Sunday, February 21, 2016

10 best Austin dive restaurants for damn good food at a good price

10 best Austin dive restaurants for damn good food at a good price

Four words: Broccoli beer cheese soup. Located in an old Tejano nightclub, Gourmands dishes out delicious and affordable sandwiches, salads, and soups alongside pingpong, foosball, and darts. There’s an urban grittiness to the restaurant served with a side of punk rock that makes it a neighborhood favorite.

Quality Seafood
Pull up a chair and let the ladies behind the bar take care of you for an evening. There’s a weathered feel to Quality Seafood, which originally opened in 1938. Located off Airport Boulevard, must-order items include bacon-wrapped scallops, blackened salmon, and grilled oysters. Don’t miss out on $3 Taco Tuesdays featuring mahi mahi and shrimp tacos or Lobsterfest Saturdays featuring entire lobsters, flown in fresh from Maine that morning, for $25.
This one’s contentious. Yes, we’ve had horrible service here. Yes, the restaurant recently failed the health exam in January (Polvos has since turned around its score), but we can’t seem to get enough of the Mexican dive that is Polvos. The drinks are handmade, strong, and reasonably priced, and you can’t go wrong with an order of queso — with the works, of course (ground beef, guacamole, and pico de gallo). For a cheap date night, order the chicken/beef fajita combo to share. That, along with a Mexican Martini will leave you full and buzzed.
Pho Saigon Noodle House
For a piping hot bowl of noodles with the most tender of meat, pho-get about it, you need to head to Pho Saigon in North Austin’s Chinatown Center. Order a sinfully sweet Thai iced tea to accompany your pho, and be amazed when the bill comes and you’ve spent under $10. The shopping center is worth visiting too for fresh-baked bread from Texas Bakery and bubble tea from Short N’ Sweet.
Nubian Queen Lola’s Cajun Soul Food Cafe
If the name isn't a mouthful already, your meal certainly will be. The rich, Southern comfort food served at Lola’s is some of the best you’ll find in Austin: huge portions of catfish po’boys, fried chicken, and pork chops and irresistible sides like cornbread and macaroni and cheese. Owner Lola Stephens gives back to her East Austin community by closing the restaurant on Sundays to serve the homeless in the eatery’s backyard.
A visit to East 12th Street’s Taco-Mex is a little like visiting the home of your abuela. With kitschy religious decor and cute signs on the wall donning sayings like “Never trust a skinny chef,” this is one of Austin’s hidden gems when it comes to quality Mexican food. Have a seat, receive full service from the friendly staff, and enjoy Tex-Mex favorites that are cooked to perfection. We highly recommend any of the customizable breakfast tacos or the massive enchilada plates.
Located on the side of I-35, you’ve probably driven by the tiny Aster’s building at one point or another. For the right price you can enjoy traditional Ethiopian stews like wot and alichi served with injera bread. The plates are quite large and range from $12 to $15. You can also get a taste of East Africa with Ethiopian beers Bedele, Harar, or Meta.
Broken Spoke
While you may know Broken Spoke for two-stepping and country music, the honky tonk also serves a mean chicken-fried steak. You can also enjoy burgers, Mexican, and barbecue offerings while you take a break from dancing. Operated for over 50 years in South Austin, Broken Spoke offers a truly Texan dining experience with an unbeatable atmosphere.
The sign says it all: Burgers, dogs, drinks, beer. What more do you need to know? This East Sixth Street dive serves up quintessential bar food on the cheap. We recommend the Frito pie, garlic jalapeño ranch bacon burger, and the Capitalist Pig BLT washed down with a local brew. Don’t miss out on Sputnik’s happy hour that runs from 3 to 7 pm and offers $4 pints, $4 house wine, and $10 single-malt scotch.
Evangeline Cafe
Head to the swamps for this Louisiana-inspired dive. With intriguing appetizers like gator bites and frog legs, this restaurant keeps the Cajun-Creole culture alive in South Austin through traditional plates and live music that will make you feel like you’re walking the streets of New Orleans. Other must-try dishes include seafood gumbo, crawfish etoufee, and the muffuletta sandwich. Evangeline Cafe has a mom-and-pop vibe with walls and ceilings filled with over-the-top funky decor.

14 Quotes From The Founding Fathers
1. “The American states have gone far in assisting the progress of truth; but they have stopped short of perfection. They ought to have given every honest citizen an equal right to enjoy his religion and an equal title to all civil emoluments, without obliging him to tell his religion. Every interference of the civil power in regulating opinion, is an impious attempt to take the business of the Deity out of his own hands; and every preference given to any religious denomination, is so far slavery and bigotry.”
~Founding Father Noah Webster, calling for no religious tests to serve in public office, Sketches of American Policy, 1785
 2. “Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.”
~Founding Father Oliver Wolcott, Connecticut Ratifying Convention, 9 January 1788
 3. “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace.”
~Samuel Adams
 4. “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
~Thomas Jefferson
 5.“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
~George Washington
 6. “As to Taxes, they are evidently inseparable from Government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine.”
~Alexander Hamilton: Address to the Electors of the State of New York, March, 1801
 7. “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.”
~Thomas Jefferson
 8. “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.”
~Thomas Paine
 9. “The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride legitimately, by the grace of God.”
~Thomas Jefferson
 10. “As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.” ~Alexander Hamilton
 11. “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
~John Adams
 12. “We look forward to the time when the power to love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
~William Ellery
 13. “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men…”
~John Adams
 14. “Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules.”
~Thomas Jefferson

Monday, February 01, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Skewers With Blue Cheese Dip*

12  6- to 8-inch bamboo skewers

3  8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce (we used Frank’s)

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch


1. Soak skewers in water for 60 minutes, and preheat the oven to broil.

2. Cut chicken into 12 lengthwise strips; thread each strip on a skewer.

3. In a small saucepan, combine hot sauce, vinegar, cayenne pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water. Bring sauce ingredients to a boil over medium heat; add cornstarch mixture and continue cooking until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat; set aside.

4. Make the blue cheese dip in another bowl: Blend 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt; 2 cloves garlic, chopped; 2 scallions, chopped; ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled; and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, if desired; set aside.

5. Place skewers on broiler pan. Broil 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. While chicken is still hot, generously coat each skewer in the hot-sauce mixture. Pour remaining sauce into a small bowl for dipping.

6. Serve immediately with the hot sauce and blue cheese dip.

* This recipe was adapted from the Buffalo Chicken Skewers recipe on

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