Monday, November 18, 2013

Sound Bites: Fries at Goodall's

When I first moved to Austin in 1993, I lived in a co-op a stone's throw from what is now Hotel Ella. At the time, the majestic building housed a chemical dependency center; in 2003, it became Mansion at Judges' Hill, and this year, it got a facelift and re-opened as Hotel Ella. Hotel Ella houses a restaurant called Goodall's Kitchen & Bar that I've been wanting to try, so we wandered down here on Friday to check it out.

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We had just come from a party that had involved a margarita or three and maybe a little too much queso, so dinner was out of the question, but I couldn't resist an order of their Goodall's Fries off the bar menu.

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The fries were served piping hot in a tiny fry basket, with a side of celery seed aioli, and tossed with brussels sprouts. "Tossed with brussels sprouts?" you say - to which I reply, "Why hasn't somebody thought of this before?" Brussels sprouts are having a "moment," and I'm so glad for it. More, please.

The fries were super crispy and resplendent with garlic, possibly the most garlicky fries I've ever tasted (i.e., wake-up-the-next-morning-tasting-garlic garlicky). We couldn't get enough of them. If these fries say anything about the rest of the menu, I have high hopes for this great new Austin hot spot.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Sound Bites: Italian Cream Cake from Upper Crust Bakery

I've never been much of a fan of Italian cream cake. Most specimens I'd met in the past were too something - too dry, too sweet, too...not chocolate. But then a friend requested Italian cream cake for her birthday, so I dutifully headed on over to Yelp and found some rave reviews of the Italian cream cake at Upper Crust Bakery. I ordered one. Tried it. And the world of Italian cream cakes broke wide open for me.

This Italian cream cake was a revelation. It was moist. It wasn't too sweet. It was plentiful with nuts. The frosting had a wonderful, cream-cheesy tang to it. I'd asked them to dress the top with colored sugar, which crunched oh-so-delightfully between my teeth. I wanted more.

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In a three month period, I bought three whole Italian cream cakes from Upper Crust. Every single time there was an occasion, I would volunteer to bring the cake and delightfully dial up another one. Seriously, I even bought one for Paralegals' Day / Boss' Day / my law partner's birthday (which we celebrated simultaneously in our office, because it was impossible to match up our schedules more than once).

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So if you need a cake to celebrate a special occasion (note: "Have a Bad Day" Day is coming up on November 19th!), head on over to Upper Crust and buy yourself a revelation.

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