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?
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
The entrance to the bakery was quite grand…
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.
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.