fabi+rosi

Everyone and their dog was looking for the Ark last Friday as the rain kept coming down. But padre, la mère, and myself, we were resigned to our watery fate and went looking for happy hour. We sought refuge at Fabi+Rosi, where our story begins…

IMG_3327.JPG

IMG_3311.JPG


Like something out of Hansel and Gretel, only with more chandeliers, white plush seating and more bubbles, we hurried into the foyer of the dimly lit dining room. Having arrived just at 5, we were the only ones aside from the hostess in the room, which is a first for us. With our pick of tables, we took a seat by the window, when I noticed this guy staring at us. But it’s ok, he’s kinda cute right?

IMG_3313.JPG
goat cheese and grilled vegetable terrine

There are two kinds of happy hours: food heavy and drink heavy. In true German fashion, Fabi+Rosi is a food heavy happy hour. You’ll get some serious discounts on the starters – which we definitely took advantage of – but not so much on the drinks. But go on Thursday and they have half off all bubbles! That’s my kind of place right there.

While not exactly what I was expecting (apparently the duo have a somewhat loose interpretation of terrine) the goat cheese and grilled vegetable terrine was great. While our other dishes overshadowed this one in particular. There’s nothing I would change about it per se, but aside from the presentation it was rather unimpressive.


IMG_3312.JPG
brotzeit board
IMG_3314.JPG
crispy oysters

A new addition to the Fabi+Rosi menu, the Brotzeit board was as German as German gets. But unlike most German food found in the states, it was delicious. The pretzel, though a bit smaller, was reminiscent of the bigger-than-your-face bretzel I found in the Munich English Gardens. And of course, bratwurst. But what deserves a special shout out is the beer cheese. Now normally, even in my experience in Deutschland proper, beer cheese is just pimento cheese without the pimentos, a gooey mass that resembles a blog of American cheese mixed with mayonnaise. But not this beer cheese! This version had more of a goat cheese flavoring, chalkier than other iterations, that defied the definition of the normal bland spread that seems like a mixture of leftover curd. Props guys.

I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried to eat oysters on the shell. But I just can’t. It seems just so classy, a glass of champagne and a platter of oysters, the iridescent shell shimmering in the light of the golden hour. But I’ve learned that it’s just not worth it to choke it down, or in this case have the slimy mollusk slide down your throat. Blech. But these crispy oysters on the other hand are a true testament that everything is better when fried. Using the schnitzel technique, these buggers have a light, crispy breaded coating on a subtle aioli smear. They’re perfect.

IMG_3315.JPG

IMG_3316.JPG
semmelknödel

And then there’s this. The KnödelI unfortunately didn’t get to snag a picture of my massive knödel in a Munich brauhaus, but let me tell you it’s something spectacular. Though these were listed as a side dish to a main course, I had to try them. The picture may be misleading, but they were somewhat smaller than what I’d tried previously. But what they lacked in size they made up for in flavor. Tailoring the herbs and spices to an American palate (well, in the original version I don’t think there are any herbs or spices) these knödeln were the best potato-crouton-ball you ever did see. Additionally, I don’t have a picture of the schnitzel, because it’s not on happy hour. But schnitzel y’all – do it.

Now it was a bit offsetting to be the only folks in the restaurant for a time. I guess not everyone likes to start their night so early. But if you’re down for some one-on-one attention, a sultry ambiance, and some stiff German cuisine, Fabi+Rosi’s happy hour can deliver.

Fabi + Rosi Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 5-6:30

509 Hearn St, Austin, TX 78703

$5 starters, $8 boards, $2 off wine and beer; Champagne Thursday, half off all bubbles

pacha round two

IMG_3317.JPG

Pacha is life. Life is Pacha. ‘Nuff said.

I’ve written about Pacha before, but I just couldn’t resist writing again because everyone needs to know: the pancake deity resides in this little yellow house on Burnet Rd., serving up the best pancakes in Austin with the perfect touch of sass since … well, since forever.

While not quite as decorative as some other cappuccinos around town, Pacha’s espresso creates a beautiful chiaroscuro with their humble pancakes. A perfect foam, milk, espresso ratio, Pacha’s got a winner.
IMG_3318.JPG

There are pivotal moments in every relationship, the most important being when you roll up to breakfast and find your better half has already ordered you a cappuccino and a cinnamon pancake, exactly what you were going to order, plus that side of bacon that you knew you wanted but wouldn’t have ordered yourself because ughcalories, but you’re so glad that he did because it’s perfect. He’s a keeper.

IMG_3319.JPG
the one, the only, the pacha cinnamon pancake

This. This is the masterpiece in the flesh. Such an elegantly simple creation – a touch of cinnamon and a crisping in brown butter. No need to cover it in syrup or fruits or whipped cream or anything. It’s beautiful as is.

However, if you’re down to getting creative, Pacha is up to the task. I’m serious about that touch of sass. I like to know that the people behind the counter have a personality beyond the customer service drone, and boy does Pacha have a few characters. If you’re wavering on a pancake, they’ll help you make the right choice, which for the BF’s roommate was apparently banana, bacon, and cheese. Yes. Cheddar cheese. And bacon. Inside the pancake. Of course I was skeptical, but I was an immediate convert upon first taste. Don’t know how they do it, but Pacha can do no wrong.

IMG_3320.JPG

If you’re not a pancake person, or if you’re just not feelin’ the sweet tooth some morning, Pacha serves up a mean hash, too. Unlike many a hash in the ATX, Pacha throws in a good bit of veggies so if you’re not coming straight from a bike ride you won’t feel too guilty.

Did someone say bike? Yes, you should bike there. Due to no fault of their own, Pacha has little parking, so unless you want to get there super early or risk a ticket in a neighboring parking lot, consider taking your bike in the increasingly bike friendly city. Because more biking means more pancakes, right?

Pacha Organic Café – 4618 Burnet Road Austin, TX 78756

baby it’s cold outside

… so you better bring in your succulents, or they’re going to freeze and die. Oh hey, why don’t you make some dutch butter cake while you’re at it. Having the plants inside, I couldn’t resist the backdrop that’s far superior to my normal rachet photography attempts.

IMG_3223.JPG

IMG_3224.JPG

IMG_3226.JPG

IMG_3227.JPG

IMG_3228.JPG

And holy smokes good gods of easy to make baked goods, this is by far the easiest thing I’ve made in a while. I only added two ingredients: vanilla and sprinkles. That won’t take that much out of you now will it? It’s almost Thanksgiving, and you know what that means, it’s almost Christmas! So when your friends or relatives show up unannounced, grab some champagne and preheat the oven. This shortbread-like dessert will put your guests in a sugar-butter coma and fend off any unwanted political dispute by the fireplace.

IMG_3229.JPG

Sugar, flour, salt, butter. That’s all it takes. I chose to stir a bit of vanilla into the butter, but hey, do your own thing. Try a bit of cinnamon to liven things up.IMG_3230.JPG

IMG_3231.JPG

IMG_3232.JPG

It should be a tad crumbly but easily maleable for you to press into a parchment-lined pan.IMG_3233.JPG

Throw on some sprinkles before the oven.IMG_3235.JPG

IMG_3234.JPG

IMG_3236.JPGIMG_3238.JPG

IMG_3239.JPG

After you let it cool, you’ll have your holiday savior. Share with friends and family, or, since we all know the holidays are really about eating as much as you can, save the pan for yourself.

Credit where credit is due, this beautiful idea came from Kevin and Amanda‘s post that I’ve been meaning to recreate for quite a while. I would definitely take their advice and go for the gold on the butter. With all the farmers markets in Austin, you’re sure to find a locally-made, small-batch, gluten-free, sustainable, named by the cow it came from, top of the line butter. It’s so easy, give it a go yourself!


dutch butter cake

ingredients: 2 sticks of butter, 2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, dash of vanilla, sprinkles for your soul.

-preheat oven to 350˚F

-whisk together the flour, sugar, salt

-cube the butter and melt in the microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in-between. Stir in the dash of vanilla.

-pour the butter-vanilla mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated.

-line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper and press batter into the pan.

-bake for 30 minutes. If your oven runs hot, reduce the time. You want it a little gooey in the middle. Avoid temptation and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before you, or your rowdy guests dig in.

hillside farmacy

IMG_3170.JPG

Once upon a blustery Friday morning, the BF and I went to Hillside Farmacy for breakfast, and it was wonderful. The End.

IMG_3171.JPG

Just kidding! In some ways breakfast at Hillside was indeed fairy tale-esque, if your idea of a fairy tale is a flashback to a 1950s apothecary-meets-boulangerie, adorned by a booth of impossibly hip twenty-somethings that leaves you wondering where do they come from? what do they do? indeed, what do they do that they can have breakfast at 10 in the morning and not attract jealous sneers from their colleagues? do they even work? with a final resignation that you’ll just never be that cool, and it’s ok!

Having gone to middle school just down the street, I do have some personal reservations about a place like Hillside. Back in the day, places like this just didn’t exist east of the highway. But as the area became the new it place, these same impossibly hip twenty-somethings started moving in, and moving long-time residents out.

I’ve long been resistant to the idea that gentrification is an inherently destructive phenomenon. Was Hillside Farmacy an evil establishment, devilishly indulging the taste-sensory lust of eager foodies, who could go home after their meal to their fabulously furnished studio apartments, while pushing the truly local residents, just trying to get by, from their family homes, destroying the community in the process? The answer isn’t so simple.

It isn’t Hillside Farmacy, or Blue Dahlia, or the other delicious east side eateries that are destroying the community alone. Rather it is today’s manifestation of the larger, historic trend that equates money to power and flexibility. It was seen in the mid-20th century, where affluent groups moved to the suburbs, leaving poorer communities in the urban center with crumbling infrastructure. Today, it is illustrated by hipster coffee-bar fusion joints, benefiting from low urban rents. Ultimately, those with money can live and eat wherever they want while the poor are left to just get out of the way.

But it is not the mere existence of these chart-topping restaurants that is the problem called gentrification. These restaurants, and the gentrification they inadvertently embody, are an effect, not a cause. As a society we have failed to empower individuals equally across the economic, and often racial, spectrum. The problem lies in the inability of poorer traditional residents to take part in the newfound assets to their community and their exclusion in the process of deciding the area’s fate.

So I’m left to answer this question: How can I sit here and enjoy Hillside Farmacy while the family that lived four doors down for the past 50 years can’t pay the higher taxes because a new population has deemed this neighborhood the newest “hip part of town”? The solution is not simple, but what I do know is that it does not lie solely in the decision of where to have breakfast. It’s not in hating everything new and it’s not drawing lines in the sand of my space and yours. The solution will come with systematic change cumulatively addressing affordability and transportation that will comprehensively affect the accessibility of a city to all its residents.

It won’t matter if you spend $4 on a cappuccino on the east side or downtown. The problem will persist; so you might as well enjoy your espresso at a favorite coffee spot that sends you back in time, at least for a little while. But be sure to join us back in reality, join the community fighting for its right to exist, and engage in the neighborhood beyond happy hour. We are all people after all.

IMG_3172.JPG

eggs in a bowl

These things are important to think about, but please, bitte, don’t let my personal reservations deter you from exploring this historic area. Because you might miss out on this eggs in a bowl. And trust me, you don’t want to do that. I’ve always admired a restaurant’s ability to poach eggs. I’ve tried every “secret” on the internet, but mine always come out as a flat, watery disappointment. Someday I may just have to kidnap a chef to teach me. Or I guess I could just ask.

Look below. Yeah. Top right corner. Do you like bacon? Of course you do. Well that’s not bacon. That is the pig god’s gift to Austinites. Check it.

IMG_3173.JPG

I do believe I would’ve preferred a dish with no croutons and more baguette. The chosen fromage was a bit dry in texture, but added a great flavor. Heck, I might even skip the dairy all together, those oeufs are where it’s at.

IMG_3174.JPGMmmm…yeah…look at that delicious, runny yolk…

While my demanding stomach decided the magnificent poaching job stole the show, I have to say the cappuccino was purty dang spectacular. I prefer a little more foam in my espresso-milk-foam ratio, but the espresso holds up to the hearty breakfast. If you happen to be one of those people who’s not big on a big breakfast, there are plenty of lighter options which I assume are just as brilliant. Give it a whirl:

hillside farmacy 1209 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

radio coffee and beer

IMG_3118.JPG

Like always, winter in Austin takes us all a little by surprise. We’re officially trading in our shorts and flip flops for parkas, scarves, boots, hats, mittens, gloves, and pocket hand warmers because in Austin a cold front means a life altering blizzard (but you’ll still see the occasional crazy still wearing flip flops). More importantly, we trade the iced coffees for cappuccinos.

IMG_3119.JPG

Radio Coffee and Beer goes full hipster with the log-cabin-from-the-50’s meets burly-intellectual-introverted-rendez-vous decor and general ambiance from the patrons and staff. A much needed addition to the Manchaca area, there are tables abound, meant for sharing and studying in a collaborative and innovative environment.

IMG_3116.JPG

T’was a decent cappuccino, but I’d appreciate a little more oomph from my espresso. Ambiance outweighs the java.

IMG_3121.JPGmigas taco

What’s more spectacular than the coffee is the food truck just outside. Veracruz All Natural has consistently been voted one of the best tacos in town, and rightly so. More than just the Austin staple of breakfast tacos, Veracruz branches out to more substantial variations. I gotta stick with the staples though and would definitely recommend the migas taco.

Radio Coffee and Beer 4208 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78704