Normally, I leave Austin restaurant reviews to my buddy Jodi at Tasty Touring but I had to share my experience at Frank last night. The Lex and me wanted a gentle, cost-effective place to eat dinner for Saturday night, and having recently passed by this new Austin “artisanal sausage” establishment, we checked out the menu and after seeing its prices and bacon-licious menu, decided to go.
Ummm yeah, cue 10 minutes after we just ate dinner and Alex is in scrubs, curled up on the couch blissful yet so full she could die. Me? Well, I’m just in awe of the food, menu, service and atmosphere.
First, we had the Corn Cup which is grilled corn served with chili mayonaisse, lime juice, cilantro and cotjia cheese and the Ranch House Potato Salad with buttermilk ranch, hickory smoked bacon, cheddar and green onion. Simple and delicious and eaten in about .5 seconds.
I started my meal with the BOMB beverage called a Red-Headed Stranger which is – get ready – house-made bacon infused Dripping Springs Vodka with Frank bloody mary mix, cheddar cheese and bacon. Ummmm, I was a happy little lamb during this entire drinking experience. Bacon in your drink = happy Emily.
For the main course we had a friend join us and he got the Notorious P.I.G. which is housemade pork, bacon, jalapeno and sage sausage with macaroni and cheese and Texas BBQ sauce. I took one bite of this and for flash of a moment I thought about stashing it in my turtleneck and running out the door to devour outside. He also decided to “Pork It” which is where you can take any daily dog split and stuff it with white American cheese, wrap it in bacon and deep fried.
Alex got the Chili Cheese Dog which is 100% Vienna beef, chili, cheddar and decided to “pork it” too. Now, I got the Nacho Dog which is refried beans, cheese, sour cream, pico, jalapenos which both were awesome!
After eating all of this one would think we would be done but come on y’all it’s US! We got the bananas foster and they used rum and banana liquor instead of the traditional brandy which made it sweeter plus the they served with Amy’s Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream. We highly approve.
Overall the service was great and although they were out of fries (what?!) and the first dessert we wanted to go with, they were gracious about it and gave us alternatives that they didn’t include in our bill. Gentle.
Our next trip to Frank will be for brunch, chicken and waffles anyone?
You want to know the one word that describes our meal tonight? You guessed it….mmmmmmmmmmmm. I don’t think I’ve ever heard two people gush over a home-cooked meal like we did with this Indian Lamb Chops with Curried Cauliflower recipe from Bon Appétit. I was telling Alex some of my favorite recipes are the most simple and straight-forward, so this dish with its short and simple ingredient list and quick preparation, knocked our socks-off.
One simple addition, and if you are going to make this dish we HIGHLY recommend serving with sweet mashed potatoes which we peeled, boiled and mashed with heavy cream, unsalted butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. The mashed potatoes with the lamb, cauliflower and fresh green onion was well…mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
This bad boy is going into our favorites and next time we are going to double the sauce used for the cauliflower to drizzle over the lamb too. Make this immediately!
My friend and fellow blogger Ivette from Here’s to Looking at Life has been dying for me to watch the movie Amélie for quite some time, not just because it’s my name en français, she knew I would love it! Being that we are total food dorks, the idea came about to have a French-themed food night to go along with our little movie…best laid plans is all I have to say.
Joining the intimate party was my niece Alex, Ivette of course and Lindsay from Apron Adventures
. We started cooking pretty late, well because there was good French wine – we loved Le Coq Rouge
for $11 at Whole Foods Market – and cheese, crackers, grapes and apples to munch on while we gossiped about everything under the sun. For our main course, we chose this delicious Dijon Croque Monsieur
recipe with Haricots Verts Salad from Cooking Light
and for dessert Alex made these awesome Café Au Laits
The Dijon Croque Monsieurs
were very easy to assemble and I liked the fat-free milk/egg substitute wash for the sandwiches that gave them a nice crisp texture. This was a simple, cheesy, ham-a-licious sandwich that we all enjoyed and the haricots verts salad (we used bagged green beans and they worked just fine!) had a delicious and easy vinaigrette and we added in some toasted almonds for crunch; recipe below. Click here
to see our finished dish from last night at Here’s To Looking at Life
I didn’t make the Café Au Laits but watched Alex make them and it came together really, really, really easily and by the end of the night we inhaled them although we said we were just going to have a bite. 😉
Why best laid plans? We didn’t even watch the movie! Leave it to a group of besties to get around each other with great food, good wine, the best company and not need anything else to entertain us – I wouldn’t have it any other way. C’est si bon!
Haricots Verts Salad
Cook ¾ pound trimmed haricot verts in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge beans into ice water, drain. Place beans in a medium bowl; add ½ cup of slivered red bell pepper. Combine 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over bean mixture; toss to coat (add almonds if you desire).
You might have noticed that Cooking Inside the Lines has been a little quieter than normal and although there are a few good reasons for this, the main one is that the lambiest of the lambs, aka my niece Alex, just joined me in my humble abode here in Austin. Alex is getting settled in our fair city and searching for a cooking or pastry job (ahem, ahem). She just graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas and is a passionate chef especially with a love for pastry.
I’m so excited to have her here and although she is now a trained chef she will be here with me testing and tasting recipes so you don’t have to. Welcome to Austin Alex and we will be testing recipes this week so stay tuned!
The next recipe I tested for the cover recipe smackdown was Cooking Light’s Beef and Pinto Bean Chili. I literally just ate this for lunch and since there is an empty bowl sitting beside me I can confirm that it’s quite good. It has layers of great flavor and I loved the toppings of radishes, avocado, cilantro and sour cream. I removed the seeds from the jalapeños and now I wish I didn’t since I’m such a lover of heat. Regardless, this was a nice, slow-cooking dish for a holiday Monday and very easy to put together.
Now, does this beat the Spaghetti and Meatballs dish from Bon Appétit? I have to say the meatballs are still in the number one spot! To be fair, it does have bacon paste in it. Yum, bacon paste. Stay tuned though as I’ve got my dough rising for the sticky buns from Food and Wine which is the final cover recipe to test!
Being given the honor of The Best Dish of the Year 2010 by Bon Appétit is not something to be taken lightly friends. But yes, the humble yet comforting and delicious meatball has been given this honor and if you think about, with its versatility, many uses in many cultures and plain awesomeness it’s no surprise. Let’s hear what the magazine has to say for itself.
“With a return to homey, comforting cooking this year, meatballs made it big, appearing on restaurant menus and kitchen tables everywhere. They’re affordable, easy to make and absolutely delicious – and have inspired cooks from all over the world. Discover just how good (and versatile) meatballs can be with these five wonderful recipes.”
As mentioned, I’m testing and tasting three cover recipes for an all-out recipe smackdown
and this Spaghetti and Meatballs Alla’Amatriciana
might have already won without me trying the other two (although the other two look lovely thank you very much). THIS WAS THE BOMB. First, take a look at step one to make the meatballs…you make a bacon paste. Bacon paste. I think I said “this is so awesome, I’m making BACON PASTE” about three times as the delicious applewood smoked bacon spun around in the food processor. Bacon paste.
One would think that with so much bacon, about 12 slices in all, you would just taste bacon. No, no people. This sucker was layers of lovely delicious flavor upon delicious flavor upon delicious flavor. I tested this recipe to its full potential and will have leftovers for days, lucky me huh? I would also like to point out the Pork Meatball Bahn Mi (I love Bahn Mis!) looks awesome and I’m going to have to try that next.
This recipe flowed nicely but note it is a lot of steps and lengthy in its process (hence why I was eating dinner at 8:00 p.m.) so I would recommend making this on a Sunday so you can eat the leftovers all week. The bit o’labor is worth it so seriously give this dish a try.
This might be my last post for a week and half or so since I’ve got an intense period of time coming up and won’t have the opportunity to cook. With that I leave you with two things. One: TEXAS FIGHT! Can you believe the game is tomorrow night? Let’s all focus our energy on super happy, positive burnt orange thoughts towards a Texas win in Pasadena. Ready….do it now! Second, if you got this far, you must love meatballs so what is your favorite meatball dish? Let’s vote (up to your right on this page 😉
Well it’s my first post of 2010 and I hope this finds you having a gentle start to the New Year. Personally I’m ready to get back to work but am really enjoying just one more lazy day before everything gets started again.
All of the January/February issues are out and I’m literally swimming in magazines from Cooking Light, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Saveur, Prevention, EatingWell and Food Network Magazine and I have recipes selected for weeks and weeks. One fun recipe testing idea I’m starting in the New Year was created by my friend Ivette who walked in my office one day with this flash of fun brilliance – “Battle of the Cover Recipes.” Like the name states, each month I’m going to test and taste the covers recipes of cooking magazines and announce a winner by the end of the month. Thank you Ivette! I’m testing Bon Appétit’s delicious-looking Spaghetti and Meatballs All’amatriciana this week and have also chosen Cooking Light’s comfort-in-a-bowl Beef and Pinto Bean Chili and Food and Wine’s dripping with ooey goeey goodness Butterscotch Sticky Buns…let the battle begin!
Now where were we? Oh food, cooking and recipes yes! I have had a nice easy day of cooking this morning with two awesome recipes from the new Cooking Light. One is this Banana, Wheat Germ and Oats breakfast dish that was quick, super delicious and reminded me of a grown-up version of the oatmeal my mom would make for me when I was kid. I am a big believer in breakfast and never, ever skip it so I love having quick and easy new recipe ideas for the day’s most important meal. I saved the remainder of the cooked oats for tomorrow and then will just add the brown sugar, butter and bananas for a super fast breakfast in the morning.
For lunch, I came across this Spanish-Style Tuna and Potato Salad in their Easy Cooking section that focuses on a slew of recipes all based on one convenience staple, in this case, canned tuna. Did you know that you get more healthy omega-3 fatty acids from drained tuna packed in water instead of oil? Hmm, good to know. I tested this recipe to its full capacity so I am going to have this salad around for days to munch on and am I glad because this was delicious! The crunchy romaine lettuce worked perfectly with all of the smoky flavors of smoked paprika and red pepper and tangy dressing, plus I loved the mixture of shallots, tomatoes, red potatoes, green beans and of course canned tuna. This was a fast, easy and fresh salad that I think you will love. I’ve got some more cooking to do tonight and I’ll keep you posted of any further success.