The Tastingbuds were honored to attend the grand opening luncheon of Maggiano’s Little Italy on Monday, March 1st at it’s new location in the upscale Domain. While it is new to Austin, many of you may already be acquainted with Maggiano’s – there are more than 40 locations throughout the US.
I grew up in Atlanta, home one of the older Maggiano’s… where everyone knows it as a nice, Italian inspired restaurant that is a safe go-to place to take a date or to celebrate a special occasion.
How does the Austin location stack up, and how do we think Maggiano’s will fare in the already crowded Austin Restaurant scene? Click on through to see what we thought and to see tons of mouthwatering photos
Austin has been experiencing somewhat of a restaurant Renaissance lately, with a new establishment opening seemingly every week. Our take on this? The bar is consistently being raised on the Austin restaurant scene and it’s great to have the option of a wide variety of cuisines in town.
One of the perks of food blogging is getting invited by various new restaurants around town to sample great food that the owners put so much hard work into making. On our radar over the past month or so were 2 new restaurants – one serving up healthy American fare in the Arboretum, and another food truck serving Asian food right downtown.
Click through to read about Zoes, Me So Hungry
Being a huge fan of many bad-for-you foods, I was pumped when I heard about the Elevation Burger Food Blogger event. After all, don’t most all of us get a craving for a big, juicy burger once in a while? (Granted we don’t always want a giant 10 patty burger like the one pictured above – this one was just a prop for photo purposes).
In the increasingly crowded Austin burger scene, new burger joints are popping up all over the place next to established favorites. With all of these choices, how do Elevation’s burgers stack up? (bad pun I know…)
Click here to see what we thought and for more gratuitous burger photos
Ok, I admit it. I am a geek. This fact is evidenced by, but not limited to, the following: I love to watch British Sci-Fi shows like Dr. Who and Torchwood; I recently purchased the original Star Wars soundtrack – on vinyl; I think Joss Whedon is brilliant; and I really wish I had tickets to Comic-Con last weekend.
My geekiness extends, of course, to my choice in novels, with authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, and J.K. Rowling occupying prominent places on my bookshelf. Naturally, I have eagerly awaited the movie version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pretty much since the book was published. Having re-read Half-Blood Prince, the story was fresh in my mind, and I was ready to see these beloved characters on screen. My plan was to see the film in its opening week at Alamo Drafthouse, because – as I’ve mentioned many times before – a pint of beer makes everything better.
I missed the infamous Hobbit Feast which accompanied the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I was more than thrilled to find out about the Hogwarts Academy Feast to be presented with the screening of Half-Blood Prince. The five course meal was inspired by the start of term feast enjoyed by Hogwarts students at the beginning of each book.
While I adore Alamo Drafthouse for their admirable beer list and usual fare, I was slightly apprehensive when I saw the menu for the Feast. I was unsure how a kitchen which always produces such great pizza and fries would handle a terrine. After a gracious welcome from Chef John Bullington, the room turned dark and our first course arrived.
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I have lived in Texas my entire life, so I shouldn’t be surprised that we have had 10 straight days of 100+ degree temperatures here in Austin. On toasty days like these, nothing is more thirst quenching than a nice sparkling wine, served chilled.
This week’s pick is a Spanish sparking wine, or Cava. Sparkling wine goes by many different names around the world. The most common sparkling wine is Champagne, which comes from the Champagne region in France. In Italy, they call their sparkling wines Prosecco. In California, they call their sparkling wine, well sparkling wine. You get the picture.
Random Criteria: Sparkling wine that has a crown somewhere on the label
Wine: 2005 Marques de Gelida Cava Brut Reserva
Origin: Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Price: < $15 (From Costco)
Notes: This cava was the perfect way to end another 100 degree day. The nose (smell) of the wine was predominantly fresh cherries. When you take the first sip of wine, the bubbles and the mild acidity dance across your tongue. The first thing I tasted was strawberry, then as entered my second glass, the wine smelled and tasted like fresh flowers. This cava is classified as a Brut, therefore the wine has almost no residual sugar (it is not sweet). If you are looking for a sweeter sparkling wine, look for the word “dry” on the label (I know, it’s a bit confusing). This cava is going to go quite well with the shrimp I am grilling for dinner today. Enjoy!
What are your thoughts?
Buying wine doesn’t have to be a confusing experience. You can find great, inexpensive, everyday wines anywhere. This post is the first in a series designed to help those of you new to wine (and even experienced oenophiles) learn which wines you like and which ones you don’t. I’m calling it Random Wine of the Week, because I will (and hopefully you will too) select, drink, and review a random wine every week.
What I mean by random is that I will visit my local wine merchant (supermarket, liquor store, wine boutique, etc…) and select a wine based on factors that have nothing to do with the wine itself. For example, this week I have chosen a pink wine starting with the letter M. Next week, I’ll choose a bubbly starting with the letter S. The following week, maybe I’ll try a red wine with a tree on the label. And so on. I’ll keep the price range on all of these wines to less than $15.
Then entire point of this activity is to experiment and taste new wines. I would highly recommend that you start your own wine journal to capture the information from the label and your opinions of the wine.
So go on, invite some friends over, pick out some random wines, and enjoy!
Click here to see my selection for Random Wine of the Week
Why do we love cupcakes? We’re all adults here at Fooding Blog – for the most part, anyway. Shouldn’t we be eating grown up desserts like crème brulee or some kind of dowse-with-brandy-and-set-on-fire thing? Don’t get me wrong: I love a good crème brulee, but it requires a torch and a utensil.
Cupcakes, however, remind us that it’s ok to feel like we did as kids, when dessert was fun and gooey and colorful. They remind us it’s ok to eat with our hands and get a little frosting on our chins and maybe on our shirts too. Cupcakes remind us that desserts don’t always require an open flame.
Click here to read more about the Austin Cupcake Comparison
With the cupcake’s new found popularity, it comes as no surprise that the Queen of everything food/home/gardening/entertaining would quickly step up to release an all inclusive guide on Cupcakes. Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat (link goes to Amazon.com) arrived on my doorstep early last week, and I was hooked at first sight. The tasty cover photo and title sum up everything that this book is about – Cupcakes!
In true Martha form, anyone who reads this book will walk away more educated about the art of the cupcake and definitely inspired to bake. The book includes 175 recipes categorized into visually appealing sections including Swirled & Sprinkled, Piped & Topped, and Birthdays! Inside, the reader will find recipes running the gamut of cupcakes from the traditional Devil’s Food to the creative and exciting Amaretto-Pineapple Cupcake. Additional chapters of the book provide inspiration on Displaying, Icing, and Preparation and include Decorating Templates & Clip Art.
Click here to read more about Martha Stewart’s new cupcake book!
Shiyuan Taiwanese Live Fish Restaurant
“Waste not, want not” the old saying goes – and the next Fooding adventure definitely does just that.
As you probably know, most people outside of America are not squeamish about the fact that meat was once a live animal. In Asia, they take it to the extreme. There, the ultimate sign of seafood freshness is being able to go to a restaurant and point at living meat (future meal) swimming around in a tank and then 10 minutes later, have that formerly living meat show up at your table cooked in 5 delicious ways, head, skin, and bones still attached – almost every part of the fish utilized in some way. This is the story of my Taiwan Live Fish Fooding adventure.
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When we first heard about Bacon Salt a couple of years ago, Jon immediately bought a couple of bottles for both of us. It held such promise… after all, bacon makes everything taste better!
And for a while, it was amazing! I dashed it on eggs, on mashed potatoes, on chicken, on everything. It really did taste like bacon, if it was a bit on the salty side. Slowly though, as the newness of bacon salt wore off though, reality set in.
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