Blogger Tasting at Soleil

Scallop at Soleil
Recently, as the last few streaks of sunset spread across the sky, we were treated to a blogger tasting at Soleil

View of Lake Travis at Soleil
Soleil is on the lake, practically connected to The Oasis, and promises a breathtaking view with your meal.

Watermelon Radish at Soleil
We started off with light bites, champagne, and various other dazzling finger foods brought out on trays by excited waitstaff. It appeared that the people working there were as hyped about what we were about to eat as we were.

Foie Gras at Soleil
Given that I often lean vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian while my partner leans towards, well, everything – I was pleased to find that they were graciously accommodating with my dietary preferences.

Edamame-Filled Ravioli at Soleil

The “Amber-friendly” items turned out to be even better than my partner’s; I assume that they were, because I liked them so much. They were a little heavy on the cheese, but I wasn’t complaining.

Fried Goat Cheese at Soleil
I’m not usually one for fried food, but the carnivores around me swiftly descended upon my fried goat cheese dish. I was pretty distracted by all of the truly perfect wine pairings they had lined up with each course.

Scallop at Soleil
Everyone else got bacon on their scallops, but mine was just fine without it.

Apples, Caramel, and Cheese at Soleil
The dessert courses (that’s right, more than one!) were phenomenal. Most of the other bloggers at our table admitted to normally passing on dessert, but we all happily dove in again and again as the plates came out. We were apparently competing to see who could stuff themselves the most throughout the night.

Given that we were at a blogger event, it’s hard to not walk away having had the absolute greatest time, but I am hesitant to say that this event was lovely only because I was in the company of local food writers. I believe that the ambiance, view, food, service, and wonderful little touches such as the live jazz band all equaled a difficult-to-match dining experience.

In fact, almost everyone that was there has already made plans to go back. After all, the partner said it was his favorite food event we’ve ever attended to date.

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

Happy Hour At Trio

Trio at Four Seasons holds the holy grail of all my happy hour delights.
$5 plates of delicious items like tuna tartare, ceviche, chicken fried steak bites, and crispy brussels.

The big draw for me is half-off wine (over 30 choices by the glass!); these deals are available Monday through Saturday from 5-7.

The outdoor grounds are unbelievable. You can view Town Lake, the bats, and joggers from the most serene settings I’ve ever found in Austin.

Go to Trio, sit at the bar, and hope that you get Suzy (my all-time favorite bartender).

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