Tag Archives: Texas

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!

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Summer Drinks Series: Tequila!

Bottles of Tequila for sale

For those of us in Texas, we’re all pretty familiar with tequila, or at least drinking it. Margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, salted or not, is one of the most popular cocktails in the United States, especially come summer time. We write songs about it (Margaritaville anyone?), create popular cocktails with it, and even cook with it. However, even though we might be pro’s at consuming tequila, and dealing with the morning after, not many of us are familiar with tequila’s production or history. So here’s a couple things you might not have known about your favorite drink.

Tequila was first exported to the US by Jose Cuervo, when in 1873 three barrels were shipped to El Paso, Texas, a number that rapidly increased throughout time. Similar to Champagne, Tequila has denomination of origin, meaning that under regulations and laws, tequila can only be produced in certain areas of Mexico. The most popular area being Jalisco. Mexico takes their tequila seriously, so it comes as no surprise that it is the country’s national drink. It is created from the blue agave plant, and unlike many liquors, is primarily aged within the plant, and not in casks. The plant takes around 8 to 12 years to mature before being harvested, and if the tequila is aged, anything beyond 4 years can lessen the quality of it.

Blue agave plant (left) Blue agave painting (right)

In Texas, one of the most popular tequila drinks is the Texan Martini (also known as the Mexican Martini). The cocktail was actually created here in Austin, at The Cedar Door Bar and Grill, some twenty years ago. Now, this strong drink can be found pretty much everywhere in Austin, with some of our favorites being at the Cedar Door, Trudy’s,  and Baby Acapulco. For those that want to make this drink at home, try this tasty recipe:

 Ingredients:

Servings: 1

2 fluid ounces tequila

1 fluid ounce Cointreau liqueur

1 -2 fluid ounce Sprite

1 fluid ounce orange juice

1/2 lime juice

Directions:
Shake all ingredients and strain into glass rimmed with salt; add stuffed olives, enjoy!

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Summer Drinks Series: French Rosé Wine In Texas

It might not yet be “officially” summer here in the U.S., but for those of us in Texas, we know that it definitely feels like summer. What better way to greet (or tolerate) the change in weather, than to kick off our “Summer Drinks Blog Series!”

In following our successful French wine tasting with The Austin Wine Merchant, we thought we’d kick off this series with the French classic summer wine choice, the Rosé.

Now, before we lose all of our American male readers, did you know that in France, the rosé is the most popular summer wine choice amongst both men and women? It has even surpassed white wine sales. Yes, the drink might be pretty and pink, making it look sweet to us Americans, but it’s flavor is crisp and fresh, and “et très français…” (and very French…)

Usually, a rosé is a type of wine that has the color of a red wine, but only enough to turn the wine pink. This is done through leaving the grape’s skin in contact with the juice for a short period of time. However, depending on the type of grapes or method used, a rosé’s color can range from pink, to light orange, to an almost deep purple hue. Typically in France, a rosé is light pink in color, with a fresh taste geared for summer drinking.

Bottle display of Rosé wine in France, Summer 2012

The rosé that we recommend is from the wine company “Domaine des Corbillieres”. This is a refreshing pale rosé, with a slight hint of spice: The perfect drink to hold up against the Texas heat. You can purchase this rose from The Austin Wine Merchant for under $12.

The Domaine des Corbillieres vineyard in the Sologne wine region, France. 

Cheers, Santé, Salud, Salute!

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