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

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

Right Now Canned Wines – Take One Anywhere!

Canned wines don’t have to be just for the people without tastes for the finer things in life! I’ve had some amazing wines in cans lately, and when Right Now Canned Wines asked if I’d be interested in having a sample of some of theirs, I quickly said YES! With football season and tailgating, to Halloween in a few days, to Thanksgiving and all the grub (wine pairs perfectly with turkey), I’m all for single-serving wines so others don’t have to feel obligated to drink a bottle with me 🙂

Right Now’s canned wines allow you the freedom to enjoy great wine whenever you want, wherever you want. Created by winemaker Olga Crawford, a Master of Wine, Right Now’s collection of red, white, rosé and shimmer goes great with a variety of tailgate treats, including burgers, dogs, and wings. Elevate your tailgate this fall with Right Now’s convenient cans of high-quality, delicious grapes.

Did you know, canned wine is the fastest growing trend in the wine industry, can be really good, and its happening RIGHT NOW.

  • Canned wine is no longer a fad, it’s a $45 million dollar business.
  • Sales of canned wine in the US grew 43% from June 2017-June 2018.
  • Millennial drinkers love the cans because they can buy individual servings, and they’re environmentally friendly.
  • The aluminum cans are 100% recyclable, unlike bottles (with their labels, foils, corks and screw-cap liners), boxes or other wine formats.

Aren’t these two cans just beautiful?

The Shimmer Sparkling Rosé and the Rosé – get your rosé all day on!

So pretty in pink! And dry, just like I like mine!

They have an Alpine Stream White and a Red Number 8 and a Red Number 6 all worth trying! Grab a can and let’s cheers to wine on-the-go.

Cheers,

-Shveta

October, 2018

ATXLoves Launch!

The City of Austin and Visit Austin launched a new site called ATXLoves earlier this week! It was facilitated by a grant through the City of Austin to create an online experience guide + interactive map that connects visitors to locally-loved businesses, aggregated from a variety of groups and publications that highlight Austin’s favorite local businesses.

I was asked, by LookThinkMake, to contribute to the site as a Food Influencer and naturally, being the East #Austinite that I am, I curated my list with my favorite East ATX Restaurants! Several other Influencers from the city contributed too, with lists from their favorite coffee shops, to nightlife and drinks, and best places to grab meals and snacks to name a few.

Check out my curated list here and browse through all the others!

All in all, ATXLoves and everyone who contributed brought support to over 800 homegrown businesses and spreading the word amongst tourists of what Austin loves.

I hope you’ll enjoy the lists and discover some gems all across town!

Best,

Shveta

VoyageDallas Trailblazer Series – I’m featured!

A huge thanks to VoyageDallas for sharing my story in the South Dallas collection of the Trailblazer Series!

I’d love it if you took a look at the article and would appreciate your feedback here.

I hope it inspires you to pursue your dreams, work hard and have tons of fun while living your best life!

xoxo,

Shveta

Still Austin Whiskey – now distilling Rye Gin too!

Still Austin Whiskey invited us in for a tour of their distillery as well as a couple of cocktails this weekend! I’ve been by before – love the aesthetics of this place! And, even better, they’re located in The Yard, where you can grab you a coffee at Spokesman, a beer at St. Elmo, and some delish Hot Gai at Soursop all on the same day! Emojis Grill Cheese is in the outdoor space of Still too and their Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese is to die for!

Still has whiskey and gin cocktails now! Grab you a bottle of their whiskeys or gins to-go too. The bottles are so pretty and the cocktails are gorgeous and refreshing.

Rye Gin menu

I really enjoyed the Texas Grapefruit Rosemary Gimlet – talk about refreshing!

The Bees Knees on the left and Gimlet on the right – both were very good and of course, photogenic 🙂

If you didn’t know, Still Austin Whiskey is the first whiskey distillery in Austin city limits since prohibition. They’re still scaling up and distilling as they’ve only been open for right at a year now. Stay tuned for even more whiskey and gin to come. But stop on by next time you’re in the area. It’s really a beautiful space serving up some delicious bevs!

Cheers!

-Shveta

July, 2018

Cava is finally in the ATX!

Mediterranean food is by far my favorite cuisine and while some of my favorite spots to indulge in all things Shwarma, Kubideh, Tabouleh and Hummus are in Houston, when I heard fast-casual Cava was headed to Austin from the DC area, I stalked their page everyday for the news!

Enter the healthiest, most welcoming, beautiful Greek & Mediterranean casual modern restaurant!

Their location off Guadalupe aka The Drag has a beautiful patio with Will Bryantz artwork all over the walls making for tons of InstaWorthy shots!

Customized a Grains and Greens bowl with falafel and grilled meatballs

The entire spread with their housemade watermelon mint juice and strawberry citrus

A Grains and Greens bowl with falafel and chicken and a raspberry lime Spindrift

Pita with spicy lamb meatballs!

They have quite the selection of juices and teas – I really enjoyed the Watermelon Mint!

They’re now open in Westlake and coming soon to downtown #ATX off of 6th and Congress very soon!

Try everything, feel good about what you eat, and enjoy the vibes!

Bon Appetite!

-Shveta

July 2018