This Week’s Eats: 11/16/12

Eric has mastered homemade chili! He made this delicious batch last weekend, using beef, beans, chocolate, and homegrown habanero peppers! We ate it on and off all week, and it was so good. I’m ready for another batch any time… hint, hint.

Of course we went to Fado on Sunday morning to watch Liverpool’s passable draw with Chelsea. Though we ate ham and eggs on toast before heading out, I couldn’t resist having a Guinness and bag of cheese and onion crisps during the second half.

Of course, we also had this amazing plate of bangers and mash—Garlic Cauliflower Mash, with generous lashings of Stella’s Special Mushroom and Onion Gravy. Now that it’s properly autumn here, I will be making some variation of bangers and mash weekly!

On a whim, I bought some miniature chocolate eclairs at 7-Eleven. I had them for breakfast with coffee. They were awesome.

Continuing the junk food trend, I also had a “Taco Supreme” from Taco Bell. Because I got it for free, with the coupon on the back of my football ticket.

Thanks to my friend T, I got to go to last week’s game against Iowa State. We won, and there was a moving tribute to Darrell K Royal. It was a great day.

We still have so many fresh jalapeños that I don’t even know what to do with all of them. We’re going to make some cheesy jalapeño cornbread soon, but, in the meantime, I made this roasted chile and sour cream sauce! It’s great on eggs, as you can see.

Eric also made some sweet and minty syrup with some of the huge crop of mint we have taking over our front balcony. So we’ve been having mint juleps in the afternoons! Can’t complain about that.

I threw together a quick rice dish with mushroom and peas, as well as leftover Mushroom and Onion Gravy. These were some really tasty mushrooms.

Finally, I went to happy hour at Sagra with my friends Rolee and Alex. In fact, I’m going back tonight, for their penultimate dinner service (at least at this location). Go out and support them as they try to transition into a new space – though, as it’s their last weekend, you’ll need reservations!

We had the Pizza Sagra and the Aglio e Salsiccia pizza, my favorite, made with their amazing, slightly sweet, in-house sausage.

I’m really heartbroken about Sagra’s closure. Tonight is going to be tough.


This Week’s Eats: 11/09/12

Fried egg on sourdough toast, with hot sauce and homegrown jalapeños. Weekday brunch.

Gatee Thom Yum Gai, chicken soup with coconut milk, lemon grass, markroot, Thai hot pepper, cilantro, green onion, mushrooms, lemon juice, and chili in oil at Thai Kitchen. This stuff is so good. Not sure why I don’t go there and have it more often—like, weekly.  $8.99 for a huge pot served over an open flame, and a side of two scoops of white rice.

Gang Pet Gai, rice, lime, thai tea (they have the best Thai tea!).

Gang Pet Gai: chicken simmered in coconut milk with bamboo strips, zucchini, Thai hot-hot red curry, and Thai basil.  I’d never had this dish before, and I was very pleased.  It was pretty hot, but not unbearable; just right for you spice aficionados out there. I’ll definitely have it again sometime. $9.99 for more than I could eat.

In an effort to pretend that it hasn’t been in the mid-eighties all week, we settled in to big bowls of The Vampire Lestat’s Carbonara, with gluten free fusilli pasta.  Mmmmmmm.

Eric brought home two ears of organic corn on the cob from a recent trip to Wheatsville, and, at a loss on Wednesday night, we boiled them and ate them for dinner!  I topped mine with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and some Cholula hot sauce, and the result was surprisingly flavorful and filling.  Get on down to Wheatsville this weekend and grab some for yourself!

Believe it or not, this concludes this week’s post.  I didn’t eat much that was photograph-worthy, I guess.  I’ll try to do better next week!

Save Sagra!


This afternoon, the Judges’ Hill / Arts District community received terrible news: Sagra Trattoria and Bar will be closing on November 18th, due to the failure of their landlord, Granite Properties of Texas, to renew their lease after five successful years.

Here’s what Sagra owner and chef Gabriel Pellegrini said today on the restaurant’s Facebook page:

See the restaurant’s full statement here.

This is ridiculous, and sad news for not only the hardworking and talented staff of Sagra or for those of us who are neighborhood regulars, but also for the entire Austin foodie community.  Sagra has been a leader in Austin’s farm-to-table and local food movementThey have their own greenhouse, supplying a large proportion of their vegetables and herbs, and an in-house horticulturist.  And their food is among the freshest and best in Austin; they have a casual yet elegant dining room, a cozy and romantic bar, and two patios (one in the front, on San Antonio street, and one in the back).

As residents of the neighborhood (I’ve lived on the next block over for six and a half years), my partner and I are regulars at Sagra, both for weeknight happy hours and for special occasions (in fact, I’ve spent two of my own birthdays there, as well as that of my best friend).  Contrary to what their landlord seems to think, Sagra’s presence in the Judges’ Hill neighborhood is warmly welcome, including their wonderful, European-style sidewalk patio.  There are not even any residential units near Sagra—in fact, the view from their front door is of a multi-story UT parking garage.  Far from being a nuisance, the Sagra patios provide a beautiful oasis in the middle of a heavily used pedestrian and cyclist route between campus and downtown.  As residents, we had hoped that Sagra’s success would lure more, similar outdoor establishments to our little corner of town.

I have written to Sagra’s landlord, Granite Properties of Texas, who are already listing the property for lease, to share my opinion as a Judges’ Hill resident and Sagra regular.

Please join me in contacting them and asking them to renew Sagra’s lease.

Company Principal
Bill Roland, CPM, CCIM
(512) 469-0925

Commercial Property Management
Kim McGregor
(512) 469-0925

Commercial/Residential Management
Lisa Bowers
(512) 469-0925


Join the Save Sagra Facebook page.

Sagra – Gabriel Pellegrini, Chef & Owner from Christian Remde on Vimeo.

Review: Dog and Duck Pub

I can’t believe I haven’t written a whole post about the Dog and Duck Pub yet!

When I moved back to Austin from the UK in 2006, I chose my apartment based on proximity to the Capitol and the University (one of which I hoped to be employed by, both of which I have worked at in the past six years)… and Dog and Duck.

I’ve been a quasi-regular since 1998, when I was underage and enjoyed Cherry Cokes, fish and chips, and the Anglophile ambiance of the place.  Since moving into the neighborhood, I’m a fixture; the boy and I stop in at least twice a week on average.

Not only is the place cozy, unpretentious, and shockingly pub-like, but they also have the best staff in town, excellent food, a great jukebox, and an unrivaled selection of draught beers (about 40 at recent count, plus another 30 bottles and cans).

Rather than do a traditional review, I’m just going to present a photo essay of Dog and Duck’s greatest hits.

Here’s a basic grilled cheese with a huge pile of french fries.  They also do a deluxe grilled cheese with fresh basil and three cheeses.  Fancy!

The bar.  See the current beer selection and specials here.  Don’t miss Tuesday pint night—all regular beers are on special, $3.00-3.50 per pint.  They also serve wine and a selection of soft drinks (free refills on the latter!).

Shepherd’s pie.  I had never ordered a shepherd’s pie at Dog and Duck until a few weeks ago, believe it or not, but it was really great, so now I’m on a shepherd’s pie kick.  Perfect for cool nights.  Mmm.

Best fish and chips in town, hands down.  There’s a reason they regularly win the Austin Chronicle Restaurant Poll “Best Pub Grub” award!  Crispy batter, flaky white fish, lemon wedges, malt vinegar—served on a bed of expertly fried fries.  What could be better?  That’s right—nothing.  Available as a full or half order!

I am also a big fan of the lamb gyro.  This constitutes a light meal at Dog and Duck!  The tzatziki is cool and refreshing; the feta is crumbly and generous; and the lamb is perfect!  Succulent, flavorful, and a little crunchy around the edges.  I want one right now just thinking about it.

Though most famous for their fish and chips and other pub grub, Dog and Duck also has one of the best burgers in town, for my money.  I order a burger half the time, probably!  This is a standard cheeseburger and fries.  Their burgers are made from scratch; I don’t know the actual weight, but very often I suspect it’s a half pounder, because I can’t even finish it.  Eric and I actually split a burger and fries quite often.  They also have a really good veggie burger, which we order on occasion.

Dog and Duck is a great hangout for watching the English Premiere League; most games are on if they’re on air during their opening hours.  And they also have a dart board and pinball machine.  BYO chess, though.

Another classic British dinner: bangers and mash (I can’t believe I don’t have my own recipe up; must rectify that shortly!).  This is a huge, huge plate.  Don’t order it unless you are ravenous, plan to be there a long time, or have a friend to help!  It’s so good, though.  Three pan-fried sausages topped with onions and gravy, served with a scoop of mashed potatoes, a large side of baked beans, and two giant slices of Texas toast.  You can’t go wrong with this, mate.

Didn’t I tell you the atmosphere is pretty nice?

Here’s my favorite speciality hamburger: the Spicy Black and Blue Burger!  It comes with bleu cheese, bacon, and adobo sauce.  To.  Die.  For.

On the lighter side, you might also fancy a nice salad, like this Caesar with chicken.  The salads are large enough to make a whole meal, and are always fresh and tasty.  You might not think of this when considering lunch at the pub, but I highly recommend you try one!  They have several big, hearty salads on the menu.

Dog and Duck also puts on the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in Austin.  It’s an institution.  Here’s KUT’s beloved Ed Miller and the amazing Rich Brotherton on stage at this year’s celebration.  I have to say, though I enjoy this raucous day and night at Dog and Duck, I don’t understand why they don’t do anything for St. George’s Day, or have a regular EPL schedule.  Since they’re an English pub and all…  The place becomes Irish for one day a year.  It’s pretty funny.

Finally, they also have amazing lunch specials.  Many state and UT workers head over on their lunch break to take advantage.  I had this soup, salad, and sandwich combo last week with my friend Phillip: spicy potato and chipotle creamed soup; bacon, cheddar, and arugula melt on sourdough with onion and a sriracha sauce; side salad. Including a soft drink (free refills), it’s a steal at $8.50!  I already posted a closeup of the bacon sandwich in last week’s This Week’s Eats, but check it out.  This was the best bacon sandwich I have ever eaten in my life.

If this post made you drool, get on over there right now!  Today’s lunch special is a pesto turkey pita melt: grilled turkey with bacon bits, balsamic tomatoes, arugula, parmesan pesto spread, mozzarella, and Romano cheese on a toasted pita. Served with chips, fries, or lightly battered asparagus—$8.50!

You can find out about daily specials by liking Dog and Duck’s Facebook page, following them on Twitter, or checking their web site.  It’s usually announced on Facebook first.

Cheers, and see you there!

Dog and Duck Pub
406 West 17th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 479-0598

This Week’s Eats: 11/02/12

Somehow, I hadn’t tried the shepherd’s pie at Dog and Duck until a few weeks ago, but it’s already a favorite, especially on a cool night.  Such comfort food!  Don’t forget my recipe, Not Nigella’s Shepherd’s Pie, if you want to make it yourself at home!  A perfect fall and winter dinner.

This is a recipe I’m still working on: baked salmon with coconut-almond-jalapeno sauce. It was pretty good with pasta and green beans. A healthy dinner, and a very rich dish to meet our weekly fish-eating goal.

This week’s scotch was the Aberfeldy 12 year. I’ve actually been to the Aberfeldy distillery (now owned by Dewar’s)! Perfect for a cold front and a quiet night.

Cheeseburger can haz sad.  The eerie green glow is thanks to the wall of neon right behind our table.  The burger was actually quite tasty.  Lunch combo special: cheeseburger, fries, and a soft drink (free refills) for $7.00 (including tax), Players on MLK.

Eric made a huge batch of pesto with the bumper crop of basil collected from our allotment. So one night this week, we enjoyed some simple farfalle with pesto and parmesan. Real comfort food, and a little, late taste of summer.

A quick lunch at Niki’s Pizza: the two (huge) slice special, with a drink, all for $5.00. Though the location in Dobie Mall isn’t particularly inspiring, this is still some of the best pizza in town, in my opinion.

Eric also made these sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches and served them with a little tomato bisque and fresh chopped homegrown basil and sage. A few months ago, everyone I know seemed to be having tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Why don’t we eat this more often?

Here’s a huge brunch plate! Prepared pork tamales, fried eggs, and bacon with a generous splash of Cholula sauce. I ate this at about 11:00am and wasn’t hungry again until 7:00pm. Mmm.

I also roasted a big bunch of homegrown jalapeños, using Tori Avey’s excellent instructions.  We have so many at the moment, and they’re pretty hot!  I can’t possibly incorporate them all into omelettes and tacos, so I decided to roast several pans’ worth and save them for later.  Expect to see some new recipes featuring roasted chiles in the coming months!

This week also saw the finalization of my Cider and Sage Pork Chops recipe, which is now probably my favorite homemade pork dish! It’s great for fall, too. Have a glass of cider with dinner—perfect!

We also enjoyed some Shiner Octoberfest (among other beers!) this week. Great stuff.

Weekday lunch special at Dog and Duck: spicy potato and chipotle creamed soup; bacon, cheddar, and arugula melt on sourdough with onion and a sriracha sauce; side salad. All for $8.50! I couldn’t resist. Actually, I think this was the best bacon sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

Hope everyone had a spooky and candy-filled Halloween!