Tag Archives: Restaurants

Pizza Week

30 May

Love makes you do crazy things. In my case, it was eating pizza for dinner five nights in a row.

I am fairly confident pizza is my husband’s love language, so what better way to spend date night funds than to explore the pizzerias in Austin-town? We made a point to go to places we had never been before so, while delicious, Winflo, Home Slice, and Salvation Pizza didn’t make the cut. We also avoided chains, so Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Papa Johns were out.

Don’t bother consulting with your doctor before attempting to recreate this adventure, you already know what the M.D. would say.

Day 1: We went to aRoma, a brand new place a few miles from home. We devoured their pizza the second day they were open.

aRoma Pizza Austin

We ordered a pie with four cheeses, including gorgonzola, and added truffle oil (because what pizza doesn’t need more greasy fat?).

aRoma Tiramisu Austin

aRoma’s version of tiramisu was a personal favorite. It had the classic ingredients (which I am a stickler about) and a fun presentation. That is Kaluha granita melting on the side.

aRoma Tiramisu

Day 2: We wandered over to the Eastside and tried VIA 313: Detroit style pizza made in an Austin style eatery.

Via 313 Austin

The thick, meaty, square  pizza was comfort food to the core. Carb. Overload.

VIA 313 Austin PIzza

Day 3: Possibly my favorite of the five, Bufalina used fresh ingredients and baked its pizza in a wood-fired oven in the dining area. We arrived promptly at 5:30, Bufalina’s opening time, and there was a wait within minutes, for good reason.

I should have snapped a few images of the oven, the restaurant interior, and the delectable gnocchi we devoured while our pizza was prepared.

Bufalina Pizza Austin

Day 4: We ventured out to Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza in Dripping Springs.

Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza Pints and Pies Sign

Our Mediterranean pizza pie was topped with spinach, sundried tomatoes, olives, and feta.

Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza

I don’t think the pizza was worth the 45+ minute wait, but the outdoor-only dining allowed us to tote Nola around.  The atmosphere is also great for a large group.  In addition to the pizza, my favorite local brewery, Jester King, is located right next door.

Nola at Stanley's

Day 5: We headed to fabulous Rounders before going to a screening at the Ritz Alamo Drafthouse. The sign has been begging me to come in for months. Who can resist New York style pizza with a Vegas vibe?

Rounders Pizza Sign Austin

We had to go classic and ordered a plain ol’ pepperoni. We ordered the casino (small) size, and still brought home almost half of a pizza. Can I add that the garlic knots were the best of their kind?

Rounders Pizza Austin

Rounders is the place you want to have your birthday party as a kid or the place you might play endless arcade games on a first date.

Rounders Pizza Decor

Day 6: We mulled over the places that remained on our list, Eastside Pies, Pinthouse Pizza, Hoboken Pie, Little Deli and Pieous, and decided to save them for another day…

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

Paris Eats

20 May

Here is what I found odd and endearing about eating in Paris:

  1. No butter or oil for your baguette
  2. No bread plates -patrons placed their bread directly on the table
  3. Tips tax included in the menu price -how spoilingly (yep, made up that word) refreshing
  4. Waiters looking at you sideways if you refused espresso and/or dessert after any meal
  5. How long the French linger over each meal
  6. Having to request your check each time you finished your food- it is thought rude for a server to present a bill before it is requested

Anthony and I learned quickly that most Parisian restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner and reopen around 7:30pm. We weren’t quite hungry for lunch after getting situated in our HomeAway, missed our first opportunity for a good meal, and were starving by dinner time. La Fontaine de Mars, a suggestion I had picked up from an article about interior designer Kelly Wearstler, served excellent French fare . There, I ate Morel mushrooms for the first time. I’m a believer.

La Fontaine de Mars | Paris, France

Rue Saint Dominique, an avenue near the Eiffel Tower, was packed with too many wonderful restaurants and patisseries. Some of my other favorites in the neighborhood were Les CocottesGateaux Thoumieux, and Aux Merveilleux de Fred.

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My Favorite New York

21 Dec

New York is the only place I have traveled that has started to become familiar, and that is a wonderful feeling to associate with a far off place. There is a small part of me that is jealous of my sister’s courage to pack up and move to New York City. There is a much larger part of me that is grateful for it. It has enabled me (and given me reason) to travel to the Big Apple annually for the past three years for longer durations than I could otherwise afford.

I have done my fair share of sightseeing, museum going, shopping, wandering, and eating in the city. There are (quite) a few places that have become favorites of mine. Whether it is your first time travelling to the city, or your fiftieth, the places below are ones I have been to that I would recommend frequenting again and again.

My Favorite New York

  • Sweet shops:
    • Lady M – The Gâteau aux Marrons and Checkers cakes were the first and second best cakes I have had in my life
    • Laduree – Their salted caramel French Macarons are beyond delicious
    • Magnolia Bakery – Three words: Red. Velvet. Cheesecake.
    • Shake Shack – A decent fast food burger, but to die for custard
    • Serendipity III – Skip the dinner menu and order a frozen hot chocolate
    • Doughnut Plant – Crème Brulee doughnuts and cake doughnuts that actually taste like cake
    • City Bakery – If you remember Chantico from Starbucks, you’ve tasted City Bakery’s rich, thick hot chocolate
    • Momofuku Milk Bar – Known for their Compost Cookies, you might also try their buttery Crack Pie

The Original Five Napkin

  • Food:
    • Five Napkin Burger – Try the Original Five Napkin then walk it off on your way to view Radio City Music Hall
    • Employees Only – They have a menu that starts at midnight and boasts of truffled grilled cheese and bacon wrapped lamp chops. Yum!
    • S’Mac – a.k.a. Sarita’s Mac and Cheese. Dine in, or heat it at home
    • Katz’s Delicatessen – Where Harry Met Sally. Right around the corner take a look at the architecture of New Museum
    • Maison Kayser – a delicious French restaurant, great for brunch
    • The Standard Grill – They serve waffles with Maple Ice Cream . Walk up to the Highline elevated park while you are near
    • Hill Country Chicken – The best Fried Mashed Potatoes
    • Stout NYC – Texas Exes, a University of Texas Alumni group,  meets here
    • Eataly – An amazing Italian market

Grand Central Terminal

  • Sights:
    • Statue of Liberty – Get Crown tickets if you can score them, book months in advance
    • Chrysler Building – Just stare at the outside
    • Flat Iron Building – right next to Madison Square Park
    • MoMA – Van Gogh, Warhol, Picasso, Lichtenstein
    • Grand Central Terminal
    • Central Park – Carousel, Central Park Zoo, Alice and Wonderland statues, boathouse, so much to do!
    • New York Public Library – Home of the original Winnie the Pooh toys, right next to Bryant Park
    • Top of the Rock(efeller Center)–  An alternative to the top of the Empire State Building

Tiffany Diamond

New Orleans: A Guide

17 May

Last weekend I took my first trip to Louisiana and visited New Orleans to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday.  As New Orleans was the kick off of a new age for him, I will use it as a kick off for my blog. In doing research for our roadtrip I found advice on experiencing New Orleans to be lacking. Today, I write for that reason. My guide compiles what I wish people had told me, what I did, what I wish I would have done, and what I would do differently.

The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone might have been my favorite place in NOLA. It is easily the most unusual cocktail bar I have ever entered. The center of the bar looks like a classic carousel that the bar top and stools rotate around. We learned from the bartender that it takes fifteen minutes to do one full rotation. If there is not a seat available at the bar when you walk in, wait. It is worth it.  I ordered a Golden Cadillac, a delicious, creamy licorice hinted drink that would be best compared to a White Russian. It was fantastic.

Gumbo, jambalaya, and a po boy were on my list of foods to eat. I wish I would have been able to try more of each to have some comparisons to offer, but Mr. B’s makes a great Gumbo Ya Ya (for non-seafood eaters) and yummy Barbecue Shrimp. If you are looking to eat at a busy restaurant but didn’t make a reservation, ask the hostess if the bar is full service, as you can usually seat yourself without a wait. This is what we did at Mr. B’s. Also, if you want to try some of the finer restaurants but are travelling on a budget, eat at these places during lunch hours. You can often order smaller portions of dinner offerings at a lower price.

I was told repeatedly that Cafe du Monde  is a New Orleans must. This coffee stand is open 24 hours so it isn’t too difficult to avoid this place during early morning hours when you will wait in a long line of tourists. Grab three warm, powdered sugar covered beignets for a whopping $2.65. Cross the street and shop the work of local artists in Jackson Square.

Obviously a walk down balcony lined Bourbon Street where the Mardi Gras magic happens is in order. Another must-walk street in the French Quarters is Royal Street. Replace all of Bourbon’s bars with art galleries and antique shops and you’ve got Royal. In the unassuming art galleries you’ll find the work of both local artists and renowned artists, such as Picasso and Dali, for sale. While you’re on Royal street, if you want to pick up a souvenir that really says New Orleans, I’d suggest stopping in Bevolo for a gas lamp like the ones you see all around the city.

A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without live music. For good blues we were told to go see Big Al at the Funky Pirate, but were also advised to “follow our ears.” We didn’t make it to see 495 pound Al, but found some fun brass bands at Vasos and BMC off of Decatur.

Saturday morning we went to Brennan’s.  As our waiter mentioned, Brennan’s is in Webster’s dictionary under Bananas Foster, but The brunch prices seemed to reflect the name more than the quality of food. If you want to dine there I’d suggest eating no more than their recommended turtle soup or their famous bananas foster.

Sunday we opted for a less expensive morning meal and ended up at Merchant: a little cafe on Common Street that serves crepes, croques, and coffee. Both the Pancetta and the Triple Cream crepes were scrumptious.  While the cafe is small, don’t expect to pop in for a quick bite as the leisurely staff makes everything fresh once you order.

After exploring the French Quarters take the St. Charles street car to the Garden District. You can get an all day pass for $3.  Bring exact change for your fare. Take a walk through the neighborhood, and admire the unique architecture marked by gas lamps and floor to ceiling shutters.

Head down to Magazine street, a 6-mile strip of mostly locally owned restaurants, galleries, and shops, and swing by Sucre for artful pastries, chocolates, macarons, or gelato. I ate an outstanding caramel peanut tart while my boyfriend sipped a Rocher gelato shake. This is one of the best patisseries I have been to in all of my travels.

I thought it would be fun to eat a bowl of gumbo at Commander’s Palace, but without reservations and a standing only bar, the wait would have taken up more precious time in New Orleans than I was willing to let it. Not to mention, I felt slightly under dressed in my casual skirt. For alternative dining in the neighborhood, hop back on the St. Charles street car and head to Slice Pizzeria: delicious brick oven pizza, a break from tourists, and NOLA Brewery beers.

If I had another day I would have loved to take the Gray Line Katrina Tour, walked through the WWII Museum, or visited the Audubon Aquarium. I’d also try a few different eateries including, Mike’s on the Avenue, Dick and Jenny’s, and The Columns.  If you have any NOLA favorites, please share below.

My pre-trip suggested reads: Design*Sponge’s New Orleans City Guide, The Urbanist’s New Orleans: What to Do, gusto & grace: a map of NOLA, The New York Times Travel Guide, and The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada.

UPDATE 6.29.12: Anthropologie recently publised this guide in their magazine.

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