The Souvenir Menu: Houston’s, not your ordinary chain

Update: It was recently announced that Houston’s will be renamed Bartlett’s. Franchisee Tim Bartlett’s contract with Hillstone Restaurant Group is up this year and it will now be independently owned. Restaurant snobs will invariable bristle at even the thought of a chain restaurant; but the words “chain restaurant” no longer guarantees frozen cookie cutter food [...]

The Souvenir Menu: Sweet Celebration

For my mother’s 60th birthday, I hedged my bets. I bought several bottles of Champagne for her party, but also brought along several bottles of Moscato d’Asti. Over the years I have received consistently good feedback whenever I’ve served this wine. For orientation, Moscato (Bianco) is the Italian name for the Muscat grape, and Asti [...]

Justine’s: A French story d’amour

Tucked away among the factories and warehouses on East Fifth Street, you will find a house with a pétanque, or bocce ball, court and garden tables. As you walk through the courtyard, you begin to smell the aroma of butter and garlic.  A few more steps and you are greeted with the sound of classic [...]

Eat like a king at Austin Restaurant Week

February 28th-March 3rd and March 7th-10th, 2010 Austinites can once again feast like kings for a fraction of the cost at Austin Restaurant Week (ARW), a biannual tradition that began a few years ago. Starting on Feb. 28, diners can enjoy three course meals for $10-$15 for lunch and $25-$35 for dinner at over 60 [...]

The Souvenir Menu: Tien Jin

Years ago, when I was working in South Austin, I tried a small Chinese restaurant in a strip mall called Tien Jin. The lunch buffet, while better than average, had not hinted at the wonderful food that was possible. A good friend, who had been going there for years told, me that I had simply [...]

The Souvenir Menu: Fonda San Miguel

I was talking to a colleague recently and was surprised to find that not only had he not been to a particular local restaurant, he’d not even heard of the place. As I thought about it, it started to make sense; most restaurant reviews tend to cover the shiny and new. With Austin having one [...]

The Souvenir Menu: Chez Nous

The downturn in the US economy had finally reached my plate. About a year ago, give or take, I started to notice a bad trend. I was eating a lot of mediocre meals. The places I was going to weren’t really changing, but the quality of what was being offered was really taking a hit. [...]

Marigold owner serves up Indian home cooking

Driving down South Lamar, you might notice an inconspicuous store with Indian clothes and decor in the front windows called Marigold – Gateway to India. Lata Karna is the owner of the retail store, which sells authentic Indian clothing, tapestries, and home furnishings. Originally from New York, Lata had a friend that would come to [...]