Wednesday, September 12, 2012

♥ Tastytown tries 'una barbacoa en Madrid'

As some of you may know, my sister, Kimberly, recently moved to Madrid, Spain to not only work as an Au Pair but also to immerse herself in the Spanish language to better prepare herself for teaching. She works for her room and board and earns supplemental income by taking care of two children. Although I miss my best friend being so close and being able to see her regularly, we keep in touch via our many online medias and iPhone apps (if you have a friend or family member abroad, you should really download WhatsApp-- it allows you to text for free!). We are constantly texting/emailing/skyping about the amazing cultural differences in Spain, especially within the culinary world and my mouth is almost always watering. So we decided to join forces and take Tastytown to Madrid! Ole! Starting with her first guest blog post today!
Look out for many many more updates on her travels and foodie experiences in Spain.
It’s been almost two weeks since I moved to Madrid, Spain and I am happy to say that I’m beginning to feel like part of the family. Although I do not work on the weekends, my host mother always makes the effort to invite me to any activity or event that they will be attending. So when she mentioned a “family barbecue”, I could not turn down the offer (being the true Texan that I am). 

As most of you know, Texas BBQ’s usually consist of finger-licking ribs, juicy brisket, potato salad and local Texas beer, as well as wet wipes-- a sheer sign of good times and great food. As I prepared myself for a night where I could really feel at home again, I put on a cool and comfortable cotton dress with a little breathing room. I was a bit bummed because I didn't even have my cowboy boots to show my true Texas nature, but that wasn't going to stop me, l could already smell the reminiscent smokiness in the air!   

When I walked into my host mother’s parents house, I immediately noticed a colorfully decorated table with bright, crisp linens. Alongside the fine china and glassware were at least 10 different bottles of wine opened and breathing to prepare for the night ahead.
 This was not the kind of BBQ I was used to but I was in full support of its amazing potential for the evening. I closed my eyes and tried to picture in my head what a classy BBQ would look like and then opened my eyes; this was it!

 Before I knew it, the first course was beginning and plates of sliced artisan cheeses, Spanish ham (even better than prosciutto, if you can imagine), shrimp, prawns and crabs came pouring out of the kitchen. 
I was in heaven...

Until out of the blue, lightening and thunder struck and it started to rain! I couldn’t believe it; was I in Texas? This was so typical of Texas weather. The day you want to have a BBQ it rains! Everyone ran to bring all the plates under the patio and of course the 3 liter bottle of wine that was casually popped open. Without hesitation, everyone filled up their wine glasses and gathered around the patio to begin the feast, rain or shine.

Soon after, the meat was ready. Huge pieces of beef were brought off the BBQ, I wondered how it would ever compare to what I was used to back home, but I was extremely satisfied. Juicy steaks and sausages were passed around and quickly disappeared.
My stomach was at full capacity, but one more glass of wine did not hurt! It may not have been a ‘Texan BBQ’ but it was 'una barbacoa en Madrid’ and it was wonderful! 
Tastytown... welcome to Madrid! More to come!
♥ Ciao!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

♥ Tastytown dishes: Gluten-Free Fried Chicken and Waffles at Thrice Cafe // Thai Fresh

Thrice Cafe // Thai Fresh
909 West Mary Street Unit B
Austin TX 78704
(512) 494 6436 

Lately it feels like its hard to find a hidden gem restaurant in the Austin area. Most new joints get so much talk and chatter that an hour long wait just to be seated is just not even worth it. But have no fear, because I think I have found my favorite gem. 

Every time I go to Thrice Cafe // Thai Fresh, I cant help but walk in and just feel a cool, relaxed mood come over me. It's difficult for me to pinpoint exactly why; maybe its the open windows and natural lighting or the Feng Shui arrangement of tables or maybe its simply the friendly, laid back vibes the staff gives but either way, i walk in almost instantly feeling at peace. It helps that the food is absolutely amazing! The chefs really know what they are doing when they combine the traditional Thai flavors with local produce.

But today, Tastytown is dishing about a particular dish that has sort of moved mountains in my mind in terms of some of my favorite dishes in Austin. And that is their Gluten-Free Fried Chicken and Waffles. The flavors are so deliciously combined that it's extraordinarily unexpected--especially in a Thai restaurant, you will probably consider seconds.

I know there are a lot of restaurants in Austin claiming to have the best chicken and waffles; and honestly I dare someone to challenge me on my claims that Thrice Cafe // Thai Fresh makes THE best! If I'm not mistaken, I believe both the waffle and chicken batters are both gluten free. The chicken is juicy on the inside with a delicious crisp on the outside and the waffle is perfectly fluffy, but it's the light ginger, maple, lemongrass syrup that packs the perfect punch of saucy flavor. Topped with cilantro and this dish is heavenly.

I'd also like to mention that this place offers cooking classes  which I'm considering trying and also writes up a pretty stellar blog
Please! Go! Taste it for yourself and try some of their amazing Curry or Pad Thai while you are there! 
I dare you! 

♥ Taste On!