This Week’s Eats: 04/26/13

shrimp and grits

Saturday brunch: shrimp and grits at Yellow Jacket Social Club. I can’t resist some shrimp and grits.

radiatore

Jamie Oliver’s Tagliatelle with Spinach, Mascarpone & Parmesan recipe, with quinoa radiatore.  Mmm.

And now, the Disappointing Meal of the Week: we went to the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek to watch Liverpool vs. Chelsea (which, sigh), lured by the giant screen, potentially fun crowd (which, as it turned out, was about 80% Reds, so there’s that), and a “traditional English breakfast,” advertised as including two fried eggs, pork sausage, seared tomato, grilled mushroom, baked beans, and toast.”

Imagine my disappointment when, upon arrival, our server informed us that there was no English breakfast that day.  But, dry your tears, as it turns out, there is an English breakfast today!  We duly place two orders for the English breakfast.  Meanwhile, we order coffee.  We wait.  We start watching the game.  We wait.  The people in front of us get served and enjoy their migas and omelettes.  We drink more coffee and wait.  After about 35 minutes, the people on either side of us, who arrived 20 minutes after we did, get served their chips and queso.  After 45 minutes, when the people sitting behind us also get their food, we remind the server about our orders.  He mumbles something about getting it.  We wait.  And wait. We wait through half time.  It’s now been more than an hour since we initially placed the order, and everyone else in the theater has finished their food.

Finally, as the second half starts, our breakfasts arrive.  I am not impressed.English breakfast

I wasn’t expecting any blood pudding, but no toast?!  Watery beans? Anemic tomatoes? Boring frozen sausage links?  And no bacon whatsoever?!  Blasphemy.  I can’t even.  For real, y’all.  The Alamo Drafthouse usually has good food, and often has great special menus.  What were you thinking?

Also, they didn’t deduct our $10 ticket vouchers from our ticket, and we had to send it back.  I think we’ll be watching EPL from the comfort of our own living room from now on.  Or, you know, go to Fado.

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Lunch at Taco Joint: two tacos, one beef sirloin street taco, and one al pastor. They have the best tortillas, and a great selection of salsas.

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Continuing the breakfast theme… Homemade Horseradish Cheese Grits with Cholula, real bacon bits, and Hal’s Hot Love. This was my attempt to ameliorate my allergy-induced nasal congestion. It didn’t work, but it did make me feel better, because it was creamy and delicious.

sausage and grits

Yes, more grits. This time with those delicious Niman Ranch Uncured Apple Gouda Sausages, which I sliced, pan-fried with onions, then let simmer in white wine for a while. Served over reheated, leftover horseradish grits. Amazing.

breakfast tacos

And more breakfast! Homemade breakfast tacos with eggs, black beans, and more Hal’s.

tacos

And, finally, more tacos. Homemade tostadas with beef, Hal’s, Monterey Jack, and sour cream. I really need to think about varying my diet, no?

Food Trucks of SXSW

For the first time in seven years, I took time off work during Spring Break, and went to some SXSW stuff.

My main objective, in addition to enjoying a four-day weekend, was seeing Frightened Rabbit (!).  I even stood in line for three hours.  Other acts I caught included Amanda Shires (if you’re from Texas, I dare you to listen to this and not cry), Henry Wagons, Alt-J (whom I somehow hadn’t heard of!) Lucius, Joe Banfi, The Staves, Akron/Family (a very exciting surprise, as I’ve liked them for years), Helado Negro, and All Tiny Creatures

Of these, I thought Lucius put on the best show.  Performing in the historic St. David’s sanctuary (also one of the best venues, for my money, which was zero dollars), they concluded their high-energy, tight-harmony set by sitting on the floor in the center aisle, amid the congregation of music-lovers, and doing a short, unplugged piece, during which the drummer tapped on the wooden floorboards and pews.  I’d go see them again anytime, anywhere.

I also tried three food trucks:

Blue Basil

Blue Basil
Corner of 7th and Trinity
Every Thursday night to Saturday night, 11:00pm – 3:00am

Pictured above is the #2, Chicken Over Rice. This delectable bowl included fragrant, fluffy rice topped with succulent, perfectly grilled chicken breast, served with a slight sweet sauce, paper-thin cucumber slices, and Asian slaw, topped with a fried egg. $7.00. Highly recommended.

The boy had the #5, Pork Sandwich ($5.00), and was also very impressed. If you see Alex there, tell her I said, “SHAMON!”

The Jalopy

The Jalopy
15th and San Antonio
Monday through Friday, 7:00am – 9PM
Saturday – 11AM-4PM

This one’s right in my neighborhood, but I’d somehow never been, despite hearing rave reviews.

Pictured above is the Gadd Thai sandwich, with tender pulled pork, coconut milk peanut sauce, sriracha, and pickled onions. I’m a sucker for coconut milk, and I have a longstanding peanut fixation, so this was right up my alley. Eric had the Son Hong: pulled pork with sweet and savory chili sauce, pickled onions, cucumbers, scallions (both $6.50). Washed down with a cold Topo Chico, these made a great meal. The relaxing, shady picnic tables don’t hurt, either.

Johnnye's

Johnnye’s East Texas Soul
Usually outside Holy Mountain
617 E. 7th Street
Check web site for hours

Saturday afternoon, we went to the Home-Tapes party at the Museum of Human Achievement, an art warehouse in East Austin. Stefon would’ve loved it. This place had everything: experimental music, bearded dudes lying on the floor, a papier-mâché skeleton, a child. It also had my new favorite food trailer: Johnnye’s East Texas Soul.

Johnnye’s is one of Austin’s newest food trailers, named for the owners’ grandmother, and founded to share the East Texas country cooking they loved growing up. The regular menu includes fried chicken, fresh greens, sugar snap peas, fried pickles, and some dang good coffee.

We split a “Gay-Fil-A” (did I mention that I love this place?), Johnnye’s chicken tender sandwich with pickles and mayo. The chicken was expertly battered and fried, and the waffle fries were amazing! Johnnye’s is such a great spot, they even offered to give us a free one when we dropped our first sandwich. I can’t wait to go back.

Read more about proprietors Laurel Barickman and David Millner and their food philosophy in this Chronicle piece by Kate Messer.

“We are gonna give 10% of every sandwich we sell to GLAAD to try and do our little part, to throw it out there that you don’t have to eat at Chick-fil-A if you want good chicken.”

I love me some radical East Texans. Solidarity, y’all!

Austin Coffee Guide 2013

Coffee

Welcome to my 2013 Austin coffee guide, part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance 2013 Austin City Guide.

Austin City Guide

Best Coffee Shops

1. Caffe Medici

Caffe Medici on West Lynn
1101 West Lynn
Austin, TX 78703

The original location of this amazing coffee house is still a favorite with discerning coffee aficionados. Not only do the use Austin’s own best-of-the-best Cuvée Coffee, they have their own blend! Knowledgeable, dedicated baristas making near-perfect coffee. Adorably situated in a renovated house in the historic and quaint Clarksville neighborhood.

Caffe Medici on the Drag
2222B Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78705

Hip little spot with the best coffee in town, full hot breakfast menu, and some excellent people watching.

Caffe Medici
Iced coffee with hazelnut, Caffe Medici on the Drag

2. Cherrywood Coffeehouse

Cherrywood Coffeehouse
1400 East 38th 1/2 Street
Austin, TX 78722

Cherrywood is a funky spot on the East Side with ample outdoor seating (a large patio, plus an even larger yard with palm trees!) and intimate indoor tables and booths. Not only do they serve some of the best coffee in Austin (try the Cuban Con Leche), but they also have some amazing food and a great atmosphere. I could stay here all day (and sometimes I do)!  I can’t believe I don’t have a picture, because we go here all the time!  I’ll rectify this soon.

3. Thunderbird Coffee

Thunderbird Coffee on Koenig
1401 Koenig Lane
Austin, TX 78756

Thunderbird
Ridiculously delicious vegan chocolate truffle, Thunderbird Coffee on Koenig.

Thunderbird is, for my money, the best coffee shop in the Brentwood Neighborhood. Truly at the forefront of Austin’s coffee scene, they serve Cuvée, they buy direct trade, and the place is just super comfortable. Oh, Thunderbird also has some amazing snacks (see above).

Thunderbird Coffee on Manor
2200 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78722

Thunderbird’s Manor location is every bit as great as the Koenig shop, and is also a great spot to catch some live music (see their Facebook page for updates).

4. Bennu Coffee

Bennu Coffee
2001 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Austin, TX 78702

BennuBennu is tucked away in the dip of a steep valley on East MLK, and it’s a very snug spot! Their coffee is excellent, but the real draw for me is their gourmet mochas menu! I tried The Raven, above (“a luscious dark chocolate mocha topped with home-made whipped cream and drizzled with dark chocolate sauce – go, Ravens!). Delicious.

Honorable Mentions

Houndstooth Coffee
4200 North Lamar, Suite 120
Austin, TX 78756

When telling people that I was writing a guide to Austin coffee shops, Houndstooth is the place that was mentioned the most! These folks take coffee seriously, and this place is the epitome of Austin’s burgeoning upscale hipster cool. Situated on North Lamar amongst our favorite hip establishments and next to a Ferrari dealership, Houndstooth is small, crowded, and always abuzz. Their baristas are true professionals, and coffee is the main draw here. Their original location will soon be joined by a downtown shop, too!

Jo’s
1300 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704

Jo's
Eric at Jo’s on South Congress.

This happening coffee dealer is among the most beloved in town, not only because of their gourmet roasting abilities, but because the main, South Congress location includes some famous Amy Cook graffiti. Jo’s has a sister shop downtown on 2nd Street, which also serves up their very, very good sandwiches in addition to coffee. Jo’s is a must-visit, practically an institution.

Flipnotics
1601 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78704

Another Austin institution, Flipnotics will always have a place in my heart as the place where Luke Wilson once held a door for me. No lie, he held the door for me, and then proceeded to silently sip a large cup of coffee while reading a book, mere feet away. Beyond potential Wilson-spottings, though, Flipnotics is an amazing coffee shop on Barton Springs road that serves up some of the strongest midnight coffee I’ve ever had in addition to an array of locally-produced foodstuffs (like Hoboken Pie!). They also have live music daily. Now that’s Austiny, y’all.

J.P.’s Java
2803 San Jacinto
Austin, TX 78705

J.P.'s Java
Hazelnut latte, J.P.’s Java.

Wonderful, warm coffee shop near The University of Texas (north campus). Cozy indoor seating and a large, sunny patio.

The Hideout
617 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

Latte at the Hideout
Latte, the Hideout.

Cozy little coffee shop affiliated with the Hideout Theatre (which is upstairs) on Congress Avenue. You can even take your coffee into the theater! Good people watching, great coffee, funky atmosphere.

Espression Lavazza
914 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

Espresso at Lavazza
Espresso, Espression Lavazza.

One of only ten Lavazza retail coffee shops in the USA, the Austin location is a sensory overload of very strong espresso, Italian pastries, gelato, IKEA-like modern decor, and ridiculous artwork (see below).

Lavazza artwork

Spider House
2908 Fruth Street
Austin, TX 78705

A north campus institution, Spider House is just as funky as it was when I was a wee undergrad in the late 90s. They serve an impressive selection of colorfully-named sandwiches (Sam-I-Am-Wich, anyone?) and have a full bar as well as quite a few excellent imported beers, but their coffee is nothing to sniff at, either. A brightly-painted, converted house, this place is a real mecca for students, and is usually very busy during term time. And, trust me, f you get a table, you’ll want to stay a while.

East Village Cafe
1111 Chicon Street
Austin, TX 78702

East Village Cafe
Eric enjoying an americano at East Village Cafe.

East Village Cafe comfortably inhabits an old, renovated storefront in the Rosewood neighbhorhood, and makes a lovely cup of coffee! Friendly baristas, two patios, JFK art, and a great sunset view make this small place extra special.

Austin Java
1206 Parkway (12th & Lamar)
Austin, TX 78703

Now at seven locations, including the Austin Bergstrom International Airport, Austin Java has been serving up great coffee and hearty meals for years. The all day breakfast is good, but I have to recommend the Thai One On Salad and Spicy African Peanut Soup. The front patio is another great spot for people watching, situated as it is on Lamar Boulevard.

Mozart’s Coffee
3825 Lake Austin Boulevard
Austin, TX 78703

Mozart’s is just a treat. It’s a great place to hang and study or read, but it’s also a bit romantic. Right on Lake Austin, they regularly schedule live music shows and serve some truly decadent coffees, pastries, canoli, and homemade cheesecake. Especially intimate after dark.

Bouldin Creek Cafe
1900 South First Street
Austin, Texas 78704

Long a hole in the wall on South First, vegetarian hotspot Bouldin Creek Cafe moved into sweet new digs a few blocks away from their original location a couple of years ago. Famous among vegans for their amazing scrambled tofu with nutritional yeast (I still order it, even though I now eat two dozen eggs a week), Bouldin Creek has preserved its funky charm while moving a bit upscale. This is a place you could hold an anarchist book club or take your out-of-town parents. Serving locally roasted Black Velvet Coffee, Bouldin offers both cow’s milk and vegan options including rice, soy, and almond (mmm!). This place is plain addictive.

Halcyon
18 West 4th Street
Austin, TX 78701

When I told Eric I was writing the City Guide post on coffee shops, the second thing he said (after, “Cherrywood!”) was, “Oh, good, you can tell everyone about how much better Halcyon used to be.” It’s true. I loved the old (pre-2007) Halcyon. They did a renovation and made the place a lot smaller and less comfortable, but it’s still one of the best coffee houses in Austin, and a day/night chameleon. Alongside expertly roasted standard coffees, they feature brilliant menu items like the chocolate espresso martini and tableside s’mores (complete with fire – and a favorite of mine back in the day). Open till 3:00am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Epoch
221 West North Loop Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751

North Loop. Delicious coffee (especially the iced mochas). Free, reliable wifi.  They’re open 24 hours.  And it’s a good thing, because this is the type of coffee house where you’ll want to hang out all day (and night).

Hidden Gems

Driskill Bar
604 Brazos Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Driskill

Nestled inside the back of the historic (and hyper-Texan) Driskill Hotel, the Driskill Bar is not only one of the very best people watching spots on this list, but they also serve pretty damn cheap Irish coffees alongisde the ridiculously priced happy hour menu (half-price bar snacks, including Angus beef sliders and bacon-wrapped medjool dates, both highly recommended).

Arturo’s Underground Cafe (Yelp)
314 West 17th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Arturo's

Texas Pecan Roast, Arturo’s Underground Cafe.

A real hidden gem between campus and the Capitol, serving up amazing breakfast tacos, sandwiches, and wraps every morning and lunchtime. Basement and sidewalk seating, friendly staff, and amazing Texas Pecan Roast coffee.

Dobie Market
2025 Guadalupe Street, Suite # 142
Austin, Texas 78705

This is going to sound crazy, but my favorite cup of coffee lately is the plain, small, black coffee at Dobie Market, the new convenience store in the bottom of Dobie Mall (enter from the corner of 21st and Whitis). They serve freshly roasted beans from Texas Coffee Traders, and, well, it’s just excellent. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also cheap, they’re always open, the owner is super friendly, and they stock a wide selection of foodstuffs, including Capitol Grill breakfast tacos, the entire Blue Bell range (in pints), Krispy Kreme doughtnuts, beer, and wine. Seriously, go check it out.

For a round-up of Austin coffee roasters, see Eli Catro’s blog, Grubbus!

To see the complete 2013 Austin City Guide, click here!

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

Review: Fadó Irish Pub and Restaurant

As we get deeper into Euro 2012, I thought it was about time I finally got around to writing about Fadó.  Fadó has been in Austin about as long as I have, give or take a few years (I’ve been here since 1997, with a four-year detour in the UK).  I went there a couple of times in college (including, once, with members of the Secret Service—ask me about that story sometime off the record), but I hadn’t spent much time there since returning to Austin six years ago, aside from a couple of  quiz nights and one very fun Blaggards show.

Let's throw in a Gerrard pic, because, hey, why not?

Let’s throw in a Gerrard pic, because, hey, why not?

Since the boy moved to Austin, though, I’ve gotten into watching soccer again.  I was introduced to the glory of the Beautiful Game while studying at Lancaster University, in England.  Most of my roommates were from Merseyside, so we watched a lot of Liverpool matches, and I’ve loved them ever since.  Steven Gerrard has been my favorite player since 1999.  Let’s not talk about this season.

Thank to Eric’s status as a professional soccer blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to get beyond the Thighlights and really appreciate the sport.  We only have an old, thirteen inch television; for most big matches we go to a bar or a friend’s house.  We’ve spent most of our time at Fadó this season, and, a few weeks ago they kindly invited us to a sports bloggers’ happy hour.  So please note that some items I review below were comped on that occasion.  We also received appetizer and drink passes (good throughout the Euro), a Guinness pint glass, and amazing T-shirts.

The atmosphere at Fadó is really nice: it’s both cozy (thanks to the secluded wooden booths) and convivial (thanks to all the soccer fans).  The design of the place is based on a traditional, nineteenth century Irish pub, and, though Fadó is a chain, the result is very homey and comfortable.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to Fadó and left in less than four hours!  The crowd is mixed and diverse, changing based on the event (they also host parties, pub quizzes, and rugby fans).  The staff is attentive and helpful, although you may find it difficult to get a refill in the middle of, say, the FA Cup.  Parking can also be a problem due to Fadó’s prime location in the Warehouse District.  For soccer watching, I’d advise either arriving early and scoring on-street parking or simply riding Capital Metro.  Another thing I really like about Fadó is the fact that I have never had to wait in line for the women’s room!  In fact, they even have a secondary set of restrooms on their back patio.

Now, on to the food!  Let’s start with the beer selection, shall we?

Fadó has a great selection of British and Irish beers on draught, including Bass, Boddington’s (our favorite, lately), Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny Cream, Newcastle Brown, Smithwick’s, and Strongbow, in addition to some typical Continental offerings, including Carlsberg, Hoegaarden, and Stella Artois.

The list of bottled beers is even longer, encompassing everything from Coors Light to Magners Pear Cider; and the whiskey menu is very impressive indeed, with 21 offerings, including a whole array of Bushmills and Jameson as well as five more Irish whiskeys and eight varieties of Scotch.  They also serve wine, liquor, and some delicious Irish coffees.

Our favorite dish is the Hangover Sandwich, consisting of two fried eggs, Irish sausages, bacon rashers, and Irish cheddar, all served between thick slices of tasty, tasty sourdough and served with potato wedges and ketchup.  Since the full menu isn’t available until 11:00am, and we are often at the pub early to catch a live EPL match, this is our go-to order at Fadó.  At $9.95, it’s also a great deal; sometimes, we split it.

The Smoked Salmon Bites ($8.95 for four) were a bit of a revelation for me.  Generally, I am not a fan of smoked salmon (I know), finding it a tad too fishy for my tastes, especially when paired with the distinctive and decidedly pickled flavor of capers.  However, these bites were excellent, and I plan to order them again.  They were packed with flavor and well balanced with the horseradish (I love horseradish).  I could’ve eaten a whole pile of them!

The Smithwick’s Mini Burgers ($8.95) were also fantastic: three Smithwick’s ale-flavored beef burgers served on adorable little grilled buns with Guinness mayonnaise, pickles, onions, and melted cheese.  The burgers were perfectly cooked (medium well), and combined beautifully with the other flavors.  These are some must-eat sliders.  They were a big hit with our friends, too.

The first time we had Fadó’s Cheese Dip and Wedges was a couple of years ago when we attended a weeknight pub quiz*, and we’ve been talking about it ever since.  These things are so addictive!  I don’t know what they do to this queso (the menu just says it’s a “creamy blend of Irish cheddar, pepper jack cheese and green onion”), but it’s one of my favorite appetizers in Austin, especially in the winter.  The boxty wedges are deep fried, and each bite just melts in your mouth in a delicious symphony of cheese.  At $8.95 per order, I’ve been known to demand two in a single visit!

I have to talk about the Bangers and Mash.  The first time I ordered this was during the aforementioned FA Cup.  I couldn’t believe my eyes: there were five bangers, on top of a mountain of mashed potatoes and peas.  Maybe it was because I’d been sick for two weeks and had little to no appetite in the days preceding my visit, or maybe it was just because I am a Huge Glutton, but, for once, my stomach was as big as my eyes, and I ate the entire thing.  And I saw that it was good.  The Bangers and Mash are $12.95, but, honestly, this would make two meals for most normal people.  So, so good.  (Photo by kittygutz on Flickr.)

Be sure to check out the rest of the traditional pub menu, too, because Fadó is definitely a great place to get your fix of  British Isles comfort food.  In addition to the Guinness and Tayto Crisps on offer at the bar, they also serve up Corned Beef and Cabbage, Fish and Chips, and a decadent Shepherd’s Pie.  The have dessert, too (though I can’t imagine ever having room to order any!).

Fadó also offers a discounted happy hour appetizer menu, featuring a BBQ Chicken and Bacon Boxty, Caprese Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Boxty Wedges, and Smithwick’s Mini Burgers for $4.00!  And be sure to check out their brunch menu, which includes a generous All-Day Irish Breakfast ($13.95 gets you two eggs, Irish breakfast sausages, both black and white puddings, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and pan-fried potato bread!  I die.), $3.00 Bloody Marys and Mimosas, and a great fusion dish: the Breakfast Boxty Quesadilla (scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon mized with pico and pepperjack cheese and served between two fried boxties, $10.95).

If you’re looking for a fun, lively spot to watch international soccer with a great beer and whiskey selection and an impressive, Irish-accented menu, check out Fadó.  You’ll probably see us there!

Fadó Irish Pub and Restaurant
214 West 4th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 457-0172

*We came in fourth out of twenty-something teams, even though ours only had three members!  Somehow, all the questions were about the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and existentialist philosophers.  If only there had been a Gone with the Wind category, we would’ve totally destroyed the competition!