Dishcrawl #2

Tim and I went on another dishcrawl adventure this week.  In case you missed the first one, you can read about our experience here.  Living on the north side of town, we don’t make it out much to all the amazing eateries that downtown Austin has to offer, so why not hit up 4 places in 1 night?

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The event was orchestrated by Jessica Bodine, who bravely took up the torch and led the way for ≈30 hungry foodies.  Our first stop was Cru Wine Bar, which was one of the places we went to last time we dishcrawled.  I was a bit nervous as I thought perhaps we’re going to all the same places again.  However, I sighed in relief as Jessica assured me that wasn’t going to happen.

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Like the first time, Tim and I really loved the warm, elegant, and romantic ambience that Cru boasts.  Who wouldn’t want to sip on wine while staring deeply into his/her lover’s eyes, falling more in love? 😉 When Tim and I were in the “courting” phase, we spent a lot of time (and money) at places like these bc I was all about the atmosphere…the moodier the better!  And Tim tried his best to live up to my standards.  Poor guy.  However, now I’m all about comfort.  Anywhere I don’t have to get dressed up, put makeup on, and act like a lady sounds perfect to me.  Now you see why we have to go on adventures like these to bring out the fun side in me (I knew you were still in there somewhere!).

PicMonkey Collage0 Anyway, Cru offers a wide selection of wines and a delicious menu to complement.  I remember absolutely loving their Pear and Gorgonzola pizza last time, and I was once again reminded of how awesome their pizzas are as I sampled their Roasted Wild Mushroom pizza which had fontina, pesto, and white truffle oil.  I usually don’t like white pizzas so this one took me by surprise.  It wasn’t too creamy or heavy but had a nice nutty, robust flavor.

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Tim and I are planning on coming back soon just for their stone-fired pizzas.  I wish we could go on Monday evenings, as you can get a whole pizza for free with the purchase of a bottle of wine!  However, as luck would have it, I have class till 9:30pm…

The other bite-sized appetizers on the plate were a pan-seared crab cake with red pepper remoulade and a goat cheese beignet, which we had before.  I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese but the drizzle of honey was quite a nice touch.

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Next stop was Malaga, a tapas bar.  When I lived in Atlanta several years ago, tapas places were popping up everywhere, and they were embraced by all the hipsters.  Dare I say, I may have been one of them? 😉  It’s so fun to dine at places like this with a large crowd and order various dishes to share.  You know I’m all about sharing ;).  Chef Alejandro Duran graciously took the time to greet and explain to us the menu he had selected for us.

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The plate included pork bites marinated in olive oil infused with various spices and seasoning, including cumin, parsley, and lemon juice; a goat cheese cake breaded and fried (which was very similar to the one we had at Cru except this one had lavender.  Fried goat cheese balls must be “in”); and grilled asparagus, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, fire-roasted piquillo peppers, and spring onions with toasted almonds.  My favorite on the plate was the pork.  I just wished there was more!

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Our last savory stop was Garrido’s, a 100% green, 95% gluten-free, Mexican restaurant.  The interior was simple and cozy, not as loud as some Mexican restaurants can be.  There was live music which is always welcome in my book.  I appreciated that we were served fairly quickly as there was a bit of delay at the previous places.

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The plate included a mini taco, with Coffee Marinated Steak, onion, jack cheese, chipotle-horseradish aioli and pico de gallo, rice and refried beans.  The taco was my second fav dish of the night next to the pizza.  There was a complexity of flavors from all the diff components that worked together beautifully.

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Hello Capitol!

Finally, of course, dessert was in order.  It was a bit of a walk, but eventually we ended up at the beautiful  1886 Cafe & Bakery located inside the Driskill Hotel.  I recognized the hotel as I’ve seen it featured on various food and travel channels.  It’s considered to be one of the most luxurious and historic hotels.  However, what stuck with me more than anything was the claim that it’s haunted.  A bit creepy…

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The entrance to the bakery was quite grand…

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We tasted their 1886 chocolate cake (it’s a 100 year old recipe) served with homespun vanilla ice cream, chocolate ganache and topped with a tuile.  In my opinion, I was not too impressed with the cake.  Perhaps if I hadn’t heard the “100 year old recipe” part, I may have appreciated it more.  I prepared myself to taste the most memorable chocolate cake ever, and it just didn’t deliver.  However, I did like the ice cream (when do I not?) and the tuile.

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The highlight of the evening (besides spending time with Tim) was meeting a lovely couple, Tom and Sarah.  They were the only other couple besides us, and I kept glancing over in their direction at Cru hoping we could join forces.  We finally introduced ourselves during our walk to Garrido’s.  I probably talked wayyyy too much, which is usually what happens when I meet people for the first time.  When I’m nervous, I tend to ramble talk, or so I’ve been told by Tim.  They were extremely friendly and so easy to talk to that Tim and I hope to get together with them some time in the near future!  I am reminded again that food really does bring people together.

So overall, our second Dishcrawl experience was fun.  However, my only comment would be that perhaps the restaurants chosen could be a bit closer to each other.  I felt rushed to finish my plate and get to the next stop.  If the places were nearer to each other, we could all spend a lil’ more time soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying each other’s company.  I chose not to order any wine for this reason bc I like to sip rather than chug it down.  That’s the only critical input I have.  Overall, it was a memorable night and I’m glad Tim and I got to walk around Downtown hand in hand on a weeknight and experience this together.

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15 Responses to Dishcrawl #2

  1. I’m so jealous of crawls! Milwaukee has a few, but I’ve never been on one and I really really want to! Also, Austin looks so nice and pretty, I want to move there 🙂

  2. Min! I’ve never heard of a dish crawl..but it sounds like a good way to get to know alot of new restaurants in very little time! I’d definitely join a dish crawl if it were available!
    I loved the bakery entrance..! what an impressive entrance for a place to eat good breads and desserts!
    Plus, you looked lovely in the photo 🙂
    xoxo

    • Min says:

      Aww..thanks, Felicia ;). The entrance to the bakery truly was grand! Maybe you can start something similar to dishcrawl where you live!

  3. Leah says:

    I love the idea of a dishcrawl. I didn’t realize they were organized events. One of the dates I planned for Jon and I later this year is a “food crawl” but it’s the same concept except I’m the organizer haha.

  4. These dishcrawls sound so awesome…especially on those days where you can’t decide which restaurant sounds best! I might have to consider this on my next birthday- choose 3 of my favourite restaurants and go to a different one for each course :)! The coffee-marinated steak sounds so unique yet SO delicious…glad you had a wonderful evening!

  5. It sounds like you had a great night! I love the sound of the venues and the food you had. It’s fun you met that other couple too 🙂

  6. Min says:

    I felt like quite the rebel going out on a weeknight ;). We had a great time. Plus, the couple that we met were super sweet, which made our evening even better.

  7. Min, my dear!! Gosh, I’ve missed you! You were in my thoughts other night when I went out for sushi; for some reason, I was suddenly flooded with happy memories of our pre-sushi dinner walk in Boston! I ended up telling my friends about you, and how I wished I lived closer to my “blends.” Since that’s not the case, I think we really *need* to plan a reunion soon. I’d love to visit Austin this spring or summer! Or, if you have plans to head east, please let me know! ❤

    Okay, now that that ramble is out of my system, let's talk about the amazing food in this post! Oh my heavens, yum! I wish DC had a Dishcrawl like this; I'd be tempted to sign up every weekend. It sounds like ta great way to get a taste of four different restaurants without spending the equivalent of four full meals. I wish I'd been there with you, because I would have finished off your goat cheese beignet and goat cheese cake in a heartbeat. 😉 I'm also drooling over that wild mushroom pizza–yum!

    I hope the semester is going well for you so far–I can't believe it's already almost February! Enjoy your weekend, love! xoxoxo ❤

    • Min says:

      Aww…Sara, this comment really had me reminiscing as well. I sure do remember that walk…Man HLB summit seems so long ago! You should totally visit Austin! I have a feeling you’re going to fall in love and hopefully never leave ;). I don’t have any plans as of late…perhaps NY before May, but I want to visit DC for sure! Have never been!!

      At first, I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle all 4 restaurants in 1 night, but the portions were not Texas-sized for once, thank goodness. I have no doubt you would’ve inhaled those goat cheese balls, and I would’ve had no problem sending them over your way 😉 I hope you’re doing well!!

  8. Looks like so much fun! When you posted about your first dishcrawl, I looked to see if they have them in Hawaii, but no such luck…glad you and Tim had a wonderful night together and made some new friends 🙂

    I know this might be sacrilege in the food community, but I don’t like goat cheese…fried or otherwise! There’s something about it just says “wrong” when it hits my tastebuds 😉 Maybe I will mature into a goat cheese and bleu cheese lover eventually!

    Hope you’re having a great weekend, Min! Love you!

    • Min says:

      Hehe Maura you and I both. I think I’m slowly starting to appreciate goat cheese but def not blue cheese. It’s the start of another week! Let’s do this! 😉

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