This past weekend, my friends Kelli and Priya met my friend Lauren in Austin, as she had been there the week prior for work. Before I get to talking about the food, I just want to remark that Austin is an extremely underrated city. It has never been on my “US cities I must visit” list, but it should have been. And it should be on yours too. Simply put, the town is sick. Very laid back, easy going and filled with Southern character without being obnoxious (those who know me, know my reservations on southern mentality), and the people were extremely nice. I’ve been saying it’s so much like Chicago, but with southern accents. And I had sincere concerns about being accosted with country music everywhere we went, but the only country I heard was, ironically enough, in the shuttle on our way back to the Austin airport. Sorry for going on a tangent, but I just want reiterate that you must go. Great town. Back to where I started, my friends and I were especially excited for this trip as we had heard nothing but good things about Austin, and I of course, made sure we had at least one good meal. Luckily, our good friend Shawn had lived and dined there for a few years, and knew all the good spots, so we went to 219 West per his suggestion. Apparently it has live music some nights, but I guess we missed it. Bummer. (By the way, I also had no idea that Austin prides itself on being “the live music capital of the US.”But apparently it is).
If you are ever in Austin, you should go to this place for the originality of the menu style alone. You know how a lot of restaurants offer a wine pairing with each dish? Well, here, they offer meals with their drinks! See this link for what I mean… http://www.219west.com/menus.htm. I was craving a martini, so I ordered the Mini French Onion Burgers off the Martini Menu. They were DIVINE. My favorite soup in the world is French Onion, and having that flavor on a burger, my all-time favorite food, was a combustion of delicious richness in my mouth. They were heavy, and filled with flavor. Loved it. They came with swiss cheese, pickles, and garlic aioli, and were paired with the Stoli Vanil martini but I opted for the Blackberry martini instead. The pairing worked great from my perspective, and as we were splitting apps, I got to try all the other goodies my friends ordered too. Priya got the Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla, and Kelli got the Chicken Fried Ahi Tuna off the Martini Menu. Lauren got the Spicy Cheese Tater Tots off the Beer Menu. Everything tasted amazing…
The Quesadilla had mushrooms, peppers, and were topped with balsamic. Good stuff. With Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, the Chicken Fried Ahi Tuna was fried rare, and the fact that it was fried put a unique spin on a dish I already love. Again, good stuff. I feel I don’t even need to tell you if I enjoyed the cheesy tater tots. I mean, they’re tater tots with cheese. What’s not to like?
All in all, a great recommendation from Shawn, and if you’re ever in Austin, I’d definitely check it out.