Category Archives: Food & Wine

POLYGLOT AUSTIN: OUR MULTILINGUAL, MULTICULTURAL CITY!

Ben tornato to our #Polyglot Austin series, where we celebrate the city’s cultural diversity, while taking an interactive approach to language learning!

Meet some of our favorite Italian Austinites and practice your Italian at the same time! Watch and listen to our interviews in Italian with Bernardo Nolfo, the managing partner of Numero28 Austin, and challenge yourself with answers in Italian to the questions below #LanguageChallenge #MissonAccomplished!

italytexasboots.jpg

Come si dice in Italian “a not to be missed Italian hotspot”? Your first language mission, should you choose to accept it: translate this (a not to be missed Italian hotspot) in a comment below for a chance to win a glass of wine at Numero28!

Not just known for delicious food, but for the warm and welcoming Italian atmosphere, this Italian bistro remains a top favorite for our teachers and students to visit and to practice Italian, describing it as mini vacation to Italy.

11894008_1017232514995830_3265017137099396129_o.jpg

Delicious southern Italian food in the heart of downtown Austin. Fresh pastas, oven-fired pizzas, Italian wines, gelato and the list goes on – Andiamo!

Before we get started on the language fun, go ahead and grab your favorite vino, the great fluency builder! To get the most out of this language learning tool, uses the following steps as a guide:

  1. Read the following short dialogues in Italian (transcription) as a preview to the video
  2. Hit play and stop to review as need be…
  3. REPEAT! Repetition: a key to language learning!

Beginner Level Dialogue and Video

Q: Ciao! Come ti chiami! / A: Mi chiamo Bernardo.

Q: Di dove dei? / A: Sono nato in Sicilia.

Q: Che lavoro fai? / A: Lavoro nei ristoranti.

For FULL transcript, CLICK HERE & look in video description.

#LanguageChallenge – Answer in Italian below! 

  1. Che lavoro fa il proprietario?

Intermediate Level Dialogue and Video

Q: Come mai hai scelto Numero 28 come nome per il tuo ristorante? / A: E’ una risposta abbastanza facile da darti perche’ il mio socio ha questo nome a New York e allora siamo venuti qui e abbiamo deciso di dare lo stesso nome.

Q: Su cosa basi la scelta del menu’? / A: Il menu’ e’ molto … e’ stato fatto in maniera per essere piu’ stile del sud Italia e anche con influenza siciliana.

For FULL transcript, CLICK HERE & look in video description.

#LanguageChallenge – Answer in Italian below!

  1. Perché Bernardo, il proprietario, ha scelto di chiamare il suo ristorante Numero 28?
  2. Qual è la notizia che Bernardo condivide?

**Buon lavoro! Stay tuned – the most Italian responses wins a glass of wine**

Buona Notizia for Numero28!

Managing partner Bernardo says it’s very important that he creates a neighborhood feeling. Keep an eye out for their new Italian bakery, cafe and cocktail bar called Numero28 Alimentari opening soon to 2nd and San Antonio street! Alimentari—which means “food” in Italian—will serve traditional Italian pastries and cakes, chocolates and small bites. Check them out on Yelp and like them on Facebook.

No28_Patio-1024x474.jpg

In the heart of the city, enjoy a scenic view on their beautiful patio with a glass of wine!

Thank you for playing along. Tell us what restaurants, topics, or #Polyglot people around Austin you would like us to feature in our upcoming blogs. We LOVE your input! More about us:

The Freestyle Lifestyle

Our one-of-a-kind approach to second language acquisition uses technology and an interactive model in a way that brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we continue to revolutionize language learning: Try a free evening class or our popular Saturday ‘Cafe’ (11am-12:30pm) at 801 Rio Grande!

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 6.45.18 PM.png

Join us on January 5th for our Spring Open House to meet our teachers and find your ‘fit’ – RSVP Here!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Polyglot Austin: Our Multilingual, Multicultural City!

Benvenuto to our first interactive guest post w/Daniela from Andiamo!

We invite Austinites who’re native speakers of  French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese to share an idea, a place, an art, a product – or basically anything of particular interest to them – in writing in their native language.   In the Freestyle way, we hope y’all, meaning both our students & readers of the larger ATX community and beyond, will interact w/us here!  Voila! magnifico! 

In this first guest post, we’re thrilled to feature our dear Italian friend and admired restaurateur Daniela Marcone, owner of the renowned Andiamo.

 

andiamo

 

Andiamo, frequently appears in the “Best of ” Lists, but nowhere else can you get Daniela’s recipes and tips in Italian!

Read about Daniela,  one of her favorite recipes and how to make it in Italian. Buona fortuna!

Salve a tutti,
il mio nome e’ Daniela Marcone
sono nata e cresciuta in Italia, a Napoli, citta del sole e del mare.
Mi sono trasferita qui ad Austin nel 2005.
Mi piace Austin perche’ e’ una citta molto verde, e con tanta gente giovane.
Mi piace passeggiare per il centro e vedere la natura attorno, trascorrere del tempo a conattato con gli animali e aiutare le persone meno fortunate di me.
Nel 2000 sono diventata proprietaria del Ristorante Andiamo in nord Austin e dall’ora in poi mi occupo di mangiare e contatto al pubblico.
E’ un lavoro che mi stimola sia intellettualmente che socialmente e mi piace molto.
La parte culinaria e’ la piu semplice e mi piacerebbe condividere una ricetta con voi.
10441036_10154803176380595_3244598643418118277_n
Un inslata che chiamiamo Insalata Innamorata
Ingredienti:
Insalata fresca a vostra scelta, romana, lattuga etc
formaggio di capra
fragole
aceto e olio
sale pepe
mandorle
Procedimento:
Lavare l’insalata e tagliarla in pezzetti piccoli
Sbucciare le mandorle e tritarle
Tagliare le fragole in fette sottili
Mischiare il tutto
e condire con, sale, olio, pepe e aceto con  il formaggio di capra in cima a tutto.
Eccellente!   One great thing about a blog is that it can be read at your own rhythm…need time to go grab that vino before continuing?  Now you’re speaking our language!
 è il tuo turno :  as a simple comprehension check and as a way to practice writing, simply  answer the questions below in italiano in our comments section. Or ask us anything – don’t understand something in here? have another question?…teachers will respond!
1) Che cosa fa Daniela ad Austin?
2) Quale potrebbe essere una variazione di frutta per questa ricetta se uno e’ allergico alle fragole o se a uno non piacciono le fragole?
3) Qual’e’ la vostra ricetta preferita?

Did you know?  Andiamo hosts monthly wine dinners? Experience four-course authentic Italian meals paired with amazing Italian wines. October’s dinner will be hosted by Paolo Bernardi.  Not only is Paolo the President and Importer for VinUS, but he is the man behind all of Andiamo’s Italian wines.   RSVP here on FB , or email andiamoitaliano@gmail.com or call 512-719-3377 to reserve your spot.

collage

To practice more Italian,  particularly listening comprehension, tune into our video-interview of Daniela in our previous blog entry  , don’t miss Dolce Neve while you’re perusing our collection, AND stay tuned for the dashing, charming Alex of Cotone in our next video-blog (vlog)!

For continual practice (if you’re in Austin…) join us and experience our innovative curriculum, proven  methodology. Try a free class.  Our next session starts Oct. 27th!  Learn more

Grazie a tutti – specialmente Daniela Marcone !  Via these guest posts, we aspire to continually create new & authentic material through which we build language proficiency while we connect Austinites in a language-learning community.  Interested yourself?  Have recommendations or know somebody you’d like to see featured in a guest post?  Please let us know.  Arrivederci !

Tagged , , , , ,

POLYGLOT AUSTIN: OUR MULTILINGUAL, MULTICULTURAL CITY!

Welcome to another installment of Freestyle Language Center’s “Polyglot Austin” series, where we celebrate the city’s cultural diversity, while taking an interactive approach to language learning!

In this entry, we feature Italian native Daniela Marcone, owner of Andiamo Ristorante, the most authentic Italian restaurant in Austin. Take a culinary journey with us, and practice your Italian!

italytexasboots.jpg

80dcd679b21385d536c8d0eafd39bf8c-97d9c00a311faad846d80fb3f212ad2c

Daniela Marcone (left) compra verdura fresca al mercato.

Located at 2521 Rutland Dr, we celebrate  Andiamo Ristorante for its commitment to fine ingredients and authentic Italian fare. Owned by Naples-native Daniela Marcone, Andiamo serves and prepares food exactly how it would be done in Italy.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare … Che bonta’!

Watch and listen to our interviews with Daniela to practice your Italian. Before we get started, go ahead and grab your favorite vino, the great fluency builder…First things first! To get the most out of this language learning tool, as step 1 read the transcriptions for general context. Step 2, hit play and as you listen, if needed, stop to review. See how multiple viewings of segments of each video improves your reading & listening comprehension.  To practice writing, answer some questions below in Italiano (maybe time to refill that glass first?…) and you’ll hear back from our teachers! Let’s listen, va bene?

Beginner Level

Q: Come ti chiami?A: Mi chiamo Daniela Marcone.

Q: Di dove sei?A: Sono di Napoli.

 Q: Hai famiglia qui ad Austin?A: No, sono da sola qui ad Austin.

 Q: Cosa ti piace di Austin e del Texas?A: Direi, Austin e’ una citta’ abbastanza liberale. Considerando lo stato del Texas, ci sono molte persone che hanno viaggiato quindi hanno una mente molto piu’ aperta circa la cultura, il mangiare, le lingue, i viaggi e mi trovo molto bene con questa dimensione di Austin.

 Q: Cosa ti piace fare quando hai tempo libero?A: Mi piace dedicare il mio tempo libero a delle organizzazioni senza scopo di lucro. Quindi mi piace fare la volontaria, stare a contatto con la natura. amo i cavalli, i disabili, i bambini, quindi dedico il mio tempo libero a quelle cose e ovviamente ai miei animali quando ho tempo.

Intermediate Level

Q: Benissimo! Quando hai deciso di diventare proprietaria di un ristorante? / A: Quando mi si e’ stata presentata l’opportunita’ perche’ non era la mia intenzione o nei miei piani di vita.  Quindi e’ semplicemente capitato.

Q: Descrivi com’e’ una tipica giornata per te. / A: Direi che, essendo proprietaria di un ristorante, i tempi al mattino sono ben diversi da quelli di ogni altra persona perche’ si inizia relativamente tardi.  Mi sveglio, mi prendo cura dei miei animali.  Non devo essere al lavoro fino alle 11 del mattino e quindi la giornata per me inizia abbastanza tardi.  Alle 11 si inizia a lavorare.  Amo il contatto con il pubblico, quindi mi prendo cura dei miei clienti fino alle due.  Il mio pranzo e’ abbastanza tardi, quindi io inizio quando gli altri finiscono, e poi di solito il pomeriggio faccio delle commissioni per il ristorante.

FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT, CLICK HERE & look in video description

Questions – Answer in ‘comment’ section below to hear back from our teachers:

Beginner:

1) Che mestiere fa Daniela?   
2) Perche’ a Daniela piace Austin?  

Intermediate:

3) Che cosa le manca di piu’ dell’ Italia?   
4)  Che cosa ha studiato Daniela in Italia?   

The Freestyle Lifestyle

10155247_10154015941285545_2139900342511738141_n

We do language learning a little differently at Freestyle!

Our one -of-a-kind approach to second language acquisition uses technology and interactive media in a way that brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we continue to revolutionize language learning: Try a free evening class or our popular Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm) at 801 Rio Grande!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Polyglot Austin! Our multicultural, multilingual City

Showcasing our diverse city…with an abundance of language learning opportunities! 

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 3.14.57 PM

In a melting pot like the city of Austin, with a  variety of cultures around every corner, we are always in earshot of molte lingue . Through our blog, Freestyle Language Center reaches into the community conducting engaging interviews in Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese. This enables us to connect with a wide range of interesting polyglots, from business owners to fellow film buffs, while we embrace and learn from their native language and culture! Read on and esercitare!

multilingual

No hiding from this polyglot community!

Talking to local business owners, professors and even the average Giuseppe on the street about their everyday life in Austin provides the perfect opportunity to enhance our language learning.

The first of our interview series stars Italian Marco Silvestrini, an up-and-coming local business owner from Fabriano,  a small town in Italy in the region of Marche. Visit and Like their Facebook page to stay up to date on flavors and deals! Keeping Austin Cool!

marco2

Marco shares his passion for gelato and brings a taste of Italy to the heart of Austin with a new gelateria called “Dolce Neve.”

Here are our beginner and intermediate videos accompanied by an Italian transcription. Watch, listen and respond to a few questions. Add your answers to our comment section and our Italian teachers will get back to you!

1. Beginner Level:

Q:  Come ti chiami?/ A: Ciao! Mi chiamo Marco Silvestrini.
Q: Di dove sei?/  A:  Sono itailano, di un paese del cento dell’Italia chiamato Fabriano.
Q: Che fai come lavoro?/ A: Sto aprendo una gelateria qui ad Austin.
Q: Qual è il tuo passatempo preferito?/ A: Mi piace fare sport. Mi piace fare passeggiate per i boschi e mi piace andare in bicicletta.
Q: Cosa ti piace di Austin? / A: Di Austin mi piace che ci sono molte attività che possono essere svolte all’aria aperta: è possibile andare a visitare i parchi, è possibile fare una corsa per Lady Bird Lake, o anche fare un giro in canoa.
Q: E del Texas, cosa ti piace? / A:  Il barbeque!
Q:  E cosa ti manca dell’Italia? / A:  A volte mi manca il cibo. E la famiglia e gli amici.
Q: Hai famiglia ad Austin? / A: Sì, mia sorella vive qui insieme a suo fidanzato.
Q:  Descrivi una giornata tipica per te/ A: Tipicamente la mattina la dedico per volgere attività lavorative: mandare email, chiamare venditori. A pranzo un buon piatto di pasta e nel pomeriggio ancora un po’ di lavoro. Poi ci vado in palestra. Poi se riesco, esco con gli amici la sera.

Domande:
1. Che lavoro fa Marco?
2. Quali sono alcuni aspetti della vita ad Austin piacciono a Marco?
3. Com’è una giornata tipica per Marco?

2. Intermediate/Advanced Level:

Q: Come ti chiami?/ A: Mi chiamo Marco Silvestrini.
Q: E di dove sei? / A: Sono italiano di un paese nel centro dell’Italia, chiamato Fabriano… famoso per la carta. Un vecchio paese medioevale.
Q: E perché sei venuto qui ad Austin?/ A: Sono venuto qui per lanciare un attività: sto aprendo una gelateria insieme a mia sorella Francesca e il suo ragazzo Leo.
Q: In Italia, dove hai studiato? / A: In Italia ho studiato a Milano presso un’università chiamata Politecnico di Milano dove mi sono laureato in ingegneria meccanica.
Q: E qui ad Austin, perché vuoi aprire… lanciare questa gelateria? (Translator’s note: I meant to say either “aprire la gelateria” or “lanciare quest’attività” but it seems I became a bit tongue-tied in the moment.) / A: Perché ritengo che Austin dal punto di vista economica sia una città che offre opportunità per crescere, le persone che vivono ad Austin sono decisamente amanti del buon cibo. Spero che piacerà anche un buon gelato italiano. Dal punto di vista personale è un posto ideale dovere vivere. Amo le persone che vivono ad Austin!
Q: Sono d’accordo… sono d’accordissimo. Quali sono gli aspetti più difficili di questo tipo di lavoro, di questo mestiere? / A: Le incertezze e il fatto che non puoi veramente pianificare le attività, che non sai mai cosa succederà nella giornata e non sai cosa succederà in un’ altra giornata. Dipendi molto da altre persone e le altre persone a volte hanno altre attività che devono condurre in parallelo. E bisogna aspettare, aspettare, aspettare.

Domande:
1. Per quale motivo si è trasferito ad Austin Marco?
2. Secondo Marco, quali sono alcuni vantaggi che una città come Austin offre a chi lancia un’attività? Sei d’accordo?

A big grazie mille to Matteo Rabatin for his contribution to the interviews and transcriptions, and to Candice Pilkinton for her assistance.

Keeping Austin Local, Weird and Multilingual.

bats

Our methodology at Freestyle incorporates technology and interactive media in a way which brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us and try a free class or Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm)!

Know a polyglot in Austin? Let us know who you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Mexican, The Caveman, The French Chefs & their “Pâtisseries”

Continuing with our Summer “Games”… This post provides lots of “food for thought!” AND an opportunity to practice your Spanish, French and Portuguese! Our Food & Wine theme, both delicious and fun, included tantalizing  recipes and vocabulary. The guest speakers added another interactive dimension. For anyone who was not able to attend, let us transport you to our week of culinary delights… 

Spanish: “The Mexican: Comida Fresca y Margaritas!”

Our very own French student and polyglot, native Mexican Victor Martinez, shared his familial love of cooking with only the freshest of ingredients.

Yo creo que una de las principales características de México es la comida. Tradicionalmente la gente come comida fresca, lo que hay en temporada. Mi abuela no tenía refrigerador, ella iba al mercado todos los días, compraba lo que estaba fresco y eso comía la familia.*

 

All comida fresca best complimented by an authentic margarita perfect for the summer heat!!

Margarita

Recipe: 3 partes tequila (100% agave)

2 partes licor de naranja (patron citrone)

1 parte jugo limon

Miel de agave al gusto

____

Going back a few millennia…

Spanish: “The Caveman: La Paleo Dieta”

These days it seems like everyone is on some kind of dieta, but have you ever considered the Paleo Diet? This “Caveman” approach is a modern nutritional plan derived from ancient times. It includes pescado, carnes, huevos, verduras, frutas y nueces.

Peruvian-Italian and cross-fit enthusiast, Fernando Nieri shared his estilo de vida, which encourages healthy and nutrient-filled eating. “You are what you eat.”

La lista que les di muestra todas las frutas, verduras y carnes que puedes comer. Lo importante es si vas a comer carne, si se puede comprar carnes de animales que comen pasto o carne orgánica. Hay mucha gente que dice que la carne es mala, consumir mucha carne es mala para tu cuerpo, pero yo creo que el problema es cuando consumes carnes que tienen hormonas y muchos aditivos. *

 

____

Ready for dessert? Les macarons et le gâteau du diable arrivent !

French: “The French Chefs & their “Pâtisseries”

French native, world traveler, macaron expert, owner and chef of Cinnamon’s Bakery, Chef Loïc Duchesne spoke about his boulangerie et ses macarons délicieux. This crunchy and irresistibly-colored petit dessert is a French classic.

Macarons

Chef Loïc even took the time to share his recette with us! Listen as he explains the baking process.

Pour les macarons: sucre en poudre, amande en poudre, blanc d’œuf, sucre cristallisé… on mélange la poudre d’amande et le sucre en poudre, et bat les œufs en neige avec le sucre. On mélange les deux en même temps et après on a une pate à macaron qu’on va presser sur une plaque avec un papier. On laisse croûter pendant une demi-heure, on double les plaques.  Après une demi-heure, on les met au four  pour 8 minutes et demie.  On sort un peu d’eau sous le papier; 3 min. on enlève les macarons, et on met la crème à l’intérieure, on recouvre le macaron… et voila! *

 

Our next treat is Chef Alain Braux’s gâteau au chocolat fondant. Sinfully delicious and gluten-free, his cake can be found at People’s Pharmacy. Customers call him le diable for creating his chocolate confection… 

Bien que ce ne soit pas le Gâteau du Diable, il est vraiment tentant. Vous avez été prévenus!

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

____

Portuguese: “Comida Brasileira em Austin” 

Mocotó and vatapá and caldo verde, oh my! Portuguese students focused on learning about gastronomia de Portugal e do Brasil. Both countries’ gastronomy borrows from various sources, such as the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and indigenous areas. Some essential spices and cooking staples include piri piri (small chili peppers), cinnamon, saffron, açai and olive oil.

Students presented their favorite comida to the class em português. For an authentic taste of Brazil closer to home, we recommend Rio’s Brazilian Café.

Here are our top picks:

  1. Appetizer: Pão de queijo, small yucca & cheese “breads” (gluten free!)
  2. Entrée: Estrogonofe de Frango, a traditional Brazilian chicken and mushroom stroganoff
  3. Dessert: Pudim de Leite, one can never go wrong with flan and fresh whipped cream!
Pão de queijo

Pão de queijo

How did you do? Need translations? Comment below!

Continue to follow us as we explore the upcoming themes: Arts & Entertainment and Movies. We will foray into the worlds of Cine Las Americas, ITAL, and the French music scene at SXSW!

 

*In the translation/transcription periodic nuances occur relating to the difference between speaking and written.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

French fare in the heart of Texas

French food is one of the most globally celebrated cuisines,  infinitely rich in cultural and historical influences. Offering des plats rustiques et élégants, world famous desserts and pâtisseries, French flavors and influences abound in cuisines around the world. It’s because of that diversity that we’ve put together a list of our préféré French and French-inspired restaurants in Austin. Bon appétit!

Elizabeth’s Street Cafe

Elizabeth’s Street Cafe: 1501 S. 1st St. Austin, TX
http://elizabethstreetcafe.com/

For those who want a taste of the French influence on Vietnamese food, head over to the dynamique et mignon Elizabeth’s Street Cafe on S. 1st. This cute restaurant offers Vietnamese classics and some of Austin’s best and most authentic French pastries. Here are our top picks:

1. The croissants- In any shape or form they are, hands down, the best in town. We’ve used them for our popular Saturday “cafe”…délicieux!

2. Broiled escargots- Tender escargot with an Asian twist. Instead of the usual butter and garlic, they use a Thai basil curry butter, served with a baguette.

3. Bánh mì- Our favorites are the grilled marinated pork, and the house speciality of chicken liver, mousse, pork pâté, and roasted pork…Ooh la la!

Flip Happy Crêpes

Flip Happy Crepes: 400 Josephine Street, Austin, TX.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flip-Happy-Crepes/77132682069?fref=ts

Crêpes, thin- like pancakes enjoyed as either crêpes sucrées (sweet) or crêpes salées (savory), are often served from street vendors. Flip Happy Crêpes offers some of Austin’s best original and unique crêpes, and what’s more Austin than serving something unique and fantastique from a trailer? Here are our favorite crêpes:

1. The Ham and gruyere cheese and green onions, a perfectly French combination.

2. Nutella and bananas (or strawberries) a classic enjoyed by children as well as adults.

3. Roasted chicken, mushrooms, cheddar, and caramelized onions. Hearty yet simple.

Lenoir 

Lenoir Restaurant: 1807 South 1st Street
All photos from http://lenoirrestaurant.com/

Lenoir is the creation of culinary husband and wife power team Jessica Maher and Todd Duplechan, and despite only being open for less than a year, it has already created a reputation for amazing locally produced French-inspired food. This cozy space (which only seats around 30!) is dreamlike and eclectic in decoration and menu (which changes seasonally), with it’s menu featuring dishes from “field, sea, land and dream”. Here are our top picks to fall in amour with.

1. From the “sea”  try the poha-crusted fish, butternut curry, pomegranate and corn.

2. From the “land” try the delicious crispy rabbit terrine, sweet potatoes, watercress and orange salad.

3. And lastly, this “dream” dish of chocolate brioche pudding, coconut sorbet, rum raisins and pecan crunch.

Justine’s Brasserie 

Justine’s Brasserie: 4710 East 5th Street, Austin, TX
https://www.facebook.com/Justinesbrasserie?fref=ts

 And finally, a list of French restaurants wouldn’t be complete without the très tendance and très français Justine’s Brasserie. Not only is the food extraordinaire but so are the cocktails. A must try is their soixante-quinze, or as we know it the French 75 ( gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar), a sip seems to immediately transport us to Paris. Here are our top dishes:

1. Soupe à l’oignon- French onion soup.

2. Ratatouille – Classically prepared à la Provençal, c’est superbe!

3. Moules frites- Mussels and fries.

C’est magnifique!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our pick of the best authentic Latin American and Spanish food trucks in ATX

With Otoño weather finally here, we thought we’d help warm you up with some caliente Latin American and Spanish cuisine. What better way to enjoy this weather than with some of the best auténtico dishes from Austin’s intuitive food truck scene.

Miguel’s. The Cubano, Tapas Bravas, Art of Tacos

Recently the rest of the U.S. has jumped on Austin’s food truck bandwagon with mobile food trucks rolling out from every other state. Long gone are the assumptions that food trucks only offer questionable hotdogs and peanuts, today’s food truck’s are fresh, funky, and everything that makes Austin, Austin. Here’s our pick of the best authentic Latin American and Spanish food trucks.

For those who want to a taste of Spain we recommend Tapas Bravas located on the chida y divertida Rainey Street.

Tapas Bravas- 75 Rainey St Austin TX 78701. Photos from Tapas Bravas Facebook.

As the name indicates this food truck offers Spanish style tapas, which are warm/cold appetizer sized dishes. The estupendo thing about tapas is that it invites people to share food AND a conversation. Our top picks:

1. Croquetas- Deep fried chicken & serrano ham croquettes

2. Pimientos piquillos rellenos de queso de cabra y piñones- Goat cheese stuffed piquillo peppers with pine nuts and honey.

3. Catimpalitos a la sidra- pan fried mini churizos in cider glaze

4. Sangrias on Wine Down Wednesday! Not to be missed, it’s BYO-Wine and for $7 you’ll get a start up kit to make your own Sangria pitchers! Ok, technically not food but the fruit must count… right?

—————————————————-

For those who want to experience Cuba and feel the revolution! Vamos to Miguel’s. The Cubano for some of the most auténtico, sabroso y creativo Cuban food Austin has to offer.

Miguel’s. The Cubano.-611 Trinity ST Austin, TX 78701. Photos from Miguel’s. The Cubano. Facebook

Our top picks:

1. The famoso El Don sandwich- Slow-Roasted Eden Farms pulled pork, caramelized Onions, cilantro and mojo served up on fresh milled bread and lathered in smoked chili aioli

2. De La Noche sandwich- Local Berkshire Ham, slow-roasted Eden Farms pulled pork, baby swiss cheese and pickles served up on authentic homemade Cuban sweet bread and pressed to perfection.

3. Yuca Fries with Mojo and Meat- Yuca fries served with choice of sherry-pimiento-garlic chicken, braised brisket, or slow-roast pulled pork

4. Maduros- Caramelized plantains served with a crema for dipping

—————————————————-

Last but not least, the taco. While Austin may be chock full of taco trailers that bring you everything from authentic to creative fusion, a simple taco is sometimes the best. And if you haven’t already filled up on Tapas Bravas (or had a couple drinks afterwards roaming Rainey St.) check out The Art of Tacos.

Art of Tacos- 75 Rainey St Austin, TX 78701. Photos from Art of Tacos Facebook

Simple, fresh and delicioso. Our top picks:

1. Ground beef and potatoes taco

2. Fajita chicken quesadilla

3. Al pastor taco

Buen apetito!

We’re so lucky to live in a city with such varied culture and language. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall Italian Food & Wine!

One thing we, as Americans, tend to think of  regarding Italy, is passion. Italians treasure , and indeed are passionate about, their rich culture and heritage which traditionally center around  food and wine.

Romance & passion in Italy

In Italy, the cuisine reflects regions as well as the seasons. In Fall, communities in northern Italy celebrate truffles and mushrooms, so much so that the internationally famous Alba truffle festival takes place over 7 weekends (7! Over 14 days of truffles! Now that is passion for truffles. What decadence!) White truffles are an exquisite and expensive ingredient found mainly near Alba, and in the piedmont region.

White truffles in Alba, Italy

In Italy’s southern regions, chestnuts are the celebrated ingredient of Fall. In the town Fagnano Castello, in the Cosenza region, the annual festival called the  “Sagra Della Castagne” celebrates the chestnut harvest, to nearly mythical proportions.

Sagra Della Castagne (Festival of Chestnuts)

The Italians use chestnuts and truffles in ways we would have never dreamed. Check out a few recipes we’ve selected:

RECIPES USING WHITE TRUFFLES/CHESTNUTS:

Taglierini Con Tartufi Bianchi / Taglierini With White Truffles:

Serves 4

1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large fresh sage leaves, torn into 4 pieces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3⁄4 lb. taglierini
2 oz. white truffles

1. Rub a small saucepan with garlic clove. Over low flame, melt 6 tbsp. of the butter. Add sage and salt and pepper, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, letting the butter bubble, but being careful not to let it toast.

2. In a large stockpot, bring ample water to a boil. Salt generously and add taglierini. Cook pasta until al dente, then drain thoroughly. Toss pasta with sage butter in a large, warm serving bowl. Cut remaining 2 tbsp. butter into pieces and add to taglierini, tossing again to bind pasta. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. At the table, shave approximately 1⁄2 oz. white truffles over each serving.

(Credit: Christopher Baker)

Castagnaccio/Chestnut cake

Serves 8

3 T sultana (golden) raisins
1/2 lb chestnut flour
2 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling the pan and drizzling on top
pinch of salt
4 t sugar
2 to 2 1/2 c cold water
3 T pine nuts (pignoli)
a few sprigs of rosemary
1. Soak the raisins for a few minutes in a small bowl with warm water.
2. Mix the chestnut flour, oil, salt, sugar, and water (I used 2 c, but you can add a little more according to your taste and the consistency of the batter).
3. Drain the raisins and mix them into the batter, along with the pine nuts.
4. Pour the batter into a greased 9″ diameter pan, 2″ deep. The batter will not rise during baking, so if you have a slightly different size pan on hand, that is fine too.
5. Sprinkle the rosemary sprigs over the top of the batter and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
6. Bake at 400 F for 1 hour. You’ll know it is ready when the surface is covered with little cracks. Cool, turn out onto a plate, and enjoy!

(credit: http://www.epicurious.com user marzipan4)

Buon appetito!

Castagnaccio/Taglierini Con Tartufi Bianchi

For us Austinites, check out this authentic Italian restaurant:

Andiamo Ristorante:

Fall Special: “Pumpkin Ravioli in brown-sugar and sage sauce.” Also, check their menu for more fall dishes…delizioso!

2521 Rutland Drive Austin TX 78758

http://www.andiamoitaliano.com/About_Us.html

-And a few other Italian restaurants:

Vespaio:

1610 South Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78704

http://www.austinvespaio.com/vespaio/vespaio.html

La Traviata Italian Bistro:

314 Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701
http://www.latraviata.net/

Carmelo’s: 

504 East 5th Street, Austin, TX 78701
http://carmelosrestaurant.com/

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,