Thursday, January 26, 2012

Regal Ravioli

Regal Ravioli
 This week's review takes us to one of my favorites of the basic food groups- ravioli. Ravioli for me bring up some rather nostalgic feelings. I remember fondly the sound of the can opener and wet plop as the "ravioli" came squishing out of the can in a single, amorphous mass. It was terrible. An unclassifiable sauce, unidentifiable and almost flavorless filling, and the pasta was way too soft from sitting in the mystery liquid that was passed off as a sauce. And I loved it. I don't know why. It was bad and I knew it. And honestly, every few years I find myself craving some Chef What's-his-Name brand "ravioli." I love ravioli, even the crappy stuff, so imagine my delight at discovering Regal Ravioli. Ravioli from a can this is not. Their Pasta is made fresh daily, and the ravioli are made to order. Here how it works- you pick out which of the fillings you want in your ravioli and a sauce to go with it. There are six of each so there are plenty of combinations. Here's what Dave and I have tried so far-

Spinach Gorgonzola and Lamb
 Spinach and Gorgonzola ravioli with the Lamb Bolognese. I had this the first time I went out. This combination has everything I like. The nice sharp funk from the cheese and the sharp gaminess of the lamb. All brought together with a nice tomato sauce with prosciutto. Fans of these two foods will surely love this combo.

Sausage and Fontina Veloute
Sausage ravioli with a fontina veloute sauce. Made with spicy Italian sausage, roasted bell pepper, with ricotta and mozzarella and smothered in a fresh veloute made with fontina, cream, and chicken stock. Creamy and rich on top of creamy and rich. This is a fantastic combo.


Cheese and Pecan Pesto
Cheese ravioli with pecan pesto. The ravioli is made with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg. The result is savory and just hint sweet, with a very deep flavor. The pesto was out of this world. Even Dave, who hates pecans, was blown away by it. One thing I really appreciated about this combo is the fact that the pesto, while fantastic, did not interfere too much with all of the nuances going on with the ravioli.

I found this place by a happy accident. I was on my way to see if East Side King was open. It turns out I was a little early for them but just in time for a new experience. Prices are reasonable and they are open from 11-3 Tue-Fri and for dinner 5-10 Thurs-Sat. Regal ravioli's slogan is "The Ravioli King of Austin, TX," and we have to agree.

4 Lone Star Points

Official AFJ rating- 4 points of the Lone Star    

Regal Ravioli
1602 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

219 West

219 West
A while back our friends at Crave Communications invited us to the opening of 219 West's new home. Of course we just couldn't say no, it's kind of sacrifice we make for our loyal fans! Needless to say we were impressed. So impressed that we decided to go back for a full review. The first thing to know about 219 is how their menu works. At most restaurant menus are set up in a pretty standard fashion - Appetizers, Entrees, Dessert, and drinks are thrown in there somewhere. At 219 they do have a wine list included in the menu, but the rest of it set up according to a drink pairing type of set up. You have your Wine page, your Scotch page, your Julep page, and your Beer page. Under each page heading, whether it be Scotch, Beer or either of the others you start with appetizers (called American Tapas in this case), entrees, desserts and drinks. I ordered off of the beer menu, but Dave opted to pick and choose from a couple of pages.

Here's what I had from the Beer Page-

1. Chipotle mac and cheese as a starter

2. BBQ pork and fried potatoes

3. Independence Austin Amber to drink

Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and cheese has always been one of my favorites and this one was a nice way to start a meal. Plenty of cheese and with nice spice chipotle sauce on top, this is as good a mac and cheese as I have had. The portion size is easily big enough for a meal or a filling appetizer for two. I actually brought some home.

BBQ Pork
The BBQ'd pork was also very nice. Fork tender, and full of smokey flavor with a sweet sauce, and served with fried fingerling potatoes.

And to drink I had the Independence Austin Amber- A nice clean, refreshing brew from one of the better local breweries. I'd recommend it with almost any meal.

David opted for a little trip around the menu. Here's a look at what he had-    

1. Fried calamari steak fingers- The Wine Page

2. Lamb tenderloin- The Scotch Page

3. (512) Pecan Porter to drink- The Beer Page (obviously)

Calamari Steak Fingers
Calamari is a tricky piece of seafood to work with. It needs to be cooked either very, very quickly or for a very long time. If you hit any point in the middle you end up with a piece of inedible rubber with all the flavor of an old tire. This calamari ranks among some of the best I've had. A nice crunchy breading with tender squid in the middle, and a house made spicy aoili. Well worth trying.

Lamb and Brussels Sprouts
Lamb is one my favorite meats, second only to goat. David ordered his medium rare, and it was cooked perfectly. A nice sear on the outside and tender, flavorful, medium rare meat on the inside. Fans of lamb will appreciate this one. It also came with a side of whipped potatoes and some delicious Brussels sprouts. I have become a fan of Brussels sprouts over the last year or so (I sauté mine in bacon fat) and these did not disappoint. They had a nice tender, yet still crisp texture and a great flavor. If like me you have always cringed at the thought of them these might just change your mind.

Lastly, David had the (512) Pecan Porter. It’s A nice heavy ale capable of standing up to the big flavors of this meal. (512) is also a local brewery, and one of our favorites.

Whether you plan on eating a whole meal or just dropping by for some drinks and appetizers, we highly recommend 219 West.

Official AFJ rating- 3 points of the Lone Star-
Three Lone Star Points

219 West
612 W. 6th St
Austin, TX 78701