A double handful of food related randomness.

During one of my dinner conversations over the weekend, the subject of “Family Affair” came up for reasons I have forgotten. (I don’t think the initial discussion started out with Anissa Jones, but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what a sad death.)

In the course of the conversation, I stumbled across this: The Family Affair Cookbook. I’m sure Ms. Garver is a very nice person, but when I think “Family Affair”, I don’t really think “food”. Then again, the show did go off the air when I was six…

Something else that came out of another dinner conversation: does anyone remember The Magic Pan? Yes, it was a chain (owned by Quaker Oats?!) and I don’t believe there was ever one in Austin. There was one in the Galleria in Houston; I ate there a couple of times, and have fond memories of it.

Googling to see if there were any Magic Pans left (spoiler: no) turned up a few links I want to immortalize for reference purposes:

Magic Pan recipes from Uncle Phaedrus. Actually, the whole Uncle Phaedrus website is probably bookmark worthy; if you’re anything like me, you have to kind of like a guy who combines food and Sherlock Holmes.

By way of Uncle Phaedrus, here’s a file that contains some of the Magic Pan master recipes. Just in case you have a steam kettle and want to make 17 pounds of Beef Bourguignon.

The Crepe Cookbook by Paulette Fono and Maria Stacho on Amazon. (Paulette Fono and her husband Lazlo opened the first Magic Pan in Ghirardelli Square.) I kind of want this (even if it doesn’t have any Magic Pan recipes after 1971) but I don’t want it $43.61 worth. Also, I am still prohibited from purchasing cookbooks.

Crepe Cookery by Mable Hoffman, which is at least more reasonably priced.

The Magic Pan Project appears to be offline.

This guy likes the VillaWare V5225 Crepe Maker. If you want to buy one, more power to you. But there’s no way I’m going to cook $90 worth of crepes. And I’m also a subscriber to Alton Brown’s theory of avoiding single-purpose kitchen gadgets.

Damn. Now I’m hungry, and there’s no way for me to get crepes. I think Crepes Mille may still be on South Congress, but there’s no way for me to get there on my dinner break. Flip Happy Crepes is closed (I really do hope they get the brick and mortar thing figured out.) The Original Pancake House has some crepes, but not a whole lot, and they close at 2.

Anybody got any other crepe sources in Austin? (I am aware of that company that sells pre-made crepes at HEB, though I’m blanking on the name right now.)

(Crossposted to WCD, because that’s just the kind of hairball I am.)

Posted in Books, Closed, Television, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

September 20, 2014: Pour House Pints and Pies

Pour House Pints And Pies
11835 Jollyville Rd (Austin, 78759)
(512) 270-4740

Lawrence’s Comments

This is essentially a sports bar that serves pizza. The pizza was pretty good (but could have used more cheese to hold our “four meats plus onions” toppings in place), but the fried mozzarella was undersized for the price, and the service was indifferent at best.

Unless you want to watch sports, there’s no reason to go here instead of Reale’s just up 183.

(Cross-posted to my blog.)

Dwight’s Comments

I can see this being a nice place to sit on the porch and have a couple of beers (they have a good beer selection), or sit inside and have a couple of beers and watch the game.

But I didn’t find the pizza to be that good; the cheese seemed skimpy,the toppings kept falling off, and I felt it was undersized for the money.

If drinking is your primary concern, this might be an okay choice.

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Dojo NoGo.

Two closings discovered by way of Austin Eater, and noted because we’ve had SDCs at both:

  • The Dojo. We went there because I had one of those Restaurant.com coupons. Perhaps I didn’t understand the concept, but I thought it was…okay. Nothing really to write home about, and the ramen was in third place on my list (behind Tatsu-Ya and Michi). The other dishes we had were not compelling enough to make me want to go back. Plus, they were located in the Crossroads center at Burnet and Anderson, which is a nightmare for parking.
  • The Kim Phung location near Lakeline has also closed. We also had an SDC there, and I remember thinking it was pretty swell; as a matter of fact, I even remember thinking I liked it better than the Kim Phung on North Lamar. And you know something? Until I read the closure announcement, I’d completely forgotten it was there. What a drag it is getting old.
Posted in Chinese, Closed, Japanese, Vietnamese | Leave a comment

Artz Rib House Founder Art Blondin Dies

Longtime Austin restaurateur and champion of live music Art Blondin has died. An employee discovered Blondin upon arriving for work at Blondin’s Art’s Ribs & BBQ in Florence, Texas, on Saturday morning. An autopsy Monday will determine the cause of Blondin’s death, and police say they do not expect foul play.

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August 23, 2104: Maggiano’s Little Italy

Maggiano’s Little Italy
10910 Domain Dr #100, Austin, 78759
(512) 501-7870

  • Pepper Grinder Rating: 0 (They had several impressive pepper grinders in a server cubbyhole, but neglected to offer any to us.)
  • Bathroom Rating: 3
  • WiFi note: There’s free WiFi…if you’re using the conference room and have a password. Otherwise the restaurant seems to be built within a Farady Cage, as my iPhone frequently was unable to connect to AT&T at all.

Lawrence’s Comments

Maggiano’s offers up tasty, overpriced Italian food. In that sense it’s much like Brio, with the added hassles of being in the Domain, which makes it hard to get to. We also had to wait for a table, even though I had made reservations (though we did get there a little bit early).

The first disappointment after being seated was the free bread: uninspired baguette rounds (though at least they were served warm) with unspiced olive oil. Both Reale’s, with their delicious breadsticks, and Brio, with a more interesting bread assortment and spiced olive oil, do a better job in the bread department.

The crab cakes appetizers were good, but not $15 for two good.

Service was attentive, with numerous free drink refills without having to ask.

For my entree, the veal picatta was both nicely done and had pretty generous portions (which is only fair, considering the price). I thought the angel hair aglio olio was underspiced.

For dessert I had a perfectly caramelized creme brulee with fruit.

It was a very good meal. It also cost some $50, without any alcoholic beverages. That, dealing with the hassle of The Domain, and dealing with the hassle of the crowds (“Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”) make it hard to recommend.

If I’m hungry for great Italian food, Monday through Saturday I’m probably going to go to Reale’s if they’re not too packed. If it’s Sunday (when Reale’s is closed), I’d pick Brio over Maggiano’s.

Posted in Italian | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Schadenfreude watch.

I want to make note of this story, even though it has been covered elsewhere, for reasons I will get to in a moment:

Three Austin restaurants are allegedly thousands of dollars behind on their taxes, according to lawsuits filed by the Travis County Attorney’s office.

Those restaurants are:

The lawsuits seek to place liens on property belonging to each restaurant and, if necessary, sell off furniture and fixtures to pay down the debt and to cover the cost of attorney’s fees.

Any readers out there in the tax office who’d be willing to give me a “heads-up” when they start seizing property from The Goodnight? I want to be there when the taxman starts taking tables and chairs, so I can point and laugh.

Edited to add: Eater Austin now has a comment from someone claiming to be “The Goodnight Management”, and asserting that they have paid their tax bill “in full and on time”.

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WTF, Austin Eater?

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight stories about Obama visiting Franklin Barbecue.

Really. Couldn’t this have been covered in one, possibly two, entries?

Edited to add: Nine!

Edited to add 7/14: I’m going to call this one nine and a half, since it is an Austin Eater item, but links to a KUT interview.

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Opening: SLAB BBQ to Open in Old Texas Rib Kings Space

SLAB BBQ will be opening their first brick and mortar store where Texas Rib Kings used to be at Burnet & 183.

Food trailer SLAB BBQ will open its first brick-and-mortar location in mid-summer in North Austin.

Co-owner Mark Avalos said the permanent location will allow the business to grow its catering services. SLAB BBQ already operates a food trailer that frequents North Austin, and its new location will be in the former Texas Rib Kings spot at 9012 Research Blvd., Ste. C-4.

North Austin can always use more BBQ places…

Posted in Barbecue, Opening | 2 Comments

Das Cafe Ist Kaput

Following on Dwight’s lament about a lack of German places in Austin, someone mentioned Das Cafe in Pflugerville, which we were going to try at this weekend’s SDC.

Alas, it was not to be. When I called to ask about their hours, they told me they were closing this week for good. (According to a post on Yelp, it’s because the owner had a baby, so I suppose it’s a reasonably happy ending for a restaurant.)

(The headline is slightly misleading, since I think they’re closing on Friday, but I couldn’t resist the headline…)

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Something to talk about, part 2: what do you miss?

Question number two from dinner last night: what Austin restaurants do you miss?

I’ll start:

  • This isn’t really fair, as the restaurant still exists and there’s continuity. But I miss the original Gumbo’s/Yoli’s Jambalaya/Mama Roux. It may be more fair to say that I miss Yoli and Michael.
  • There was a place on North Lamar, between Rundberg and Parmer, called Captain Tom’s (something or other) that did North Carolina style barbecue. I loved that place; I ate there at least once a week when they were open. Ross’ Old Austin Cafe is there now.
  • There was another place on 6th Street that I didn’t eat at very often, but would go to with friends of mine; they had 2 for 1 chicken fried steak on Tuesday night, and my friend RoadRich would always get a homemade cherry Coke. (This was back before Coca-Cola bottled cherry Coke.) I think it was right at that 6th and Guadalupe corner, but I can’t recall the name. I know it was a sushi place for a while, and I think a French place as well…
  • The Filling Station, when it was good. Mostly for Clyde’s Birthday Party.
  • Lawrence suggested the original Night Hawk Steakhouse at 290 and I-35, where Texas Land and Cattle is now.
  • There was an Italian buffet place called Valentino’s that went through two locations on Burnet. I’m not sure if I’d call it good, but it was reasonably priced for our budgets at the time.
  • Lone Star Cafe, when it was good.
  • The Alvin Ord’s chain of sandwich shops.
  • I kind of miss the Thai Kitchen off of William Cannon, but I don’t go down that way much any more. And there is some continuity with the one on Guadalupe, so again, I’m not sure that counts.
  • I sort of miss The Old Spaghetti Warehouse. But what I really mean by that is I miss the old Old Spaghetti Warehouse that I first went to as a little kid, where you could get spaghetti with cheese sauce or with a mushroom butter sauce or both combined, and they had really good bread and where I had my first expresso. The Old Spaghetti Warehouse in Austin went fairly far downhill over the years, plus parking was a b—ch, and I wasn’t that sorry to see it go. (And even the one in Houston doesn’t have the cheese sauce or mushrooms and butter any more.)
  • There was a place in the strip center at the corner of Anderson and Lamar that I think was called Asian Restaurant. (Not to be confused with Asia Restaurant on Ben White.) They had really good spring rolls, several excellent squid dishes, and literally the best hot and sour soup I have ever had in my life. That stuff would heal the sick and raise the dead; I know because I often went there when I was sick for a restorative bowl of soup. I haven’t found a soup nearly as good in Austin in many years of looking.
  • Tien Hong.
  • The Pao’s Mandarin House that was downtown, in what I think was the old Lamar Savings headquarters. I’m happy the one in Lakeway is still there.

Edited to add 5/6: my mother reminded me of the old Magic Time Machine on Riverside (where Joe’s Crab Shack is now). I remember eating there on one of visits up here before I started going to UT, and I think I may have gone there once while I was in school. I know a lot of people have fond memories of it. My mother and I took a couple of nieces and nephews to the one in San Antonio a couple of years ago, and, well…nostalgia is a moron, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Posted in Closed, Meta | 12 Comments