Friday, July 31, 2015

A Sampler's Delight at Roaring Fork - Stonelake

Please note that I was given complimentary samples of each of the dishes featured in this post.  As always, all thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.

Roaring Fork has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite some time, so when I got word that our monthly Austin Food Blogger Alliance happy hour would be at their Stonelake location, I was beyond excited.  I knew that this would be a can't-miss event.  From start to finish, we were treated so well; informed, friendly staff, pretty patio views & a variety of amazing dishes.  I left full, happy & ready to plan a date night at Roaring Fork soon.

We were seated on the spacious patio overlooking the lake, where we feasted on a spread of Roaring Fork's finest.  The evening started with a kettle of creamy green chili pork, served with warmed flour tortillas, crispy flat bread topped with pesto, spicy roasted chilis, pepper jack & tomatoes & the fresh guacamole pictured above.  This guac had a bright flavor, smooth texture & the slightest hint of spice, just the way I like my avocados.  The freshly fried, crispy corn tortilla chips served as perfect dip vessels.  

Next up, were my favorites of the evening: the entrees.  Each impressive & delicious in their own right.  The cedar-planed salmon was incredibly fresh & the sweet teriyaki BBQ sauce complimented the fish, without overpowering it.  The chilled green bean salad was a crisp, refreshing side.

Bacon-wrapped tenderloin was cooked so well, & I loved the accompaniments of this dish the most.  A velvety bed of cheese grits & a corn medley over the top with a rich glaze made the pork really shine.  I would visit Roaring Fork again, just for a plate of this goodness.

Wood fired steak with a kettle of Roaring Fork's famous Green Chili Mac & Cheese was our last entree of the evening & an excellent way to finish our entree course.  It was a decadent, tender steak that melted in your mouth.  Mac & Cheese served as a lush, cheesy side.

Desserts!  Roaring Fork knows the way to my heart & these desserts were a lovely farewell to our happy hour.  Mexican Vanilla Creme Brulee, Pecan Pie, Flourless Chocolate Torte & Huckleberry Cheesecake.  Each had a unique, delicate, richness that wasn't overly sweet & each was delicious enough that I would seriously think twice about letting my husband sneak bites.  I would probably make him order his own. :)  I am a dessert-lover & always appreciate an end of meal treat that plays with different flavors, rather than just relying on a big punch of sugar.

Roaring Fork

10850 Stonelake Blvd.


Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday: 11am - 11pm

Roaring Fork Stonelake offers a large patio with beautiful views of Quarry Lake, a Sunday brunch from 11am - 4pm and a happy hour, featuring specials on margaritas, signature drinks, house wine & beer, offered from 4 - 7pm daily.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chicken Salad Wonton Cups with Sesame King Tahini Dressing

Please note that I was given samples of Sesame King Tahini to taste.  All thoughts & opinions, as always, are honest & my own.  

Lunchtime is a constant struggle.  Sandwiches can get very boring, very quickly, but it can also takes alot of effort to make workday meals (of any kind, but especially lunch) delicious.  I've been known to grab a handful of snacks in my 'gotta-get-out-the-door-NOW!' scramble & call it lunch.  Won't tell you how many times I did that last month...

I'm getting better though.  Orzo, bread or quinoa salads with whatever protein, cheese & veggies are hanging out in the fridge are becoming staples in our house.  These dishes make for good dinners & even better lunches the next day.  But, I don't want something so carb-heavy everyday.  Well, that's a lie.  I want all the bread, all the time, but my ass doesn't.

Chicken Salad Wonton Cups are a nice change from normal, have a little crunch, loads of produce & can still be made in a few minutes.  With ingredients that you just might have in the fridge, or can easily pick up, these bites are winners.  You can even buy the produce pre-cut & chicken cooked, which only adds to the lunchtime appeal of these guys.  They would even make for a fun, quick & hearty appetizer.  And if you're not wanting the chicken, but still need a shot of protein, swap it out for edamame.

 While I love the mix of veggies, sweetness from the pineapple & crispy crunch of the wonton cups, the tahini dressing really puts the taste over the top.  The nuttiness of the Sesame King Tahini is rich & the hint of garlic is just enough to be delicious, but not overwhelming.  And their products are made with 100% sesame seeds & with no preservatives, fillers or GMOs.  (yeah!)  Sesame King was so easy to work with that I've been thinking of all kinds of uses since I cracked the jar open.  Marinades, dipping sauces & of course hummus would all be extra-delectable with a dose of garlic tahini.

You can order Sesame King Tahini, get recipes, read up on their products & more on their website here.  Some Whole Foods Markets, & Amazon also carry Sesame King.          

Chicken Salad Wonton Cups with Sesame King Tahini Dressing

Inspired by the recipe, Vietnamese Chicken Wonton Cups from "Pocket Pies: Mini Empanadas, Pastries, Turnovers and More" by Pamela Clark (Sterling, $16.95).  You can find Pamela Clark's recipe, on's food blog (Relish Austin, written by Addie Broyles), here.


1/4 cup Sesame King Garlic Tahini
1 tablespoon Honey
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
4 tablespoons Lime Juice
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
Pepper, to taste

Chicken Salad

2 cups Rotisserie or grilled Chicken, shredded
2 - 3 Carrots, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/3 head Cabbage, shredded thinly
1 red Bell Pepper, sliced
4 Scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup fresh Pineapple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 large handful Cilantro leaves (Parsley if you prefer)
Sesame Seeds, toasted, or Almonds, chopped for Garnish

Wonton Cups

48 Wonton Wrappers
Spray Olive, Coconut or Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar, with the lid tightly secured, & shake to combine.  Set aside.

Shred chicken, chop all vegetables & the pineapple if needed.  Combine chicken, vegetables, pineapple & cilantro leaves in a large mixing bowl.  Dress the mixture with half to two-thirds of the dressing & taste.  If it seems dry, add additional dressing until desired taste is achieved.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Spray muffin tin with a little spray olive or canola oil (nonstick spray if preferred).  Spray 2 wonton wrappers with oil & arrange, overlap & fold to create a single cup, using the muffin tin as a mold/container for your finished wonton cup.  Bake 6 -8 minutes until cups are browned.

Fill wonton cups with chicken mixture & garnish with sesame seeds or almonds.  (Or both!)

Makes 24 cups


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ShakeShack & a walk down Fairy Alley

You can never have too many go-to burger places.  Mighty Fine, P. Terry's, Contigo, we have lots of favorites.  Beef isn't one our staples at home, but we do get burger cravings.  Often.  And when that happens, we usually go out.  It's a nice break from cooking & a great excuse to try out new places.

Last week, we tried out Shake Shack, which opened up on South Lamar a few months ago.  I had heard from foodie friends that it was great, so we were eager to see for ourselves.  We were impressed!

First off, the staff was incredibly friendly.  Everyone we interacted was so nice, helpful & kind.  I love that & it goes a very long way in my book towards bumping a restaurant up on my go-to list. 

We picked out a couple of burgers, regular AND cheese fries, & a few drinks (I did not take the sweet cashier's suggestion that I get the Abita Root Beer & I very much regret it.  I ordered the boring 'ol coke, like a chump.  I haven't had a root beer float in years & now it's all I can think about.)

As we were waiting for our food, we looked around, noticing all of the fun decor.  Ledge of amazing succulents that I totally wish was in my house? Check.  Real (real!) moss wall hangings? Check.  Succulents hanging from the ceiling in mod retro globes?  Check, check.  I also love that the tables have a burger design burnt in & that they were once bowling lanes.  It's a seriously cool place y'all.   

We got our food quickly & dug right in.  The regular fries were tasty, perfectly seasoned & crispy.  Andrew didn't care for the cheese fries, but I thought they were delicious.  I'm a big fan of American cheese with burgers & the sauce's blend of American & Cheddar cheeses hit the spot.  

The ShackBurger had a hearty, meaty bite, super-fresh, flavorful veggies & a taste that brought me back to childhood.  I really liked that all of their burgers are made with thinner patties.  I am Texan & I love beef, but try hard to just eat it in small amounts & these guys were just enough to satisfy my craving.  My favorite was the SmokeShack burger.  The combo of sweet, mildly spicy cherry peppers & the ShackSauce was heavenly.

SmokeShack burger (left) with bacon, cherry peppers & ShackSauce, ShackBurger (right), a cheeseburger with all the veggies & ShackSauce, plain fries & cheese fries.


A cute wooden fork for shoveling in cheese fries & leaving fingers mess-free?  Genius!

I really enjoyed my experience at the 'famed' Shake Shack & we will be coming back.  Andrew's down to try some of the all-natural hot dog creations & I want the root beer float with a whole SmokeShack burger to myself. :)  And, a quick tip:  I had heard the lines can be long, but we went around 6pm on a Tuesday & were able to walk right in, order & find a table without any trouble.

And if you need to walk it off after chowing down at the Shack, be sure to venture over to Fairy Alley, which is just behind the complex (behind Alamo & the parking garage).  It's a little gem we found after eating, just by strolling around the neighborhood.

Roaming around South Austin (especially the 78704 area) is always great because of the hidden treasures you can find.  There are so many unique homes, displays & fun spots.  Fairy Alley is packed with colorful lanterns hanging from the trees, beautiful street/fence art & tiny fairy homesteads.

Shake Shack 

1100 South Lamar Blvd., Ste. 2100
(Corner of South Lamar & Treadwell)
Free parking in garage behind the restaurant


Sunday - Thursday, 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday, 11am - 11pm