14 August 2013

Austin: Day Three

Whew! If there was any day that was going to kill me, it was probably going to be today (though I am slightly terrified about tomorrow).

It's only myself and Lidia left in the class, and as relaxed as it was when there were four people, it's even more relaxed now. A bonus of there just being the three of us is that we were able to choose where we would order our lunch from and our instructor prioritized the day appropriately: determine lunch first, then start the lessons :).

We ended up deciding on Mother's Cafe and Garden. It's a vegetarian and vegan place, something i'd never thought I'd eat in Texas, but we all kind of felt like eating a little lighter.

Our menu for the day was spinach salad, a gorgonzola farfalle pasta, and a spinach lasagna (I suppose it's not that light). And to top it off our instructor's sweet tooth suggested that we order the Belgian Chocolate Chip Cake and Almond Mocha Torte. It's vegan food, that means it's super healthy right :)? Besides, we were going to share everything so we didn't need much convincing.

The portions weren't huge, just enough for three people to share three dishes and have a little bit of dessert. The farfalle pasta was cooked well, the sauce was creamy, but there wasn't enough of it to be heavy. It was good, but I got this bitter flavour from something and I wasn't exactly sure what it was. I was the only one who noticed. The spinach lasagna was very good, and I would have never guessed that the noodles were eggless, yet again, something was bitter. The only common ingredients were the parmesan cheese and pecans, so it must have been one of those. Almost surprisingly, the spinach salad was my favourite. All the ingredients seemed really fresh, especially the spinach, and the combination of everything paired with the spectacular lemon vinaigrette was beyond good. Seriously, something as simple as a vinaigrette took the entire thing to the next level.


Then there was the dessert. Now I know enough about substitutions to know that you can remove almost anything from a recipe and replace it with something else all while keeping the flavours, but I was blown away by how how good the chocolate torte was. It was extremely rich and chocolatey, with a hint of almond flavour and little pieces of crushed almonds to break of the texture. Really really good. The cake was quite good too. It was dense, and rich, and would satisfy any chocolate craving. However, I've had better cakes; that torte though, hard to beat.

Cake fell apart to the left, torte on the right.

After the class ended and I got back to my hotel to run, I wasn't so sure about dinner. I didn't feel good at all. It was likely a combination of how hard I pushed myself yesterday during my run, combined with today's run and the food I have been eating. Had I had Lidia's email address, I probably would have cancelled our dinner plans. But after a short rest I felt better and quite hungry. We didn't take any chances this time and headed for Lucy's Fried Chicken.

This place oozes, OOOZES personality. Nothing about it is typical, from the wait staff to the decor, and they served me my best meal yet.

Lidia and I both ordered a basket of chicken. For sides, she ordered grilled smashed potatoes, I ordered Mexican Coke Sweet Potatoes, because it seemed so unusual, and we also decided to share some cornbread muffins.

I'll start there.

The cornbread muffins were lightyears ahead of what we had last night at Lambert's, even though they seemed so similar. However, these muffins were larger, with a better jalapeƱo to muffin ratio. They were also sweeter, making them better at cutting the heat. The cornbread was of the higher flour content variety, which isn't my preferred style, and they weren't as good as Z-Tejas, but still excellent.


The fried chicken was fantastic. I didn't expect anything less. It wasn't overly greasy, the batter was light and spiced well, and the chicken was cooked to perfection. It's rare that I bite into a piece of chicken breast and have the juices spill out, but that's exactly what happened. And on the suggestion of our waiter, I tried a couple of bites with hot sauce (not too hot) and honey; flavour country.



The mexican coke sweet potatoes were good, but were almost a dessert. Much sweeter than I had expected, almost like a softer sweet potato pie filling than a side dish. Good flavours, but it was too sweet for me to finish.


And as silly as this is to say, the Grilled Smashed potatoes were mind blowing. Absolutely perfectly cooked. They were super moist and flavourful, tasting of potato and butter. Even in the dead centre of the potato it was still soft, insanely moist, and tasty. I expected the chicken to be great, I never expected to have some of the best potatoes in my life.

Amazing

After checking with our waiter to see if the pies were homemade (they were), I couldn't resist ordering a piece. I wanted something not chocolate, and not sweet potato, and chose the Lime Pie. It was more sweet than tart, but really good. At first I was puzzled as to why they would serve it with unsweetened whipped cream, but when the sweet pie was combined in a single bite with the whipped cream, the combination was fabulous. It went from a sweet custard; to something a bit richer and creamier. There was a little too much whipped cream (I scraped most of it off and dipped) and it wasn't the best pie I've ever had, but it was a damned good one.


Afterwards we took an impromptu trip around the State Capital, and wow, what an impressive building. I actually suffered the same sense of vertigo that I had in Vegas, because the building was so much larger than it appeared to be.



So yeah. If there were any day that might have killed me, this was it. Though, my instructor said she was bringing in some mutant donuts in the morning; even one that might include a sausage. Then we're having some crazy sandwiches for lunch.

I might skip dinner tomorrow night :)

Day Three complete.

~Adam

1 comment:

  1. The curiously stuffed feeling that vegan food gave me was one of the many reasons I gave up being vegetarian/aspiring vegan. I think the reason that vegan chocolate desserts are so good is that there are few other flavor distractions from the chocolate (vegan cream cheese icing, not so much). The idea of sugarless whipped cream intrigues me! Your corn bread and chicken shots are fantastic! I checked the menu and would love to try their grilled chicken.

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