Friday, November 14, 2014


When I discover a strange and unfamiliar fruit or vegetable in the produce section of our local supermarket, I absolutely have to buy it and try it.

beside a box of mandarin oranges

This week it was a Pomelo. I like grapefruit but I can take them or leave them, and I am somewhat nervous of the fact that they don't always play nice with certain medications. This thing looked like a grapefruit, albeit a very large one, and it did smell like one too, though not so strong.

I found this very interesting snippet on a forum recently:

...the offending compound is called bergamottin, and is concentrated mostly in the skin of the grapefruit, but some is contained in the juice as well (higher levels are found in commercially "pressed" juices than in home squeezed juice). The drug interaction occurs because the bergamottin inhibits an enzyme in the intestines that metabolizes CERTAIN drugs and more drug can enter the body in a person that consumes grapefruit juice. This can result in higher than expected levels of medication in the body. The enzyme inhibition can last a while, so the interaction persists even if the medication is taken several hours after the grapefruit juice. 

Anyway.. knowing my penchant for strange and unusual produce you won't be surprised to hear that the second I saw this pomelo I absolutely had to have it. It it priced per pound and this little one weighed about a pound and a half - it cost $4.50 and took me quite a while to peel. The outer peel was very thick and tough, the inside pith is a beautiful shade of pink and spongy, almost like marshmallow but tougher.

The membrane is like leather and has to be removed, but the flesh is made up of large solid 'droplets' removing the membrane is almost like peeling shrimp.

According to wikipedia, this fruit originated in South East Asia, and the grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo.

When I finally got it peeled, removed the membrane and piled up the flesh into a bowl, I believe I got my money's worth! Plus it tasted amazing. Not a very strong flavor, not bitter but really good and refreshing.

My research suggested that it could be crumbled on a salad, and I believe it would be great - almost like a tomato.

To find out more about the drug interaction, check on webmd here - and click on the 'side effects' tab. I admit I got bored about three quarters of the way through this, but I guess if you are on blood thinners, cholesterol or blood pressure medication, it is important to know what you are dealing with. I am lucky that I have not yet had to indulge in any of these medication.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lone Star Grille & Bubba's Backyard - Cedar Park

We were not too disappointed when the Reunion Grill closed, in fact we were not very surprised either. We had eaten there a few times and had given up on it ever getting it's act together. The premises stood empty for a while, then for a couple of months there was feverish activity and it emerged as Lone Star Grill & Bubba's Back Yard.

We had waited with anticipation for this restaurant to open. Then we gave it a couple of weeks to iron out any kinks and finally we gave it a try. We were not very optimistic having read a number of not so good reviews online, but felt it only fair to test it out ourselves. The premises are very big, and it has a sizable outdoor eating area with a playground for kids. While that is wonderful for families, it also means that the doors to the outdoor area are constantly open. As soon as we were seated, in the almost empty dining area, we were aware of a large number of flies, at one point there were four flies dive bombing us.

The manager noticed we had been seated for a while without drinks and so he took our drinks order, and returned with our server. After that the service could not be faulted and I will always try to say something good about a restaurant if I possibly can. At last! a restaurant that doesn't serve one person enough food for the entire table. It was still more than I could eat, but it wasn't huge.

We started with San Jacinto Jalitos - strips of breaded jalapeno peppers, deep fried and served with a ranch dip. At $7.49, they were expensive. A small plate of small strips of breaded fried jalapenos - they were also a little greasy, but they were good.

I ordered Pesto Chicken: The description was: Chicken over rigatoni pasta with mushroom, spinach and sun dried tomatoes smothered in a pesto cream sauce with a side of veggies and a piece of toasted garlic bread. The veggies were enormous medallions of carrots and were exceptionally good, actually they were the best part of the meal, the garlic toast was also very good.

Unfortunately the Chicken Pesto got a fail, not for flavor which was very good, but because it was about 95% pasta, and was most definitely NOT smothered. The pesto cream sauce was delicious, but there was very little of it. I ate the few small pieces of chicken, mushrooms and spinach and most of the carrots. At $13.99 it was extremely expensive.

Larry ordered the Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and fried okra and although he doesn't much like okra he said it tasted pretty good, the meatloaf was passable and the mashed potatoes were what my mother in law calls 'dirty mash', that is they are mashed with the skins on, and they got a thumbs down from both Mildred and Larry. This was the cheapest meal at $9.99 but not worth it.

Mildred ordered Hill Country Catfish with mash and beans for $12.99. The fish she liked but as mentioned she didn't much like the mash and said the beans tasted like canned beans. We all agreed that it was no big feat to cook a decent pot of beans, so serving what tasted and looked like canned beans was just not impressive.

We won't be giving Lone Star Grill a second chance, for the same price we know we can get a decent meal at Blue Corn Harvest, and the flies were absolutely a big turn off.

Friday, October 17, 2014

North by Northwest - Austin

This restaurant is a little further a field than we usually go for dinner - about 16 miles from us, but we were meeting my stepson Travis, and this is about halfway between where we live, not that we need an excuse to eat here.

Although it is a little expensive, it is well worth every penny. The service is first class and the food is good, and for beer lovers they have a variety of very good beers. What is interesting is that I first ate here in 1997 and it is every bit as good today as it was back then.

It is probably unfortunate that the day I chose to write my review, the dish I chose was not as good as I have previously enjoyed, having said that, it wasn't bad.

We had bought two gift cards valued at $50 each from Costco at a discounted price of $79.99, so, in theory, the tip was covered. The bill for four of us for appetizer, four entrees, one beer and two sodas (yes we were being very restrained) was $80 and some change.

The girl who greeted us as we entered showed some determination in trying to divert us to the 'Happy Hour' section. She seemed disappointed when we insisted on avoiding that area and asked for a booth in the dining room, which was almost empty as we were quite early. She led us to the only booth in the room where every seat was in the direct sunlight streaming through the window. We asked to sit in a more shaded booth and she looked confused and waved at the almost empty room and told us to pick our own seating.

We started with the NXNW Sampler Platter - 'fried calamari, buffalo wings, fried artichoke hearts and sausage stuffed mushrooms with three delectable sauces: grain mustard, marinara, and jalapeño buttermilk'. This was very good and there was more than enough for everyone.

For the main course my husband and his mother both had the Beef Tri-Tip Pizza with jalapeños, red bell peppers, mozzarella and marinara, the jalapeños were fresh, not pickled. My stepson chose Pork Chop Porterhouse with roasted red potatoes and balsamic glaze and seasonal vegetables. They were all very happy with their choices, in fact Travis repeated a number of time how great his meal was.

I ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon which was served over sautéed spinach, blue cheese scalloped potatoes in a port wine demi-glas, and my main complaint was that the spinach was extremely oily. It was sautéed in garlic and oil and tasted like the garlic had not been cooked at all and the oil had not been heated sufficiently before the spinach was added, then the whole lot was poured on top of the potatoes, which were great. Unfortunately there really was too much oil and it seeped into the potatoes and the demi-glas. The salmon was slightly overcooked, or perhaps had just been kept warm too long as it was dry and the surface was a little leathery.

While I was disappointed with my meal, it was not bad enough that I wouldn't go back again but I probably would avoid ordering the same dish. The menu is so good and I have had so such great food there before, I don't think that is a problem. I am sure that NXNW would have responded positively had I complained and I probably should have.

Unfortunately none of my photos came out, OK I forgot to put the SD card in my camera ~blush~. Maybe next time I will get photos.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Logan's Roadhouse - Cedar Park

We have eaten in Logan's a few times, and Mildred frequently meets her granddaughter there for lunch.

We are still looking for a replacement for our Friday night dinner - which, you may already know if you read my blog regularly, was always Chili's - it was our date night for years, in fact ever since the Cedar Park Chili's opened. And after Mildred moved in with us, we still continued to enjoy our Friday night dinner there with her. It was our first choice to bring guests from out of town, out of state, out of country - in fact, out of continent.

All of our guests are from Europe and they all enjoyed a visit to Chili's, that is before it went to hell in a hen basket. Anyway, we are still looking for a replacement. We thought it might be Logan's. We do enjoy their free roasted peanuts on the table. Used to be you threw the shells on the floor, but now they supply an empty bucket for the shells.

So, after another disastrous visit to Chili's on Friday, we headed for Logan's on Saturday evening. The  meal started out well. Our drinks were served relatively quickly and while the freeze  had definitely gone out of Larry's frozen margarita, it was a healthy serving and good. We ordered a combo appetizer, fried mozzarella cheese sticks, breaded fried pickles and potato skins. This dish arrived without any delay and was hot and delicious. It was served with three different dipping sauces.

Then we waited for our main course, we waited and I had a second glass of wine.  I always know when the services is really slow if I have a second glass of wine, because normally one glass will last me through appetizer and main course. What was worse was the fact that the place as almost empty, it wasn't like there was a rush on the kitchen. And to be fair, our server was very good, but we saw people who had come in after us being served before us, and still we waited.

Finally the food came and it was very good. I am not sure I would say worth the wait, but definitely good, except for Larry's. He chose to have Nachos as a main course - it was listed on the appetizer section. It was definitely big enough for a main course, but was more like bar snacks than appetizer even. There was almost no meat involved in this dish, and it was doused with liquid cheese sauce making the chips go mushy before it even got to the table.

Mildred ordered Southern style fried fish with french fries, she was delighted with it, though as always there was way too much.

I had mesquite grilled salmon which was on the menu with broccoli and a side salad. I substituted the side salad for grilled skewered mushrooms, and was asked what did I want as a side, so I said, somewhat confused, mushrooms.  It arrived with no broccoli and double mushrooms. Luckily I absolutely love mushrooms and they were amazing as was the fish. Again, enough for two, but that meant I had lunch the following day, and it was equally good warmed up.

The verdict is out on the service. The price was way more than we would expect to pay in Chili's, but that is no longer a good comparison because the last time we went there my poor mother in law didn't receive her food it until after we had almost finished and she only ordered soup, worst was it was cold - so cheap doesn't really come into it. You get what you pay for.

We will go back to Logan's I am sure, but I don't count it as a contender for our Friday night unwinding.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wok Express - Cedar Park

I mentioned in passing, in a previous blog, that we have a favorite Chinese take out. Actually, they also do delivery. Wok Express opened in 2002, when we were living in Cedar Park, we tried them as soon as we heard about them and they have been a favorite ever since. What is amazing is how consistently good their food is, only once did we have cause to complain because it arrived cold, and we got a free entree to compensate for that.

When we moved to Leander we were resigned to going to pick up our meal, but discovered that they actually do deliver all the way out here.

Rice and fortune cookie
We have tried most of the items on their menu and all have been great value for money. We now have our few favorites and will generally stick to one or other of them. The portions are huge, and one appetizer and one entree would actually be sufficient for all three of us, however we normally order two entrees for variety and have enough left over for lunch the next day. I have found that it also freezes well though I don't recommend storing it for very long.

Egg Roll (pork) 1.25

They have the most amazing egg rolls, all meals come with one egg roll, steamed rice and one fortune cookie. When we get a Chinese delivery we always use disposable plates and plastic knives and forks, reducing to an absolute minimum the amount of work involved in cleanup

Spicy Chicken Wings (8) 5.95

We normally start with spicey chicken wings or teriyaki chicken, both are really good and the prices are great.

Kung Pao trip delight

One of our favorites is Kung Pao triple delight: marinated chicken, beef and shrimp stirfried with celery, carrots, water chestnuts, and peanuts in a spicy brown sauce. The photo is supposed to be one serving, as I said, it is enough for three.

Hunan Shrimp

Another favorite is the Lover's Special,  On one side, stir fry white chicken breast meat and shrimp with Chinese vegetables in a white wine sauce; on the other side, beef and chicken is stir fried with vegetables in a brown sauce. On this particular occasion we had Hunan Shrimp, marinated shrimp stir fried with vegetables in a spicy brown sauce.

I highly recommend Wok Express. Give them a try, you won't be disappointed.

They are located at The Commons at Buttercup Creek
200 Buttercup Creek Blvd.  Suite 117
Cedar Park, TX  78613

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chipotle Mexican Grill - Cedar Park

We were keen to try Chipotle because their policies towards both their food and their employees are very applaudable. They claim on their website:  "...It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones... And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical. And that we use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones..."

The use of  "whenever possible" and "when practical", while removing any conviction that the food will be organic, is at least honest. I really like that they supply detailed information on the nutritional value of their menu here and, if their claims on their employment policies are true, then I really do not mind paying their somewhat higher prices for their food.

As always, we studied the menu online before heading to dinner, I have mentioned before that I wish that restaurants would serve smaller portions, at least with Chipotle's menu we could reduce the amount of food served by ordering two meals between the three of us.  We ordered crispy carnitas (pork) tacos - that is 3 to a serving, and soft, beef fajita tacos, also 3 to a serving, and one empty 'plate', (plastic, paper lined basket) - we added the optional guacamole (pricey at $1.80). Then we each had one crispy and one soft taco. This was more than enough for me, in fact I could only manage one and half tacos, Larry had two and half and he also ordered a margarita, though unfortunately they didn't serve frozen, only on the rocks. No wine, cold or otherwise, so I settled for a beer.

The food was served up very quickly, not the margarita, for some reason that took nearly as long as it took us to eat before it arrived.

I really wanted to like the food, given all the information on their website, but I didn't, the pork was not as tender as it could have been, and there was very little flavor to it,  the beef was not quite so flavorless, but wasn't great either. The salsa and guac were good. While I do enjoy breakfast tacos, they are not my first choice for dinner, but the chicken tacos served by our local bar-b-q restaurant, Smokey Mo's, are terrific and sad to say, even Taco Cabana's tacos are better, and cheaper, than Chipotle, however they may not be nearly as good for us 'whenever possible'.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Healthier banana nut muffins

.. OK, slightly healthier.

I freeze bananas when they are starting to get over ripe, and then use them to make banana nut muffins - works really well, if you let them defrost at room temperature first, then remove the top, you can squeeze them out like toothpaste, no mashing required.

4 frozen bananas defrosted
one third of a cup of melted Fleischmann's With Olive Oil
1 cup of Splenda brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon of ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
half cup of wholemeal flour
quarter cup of flax meal
quarter cup of qia (Nature's Path Qi'a: Chia Buckwheat and Hemp Cereal, Cranberry Vanilla - really good)
quarter cup of oatmeal
quarter cup of chopped pecan nuts
quarter cup of chopped dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

lightly grease a muffin pan with olive oil spray wiped with paper towel

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the flour.
Add the flour, mix until combined
pour into a muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes

Friday, August 15, 2014

Marco's Pizza - Leander

Marco's Pizza Leander

Friday night is our regular date night, usually.  This Friday we were definitely NOT going outside the house. Texas weather is wonderful, usually. The normal high for today would be 64 degrees F.  Today that was not the case, with a low of 23 and a high of 34, the rain that fell overnight and instantly froze didn't really get an opportunity to melt.  

Delivery was our unanimous decision. Now, I don't like pizza, in fact I really dislike it quite a lot, on the other hand, my husband and mother in law love it.  It used to be they would fill up on it while I was off visiting my family in Europe, but now that we have found Marco's the problem is solved.  Apparently, if you like pizza, I have it on good authority that their's is delicious.  I assure you, their salads are pretty good, for a pizza delivery restaurant, in fact they are better than our local Italian delivery salads.  Last time we did this I had the ceasar salad, this time I chose the 'small' greek salad with some buffalo wings.  The salad was great, though I don't like the prepackaged dressings, as they come on the side I can apply my own dressing.  The wings were pretty good too - a little greasy, but edible and the sauce was great, if you like hot buffalo wings and I do.

We order online, select our preferred delivery time, and as they are located less than two miles from our house, delivery is always on time and the food, at least the food that is supposed to be hot, is hot. Naturally, the salad was cold.

And, as you can see, there is more than enough for dinner for the three of us, plus pizza left for Larry's lunch and salad for lunch for me for the next two days, if I want it.  All that for $40 including tip.

Friday, August 8, 2014


So, my daughter challenged me to create a meal out of left overs.  How? she said, 'You have always been so good at making magical meals out of leftovers' and naturally I saw that as a challenge.

What was left over?

Some sausages - (a little charred) French sausages, sort of like the sausages known as Italian in the US, quite nice, not greasy, spicy and meaty, left from the French barbecue, a little bit of duck from that barbecue and also beef and lamb from same event.

I poked around in her fridge and found a huge bag of my most favorite Chicory (Belgian Endive) almost all of which were way far gone, but two ears were still good. Beautiful sweet French onions, really they were more like shallots which I love, and new potatoes, lots of them.

So, I cleaned and chopped the two ears of chicory, about 10 small onions, and 10 potatoes (peeled of course). I heated some oil in a skillet and added mixed herbs, cumin and a lot of curry powder and some salt and pepper.

Once this mixture was good and hot I added the chopped potatoes (if you are lucky enough to have a granddaughter, allow her to help with the copping), onions and chicory and sauteed them 'til they started to brown constantly stirring. Then I added the chopped barbecued meats and a cup .. actually a mug of red wine (if in doubt, add red wine) a mug of water, and allow the wine to cook, taste and then make your daughter taste, discuss and agree to add a small carton of tomato paste and a small carton of cream. Stir well, bring back to the boil and taste again - perfect! cover and let simmer.

Simmer for 20 minutes then turn off the heat and let sit till ready to eat. It will continue to cook for at least another hour.  So, then get your daughter to cook some rice, reheat the leftovers and serve, preferably with some (lots of) cheap, good French wine.

My grandson (the skinny one) had a double serving so I know he liked it :) - it was good.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mouton's Southern Bistro - Leander

Mouton's Southern Bistro 

We were not here for the music
as you can see from the sky, we eat early
This location on the old 183 to Leander used to be Moody's Breakfast House. I am not sure if it changed hands or just names. To me it seems identical apart from a paint job inside, and my husband pointed out there was new flooring. Every thing else seems the same, Moody's only served breakfast and lunch, Mounton's does lunch and dinner, and only serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

Crawfish Dip

If you like fried food you will probably really enjoy their dinner menu. We started with the Crawfish Dip, not fried, served with French bread. It was very nice. Crawfish, bell pepper, onion in cream cheese served warm.

I do like French bread, but I do not like my bread to be served already buttered. And I use the term 'buttered' loosely, for it was definitely not butter. It had the aftertaste of margarine and I can't stand that. As the bread had been lightly grilled the margarine had soaked into it and really didn't taste good to me.

I don't do fried, so I found one item on the Speciality section of the menu that did appeal to me, even though I usually avoid pasta I do like alligator so when I spied the Bayou Pasta with grilled alligator, tomatoes, trinity, artichoke hearts and asparagus in a jambalaya cream sauce, I was prepared to try it. The pasta was fettuccine. Served with garlic bread.

Bayou Pasta
I was sad to discover when my plate arrived, that there was no obvious sign of alligator steak. I had hoped to see a whole piece of meat sitting on a bed of pasta. The serving was huge, way more than I could eat. I searched and found about half a dozen tiny pieces of alligator, almost too small to really get the flavor.

I like alligator meat, specially if it is cooked well. I suspect this meat was cut into tiny pieces because chewing it would have been just that - chewing. It was very tough and tasteless.

The jambalaya cream sauce on the other hand was delicious. I enjoyed the artichoke hearts and some of the other vegetables (trinity for those who are not familiar with Cajun, is usually a mixture of onions, celery and bell pepper). There was so much food on my plate that I had barely made a dent in it when I was too full to eat any more. I did risk one taste of the garlic bread, which I really do like but unfortunately it was just the same as the lightly grilled French bread with margarine. I tasted absolutely no garlic from it, just margarine.  Happily the glass of cabernet was at room temperature and was very good.

Sheridan Shrimp
Both my mother in law and my husband enjoyed their selections, Sheridan Shrimp for Mildred and Shell Beach Platter for Larry. Both of their dishes contained battered and fried food, served with fries and cole slaw. They do like fried foods and I guess, because I don't do fried, they need to get their fix from time to time so we will return because I can find a salad from their menu that should work for me.

Though I do think some of the prices were slightly high, they were not outrageous. The most expensive dish was the Shell Beach Platter at $14.99.  The entire bill was under $60 which included a glass of wine and a bottle of beer.

Shell Beach Platter

One thing we did enjoy was reading the Vegetarian Menu, which had two salads, a Surf and a Turf salad, each listed the Vegetarian items, then the add-on items, which were Crawfish, Shrimp and Catfish for the Surf and Bacon, Chicken Breast and Bistro Medallions  for the Turf, which naturally immediately moved these salads from under the Vegetarian heading and into another section of the menu. I will try one of those next time, though I will probably stick to the strict Vegetarian item as I suspect the add ons will be fried.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

If you like mushrooms, which I do, you will like these.

3 Portobello Mushrooms
1 tomato finely chopped
1 tomatillo finely chopped
1 tablespoon of finely chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon of finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon of mustard (I use Dijon)
salt & pepper
two tablespoons of grated cheese

ready for the oven

preheat oven to 425 degrees F
mix the chopped tomato, tomatillo, onion, parsley & cilantro with half the cheese
add the salt & pepper and mustard and mix well
remove the stalk from the mushrooms
fill with the mixed veggies
sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top of the mushrooms
Place mushrooms in a baking tin lined with foil
cook for 15 minutes
ready to eat

that's it!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Beef & Vegetables in Red Wine

Some would call this beef stew, and in fact, that is what I called it when serving it to my husband and his mother, sounded down home and acceptable, wrong.

Whatever you call it, I like it and it is equally good  as a winter chow down mid week, or a weekend dinner with guests.  Be warned, the turnip does make the overall flavor slightly sweet, if that is not to your taste, leave it out or substitute it with another vegetable, such as broccoli or squash.


1.5 pounds beef  cut in cubes
2 leeks
3 large carrots
6 medium sized potatoes
1 yellow squash
1 turnip
2 cups of chopped cauliflower
1 large onion
6 large mushrooms
2 stalks of celery
fresh parsley chopped
5 cloves garlic crushed
half a small cabbage
quarter cup of olive oil
three quarters bottle of wine
quarter cup of corn starch
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 sachets / cubes of beef stock
salt & pepper


Chop all the vegetables to approximately the same size
Mix the corn starch, paprika, cumin and chili powder, salt and pepper in a ziploc bag
put the cubed beef in the bag and shake till the meat is coated
heat the oil in a large skillet
add crushed garlic
add the onions and mushrooms
remove onions and mushrooms when cooked but not browned
add the meat to the skillet and brown
add onions and mushrooms and stir
add the vegetables
add the red wine
dissolve beef stock in half a pint of water and add
stir well and bring to a boil
reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes
reduce heat and continue to cook for 2 hours.

Ready to cook

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dos Salsas - Cedar Park

We have eaten at Dos Salsas a few times and have always been pleased with both the food and the service. The price is also very reasonable. I can highly recommend the Stuffed Jalapenos as an appetizer, they are so good we haven't yet tried any of the other appetizers on the menu. Both of the Dos Salsas served are very good indeed.

On this occasion we had a party of 8 and I was surprised at how quickly we were seated, orders for drinks taken and served, food orders taken, and the food arrived quickly and everyone was happy with their choice.

This visit I strayed from my usual Pollo en Mole which I absolutely love, and I tried the Pescado Monterrey, grilled tilapia with sauteed onions, tomatoes, jalapeno served with a guacamole salad - that is some slices of avocado in a small taco shell.  It was absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked, however, there was way too much for one person.  

Once again I wish that restuarants would serve half portions.  As I have said so many times before, I would willingly pay more than half the price for half the portion. I really hate to think of the food they waste. 

Dos Salsas has a large dining area, with some booths and has a pleasant atmosphere with a definite Tex-Mex decor but it is not overpowering, that is to say it is not gaudy. They also have the requisite flat screen TVs viewable from just about every seat, something I would prefer to not to have. I think having television destroys the conversation flow and adds to the noise levels, but I believe I am probably in the minority - at least in Cedar Park.

As I said, we have been to Dos Salsas before and we will definitely return there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Royal India - Austin

I grew up in Dublin where Indian restaurants, very good Indian restaurants, abound. I absolutely love Indian food and was quite disappointed to find that Austin didn't seem to have many Indian eateries. The Star of India has long been my favorite, and for many years, only, go to for my curry fix. (I must tell you about the Star of India in another blog).

Thanks to Groupon, we discovered another Indian restaurant had opened in Austin, and not too far from home. They are located in the strip mall at the corner of Balcones Woods and 183.  Armed with our Groupon we headed to try it out.

Wow! Amazing. It is in a strip mall, so not terribly impressive outside, and strip mall restaurants tend to be very much alike on the interior, however there is an atmosphere in Royal India that can only be attributed to the staff and the very high standards. I highly recommend this place. And they take reservations online.

In the tradition of Indian food, everything is served in a serving dish and so mix and match is very simple, you get to taste a little of everything.

As there were five in our party, we had two appetizers. We started with Royal Reshmi Kabab - essentially a ground chicken sausage, spicy and delicious, and Chicken 65. Both were delicious. We also had Naan Bread which I really have to say was amazing. We ordered Garlic Naan and Jalapeno Chees Naan. Everyone enjoyed it.

For main course I had Dhaba Mutton Curry. They offer a spice level from one to five, with five being the hottest. I settled for 3 and it was perfect. In Ireland mutton = old sheep, in India apparently, it is goat, but either, it was wonderful! On the side I had spinach which I love in any shape or form.

Nya ordered the Butter Chicken at a level two and was very pleased with it. Travis showed us all up by ordering, and eating, a level 5 Chili Chicken.

Larry chose the Kakori Kabab and while he said it was delicious (and I affirm as I got to taste it) he was not too keen on the fact that it was ground lamb - also in a sort of sausage form. As he has only recently discovered lamb and likes it in its whole form best.

Our drive home was enhanced by a beautiful sunset - while nothing to do with the restaurant nor the great food, it was a lovely way to finish the evening.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Banana Nut Bread


3 ripe bananas masahed, or 3 frozen defrosted bananas
half a cup of crushed pecan or walnuts
one third of a cup of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
one and half cups of all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

lightly grease a muffin pan with olive oil spray wiped with paper towel
ready for the oven

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the flour.
Add the flour, mix until combined
pour into a muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes
test with a sharp knife, if it comes out clean it is done.

cool on a wire rack.  These freeze well.
ready to eat