The Union Kitchen- Restaurant Review                   

It’s been a few weeks since I visited The Union Kitchen for an epic tasting experience and I can’t stop dreaming about their food! Life has been crazy with recent travels, but I’ve been dying to return to my new favorite restaurant in town for all occasions. The Union Kitchen offers a relaxing and delicious dining experience from start to finish. Their patio is a nice oasis from the city and it is temperature controlled during both the winter and summer, a Houston necessity. They have great wine deals throughout the week, nearly bottomless boozy brunches, and ridiculously sinful chocolate martinis… Need I say more?

Whether you are looking for a date night spot, have friends in town who want to enjoy some of the best Houston food beyond Tex-Mex, or want a place that can cater to a wide range of palettes, this should be your new go-to restaurant. We dined at their Bellaire location, but they have additional locations in Memorial and Kingwood. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and we felt truly pampered.
I invited Zoe, my famous empanada making friend, to sample their menu. It was a special night for us as it was our last girls night in Houston, for now at least 😦 So proud of her as she’s off to an exciting new adventure in Florida, but going to miss my partner in crime. We decided we needed to go big and The Union Kitchen staff was so sweet and generous throughout our meal. It was the perfect farewell dinner and we were too full and distracted by the deliciousness to be tearful…phew!


Zoe and I enjoyed the beautiful outdoor patio and fountain. We felt like we were on vacation!

We started with a bottle of Ano Verde Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara. It had a medium body and fruity finish, perfect pairing for our diverse tasting. The Union Kitchen offers half off wine bottles on Monday nights…score!

First up in our food marathon were these glorious brussel sprouts.  We LOVE brussel sprouts and are always looking for the best ones in town and these are currently our #1 favorite. They are crispy, tangy, and perfectly charred. They are dressed with a homemade balsamic dijon sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. You MUST order them!

Next up were sriracha Asian chicken lettuce wraps. They packed a punch but were not too spicy. The marinated chicken was especially flavorful, and I liked that it was served with crunchy cashews, water chestnuts, and fresh sprouts as toppings. Definitely a nice lighter appetizer option and it was a great portion too.

The appetizers kept coming out!

Pepper calamari with feta, green onions, and pepperoncini peppers were a delightful combination of unique flavors. I normally don’t eat calamari but these were quite addicting.

We had to take a pause to enjoy our wine and the weather before gearing up for our entrees…

First up was this melt in your mouth braised beef short rib. It was so tender you could eat it with chop sticks! It is braised slowly for 6-8 hours and served with a natural reduction over a creamy butternut squash puree. The flavors were well balanced and we both loved this dish. All of their sauces and marinades are made in house which makes a HUGE difference.

Our favorite entree was the Gulf Red Snapper served with a zesty lemon risotto, grilled asparagus, and a lemon butter sauce. It was incredibly fresh and flavorful and a very high quality fish. The lemon risotto was equally delicious and would even be tasty on its own. We had to box up some of the food to save room for dessert which we couldn’t miss out on!

Hello Beautiful

I can’t stop thinking about this chocolate dessert martini (yikes). Their in house mixologist surprised us with this concoction and it was my favorite part of the meal! It was made with Baileys Chocolate liquor and marshmallow fluff.  It was served with a decadent yet light chocolate mouse which we were convinced to eat because it was National Chocolate Mouse day and it would be rude not to celebrate…

While we were stuffed and already had our to-go boxes packed, their friendly manager told us we couldn’t leave without trying their banana bread pudding. It is made with their in house sourdough bread which is made fresh daily. It is then topped with boozy banana deliciousness.  Zoe who normally doesn’t even like bananas said “There are literally no words to describe how good this is.”

Special shout out to their incredible manager Rob. He was so personable and fun to chat with, his passion for their food and restaurant was contagious. Our waiter Marshall was also great and attentive. Zoe and I were both were blown away by the entire experience.

We decided our next girls date needed to be a workout, but we couldn’t have asked for a better celebratory dinner. I can’t wait to return!

How to throw a Passover Party for foodie friends who’ve never been to a Seder 

After attending two awesome Easter feasts with some of my friends from the Houston Food Blogger Collective (shout out to Lisa and Lauren), I felt inspired to host a small Passover celebration.  I wanted to expose them and some of our other foodie friends (Renee and Erika) to traditional Jewish foods for my favorite holiday.  While Gefilta fish and bitter herbs can sound far from appetizing, I was excited to focus on some of the best parts of a Seder (the required 4 cups of wine, matzo balls the size of your fist, and addicting chocolate matzo crack to name a few).

To get started I looked at Smitten Kitchen and The Forest Feast, two of my favorite blogs for innovative modern twists on classic Jewish dishes. Deb from Smitten Kitchen cooks up some of the best recipes I’ve ever tried from her tiny NYC kitchen. I’m obsessed with my new Forest Feast cookbook and Erin’s story is fascinating. She left the big city to move into literally a cabin in the Northern California woods! I would die to go to one of her dinner parties surrounded by redwood trees, drool worthy vegetarian eats, and fresh craft cocktails. I’m also a big fan of Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat whose a fellow Texan, hysterical writer, and has creative fun recipes on  Jewish classics like rainbow challah! Anyways, back to the holiday where no challah or carbs are allowed…

Passover foods primarily include meats, vegetables, and unleavened products. The Passover story is centered around the Jews escaping from 40 years of slavery in Egypt. When they left in the middle of the night, their bread didn’t have time to rise. This is why we eat flat matzo which is similar to a large cracker. We eat bitter herbs to symbolize the hard times in Egypt, and we drink four cups of wine to celebrate the freedom from slavery. My friends enjoyed learning about the story and customs of a Seder and we added some modern twists. Here are some highlights:

Instead of name cards, everyone had a plague mask at their seat! It’s easy to turn your Seder into a masquerade with these fun masks from Party City. It really helped everyone get into the Passover Story.

No Seder is complete without brisket. We all have high standards being in Texas- land of BBQ brisket heaven. Shout out to Evan for trimming a 17 lb Prime 1 brisket into this beauty. It  was quite the production but so flavorful. I would normally recommend to buy it trimmed to save time, but this was a better quality of meat and it only came untrimmed. After he removed literally 9 pounds of fat (😱) I seasoned it with the following:

1 tsp paprika, 1.5 tsp each of onion powder & garlic powder , 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano & thyme, 1 cup beef stock & 1 cup red wine, 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup chili sauce, and 1 cup of brown sugar.

I added 3 caramelized onions to the top before covering it all very tightly in tin foil. It baked at 350• for around 4 hours. After letting it cool and putting it in the fridge over night, you skin off the fat the next day. The full recipe can be found here:  .

Matzo Balls were made from the Manischewitz box, they come out so fluffy! They were added to homemade chicken soup which Evan made in a pressure cooker.  If you’ve never tried matzo ball soup, you’re in for a treat. It’s perfect for sick days, snow days, or any time you need a warm cup of of something soothing and nourishing. In Houston, you can try a cup at Kenny and Ziggy’s . My favorite matzo ball soup ever is right by my old apartment in NYC at the 2nd Avenue Deli. I still have dreams about ordering this off Seamless more often than I should admit…

Here’s the first course of  our Seder: Matzo ball soup and the Charoset matzo “Hillel” sandwich. Charoset is a traditional Passover dish and it’s a lovely combo of apples, cinnamon, walnuts, and red wine. Here’s an easy recipe I used from What Jew Wanna Eat. Pro tip: Charoset leftovers are so delicious the next morning on plain yogurt or oatmeal!

I’ve been on a hearts of palm kick lately and this salad was a mix of arugula, hearts of palm, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and pine nuts. Simple and delicious.

Oven roasted potatoes and asparagus helped round out the feast.

The #1 hit of the Seder that my friends keep talking about is this chocolate matzo crack! It’s seriously addicting and a perfect combo of chocolate caramel crunchy goodness. I highly recommend gifting it to your friends for all sorts of occasions. It can me made with saltines, but the consistency and crunch is better with matzo in my opinion. Here is the recipe, another Passover Hit from Smitten Kitchen.



  

Hope you all had a wonderful Passover this year, and feel free to share your favorite recipes below!

Menu of Menus- Houston 2016

  
I had the chance to attend the Menu of Menus events hosted by Houston Press the other week! I have always wanted to go and was excited to score press tickets. Menu of Menus is such a great way to sample bites from some of the best food destinations in Houston. The event took place at Silver Street Studios in the Heights. It was packed, but we still managed to try food from the majority of the vendors and enjoyed the beverage offerings too. 

Let the games begin…  

First up was State of Grace, one of the most talked about new restaurants in town. It’s been on my list for a while and now I definitely understand the hype. This mini flavorful taco packed a punch. It was amazing and I wanted more but knew I had to save room!

Their ginger snap cookie sandwiches were equally delightful and had just the right amount of a ginger kick.

 

I loved the cabbage slaw in this taco from Cyclone Anaya, which I had tried for the first time at Tacolandia.

  

How cute are these mini bagels?! I can’t wait to check out a cooking class at White Plate Art in the near future.

 

Revelry on Richmond served up  ahi tuna tacos which were crisp and flavorful. They have an awesome happy hour menu and large patio for those in the area. 
  

I ran into one of my favorite foodie friends and fellow HFBC blogger, Kim!

    

In between all the food samples, we paused for some wine and craft cocktails. This was a great Old Fashioned from Old Forrester.

Next up were Brick House Tavern duck wings! I had never had a duck wing before, they were delicious and totally worth the mess.

We were obviously pretty full by this point but this booth smelled so good, I had to try a bite of pasta from Italiano’s. The cream sauce was delicious, perfect for when you want some comfort food carbs…not so perfect when you’re in the middle of a food marathon.

  

Thank god for cold brew from Black Hole coffee to help us power through to the finish line! I love camping out at their coffee house in West U. They have great coffee, chai, oatmeal, and wifi. 

Drumroll… My token for who served the best dish went to…  

  

Pico’s! I’m embarrassed to say I had never been to their restaurants and can’t wait to go in person soon. I ate a lot of tacos that night, and you all know my obsession for tacos is at the next level. These really blew me away and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out this whole time. Both tacos were the perfect ratio of meat to salsa to garnish. Their tacos were tender, juicy, and well seasoned. Overall they stole the show!

 
 

All in all it was a fun and decadent evening and great way to sample such a wide variety of food and drinks. We are lucky to live in such a diverse and welcoming  foodie city. I’m already looking forward to next years Menu of Menus and I’m excited to become a regular at more of the restaurants on this list!

South by Southwest 2016- Austin

I’ve been dying to go to South by Southwest since moving to Texas and I’m glad to have now experienced and survived my first ACL and SXSW in one year! I think this may bring me one step closer to being a Texan? That along with wearing my cowboy boots to the rodeo last week. This is truly the best time of year to live in and visit Texas with so many events going on, and our small window of perfect patio weather. So if you’re reading this and intrigued, get your booty and boots on a plane and I’ll be waiting for you with queso…you’re welcome.

My weekend in Austin started off with a delicious dinner at North Italia at the Domain. I’ve been to their Houston location once and loved it, so I was excited to try their Austin location and sample more dishes. We started off with this epic chef’s plate filled with 3 artisan cheeses, olives, macrona almonds, grilled asparagus, marinated eggplant, roasted peppers, an apricot jam, and grilled bread. Holy yum it delicious! One of the best chef’s plates in terms of quality, variety, and generous portions. Also a nice balance between sweet and savory. It was just what we needed to recharge after a 3 hour drive from Houston and went perfectly with my delightful vanilla ginger vodka cocktail.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted meatballs or salad for dinner (normal I know), so I decided to get two appetizers, a win-win.

This Kale salad is no ordinary kale salad. It even will make kale haters reconsider their feelings for this often overly chewy leafy green. Once it’s marinated in a Parmesan vinaigrette it’s topped with apples, pistachios, charred grapes, and breadcrumbs. The kale is just a vehicle to get to all the other deliciousness while also getting your dose of greens.

Next up were the marinara meatballs served with crunchy grilled cheesy bread.

They were seasoned perfectly and a great portion for an appetizer. We even ended up with some leftovers. The service was on point and the atmosphere was lively. I’m glad we have a location in Houston and will definitely be back for that chef’s board and cocktail. After dinner we enjoyed some live music and the fire pits at the retro  Lone Star Court right near the Domain.

The next morning we were ready to take on SXSW! We had registered for the Rachael Ray Stubb’s BBQ event and were grateful to get in as press.

It is open to the public but the lines can be quite long so I would recommend getting there early.It’s so worth it though with two stages of live music all day, multiple open bars, and amazing Southern comfort food.

This was the main lunch. Grits with a fried chicken wing, slider and slaw, corn salad, and upside down Frito pie. My first Frito pie experience and all I can say is oh my…

This was the Blue Moon Stage. Favorite performers of the day were Jenny Lewis and Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals. Rachael was dancing on the stage during the last show and she’s got some moves! Was hoping for a selfie with her but she was on the move. Here’s hoping for next year.

The cold pressed juices were a refreshing necessity between Frito pie and trying to gear up for the night ahead.

We stopped by Fukumoto Sushi and Yakitiri Izakaya for  happy hour.

These tempura green beans were light and crispy with a zesty dipping sauce.

I also highly recommend their tofu. I’m not one to order tofu often, but this melted in your mouth and was the best tofu I’ve ever had, hands down. The sake cocktail was delicious and just the right amount of sweet and boozy.

Next we wandered around 6th street which was packed with people walking around and free giveaways.

Afterwards we stopped by Hole in the Wall near UT’s campus which has a great divey feel, live music, and dirt cheap drinks. We were fooled by this band that they were Third Eye Blind doing a secret show…le sigh.

Our night ended at Weather Up with this amazing burrata and strawberry mint rum slush drink. Apparently they have a NYC location too which I hope to check out!

The next morning we had brunch at Salt and Time, a rustic cafe in a butcher shop.

The Miga’s were tasty with crisp tortillas, veggies, and savory n’duja. A round of beer was sent to our table on this clever carousel, but none of us could really stomach much  beer at that hour. Afterwards we checked  out their impressive butcher shop on the other side of the restaurant. I love their farm to table approach.

Before hitting the road, we walked around UT’s campus which was a perfect way to end the weekend. Until next time, Austin…

 

Sweat Sunday- Yogaleena 

After a year and a half in Houston I think I have finally found my studio soulmate: Yogaleena. I’ve been searching for my favorite yoga spot for a while now, but hadn’t found my go-to studio. We are lucky that there are a ton of great yoga options inside the loop, but they all seem to have their flaws which has kept me from becoming a regular. Whether it’s parking issues, overcrowded classes, or boring music during class, I hadn’t felt truly at home at any studio until trying Yogaleena on a whim last week.


I signed up through ClassPass and had no clue what to expect when I went with a coworker during a lunch break for a 45 minute “flow on the go” class. Parking was a breeze and when I walked in, it felt like I had entered another world – a sort of Zen, retreat oasis right off of Shepherd! The studio is charming and filled with whimsical touches everywhere.


We were warmly greeted by Carolina Vennie, the owner and instructor for the class. She is such a sweetheart and inspirational teacher – the yoga scene here needs more like her! Carolina was born in Chile, but has lived all over. She practices Yoga to unwind from the corporate world. She recently  decided to quit her job in big oil to follow her yogi dreams and open a hidden gem of a studio.


Carolina’s teaching style is upbeat, supportive, and inspirational.  She also has a killer soundtrack which makes class fly by and helps keep you motivated through the challenging moments.  I was impressed at how much we accomplished in just 45 minutes. Carolina’s class was a perfect combination of flow,stretch, sweat, and zen moments. It’s a great way to refresh during your lunch break. We were amazed at the personalized attention and the brief shoulder massage at the end was heavenly.
 I came back later in the week to check out the popular “Yoga Sculpt” class. This was my favorite class so far as it incorporates flow, strength training, pilates, and barefoot boot camp. It’s really a 3-in-one type workout and I definitely felt the burn the next day.   After class you can unwind with complimentary tea and cookies…need I say more? Check out their new first time member deals including 30 days for $30. I just hope it doesn’t become too popular of a spot! See you on the mat and may you retain your inner Om as you leave the parking lot and return to the madness of Shepherd…Namaste.

Easy Cheesy Empanadas 

Hello from the other side! 2016 has been off to a crazy busy start so I’ve been behind on blogging but excited to share some new recipes and restaurant reviews with you all!  With the Super Bowl happening this afternoon I figured it was a perfect time to share a recipe to make to spice up your game day snack spread.

I’m not going to lie, I could really care less about the game and pretty much show up to a super bowl party purely for the guacamole and commercials. Anyone else with me on that? If you are looking for something new to add to the table, these four cheese empanadas hit the spot! My dear friend Zoe has become quite the empanada expert and taught me her empanada secrets over a girls cooking and wine date last night. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!
To start preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Here are the ingredients you will need:

2/3 cup ricotta (the full fat kind is worth it for this recipe)

1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded

2/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

1 cup Parmesan cheese

3 eggs

2 boxes refrigerated Empanada tapas- Goya is the best. Can be found in speciality markets or Mexican grocery stores. Fiesta in Houston sells them if you’re nearby.


Directions:

In a large bowl combine all four cheeses and 3 eggs and mix thoroughly. At this point you should probably be sipping on wine too…


Remove the empanadas one by one and keep each on the circular saran wrap to help assemble.


Next scoop a dollop of the cheese mix into the center of each tapas. This was a generous scoop, you just want to make sure it doesn’t explode!


Next lightly dab water around the edge of half of the tapa to help it stick as you carefully fold over in half.

Once folded pinch the corner to create a point. Fold over the point and pinch again creating another point . Repeat the process until the empanada is fully closed and looks like these beauties.


It’s all about tightly pinching and folding one point after the next, sounds confusing but after your first few you will be a pro! Zoe’s are the ones that look prettier than mine but she says I’ve improved since our first lesson 🙂

  Next brush each empanada with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar to add a touch of sweetness (optional but YOLO).

Put the empanadas on a lined tray with waxed paper and bake for around 20-25 minutes. You want them to be lightly golden. Let cool until you can’t wait any longer and enjoy!

Flash back to our first empanada date with the real empanada expert, Cynthia! She’s been making empanadas for over 25 years. We made delicious meat ones that time and of course enjoyed over mate.

Happy cooking and super bowl snacking!

Tasting at The Tuck Room at iPic theater 

Since when has Monday become the new best day of the week for foodie adventures? The past two Monday nights I’ve been wined and dined more than I ever have on a weekend. No complaints though because it’s a great way to fight the Monday blues. I was excited to score an invite through the Houston food blogger collective (HFBC) to attend a media preview dinner at The Tuck room at the new iPic theaters in the new River Oaks. I dined with other HFBC friends KimMorgan, and Onolicious.

I had no idea this area even existed right behind Highland Village and boy was it swanky! Lots of high end stores similar to Rodeo Drive plus a brand new Equinox- Houston’s first. Will be fun to come here for window shopping and dinner + a movie at iPic.

 


Now on to the important things…

Hello liquid nitrogen vodka bar. Where have you been all my life? This was like science class meets a trendy club and I loved that you could build your own cocktail. I had a gingerade type mimosa with plenty of mint and fresh fruit.  You can order this at your movie seat! Mind blown

Awesome lobby installation art built from used books!


  More passed cocktail deliciousness

 

These cod lettuce wraps were a tasty apetizer

Deconstructed Caesar salad was a cool concept and great flavor combo 

Filet sliders were OMG amazing

BBQ brisket sandwiches – table favorite. Seriously get these at your next movie date

Onion soup rings were a huge hit and creative concept. Another one of our favorites

Fish tacos were good but not my favorite. Then again I’m picky about fish tacos being a Southern CA native.  

Food kept on coming… We had no idea what to expect and were shocked by how many courses they served! Plus there were some pairings which each course which was also but also dangerous for a Monday night…

These chicken skewers, steak, and thick sweet potatoe fries were all a hit

Then we got to tour the movie theater. Look at these movie seats! Like your own personal nap pod complete with blankets and pillows and reclining  seats! You will never be at to go back to regular movie seats…

Getting to talk to chef Sherry Yard was a highlight. She was sweet and funny and is kind of a huge deal in the foodie world for winning 3 James Beard awards . After tasting her innovative food I can now totally see why

Next up dessert. We were stuffed but obviously couldn’t say no. Chocolate truffle grapes were a surprisingly addictive dessert. And hey basically eating fruit + antioxidants right?

And then this happened…  chocolate molten lava donuts were pure heaven and worth getting chocolate all over my face for

Can’t wait to return to iPic and the Tuck Room for a movie, cocktails, and more tasty treats. Date night in Houston has now reached a new level, go check it out. Stay tuned for my next Monday night review about Buff Burger! 🍔

Tacolandia Houston 

I’ve been counting down until Tacolandia aka the most magical event to ever exist. Given my love for tacos this event was right up my alley and a perfect way to finally try all the best tacos in Htown! I loved seeing such a wide range of restaurants and vendors there and it was a beautiful sunny Saturday (finally!) in Buffalo Bayou Park.  Tacolandia was organized by Houston Press. My sweet friend Kim was a sponsor and invited me as her plus one and we met up with our friend Renee who was also a sponsor. We all became friends through the Houston Food Blogger Collective. We were on a serious mission to determine who deserved our token for best taco in Houston. Thank god the tacos were mostly mini but we all left  in taco comas #noregrets. Here were some of my favorites!

 

Have you ever seen a tater tots taco?! This was  delish and a great vegetarian option from Tacos A Go Go who makes my favorite breakfast tacos in town.

 

Never did I expect to see a pink chicken and waffles taco! It was creative dessert type taco from the Pink Box food truck.

 

Berry Hill’s fish taco was super tasty!  I want to go back to try their grilled fish taco.

 

Cyclone Anaya’s taco wins for best garnish. I loved their cabbage slaw

 

Fusion Taco’s Spiced Lamb Keema Taco was a unique combo and bursting with flavor!

 

Los Tios was my runner up favorite taco and I loved their queso!

Drum Roll…My favorite taco was….

Anejo’s mole braised duck taco with a jicama and beet salsa…seriously YUM! I hadn’t even heard of Anejo before this event and I can’t wait to try their Uptown Park restaurant.

 


We had a great time and can’t wait to visit these restaurants for more taco adventures!

Apple Cranberry Cobbler

This cobbler recipe is my dad’s signature Shabbat dessert dish.  There isn’t even an official recipe, it has evolved based on what we have in the pantry or in our fruit bowl. You can throw it together at the last minute if you’re entertaining and no one will know how easy it is to make. It’s always a huge hit and my brother and I would always hope there would be leftovers to eat  the next morning cold out of the fridge! It’s arguably just as good that way, though others may prefer it hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Basically you can’t go wrong eating this anytime of day. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do. We all have our own preference on using either canned or fresh fruit. Both options are great though if you are in a pinch for time the canned option works well and is easy to always have on hand in your pantry. When fresh cranberries are in season I often will use those. Try both or even swap  out the apples for pears. There are lots of options and it’s a perfect way to enjoy Fall produce. This could also be great for your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving tables…
Apple Cranberry Cobbler Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350•

2 cans of Ocean Spray whole berry cranberries or 2 cups of fresh cranberries

2 cans of apple slices or 4 sliced and peeled Granny Smith apples

Mix the fruit in an ungreased baking dish.

Next combine:

1 stick of melted butter,margarine, or coconut oil

1 and 1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 and 1/4 cup of oats

1 and 1/4 cup of flour of your choice

Mix together to form a crumble and then evenly distribute over the fruit.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until it starts to just slightly bubble. Avoid burning the crumble topping, watch carefully around the 40 minute mark and you cover  with foil if necessary at the end.

Enjoy! It’s great with ice cream or with yogurt for breakfast.

Austin Eats         

Just returned from a weekend away in Austin with some close college friends who flew out to Texas to enjoy a weekend of Southern fun aka eat all the tacos. We had a blast and I was excited to try some new spots while also showing them some of our favorite Austin establishments.

We started our weekend with a delicious migas and mimosas brunch at Magnolia’s which was much needed after our 3.5 hour drive! Normally we can get from Houston to Austin in a little over 2 hours but there was an accident. Needless to say we arrived hangry! Luckily our friends had already put our name down on the brunch list, this place is quite popular and gets packed! I was excited to see migas on the menu  and these were some of the best I’ve ever had. Perfect combination of creamy eggs, cheddar jack cheese, jalapeños, and tortilla strips. Everyone loved their food and the location on South Congress is ideal for walking around the fun shops and boutiques afterwards.

We stopped by Allen’s boots after brunch which is like Disneyland for boots. So many fun and crazy styles that you have to try on when you have friends from the East Coast visiting. I’m always tempted to add to my cowboy boot collection but don’t  wear the two pairs I have nearly enough!  
After shopping, some of us settled in for football and pizza which was a good plan to escape the rainy afternoon. We had a hard time deciding where to order from, who knew Austin had so many great pizza spots?! We ultimately decided on East Side Pies and ordered a Moon Dingo pie which is a white ricotta sauce pizza with all sorts of cheesy deliciousness (ricotta,feta,goat,fresh and whole mozzarella) and mushrooms. I don’t even like mushrooms usually but couldn’t say no to this pizza because I’m such a huge cheese lover and this combo was insane! The other pizza we shared had a chimichurri sauce and had a fun combination of red onion, pineapple, and cilantro. We also shared a Greek salad to get in some greens and it was delicious. I highly recommend East Side Pies. Most of us had all lived in New York at some point or another so we have high pizza expectations and this blew us all away!


Afterwards we met up with some friends for cocktails at Rio Rita lounge. It totally looks like a dive bar but they have wonderful drinks and lots of infused liquor a. I had the Sal- strawberry vanilla vodka, fresh lime, and ginger beer. It was delicious and sweet. If you’re into  drinks with heat, my friends loved the Spicy Knees which is gin, hot sauce, honey, and fresh lime soda.


Next we went to The Liberty which is a bar with a great outdoor space with tone of picnic tables, twinkle lights, and my favorite Austin food truck (East Side Kings) in the back. Priorities in choosing a late night spot.


  Brussels sprout salad, tongue buns, and their new fried chicken sandwich.  
My favorite is always their Brussel sprouts salad and makes me feel slightly less guilty in the morning. It’s  basically all veggies at least! They were excited to tell us about their new after midnight only chicken sandwich but I wasn’t blown away. It was good for $5, but I still prefer the salad or their buns which are like pilowy clouds of deliciousness.

The next morning we went to Taco Deli which is always on our must-do Austin list. Their breakfast tacos are the best in Texas in my opinion. Lots of combos or you can build your own. I always add avocado to whatever I order. I also tried their watermelon agua fried a for the first time which was super refreshing. Afterwards we walked around the nearby creek and enjoyed the sunny day! 
It was a great weekend with old friends, new friends, and full bellies. Now ready for a week of cleaner eats!