Now that I live in Texas, boiled peanuts are a little harder to come by. I often complain about not being able to find raw green peanuts for boiling here in Austin. Last week, my sweet brother-in-law mailed me a big bag of them, direct from Georgia. He also suggested that I should try Hugh Acheson’s recipe for Boiled Peanut Hummus from his cookbook, A New Turn in the South.
After 6+ hours of boiling, I shelled a cup and mixed them with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and a little bit of cumin and cayenne. The hardest part of this process is not eating all the peanuts as you shell them. The result is a savory, salty hummus that has a satisfying hint of peanut butter. It tastes amazing on a celery stick.
The hummus was a tasty new experiment, but it’s hard to beat the classic.
How have I not posted this yet? A couple of months ago, I had a near perfect meal, featuring the holy trinity of sausage, egg, and oysters. When you think Austin, you don’t think seafood, but between Perla’s and Uchi we seem to have our bases covered.
Anthony Bourdain apparently visited Perla’s when he came to town a while back. I can’t say that Perla’s is on my go-to list for people visiting Austin, but maybe it should be.
What could be more All-American than a chili dog and a baseball game on Father’s Day? I don’t know, but I can tell you without a doubt that the trio of Dad, dogs, and dugouts is tough to beat.
I had been wanting to visit Ben’s Chili Bowl ever since Anthony Bourdain went there. Luckily, it wasn’t hard to convince my dad–not to mention the rest of a partial family reunion–to come along for the ride.
The “half smokes” are the main event here: a half pork, half beef smoked sausage. Here they are calling my name out as we walked in the door.
I’ve never met a chili dog I didn’t like, and these were no exception. On the other hand, they didn’t seem drastically different from any other dog, despite what Bourdain had to say. After downing our dogs, we headed across town to the Nationals game. Here we are on our way in.
Ok, maybe there’s one way we could have amped up the America factor: if this guy had showed up:
Every time I’m tempted to get upset about the de-Austinization of Austin (i.e., Second Street), I think about House Pizzeria, which is one of the most quintessentially Austin places around. Unassuming, unpretentious, and a little rough around the edges, it’s also some of the best pizza in town.
One of my favorite salads anywhere.
I keep wondering: How does no one know about this place? Why does no one talk about it? Well, okay maybe one guy talks about it. A co-worker of mine told me: “Get the one with the stilton.” I didn’t know what stilton was, but I went for it and I’m glad I did.
I have an unwritten rule about not writing negative things on this site. (I have broken it). The main reason I try to keep it positive is that negative reviews are a bore. We’ve all seen the seven-paragraph rants on Yelp that begin “We arrived at 7:43 pm…” Spare us, people. More importantly, we understand that the restaurant business is tough. And we love restaurants, so why make it harder for them? Seriously though, negative reviews are really boring.
Having said that, here are some photographs from a recent visit to Justines.
We finally made it to one of Austin’s most celebrated food trucks: El Naranjo. This is a truck with some serious bona fides. Chef Iliana de la Vega first made a name for herself in Oaxaca with a restaurant of the same name. These days, she lives in Austin and teaches Latin American cuisine at the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America. Here she is showing epicurious how to make corn tortillas.
The truck is in East Austin on Rainey Street, in front of a house that will soon house de la Vega’s restaurant, which will also be called El Naranjo.
Shrimp tacos were the highlight. Here, de la Vega shows Texas Monthly’s Patricia Sharpe how they’re made. We thought we’d be able to get her mole, which is only served on Wednesdays, but they had temporarily stopped serving it due to light crowds. This only makes us more eager for the full-on restaurant to open.
Breakfast is not one of the more beautiful meals. But it is my favorite one. We recently enjoyed a brunch at La Condesa with our friend Amanda, who was visiting from London. Amanda introduced me and Eliza. There’s hardly a lovelier way to begin the day.