College Tours: Where to Eat Near the University of Texas at Austin


[Photographs: Meredith Bethune]

20120830-texas-longhorns.jpgWhy are college neighborhoods often food wastelands? Yes, students are notoriously cheap, but the world is full of inexpensive yet delicious eats, so that’s no excuse. Do campus area spots rely on a captive audience of car-deprived students? Or are they just too drunk to care about food? It seems like every large university is surrounded by boring chain restaurants mixed with mediocre pizza, burgers, and Thai food.

Several subpar taco joints are the only thing distinguishing the food around UT-Austin from the selection around other large state schools. There are plenty of restaurant choices to accommodate more than 50,000 hungry students, but most of them aren’t particularly great. I beg you???venture outside the UT area to experience the full breadth of the unique Austin food scene. But if you find yourself stuck around the school, you’ll be just fine if you stick to these recommendations.




Blueberry, chocolate, and plain glazed doughnuts at Ken’s Donuts

For a sweet treat, Ken’s Donuts sells a variety of glazed donuts 24/7, and it’s emblematic of Austin doughnut culture. Try the sour cream doughnut– it has just enough tang to counter the sugary glaze. You can also pick up a delicately spicy potato samosa for later.

For a heartier breakfast, Kerbey Lane is a casual stand-by even though regulars seem down on the restaurant’s recent redesign. They also do sandwiches, burgers, and a seasonal locavore menu. But Kerbey does breakfast best. Choose from a large selection of flavored pancakes (the gingerbread are popular), or get the Eggs Francisco???an English muffin topped with scrambled eggs, avocado, crispy bacon, and smothered in their famous queso.

Ken’s Donuts: 2820 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-320-8484;
Kerbey Lane Cafe: 2606 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-477-5717;



Ultimate Roast Beef Sandwich at Fricano’s Deli

University students and employees are always in search of a quick lunch, so the sandwich zone is a particularly dangerous minefield of hit-or-miss spots. Fricano’s Deli cranks out huge sandwiches on bread that’s toasted to chewy perfection. I’m saddened their garlic roast beef sandwich is no longer on the menu, but the new ultimate roast beef sandwich with coleslaw, pepperoncinis, and horseradish is a worthy summer substitute. Treat yourself to some of the best chocolate chip cookies in town for dessert. Fricano’s has one downfall: I always order my sandwiches without tomatoes because they’re usually mealy.

Try Verts Kebap if you’re bored by traditional deli sandwiches. The two owners are former MBA students who missed the doner kebabs available in their native Germany. This German fast food, originally introduced by the large Turkish population, is an excellent alternative to Chick-fil-A’s choke-hold on campus. Pita is stuffed with your choice of humanely-raised lamb and beef, chicken, or vegetables and topped with garlic yogurt or hot sauce.

Fricano’s Deli: 2405 Nueces Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-482-3332;
Verts Kepab: 2530 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-800-7437;



Trailer Park Taco at Torchy’s Tacos

There are tons of Tex-Mex fusion taco joints in town, but Torchy’s Tacos is one of the best. A true Austin success story, Torchy’s started as a food truck in 2006 and has since expanded into a bonafide taco empire. Tortillas are piled high with toppings like fried chicken, green chile pork, or smoked brisket, but they’re known for their fried avocado. They always have a selection of Maine Root sodas on the fountain, and their chips and salsa are surprisingly excellent.

Torchy’s Tacos: 2801 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-494-8226;



Beef and Cheese Pie at Boomerang’s

I wish Boomerang’s were open past 8pm because their Australian meat pies would make the ultimate late night snack. All of them are wrapped in the same flaky and buttery crust, but stick to the standard beef pies seasoned aggressively with onions and Worcestershire sauce. It is also one of the few spots in Austin that sells Coopers beers.

Those in search of something lighter can stop at Tom’s Tabooley for a taste of old Austin. Around since 1977, this place is a throwback to times when tabbouleh, hummus, and falafel were obscure vegetarian health food. The relaxed atmosphere of board games and comfy chairs encourages guests to stay awhile. My favorite item, strangely enough, is their fudge???flavored deeply with cocoa, it’s the best pick-me-up if you’re ever feeling down.

Boomerang’s Pies: 2928 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-479-7337;
Tom’s Tabooley: 2530 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-479-7337;



Frites at Hopfields

There are many places to pound some beers near UT, but recently opened Hopfields has added some down-to-earth sophistication to the bar scene. This gastropub serves casual French favorites like a jambon beurre sandwich, steak frites and salade Ni??oise to complement its extensive draught beer selection and sm
all wine list. Those who prefer something lighter can snack on marcona almonds, olives, or artisan cheeses. Don’t miss the best fries in Austin: twice fried in peanut oil, served warm, sprinkled with coarse salt and a little tarragon, and served with a side of house made aioli.

For a pub experience approved by both Englishmen and UT chemical engineers, hit up Crown & Anchor Pub. I’ve scoured Austin’s best burger lists, hoping that Crown will someday get a shout-out because they serve my favorite cheeseburger in town.The bun to meat ratio is perfect, and it’s best served alongside a pitcher of Shiner Bock.

Hopfields: 3110 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-537-0467;
Crown & Anchor Pub: 2911 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-322-9168;

Late Night


Octopus takoyaki topped with kimchi from Love Balls

This food truck is stepping up the neighborhood’s drunk food game by staying open until 2am. Love Balls specializes in Japanese street food like takoyaki???Japanese pancake balls stuffed with octopus or mushrooms. They’re crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside. These balls could convert anyone into an octopus fan, as the filling is savory, balanced, without the rubbery texture. They’re best smothered in spicy kimchi.

Love Balls: 2906 Fruth Street, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-574-7525;

Fine Dining

So your parents are treating you to dinner? There’s actually respectable fine dining right on campus inside the University owned AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Over the past four years, Chef Josh Watkins has transformed The Carillon into one of the top restaurants in town. This is no small feat considering its location, and the crispy pork belly is a can’t-miss dish.

The Carillon: 1900 University Avenue, Austin TX 78705 (map) 512-404-3655;

About the author: Meredith Bethune is a writer and blogger based in Austin, TX. Follow her on Twitter (@biscuitsoftoday).

from Serious Eats…

Chichi’s Chinese: Silken Tofu with Chili Oil


[Photograph: Chichi Wang]

This is about the simplest thing you can do with silken tofu, and also one of the most delicious.

The tofu is heated, and good quality soy sauce, chili oil, and sesame oil are poured over. To garnish, minced pickles, scallions and cilantro. It’s that easy. The only cooking involved is heating up the tofu, which you do by placing the whole block of tofu in a pot of boiling water.

You want to use these pickles, made from the stems of certain varieties of mustard greens. Look for “zha cai” in the Chinese grocery store. (The Chinese also pickle the leafy part of the greens, which are often used in stir-fries with pork.) The stems are salted, pressed, and dried before being rubbed with chili powder and left to ferment, so that the resulting pickle is salty, sour, and spicy with a crisp yet tender texture.

The preparation works best with silken tofu because it is so pudding-like and lends itself to being treated as a canvas for other ingredients. You could, I suppose, cut the block up into squares, but I like the unevenness of scooping up slabs of the tofu, so they appear roughly hewn.

Every time I make this I remember how good it is, the way the soft scoops of tofu are bound by the oils and the soy sauce, so that everything comes together in a palate of bold colors and flavors. There’s the heat of the chili oil, countered by the cooling cilantro; the richness of the sesame oil, cut through with sour pickles.

And I always use the best quality soy sauce I have on hand, because with a dish this simple, there’s not much you can do in the way of disguise.

About the author: Born in Shanghai and raised in New Mexico, Chichi Wang currently resides in Manhattan, where she divides her time between writing, cooking, and tracking down the best noodles in the city. Visit her blog, Mostly Tripe.

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from Serious Eats…

Make Your Own Reusable Color Catching Laundry Sheets [Household]

Make Your Own Reusable Color Catching Laundry SheetsThose color catching laundry sheets work wonders in the wash, but they can be pricey considering they’re single use. Thankfully they’re easy to make with a few ingredients, and the homemade versions work just as well.

To roll your own, all you need are a few white washcloths (bar mops or other small white cloth will do), some water, and some washing soda, aka sodium carbonate. Washing soda (sometimes called soda ash) isn’t hard to find; Amazon has 5lb bags for $15, or 3.5lb boxes for $10. Warm up the water, mix in the washing soda, and soak the washcloths. Then just hang the cloth to dry. When they’re completely dry, toss them into the wash like you would the disposable kind.

That’s all there is to it. You’ll need to soak the washcloth after each use, but you get a lot of mileage out of the washing soda, and you don’t have another sheet to throw away with every load of laundry. I used to buy color catchers to pick up any leaching dye in the wash, but considering how easy they are to make, the DIY option may be worth a try.

DIY: How to Make Your Own “Shout” Color Catching Laundry Sheets | Baby Savers

Photo by Bell and Jeff.

from Lifehacker…

A Different Banana Split

I was never a big fan of banana splits, probably because they were all about quantity and not about quality. The bananas were never ripe enough, the ice cream was always cheap stuff, and I’m not crazy about bananas drizzled with the traditional chocolate sauce.

The first thing I did here was make a crazy rich and flavorful ice cream. With something this rich, a little goes a long way. And the bananas were fully ripe and sliced into rounds instead of lengthwise. Much easier to eat that way.

I made the ice cream in a half-pint ice cream maker. Because of alcohol in the ice cream, it didn’t set up very hard in the ice cream maker. It needed time in the freezer to harden a bit, but it still stayed nice and soft.

This ice cream might be a little strong to eat on its own because of the whiskey, but it worked well with the bananas – and no sauce needed. And because it packs such a punch of flavor, a little bit of ice cream was all I needed to go with one whole banana.

While I’m not fond of regular chocolate sauce with bananas, the white chocolate garnish was just right.

Banana Split with Irish Cream Ice Cream

For the ice cream:
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt
For the banana split:
Bananas, as needed

White chocolate, for garnish

To make the ice cream:
Combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Freeze it in your ice cream maker, then transfer to a storage container and freeze until needed. It will be too soft right after churning, but will become solid enough to scoop nicely after freezing
To make the banana split:
Slice the bananas, and arrange them in a bowl with a scoop of the ice cream in the center.

For the garnish, shave white chocolate with a vegetable peeler.

from Cookistry…

17 Simple Canned Foods That Go the Distance

Canned goods

While I???m all about fresh, whole foods making up a large portion of my grocery budget, but the truth is that having canned foods on hand is a huge help when our family???s schedule gets out of control. When it does, there are certain canned foods I like to rely on in order to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. Here are 17 of our most commonly used ones. (See also: How to Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash)

1. Manwich Sauce

It can be used for tangy ground beef casserole with a cornbread topping or to whip up fast and easy sloppy Joes with brown lentils. Either way, it???s a great pantry staple that many of us in this country remember growing up with.

2. Baked Beans

As far as meat substitutions go, baked beans are one of the simplest and most affordable. Sure, it???s great to bake your own from dry pantry staples, but when there isn???t time, grabbing a large can off the shelf to heat up along with a green salad and a baked russet can make your life notably easier.

3. Corn

If you need a quick soup ingredient or want to jazz up your jalapeno cornbread, using canned corn is an easy answer. It also makes for a no-fuss dinner side and hearty salsa ingredient.

4. Black Beans

To create a stick-to-your-ribs mango salsa or hearty lunch burrito bowl, try using canned black beans from the pantry. A quick strain and rinse will have you dining in style without a long wait.

5. Pumpkin

Great in flavored lattes, dinner casseroles, soups, and pies, canned pumpkin is a great food to keep in your pantry all year long. And during the holidays, be sure to indulge in your favorite recipes for sweetbreads, scones, and whoopie pies.

6. Salmon

Rather than stress over power outages with your freezer, try using canned salmon for things like sandwich fillings, dinner patties, party dips, and more. It will store for a long time, is available affordably, and provides flexibility during chaotic work weeks.

7. Coconut Milk

When you???re looking for a fast alternative to takeout curry or need a dairy-free ingredient to make your soups creamy, consider coconut milk. It???s one of my favorite plant-based diet tricks for new vegans, and it has a great flavor.

8. Chili

Great on its own, in chili dogs, or to use as a topping for potatoes, chili is one of the more flexible canned foods you can choose. Purchasing the meatless variety is one of my favorite ways to eat vegan on the cheap, because it lets me enjoy the flavors I always used to before I reduced my meat intake.

9. Tomato Products

Keeping a supply of tomato paste, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes is something I???ve done for most of my adult life. It???s great for making homemade pizza sauce, jazzing up pot roast, and rounding out vegetable soup recipes.

10. Pie Filling

When you need a fast holiday pie, dump cake, or turnover filling, canned pie filling is a fantastic resource to have on hand. Available in flavors such as blueberry, apple, and cherry, it???s an open-and-dump solution for cooks on a tight schedule.

11. Clams

Purchasing seafood at the last minute can be problematic. That???s why having a few recipes for canned clams in your cooking repertoire is a good idea, especially when last-minute company comes by. Red clam pasta sauce, hot dips, and even clam fritters can be prepared with this canned food item.

12. Ham

If you???re a meat eater and you enjoy having more to your hurricane preparedness meal plan than cheese, crackers, and bottled iced tea, then you may want to consider adding some canned ham to your supply of pantry foods. It can be used to make breakfast fried rice, sandwiches, and even cold salads in summer.

13. Gravy

Sure, homemade is what many prefer, but if you end up hosting Thanksgiving at the last minute or need to pull off Sunday dinner with limited time, a can of mushroom gravy will take you a long way. It???s also great when you want to do something with leftover steak tips and broccoli.

14. Pickles

Preserved goods can also come in glass, and pickles are a great penny-pinching example of that. They are great for jazzing up sandwiches or enjoying on the side with a dinner of burgers or salmon patties.

15. Peaches

I???ve used canned peaches in fruit salads, in cobblers, and even for salad add-ins. They’re cheap and shelf stable, and they also work well in breakfast smoothies.

16. Salsa

An affordable addition to any organic vegan grocery list, salsa is a very flexible condiment. Use it for dunking quesadillas, snacking on tortilla chips, or blended for an easy, fat free homemade salad dressing.

17. Kidney Beans

Purchasing the generic brand of these when shopping at Whole Foods makes buying organic groceries affordable for me. They are one of my most frequently purchased canned foods, and I use them for everything from red beans and rice to dinner salads and gourmet hummus.

It isn???t necessary to use canned foods for every single meal, but it is nice to know how to use them to make dinner happen quickly when you need to. These are some of my favorite resources for doing so. What are yours?


from Wise Bread…

Carl’s Jr. Unveils ‘Meat-On-Meat’ Pulled Pork Burger

Behold, the latest creation from Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s: the Memphis BBQ Burger, a pulled pork cheeseburger.

carls jr pulled pork burger

The burger will feature a charbroiled patty topped with cheese, Sweet Baby Ray???s BBQ sauce and crispy onion strings. Burger Business writes that the dish will clock in at an astounding 1,000 calories.

A press release calls the creation a “meat-on-meat” burger and makes light of a 2006 comment by Jay Leno that the fast food company was just using “meat as a condiment for other meat.” We’re not sure Leno meant it as a compliment, but Carl’s Jr. certainly seems to be taking it that way.

Since then, the fast food chains have been pushing the envelope with meat creations like the Pastrami Burger, Philly Cheesesteak Burger, the Prime Rib Burger and the French Dip Thickburger.

Of course, the company that once shot a commercial featuring a barely-clad Paris Hilton chowing down on a burger isn’t going to skimp on advertising for new Memphis-inspired offering.

A new ad spot titled ???BBQ???s Best Pair” will feature models Sara Underwood and Emily Ratajkowski hasn’t dropped yet, but we’re guessing it’s going to be racy based on the below still. Previous ads for the company have highlighted Kim Kardashian, Padma Lakshmi and Kate Upton.

carls jr pulled pork burger

Promo images for the burger look tantalizing, but OC Register reporter Nancy Luna snapped some rather unappetizing shots back in June at the Carl’s Jr. flagship in Anahaim, Calif. during what seems to have been the burger’s testing period. Luna noted that various types of baked potatoes were also being sold at some California locations, but those don’t appear in current Carl’s Jr. offerings.

Carl’s Jr. isn’t the only outfit that’s exploring BBQ. Burger King introduced its own Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich in June, and Sonic Drive-In will soon introduce a line of FlatMelt flatbread sandwiches with hickory BBQ sauce. McDonald’s cult hit, the McRib, also showcases BBQ flavors.

from Latest News…

Next Mars Mission Selected For Funding

First time accepted submitter Dr Bip writes “Flush with the good news coming from Mars, NASA has announced that JPL has won funding for the next mission to Mars. It seems that the lander will be carrying a self-driving mole developed by the German space agency (DLR). Commiserations to the two other projects that were also in the selection finale (TiME and CHopper). Note the DLR mole’s last attempt to get to Mars was with the Beagle 2 lander, fingers crossed for this second attempt.”

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from Slashdot…