Category Archives: lunch with mama

my weekly restaurant adventures with mama.

lunch with mama // mettle

December 6, 2013


stumbling upon this place was a random happy accident, but i’m glad we landed here.  austin’s east side is on my list of places to venture into more because there are so many undiscovered neighborhood gems. bridget dunlap, aka the mastermind behind the wildly popular rainey street staples such as lustre pearl and clive bar, is also the brains behind mettle, bringing chef andrew francisco from olivia on board.


just one of many businesses finding their home in a gigantic warehouse, the restaurant is essentially split down the middle in terms of decor. the bar side is far more industrial while the other half has more of a lounge appeal. the space as a whole seems to be lacking in cohesiveness in my opinion, but where they lose me in decor, they win my heart with their music (think sam cooke radio) and their service – frank our waiter, made me feel like we were old friends. all that said, mettle is still in its infancy, having only been open for about 3 months, and they’ve definitely got some good things going for them.

mettle drinks

for starters, their herbs 75 cocktail was fantastic. it’s a slight twist on the classic that starts with an herb infused gin that’s not too overbearing, with just the right hints of rosemary and bay leaf. coupled with grapefruit and cava, this drink goes down easy without being too sweet, and each sip is a delight.

mettle escargot

mettle escargot 2

we kicked off the meal with the escargot. seeing as though this was both mama and i’s first escargot experience, and really the only knowledge we had going in was what julia roberts taught us in pretty woman, we were thrilled when these little guys arrived ready to devour in a chipotle-kaffir lime butter. no tongs required.

mettle caesar

we sampled a variety of things from there, starting with the walnut caesar salad, and moving to the fish & chips. both were topped with crispy fried parsley which i’ll be trying at home very soon because i couldn’t get enough of it. we finished off the meal with a creme de violette ice cream topped with english toffee, it was a nice palate cleansing finish to a very tasty meal. honestly it’s a bit more than i would pay for lunch, but i’ll be back to try their dinner menu, and more importantly a few more of those signature cocktails.

it’s cold here! our weekend plans involve a fireplace, a hot toddy or two, putting up christmas, and lots of projects in the workshop. hope everyone is feeling festive because i’ve got some swell gift guides coming next week. happy friday!

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lunch with mama // searsucker

September 6, 2013

lunch took us to the warehouse district this week, which is rare, seeing as i usually avoid downtown like the plague. i’m not a fan of the parking-spot hunt or paying to park for that matter.  but i must say that searsucker is most definitely worth the few minutes you’ll spend scouring the blocks for open spaces and trying to remember which streets are one-way.


for starters, it’s a gigantic space. with its edison bulbs, exposed brick walls, and draping rope chandeliers it has a certain industrial comfort. yet the music and staff make you feel like you’re in a beach town. they still hold that laid back and humble demeanor of a new restaurant eager to put their best foot forward and call you a friend.



we started off with the shishito peppers which were rockin’. i was a little skeptical because this dish usually comes with a dipping sauce, but these little guys had enough flavor to roll solo, and they were delicious. eating shishitos is known as pepper roulette because about one in twenty peppers are hot as hell, while the rest are simply just flavorful. i’ve devoured these bad boys on several occasions and never had to bite the proverbial bullet until yesterday. sheesh that baby was hot. but not hot enough for me not to risk it again and again in the future.


from there mama got the red quinoa salad which was fantastic. i debated the menu for awhile because their burger was recently named one of the top in the country, and the pulled pork sammy sounded too good to be true. ultimately i opted for their take on a french dip – aged white cheddar, horseradish creme fraiche, crispy onion strings and braised beef on ciabatta (i should add that their ciabatta was perfect. soft with crisp edges, not the kind you cut your mouth on because it’s hard as a rock).



needless to say lunch was swell, but their evening menu really seems to be the shining star. so naturally the moms and i will be back next week for happy hour because let’s be honest, that cocktail menu needs some testing out and we are just the ladies to do it. all in all i was extremely impressed with searsucker, especially considering it’s only in its infancy (they just opened 3 months ago). stay tuned for part deux and have a spectacular weekend.

lunch with mama // elizabeth st. cafe

August 19, 2013

elizabeth st. cafe continues to be one of my favorite spots in town (as evidenced by my ravings of it here and here).  the interior is beautiful and the food is one of a kind. i usually eat outside on their patio, but it’s been a continuous 100 degrees here lately, so i gladly welcomed the air conditioned atmosphere engulfed in natural light and flecked with bright colors. i usually come here for breakfast, but as we learned this week, the lunch & dinner menu is as equally impressive as their morning offerings.



before we were even two bites into our delicious poached shrimp and avocado spring rolls we’d befriended the couple at the table next to us. i am definitely my mother’s daughter when it comes to a habit of striking up conversations with strangers. they simply asked us if it was our first time there, and no less than five minutes later i had pen and paper out writing all of my favorite restaurants down for them. note to all of you out there: if you’re looking for privacy, don’t sit at the table next to me – especially if i’m with my mom. moving on, moms got the grilled tofu vermicelli bowl and i got the keffir lime fried chicken banh mi. both were fantastic. we followed it all up with a peach galette with chai ice cream. all of their pastries and breads are made in house so save room for a few macarons or eclairs for the road. they are not to be missed.




peach galette

i surely don’t mind reliving this meal on a busy monday. yes, i day dream about food, doesn’t everybody? below is yet another unsuccessful attempt for my mom and i to not pose exactly the same for a picture. at least i made her move her hands and i recrossed my legs opposite hers this time. it’s a work in progress people. enjoy the week!


lunch with mama // blue dahlia bistro

July 12, 2013

it’s been a while party people. mama’s been working hard and i’ve been stuck under the hell-storm that are midterms. but yesterday we both resurfaced for a good ol’ fashioned lunch date at blue dahlia bistro. this place is perfect for lunch. the staff are extremely down to earth and friendly, and they offer flavorful, but light fare that won’t put you in a coma once you’re back at work. we were so busy catching up that i only snapped a few pics, plus i was famished and couldn’t postpone the feast a second longer.

blue dahlia 2

blue dahlia 1

we shared the salade nicoise with seared ahi tuna and the bri & homemade jam tartine. both were tasty, but the bragging rights of blue dahlia come from their desserts. our waiter sold us quite quickly on the peach cobbler which is arguably their best dessert, and the cheesecake which ranks with some of the best i’ve had in my day. honestly the cheesecake was divine, but that cobbler was criminal. served a la mode with fresh blackberries. shut your mouth that’s good.

hope everyone has a rockin’ weekend. you deserve it.

lunch with mama // winflo

May 24, 2013


yesterday we opted for a happy hour instead of lunch because my mama is leaving for barbados for 10 days and we didn’t want to rush it. it’s always my preference to stretch meals out for 2-3 hours anyways. i like to enjoy a dish before ordering the next, and have wine and cocktails in between. and that’s exactly what we did. winflo has a great patio, and although it’s located right on west 6th, you don’t notice the traffic as much as you’d expect.


the cocktails were mighty tasty. although i love whiskey, warm weather takes me more in a gin direction. we started off with two gin martinis. mine featured st. germain, prosecco, grapefruit and rosemary, and mama’s had lillet blanc, contreau, and an absinthe rinse. yep. delish.

winflo salad

winflo fritti

winflo pesto

winflo table

from there it was an out of this world artichoke fritti (that used fresh artichoke hearts, not marinated!) an arugula salad with candied walnuts, apples and a cintronette dressing that was just the right amount of bitter, and a pretty stellar pesto fettuccine with toasted walnuts and portabellinis. all while sipping on a crisp glass of rose. and can we pause to talk about those little bowls for the accompaniments? love them.

winflo spumoni

for dessert we shared their spin on spumoni which consisted of cherry, chocolate and pistachio gelato. all were nice, but the real winner was that pistachio. things got pretty serious when it came down to who got the last bite of it. and the added surprise of a brandied cherry was the perfect last flavor to hold on to.

after 2 1/2 hours of of sipping, sharing and laughing hysterically we parted ways. next time we’ll need to show up later in the evening because they have a gigantic oak that’s covered with twinkle lights down to the tips of its tiniest branches. and that is something that i need to see. happy hour may have replaced our weekly lunches for good.

lunch with mama // lick ice cream

May 17, 2013


this week the moms and i went to lick ice cream. this place has only been around for a year or so, but they sure know what they’re doing. i may be shunned for saying this, but lick is the best ice cream in austin. sorry amy’s, you’re still tasty, and you’ve been my go to since i was a kid, but when a girl grows up, so do her standards, and lick is where it’s at.


lick interior

they specialize in small batch locally sourced flavors and they are basically killing it with their combinations. after roughly 7 samples (but who’s counting) i settled on a scoop of the roasted beet & mint and a scoop of the goat cheese, thyme & honey. normally i fall on the chocolate side of the fence, but their flavors are so unique and refreshing that getting chocolate almost seems boring (unless you get the dark chocolate, olive oil & sea salt flavor because it’s amazing). mama also got the thyme & honey along with a scoop of the tart toasted coconut.


what i also love about this place is how many delicious vegan and dairy free flavors they have. i gave up dairy for a year (long story) and i remember being so disappointed when places would just throw a crappy mango sorbet at you as if you had no taste buds. but lick offers delightful vegan options without sacrificing flavor (or creaminess) which makes ice cream such a treat.

p.s. that is not a posed photo. my mom and i are just basically twins in everything we do apparently.

lunch with mama // la patisserie

April 19, 2013






well not actually lunch this time, because our wallets are still upset with us from last week’s lunch. so we decided to go out for ice cream. but then the temperature dropped thirty degrees in a matter of hours and it started raining, so we switched it up yet again. they say it’s a woman’s right to change her mind. and they’d be correct. we ended up at la patisserie. an oldie but a goodie.

this place isn’t new to either of us, but we both felt like we needed a little comfort and decadence, so we broke the rules. it’s situated in a quaint little house, with a small porch, and they give you blankets when it’s cold outside. hence the instant comfy effect i spoke of. they serve one of my favorite local teas (sweet desert delight tea by zhi tea) plus all of the pastries are made fresh daily by luxe sweets. and the macarons, oh the macarons. they are heavenly. we tried the lavender, cardamom honey orange (a personal fave), balsamic strawberry, and mint chocolate chip.  the vanilla bean cream puff was also quite delightful. if you haven’t realized yet, my mother and i share a sweet tooth that can’t be rivaled.


cream puff

zhi tea


it’s almost the weekend. i can barely stand it! we’ve got some fun things planned for the next few days. here’s hoping you do too. happy friday.

lunch with mama // clark’s oyster bar

April 12, 2013


meet mama miller. she’s the best mom a girl could ask for and we get along like gangbusters. every thursday we have lunch together at a place that is new to both of us. and i think it’s time i start sharing these little adventures with you. enjoy.

this week we went to clark’s oyster bar and it was delightful. this place feels like a trip to the hamptons (or at least what i imagine the hamptons to be like). the staff and clientele offer an abundance of freshly pressed chinos and pastels and most of the men eating around us looked like senators or retired pro golfers. there was literally a man at the bar wearing a seersucker suit and sun hat. needless to say i felt the need to throw around phrases like ‘nest egg’ and ‘i still can’t decide what to name my yacht.” did i mention that we showed up in jeans and t shirts? ah well. we ordered in style if nothing else.

the gold silverthis place is beautiful. the silverware is gold. it’s golderware and i loved it. we started off with moscow mules with a blueberry twist and a sample of east and west coast oysters. the moonstones were my favorite. oh and fresh bread with butter and flaky sea salt. please and thank you.


bread & mule

we decided to split the crab cake served on a frisee salad with hollandaise and a side of their rosemary fries. and then followed it up with a s’mores affogato aka my own personal nirvana. it’s a shot of stumptown espresso poured over toasted marshmallow ice cream paired with chocolate graham cracker macarons. i may have died.


while the food and atmosphere were lovely, this isn’t a place i could afford to frequent. we paid a pretty penny for a simple afternoon lunch, but i’m glad we went. stay tuned for more lunch with mama posts and i’d love any suggestions of new places to try. happy friday!