Friday, January 20, 2012

Food Photo(s) Friday: Bistrot Mirabelle

Although I didn't go nearly often enough, I was sad about the passing of Mirabelle. There had been enough celebratory dinners there - and enough bottles of reasonably-priced wine - to think of the place as an old friend.

But at the hands of an experienced new owner, Bistrot Mirabelle has risen from the ashes and is bringing French cooking to Northwest Hills. I was invited to a media tasting for the new restaurant this week, and my first glimpse was promising indeed. We started with a few hors d'oeuvres:


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Steak tartare made with American Kobe combined with dijon vinaigrette, egg yolks, shallots, and capers. The mix on these flavors was just right - the vinaigrette really sang and had just the right amount of bite, but wasn't so overpowering that I couldn't taste the meat.

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Duck liver mousse with house-made pickles. You can't really go wrong with duck liver anything, as far as I'm concerned.

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Duck rillettes with apple butter. Very nice combination; duck is one of the few meats that I like paired with fruit.

We also got to try their mussels, which were served in a white wine sauce and topped with pommes frites. The frites were hot and crispy and delicious, and I loved the sauce with the mussels, which made me wish I had a bit of baguette with which to sop it up.

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I don't know why this photo makes the fries look like they would glow in the dark. I think it might've been my alien lights.

We ended the tasting with some serious decadence: linguine with a truffle walnut creme sauce, topped with sweetbreads and fried sage.

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Holy moly, this was rich - and soooo delicious. I've never had sweetbreads with pasta before, and the truffle walnut creme sauce was just as incredible as it sounds. Those French women who don't get fat? I suspect they weren't eating much of this.

Definitely intrigued by this peek into the new Mirabelle - looking forward to heading back there soon for a regular meal!

Bistrot Mirabelle
8127 Mesa Drive
Austin, TX 78759

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Food Photo(s) Friday: FINO

Sometimes, you just need a well-crafted cocktail with a big ice cube that's perfectly engineered for the size of your glass, so it doesn't melt too quickly and water down your drink. Maybe you need there to be a tree of mint in it.


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Neon Indian Paintbrush - Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol resposado, Zirbenz stone pine, agave nectar, Peychaud's bitters, and mint (alas, no longer on the menu, but you can sometimes get one anyway, or you can order the Ghost of the Pine, which IS on the menu and is similar). One of either of these cocktails and a good friend will melt away the worst of days.

Of course, as you're sipping your refreshing beverage, you need something to munch on. Sumac potato chips with a lemon yogurt dip, perhaps? A slice of Spanish tortilla swimming in aioli? Grilled baby octopus with piquillo peppers? A pair of tender, decadent pork ribs? Fried anchovy stuffed olives?

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Yes.

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Yes.

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Yes.

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Hell yes.

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Oh. Hell. Yes.

The food and the drinks at FINO will always hold your interest, will make the people around you seem more interesting, and will turn around the day of even the crabbiest McCrabberton (ask my friend Kimberly about how cranky I was last time I met her there...and about how quickly I snapped out of it after my first few sips of Neon Indian Paintbrush.)

Be sure to pay homage to the big O on your way out.

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FINO
2905 San Gabriel Street
Austin, TX 78705

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