Barbecue in Austin, Texas

8 November 2015, 11:59

ALRIGHTY NOW, WHO’S READY FOR AN EPIC BARBECUE POST?! So after Vegas, we land in Austin, Texas, home to incredible barbecue! Not the slap a shrimp on the barbie type of barbecue, nay, the low and slow barbecue where meats are meltingly soft, juicy and with an irresistible smokiness is where it’s at!

We drop off our bags and immediately uber over to Salt Lick (18300 FM 1826, Driftwood) for a late lunch. It’s about a 30 min drive to the middle of nowhere and we were super lucky that our uber drive actually decided to wait for us or we would’ve had no way in hell of getting back!

The locals mainly eat barbecue at lunch which was good for us as we never really switched over from Oz time zones and so we we missed out on the queues during normal eating hours. On my last visit to Salt Lick with Helen and Lex we’d waited an hour and spent our time drinking beer bought from the cellar around the corner and gazing at the pit o fire made famous by Man Vs Food. Yes it’s super touristy but it’s still a pretty impressive sight!

Mmm wall of pecan pies

I wanted to try a bit of everything so ordered The Rancher Plate (US$17.95/AU$25.50) which was a plate loaded with brisket, pork ribs, sausage and turkey and the Beef Ribs Plate (US$21.95/AU$31.20). All plates came with a huge mound of potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, pickles and super fluffy bread. I wasn’t too fond of the turkey and found it a bit dry but I loved the pork ribs which were packed with flavour and the beef ribs which had a good fat to meat ratio.

I ordered the Peach Cobbler ($5.95) instead of the pecan pie because Noods has this thing for pies with fruits. It was pretty good, the crust was light and there was heaps of peach slices buried underneath that gigantic scoop of ice cream!

We spent the arvo in downtown Austin, doing a bit of shopping but basically trying to stay indoors where there was air con because summer in Texas is freaking hot man. I love the heat but woah I was melting so we ducked into Blue Ribbon Barbecue (120 E 4th St, Austin but which has now closed it’s downtown location) and ordered the Barbecue Plate with brisket (US$9.99/AU$14.20).

My choice of 2 sides was the potato salad which reminded me of a Japanese style potato salad with heaps of white pepper and a refreshing coleslaw. Presentation wise, the plate looks a bit sad no? The brisket was tender but it didn’t have the telltale smoke ring or the flavour I was looking for and I ended up scoffing all the potato salad instead. Oh and refillable soda is so dangerous for me, I ended up drinking a looot of unsweetened tea because drinking so much soft drink always makes me feel a little loopy.

Lamberts (401 W 2nd St, Austin) is our final stop on Day 1 and I’m pretty sure it was this meal that broke Noods. 3 meals of barbecue in 1 day might’ve been a bit much to the uninitiated :P I chose Lamberts because I was interested in seeing how brisket from a restaurant would compare to the trailer type of barbecue joints and the Natural Black Angus Brisket ($19/AU$26.95) was pretty on the money! The brown sugar and coffee rub gave the brisket a nice charred outer layer aka the bark and there was that delicious hit of smokiness that I love.

Noods went for the Housemade Jalapeño Hot Links (US$16/AU$22.70) aka sausages so spicy he gave up after eating 1! The flavour was amazing but yeah woah nelly they were spicy haha

I’d ordered a side of Brussel Sprouts (US$8/AU$11.35) as my vegetable component but didn’t realise each and every leaf would be coated in the glossy sheen of butter. It was deeelicious but definitely didn’t help cut through the fattiness of the days eating :P

Oh and I gotta make a mention of the complimentary corn bread at Lambert’s, it’s the freaking bomb! Too many times I’ve been disappointed with corn bread but Lambert’s nailed it! Baked fresh for each order the cornbread had fluffy innards and barely needed the pat of butter provided.

We ate other food groups after that first day of barbecue so the below eats are from meals from the rest of our time in Austin. I wasn’t keen on lining up for 3+ hours at Franklins BBQ again but would’ve done anything for La Barbecue (1906 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin)! Luckily the wait time was only an hour and best of all there was free beer!

So um I may have over ordered. Prices on the menu were per pound but well, I was feeling ambitious… So this here platter is: 1 pound of brisket (US$20/AU$28.40), 1/2 pound of smoky turkey (US$9/AU$12.80), 1 ginormous beef rib (US$22/AU$31.25), 3 pork ribs (US$17.98/AU$25.50), 1/2 pound pulled pork (US$8.99/AU$12.76), 1 brisket sandwich (US$10/AU$14.20), 1 serve buttermilk potato salad (US$2.25/AU$3.20) and 1 serve of chipotle coleslaw(US$1.99/AU$1.40). Oh and bonus slices of super fluffy bread. All this was for 2 people.

Aaand another look. Everything was just so freaking amazing but my heart belonged to the brisket- that smokiness, that fat, that flavour, I DIE FROM HAPPINESS.

Aaaand an overhead shot because baby you know you want it! Absolutely everything on this platter was amazing, the pulled pork and the turkey were so juicy too and just begging to be folded up in a slice of bread!

The ribs were pretty insane with meat so tender it fell off the bone like it couldn’t wait to live in my stomach.

DAT BEEF RIB THO! I mean LOOK AT IT! Don’t you just want to wrap your jaws around it??? We made it about 1/4 of the way through before admitting defeat but don’t worry there’s rolls of waxed paper to wrap your food for takeaway or ‘to-go’. We ended up eating bits of it as snacks along with many a trip to Whole Foods for some salad that wasn’t covered in mayo :D

Last but not least was Kerlin BBQ (1700 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin) which is in the cutest little trailer but don’t let that fool you because they serve up a pretty awesome barbecue!

MEEEAT! Brisket (US$9/AU$12.80), pork ribs (US$9/AU$12.80), sausage (US$3/AU$4.25), blue cheese coleslaw (US$2.50/AU$3.55) with bonus pile of bread. The brisket was no match for La Barbecue but the pork ribs and the sausage would’ve given them a run for their money, the smokiness was more intense and sent shivers down my spine. The blue cheese coleslaw was pretty amazing, I’m slowly on the road to being a true blue cheese lover and this just blew my mind, the flavour wasn’t too in your face and had just the right balance of creaminess to keep me going back for more.

We aslo stopped by Rolling Smoke BBQ (1501 E 6th St, Austin) for the Frito Pie ($US6/AU$8.50) which is basically Frito chips (corn chips) covered in a layer of juicy pulled pork, bbq sauce, onions, coriander and chipotle cream sauce. It was the best kind of food after a night of beverages!

Aaaand that wraps up the barbecue in Austin, stay tuned for fried chicken, fried oreos and Mexican food in Austin Part 2!



Salmon & Bear, Zetland

1 November 2015, 23:48

I heart salmon, let me count the ways- raw, steamed, grilled, baked, cured, smoked, I love them all! So when Salmon & Bear opened up in Zetland, just opposite the East Village shopping centre, I knew it was just the place for my salmon loving soul. Chef Mark Jensen (Red Lantern and Pork’d) has designed a menu that’s short and sweet and focussing on sustainably sourced fish.

I was tossing up between getting the Salmon Fish Cakes (4/$12) or the Chilli Garlic Prawns($18) but instead chose the Salt and Pepper Squid ($12) which were lightly battered curls of deliciousness.

The Grizzly Plate ($25) comes with your choice of fish, any 2 sides/salads and sauce which I thought was a pretty good deal esp as the fish by itself would’ve been $15, salads ($8), sides ($5) and sauces ($2).

I chose the Ora King Salmon (there’s also barramundi, Spanish mackerel, snapper and tuna on the menu) which is bang on perfect. Like, 10/10 perfect! The salmon was so juicy with a touch of smokiness from the magic of being cooked in a Mibrasa oven and that skin! SO FRICKEN CRISPY I DIE! It barely needed the salsa verde sauce but woah man that sauce was just a burst of freshness that I wanted to smother everything in it. The sweet potato fries are pretty amazing too, crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

The Corn Salsa salad gets a pic of its own because it was just so awesome with chargrilled corn, cucumber, red capsicum, tomato, shallots, mint, coriander and a lemon and sour cream dressing. I freaking love grilled corn, it just tastes like summer! Also this would’ve been perfect as a ceviche style salad with raw tuna (hint hint guys!).

Noods wasn’t super hungry so he ordered the Sticky Soy Glazed Salmon Taco ($6) which came with loaded with pickled onions, coriander, lime, siriacha mayo and wrapped up in a soft corn tortilla.

And also the Crispy Fish (Hoki NZ) ($6). I preferred the salmon taco over this taco, there was just something about the crumbed fish that reminded me of a fish finger… Not that I don’t like fish fingers but I think I was expecting the fish to be battered and not crumbed?

Salmon & Bear is a pretty casual joint, perfect for the locals to bring the family and have a beverage or two with their meals. Oh and there’s free parking after 6pm at the East Village car park!

Salmon & Bear
6 Defries Avenue

Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10pm
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 10pm

Salmon & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Blaq Piq, Sydney

25 October 2015, 21:52

Comment [18]

You know when you see something delicious on Instagram that you just can’t stop thinking about and your mind is just consumed with the very thought of eating it? That’s what happened when I saw the Nutella donut ($4.50) from Blaq Piq, the new cafe that’s next door to Creasion Cafe. And it was just as amazing as it looks, a fluffy sugar coasted donut so stuffed with Nutella that it threatens to ooze out.

And then there’s the pretty as a picture Pandan buttermilk pancakes ($16). All heads turned when this came out towards us, the pancakes are light and fluffy and have a good amount of pandan flavour in them. There’s a perfect scoop of coconut ice cream, fresh berries, nata de coco (super juicy chewy jelly made from coconut water), pecan crumble and salted coconut sugar syrup.

Aaaand pouring shot ooh baby HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH

Noods ordered the Breakfast plate ($17) because he saw that it had ‘soldiers’ and is immediately convinced he wants it but then always gets surprised that it’s just cut up toast. Every. Single. Time. I always warn him but nope he wants those damn soldiers. I liked the idea that the breakfast plate was filled with things that are lighter in case you don’t want a super oily fry up; there was silky curls of smoked salmon, half an avo, marinated goats cheese, 63° eggs, horseradish cream and lol rye soldiers.

The Rangers Valley Wagyu corned beef ($18) is tender but it’s a tad salty though this is tempered with the pan fried 63° eggs and smothering of hollandaise sauce. I liked the fluffy lotus bun but with the generous amount of sauce there was no way I was picking that bad boy up so cutlery is the way to go.

The Twice cooked pork belly ($17) might not look as purdy as the pancakes but WOAH DAMN IT’S SO DELICIOUS IT’S WORTH THESE CAPS! The strips of pork belly are so meltingly tender that I question how they managed to put the slice on the plate without breaking. The edges are golden and crispy and oh man whatever you do, do not share this! Oh and there’s a schmear of pumpkin puree hiding underneath with perfectly gooey 63° eggs, crunchy pickled vegetables, rocket and cherry tomatoes.

Mmm baked goods! All the desserts are baked in house and they source their bread from the awesome Bread and Butter Project. Oh and for the coffee peeps, they use Single O beans.

Loved how open the space is with plenty of light and a nice chillaxed feel. Will definitely be back to eat that pork belly again and ALL the donuts!

Blaq Piq
11 Alberta St,

Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat: 8am – 2pm
Sunday: Closed

Blaq Piq Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Comment [18]