAVORITE place in San Jose, La Victoria’s, or as it’s more affectionately known:  “La Vic’s”.  I am obsessive about burritos (and they all SUCK in Austin) and the secret to the amazingness is this:

The holy grail.

The holy grail.

Aside:  let’s us all pump our fists in happiness that I finally figured out how to make my pictures BIGGER!!  Woo!

Saturday morning brought wine tasting with my old roommates and friends via a limo chocked with a shit ton of champagne.

We were completely sober in this photo.

We were completely sober in this photo.

Needless to say, we had an excellent time snacking on cheese and charcuterie and drinking wine in between being chauffeured in a limo binge-fest around beautiful Napa and Sonoma.

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Dinner Lab Austin – North Korean

Dinner Lab (http://www.dinnerlab.com/) is a concept that is brand new to Austin and only  exists here and in New Orleans.  It’s a membership-only dining experience that showcases up-and-coming and relative unknown chefs by letting them cook a multi-course meal in an off-the-beaten path type of setting.

I first heard about Dinner Lab from my friend Jen (who by the way has now bought a shaker for her apartment) who got wind of it from living in New Orleans.  I took barely a glance and their website before I was PayPal-ing the $100 annual membership fee and had signed up for the inaugural dinner.  The theme was “North Korean” with food by Chef Jae Jung who currently cooks in New Orelans.  The location of dinner wasn’t released until the night before the event and as my friend Kelly and I pulled up to the specified address we were a little confused:  Delta Lumber Millworks, a wood shop and lumber mill on East 5th Street.

Click to make it larger.  Now.

Click to make it larger. Now.

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