Best Cookies in Austin Right Now

I love a good cookie! Not sure if many of you know, but I’ve had my own baking business on the side, Choco-Latte, for 6 years and make an “Infamous Chocolate Chip” that is my best seller. I haven’t had time to bake much due to a day job in consulting, however, one of these days, I’d love to bake for you. In the meantime, I do crave a really good cookie every now and then, so here is my round up of MY favorite cookies in Austin right now!

Teddy V. Patisserie

I’ve been a fan of Teddy V. cookies since at least 2017. I remember meeting the owner, Elisia, at the Mueller Farmer’s Market one sunny Sunday and she was hosting a contest at that time – post a picture of your cookie on IG and a lucky winner could win a cookie party! I won! By then, I was consuming at least 1 of her cookies a week – I’d cut it up into quarters since these were some serious cookies, and I wanted it to last me a few enjoyable sessions 🙂

Anyway, that’s the beginning of me spreading my Teddy V. love and now, these cookies are so popular that Elisia has quit her job to make cookies for all of us FULL TIME! She’s got walnut chocolate chip cookies available for all those chocolate + nut lovers! And occasionally, a gluten free version too!

Snag you a cookie or two at the Lakeline or Mueller Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays and Sundays or at one of her pop ups all over town. She of course takes special orders and you can even order and get your cookies shipped all over the U.S.! Check out the Vessel map up above for a cookie “cake” I ordered for my birthday!

These beauties are a third of a lb each!

Otherside Deli

Imagine you’re looking for a delish pastrami sandwich, the best in Austin, and you make your way out to Otherside Deli. You enjoy said pastrami sandwich and catch a glimpse in the distance of what looks to be a chocolate chip cookie. You inquire about said chocolate chip cookie and Chef responds, oh ya, it’s the last one and there is a sprinkle of sea salt on there. Want one? You quickly respond YES!


Wanna know where you can find the best sandwiches in Austin? I’ve got you covered with my post “Where to Grab an Incredible Sandwich in ATX


I’m obsessed with Otherside’s cookie. It’s that perfect blend of bittersweet chocolate and salt and just the right size to be consumed in one sitting!

A little bit of crisp, a whole lotta chocolate and a tad of salt!

Thoroughbread

I was on a mission to try ThoroughBread out one day. I went on a weekday a little after lunchtime thinking this would be the best time to miss the lunch crowd. I was right! It was just me and my coworkers enjoying the sights and aromas of so many cookies! Check out my Vessel map above for a couple videos of the cookie display.

I wanted to branch out from my usual choice of a chocolate chip cookie and got the PB&J cookie instead. WOWWWWWW! The jam in this cookie was truly exceptional. You’ll have to see the video in my Vessel map to sneak a peek into the inside of this incredible creation!

The banana nutella is one of their signature cookies! You’ll have to break it open to see the surprise!

Hot’l Coffee

The cutest coffee shop that has a living room that is the perfect spot to work, read a book, chat with a friend, Hot’l Coffee at The Carpenter Hotel, has one of the tastiest cookies in Austin too!


Work from coffee shop and need a rec? “The Best Coffee Shops in Austin to Get Your Work On” has all of my favorite caffeine and work vibe spots listed for your viewing pleasure!


Pair this Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookie with a golden latte and be prepared to settle in for all the cozy vibes! TBH, I’ve gone in just for the cookie after eating a solid lunch at Carpenter’s Hall and feeling extremely full. It’s so worth it!

The perfect size cookie – and I dip it into this golden latte because ooey gooey warmth!

Henbit

Not too long ago, if you wanted to enjoy the Monster Cookie from Henbit, you had to visit Fareground since that’s where Henbit is located. Lucky for those of us who don’t work downtown and also don’t want to fight parking, you can find these Monster Cookies at Whole Foods downtown!

Chocolate + Nut lovers rejoice as Henbit’s cookie is the perfect combo of both and it’s huge! This is a cookie I portion into quarters to savor over a few days much like my approach to Teddy V.’s!

Warm it up for a few and enjoy the gooey-ness without the mushy-ness!

Check out that distribution!

I have a few more cookies that I love but don’t have pics of at the moment so come back here for an update very soon!

Cheers and cookies,

Shveta

May, 2019

Andiamo, an Austin Gem Known for Exceptional Italian Food, Launches Its New Spring Menu

Gosh, I think this is the 3rd year I’ve consistently dined at Andiamo and obvi it is dang good or I wouldn’t keep going back!

If you haven’t been, this gem has been serving up authentic Italian food in North Austin for 15 years! It’s Woman-Owned and Operated and definitely worthy of all the accolades it receives and continues to receive.

Spring has blessed us with its presence, and with that comes all of the gorgeous, vibrant-colored ingredients! Something about veggies and pasta makes the #carb life seem a bit more manageable right?

I was invited in to try some of the new additions to the lunch and dinner menus and honestly, I can’t tell you which one was my favorite because I’d gladly order each and every one of these dishes again!

One of the best dang garlic breads I’ve ever eaten!

This salad with grapefruit, strawberries, feta and arugula was so refreshing!

If you go for dinner, order the Insalata Tricolore – with shaved fennel, orange segments, and goat cheese, this will be the perfect appe-teaser!

I’m a huge ravioli lover, especially when mushrooms are involved. These were stuffed with mushrooms, ricotta and swiss chard and extremely addictive!

New for Spring, the Gnocchi Primaverra is loaded with green peas, radishes, bell peppers, onions and lemon zest! And who doesn’t love potato pillows!?! These are light and packed with flavor!

Oh so green but oh so good, the Spaghetti Verdi was probably one of my fave dishes of the day!

If you love brussel sprouts and pancetta as much as I do, the Penne con Cavoletti is for you!

If the Linguine with calamari and black mussels is on the menu, I usually order it even with my tomato allergy – it’s everything!

Perfectly cooked trout with capers – hello heaven!

Save room for dessert! The Millefoglie is a MUST – and it’s a great palate cleanser (if you needed an excuse to eat dessert)

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Andiamo! The dishes are so creative and this is what I imagine real Italian food tasting like in Italy. Now, it’s time to plan a trip to Italy stat!

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

May, 2019

Where to Grab An Incredible Sandwich in ATX

I LOVEEEE a good sandwich that has me craving the same one over and over again. Growing up, I would make the same sandwich to take for lunch at school EVERY DAY for a year – and then, I’d get sick of it (after eating it every day for a year) and switch to another. I’m so weird right? One year it was turkey and pepperjack cheese. Another year it was smoked ham and cheddar. Another year it was cracked pepper turkey and pepperjack. Point is, me and sandwiches go wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back!

So here are the spots that I love to enjoy a good ole sammie at the moment – the list can AND WILL change given my mood 🙂 My favorite embedded Vessel map below has pictures by location, so check it out for the full scoop and mouthwatering pics/videos!

Little Deli & Pizzeria

Hello hidden gem of a pizza and sandwich shop in the Crestview neighborhood! Why the heck didn’t I go here sooner? We showed up at a random time on a Saturday – random meaning not lunch or dinner time but right smack in between aka 3PM-ish. They were packed! Kids, dogs, adults sitting outside and ordering inside…I mean, the weather that day was epic so I can’t blame people for hanging, but woah, I was shocked!

Loved the Italian Sub and the Chicken Salad so much and we’re heading back soon for some ‘za!

Address: 7101-A Woodrow Ave.

Hours: Monday-Sat 11AM-9PM

Website: https://littledeliandpizza.com/index.html

The Italian Sub – isn’t that just gorgeous?

Otherside Deli

When this hot spot opened up off W. 34th Street, it became the talk of the town! Quite literally, my Instagram feed blew up with pictures of their reuben and pastrami sandwiches.

Being married to one of the biggest pastrami lovers I know, I made it my mission to take the Hubs there. In fact, I love him so much that I took him there for his birthday weekend 🙂

I ordered the Otherside Italian for myself and hubs got the Otherside (with Pastrami), and I quote him “This is the best pastrami I’ve ever eaten.” So there folks…I’m not sure why you aren’t headed there as you’re reading this!

My Italian sandwich was one of the best I’ve had as well. Love their house vinegar that they add to it. And pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee don’t leave without ordering a chocolate chip cookie with sea salt sprinkled on top – best cookies in Austin post coming soon, FYI!

Address: 1104 W. 34th Street

Hours: Monday-Sunday 10AM-5PM

Website: https://www.othersidedeliatx.com/

The Otherside – Pastrami

Carpenter’s Hall

I’m quite literally obsessed with the new Carpenter Hotel. Have you been? From delish golden lattes, to super amazing pastries, to incredible BRUNCH, LUNCH, DINNER AND LATE NIGHT, you will not go wrong here. They’re open to the public so you don’t have to actually stay there to enjoy their food.

I’ve tried a heck of a lot of food there and I can’t tell you if there is one thing that is my favorite. I’d eat everything I’ve eaten again and again!

Their sourdough bread is quite beautiful and perfectly prepared. A friend of mine had the Roast Beef Sandwich and really enjoyed it. Hubs got the Reuben – TALK ABOUT STACKED! Too big to hold both halves in one hand for a pic, y’all. Also, too dang delicious to not finish on the spot 🙂

Address: 400 Josephine Street

Hours: Daily 7AM-Midnight

Website: http://carpenterhotel.com/


Reuben and Fries – massive sandwich!

Austin Daily Press

This favorite Eastside spot of mine has shown up in a couple of my blog posts for many reasons. 1) epic sandwiches 2) 2 locations within 2 miles of my house 3) JALAPENO HUSHPUPPIES 4) lots of veggie options for those days you need to eat veggies but you don’t feel like eating a dinky salad.

Their bread for the Tortas is incredible. Made by Bellows Bakery, the rolls are freaking delish – like you could eat them on their own – but whyyyyy do that when you can eat a delish roll stuffed with all the goodness?

A couple of my faves happen to be their veggie options – Caul Me and Mad Beets. I equally love the Lucille (think banh mi sandwich) and the Charlie (flank steak).

ALWAYS pair your sandwich with an order of jalapeno hushpuppies. If you don’t, I will disown you – NOT JOKING!

Address: 1900 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. and 4620 E. Cesar Chavez St.

Hours: MLK – Breakfast Monday-Friday 9AM-11AM; Lunch/Dinner Monday-Sunday 11AM-10PM. Cesar Chavez Breakfast Monday-Friday 8AM-11AM; Lunch Monday-Sunday 11AM-4PM; Dinner Thursday-Saturday 4PM-9PM

Website: https://www.austindailypress.com/

Mad Beets – it’s LOADED!

Walton’s Fancy & Staple

I’m kind of jealous of people who live in walking distance of Walton’s. I’d be there all the time if I lived close or worked nearby. Parking isn’t the easiest given all the construction on W. 6th these days. However, if you’re in the area, please drop in and eat EVERYTHING!

They’ve got a Fancy Lunch option that is my go-to – half of a Ham on Pretzel and a Cesar Salad. Their pretzel roll with Ham is the perfect combo! Treat yourself afterwards (or before, I won’t judge) to a macaron or cake or a latte!

Address: 609 W. 6th Street

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 7AM-7PM and Thursday-Saturday 7AM-9:30PM and Sunday 8AM-4PM

Website: https://www.waltonsfancyandstaple.com/

Fancy Lunches for 2!

Loro

When two well-known Chefs/Restaurant Owners collaborate and open a restaurant together, YOU GO! Chef Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin combined their genius skills to create Loro. Think Asian Smokehouse when you go and plan to be pleased as heck.

Ok, so I think my favorite sandwich is one that has Turkey in it. And remember, hubs loves a good Reuben.

Enter Loro’s TURKEY REUBEN. It’s heavenly…you’ve got to try it and prove otherwise. The turkey is perfectly smoked. The sandwich is perfectly toasted. It can’t get any tastier…

Address: 2115 S. Lamar Blvd.

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-10PM and Friday-Saturday 11AM-11PM

Website: https://loroaustin.com/

Turkey Reuben – that muenster cheese is THIC!

Biderman’s Deli

This Jewish-inspired deli is serving up bagels, lox, matzo ball soup, and incredible deli sandwiches!

With two locations in Austin, you’re not too far from enjoying one of the best sandwiches in ATX. I stopped by the downtown location recently and ordered the Turkey & Swiss (surprise surprise)! I had to eat the sandwich in 2 sittings because that’s how huge it was! So so good…their bread, the turkey…the swiss. Gah!

And they now use Rosen’s Bagels for their bagels so EPIC AND INCREDIBLE BAGELS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR DEVOURING at breakfast too!

Address: 800 Brazos St. Suite 215 and 3742 Far West Blvd.

Hours: Downtown Monday-Friday 7AM-3PM and Saturday-Sunday 8AM-3PM; Far West Monday-Friday 7AM-7PM and Saturday-Sunday 7AM-4PM

Website: https://www.bidermansdeli.com/

Turkey & Swiss – barely holding on!

Uncle Nicky’s

The ultimate collab of Via313, Nickle City and Juniper, Uncle Nicky’s is the best of Italian sandwiches, pastries, Negronis all packed into the cutest Hyde Park neighborhood spot.

We went for a late dinner on a cold wintery day in the ATX, so it was quite crowded inside. They’ve got a cute patio but come on, it was too cold to sit out there the night we dropped in.

A counter-service spot, we ordered the Italian Tuna and Hots Sandwich, Classico Pane Tostato and the PB&J Pane Tostato.

Wowzasssssssssssssssssssssss….speechless, friends! Everything was so so good. The pane tostatos are small so get a few if you’re hungry. But they’re absolutely divine. The sandwich was substantial and LEGIT!

I’ll be going back in for lunch ASAP so I can get my hands on some of their Cruellers, donuts, ham & eggs!

Address: 4222 Duval St.

Hours: Daily 7AM-Midnight

Website: https://www.unclenickys.com/

Italian Tuna & Hots – perfection on a plate!

Easy Tiger

No sandwich list is complete with including Easy Tiger. Afterall, they make most of the bread that restaurants use for their own sandwiches!

With 3 locations in Austin – Linc, E. 6th and Cedar Park – they’ve pretty much got the city covered.

Any guesses what sandwich I love and get every time? Come on now…you know me! If you guessed Smoked Turkey, you’re the WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! I just can’t get enough of that avocado chimichurri and those pretty watermelon radishes inside.

Address: 709 E. 6th St. and 6406 N. IH 35 #1100 and 5001 183 Toll Rd. (inside 365 Whole Foods)

Hours: Downtown Monday-Wednesday 11AM-Midnight and Thursday-Friday 11AM-2AM and Saturday 10AM-2AM and Sunday 10AM-Midnight; Linc Sunday-Thursday 7AM-11PM and Friday-Saturday 7AM-Midnight; 365 Whole Foods Monday-Friday 7AM-9PM and Weekends 8AM-9PM

Website: https://www.easytigerusa.com/

Smoked Turkey – that bread tho!

Well folks, that’s all I got for you right now. If you can’t find a sandwich you like in Austin, I think it’s safe to say you’re hard to please 🙂

Stay tuned for some more sandwich recs as I eat them – you better believe there will be more turkey sandwiches coming to the list soon!

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

March, 2019

A Secretive Dinner Ends With a Surprising Announcement

As #SXSW gets more and more popular ever year and our ever-growing Austin gets more populated, I stay farther and farther away from all things SXSW. However, I received an invite to attend a dinner event at the Hotel St. Cecilia, and I couldn’t turn either down, and I’m sooooo glad I went.

Imagine showing up to a magical gem off of South Congress, Hotel St. Cecilia, and entering a spectacular tent setup with 2 very long tables decorated to the 9’s – like a super fancy dinner reception!

All we knew prior to showing up was there would be a 6-course meal headed our way and towards the end of the meal we’d find out who ITK Restaurant Group was. I’m pretty sure everyone who was in attendance had Google-d ITK before showing up…the Googling failed though because you wouldn’t find anything under that name on the interwebs.

How beautiful is this setup?
Loved the tablescape!

The first of the 6-course meal came in a cup on our table with hand-poured Vegetable Brodo…super refreshing! Not pictured but here is the menu!

Concasse of beet, strawberry, and watermelon – my favorite course of the night!
Risotto – super creamy – loved the squash bacon on top – not bacon y’all!
4th Course – Crudo Trio – loved the halibut ceviche and the salmon was perfectly seared!
One of the best steaks I’ve had – and this wasn’t even a steakhouse!
Dessert – Lemon Curd and Chocolate Divoricados with a raspberry lavender demi – so so good!

And then they finally announced who the ITK Restaurant group was —- any guesses?? We were blown away and pleasantly surprised when we found out ITK = In The Kitchen with HEB! All of the ingredients were from a local HEB and a few Chefs from HEB prepared our entire 6-course meal in a very small kitchen at the Hotel St. Cecilia.

What an incredible night and the wait was well-worth it!

We each walked away with a copy of the recipes from the night. Comment if you want any of them? Everything is approachable, easily prepared at home and ingredients can be found at your local HEB = WINNING!

Love supporting local and a company (HEB) that is so supportive and philanthropic of its community.

Let me know if you make any of these fancies at home, k?

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

March 2019

Lucky Robot Serves Up Environmentally-Responsible Seafood That IS Delicious

Thanks to my foodie friend I met through Instagram, @AustinFoodAdventures, I had the opportunity to try out so many dishes on Lucky Robot’s lunch menu.

Lucky Robot has been on South Congress for as long as I can remember but only recently has it come to my attention that they’re Austin’s first sustainable sushi restaurant. I don’t know about you, but I’m hyper aware of how our food choices impact the environment and what is left of Mother Earth. It’s great to support a local restaurant that is offering up dishes with only environmentally-responsible seafood. By making that choice, they’re protecting the ocean and its inhabitants!

I’ve dined at Lucky Robot for dinner several times and finally tried out their lunch. The Chirashi Bot is only available during lunch and that’s why we chose lunchtime to visit! Boy am I so glad I got my hands on that beautiful bowl of all the sashimi! Gah, so dang good!

Feast your eyes on this bowl of tuna, salmon, amberjack, and striped bass sashimi on a bed of sushi rice, avocado, English cucumbers, daikon picklets and a 144 degree egg! I’ll be eating this for lunch everytime I visit Lucky Robot…believe me!

The Schoolgirl Bowl rings all things comfort. Loaded with chicken breast, scallions, and a ton of veggies, eat this dish WARM and savor every bite.


I love a good Okonomiyaki so when I saw they had the Nomnomiyaki on the menu, we had to order it. A Japanese savory pancake with PORK BELLY, napa cabbage, a sunny side up egg, spicy mayo, and all the goodness – you’re not going to want to leave a single drop!

Whenever there is Chicken Karaage on the menu, I get it. These spicy Japanese-style chicken nuggets are to die for!

Where my Vegan friends at? The Farmbot features local farm box veggies, red quinoa, avocado, CASHEW CHEESE in a soy paper – I COULD HAVE EATEN ALL OF THIS BY MYSELF!

Next time you’re out strolling Soco, stop at Lucky Robot and order a ton of Japanese goodness! You won’t go wrong with whatever you choose and you can rest easy knowing you’re eating sustainable fish too!

And if you needed even more of an incentive to go — Happy Hour is M-F from 4:00-6:00PM and they’ve got a weekend happy hour during their Tokyo Brunch from 10:30-11:30AM (brunch is 10:30-3:00PM).

If you need a lunch or happy hour date, hit me up!

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

January, 2019

Houston Dining Guide

Updated May, 2019

I’ve been working from Houston almost weekly since last summer and I’ve had the chance to explore a ton of restaurants near Downtown that I would never have ventured out to when I lived in Sugar Land back in grad school. I’ve just scratched the surface and will be adding to this list as I continue on my foodie adventures, but in the meantime, here is a Vessel interactive map with pins and then all the deets on the hot spots that made the cut down below!

Coltivare

My coworkers are absolute gems and so fun to be around – we’re friends in #IRL – and the first place they took me when I started my stint in Houston was Coltivare Pizza & Garden. We got there relatively early (around 5:30) and got three seats at the counter. If you don’t want to wait a while, I’d suggest getting there early as well!

The Burrata was a standout dish!

Never leave without a pizza! Ever!

Paulie’s

Another absolute must-dine Italian spot that everyone in town knows about is Paulie’s. I’ve been at least 5 times in the last 6 months because it’s just THAT GOOD! If you’re a fan of pasta, this spot is for you. Like for real, amazing pasta.

This mushroom lover absolutely loves and dreams about the Canestri alla Funghi

The Skirt Steak should also be on your list! You can switch out the veggies that come with it but always get the pesto gnocchi! Their pesto is WOW

Riel

A great spot with super chill and fancy vibes at the same time is Riel. Near Paulie’s, I passed by this spot and was intrigued. Made a reservation since there were 10 of us going and at 6PM they weren’t super packed (yet).

We ordered a ton of food but a couple of standouts are below:

The fried rice is a shareable small plate and we ended up ordering a few b/c it was a group favorite. Shrimp, Chinese Sausage, Egg Yolk and Ginger make this dish super unique

If Steak Tar Tar is your jam, then Riel’s is for you. And it was a work of art!

Rise N2

I don’t know where or how I discovered Rise (most likely Instagram), but when I walked in their location, I fell in love with everything. The ambiance is whimsical, the staff are helpful and so kind, and the food is divine! I long for the day they open one in Austin, but until then, I’ll just have to continue to dine at the Houston location over and over again. I’ve taken several different groups and I’ve been 4 times already. Don’t worry, if you don’t like souffles or think they’re too heavy for normal consumption, their Rise Salad with Tuna is my go-to and it’s gorgeous!

I love Rise so much, it has it’s own blog post here so if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, do so now here.

I highly recommend the Marshmallow Soup – a carrot and tomato bisque with goat cheese marshmallows – so creative right?

Always ask for the Cheese Carriage to come by and try all the cheeses before getting your own custom selection of fromage

They’ve got savory souffles like this Truffle one

And dessert souffles like this chocolate one with raspberry and chocolate sauce on top

Pass & Provisions

We went to the Provisions portion of this joint restaurant. Pass is more of a tasting menu (Chef’s Table concept) and Provisions is a neighborhood, casual setup. The building was constructed back in the 50’s and was home to an Italian import warehouse.

The menu changes regularly but stand out dishes were definitely the Oysters, Squid Ink Cavatappi and the Okonomiyaki. We tried several more dishes and enjoyed each one. Will definitely be back!

Savory pancake topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese

These oysters were delish! Love the table setting (you can see in the background).

Moku Bar

You’ll find the original Moku in the Conservatory (Downtown Houston’s food hall with a few restaurants, a brewpub and a wine bar). I say original because Moku is about to open a brick-and-mortar in the Heights very soon.

I was working in Houston in the summer when all I wanted was poké every evening after working out. Enter, Moku! They were available on UberEats too so I’d just order in and devour a bowl after working out. Always get the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on top, k?

They fly in fresh fish daily. My go-to is usually the ahi tuna with all the veggies and I get greens instead of rice (sorry, not sorry), and always sprinkled with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Les Noodle

When the weather outside is frightful (seems to be a frequent thing in HTown), Les Noodles is my go-to spot for Pho. Mostly because they have Zoodles and I like to have more broth than noodles but with zoodles, I’ll eat it all 🙂

For all those of you who like beef options for your Pho Bo, they’ve got tendon, shank, filet, meatball and brisket!

Pho with regular noodles and zoodles

Look at that noodle pull

Pondicheri

Pondicheri has a special place in my heart. They serve these delish (super nostalgic for me) Bournvita Ice Cream Sandwiches (Parle-G cookies with Bournvita chocolate ice cream in between). Their food overall is a fusion of traditional Indian dishes with a modern twist. Check out their bake shop upstairs too – it’s a must!

From their Chit Chaat Menu (everyday from 5-7P) -Mushroom Dosa Pizza and Butter Chicken Parotta

Bournvita Ice Cream Sandwiches – my dreams come true everytime I bite into one

Ritual

Ritual was on my radar for quite some time so when a group of coworkers of mine working in Houston at different client sites wanted to go here, I was all for it! On Wednesdays, if you sit at the bar for a drink, they give you a free appetizer (whatever they are cooking up that day)! Incredible deal!

This Southern gal saw gumbo on the menu so you bet I ordered it! And boy was it delish! And their charcuterie board is the largest I’ve ever seen. Two of us shared it and we had so much leftover!

The prettiest and most delish cup of gumbo!

This charcuterie board was GIANT!

Poitin

Probably my favorite patio spot in Houston where you can sip on a glass of whatever and have an incredible view of Downtown Houston is Poitin. And their patio is HUGE. So is the inside of the restaurant – which looked like a great spot to host some large gatherings!

They’ve got an incredible happy hour selection and if you’re like me and my happy hour gals, we get there early to enjoy happy hour bites and finish dinner early 🙂

This fish board had quite the selection and that bread was perfection

Crispy calamari – just like I like it!

Nobie’s

Ever heard of Dilly bread? Well, I hadn’t either until dining at Nobie’s and you betcha we ordered it! It’s pull-apart milk bread with garlic and everything butter — that butter though…

It’s super cute inside. They don’t take reservations so if you wanna dine there, go early because the space isn’t large. They have a really nice patio space that I need to check out when the weather is better.

The Dilly Bread – you better order it.

The Awe Shucks – au natural and je ne sais quoi style – ridiculously delish!

Helen in the Heights

Y’all, you might not find this funny but I sure as heck do. I went to Helen in the Heights with my friend Helen WHO LIVES IN THE HEIGHTS! Bahahahahahaha! Ok enough laughs!

Anyway, if you love Greek food in a nice dining setting, Helen in the Heights needs to be on your list.

Again, went during happy hour (which they’ve got a killer one) and had a glass of Greek wine – which was really good!

They’ve got GREEK POUTINE, y’all. Imagine fries with gyro meat on top and cheese and all the flavors! Loved their trio of dips too. And their meatballs!

We also checked out the original Helen Greek Food and Wine in Rice Village. Cute spot, smaller, make a reservation! Equally yummy food!

Trio of dips – 2 kinds of hummus and an eggplant dip. Their pita bread is addictive.

Greek Poutine – gonna just leave this right here for you to drool.

BCK Kitchen & Cocktails

If you’ve read this far, you’ve noticed we’re slowly making our way all over downtown and surrounding Houston. The Heights is close to downtown and has quite the food scene. It reminds me a lot of East Austin (for those of you who live in Austin, you know what I mean).

BCK Kitchen didn’t disappoint. A unique experience serving up “food for the soul, inspired by family memories and travel adventures”, we definitely tried those dishes which were nostalgic for us.

From the Snacks on Snacks section, we had the Street Corn (so good and cheesy), Peking Duck Tacos, and Buffalo Cauliflower.

From the It’s What’s For Dinner section, we shared the Lemon Butter Chicken – the chicken was stuffed with spinach and it was super tender and juicy!

I was most excited to try the Mac n Cheez It because I ate a ton of cheezits growing up (who didn’t?!?!) and when I saw this was elbow mac n cheese with a cheezit crust, I was intrigued. It didn’t disappoint. Look further down for a pic of that cheese pull.

The Lemon Butter Chicken is served with asparagus and mashed potatoes

That cheese stretch tho!

Finn Hall

Last but not least, we practically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at Finn Hall, the newly opened food hall that’s literally right behind the hotel where I stay every week. It’s a giant food hall, in a historic building, with so many well-known Houston restaurants that were trucks now brick-and-mortars. They’ve got 2 bars serving up beer, wine and cocktails. They’ve even got a few spaces available for large events! I’m so excited to share why I love this place with you!

Craftburger

While they’ve got a food truck, Craftburger is also located in Finn Hall and I couldn’t be happier for some gourmet burgers AND FRIES! They’ve got truffle fries, loaded fries, onion rings, LAMB POUTINE!

All American Burger – really loved it and that bun is exceptional!

Dish Society

I’ve dined at Dish Society in Katy and by The Galleria many times so needless to say, when I heard they were opening up at Finn Hall, I was ecstatic. Hello brussel sprout salad and Brisket Stuffed Sweet Potato!

My go-to at lunch is their Brussel Sprout Super Salad with a scoop of chicken salad. It’s an expensive lunch but extremely fresh and delish so I don’t mind.

Brussel Sprout Super Salad with a scoop of chicken salad – my favorite and no-brainer when I’m hungry and want something healthy

Oddball Eats

Once located at the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market but now serving up the fan favorite, falafels, 7 days a week at Finn Hall, Oddball Eats has quickly become my go-to spot for falafels and shawarmas!

You can watch them prep the freshest ingredients all day and you’ll never have to worry about eating “old” food. Everything is made-to-order. I’m a huge shawarma fan and had their Chicken “Shawarma” Sandwich that comes with a side of sumac pita chips. It’s by far my favorite shawarma ever eaten. And I’ve eaten my fair share all across the U.S. The sumac pita chips are insanely good too. Take them to-go if you’re full. They aren’t meant to be wasted.

Seasonal Salad with Falafels – holy wow…there are pom seeds in there too.

Chicken “Shawarma” Sandwich – literally the very best I’ve ever eaten.

SitLo

From banh mi, to pho, to potstickers and VIETNAMESE TOTS, SitLo is becoming a regular spot for those moments I want a hearty sandwich aka BANH MI.

I have to go back and try the tots, potstickers and their shaking beef, but I’m not worried, there is plenty of opportunities for me to do so.

Stand-out right now is the grilled chicken banh mi. It’s really good. And that french baguette is woah!

Grilled Chicken Banh Mi

There are several other restaurants at Finn Hall which I have yet to visit…will keep you posted here as I do!

La Lucha

A visit to this neighborhood dinette is a must! La Lucha is a homage to Ford Fry’s childhood visits to the San Jacinto Inn, famous for their fried chicken and Gulf seafood! Of course, this Southern gal had OYSTERS, DEVILED EGGS WITH FRIED SHRIMP and FRIED CHICKEN AND A BISCUIT!

These Murder Point oysters were perfection! Go for happy hour and take advantage of the discount!

I absolutely love Deviled Eggs and the when I saw they have fried shrimp, this was a no-brainer choice

If ever there was a perfectly cooked piece of FRIED CHICKEN, La Lucha has it! And enjoy a biscuit or two. And get all the sauces!

Nancy’s Hustle

As my time is winding down in Houston (almost a year), I’m trying to make my way down my must-dine at spots in Houston and Nancy’s Hustle has been at the top of my list!

If you haven’t been there yet, you’ve gotta bring it to the top of your list and go asap! It was truly exceptional. Probably one of the most amazing meals I’ve had in Houston so far.

The environment is warm, open, bright, earthy and laid back. The food is impeccably presented and each dish is exceptionally curated to hit the high note of every ingredient for the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

If you make it in before 6PM, enjoy happy hour pricing on select cocktails and 20% off wine bottles.

We ordered the brussel sprouts, sourdough tagliatelle, grilled snapper, and the burger. EVERY ONE OF THESE DISHES was perfectly executed and had us wanting to finish each morsel. Nothing was left…sorry leftovers…none here.

They make the sourdough tagliatelle and the brioche english muffin for the burger in house and wow, can we talk about how much I want someone to make those for me everyday?! I wish they sold the brioche english muffin because I’d buy that and make every dang sandwich on it from now until eternity.

Ok, so are you convinced that you’ve gotta eat there STAT?! Head on in peeps!

Gah, this sourdough tagliatelle was everything!

Hello, burger on a Brioche English Muffin!

Eunice

As my time in Houston for work has come to an end, I had to make sure my last meal was at a spot that I’d been dying to visit and just needed an excuse!

Enter Eunice! Such a dreamy spot. It’s absolutely stunning! Imagine bright, well-lit, open, impeccable interior design.

Four of us went to dine there and we took advantage of the larger group and ordered TONS! If you can get in there while it’s still happy hour – it’s an incredible deal – with 1/2 off cocktails, beer and wine!

We ordered alot like I mentioned, and everything hit the mark! I can’t believe Chef has a menu that is solid regardless of what you order.

Some highlights but truly, everything was outstanding: “Dan Dan” Shrimp, Cajun Duck Poppers, Hand Pulled Burrata, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffe, Bread Pudding.

Make a reservation asap and dine there! You won’t be sorry!

Chicken Liver Mousse, Cornmeal Crusted Oysters, “Dan Dan” Shrimp – gahhhhh, so good!

Hello Sidecar – isn’t this beautiful?

Crawfish Hand Pies, Cajun Duck Poppers, Hand Pulled Burrata and Biscuits. Every bite was amazing!

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo – I grew up in Southern Louisiana and this was just like the ones I’d eat growing up!

Well, that’s it for my roundup of Houston eats but I promise to add to it as I explore more of the noteworthy restaurants in Houston when I go back to visit. My time in Houston is done for now but it’s not a long drive there and I’ll gladly go back for more!

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

January, 2019

Mexico City Dining Guide

As promised after my epic trip to CDMX, here are some of the spots we visited! We loved CDMX so much and will be back very soon! As usual, you’ll first see my map of the spots we visited here. Interact with it – I’ve added some pretty cool vertical videos for your viewing pleasure!

Brunch

Ojo de Agua was absolutely dreamy and so much so that we visited twice! Quite possibly the cutest spot with the tastiest food…from fresh agua frescas, to smoothies, to acai bowls, to chilaquiles and even sandwiches, you’re gonna want to go there everyday! You can grab the cutest little jars of spices, chocolate-covered coffee beans, etc. while you’re at it.

Look at this napkin holder setup!

Now this is an acai bowl! Fresh scoops of frozen dragon fruit and fresh fruit all over.

The prettiest chilaquiles right? They even give you a couple sides of habanero salsa if you so dare!

This is a cheese crepe stuffed with eggs and veggies and absolutely divine!

Fonda Margarita came highly recommended! They’re featured by Anthony Bourdain and also listed in Eater, Lonely Planet, etc. so definitely give them a try! Surprisingly, it was so close to our hotel! Think we got there earlier than most since it was empty and there were only 4 employees there. But, when we left, there were tons more people and alot more staff. CASH ONLY!

I’m not typically a macchiato or cortadito person, but they know how to make them in CDMX!

Huevos Rancheros – there was ham in here…never have had ham in rancheros.

Chilaquiles verdes – not as pretty as Ojo de Agua’s but tasty

Lunch or Dinner

When in Mexico City, one must eat ALOT of tacos. Specifically, al pastor tacos! And we had our share! If you’re a pork eater, load up on al pastor and cochinita pibil (which I love so much).

The Al Pastor tacos from La Flamita (which we happened to just come across on our walk around town) were delish!

Everywhere you go, you’ll see al pastor tacos and you can’t pass them up!

Everyone kept saying we should definitely hit up El Huequito for the best al pastor tacos so we went. There are tons of locations all over the city! They’re great for late night too! I’ll forever be dreaming of our meal there.

Bistec taco up top, pecha de pollo to the right, and the most amazing cochinita pibil tacos down below. Oh and you’ll get a tray of every salsa imagineable when you sit down!

While we were walking to a super cool jazz spot, Zinco, the hubs was hungry, and we spotted Taqueria Tlaquepaque that was popping inside with locals. You can order to-go right at the Al Pastor area, so he did. We loved watching the guy shave off the pineapple and meat and drop it into a tortilla (check out the map above for a video of this)! They even packed him up some salsas and lime!

Al Pastor tacos are everywhere and you can get them super late too!

Our first night, we had an early dinner (by Mexico City standards) because we were starving, and thankfully, Amaya was a 5-minute walk from our hotel. We were told that the owner of Amaya was also part owner of Bichi Wines, and this wine-lover had to go in to experience the food and wine of course! Staff were so attentive and sweet and the space is gorgeous!

Since Bichi Wines make small batches, this glass of Listan probably won’t be around when you go, but it was delish! Try any of them, they’d love to serve you!

I could have eaten 10 of the Ceviche and Fried fish Tostada

Freakin dreamy gnocchi with kale!

Grilled sea bass – to die for!

Um profiteroles with hazelnut ice cream – O M G

A well-known chef in Austin suggested we dine at Huset, so we made a reservation real quick, and boy am I glad we did! It’s a stunner of a space. They’ve made a magical garden out of what I think is an old warehouse sandwiched between two residential buildings. Be prepared to be WOW’d.

Huset is the most magical place.

This sea bass sashimi and gnocchi were both beautifully presented and absurdly delish!

Chicken and rice – everything cozy!

If you love seafood as much as I do, then Contramar has to be on your dining agenda for your next visit! The scene – quite busy and organized chaos – the staff are so efficient (we spent many a minutes watching them flip tables in 30 seconds or less). Loved the vibes though and well-worth the noise. Make sure to make a reservation!

Mahi Mahi Tiradito – such bright flavors!

Scallop Aguachile – omg that sauce!

Tuna Tostadas – by far the best I’ve had.

Sopes – with tuna! Love me some sopes!

So we originally had reservations elsewhere, but we kept seeing so many sushi restaurants all over town and decided we needed to see why. Enter Rokai and wow, what a great choice! They’re part of a large group of restaurants and each one is so unique. They’ll even walk you to your next destination if within the group – i.e. take me to Tokyo Music Bar or Le Tachinomi Desu for a drink please. We didn’t do the Omakase but they do have 2 options for it.

Kampachi sashimi – oh my word…we almost got another order

Salmon and avocado maki – nom nom

Spicy tuna and avocado maki – that tuna tho!

And all the nigiri!

Coffee and Cocktails

Leave it to me to find all the cute coffee shops! And of course, we stopped in for some epic cocktails too! First up, Cortaditto Cafe. We were walking through the Sunken Gardens aka Parque Hundido, and wanted a place to chill and sip on some coffee. Cortaditto Cafe did not disappoint. Super cute (check out my video in the map), and delish drinks.

We got the cubanitto (up top) and cortaditto (down below) – both perfecto!

Again, after visiting Frida Kahlo’s Museum, we walked through the neighborhood and bumped into a super adorbs spot called Hermann Thomas. I’m obsessed (check out the video in the map).

This space was so modern and beautifully lit. And they’ve got a cute living room too

The cutest macchiato and espresso – all while sitting in a presh living room

Ever had pox (pronounced posh)? We went to a poxeria called La Poxeria because they were playing some bumpin’ music and not crowded like a lot of the spots in Roma.

I got the Moxito – a mojito made with Pox – way better and less sweet than rum!

After our meal at Rokai, they took us across the road to a new spot just added to their group called Tokyo Music Bar. They had a DJ spinning records, and we really liked the scene there. Not crowded, epic cocktails, great convos with the bartenders. If you can’t get into Le Tachinomi Desu (standing room only bar), then hit up Tokyo Music Bar instead.

The pink and white – light and refreshing!

All in all, we had the most amazing trip and seriously are planning our next visit. From history, to culture, to art and to a world-renown food scene, Mexico City has it all! Let me know if you need more recommendations and happy traveling!

January, 2019

ATX vs. HOU BBQ Throwdown 2018 Recap

To state that I’m excited about attending the annual HOU vs ATX Throwdown next year is an understatement. I’m really not big into BBQ – well, I can’t eat as much as a true fan does – but I do love meeting the pitmasters, oogling over the meat and dining with friends and fellow fans!

This year, the throwdown was in Austin at Friends & Allies Brewing back parking lot. If you’ve ever been to a BBQ Festival, you know the lines can get long and the crowd can get wild, but the setup of this one was perfect. The lines were manageable, you could mingle and observe what was cooking at each spot, and the weather for the event was absolutely perfect. Pair it with a delicious brew from Friends & Allies, and you have a Sunday made in heaven!

Here are some photos from the unique BBQ bites we had at the event:

Smoked Brisket Tamale from El Burro and the Bull
Holiday Stuffed Brisket Tamale from Brett’s BBQ
Mexican Street Corn Dog by Bodacious BBQ – the winner!
This Brisket Burnt End Boudin from Stiles Switch was one of my favorites!
Smoked Lengua from LeRoy & Lewis – wowzas!
Smoked Beef Rib Quesadilla from Beavers was my absolute favorite and it won the People’s Choice!
Brett’s brought this nice sweet treat to wash down all the bbq – a strawberry rhubarb cobbler – divine!

If you can’t wait till the next throwdown between ATX and HOU around this time next year, then get your tickets for the HOU BBQ Festival on April 14th now! 

Hope to see you soon!

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

December, 2018

Artista Rosso Now Open for Brunch!

I was invited in by Artista Rosso for a blogger’s brunch preview before the official launch of Brunch service on 12/1. I’m going to be a frequent brunch-er there because HELLO NUTELLA BAR!

If you’ve been to the space at Lamar Union, previously Delicious, the newly renovated spot features a market for the neighboring residents, a coffee bar, an extensive wine selection, a full draught beer selection and tons of grab-and-go items. They’ve also obviously got a kitchen and are whipping out amazing Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour and Brunch!

As you can tell from the pictures below, we had a feast! I’ll definitely be visiting again very soon because they’ve got crepes (made to order with lots of nutella!), cannolis (fill them with goodness), and all kinds of other super addictive delicious items that I’m a fan of.

Egg Benedict – look at all that shaved ham!
Coffee Bar view
All the goodness – Breakfast casserole, eggs benedict, garden hash, fruit, toast, mimosas!

Next time you’re looking for a brunch spot, head on over to Lamar Union and dine at Artista Rosso. Treat yo self! 

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

December, 2018

Wild Chix & Waffles – Reopening December 11th with a 100% Gluten Free Menu!

If you didn’t know, now you do! Wild Chix & Waffles is set to re-open on Tuesday, December 11th with a renovated space and a 100% #glutenfree menu! Yes, you heard that right. 

The Wild Chix & Waffles team hosted the Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance for our monthly Happy Hour and Holiday Party and had the great pleasure of previewing tons from their new menu.

I mean, how beautiful is their space?

Bright and well-lit dining area!

I was too busy socializing and eating to take a ton of pics, but I did manage to get a few of some of the yums!

Yucca chips & guacamole – REALLY REALLY GOOD!
Salad Trio – Aloha Beaches, Hippie Chix, Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields Salad – loved the arugula so much!
Vegan Burger – omg!
Gone Bananas – waffle topped with bananas and nutella!
And if you love to feel like a kid again, sit in this giant swing with a friend and dine 🙂 Pictured here: my beautiful friend Nicole (@loveofallofthethings)

To recap: They’re re-opening to the public Tuesday, December 11th and their menu is 100% gluten free. They’ve got tons of savory waffles, sweet waffles, salads, waffle fries, truffle mac & cheese, matcha, lattes, mimosas, sangria, etc. (basically everything you need and want)!

See y’all there soon!

Bon Appetite,

Shveta

December, 2018