The Russian House

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A Dinner Roll finally rolled out again and we went to check out The Russian House. I must say I’ve been intrigued since a friend and I stumbled upon it when it was just about to open. There w…

Source: The Russian House

The Russian House

Posted on

A Dinner Roll finally rolled out again and we went to check out The Russian House. I must say I’ve been intrigued since a friend and I stumbled upon it when it was just about to open.

There were about 12 of us that went, 3 of us were in wheelchairs. Although I made reservations and informed them of the 3 wheelchairs, we still got placed in a room that was way too tight for our crowd. We were taken over to the front room which was a little better.

First off, we all got a free shot of vodka. Then they brought out bread with sauerkraut, onions and salt (?). Then for the experience, I ordered 2 appetizers of deviled eggs with red caviar. I have never had caviar in my life…don’t think i’ll have it again!

They have an abundant menu. I got the beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes. ohhhh my, it was delicious! Other dishes were the Borscht (Cold beet soup), Russian Blini (Traditional Russian crepes with filling of your choice: meat, red caviar, smoked salmon)  Eggplant Rolls (Chilled, grilled eggplant slices rolled and stuffed with cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes), Cheburek (A large crispy half-moon of dough filled with minced meat and herbs) , Egg with Red caviar (Two egg halves with cut butter and red caviar), Vereniki (half moons of dough with filling).

However, diner beware! The dishes are expensive! They do have an affordable Happy Hour menu but we didn’t know you could only order from it at the bar. Of course, the bar was not accessible and we were diners there, so we couldn’t order from that menu. The appetizers were affordable as well but if you want a unique but well prepared dish, have some money but the food is well worth it.

Some in our group ordered vodka-infused shots. They come in 4, 6, 8 on a board. They have the most extensive menu of infused vodka’s I have ever seen.

Infused vodka – 4.00

Shot of Vodka with Red Caviar – 9.00

Shot of Vodka with Black Caviar – 45.00

Shot of vodka with a Pickle – 4.00

4 (mini shots of vodka fusions of your choice) – 7.00

6 (mini shots of vodka fusions of your choice) – 10.00

8 (mini shots of vodka fusions of your choice) – 14.00

2 Vodka Shots with Black and Red caviar – 47.00

I definitely liked the Russian House but next time, it’s the bar with their Happy Hour menu.

The Gristmill – Greune, Texas

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I’m probably one of the last people in Texas to have never been to Greune, Texas. I have had my reasons though, inaccessibility for people with disabilities. Well, I was right. Luckily for me, I have good friends who don’t mind haulin’ my butt around. We went in my friends car and I took my manual wheelchair. It was a beautiful day. After taking care of business in San Antonio, we decided to go to Greune to eat dinner at the Gristmill. Ah yes, Greune is a lovely place, quaint, by a river…it was love at first sight.  We get out of the car, I into my rarely used manual wheelchair where I got pushed down the long, uneven, holey, brick path (while my friend grunted) that lead to the restaurant. It was quite a rattling ride. The restaurant had a very interesting way of taking seating. The hostess takes your name and when your table is ready, they write your name on a huge chalkboard. In the mean time as you wait, there was a singer playing a guitar on a small stage. The waiting area was really nice, shaded by huge trees.  Never-the-less, I wanted indoor seating! We did not have a long wait but much to my dismay, at first, I discovered there was no AC! There were fans and wide open windows but…I was like ‘oh no, no, no….’ but I had nothing to worry about because once we got settled, it was actually cool and pleasant. The food was not exceptional but it was good. We got onion rings as an appetizer and I can honestly say they were the best I’ve ever had. I got the spinach salad, a fried catfish fillet and the ‘Greune beans’. One friend got the rib-eye, which I tasted and thought it was just ok. The other two got chicken-fried chicken with gravy. I didn’t taste but they looked good. I didn’t check but was told the restrooms were accessible. When we were done, we rattled and grunted our way back to the car. I couldn’t really tell but most of the buildings did not look accessible, which is probably good for me ’cause I would have bought something I don’t need, like a pecan log or another t-shirt to add to my pile. I really want to go back, just the onion rings alone are worth the drive. Next time though, I’m going in my 6-wheel motorized wheelchair!

I saw this on a Greune website and it pretty much sums it up:

  • Internet:Yes
  • Pets considered: No
  • Wheel chair accessible: N/A

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the evil path!
the evil path!

The Austin Chronicle – 2015 Best of Austin – Readers Poll – Restaurants

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I actually haven’t been to many of these because they are mostly downtown, on SoCo or the now overcrowded S. Lamar.

I don’t often feel like getting in traffic, trying to find the nearly impossible Handicap parking space and then waiting in line for food? Nah.  Maybe someday when the stars and planets align, the weather is perfect, and there are no tourists, I’ll venture to these.

I must say though, that I agree that P. Terry’s, the winner of ‘the best place for the munchies’, is spot on because you definitely have to be high or drunk to want to eat that crap. Back in the day for us, it was Sonic 🙂

I definitely concur with The Upper Crust Bakery and Justine’s as best in their category.

Hopdoddy is on my restaurant bucket list. The Anderson Ln one of course.

Best of Austin                

Best Bakery: Upper Crust

It’s that little bakery around the corner you go to on your lunch break every Thursday with your best pal to chat about movies and your crush, and the weather, and plans for the weekend while you munch on scones, cookies, iced coffee, and cake. The place is cute and snuggly and brimming with nice, happy people who love bread, aka the best kind of people. It’s basically paradise disguised as a bakery … or maybe it’s a bakery disguised as paradise? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that their egg salad sandwich on sourdough bread with a side of cheddar soup is better than life itself.

Upper Crust Bakery, 4508 Burnet Rd., 512/467-0102, www.theuppercrustbakery.com

 

Best Barbecue: Franklin Barbecue

Austin proudly boasts the most famous barbecue joint in the country, hands down. It’s a small place with a line so long and well-established it has its own video feed, lawn chair vendor, and rules of engagement. Brisket whisperer Aaron Franklin has his own cookbook, an eponymous PBS cooking show, and James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef Southwest 2015” – the first pitmaster to win one of those babies. Can the brisket really be that good, incredulous folks ask? Why, yes, it certainly can.

Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th, 512/653-1187, www.franklinbarbecue.com

 

Best Burger: Hopdoddy

We recognized homegrown Hopdoddy as the prototype for an upscale chain right off the bat in 2010, and that was fine with us. We’re perfectly happy to share the fine Premium Gold Angus burgers (fresh-ground in-house hormone- and antibiotic-free), luxurious shop-churned shakes, and innovative specials with folks in Round Rock, Dallas, Colorado, and Arizona. There are plenty of Llano Poblano burgers and cheese fries for everyone.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1400 S. Congress, 512/243-7505, www.hopdoddy.com

Hopdoddy Burger Bar (2438-A W. Anderson), 2438-A W. Anderson, 512/467-2337, www.hopdoddy.com

 

Best Coffee: Houndstooth

Human cannot live on bread (muffin, scone) alone, so Houndstooth carries Tacodeli breakfast tacos. (Or, in the case of the North Lamar location, is situated right next to them.) But, truly, it’s all about the coffee. And “Best of Austin”-winning good coffee at that. They’ve got all the regular artisan pours and then some: French press, Chemex, a cortado. The baristas are knowledgeable, the wooden decor pleasant, and the playlist on point (Nineties and Aughts classic hip-hop). You won’t even care you’re in a Portlandia sketch. Just be warned: The mornings are packed.

Houndstooth Coffee, 4200 N. Lamar #120, 512/531-9417, www.houndstoothcoffee.com

Houndstooth Coffee Downtown, 401 Congress Ste. 100-C, 512/394-6051, www.houndstoothcoffee.com

 

Best Cure for the Munchies: P. Terry’s

The overwhelming consensus for the winner of the “Best Cure for the Munchies” award was actually some variation of “my fridge,” but since we can’t give out awards to all of your refrigerators, we went with the next popular vote, P. Terry’s. If only your fridge was stocked full of P. Terry’s, though. It’s is the perfect place to go when you’ve got the munchies because the cheeseburgers and fries are delicious, but also incredibly cheap; you can get a burger, fries, drink, and shake for under $10. And if the munchies are still kickin’ after all that, and you’re too embarrassed to go back and order more, you can just visit a different P. Terry’s location and start all over again!

 

Best Date Restaurant: TIE: Uchiko; Justine’s

Austin offers so many ways to dine and date. For those looking to romance, Justine’s delights all senses – from their steak tartare, Sazerac, and Side Car, to their enchanted garden patio, to their notoriously debaucherous galas and super-secret secret house. Offering more cheek than a French maid, this brasserie is sure to heat up any night out. Across town, Uchiko presents a more modern take on wooing, perfect for the heart set to impress. This more reserved (read: quieter) sibling of internationally recognized Uchi employs mood lighting warm enough to melt butter, and their shared plates tantalize taste buds and lovers alike. No matter the first date or the 99th, these spots will set the tone.

Uchiko, 4200 N. Lamar #140, 512/916-4808, www.uchiaustin.com/uchiko

Justine’s Brasserie, 4710 E. Fifth, 512/385-2900, www.justines1937.com

Justine’s Secret House, 1303 E. Seventh, www.justines1937.com

 

Best Food Delivery: Favor

The world is your oyster! Or burger! Or tamale! Or … you get the point. Unlike other food delivery services, you can order anything via Favor, from any restaurant or store in the delivery area. The app is super user-friendly and updates you as your runner places the order, reaches the store, and finally arrives at your location. With delivery until 3am, Favor is perfect for late-night munchies or those days you can’t leave work or are already tucked in for the night.

Favor Food Delivery, Favor Food Delivery, www.favordelivery.com

 

Best Food Trailer: East Side King

Those wacky kids have done it again! Although they continue to grow into brick-and-mortar locations, the popularity of their late-night trailers has not waned a bit. At Liberty Bar you can still enjoy all the classics – brussels sprouts, beet fries, chicken karaage – while sister Thai-Kun at Whisler’s dishes out some mighty fine Thai cuisine to pair with craft cocktails. With convenient locations planted across Austin’s entertainment districts, there’s no need to go home hungry after a night of revelry.

East Side King, 1618 E. Sixth, www.eskaustin.com

East Side King, 2538 Guadalupe, www.eskaustin.com

East Side King, 2310 S. Lamar #101, 512/383-8382, www.eskaustin.com

 

Best Ice Cream/Gelato: Amy’s Ice Creams

You might think vanilla is a boring flavor, but when done right, it hits all the pleasure receptors without being too sweet. Amy’s takes this baseline flavor one step further, offering Mexican vanilla. Precious and few ice cream shops venture so deeply into the territory of el bean. It’s the vanilla you’ve never thought possible. Now multiply that times all the other amazing flavors that come and go from the menu: Celis Raspberry, Butter Brick, Boston Cream Pie …. If ice cream were a person, Amy’s would get a hug.

 

Best Late Night Dining: Kerbey Lane Cafe

Open 24/7, Kerbey Lane is there when you need it. With options ranging from vegan to gluten-free, Kerbey ensures that everyone will find something to satisfy that dire 3am need for solid food. They’ve specialized in seasonal ingredients for ages: There’s a time for tomatoes and a time for pumpkin spice pancakes. When craving something filling and delicioso, try out the seasonal dessert. Sounds vague, but worth the ask.

 

Best New Restaurant: Launderette

photo by John Anderson

It used to be that deciding where to eat brunch was an arduous task requiring group texts, Facebook messages, and the occasional (gasp!) phone call. Now, thanks to Laura Sawicki and Rene Ortiz, that question only has one answer – Launderette. Go for the Duck Hash (which, because of the brussels sprouts, cons you into thinking it’s healthy) or the Pork & Grits. Even if the Eastside hot spot didn’t have great plates (clearly, it does), we would still think it was the best. Finally, all our friends agree on something.

Launderette, 2115 Holly, 512/382-1599, www.launderetteaustin.com

 

Best Noodles/Ramen: Ramen Tatsu-Ya

It’s no slurprise that Ramen Tatsu-Ya made “Best of Austin” for the third time. This noodle joint, which recently opened a second location on South Lamar, is well worth the wait. Plus, you can enjoy an array of beers or sake while in line, so it ain’t so bad. The pork broth will have you drinking from your bowl with shameless abandon, and you’ll definitely want to order an extra ajitama egg (or five).

Ramen Tatsu-Ya, 1234 S. Lamar, www.ramen-tatsuya.com

Ramen Tatsu-Ya, 8557 Research #126, www.ramen-tatsuya.com

 

Best Outdoor Dining: Contigo

photo by John Anderson

Contigo’s patio, which is to say the entire restaurant, is the Sam Elliott of Austin dining. It’s a little bit rustic, looks great in a cowboy getup, and gets better and better with age. There’s been some renovation, but not much has changed about the rancho deluxe setting, the easy-sipping cocktails, or the accessible menu. That kind of star power never needs fixing.

Contigo, 2027 Anchor, 512/614-2260, www.contigotexas.com/austin

 

Best Pizza: TIE: Via 313; Home Slice

photo by John Anderson

Home Slice’s lock on Best Pizza lists has been hard-earned and well-deserved. There is no other place in Central Texas that’s mastered the marriage of sauce and cheese into such a luscious blanket of East Coast POW!, a direct nonstop flight for the taste buds to NYC. Across town, the trajectory diverges – straight up the heartland to Detroit. It’s an entirely different pizza planet at Via 313. Less pie than slab of pure stretchy, gooey, tomato-y, rectangular, caramelized bliss, this muscular representation of Via’s homeland is the Dodge Challenger to Home Slice’s hansom cab. In both cases, it’s not so much the destination as the delicious journey itself.

Home Slice Pizza, 1415 S. Congress, 512/444-7437, www.homeslicepizza.com

Via 313, 1111 E. Sixth, 512/939-1927, via313.com

More Home Slice, 1421 S. Congress, 512/444-7437, www.homeslice.com

Via 313, 61 Rainey, 512/609-9405, via313.com

Via 313, 6705 Hwy. 290 #503, 512/584-8084, www.via313.com

 

Best Prepared Grab-and-Go: Snap Kitchen

Gluten-free enchiladas, grass-fed lamb lasagna, chicken butternut squash macaroni? Do not fear the organic fusion foods of Snap Kitchen. If you need healthy food that respects an allergy or dietary lifestyle, Snap has it in a ready-to-go form of yum that won’t make your wallet cry. There’s a reason this isn’t their first “Best of” rodeo.

 

Best Restaurant Design/Interior: Sway

Let’s face it. Some of the hottest dining spots in town look like Design Within Reach showrooms. That’s fine, but even in a town as mid-century-modern obsessed as ours, the eye needs to come in from the cold. Michael Hsu’s design for Sway is the opposite of that. There’s a warmth and timelessness that matches the agelessness of the kitchen. Our readers keep voting for it precisely because it already feels like home.

Sway, 1417 S. First, 512/326-1999, www.swayaustin.com

 

Best Seafood: TIE: Quality Seafood; Perla’s

photo by John Anderson

A tie between these two highly regarded purveyors of expertly prepared seafood would seem to indicate that sometimes we’re in the mood for the casual atmosphere of dining with one of our favorite local fishmongers, while other times, we prefer the beach-like ambience and shady deck of a more upscale eatery. It just depends on our budget and whether we’re hungry for a dozen oysters and some Cajun-inspired dishes washed down with an ice cold beer (Quality Seafood), or a sophisticated seafood brunch of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp and stone-ground organic grits, lobster mac & cheese, or breakfast bouillabaisse topped with a fried egg, paired with a custom cocktail (Perla’s). Either way, the seafood will be first-rate, and we’re always happy.

Quality Seafood Market, 5621 Airport, 512/452-3820, www.qualityseafood.wordpress.com

Perla’s, 1400 S. Congress, 512/291-7300, www.perlasaustin.com

 

Best Tacos: Torchy’s Tacos

Everyone talks about the Dirty Sanchez taco (har har, boys), but we love the Jamaican jerk(iness) of the Brushfire taco. We’re just gonna put that out there. Still, the story of Torchy’s – up from humble beginnings (one of the early birds in the food cart phenomenon), this “damn good” taco chain now has franchises all over Texas, and one in Colorado. That horny little devil gets around! But “damn good” food doesn’t mean design is thrown by the wayside. The new Mueller Torchy’s (and several other locations) have been outfitted by Jamie Chioco of Chioco Design. So it may surprise no one that we’ve been thinking about moving in, but we’d likely wake up with diablo hot sauce in all the wrong places. Or all the right places, depending on who you ask.

Best Vegan/Vegetarian Cafe: Counter Culture

In an ever-upscaling and -homogenizing Eastside, Counter Culture maintains a certain Austin charm. Did you know that CC founder/owner/chef Sue Davis is also a noted local vinyl DJ? DJ Sue Purr’s curatorial expertise in sound – selecting, sorting, juxtaposing, blending, and contextualizing – is similar to what she brings to her restaurant menu’s flavor palette. Apparently, that palette hits our readers’ palate like music to the mouth. In song, she specializes in Sixties garage, Seventies power-pop, and Eighties punk. In food she makes magic with elements like jackfruit, cashew cream, cashew cheeze, chickpea chorizo, beatballs, and (in the words of one band whose music we bet she’s spun before): Seitan! Seitan! Seitan!

Counter Culture, 2337 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/524-1540, www.countercultureaustin.com

Mijos

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02

My cousin Janette was in town so we decided to meet up for brunch. For over 25 years we would get together once a month and we called it our GNO (Girls Night Out). But due to time, marriages, children, AGE, and relocations, we now only get together when we can find the time. Now instead of ‘night’ we do ‘brunch’. So GBO (Girls Brunch Out) decided to meet yesterday for Sunday brunch.  However, I couldn’t believe we had such a difficult time finding a place to eat!

We originally planned on Blue Dahlia on E. 11th St. but it was ridiculously crowded.  We then noticed an Italian restaurant across the street  – Sagra Trattoria. The place looked empty so we went in and asked for a table for 4. Nope, they only take reservations. Well la-dee-da! The hostess said we could eat out in the patio. 4 menopausal women eating outside? LIKE HELL TO THE NO…

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Mijos

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Source: Mijos

Mijos

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02

My cousin Janette was in town so we decided to meet up for brunch. For over 25 years we would get together once a month and we called it our GNO (Girls Night Out). But due to time, marriages, children, AGE, and relocations, we now only get together when we can find the time. Now instead of ‘night’ we do ‘brunch’. So GBO (Girls Brunch Out) decided to meet yesterday for Sunday brunch.  However, I couldn’t believe we had such a difficult time finding a place to eat!

We originally planned on Blue Dahlia on E. 11th St. but it was ridiculously crowded.  We then noticed an Italian restaurant across the street  – Sagra Trattoria. The place looked empty so we went in and asked for a table for 4. Nope, they only take reservations. Well la-dee-da! The hostess said we could eat out in the patio. 4 menopausal women eating outside? LIKE HELL TO THE NO. So we settled on Mijos right next door. It was empty and the door was locked. Noooo…! The host, sweet Sergio, knowing his life might be in danger, unlocked and opened the door and let us in (which was a good thing because we were ready to huff and puff and blow the house down). Sergio then informed us that they ran out of rice and beans from the night before and it would be 20 minutes before they would be ready (it was actually 45 minutes). What-ev-er, just turn on the AC and bring the Bloody Mary’s. LOL.  So finally, we had a table and got to cool off and visit.

I’ve eaten at Mijos before. I’ve always found the food to be lackluster but I did find a dish I like -the Margharita nachos. Nachos with shrimp, Pico-de-Gallo and queso blanco. We got the Queso Compuesto as an appetizer. Ordinally it’s hard to mess up this common appetizer but they did it. The queso tasted like anything but cheese. I swear it was a powdered or canned mix, yuck. The chips – tasteless and hard. You need a good set of choppers to eat them. I noticed on the menu, a plate of ‘Mexican street taco’ made with tuna, shredded cabbage, queso blanco and crema with a side of black beans. Sounded good. Not being able to decide between the margharita nachos or the tuna tacos, I ordered the nachos with the tacos as a to-go order. Janette and JoAnn ordered the carnitas tacos plate. Then Sergio came and told them there were no carnitas but they could get beef fajita or chicken. They chose chicken. The plates came out with a smidgen of finely chopped chicken and bowl of black beans. The bowl of rice came out later. The plates looked so sparse, the cooks should have been embarrassed, I mean, at least put the food on a smaller plate to make it look full! Later that night I had the tuna tacos. GROSS. never again!

Overall, I think Mijos is trying to be another ‘Baby Acapulco’s’, They grandly feature multiple colored margarita’s, live music and Happy Hour specials. So, if you get drunk enough you won’t notice how bad the food is.

I think it’s safe to say Mijo’s is only surviving by taking in the overflow of the restaurants on the now hipster-chic E. 11th St. One Yelp reviewer stated it perfectly “Festive place but there are too many good Mexican restaurants in Austin to waste your time here.”

E. 11th St. Once the domain of drug addicts and prostitutes, they have now been replaced by hipster snobs with money and Mercedes Benz’s.

In other words, E. 11th is now worse than ever was.

GENTRIFICATION. : the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

  snob: a person with an exaggerated expectation for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate with social superiors and dislikes people or activities regarded as lower-class.

  1. 0807

    wth?
    wth?
    the nasty queso
    the nasty queso
    helluva happy hour menu
    helluva happy hour menu
    the new prostitutes :)
    the new prostitutes 🙂
    this pretty girl has a pretty flower
    this pretty girl has a pretty flower
    for those who like tall red-heads
    for those who like tall red-heads
    for those gentlemen who prefer blondes
    for those gentlemen who prefer blondes