Friday, March 2, 2012

Food Tour: Austin, Baton Rouge and New Orleans

When I started this blog, I never intended or realized how many of my posts would revolve around food. That being said, I don't consider myself a foodie blogger. I just post recipes I love.

Naturally, I'm friends with people who love to eat the food I make, so it really should be no surprise that when reuniting with my 3 best friends from college a couple weeks ago - for the first time since June 2010! - much of our adventuring was spent eating. Here's the round up, photos brought to you by instagram, narration and opinion on food by yours truly.

First up, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ever since I visited last year, I have been waiting to get back to have another tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich from Chelsea's. You must visit if you're ever in Baton Rouge. 4+ stars on Yelp, Urbanspoon and Google reviews. Great atmosphere and loads of live music. Plus, I'm not a beer girl, but they have loads of microbrews.

I even had cravings for this combo at various points throughout the year. Not like one I make at home. This exact one. I'm not kidding. I love grilled cheese and tomato soup. How could you turn down 6 cheeses on homemade focaccia bread served with tomato basil soup? I sure can't.

We didn't eat out much more in BRLA, but we did make ourselves a tasty spread for Super Bowl, including my crock-pot Little Smokies recipe and Michelle's infamous sandwiches. We spent Saturday in New Orleans where we had to have beignets from Cafe du Monde. Again, can't leave NOLA without some of these.

Upon returning to Austin, we forged on devouring more delicious food, worth every calorie. We got Torchy's Tacos to go and ate down on the river. Another must stop if you're ever in Austin. The queso and chips are to die for and I loved the shrimp taco. Unique to Torchy's are their Little Nookies, also known as deep fried chocolate chip cookies. What can't be deep fried?

We shopped along South Congress and stopped for Amy's Ice Cream, which I fondly remember having at the airport before I left Austin last time. With locations all over Austin, you will regret not stopping for a scoop. They didn't have the Blueberry Muffin flavor I had last time, which was fine, because Salty Chocolate Covered Kettle Chip was an excellent choice too. Olivia agrees, see?

When I first arrived in the Lone Star state, I remember Cara (and Hailey, another friend in Texas) first asking me, "Well, you have two options for dinner. BBQ or tex mex?" It's a hard decision. First up, BBQ from The Salt Lick as seen on Man v Food, The Food Network and many other notable press outlets. A short drive outside of Austin to Driftwood is totally worth it. Plus, it's BYOB! Meat, meat and more meat (also known as ribs, brisket and sausage) plus beans, potatoes and slaw. All American meal right there.

My favorite breakfast place was easily 24 Diner in Austin. I am a sucker for breakfast. I would eat it for every meal if I could afford to. If you didn't guess, this joint is open 24 hours and it's obvious why. They have killer food, made with local, seasonal ingredients. I was super tempted to order a Roasted Banana and Brown Sugar milkshake. Next time for sure! Their hashes are pretty famous and so delicious. I had a the small 24 Hash and half of a waffle with the brown sugar butter. 

Cara ventured out and ordered Chicken and Waffles. I have never seen anyone eat this. I'm from Oregon, remember? I could not get over how much chicken was atop this waffle. Look at that!

So, in true girls' vacation fashion, we couldn't pass on going back to Amy's Ice Cream and getting a couple pints to share for a night in watching movies. Oh, and as if you need any more convincing, the Mexican Vanilla flavor is arguably the best vanilla ice cream I have every had. Not exaggerating.

After making the visit last year, I attempted to replicate Bacon Pepperjack Cheese Wrapped Shrimp I had from Boutin's in Baton Rouge, Lousiana. (I had the same thing this year, too!) Their version is deep fried. I'm not really sure I will even attempt recreating the food above. It was just so so so good. I would highly recommend eating at any of the places listed above if you get the chance.

My tastebuds? Delighted. My jeans? Not so much. On our flight back to Portland, I said to Michelle, "Well, I think we ate enough this past week to feed a small elephant." Was I kidding? Maybe. Maybe not. It was only a week, but still so awesome to see my friends again. I know it will be far too long before it happens again.

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