Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Barley Swine

Gulp, gulp, oink, oink. You could say that was certainly me at Chef Bryce Gilmore’s new venture Barley Swine. Chef Gilmore has earned critical acclaim and tremendous success with his food trailer venture Odd Duck. Having eaten there plenty of times, and dreaming of some of his concoctions when I went to bed at night, I was pretty certain Barley Swine was not going to disappoint. I love it when I’m right.

David and I went there with Luke and Lindsay, AKA Apron Adventures, on the restaurant’s first official opening night. Heck, I was even nervous for the restaurant but there was no need for the nerves, the food seriously, seriously rocked.  Just to tell you how much it did, as we were walking in two guys said “Just order everything on the menu, it’s that good.” I did want to order the whole menu but we settled on: Potato fritters with goat cheese, leek, espelette; white bean soup, Spanish chorizo, flaked cod, olive; scallop, duck cracklin, cauliflower, green garlic, coriander; barley, foie gras, duck sausage, mushroom, sweet and sour onion; sweetbreads, garlic puree, almond, brussel sprouts, bacon. INSANE, all of them. I almost licked the sauce off the fritter, scallop and sweetbread plates. One small complaint, the soup came out lukewarm instead of hot. We weren’t sure if that was how it was meant to be served or what but it was still amazing.

For wine drinkers like moi, be warned that the wine list is limited. It’s not called Grape Swine now is it? The beer list is lengthier and I was told had a nice selection. I ordered the Troublemaker blend and thoughrougly enjoyed it. The space is super small and is all either community tables or bar seating so be prepared to get to know your fellow diners or the chefs!  Overall, we loved our first visit and thank goodness it’s just down the street so we can go again and again and again. We’ll be back Barley Swine. Call me, mean it!

Sweetbreads...kidding. We forgot to take a photo but check out this decked out Christmas El Camino we saw on our way home. Oh Austin...
Potato Fritters (Photo by David Kealey)
White Bean Soup (Photo by David Kealey)
Scallops (Photo by David Kealey)
Barley, Duck Sausage (YUM!) and Foie Gras (YUMMMMM!) (Photo by David Kealey)


No offense to Uchiko, Chef Tyson Cole’s new sibling restaurant of the Austin hot-spot Uchi, but everytime I say the restaurant name I think of this clip from Peter Pan. Yes, I’m five years old and why people invite me anywhere I have no idea.

Cool Lights at Uchiko

Yet, I was invited to a soft-launch opening by the ladies at Cultivate PR to come and experience Uchiko before it opened. Since I do love me some Uchi I jumped at the chance to get to go. Right off North Lamar between 42nd and 43rd, the exterior of the restaurant is reminiscent of a Japanese style farm-house with modern touches. We walked in and the place was PACKED. It has a great bar, smallish, private rooms in the back of the restaurant and a great room where the sushi bar is located. We parked ourselves at the sushi bar and got started on our grazing plan.

Salivating at Uchiko’s Sushi Bar

The menu was very interesting and a little more limited than Uchi’s but they did have one thing on the menu that was a must: Pork Belly. J’adore pork belly like it’s my job and I have to say Tyson Cole’s is one of the best I have ever had at Uchi. So, obviously the Bacon Sen which is berk­shire pork belly, fried green apple puree and brussel sprout kimchee, was a given. David also wanted the “sear it yourself” wagyu beef that you cook on a hot rock with kaffir lime and sel gris.


Wagyu Beef

 Now, what to do next? We had the fortunate opportunity to sit by a chef from the restaurant on his day off and asked what was the one thing we could not leave without trying. He said definitely the pork belly – well yes – and the fried chicken. We looked at him with confusion and then he pointed it out on the menu…Yakitori which is brined half cornish game hen with chayote and peanut. We also chose the Cobia Crudo which is Carribean kingfish with jalapeno and cucumber and the Akime Te with big eye tuna, watermelon, mitsuba and coriander to at least get some sushi since we were at Uchiko.

Akime Ten

Cobia Crudo


For dessert there were a lot of enticing options but the one that was screaming at us “pick me! pick me!” was the Fried Milk, can you blame us for choosing this one? The Fried Milk consists of well fried milk and choco­late milk, toasted milk, iced milk sherbet. Lots of milk eh? But totally worth it!

Fried Milk (!)

Everything, and I repeat everything, was absolutely fresh, delicious, inventive and enjoyable. The tuna and wagyu were fantastic but compared to the cobia, pork belly and yakitori they kind of faded into the background of our food experience. I agree with the chef we met, go for the great sushi experience and the pork belly and fried chicken and I would add the fried milk (and then put yourself on a diet for two weeks). Get to Uchiko stat Austinites, you will not be disappointed.

Let’s Be Frank


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?