22 May, 2012

Wait, What?! The Eatable Life Moved To Austin, Texas?

My dog Miles taking a dip in Lake Austin in the heart of the city.
Yes, fair readers it's true! Though the San Francisco Bay Area is one of THE culinary and cultural destinations in the United States, I will now be making Austin my home and will be doing my damnedest to prove how much of a foodie city it is here too! So tell all your Austin friends to check out The Eatable Life and spread the word that we have migrated south...who knows, maybe someday I'll even get paid for this gig!

For my first post I will talk about something that is necessary in hot weather (like we have here in Austin) to stay alert and active, but that can often also be overlooked as everyday and not as important to write about as entries about food are. I am talking about coffee! The local paper Austin Chronicle recently published their annual Restaurant Poll and for 2012, Houndstooth Coffee got both the Reader's Choice and "Critics Best Damn Cup of Coffee, Period" awards. It also is just doors away from Uchiko, the fabulous restaurant where Paul Qui (the recent Top Chef Texas winner) is the Executive Chef. I wrote about the place after Paul won. (P.S., after eating there in March, 2011 I agree that this restaurant deserves all the accolades it has received, and not just because it has a famous chef!) But I digress. I, therefore, HAD to try Houndstooth Coffee!

Image courtesy of houndstoothcoffee.com.

According to the Restaurant Poll, they not only made a consistently solid cup of coffee, they also sold quality beans that are worth mentioning. I was excited to see Counterculture Coffee because I have read about them for some time now. They are fair trade, committed to sustainable practices from soil to seller, and roasted with love in Durham, North Carolina. According to the barista, Houndstooth is the only Austin café selling this coffee. Then there is Cuvée Coffee that is directly sourced from the growers (meaning that the scheming middle man is removed) and the beans are roasted here in Austin. I have been told that this is one of the elite coffee producers in the area. Houndstooth's website says they also sell Intelligentsia Coffee, another brand I am familiar with out of Chicago, but when I was in Houndstooth I instead saw Madcap Coffee from Grand Rapids, Michigan that works with small farmers, and another brand that sadly, I forgot to write down and since I had never heard of it before, I cannot remember its name. Sorry anonymous coffee company that I will mention at a later date!

A "Coffee Julep".

So what drink did I try? I know I should have been more professional about my taste test and experimented with a simple espresso shot or a cup of their daily drip coffee but I am not going to lie, it's hot here! I LOVE it, don't get me wrong, but I am also still acclimating to the radical change from fog and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the Bay Area, to full sun and 85 degrees here. Therefore, instead of choosing a something piping hot, I went instead for a special drink they had called a "Coffee Julep," which was two shots of Counter Culture espresso, a little vanilla syrup, soda water, ice, and fresh spearmint. Talk about refreshing and peppy all in one small glass - delicious! It had a strong enough coffee flavor that the soda water, mint and vanilla did not distract from the idea that I was still drinking coffee. If it had been served in a larger glass I think that the espresso would have been lost so I appreciated the tiny serving size. Good job Houndstooth, good job, and thank you for welcoming me to your fair city! Until the next time (very soon)!

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