Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hot Dogs & Cold Beer at Frank

Mondays.  They're the worst.  But yesterday, we started off our week with a surprise date night.  Andrew picked me up from work & instead of fighting the traffic of rush hour, we decided to try out a restaurant that's been on our 'to try' list for a long time, Frank.  Their claim to fame is hot dogs & cold beer, two of Andrew's favorites, so he knew he would love it.

I had heard great things about their appetizers too, so I was game.  The restaurant sits at 4th & Colorado, & on a Monday evening, we had no trouble finding a spot along the street to park.  Full of cool murals, friendly, helpful staff & clever catch phrases, Frank is a fun place to be.

We started out by ordering some drinks & queso fries.  Because, the only thing better than queso, or waffle fries for that matter is the two put together.  Frank has an impressive selection of drinks.  Andrew ordered an Infamous Hijack Cream Ale & I tried Argus Ciderkin, both of which are made right here in our awesome city.  The Ciderkin was sweet, tart & bubbly & complimented the dogs & fries really well.  I'll definitely be finding out soon how I can get some bottles to have at home.

Queso fries hit the spot, as we were starving when we arrived.  We got their 'small' plate, which was more than enough for two people.  The fries were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, just as good fries should be & the queso was delicious, with just a hint of spice.

While we were munching on the fries & sipping our drinks, we contemplated which dogs to order.  It was a tough choice, as there are several kinds of sausage & a long list of topping varieties to choose from.

I went with a special, the Caprese Dog.  Veggie sausage (it was Meatless Monday after all) topped with basil, mozzarella & tomatoes with a balsamic drizzle.  It was really tasty & I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the veggie sausage.  I didn't miss the meat!  The fresh caprese paired with the crispy, slightly spicy veggie sausage & soft bun made for a delicious combination.

Andrew went with a Fico Anatra.  Duck & pork sausage with fried shallots, fig mostarda & Pure Luck chevre.  Pure Luck chevre is one of my favorite local treats.  I think you could top a tire with one of their cheeses & I'd try a bite.  His dog was full of rich flavor.  The duck/pork sausage had a good heat, which was evened out by sweet fruitiness of the mostrada & the creamy, crunchy punch of the onions & chevre brought everything together.

Frank made our Monday night really shine & we will certainly be back.  Next time I'd like to try the house-made corn dogs, Canadian Waffle Poutine, or the giant pretzel, made with Austin Beerworks Black Thunder.  Yum.


4th & Colorado
Austin, TX 78701

Monday - Thursday, 11am -- Midnight
Friday - Saturday, 8am -- 2am
Sunday, 10am - Midnight

Monday, June 29, 2015

Boozy Bellini Popsicles

Those who know me well will tell you that Prosecco is my libation of choice, no matter the occasion.  Beer was left behind in college & while I still enjoy a whiskey/coke every now & then, Prosecco has my heart. Bubbles, slight sweetness & you can buy a good bottle for under $10. (My drink demands are simple.)  In my opinion, it pairs perfectly with everything from pizza to dessert to happy hour appetizers.

So naturally, Bellinis are one of my favorite ways to celebrate warm weather.  I can't visit an Italian bistro in summer without at least checking to see if it's on the drink menu.  And usually ordering one. So.....Bellini Pops!

It's an easy & fun way to have a frozen fruity, boozy Prosecco treat without having to leave the house.  I used peaches fresh from the Farmer's Market, & a mix of berries leftover in the fridge from the week.  You could use frozen fruit if you prefer, just be sure to defrost the fruit before using.

Note: If you don't have popsicle molds, but want to try these out, you can use paper cups & popsicle sticks.  Just be sure to freeze the pops without the sticks for a couple of hours, then place the sticks in the middle of the cups & continue freezing.  That way, your sticks will be in the middle of the pops.   Once completely frozen, just peel the paper cup away & enjoy your icy treat!  

I decided to add the mixed berry with the traditional peach to give a little extra boost of fruitiness.  Plus, I really wanted to make it look swirly.  Because I like to eat pretty things.  To my surprise, the two mixtures didn't meld together like I had feared; they created these fun stripes. (Yeah for extra cool pops!)

Boozy Bellini Pops

3 cups chopped peaches
3 cups mixed berries
1 cup Prosecco

Chop your fruit and put the peaches in one bowl, berries in another.  If fruit is not ripe, add a little white sugar & let set for 15 - 30 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup Prosecco to each fruit bowl & let steep for a few minutes.

In a blender, chop peaches & Prosecco until liquefied.  Transfer to a pitcher, using a small amount of water to help get the last bits of peach mixture from the blender.  Rinse the blender and add berries & Prosecco, blending until liquefied.  Transfer to a separate pitcher.

Using clean popsicle molds or paper cups carefully pour your peach mixture a 1/4 of the way up each mold.  Then carefully pour in the berry mixture another 1/4 of the way up each mold.  Alternate peach and berry mixture until each mold is completely filled.  Place the tops onto the molds & transfer to the freezer. Freeze for at least 5 hours.   

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SnoLabs, A Sweet Summer Treat

Please note that I was invited to sample SnoLabs, as part of an event.  All thoughts & opinions, as always, are honest & my own.  

Even though Austin has had some unseasonably rainy days this Spring/Summer, when the sun has been shining, it's been H-O-T.  Nothing new for Texas, I know.  But it does make me crave icy, cool treats.  If I'm going to have to endure the heat, I need a reward.  A sweet, cold reward.

Last Saturday, I met up with some fellow foodies at the South First Food Court to sample a new-to-me frozen treat, Sno!  Sno Labs has been serving up this Korean ice cream, sno cone hybrid since last year.  Their sno, made with all natural ingredients & no emulsifiers, is shaved using a machine brought all the way from Korea.  Sno is much creamer than a regular snow cone & a little more frozen than ice cream, with a fluffy texture that looks amazing in the bowl & melts beautifully in your mouth.  It's a cold treat you can feel good about indulging in.

There are five Sno Labs flavors to choose from: original, blueberry, green tea, strawberry & vegan coconut. You get your choice of two toppings (a fun mix of Asian toppings & more traditional treat toppers) & an option of a chocolate, caramel or condensed milk drizzle.

My pick for the day was this gorgeous blueberry sno with whipped cream & sprinkles.  Because, you always need sprinkles.  It had a bright pop of fruitiness & was not too sweet, a wonderful combo.

As a table, we also tried the strawberry sno with brownie bites & sprinkles.

We also sampled the vegan coconut sno with coconut shavings, strawberries & a chocolate drizzle.

I loved the blueberry & will definitely be treating myself to future bowls of it, but the coconut was a close second.  My husband will tell you that I have an obsession with all things coconut (except coconut water, yuck!).  This non-dairy option, was really smooth, rich & tasty!

Sno Labs

603 W. Live Oak St.
South 1st Food Court
Austin, TX 78704

Tues. - Thurs. 3 - 9 pm
Friday 3 - 11pm
Saturday 1 - 11pm
Sunday 1 - 5:30pm