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Austin360 Eats


Celebrate National Hamburger Day with the best burgers in Austin

National Hamburger Day (I’ll save you a click, you don’t get a day off of work or anything) is Sunday.


The ideal aperitif: Good vermouth, cool and fragrant

The ideal aperitif: Good vermouth, cool and fragrant

One summer evening a few years ago, I was standing in the Napa Valley kitchen of Steve Matthiasson, a farmer and winemaker, when he handed me a tumbler filled with amber liquid and a fat cube of ice. It was not what I was expecting from Matthiasson, who, with his wife, Jill Klein Matthiasson, makes a range of wonderfully pure and refreshing wines from both the expected grapes like cabernet sauvignon...
Batali has advice for food-wasters

Batali has advice for food-wasters

Recently, I interviewed Batali by email about food waste, and tips he could offer readers about ways we can prevent waste in the home as well as when we dine out. A: I agree with Dan, but it’s even more critical to consider American portion sizes. Americans who dine out are typically faced with the dilemma of overeating or wasting food. The obvious solution is reducing entrees by 1/3, or even...
Charcoal or gas? Depends on what you’re grilling

Charcoal or gas? Depends on what you’re grilling

Gas or charcoal? It is a question that has bedeviled American consumers and cooks for decades, since the first LazyMan propane grill went on sale in the 1950s and left the Smiths with their briquette-fueled brazier looking jealously over the fence at the Joneses and their new outdoor science stove. In the abstract, there is no one correct answer. You can have affirmative responses to the use of either...
Cooking good food fast is key for Ramadan

Cooking good food fast is key for Ramadan

When a cook such as Rima Kasm prepares for Ramadan - the month-long period during which Muslims fast during daylight hours - she knows that planning is even more essential than usual. "I will write down what I want to cook each day and get everything I need," says the Newport Beach, California, resident who came to America from her native Lebanon 25 years ago. She will rise before dawn to...
No cream? No butter? Can this really be French cooking?

No cream? No butter? Can this really be French cooking?

It’s time for American cooks to embrace their French side; no passport or accent necessary. As a proper guide for this French adventure, Georgeanne Brennan’s latest cookbook, “La Vie Rustic: Cooking and Living in the French Style” (Weldon Owen, 292 pages, $35), offers indispensable advice.  Brennan’s French lesson is based on simple, seasonal, sustainable eating...
How to build a better BLT — and add lobster or arugula pesto

How to build a better BLT — and add lobster or arugula pesto

It seems almost a shame to be writing about BLTs in the middle of May, months from tomato season, but it’d be more shameful to indulge in a month dedicated to sandwiches without including this pillar of high art. And don’t be mistaken, a BLT with its symphony of crunchy, savory, salty and juicy is high art.  The blueprint is baked into the name, a triumvirate of bacon, lettuce and...

Make a jar of this, and every meal is just a sprinkle away from crunchy

One common complaint about vegetarian dishes is that they can lack texture. But plant-based foods can range in texture just as much as meat can, so it's simply a matter of paying attention to that quality when you're cooking. Most weeks I write about a full-fledged meal, but this week I'm writing about a DIY pantry item that can act as a texture-insurance policy. It's a savory granola, made the same...
Do Texas restaurants shortchange on food by the pound? Mostly not.

Do Texas restaurants shortchange on food by the pound? Mostly not.

When Sid Miller squawked about a proposed change in law ending state oversight of scales in restaurants, we wondered if Texas Department of Agriculture inspectors have uncovered a lot of weighty problems when it comes to sales of barbecue and other vittles. That is, do customers stand a good chance of ordering a pound of brisket and getting less than that? Not so, at least according to the results...
Memorial Day grilling: Where to stock up on local beef, pork (and yes, hot dogs)

Memorial Day grilling: Where to stock up on local beef, pork (and yes, hot dogs)

Nitrate-free hot dogs used to be hard to come by, but now that even the biggest hot dog brands are taking out some of the preservatives in their products, you can find them in most grocery stores. But if you’re looking for a nitrate-free smoked hot dog made with pork and beef raised in Texas, you can get it from Augustus Ranch, a fourth-generation ranch in Yoakum that sells meat online (via...
No Va Kitchen + Bar on Rainey Street is closing

No Va Kitchen + Bar on Rainey Street is closing

FEBRUARY 20, 2014 – No Va Kitchen & Bar located at 87 Rainey St. (Rodolfo Gonzalez AMERICAN-STATESMAN) One of the early movers on Rainey Street is bowing out of the game.
Open strawberry season with a showstopper

Open strawberry season with a showstopper

Galettes are generally casual desserts, made with just a rolling pin, a baking sheet and an oven. These free-form tarts can be filled with any fruit and will bake up bubbling and golden, no matter how slapdash you think you’ve been when folding them up. This elegant galette, however, requires a bit more attention. But those few extra steps — making a two-layer filling of strawberries and...
Best Bites: Ritz Crisp & Thins Salt & Vinegar

Best Bites: Ritz Crisp & Thins Salt & Vinegar

You could argue that Ritz Crisp & Thins Salt & Vinegar chips have too many ampersands in the name, but it is inarguable that these puffed chips are good. Make that very good. They are a lower fat alternative to potato chips, and are every bit as insidiously addicting. They are light, crispy, airy and delicious. Sorry — airy & delicious. Size: 7.1 ounces  Price: $2.99 or more  Available...
Whether green or white, asparagus is a rite of spring

Whether green or white, asparagus is a rite of spring

For me, there’s no more secure harbinger of the exodus from winter than the oh so welcomed gift of a bundle of tender asparagus stalks from a dear friend who has been nurturing her asparagus bed for many years. A perennial, asparagus takes a few years of cultivating before it will yield its tasty rewards. It is worth the wait. If we were transplanted to the climes of Europe, we’d welcome...
Beer of the Week: A refreshing wheat beer with a tidal wave of hops

Beer of the Week: A refreshing wheat beer with a tidal wave of hops

I caught myself referring to Modern Times' Fortunate Islands as "really sessionable" the other day. It felt a little ridiculous: Of course a wheat beer should be easy-drinking. My first tastes of "wheat beers" were Bavarian hefeweizens and Belgian witbiers, perfect for crushing on a sultry summer day, which is something I still associate with the "wheat beer." That was...
Artichoke hearts fry up crisp, delicious and pretty enough for prom

Artichoke hearts fry up crisp, delicious and pretty enough for prom

Flowers, though quiet, have a lot to say. For instance: I’m sorry. I like you. And, at prom: You’re mine. The tradition, one tradition has it, dates back to the damsel who ripped a swatch from her gown and pressed it into the armored fingers of her departing knight. He was hers.  Now she wears a corsage, which means bodice, though it snaps around the wrist. He wears a boutonniere...
This 10-minute dinner sauce starts with a bottle opener

This 10-minute dinner sauce starts with a bottle opener

Sauces that are complex and require hours of reduction are wondrous kitchen assets, but then again, so are the ones that take shortcuts to achieve the same lustrous, glaze-y results. This recipe features the latter and relies on ginger beer, which these days can be found at any supermarket and is really a carbonated, nonalcoholic beverage that is less sweet and more gingery-tasting than ginger ale...
Find boozy respite with some of Austin’s best brunch cocktails

Find boozy respite with some of Austin’s best brunch cocktails

Austinites are serious about weekend brunch: that blissful late morning/early afternoon ritual in indulgence during which we can recharge from the long week we might want to forget and the Friday night we might not remember. Hair of the dog — whether it’s a spicy, wake-up-your-palate bloody mary or a disarmingly light and bubbly mimosa — is an essential accompaniment. But these days...
Odd Duck team announce plans for new fast-casual Sour Duck Market

Odd Duck team announce plans for new fast-casual Sour Duck Market

Five-times James Beard award finalist Bryce Gilmore wanted to find a way to deliver his brand of thoughtful, quality food to a wider audience and at lower price points. So, the Odd Duck and Barley Swine chef-owner and his partners came up with the idea for Sour Duck Market. The all-day, fast-casual cafe and bar located at 1814 East Martin Luther King Blvd. at Chicon Street will follow the same guiding...
Austin360Cooks: Readers respond with bread-making tips

Austin360Cooks: Readers respond with bread-making tips

I love it when readers share their thoughts on how they cook at home. In today’s food section, I wrote about a new no-knead bread I like, and before breakfast, I had an email from a reader named Wolf who wanted to share some of his own bread-making tips. If you have your own tips and tricks on baking bread, leave a comment or email me at abroyles@statesman.com: Thanks for your piece about bread...
Yummy desserts for diabetics

Yummy desserts for diabetics

I’m not going to lie to you: Desserts without sugar do not taste as good as desserts with it.  But diabetes is not to be taken lightly. It is literally a matter of life and limb. Amputations are common with diabetes. So is blindness. Sugar makes it worse, and so do carbohydrates.  Basically, everything that makes a dessert good is what makes it bad for diabetics, who now make up a...
A lasagna recipe that puts asparagus in the spotlight

A lasagna recipe that puts asparagus in the spotlight

Here in the 21st century, most produce is available year-round - even if it needs to come to us from afar. But we happen to be in the midst of asparagus season, when the toothsome veggie is at its absolute best: local, fresh and delicious. Typically, asparagus is cast as a scene-stealing supporting actor. But this lasagna recipe, in which tender spears take the place of beef or pork, places it firmly...
Bad wines are bad wines, period

Bad wines are bad wines, period

If you drink bad wine long enough, will that eventually lead to drinking good wine? No, I don’t think so. Still, a couple of wine writers have recently tried to make the case that bad wine should be tolerated, if not embraced. They argue that it can’t be entirely bad if it appeals to large numbers of people. Drinking bad wine encourages the love of all wine, and, really, nothing is harmful...
Fiber is under the radar, but still boosts health

Fiber is under the radar, but still boosts health

Dietary fiber is so 20th century. Important research published and widely publicized in the 1970s, ’80s and ‘90s highlighted fiber’s role in reducing the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders including diverticulitis, and some cancers — all while helping to control weight. Save the world with fiber.  Here in the 21st century, fiber no longer...
The worst fat in the food supply

The worst fat in the food supply

As strange as it may seem to someone who is not a chemist, the movement of a single hydrogen atom from one side of a molecule to the other can change a simple, naturally occurring food ingredient into a deadly substance. The transformed ingredient I’m speaking of is trans fatty acid, or trans fats as consumers know them, a core component of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. For most of...
Einstein Bros.'s Espresso Buzz Bagel isn't the caffeine jolt you're looking for

Einstein Bros.'s Espresso Buzz Bagel isn't the caffeine jolt you're looking for

Perfect for the busy professional who wants coffee and a bagel on the drive to work, without the usual worry of drink drippage, Einstein Bros. has introduced the Espresso Buzz Bagel. It's a soft, brooding round, as dark as pumpernickel, that contains 32 milligrams of caffeine. You'll need to eat about five of these bloated rounds to equal the caffeine content of a single two-ounce pull of Starbucks'...
Aioli: Smashing it old school with mortar and pestle

Aioli: Smashing it old school with mortar and pestle

“When the moon marks your breath with the fragrance of death, that’s aioli.”  Stupid Dean Martin: That’s how that lyric should have gone. Amore, after all, is highly over-rated. But, aioli, my friends, is forever, like Bela Lugosi’s “children of the night.” Pungent garlic and slippery extra-virgin olive oil emulsify into a creamily congenial sauce that...

Bitters: What exactly they are, and how to use them in cocktails and more

Think of bitters like the spice rack of the cocktail world. That's the first thing Hunter Bryant, bar manager at Haven in Tampa, tells me when I sidle up to the restaurant's bar on a recent weekday for a Bitters 101 lesson. It instantly helps me understand the allure of the alcoholic extracts.  Like most people, I was familiar with bitters, those mysterious dark dashes of potent liquid gingerly...
15 wines that will help you understand Washington (the state, not the swamp)

15 wines that will help you understand Washington (the state, not the swamp)

Those adhering today to the legendary prompt of 19th century America — “Go west, young man” — would serve themselves well by not going all the way west, particularly if the goal is to make Pacific Northwest wine. Coastal Washington has beauty and charms all its own and even produces some of the state’s wine. But eastern Washington is predominantly where the state&rsquo...
Head to Europe for crisp white wines to match grilled chicken wraps

Head to Europe for crisp white wines to match grilled chicken wraps

The white wines of Europe are far more diverse — and flavorful — than the mass-produced pinot grigio you usually grab at the supermarket. Take these three from Chablis, Santorini and the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain. Each would make a fresh companion to a light dinner, like this grilled chicken salad in a wrap. ———  In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt...
A vital drug runs low, though its base ingredient is in many kitchens

A vital drug runs low, though its base ingredient is in many kitchens

Hospitals around the country are scrambling to stockpile vials of a critical drug — even postponing operations or putting off chemotherapy treatments — because the country’s only two suppliers have run out. The medicine? Sodium bicarbonate solution. Yes, baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate is the simplest of drugs — its base ingredient, after all, is found in most kitchen cabinets...
For vegetables that sing, cook them simply - and then slather in sauce

For vegetables that sing, cook them simply - and then slather in sauce

Apologies to the Beatles, but in the kitchen, all you need is sauce. Vinaigrettes for your salads, creamy purees for your grain bowls, salsas for dipping, glazes for coating. I mean, if you think about it, what is soup, if not a big bowl of sauce? With perhaps some chunks of vegetables and/or proteins swimming in it. Perhaps that last example goes a little far, but you get my point. When I'm in the...
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