Archive | November, 2011

Happy Hour at 34th Street Cafe

28 Nov 34th st cafe
34th st cafe

34th Street Cafe

My next stop in my search for a great happy hour is this unassuming place in central Austin called 34th Street Cafe.  Located near the corner of Lamar Blvd and 34th st, the lime green exterior suggests a funky, casual eatery.  But take a step inside and the place exudes a much more elegant and upscale ambience.

Their happy hour is Monday – Friday from 5 to 7 pm and offers half off all appetizers, a dollar off of all their beers and half off all bottles of sparkling wine.  I wasn’t in a beer mood so I enjoyed a glass of wine instead.  But we did partake in the appetizers and they were delicious!

They don’t have a huge selection for appetizers, but what they do have is done very well.   We first ordered the duck confit hash, which consisted of thin slices of duck meat cooked until crispy with cippolini onions, frisee (also called curly endive-those light green, squiggly lettuces that look like they should be at the bottom of the ocean) with a fried egg on top.  This is one of those dishes that I wouldn’t think I would like as much as I did.  The crispness of the meat with the softness of the egg was really tasty.  Normally a $10 appetizer, it’s a really nice treat for 5 bucks at happy hour.

Next up were the sweet potato fries.  These aren’t considered an appetizer, they’re listed as a snack, and therefore are not part of the happy hour special.  But hey-they’re also only 5 bucks and gosh-darnit, we felt like fries!  They were thick, fluffy and very seasoned, a little spicy and a little sweet.  Yum.

Then came the lump crabmeat croquettes, which were three round crab cake balls each poised on top of a spoonful of avocado creme fraiche- which to me is a fancy way to say guacamole.  It was tasty but not fantastic, mostly due to the fact that there was a fair amount of breading lumped in with the lump crabmeat.  I  lived in Maryland for a few years and love crab, so when I see “lump crabmeat” I’m expecting most of the lumps to consist of crab.  But that’s just me.  At happy hour it’s $6, normally $12.

Last on the list was the Tuscan pizza.  The crust was thin, slightly crispy and buttery and it was topped with mushrooms, roasted garlic and mozzarella with mounds of ricotta.  At happy hour it’s $6 and a nice personal size that is also good for sharing.

Another idea I want to mention is their Prix Fixe Dinners they have every Monday and Tuesday from 5 pm to close.  We didn’t partake in this (this time) but it looked like a really good deal.  It’s a three course tasting dinner and included a glass of wine-all for $24 per person!  By “tasting dinner” I am assuming the portions are smaller and since we didn’t order this, I can’t comment on the size of the portions.  But the menu offered that night sounded interesting-tuna tartare was the amuse, which I just learned (like right this second, thanks Google) means small samplings of food served before a meal to whet the appetite and stimulate the palate.  The appetizer was a salt cod and the entrée was a pork loin with black-eyed peas and winter greens.  The wine choices were a French Chardonnay and an Italian Sangiovese.

I found the quality of the food at 34th Street Cafe to be very good, though there weren’t an extensive array of choices at happy hour prices.  The dishes were thoughtfully prepared and the setting had a certain romance to it.  If you are looking for a joint to get a little rowdy with your buds for a drink after work, this would not be the place.  But if you’re wanting a quieter setting or a relaxing evening with the girls over a glass of wine, this is a good place to be.

34th Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Where’s the turkey?

21 Nov
Turkey on the Road

"I don't know about you but I'm going out to eat."

I can’t believe Turkey Day is almost here.  Where has 2011 gone?  Thanksgiving for many people means slaving away in the kitchen for two days, preparing special meals that have been handed down for generations.  This is all well and good and nothing beats a home cooked meal prepared with love.  But what have you learned about me so far?  I don’t cook.  And Thanksgiving is no exception.

Though I must confess that I will be enjoying a delicious home cooked meal this year, Cajun style, at my Grandma’s house in Louisiana.  If you have ever experienced Louisiana cuisine then you know what a treat it can be.  We will have the traditional turkey, lima beans, baked sweet potatoes and stuffing with rolls, but also on the agenda is my family’s  traditional foods-venison, seafood gumbo, red beans and rice and oyster dressing.  Even if I could cook, there is no way my attempt at this meal would ever taste as awesome as Grandma’s!  My mom is a close second, but even she swears Grandma is holding back on some secret ingredient.

For those of you who don’t have a grandma to cook for you or just don’t feel like cooking at all, you are in luck.  There are many restaurants in Austin that will be serving up that turkey this Thanksgiving Day.  I have compiled a list for you of places all over town that are sure to make your hassle free Thanksgiving Day special.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Downtown/ Central Austin:

South Austin:

North Austin:


Sushi with spurs on

19 Nov

One thing I love about Austin is that you really don’t have to travel too far to get great food.  In the past few years my own neighborhood has really flourished in the bar/restaurant department.  The southernmost part of Burnet Road, now nicknamed “Lo-Burn” (kinda funny name if you ask me),  has several great little local eateries and bars to choose from.    And what does that mean??   That means I don’t have to go far to get my food fix.

The newest place to open up in Lo-Burn is this great spot called Roll On Sushi Diner.  This is not your typical diner though it does have a Texas accent.

Pork dumplings

Pork Dumplings

 Roll On serves up your traditional sushi rolls such as the salmon roll, california roll and spicy tuna roll.  But what really makes this place new and exciting are what I like to call their “Texafied” rolls!  Creative little gems like the Cholesta Roll – chicken fried steak wrapped up like a sushi roll and served up with cream gravy (of course), The Beefy Texan – spicy BBQ mayo covered brisket surrounded by rice, avocado and wasabi cole slaw and one of my favorites, The Grouch – grilled chicken with caramelized onions and green chiles.  And let’s not forget that all important course-dessert!  How about The Elvis,  a roll deep fried and filled with banana, bacon and peanut butter, drizzled in chocolate.  Trust me on this, you will not be disappointed with that one!

Yellowtail nigiri

Yellowtail nigiri

All of the plates are set at a fixed price, ranging from $3.95 to $6.95, which makes this diner  affordable at any time.  But they do have happy hour as well, which makes it really affordable.  This week my hubby, Ross,  and I checked out their happy hour, which runs Monday – Friday from 5 to 7 pm.  We feasted on

The LoBurn

The LoBurn Roll

yellowtail nigiri, pork dumplings  ($2.95 for each plate)  and a delicious roll called The LoBurn – shrimp, unagi, jalapeno and green onions tempura fried (also $2.95).  I also enjoyed a nice glass of pinot noir for 5 bucks (glasses of wine $1 off during HH).   Ross and I had a great meal for under $30-not too shabby for sushi I’d say.  We are definitely going to make Roll On Sushi Diner one of our staples!

Roll On Sushi Diner on Urbanspoon

Who doesn’t love happy hour?

15 Nov

Welcome to Get Happy Austin-a blog dedicated to good eats on the cheap.  Eating out has always been a passion of mine; mostly due to the fact that I really don’t like to cook.  The whole process takes up way too much of my day.   It begins at the grocery store, which in my case entails wandering around with the cart in circles not having a clue what the hell to buy, mainly because I have no idea what I am trying to cook.  The actual cooking is another ordeal, which usually ends with my kitchen looking like a bomb exploded.  Not to mention that the actual meal is not something I would brag about…or want to feed to anyone.  Then there is the clean-up phase which, let’s face it, is not what I want to be spending my precious free time doing on a beautiful evening in this awesome city of ours.

What is the solution to my dilemma?  Going out to eat of course!  Let someone else worry about the groceries, the recipes, the cleaning up.  All I really care about is the eating part.  This town has so many great restaurants with new ones opening up all the time.  But you do have to be careful-eating out can really get pricey.  Believe me, I know.

So I’ve decided to spend my hard-earned dollars more wisely without giving up my passion for great food by taking advantage of happy hour specials at many of the great restaurants around town.  And I will be sharing all these great finds so that you too can eat and drink on the cheap!

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