In Your Face

Articles about food and eating.

The Corner Cheesesteak Store

Chip and Jette at the Texadelphia

We've got cheesesteaks in our neighborhood. Yay! Texadelphia just opened their 9th local store, and it's a short walk from my house.

The location seems nice. There is a front patio, which may be nice for having a beer and a sandwich. The only problem I had is that the acoustics are a bit hot (so the place was a bit noisy to begin with) and unbalanced (so that the radio seems a lot louder and boomy at the back corner booth than it does at the counter).

First, let's get this out of the way: I'm not a big fan of their cheesesteaks. A few years back I had a gig with a Philly area company that required frequent travel back to the home office. I got to know cheesesteaks very well, and the Texadelphia version is a poor substitute.

Now, the chicken cheesesteak, on the other hand, does not have to suffer comparison to such an iconic monument as the Philly cheesesteak. On their own, the chicken cheesesteak sandwiches aren't bad at all. I recommend the mustard sauce.

I have an embarrassing confession to make: the Texadelphia hot sauce is one of my guilty pleasures. I know all you capsaicin craving salsa gourmands are looking down your nose at me. Fine, you can prowl the aisles of Central Market for your fancy, upscale salsa. I'll take the spicy-sweet taste of the Texadelphia hot sauce.

And here is a fact you may not know: Texadelphia makes a damn good burger. I discovered this only recently, and credit my wife for inducing me to try one. I took one bite and the Texadelphia hamburger rocketed right onto my top three Austin burgers list. Once again, the mustard sauce makes an awful nice dressing for the burger.

Scootanon

My favorite coffee shop in Austin is undergoing a change, and change makes me nervous. Trianon the Coffee Place has three locations around town. The Bee Caves Road location is where they do their roasting. The Far West Blvd. location is a short drive from my house. Then there is the Braker Lane location, conveniently located near Austin's hitech ghetto.

They sell both beans and drinks. I buy my coffee beans there. Years ago I used to special order beans from a roaster in San Francisco's North Beach. Thanks to places like Trianon and Anderson's Coffee Company, you can get good beans locally.

Genuine Joe Coffeehouse

This liveblogging coming from the newly opened Genuine Joe Coffeehouse, 2001 W. Anderson Lane. Finally, an evening coffeehouse choice comes to north-central Austin. They are open until 10:00pm.

I would describe the environs as relaxed and comfortable, but not grungy or ramshackle.

I stumbled into the tail end of poetry night. The poets are breaking up and heading home. They will be back next Monday.

I ordered a decaf americiano and chocolate chip cookie. The coffee was good. The cookie was killer. Three bucks and change. They look to have one of the better bakery cases in town.

Free wireless is available. No annoying login required. I'm sitting on the couch across from the register, and getting about 70% signal quality. There is even a little power strip on the floor beside me, should I need to plug in. For a while i was seeing contention with another device (they left their wireless set to the default channel 6), but that seems to be gone now.

There is lots of varied and comfortable seating, from counter to table to couches. This would be a great place to meet with friends. Seating is spread across a couple of rooms, and a front porch overlooking Anderson Lane.

While I can laptop just fine, other work may be a problem. The difficulty is that the room has diminished lighting, and there isn't good work lighting for reading and writing. There are a number of small lamps scattered about, but they aren't that great for reading. Green Muse, for instance, solves this problem by putting a worklight at each table.

So if you are looking for some quiet reading time in the evening, the lighting may pose a problem. Otherwise, it seems like a nice place to work or meet people or otherwise hang out. It's shooting to the top of my list.

Adventures in Label Reading: H-E-B Coffee

I was at the local H-E-B yesterday to pick up some coffee for the office. While reading the side panel of the store brand Columbian coffee beans, I was surprised to find it had an ingredient list—one that listed more ingredients than just coffee beans. The ever ominous "artificial and natural flavors" was listed too.

This had me puzzled. What are they adding to the coffee beans? Monosodium glutamate? Beef tallow? Crack cocaine?

Until the puzzle is solved, a switch of brands is called for. I ended up with a bag of Newman's Own coffee (Newman's Dark Blend), and have been pleasantly surprised. It's a great coffee for the price. It isn't that much more expensive than the store brand, tastes a lot better, and doesn't contain inexplicable ingredients.

SXSW: Lunchtime Roundup

Rosenthal's Corollary to Godwin's Law as applied to weblogs: the chance of a blogger posting a "what I had for lunch" entry approaches unity with time. In fact, this blog reached that pinnacle last year, when I provided an anti-recommendation for lunch. I did much better at this year's SXSW. As a service to other Convention Center-goers, here is a roundup of the places I ate.

Phooey for Bad Eats: Manny Hattan's

I'm gonna have a pastrami on white bread with, uh, mayonnaise and tomatoes and lettuce. -Annie Hall

I recently had one of my worst dining experiences in Austin at the Manny Hattan's...ummm...restaurant. The sign says "New York delicatessen," but I sure as heck don't. Unless maybe they mean New York, Hell and not New York City.

Hooray for Good Eats: HPB&G

I recently had one of my best dining experiences in Austin at the Hyde Park Bar & Grill. Sad to say, I've lived in Austin for over a decade, but somehow never managed to visit. The food was delicious, the price was reasonable, and the visit was enjoyable. I won't wait another decade for my next visit.

Celis Pale Bock -- It's Baaaaack

Since this spring, Celis Pale Bock has been available on draft at selected fine establishments around town, such as The Gingerman. Tonight, while visiting Central Market, I saw it in bottles on a store shelf for the very first time. To that, I say: woo hoo!

For those just coming into the story, Celis Brewing Company was a small craft brewery in the Austin area that made a number of Belgian styled beers. Their beers were distinctive, which meant folks tended to either love them or hate them. I, actually, was not a fan of their stuff, except for the Pale Bock, which I went nuts over.

Let's back up, because you need to know about the relation between bock beer and Austin. Bock beer is a pungent almost skunky brew that's been a local favorite. I couldn't stand the stuff when I first moved to town, but after a while it grew on me.

Shiner Bock used to be the local benchmark, but their recipe got pretty bad over the years, leaving a gaping void in the bock universe. Then Celis popped up, started brewing their own bock, and all was right with the world again.

Every good story needs a villain, and the villain in this one is Miller Brewing Company. They bought the Celis brewery, only to abandon it a few years later. I guess they didn't know what to do with a beer that didn't have rice in it.

But the story has a happy ending. The Michigan Brewing Company acquired the Celis recipes. They started with the white (ehhh....not a wheat beer fan) and the bock soon followed. It's still a bit hard to find, but it's out there and that makes me happy.

Memo to Self

Dear Self, Your days are more productive when there is coffee in the cupboard.

Sunrise Tacos and Subs

I was driving home down South First, despairing that there are few choices for sandwiches other than sub chains. Maynard's Deli and Phoenicia Bakery are good choices, but not always convenient. And it's not like South Austin couldn't stand more than two good sandwich shops.

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