Drinks at The Gatsby


Old Sport
The Gatsby is 1920’s flair meets expansive patio, laid-back Austin meets upscale drinks, and “Dirty 6th” meets a great happy hour spot for locals. This new, relatively under the radar joint is nestled just west of 35, and offers an ambiance worthy of F. Scott himself.


McMaster
 We started off with the Old Sport, which was much like an Old Fashioned made with lemon oil and Templeton Rye. The next drink we tried was hands down my favorite drink (ever?) of the evening, The McMaster. It combined grapefruit, green chartreuse, Deep Eddy Ruby Red, and basil. 

My drinking companion was admittedly apprehensive about trying a sweet looking drink, but both of us were pleasantly surprised with the balance of flavors. If you head out to The Gatsby, this is the one I recommend.


Lemon Delight
 As a lover of the classic French 75, the Lemon Delight was truly delightful. One of the most interesting surprises in this cocktail is that they start it off with a habanero rinse. It’s not enough to make the drink spicy, which may be in part because the drink is quite sweet, but I appreciated that like everything else, they took a classic drink and did their own take on it.


Moto Antigua
The irony of it all was that I was out with a Frenchman, and the Moto Antigua was his favorite of them all. He’d never had nor heard of Mezcal, but it swiftly won him over. In fact, he pretty much instantly claimed that drink as his own. Just imagine Vida Mezcal and fresh juices with old fashioned bitters. Mmm…

When you go, try to make it in for happy hour or Whoopee Wednesday which boasts $3 vodka specials, $4 house wines, and $5 martinis. The specials are usually for Deep Eddy drinks, and I love the quality of juice that was used in my Deep Eddy + grapefruit. (It even came with a grapefruit slice!)

Happy Hour at Olive & June


Torta Napoletana
Olive & June offers half-off antipasti and cocktails from 5-6:30. Its location near 34th Street means you don’t have to stress about parking; the complimentary valet means parking is a snap.

Farm Egg
 The farm egg was one of my favorite dishes. It had enough butter to make Paula Dean go “Whoa!” and it tasted too good for me to worry about the calories. The mushrooms added a nice earthiness. This is something not to be missed.

Aperol Spritz
Negroni. Obviously.
 The cocktails were well made, but some were on the smaller side. Trust me, I sampled just about every cocktail they had. (I was doing it for science!)

White Anchovy Crostini
 The crostinis are just $2.25 each, and we really enjoyed the anchovy ones. A lot of the dishes under Piccoli Piatti section had impossible to understand Italian names. My dining partner, that I brought out for her birthday, had previously lived in Florence. Even she had trouble deciphering what some of the plate names meant. It made it a little awkward when talking to the server. “Can you tell me what one means? And that one… I also would like to know what the heck this item is…”

Torta Napoletana
I almost forgot to mention the torta! Also delicious. I think I was more excited about the garnishes than the dish itself. I love olives.

Overall, I like Olive & June. It has the most perfect of perfect patios, and the food really is good. We only had an antipasti plate and a crostini each, but we were full. Despite items being 50% off, I still wound up spending over $50. Maybe I shouldn’t have had all those cocktails?



Blogger Tasting at Mizu Steak & Sushi

Mizu Steak & Sushi has a beautiful view of the Texas hillcountry, but you’re going to have to drive for it. 


The happy hour runs from 5-7 and features discounted dishes, $5 wines, $4 “premium wells,” and a couple of discounted beers. The specialty cocktails are truly special, but they’re still full-price.


Some Yelp reviewers will tell you that Mizu has the best calamari in town. It’s definitely different- somehow lighter, sweeter, and less tough than any that I’ve ever tried. My photographer for this event, Matthew Blanchard, absolutely loved it.


The spicy edamame, miso sea bass, and sashimi were hands down my favorite dishes. 


Most sashimi dishes included herbs and fruit. The hamachi crudo was served with ginger pear puree, kumquat, and jalapeño, while the tuna tartar was served with watermelon and stone fruit.


The baked roll (shown above) was very rich. It contained everything from cream cheese to spicy aioli. 


By the time dessert rolled around, I was convinced that I was going to die (we were stuffed)! It was worth risking death to taste the delicious cinnamon ice cream that accompanied the warm brandied bread pudding.


Chocolate cake was a hit with the crowd, but I was more fascinated by the banana nutella cake.


As you can see, I went up a pants size on this particular night.

The takeaway: Mizu has a great happy hour, gorgeous view, and a LOT of flat screens (if sports are your thing). The calamari is a must-try, as is the edamame. The quality is better than the downtown sushi joints, so if you feel like taking a scenic drive, try them out!

Original photos by Matt Blanchard

Dinner At Contigo

Contigo is one of Austin’s favorite outdoor eating spots, and the lack of shade did not impair our enjoyment of the spot.
Appetizers and small plates reign supreme on the menu, while unusual cocktails (in the $10 range) pique the curiosity of the more adventurous drinker.

My partner had chicken wings accompanied by a thumb-sized piece of bleu cheese. Both of us dove into my blistered shishito peppers and coconut milk sauce. 

 He had previously tasted the crispy green beans, and insisted we have them despite my aversion to fried foods. Overall, I’d say they were okay. He’d say they were heaven.

 If you’re vegetarian there are options, but not as many if you’re looking for more than just a few light bites.  

 

The only things we weren’t thrilled about were the pickled vegetables and olives. The pickled vegetables were a little too briney, and while some of the olives were good, the orange zest overpowered the flavor. 

The takeaway: I like Contigo. I’d go back. It’s not a cheap dinner, but for the quality it is well worth the price. I love shareable plates, and the misters helped the scorching summer heat to be a little bit more bearable.

Happy Hour at Uchiko

Uchiko has “Saké Social” from 5-6:30 every day. It can get crowded on date night, but if you get there early, and crawl your way to the bar, it’s well worth it.
They have $3 and $6 options (in addition to the full, regularly priced menu) such as diver scallop ceviche, eggplant nigiri, pork belly, and hand rolls.


The brussel sprouts, grilled edamame, and aforementioned scallops are must-haves on the social hour menu.


Hot saké and wine are discounted to $3 and $7 for select choices. I tried a saké cocktail, but preferred alternating between hot saké, and the discounted Picpoul (white wine).


We moved onto the regular menu and skipped my favorite sushi piece, the boquerones, for various, delicious others, and hamachi sashimi (best thing we had there that night).


The rolls can get pretty impressive, and are perfectly balanced so that wasabi and soy sauce aren’t needed for the table.


The desserts are innovative and both the fried milk and tobacco cream are the best desserts in town. The buttermilk and cilantro dessert shown above is also to die for, and apparently looks like an alien.

To summarize: Uchiko is my favorite restaurant, Michael is my favorite bartender there, and the social hour is the best time to go.




Happy Hour At Peché


Peché has got to be one of the best places for happy hour in town.
Expertly crafted (select) cocktails for $5, and half off food from the bar menu.


We had the salted cod and potatoes, it was amazing and only cost $4.50.


Every drink we had was delicious. Did I mention that
they have all day happy hour on Sunday and Monday?


If you can find a better cocktail in Austin, let me know.

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