Austin Chef Paul Qui Arrested

This certainly qualifies as Austin dining news:

Austin chef and restaurateur Paul Qui was arrested Saturday morning accused of assaulting his girlfriend, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police responded to Qui’s apartment in East Austin just before 8 a.m. after receiving a call from Qui’s friend who said “his friend and his girlfriend were fighting” in the apartment. When officers arrived, they heard screaming and yelling coming from the apartment before the door was opened, continued in the court documents

When Qui, 31, opened the door, officers noted he had “blood all over his face, arms, legs and clothing.” Officers noticed the woman inside the apartment was crying and clutching a small child, according to the affidavit. Officers reported the apartment was in disarray with furniture and glass broken—blood was also found smeared on the walls and the floor of the apartment, according to the affidavit.

Qui was released on $20,000 bail.

Dwight and I haven’t eaten at his namesake restaurant Qui yet. And evidently they’ve recently gone to a prix fixe menu, which we don’t tend to gravitate toward.

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Korean Girls Try American BBQ

Here’s the sort of cross-cultural appreciation I can get behind:

A tad long, but worth watching. Especially since they save the brisket and pork ribs until the end…

(Cross-posted from Futuramen.)

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Restaurant Closing: Golden Wok

Although there’s no sign up on their website, Golden Wok Chinese restaurant closed January 5. We were thinking of eating there Saturday, but when I called their phone just rang and rang. I finally called one of their San Antonio locations, who confirmed they had closed just the day before.

Too bad. They were a pretty good restaurant, and you could order Dim Sum for dinner. My guess is that the space is just too large for a Chinese restaurant to be profitable, but I suspect a great Cajun place, BBQ joint or hamburger joint could do very well there…

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SDC Obituary: Murray Wayne Person, Jr.

The Saturday Dining Conspiracy notes with sadness the passing of unindicted co-conspirator Murray Wayne Person, Jr., my father, after a 2 year battle with cancer. He and my mother (who is still alive) joined us on many dining conspiracies over the years, a few of which he generously picked up the entire bill for.

My full obituary is here. He will be missed.

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Obituary Watch: Jim Hasslocher, Founder of Jim’s Resteraunts, Dead at 93

A tiny morsel of restaurant news: Jim Hasslocher, the man who founded the Jim’s Restaurant chain, has died at 93.

As far as mid-American chain restaurants that serve breakfast go, I like Jim’s a bit better than Denny’s, and there’s a location quite close to my house. I was unaware that there are only 19 locations in Austin and San Antonio; I thought they were more widely located across the south.

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Seen in the Wild

IMG_0435

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The Salt Lick Sues The Salt Lick

Dispatch from the BBQ Wars:

Salt Lick BBQ is picking a legal fight with a Georgia company it claims is infringing on its name and reputation.

In a lawsuit filed in Texas’ Western District U.S. Court, the Driftwood restaurant chain claims that the Salt Lick Sausage Co. of Cordele, Georgia, is violating the Central Texas company’s trademark by offering barbecue products for sale via its website www.saltlicksausage.com, which is similar in nature to www.saltlickbbq.com.

Salt Lick claims the Georgia company is using marks and iconography that are similar to its own, and that Salt Lick Sausage stands to benefit from the international reputation and publicity enjoyed by Salt Lick.

The ironic thing, of course, is that the sausage is far and away the least impressive of the Driftwood Salt Lick’s signature meats.

But here’s a revealing tidbit:

“The Austin-area company generated more than $25 million in revenue and served more than 650,000 customers at its main restaurant in Driftwood.”

Having been there fairly recently, I can believe it…

(Cross-posted from Futuramen.)

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July 25, 2015: Hill’s Cafe

Hill’s Cafe
700 S Congress Ave (Austin, 78745)
(512) 851-9300

Restroom Rating: 1.5 (Guys, when one soap dispenser is broken, and the other is off the wall and lying on the sinktop, your men’s room needs attention….)

Lawrence’s Comments

Hill’s is one of those “Austin institutions” that has been around forever. We’ve eaten there before, and always thought they had good hamburgers and chicken fried steak.

Since Armadillocon was over in the Omni Southpark this year, and since Hill’s Cafe is evidently under new management, we decided to give them a revisit. This time around we had…hamburgers and chicken-fried steak. And I thought my chicken-fried steak was very tasty indeed, probably top 5 in Austin tasty, and I heard no complaints from the hamburger contingent. I also thought the onion rings were pretty good. (You’ll have to check with Dwight on the BBQ.)

They were out of banana pudding, and offered us some complimentary banana bread pudding instead. While I appreciate the gesture, the bread pudding just wasn’t very good, so you should probably avoid that.

Our waiter was reasonably attentive, and pretty much kept up with our refills and other requests.

Overall the meal was more than satisfactory, offering up well-executed renditions of classic hearty Texas fare in filing portions at a fair price. Which makes me wonder why the place was half-deserted when we ate there.

Hill’s is never going to be a favorite with the “3 small pieces of seared fish artfully arranged with sculpted garnishes on a drizzle-glazed plate for $30” crowd. But if you’re looking for good down home Texas food, Hill’s Cafe amply fits the bill.

(Cross-posted from Futuramen.)

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Our Short Regional Nightmare May Be Approaching An End

Blue Bell ice cream to begin test production this week.

Hip hip, hooray! If all goes well, they expect to have product back on store shelves by Labor Day. Also, billionaire Sid Bass has made a “significant investment” in Blue Bell, which should help them survive until production is up and running again.

(Cross-posted from Futuramen.)

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Don’t Order the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe

For twenty years worth of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy, I’ve had good dishes and bad, but never before until this past Saturday had I just sent a dish back as completely inedible.

The Chong Chin Chicken was described as seasoned with lots of hot peppers and peppercorns. I didn’t really see the peppercorns, but I definitely saw the hot peppers; it looked like they dumped a giant fistful into the dish. Though a chilehead, I’ve never had that many dry hot peppers in any dish before.

That’s not why I sent the dish back.

The first few bites of the dish seemed incredibly dry to me, and it tasted like they hadn’t used any sauce whatsoever, which was an odd choice.

That’s not why I sent the dish back.

After a few bites, my tongue’s taste receptors just seemed to shut off, ruining the taste of the dumplings Dwight and Andrew had ordered. Shortly thereafter I realized what the big problem was: it was the most salty dish I’d ever tasted in my life.


An image of the chef preparing the dish.

Normally my tolerance for salt in my meal is higher than most, but this was beyond the pale. I had my co-conspirators try it, and they all agreed it was inedible salty, even Andrew, who loves salt more than I do.

A dish too salty for Andrew and too hot for me; it was like some sort of anti-miracle.

So I sent it back and got some orange peel chicken instead, which was far more edible.

I wouldn’t discourage you from going to Asia Cafe, but unless you look like this:


The only diner who might enjoy the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe.

I would strongly urge you not to order the Chong Chin Chicken…

(Cross posted to Futuramen.)

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