Panini Means Sandwich.

   If you love charcuterie boards, espresso, and gelato, La Matta has everything you want and more. The hidden gem is located in East Austin directly adjacent to the Plaza Saltillo Metro Rail Station. They offer a variety of paninis, salads, boards, coffee, and even wine on tap. The aesthetic inside immediately pulled me in and they also have a cute patio with outdoor seating. The windows provide nice natural lighting that opens the place up. A good way to describe La Matta is urban Italian, all the Italian you love, just minus the noodles (Chef Erind Halilaj, who is executive chef at La Matta, also whips up goodness at Il Brutto next door where you can satisfy all your handmade pasta and pizza cravings).

   The food can be described in one word, fresh. Each bite of my sandwich was as fresh as the first. I got a number five on ciabatta, it had prosciutto, goat cheese, cucumber, and arugula. My friend got a number three on sesame, it had prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella (super amazing by the way), and arugula. The flavor was plentiful, and the freshness will bring me back. I love a good cappuccino, so I couldn’t resist and it didn’t disappoint. My friend got a latte and it didn’t disappoint either, neither did the cutely colored cups they came in. Although the menu is simple, there are a lot of options to choose from. 

   Just with coffee options, you can choose between whole, non-fat, coconut, or oat milk and if you’re feeling up to it you can add hazelnut, vanilla, or caramel flavoring to any coffee beverage they offer. They also have three different choices of bread for paninis, including ciabatta, focaccia, and sesame. The food was amazing and came in very generous portions for the price. The perfect place for grabbing a coffee and having conversation, or having a filling meal with your favorite meats and cheeses.

   If you go with a friend and can somehow agree on a panini to split, that and a charcuterie board should be the perfect meal. If you can’t agree on a panini to split or you’re dining alone, the very friendly staff will wrap up your sandwich for you to take home. If you’re more into the greens, their salads looked amazing as they were brought out to the table beside mine. The size of the salad looked pretty big and the lady eating it had one thing to say when she took her first bite: “so fresh”. I’ll be coming back soon to try a salad. If you’re on the Eastside and need new breakfast options to try, their small but mighty breakfast menu was very intriguing. 

   Now time for the real reason you’re still reading this blog, the gelato I mentioned at the beginning. The chocolate hazelnut gelato was to die for. It was described to me as a Nutella tasting gelato and I couldn’t agree more. I was scraping my bowl when I was finished just trying to get one last taste of it. Their new seasonal gelato is green tea almandine with amaretti cookies and it was equally amazing. My friend who isn’t a fan of green tea was even raving about it, the amaretti cookies complimented the green tea flavor perfectly. If you’re looking for a casual new lunch spot where everything is fresh, La Matta is the answer. Perfect for a date or even stop in by yourself and grab an americano while you read or study.  

Let the good times roll at Frozen Rolls Creamery.

I think I have a new favorite type of ice cream: rolled. Watching the process of rolled ice cream at Frozen Rolls Creamery was a lot more interesting than I imagined. The ice cream starts out runny and then solidifies as its tossed and rolled around on the negative twenty-one-degree metal surface. The toppings you choose (there’s over twenty to choose from btw) are literally rolled up in the ice cream of your choice, making every bite magical, or in my case, fruity pebble licious.

My dreams came true the moment I took the first bite of my “over the rainbow” creation. The perfect combination of fruity pebbles, ube ice cream, hot fudge, and strawberries. One of my favorite things about Frozen Rolls Creamery was how cold the ice cream was served. You can take your time eating it and even enjoy a game of battleship like the couple that was sitting next to me. It comes out perfectly frozen, not too hard to put your spoon in (which changes color by temperature) and not too soft as to start melting quickly after receiving it. It’s the ideal sweet treat to grab and bring home or stay and eat while playing some old-school board games. They have a super cute outdoor patio, and a charming, yet simple aesthetic on the inside that had me wanting to come back next time with my laptop for a study session.

But okay, back to the sweet stuff. They have a variety of ice cream flavors and some even have a dairy-free option. The seasonal flavors at the moment are stroopwaffle, mint chocolate chip, pumpkin pie, taro, and cold brew Columbian coffee (which I’m definitely coming back to try). I was also very impressed by their fresh fruit that is delivered weekly to the store.

I’m a huge strawberry fan and I was not at all disappointed by the freshness and taste of their strawberries. They also have more interesting toppings for those who don’t favor the crossover of ice cream and fruit; toppings like cotton candy sprinkles, Pocky Sticks, cupcake bites, and so many more. And if you’re feeling up to it, they can put your sweet rolled cream in a crispy taco waffle cone. Your childhood memories of the Choco Taco are back and better than ever at Frozen Rolls Creamery

I enjoyed my visit to Frozen Rolls Creamery and I will most certainly be back. I now prefer my ice cream rolled and I’m looking forward to creating more delicious desserts at Frozen Rolls Creamery. Make sure to give them a visit the next time you’re in the mood for something sweet. They’re located at 704 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703. Let the good times roll.

Prepare to Have Biscuits on The Brain

A world of biscuits is waiting for you at Bird Bird Biscuit at the corner of Manor Road and Walnut Avenue. Bird Bird Biscuit takes your wildest dreams and turns them into biscuits. The super friendly staff fries everything fresh to order as the smell of biscuits fills the air. The menu is simple, yet filling, with options for different chicken sandwiches, egg sandwiches, biscuits (of course), specials, and drinks. I got the Queen Beak which is their OG sandwich and it was better than I could have ever imagined.

I’m about to blow your mind because bacon-infused chipotle mayo exists and it is seriously life-changing. I will never again crave a honey butter chicken biscuit from Whataburger; the Queen Beak is the gourmet version and then some! The chicken was crispy just how I like it and had an excellent flavor. The biscuits were fluffy and warm and somehow held the sandwich together. The bacon-infused chipotle mayo mixed with the pepper honey was the perfect combination to tie the sandwich together. It might be a bit messy, but it is so worth it. Long live the Queen Beak.

Moving on to the biscuits and gravy which are even more amazing with some bacon sprinkled on top.

The gravy was thick, creamy, and seasoned to perfection. The biscuits were soft, fluffy, and tasted out of this world covered in gravy. You can’t compete with these biscuits! If you’re a fan of bacon, you won’t regret adding it on top of the biscuits and gravy. The bacon was crispy and added a little crunch to the biscuits and gravy that you didn’t know you needed.

And for the main event: the dough doughs. Dough doughs are biscuit donut holes tossed in cinnamon sugar. Trust me when I say, regular donut holes will never be enough after you try these things. The second you open the bag the smell of cinnamon sugar overcomes you and forces you to take a bite.

The warmer the better, but even after finishing my sandwich, they were still soft and warm on the inside.

Imagine a gourmet cinnamon ball but with biscuits, truly amazing. The order comes with 3 and they’re a lot bigger than your average donut hole. Definitely don’t forget to order the dough doughs when you head down to Bird Bird Biscuit.

Bird Bird Biscuit is a true gem. I can’t wait to come back for more dough doughs and iced coffee. I like my iced coffee black and it was strong just the way I like it. They also have iced tea, fresh orange juice, lemonade, as well as a few soft drinks and water options. There’s a cute bar area along the windows inside and a couple of 4 top tables all within view of the Bird Bird Biscuit crew whipping up your biscuits. They also have a few tables outside that would be fun to sit at on a nice day. And if you end up feeling a spiritual connection to the Queen Beak sandwich like I did, don’t forget to pick up your pink “Queen Beak” hat at checkout. Make sure to come see how real biscuits taste at Bird Bird Biscuit, open Monday through Friday from 7 AM-2 PM, and Saturday through Sunday 8 AM-3 PM. The biscuits are waiting for you.

World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play 2019

The world’s best golfers at Austin Country Club in the spring – we could stop there and that would be enough. We are of course referring to the World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play 2019, the event that has gotten better year after year since it moved to Austin four years ago.

Dell Technology Fan Experience

The Dell Technologies Fan Experience features many virtual reality and multi-sensory experiences for people to try. Attendees could take part in activities such as driving a Formula-1 simulator, driving a moon rover, working on golf swings with the Top Golf simulator. There is also live music, face painting for the kids, and local food.

The Food

We may be guilty of spending more time at the fan village than catching the actual golf action. That is because of the FOOD! The Fan Village, which is located next to the scenic 16th fairway features Torchy’s Tacos, Mighty Cone, Amy’s Icecream, and Mickelethwait Craft Meats!
Mighty Cone brings their unique and delicious “cone” servings to Austin Country Club. With a variety of options ranging from the Chicken and Avocado Cone, the Shrimp Cone, the Hot and Crunchy Cone, and the Monster Cone, Mighty Cone returns this year as a fan favorite at the Dell Technologies Match Play.

But it wouldn’t be a golf tournament in Austin without a barbecue option. Micklethwait Craft Meats will fill that void with its all-homemade, Central Texas barbecue and New York Style Delicatessen. Micklethwait Craft Meats was founded by owner, Tom Micklethwait, who, on a cold winter’s day in December 2012, smoked and served his first barbecue plate “all by his lonesome,” from the window of the vintage Comet trailer on Rosewood Avenue. Together, with their love of food, dedication to integrity, excellence and good humor, Craft Meats and Craft Deli strive to provide great food and friendly service.
For the taco enthusiasts, Torchy’s Tacos offers a variety of their unique concoctions folded in a flour tortilla.

Finally, Amy’s Ice Creams, home of the world famous Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream, will provide that sweet sensation for fans with a selection of handcrafted artisan super premium ice creams, dairy free fruit ice, and milkshakes.
Once again this year the tournament was just perfect – amazing weather and golf, great food, live music, and everything else. We can’t wait for 2020!

Texas Tasty x OCHO Candy French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 loaf challah bread, chopped into bite size cubes
  • 6 OCHO Peanut Butter Bars, chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Top with: coconut whipped cream, peanut butter, and maple syrup

Directions:

  • Grease 9×13” pan with 1 teaspoon butter.
  • Place bread cubes in buttered pan then sprinkle organic OCHO chunks on top.
  • In a large bowl or blender, mix together remaining ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour mixture over bread and gently press bread down to soak up the mixture.
  • Let soak 3 hours to overnight.
  • Bake, covered at 350°F for about 45-55 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm topped with coconut whipped cream, peanut butter and maple syrup.

Planked Shrimp With Peach And Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

Shrimp:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Fire & Flavor Salmon Rub
  • Zest and juice of ½ lime
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails left intact
  • 2 Fire & Flavor Alder or Cedar Grilling Planks, soaked
Peach and Avocado Salsa:
  • 2 ripe peaches, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion sliced thin into half moons
  • 1 small Serrano pepper, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions:

  • FIRST: Combine oil, Salmon Rub, lime juice and zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp, tossing to coat, and marinate in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Soak wood plank in water for one hour.  
  • NEXT: In a medium bowl, combine salsa ingredients (peaches through basil), season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside if using immediately or refrigerate for later us.
  • LAST: Preheat grill to 350°F or medium-low. Remove shrimp from bag and discard marinade.  Place soaked plank on grill, close lid, and heat for 3 minutes.  Flip planks and place shrimp in a single layer on planks. Close lid and grill for 8-11 minutes, until shrimp are pink. Remove shrimp and planks from grill; serve immediately with salsa.

Chorizo Street Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Kiolbassa Chorizo
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 corn tortillas
Optional toppings:
  • Fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Salsa verde or other salsa of your choice
  • Sliced limes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Queso fresco

 Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and bell pepper, stir, cooking until fragrant and slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  • If chorizo is in a casing, slice casing from end to end of the chorizo. Remove chorizo from casing and place in the hot pan. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat for about 10 minutes until meat is cooked through. Transfer chorizo to a serving bowl, draining any excess oil or grease that has accumulated while cooking.
  • While chorizo is cooking, warm tortillas according to the instructions on their package.
  • Next, assemble the tacos. Spoon several spoonfuls of chorizo mixture into each taco. Garnish as desired and serve.

Egg White Frittata Jerky Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Tender Belly Jerky (torn into small pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon red onion (small dice)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic, fresh (minced)
  • 12 eggs worth of egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • ¼ cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grape seed oil
  • 8 Cremini mushrooms (halved)
  • 8 spears asparagus (~1” cut segments, 3 per spear)
  • 12 strips orange bell pepper (thin strips)
  • 12 strips roasted red peppers (thin strips)
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Chives (1-2 sticks chopped)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 335 degrees F.
  • In an oven-safe 10” skillet, on medium heat, cook red onion and garlic in grape seed oil until translucent.Preheat oven to 335 degrees F.
  • In medium mixing bowl vigorously whisk egg whites and skim milk, then fold in mozzarella.
  • Once onions and garlic are cooked, pour in egg mixture into pan, stir together quickly, then place pan in oven. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Turn out egg white frittata onto cutting board.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, on medium heat, cook mushrooms in oil until caramelized, 3-4 minutes, turn heat to low and add asparagus and bell pepper, cook for 2-3 more minutes. Turn off heat, add peppers and season with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, cut frittata into quarters. Top each quarter equally with the vegetable medley and jerky. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives.

Eggcellentt Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients:

For the Caliente Burger:
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup cubed avocado
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 small white corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice, divided
  • ½ chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled Cojita cheese

Instructions:

  • Add the olive oil to a small saucepan. Add the diced onion and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, chopped chipotle pepper, 1/4 teaspoon lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, and cumin.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the remaining lime juice, honey, 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, and chicken broth. Season with salt to taste.
  • Using a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, cut a hole in the middle of each tortilla. Melt a small amount of the butter in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Crack an egg in a small bowl and then gently slip it onto the middle of the tortilla so that the yolk fits in the hole. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the egg. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully flip the tortilla over and cook for a few seconds. Transfer to a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining butter, tortillas and eggs.
  • Serve each egg-in-a-tortilla with the ranchero sauce, cubed avocado, Cotija cheese, and remaining cilantro leaves.
  • Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon & Egg Napoleon

Ingredients

  • 2 store-bought frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1 egg plus 2 tsp. water
  • 12 eggs, scrambled
  • 3 tbs. whole milk
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 jar Creole Kicker SPRD
  • 8 oz. smoked salmon
  • 2 tbs. French chives, finely chopped for garnish
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence BLND

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Unfold 1 pastry sheet and lay it on a lightly floured surface and cut the puff pastry in half, then each half into four pieces.
  3. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper (parchment paper) or sprayed with non-stick spray.
  4. 4.Whisk the egg and water in a bowl. Then brush the puff pastry with the egg wash.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
  6. 6.Remove from the oven and split each piece in half horizontally so you have a top and bottom. Place on a rack to cool.
  7. Add the heavy cream to a sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat, reducing the liquid until it reaches a sauce consistency, about 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk in the Creole Kicker SPRD and Herbs de Provence BLND. Keep warm.
  8. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium to high heat. When the butter bubbles, pour the eggs straight into the middle of the pan. Make sure not to brown the butter. Scramble the eggs. As soon as the eggs begin to form, drop the heat to low and shift from stirring to folding. Gently shake the pan and when the eggs are no longer runny, turn the heat off and gently transfer the eggs to a warm plate.
  9. Place a few tablespoons of Creole Kicker SPRD Cream Sauce on the bottom of four serving plates. Secure one piece of puff pastry to the bottom of the plate. Spread Creole Kicker SPRD on the puff pastry, divide the eggs between them and top with the smoked salmon and a sprinkle of chives, and place the top half of the puff pastry on the salmon. Serve immediately.