Monday, March 31, 2014

Z'Tejas Tableside Guacamole



Adam and I are fortunate/unfortunate enough to have one of our favorite Austin restaurants literally next door to our apartment. It's a dangerous location to be sure, but ultimately our close proximity to Z'Tejas is pretty great. Try as I might, I am just not an avocado fan at all (gasps from everyone who just cannot believe this, and yes that does include guacamole); however, Z'Tejas has made me realize that I can love guac, as long as it's doctored to my liking.

Their tableside guacamole is full of flavorful ingredients that are mixed fresh for you right at your table. The most important feature of this unbelievable dish is the addition of toppings: chipotle Tabasco, Cotija cheese, and pepitas. Yes, yes, and yes. Typical guac, in my opinion, is seriously lacking in flavor. After experimenting with replicating this version, I've realized that for me the inclusion of sea salt is an absolute must, and that hot sauce never hurts the cause either. This appetizer is now a staple in our house, especially when entertaining.



Z'Tejas Tableside Guacamole

Ingredients for basic guacamole:
  • 2 large Haas avocados, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 - 2 T. diced red onion, to taste
  • 1 - 2 T. chopped cilantro, to taste
  • 1 - 2 T. diced jalapeƱo, to taste
  • Dash of fresh lime juice
  • Generous pinch each of sea salt and pepper
Topping:
  • Roasted, salted pepitas 
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • Chipotle Tabasco
  • Cilantro garnish

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients for basic guacamole in a medium bowl. Stir to combine, until desired consistency of avocado is achieved. This may be left chunky and just combined, or mixed to be more smooth.
  2. Transfer guacomole to clean bowl for serving, if desired. Top with crumbled cheese, pepitas, and chipotle Tabasco. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster Truck



Texas and lobster don't exactly go hand in hand; but, there are exceptions to any rule. Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster is a food truck in Austin that flies fresh lobster in directly from Maine! When ordering, you have only two options, but this is more than enough. The Maine style roll is packed with cold lobster salad and just enough light mayo and seasoning, while the Connecticut style is served hot with melted tarragon butter. In both cases, the flavors are not overpowering, and the lobster is able to shine. To top it all off, both options are served on fresh, slightly sweet rolls from local bakery Sweetish Hill. 

You can also pick yourself up some clam chowder and chips to go with your roll, but we stuck with one roll each. Both were absolutely fantastic, though I preferred mine hot and buttery.  Check their site for locations, and try one (of each) for yourself.





Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Jameson Distillery {Dublin}



I've started to think of TBT as Traveling Back Thursdays; any time I look through throwback photos I'd like to share, they inevitably end up being of faraway places and experiences. The odd awkward childhood photo is also a favorite, but let's stick to travel. Today I'm thinking about reversing time back to the Jameson Distillery in Dublin. Going into this trip, I knew the Guinness Storehouse was a must, but I was blown away by how much we really enjoyed what Jameson brought to the table. The tour was interesting enough, as well as the inevitable whiskey tasting afterward, but it was the decor that really made the experience for me. Exposed brick and beams, chandeliers, and copper fixtures adorned the entire premises, and provided the perfect ambience for a stiff drink.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Heath Bar Lattes



Technically, this isn't a latte in the truest sense; it's a bit of a hybrid drink, but it's delicious. I don't have an espresso maker, so instead this drink uses extremely strong black coffee from a French press, and blends it with steamed and slightly frothed milk. There's also caramel, vanilla simple syrup and a Heath bar rim involved, so there's that. And that is good. Adam really loves Heath bars, so I decided to make these for him when he got home from work. I didn't realize he would be sweating after an 82 degree walk, but he devoured it nonetheless.


Heath Bar Latte
Per one serving

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. very strong black coffee 
  • 4 oz. steamed milk, slightly frothed if desired
  • 1 t. caramel sauce, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 t. vanilla simple syrup
  • Part of a Heath bar, chopped into very small pieces
Directions

Rub warm caramel around the rim of the mug, and roll in chopped Heath bits. Add simple syrup and caramel into mug. Add hot coffee and stir. Top with milk. Sprinkle with Heath crumbles and drizzle with extra caramel.