I'm thinking this might be a reoccurring post--Austin Eats! Just be prepared for dark, lackluster photography as I still have not yet mastered the art of shooting in low, artificial light, oy. I'm new to this amazing city and even though I'm pinching pennies while I look for a full time job, I still manage to make it out of the house occasionally to sample some of what this Foodie City has to offer! I've been here about two and a half weeks now, and here is a sampling of what I've experienced so far.
As you may know, Cory and I arrived in Austin just one day before our one year anniversary. Cory wanted to mark the occasion by taking me to a fancy restaurant, and his boss suggested the South Congress Cafe.
The South Congress Cafe is, obviously, on South Congress. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, South Congress is definitely a must-see for visitors. The street is lined with all sorts of funky shops and boutiques, and when the weather is nice you can find the empty lots full of food trucks and local artisans selling their wares. There are also a choice number of great restaurants, and the South Congress Cafe is no exception.
At $20-$30 a plate, this restaurant was the perfect "fancy" place for our budget. A bit pricier than we'd choose for a regular night out, but just right for our special occasion. We were seated promptly and given bread immediately--a nice touch! The drink special was an awesome frozen mojito (it was a daily special and I can't remember what the flavor was, maybe watermelon?), which I sucked down two of during our meal. I added a small Very Bleu salad to my entree as well.
For our entrees, I got the Crispy Duck Confit, and Cory got the Jalapeno Venison Meatloaf. I poked fun at Cory for getting MEATLOAF for our fancy dinner, but this was probably the most gourmet meatloaf I've ever tried. Slightly spicy, and the meat was so well seasoned and cooked that I would have had no idea I was eating venison, as typically I am not a big deer meat fan.
|Fanciest Meatloaf EVER|
My duck was not what I was expecting--I suppose every time I've ordered duck it's been medium rare duck breast and not confit--but it was great to try. I think I prefer just the seared breast, but this was definitely a tasty dish. I actually think I enjoyed the side dishes more than the meat, as it was paired with an amazing sweet potato au gratin (that even my sweet-potato-hater fiancee enjoyed!), a fennel salad, and mole. I loved how the mole gave the confit a little bit of southwestern flair. Very enjoyable and tasty!
Dessert was butterscotch creme brulee for me (pictured towards the top of this post), and a brownie sundae for Cory. Both were absolutely incredible, and despite being pretty full we were able to make room to lick our plates clean. Now, I'm not saying that this food directly convinced Cory to propose later in the night, but I wouldn't be surprised if the deliciousness of this meal gave him the extra boost to pop the question once we got home!
While I would love to come back here and try other dishes that caught my eye--Filet Mignon, Morita Oil Seafood Risotto, Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Appetizer--it's a bit too out of our budget to really go here often. I'd love to check out their Happy Hour menu though. I LOVE that Austin has Happy Hour! It's a wonderful way to try new places on a budget. I plan on bringing my mom here when she visits in the late winter, because it definitely is a nice place for special occasions.
South Congress Cafe is located at 1600 South Congress, Austin, TX. They are open 10am-10pm weekdays, and 9am-10pm weekends and a daily brunch menu. Happy Hour is from 3-6pm weekdays.