Liberty Kitchen Austin Chef's Salad

Food Porn Champion: The Ultimate Meat Salad

Liberty Kitchen Austin Chef's Salad

Look at that. Would you call the above photo a salad or a giant pile of assorted meats and cheeses? Turns out, you’d be right either way.

This is the FeedTX Chef Salad (menu description: “chilled greens, cheeses, rotisserie meats, bay shrimp salad, hot smoked salmon, egg, avocado, tomato, cucumber”) at Liberty Kitchen, a popular Houston restaurant that recently opened another location in Austin. They feature all sorts of decadent meat and seafood dishes, and even a salad is not really a salad. I was disgustingly full after about half of this bad boy. I mean, “meats”… okay, there’s pork belly, turkey, chicken, bacon, and not to mention a giant hunk of smoked salmon AND shrimp salad. Talk about some protein.

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Summertime Steak Salad

Savory Summertime Steak Salad

Summertime Steak Salad

This time of year, my favorite way to enjoy the long, warm summer nights is a leisurely grill & chill session. Glass of rosé in hand, lounging with friends, listening to Steely Dan (yup), and waiting for the grill to warm up. Turns out Calvin’s Dad was right.

Obviously steak is a classic grillin & chillin choice, and I’m a sucker for a big steak salad. This recipe is a great way to use a slab o’ grilled steak. Every good steak salad needs some blue cheese, so don’t skimp on this ingredient – get a nice, creamy, strong blue. Don’t skip grilling/caramelizing the onions, either. Raw onions are just not the same, although some very thinly sliced red onion pieces could work in a pinch.

Summertime Steak Salad with Worcestershire Dijon Dressing

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This Exists: Poutine Burger


It pretty much had to happen.

We’ve seen poutine potato skins, poutine tater tots and poutine just about everything. A few years ago it was just an obscure French-Canadian specialty, but now it’s America’s favorite over-the-top comfort food.

And now, Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Austin is serving a burger topped with a full serving of poutine: French fries, gravy, cheddar cheese (although apparently, NOT authentic curds) and for good runny measure, a fried egg too.

Take that, Canada. Anything you can do, we can do unhealthier.

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Points for Pittsburgh: The Pierogi Hot Dog

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I love talking about crazy sandwiches (clearly) but what I don’t like is when they cross over the border from genius to gimmick (it’s a fine line, people!)

For example, if you serve a hamburger with giant onions ring on top, but then even an extra-large-mouthed person has to deconstruct the burger and take the onion rings off to get any kind of decent bite in, then that’s not really that crazy of a dish. It’s actually just a burger with onion rings on the side, but presented crazily, with more work involved for the eater. #foodaddictproblems

In Pittsburgh this weekend, home of the great Primanti’s french-fry-on-a-sandwich, I was fortunate enough to stop in Franktuary and be offered a hot dog served “Pittsburgh style” — topped with housemade, slaw and a housemade cucumber-y ranch dressing on top. Now, this could easily fall into the gimmick category if they overloaded that dog with so many pierogies that you have to pick them off and eat on the side. But with just two crispy pierogies on top it’s just crazy enough that you can actually pick the whole thing up and get a taste of each element — dog and dumpling included — in each bite.

In fact, they didn’t even offer me a fork. Bravo, Pittsburgh.


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Endless Pairings: Negra Modelo

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Mexican beer and fall-themed food. The perfect complement? Well, that’s what were determined to find out when Negra Modelo sent us a “pairing kit” to put it to the test. When presented with the opportunity to taste test, my answer is almost always yes. Negra Modelo sent us a box full of spices from The Spice House, two tulip glasses, a wooden cutting board, and a $50 Visa gift card to purchase the goods. Challenge accepted. Think of it as the at-home version of Chopped. Being seasonal food fans (mainly fall), we began planning a menu of fall foods that would highlight the spices (follow The Spice House recommendations) and pair well with a Vienna (dark) lager. Yes – a European beer style from Mexico. Here’s the menu:

  • Aged Cabot Cheese with apples, fig jam, balsamic glaze, and crostini
  • Spiced roasted brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato puree with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ribeye steak with Quebec beef spice
  • Cornish Hen with bicentennial seasoning
  • Pork with bavarian style seasoning

We had a friend over and made a beer pairing tasting menu. Negra Modelo was served with the appetizer, followed by a taste of each protein with the sides. The beer and food was judged based on the flavor of each, whether the spices complemented the food, and if the beer paired well with each “course.” On to the tasting notes:

Negra Modelo (ABV: 5.4%)

Appearance: Dark caramel with a red hue

Aroma: Sweet scents with subtle scents of toast

Taste: Sweet malts give caramel flavor, biscuit flavor with light herbal and earthy tastes

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp with lingering sweetness

Overall: A pleasant surprise, Negra Modelo provides more character than expected. While it is an InBev beer, I can forgive that if the brew offers some flavor. For a lager from Mexico, it offers the basic profile of a lager with extra sweetness of caramel and a toasty flavor as well. Tastes like it would pair well with fall foods. So here we go!

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Braised Beef Short Ribs_Bibigo

It’s Braised Meat Season: Celebrate with Short Ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs_Bibigo

Fall is a time for feasting upon braised meat, that is a fact I think we can all agree upon. I’m a big fan of short ribs in particular – when done right, they’re so tender and decadent. Short ribs might seem a little intimidating if you’ve never cooked them before, but they’re really not. Same with this recipe shared to us from our friends at Bibigo – you might be like, “Galbijjim?! What the what?!” but if you just follow along with their instructions, it’s easy! And have you tasted Korean style short ribs? They’re absolutely delicious and a great vacation from your more typical fall beef flavors. Case closed.

Korean Braised Beef Short Ribs

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Killen BBQ Beef Ribs

Food Porn Champion: The King of Beef Ribs

Killen BBQ Beef Ribs

This is an honest-to-god thing that I ate. OMG. I can’t even. It’s a Texas-style beef rib from the good folks at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland, TX. I didn’t have to travel to Pearland for this giant hunk of greatness, though – Killen came to me! They were featured at the Austin edition of the ultra-amazing Cochon555 Heritage BBQ event series, hosted right at W Austin. I ate so much that day, but it was worth every bite.

If you are a carnivore who is lucky enough to live in a city with an upcoming Cochon event (or if you have the means to travel to one…)  GO. I’m telling you. Go.

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