foodie

Top 10 Places To Get Oysters In Austin (And Their Corresponding Happy Hours)

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My obsession with oysters  is no secret. I’ve tried just about every oyster-slinging joint in town, and I’m hungry for more. Now that we’re getting into ‘Oyster Season,’ I’d like to share my top picks, and of course their discounted happy hours with you. After all, any local worth their salt and brine, should know where to get the good stuff.

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Clark’s Oyster Bar: A huge spread of oysters, in a small, yet fancy place. Enjoy the patio, fantastic service, and overall seafood spread. It’s going to cost you, but if you have the cash to spare it’s well worth it. Happy Hour: 50 cents off oysters from 3-6 daily, with 1/2 off burgers, and $5 beer/martinis on weekdays. 50 cents off oysters, and 1/2 off bottles of wine on weekends.

Liberty Kitchen: I hit this new hot spot recently, and had a great time! I like the space, food, and wine a lot. Their menu is expansive, and good. They even have brunch! Happy Hour: 50 cents off oysters, 1/2 off burgers/queso/wings, 1/2 select bottles of wine, and $5 liquor/beer from 3-6 on weekdays.

Parkside: A surprising diamond in the rough on 6th Street.  This spot has a wide variety, rooftop patio, and busy-yet-good service. Happy Hour: 1/2 off beer, liquor, and all bar food until 6:30 on weekdays.

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Eddie V’s: I don’t normally like Gulf oysters, but I do like theirs! I’m not sure if they’re sourcing them from a premium supplier, or if they’re just conning me with the ambiance, and staff. I used to be there practically every Sunday for the live jazz. Do you like giant, delicious vodka martinis? You’re in luck here. I really do love this place, despite my constant jokes that they make their staff dress like Bond villains (which they do). Happy Hour: All night Sunday-Monday, and 4-7 otherwise. You can enjoy 1/2 off oysters/select appetizers (I go for the tuna tartare), and $5 martini/wine selections.

Monger’s: This happening, new E. Cesar Chavez spot focuses on east coast oysters at $3/pop, and various other fresh seafood dishes. Happy Hour: 1/2 off oysters on Wednesday.

Perla’s: Sister to Clark’s Oyster, and made famous by their own food, as well as a visit from Anthony Bourdain. Expect great wait-staff, and a great wait. The South Congress Avenue people watching is glorious, and I’m a huge fan of their wine list.  Happy Hour: $2 off drinks, and 50 cents off oysters on weekdays.

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Hillside Farmacy: Cute space, and fantastic seafood. I do whine about the small tables, but that’s because I order so much food! I highly recommend this trendy spot for brunch. Happy Hour: 1/2 off east coast oysters, and $5 bubbles all night on Monday.

Quality Seafood: Famous for their amazingly fresh Ocean offerings, this spot is wonderful for the stomach, but not exactly candlelit. (There’s a slight, to-be-expected aroma from the fish, but you get over it fast.) On a regular night you can expect Gulf oysters at 8.99/15.99 and east coast at just 9.99/17.99 for a half/dozen. Happy Hour: Thursdays $1 Gulf oysters

Deckhand: If you’re up north, and have a penchant for grilled oysters then this is your spot! This is admittedly the only place I haven’t tried, but friends and Yelpers alike do rave about it. The menu is Southern, with a slight twist. Expect everything from gumbo to tom yum. Happy Hour: None.

Whole Foods Market at The Domain: Who would have though that a grocery store would offer some of the most amazing grilled oysters? Well, they do. At their in-store beer (and wine) bar, you’ll find a selection of cheesy, buttery shelled delights to enjoy as you take a break from your shop. I’ve been to New Orleans, and these babies are in close competition.  Happy Hour: $1.75 charbroiled oysters (regularly $2.75) daily from 3-5.

As a bonus, I would like to add that Foreign & Domestic does oysters on Mondays. Expect $1 per east coast oyster, and a delightful fried chicken meal. You can have the chicken and sides, oysters, and even specially discounted sparkling rosé once a week.

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Top Celebrity Chefs In An Airport Near You

With celebrity chefs opening eateries and introducing new dining concepts around the world, it seemed more than fitting for a handful of them to take things international and open new restaurants at some of the world’s biggest airports. Let’s take a look at some of the best airport celebrity chef-run restaurants across the globe.

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Heston Blumenthal’s Perfectionist’s Café
In the summer of 2014, Heathrow’s Queen’s Terminal (Terminal 2) opened their doors and gave passengers two unique experiences that reflected on British culture, one of them being Heston Blumenthal’s establishment known as The Perfectionist’s Café. According to Parking4Less, Blumenthal and his innovative team were very eager to present a menu that showcased British eccentricity – high quality classic dishes with the chef’s usual creative twists.

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Wolfgang Puck Express
The Austrian chef is making a huge statement in the travel world with his Express restaurants, located in hubs such as Indianapolis International Airport, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, and Denver International Airport. At each branch, you’ll find many of his signature dishes, from Japanese favorites to Rosemary chicken. To-go options are also available for those who wish to upgrade their onboard meals.

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Cat Cora’s Kitchen
The first and only female Iron Chef on the Food Network is currently running several branches of airport restaurants across the United States. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients for her cocktail and tapas lounges, travelers can expect the healthiest and sustainable dishes for all meals throughout the day. At Cat Cora’s Kitchen, they also like to emphasize their dedication to the environment by using eco-friendly and biodegradable materials for the to-go plates and boxes. The restaurants are open at 5 am for breakfast.

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Michael Symon’s Bar Symon
Sometimes all you need to relax before your flight is some good old comfort food, which is exactly what Michael Symon offers at his eateries in Washington Dulles International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport. Choose from any of his savory signature meals like the Fat Doug and Pulled Pork sandwiches. Every table is equipped with power outlets and flight status screens so that you can keep tabs on your flight.

 

This is a guest post.

Dining Downtown: Stella San Jac

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I live a pretty good life, and as a blogger I’ve been to some very amazing events.

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Though all places I have visited have been incredibly kind, I do have to tip my hat to the wonderful folks at Stella San Jac for the super-cool night they gave me last night.

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The newly opened restaurant, housed in the Westin, brought a ton of local bloggers in for a happy hour with some complimentary appetizers, and even a cooking demo! (More on that later. Actually, seriously, the straight up video for you below.)

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The space was gorgeous, and the food was delish! (Who says ‘delish?’ Oh god, did I just say ‘delish?’ Sign me up for pink sweaters, and tennis lessons STAT.)

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Naturally, I ventured to the bar. (Me?!?!? BAAAAAAAAR????) I asked if there were any happy hour specials, and the bartender replied, “Every hour is a happy hour.” I like it! He poured me a glass of rosé that I was convinced would cost $2508582094821, but it was only $8.66, so you know what? He was right! Every hour is happy hour when good wine is fairly priced.

Now, for the biscuits! If you check out my amazing-super-awesome-cinematography (sarcasm) video above (it was Periscope) you’ll see a demonstration from the chef on how to make his famous #16 Biscuits. He calls them ’16’ because it took that many tries to perfect the recipe, and they’re reportedly good enough to make low-carbers crumble. Fret not, dear reader, I crumbled not (“Not today, Satan!”), but I plan to soon. I spent most of my night eating his delicious salmon spread, and put all of my carbs in through pink wine.

The Burger Challenge

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I probably had you at the sheer mention of burgers, but this challenge is so much more awesome than that! The folks behind Mcguire Moorman Hospitality have made a multi-tiered challenge, where all you need to do is eat burgers at their restaurants, and their restaurants are arguably some of the best in town: Elizabeth Street Cafe, Jeffrey’s, Josephine House, Lambert’s, Perla’s, and Clark’s Oyster Bar.

What’s in it for you? (Aside from awesome burgers.) Well, there’s a few options, but I believe the $250 gift card to the restaurant of your choosing is pretty much the best prize. For that one, you have to hit all 6 restaurants in 7 days. We’re on day 4, and my Instagram feed looks like Bob Belcher’s.

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They have other prizes too, and I appreciate that they include a free Juiceland juice cleanse with the ultimate prize, which will go to whomever eats the most burgers. I assume they’ll be needing it. Our favorite experience so far was a tie between Elizabeth Street and Perla’s. Both were excellent burgers, and included the usual things I expect from Mcguire Moorman restaurants: incredible ambiance and service. Pro-tip: Clark’s, Lambert’s, and Jeffrey’s all have happy hours featuring burgers. You’re welcome. Read the full details here, and may god have mercy on your arteries.

The Happiest Hour: Juliet

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I’ve been referred to as ‘The Happy Hour Queen’ by more than one source, and I take that as a huge compliment! I pride myself on being the first (or almost first) to try any new spot, and conquer appetizers and bar menus with gusto.

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It should come as no surprise that the moment I had a free day, I ran to Juliet’s happy hour (Mon-Sun, 3-7) to try everything.

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All rosé wines were half off, and yes, that included sparklers. House wine was available for a mere $5, beer for $4, and there were some amazing sounding $7 cocktails. I was particularly interested in the Mezcal Negroni, but I’ll be saving that for my next trip there.

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I fell in love with just about everything on the wine list, and I’m still salivating over that delicious crudo. You can view the full happy hour menu here, and I can assure that it’s all delicious.

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You’ll be surprised at how beautiful the space is, and just how welcoming the staff are. If you went to this place back in the days it was Romeo’s location, you will absolutely be astonished with how different it truly is. Both the inside and outside are completely renovated, and it makes for the ideal place to meet for an early date.

Austin’s Best Taco Joints: The Instagram Edition

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It may come as a shock that I’ve eaten (and Instagrammed) a lot of tacos in my 13 years of living here. Sure, I mostly take them sans-tortilla, but they’re damn good either way. Here’s a look at my shots of the spots that every taco fan should try.

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Let’s start with the obvious: Torchy’s Tacos are tasty, inventive, and well-beloved by all. If you meet someone that doesn’t like them, don’t trust that person.

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They’re not just famous for tacos; their queso is arguably the best in town. An added bonus: You can B-Y-O to their trailer park location, and who says you can only have tacos with beer?

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Mellizoz is another happening location in South Austin. I think I’ve worked my way through the entire menu, and I’ve never been let down.

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The food tastes fresh, and they they oblige my pesky, “Can I get it on vegetables instead of tortillas?” demands (when I make them).

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Their truck is located next to the ever-popular Gourdough’s, and it makes for one hell of a decadent feast. Whatever they’re is putting in that green sauce, I hope they keep it up. That stuff is fiery, and addictive.

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I’ll be you’ve never heard of Rosita’s Al Pastor, and let’s keep it that way! (Well, just between you and me – I don’t want long lines to start forming.)

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In the words of Ron Swanson they have a, “meat tornado” of al pastor cooking around the clock. The tortillas are made in house, and it’s the best kept secret in town. Everyone in the know swears by it. Don’t tell all your friends.

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It’s a crying shame that I don’t have better photos of Fresa’s, or at last one of Taco Deli in my Instagram history. Both are spectacular, make incredible sauces, and are equal breakfast taco go-to’s for me, depending on which part of town I wake up in. If you haven’t tried the Doña Sauce at Taco Deli, then you haven’t truly lived yet.

The Fit Foodie 5K Is Back!

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I want to file this under: Oh @#%! I have to run again! (In a good way!) 

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The Fit Foodie 5K is this really fun event for health-minded foodies of all walks (and runs, oh god – this getting pun-y fast) of life. The best part? There’s going to be absolutely delicious food at the finish line! (I even got mimosas last year. Talk about motivation to sweat!) They have an optional cocktail reception the night before (swanky!), some amazing workouts you can sign up for beforehand, and it gives back to the American Diabetes Association. Win. Win. Win. Events are June 12-14, and you can get 10% off your registration at fitfoodierun.com/ with code: AMBERDEMURE.

I really surprised myself last year as it was my first ever 5K, so don’t let inexperience hold you back! The theme this year is ‘Calories Burned, Calories Earned’ and what’s waiting at the finish line will make it all worth it.

Banger’s: More Than Just Beer & Brats

 

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To all my of sausage-eating, beer-drinking comrades: You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Banger’s.

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It’s one of the busiest spots on Rainey Street, and for more reasons than you’d think.

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Dak Bulgogi

Their chef really knows his stuff.

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Apart from focusing on the freshest ingredients, most innovative sausages, and having shockingly excellent vegetarian items, Banger’s also boasts regular live music, and a dog-run. (Yes! It’s practically a miniature dog park!)

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The menu’s focus on the best possible ingredients at the peak of freshness allows them to rotate things, and mix up the offerings.

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The bread, meat, and produce are always top-notch, and though I’ve eaten my way through an alarming amount of their menu, I have a hard time finding a fave, but trust me when I say that I wouldn’t miss their shrimp-n-grits inspired sausage. In fact, I’d say their focus is very clearly Southern, and they do it well.

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BBQ Bacon & Shrimp

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House-Made Pickles

Did I mention that just about, if not everything is made in-house? They operate a bit of a deli-counter set up where you can take uncooked sausages and deli pickles home!

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They even have dessert. (And an incredible one at that. It’s not easy to get me on sweets.)

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Now, I wouldn’t be able to complete this post without mentioning one of Banger’s arguably greatest draws: The enormous beer list! I’ve never seen so many taps in my life! From hard to find craft beer to their weekend offerings of a ‘Man-mosa’ (it’s pretty much a pitcher of mimosa, which who wouldn’t love?) they have something for everyone, and yes, they do a decent wine list as well. Grab some friends on a sunny day, and head out to their impressively large patio for music, bites, and far too many foamy, alcoholic beverages. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Food Find: Salty Sow

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Manor Road is quickly becoming a mecca of great restaurants, bars, and patios galore. Amongst these fabulous finds lies Salty Sow, a place I’ve been lucky enough to sample at food festivals in the past. One gloriously boring weekday, we decided to check out OpenTable to nab a spot, and eagerly look forward to a decadent night out.

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When the day came, we couldn’t wait. We popped in early to grab creatively made happy hour cocktails. The happy hour menu ranges from wine to beer, and even onto miniature cocktail flights. Most drink items, and even tacos, are just $5.

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Once it was time for our proper meal, we moved onto mains such as delicious pork shoulder, and salmon rilllete. The rillete was dense, cool, and topped with caviar – utter perfection.

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Next time you want to book a fancy night out, or even do as we did and make it an evening + night out binging on tasty meats and drinks, head over to OpenTable and grab your spot at Salty Sow.