Where to Eat in Austin: Easy Tiger

Bread, pastries, and beer next to a creek. What could be better? While I unfortunately only had time and stomach space to eat a pastry from Easy Tiger, I liked what I ate.  So much so that I forgot to take a picture of it before taking a bite out of it.

Untitled

It’s called a Tiger Claw and it’s like a bear claw, but better. It’s not as sticky sweet, and it’s filled with a spicy, sweet, and savory mix of crushed pecans and some sort of warming spice. If you’re like me in that you don’t like pastries to be too sweet, it is the perfect thing. And yes, it has a nice kick.

Easy Tiger
709 East 6th St.
Austin, TX 78701

Where to Eat in Austin: East Side King

I was in Austin for a couple of days last week.  Besides eating a lot of breakfast tacos, I tried out a lot of other new spots and a couple of old favorites that I was glad were still around.  One thing I could not get over was how vegetarian and vegan friendly most places were. It definitely made eating out with Will a lot easier. And the quality of the food was in some ways better than the average place in Los Angeles.

I was going to make a simple list of places to eat in Austin, but since I have so much to say about each place, I figure a short post about each would do them more justice. So first up:

 

East Side King

Maybe not as well known as the quintessential breakfast taco, but ESK is one of my favorite places to eat in Austin.  If you’re over 21 and don’t have a child, I recommend the original trailer behind Liberty Bar in (duh!) the east side.  Sure, some may say the neighborhood can get a little rough, but man up and visit that place.  Get a tall glass of beer, walk back to the patio, and anything you order from the truck will be delicious.

Because we had a toddler with us, we couldn’t go to the Liberty Bar location, but the brick and mortar spot on Lamar sufficed. To first-timers, I recommend the classic bento to get a little bit of the greatest hits: beet fries, brussels sprout salad, Paul Qui’s buns.

Untitled

I’ve eaten pretty much everything on the menu and my favorite thing is the tako taco.  Octopus taco may sound chewy and tough, but this was not at all. The thin slices of octopus braised in butter was well…buttery soft and the acidic punch of the pickled onions and vegetables brought this to a whole other level. Don’t like the yonic shape of the crispy taco scare you away. This taco is great.

What I love about ESK is that while each dish is a flavor explosion in your mouth, it’s not some obscene umami bomb. You could tell some thought went to how flavors and textures are combined. And unlike some restaurants, this one isn’t afraid to have a handful of vegetarian things on the menu that actually taste good to omnivores.

East Side King (south lamar)
Suite 101, 2310 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 383-8382

Cotogna (SF)

When I searched for “vegetarian friendly dinner” in the financial district of San Francisco, one restaurant that caught my eye was Cotogna.  Its colorful website was bursting with pictures of fresh vegetables, so I didn’t have to feel silly about calling them and ask if it was a good idea to take a vegan there.  It just so happened that the night we were dining there was also a Sunday Supper night, which I was looking forward to.

I had the regular set for Sunday Supper while Will had a modified vegan set.  I didn’t get to take too many pictures because I was both starving and trying to hold an active infant in my lap for the start of the meal. Luckily, the staff was nice enough to borrow another highchair from a nearby restaurant so that we could put Robin in it and eat like somewhat-civilized people. Robin seemed to enjoy the food as well.

One thing Cotogna is known for is their fresh pasta and it did not disappoint. My taglioni was the perfect amount of al dente — I expected no less. What really impressed me was that they had to use dried pasta for Will’s dish since most fresh pasta isn’t vegan and even their dried pasta dish with tomato sauce, which sounds boring, was really good.  Will declared that he would be happy to return to the restaurant soon.

photo 4.JPG

There was also a beet salad appetizer. While it was good, it didn’t blow me away. I’m just bored of beet salad.

photo 1.JPG

In lieu of a meaty protein dish, Will got this hearty bowl of fresh corn and chanterelles. He really enjoyed this and was happy it wasn’t yet another salad. The only odd thing about this dish was the choice of purslane for garnish. It made the dish look pretty, but the lemony taste of the purslane didn’t really mesh well with the rest of the elements in the bowl. I had the same thought about the fennel fronds in my lamb dish.

photo 5.JPG

Other than the odd taste of the fennel in the lamb, I enjoyed my meaty main. The lamb was not overcooked and the eggplant puree served with it added the necessary pop of flavor to an otherwise heavy bite.

Since I picked Cotogna because it was vegetarian friendly, close to our hotel, and had something special for Father’s Day, I have to say it was a hit. It could be the Aperol flip that I had to start with, but I also thought the wine selection by the glass was both interesting and reasonably priced.

The only downside to dining at Cotogna is that it’s going to be hard to decide between eating there or Barbacco next time I’m in SF and want that type of Californian-Italian food for dinner.

Cotogna
490 Pacific Avenue,
San Francisco, Ca 94133
415.775.8508