Pile of Nachos Lavaca St Grill

Food Porn of the Day: Nacho Mountain

Pile of Nachos Lavaca St Grill

When we ordered “nachos” at Lavaca Street bar IN AUSTIN, I didn’t realize that meant “a giant metal sheet pan filled to the brim with freshly fried tortilla chips smothered in both queso fresco and hot melted queso, spicy black beans, sour cream, fresh pico, and tons of jalapenos.” Really the giant sheet pan aspect and the combination of fresh cheese plus hot queso made these a shocking success. Plus the SHEER SIZE. This is like ten pounds of nacho.

Nacho Mountain

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.

Hatch Chicken Chili

Southwest Slow Cooker Hatch Chicken Chili

Hatch Chicken Chili

I finally gave in and got a crock pot this past weekend. (I say “finally” because I feel like slow cookers are really experiencing a renaissance in my generation, thanks to Pinterest and other domestic-y sites – I’m one of the last 20-something girls I know who didn’t have one.) It was perfect timing because for the first time since, oh, March, Austin was cold (aka, in the low 70s) and wet. Pair that gloomy, stay-inside weather with a weekend full of football, and you’ve got yourself an ideal slow cooker combo situation.

This recipe is just something I threw together on Sunday morning, and it turned out so well. The bonus: unlike a lot of football snacks, it’s completely healthy. Take about 10-20 minutes to prep this in the late morning or early afternoon, leave it on high for 4-5 hours, and you’ll have a hot, spicy meal just in time for the evening game.

If you don’t have a Crock Pot or other slow cooker, guess what? You’re in luck. You can achieve the same results by cooking low and slow in a stockpot on the stove. Just make sure you’ve cooked your chicken breast most of the way through and add ingredients from there.

Note – this recipe uses hatch chiles, grown in New Mexico, which are really popular in the southwest this time of year. If you don’t have them in your neck of the woods you can feel free to use whatever chile pepper you prefer. Canned chipotles are always a favorite of mine, and they’re easy to find in practically any grocery store.

Southwest Hatch Chicken Chili

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Foreign & Domestic Kolaches 1

Kolaches: A Love Letter to Texas Breakfast

Foreign & Domestic Kolaches 2

Back in Feburary 2013 I wrote about Texas’ obsession with kolaches and breakfast hot dogs. The novelty of the kolache has worn off at this point, not in a bad way, but I definitely wouldn’t say I’m surprised by them anymore. Sausage in a sweet bun? Been there, done (eaten) that. (And don’t read too much double entendre into that, please.) I guess after almost three years in this state, nothing surprises me anymore, especially where meat is involved.

Well, I guess almost nothing. I heard that one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, Foreign & Domestic, was hosting a kolache pop-up a couple Sundays ago. I’ve been to their previous bake sales and knew firsthand how legit delicious they are, so obviously I couldn’t pass up this one. While F&D was hosting the event, the kolaches themselves were from Rebecca Masson of Houston’s Fluff Bake Bar (but made fresh that morning in the F&D kitchen).

Foreign & Domestic Kolaches 1

These were no run-of-the-mill kolaches. We sampled sweet: peach & bourbon caramel, apple & miso butterscotch, coconut lemongrass; and savory: local sausage, Cubano (ham, swiss cheese, and pickle – crazy good) and everything bagel. Weirdly, that last everything bagel flavor turned out to be my favorite, full of cream cheese, onion, and poppyseed flavor.

Foreign & Domestic Kolache Everything Bagel

I guess all I’m saying is, don’t take your city’s local favorites for granted, because the best chefs and restaurants will always find ways to surprise and delight you. Also, next time you’re in Texas, hit up Foreign & Domestic or Fluff Bake Bar.

Lucky Robot Austin Sushi

Food Porn of the Day: Sushi Rainbow

Lucky Robot Austin Sushi

Presenting the Voltron Roll: crab, shrimp, avocado, pickled cucumber & carrot, topped with tuna, salmon & yellowtail, and served with sesame, spicy mayo, and soy lemongrass glaze. Whew! The color of the fish is beautiful, and the soy lemongrass glaze is made in-house and is one of the better condiments I’ve put in my mouth. This is from Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen in Austin, TX.

Odd Duck Pork Banh Mi Buns

Food Porn of the Day: The Porkiest Belly

Odd Duck Pork Banh Mi Buns

Pork belly is definitely a thing these days. So much of a thing that I’m almost… dare I say… over it. (Gasp!) Every menu in Austin, and probably in the country, is full of the stuff. It takes a veeeery special pork belly to catch my eye these days. All that being said, the pork belly at Odd Duck in Austin does it. “It” being “catches my eye and makes me care about pig again.”

The above is Odd Duck’s pork belly banh mi buns, which I devoured at lunch a week-ish ago. The meat is perfectly prepared and intensely flavorful. Chewy, yet somehow also melts in your mouth. By the way, next time you’re in Austin? Go to Odd Duck. You won’t regret it.

Marfa Paisano Interior

Endless Road Trip Marfa: Hotel Paisano

Marfa Paisano Margarita

Marfa’s Hotel Paisano is a very special place. Not only is it a gorgeous historic building with an ultra-classy patio & bar, but it’s also the location/headquarters of the 1956 film Giant, starring Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Film, architecture, and a stiff drink? Count me IN!

As I mentioned, Paisano, on the National Register of Historic Places, is a beautiful building. After its silver screen heyday it sadly started to fall into disrepair, but luckily it was purchased by new owners and restored to its original splendor, plus renovated to include modernized rooms, shops, etc. Just look at it:

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