Thursday, December 5, 2013

Daily Juice

Daily Juice

Anyone in the food community is aware of the fantastic documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," but in the off chance that you are newer to the scene or perhaps have been living under a huge rock someplace, it chronicles an Australian man's journey from overweight and ill to fit and trim in just a few short months. And secret to his success? Juicing. Now to be clear we are not talking about store-bought juices in nice sealed plastic containers. We are talking fresh, hand-made juice from all manner of fruits and vegetables. The end results speak for themselves.

So why mention this at the start of a write-up? Quite simply, it started, or perhaps restarted, a revolution. People are now more interested than ever in getting their hands on fresh juices and the health benefits associated with it. While juicers come relatively cheaply (I picked up a nice used juicer for around $20, thank you very much McLemore!) there is the time factor involved in creating your own juices. Making enough for an entire day can be rather time consuming. Thankfully the beautiful people at the Daily Juice here in Austin have heard our pleas and have come to our aid! Hooray capitalism!

A while back my daughter and I decided to go on out to the Bee Caves location and give them a spin. The first thing we noticed was how nice the place was, and how much variety they have. Variety not just in the form of juices and other drinks, which we'll get to shortly, but in the over all products offered. And the best part? Almost all of the products they sell come from Texas with a preference for Austin based producers. That kind of "Keep it Local," or as we say Austin, "Keep it Weird," attitude is something that means a lot to us and I find it genuinely gratifying to see a local business help out other local businesses. Incidentally, I reccomend the kale chips. They're raw vegan friendly and produced in Austin.

Here's a quick look at the drinks we tried:

The Depth Charge: A potent mix of cucumber, kale, celery, spinach, parsley, and coconut water. Earthy from the kale and spinach but refreshing from the cucumber and coconut water. This is one that I'll need to memorize for the next time I go on a juice fast!

Vitamin C, I told ya: In addition to being a fun name for a teenager to order, this one is a very refreshing mix of grapefruit, orange, pineapple and lime. I think this one makes a nice go to drink anytime. While I've always been a fan of citrus juices from a bottle I have to say that there really is nothing like flavor of freshly squeezed. This one does not disappoint. It's just fresh juice with nothing added.

Vitamin C I Told Ya and the Depth Charge

In addition to great juices, smoothies, and other products you also get a great staff. I found them to be very knowledgeable and friendly and always ready to make a quick recommendation or give a quick history lesson on the company. You folks at the Daily Juice have an excellent staff, in fact give them a raise already!

All told, it was a great experience. Official AFJ rating: 2 points of the Lone Star.

The Daily Juice

Friday, July 12, 2013


This review will be fairly short by our standards but illuminating none the less. We hope. A while back I was talking with my mom, and being the honorary Junkie that she is she let me know about a new truck that has popped up- Garbo's Lobster rolls.

"Lobster rolls? What the heck are they", you may well be asking. If so, sit back and be illuminated. Lobster rolls, for our readers not familiar with this New England treat, are comprised of lobster salad spread liberally on a fresh baked roll. What could be better than that? Garbo's serves up some great rolls done either Connecticut or Maine style. Connecticut style is served on a roll spread with tarragon butter, Maine is without. I opted for a half roll, Maine Style, and soup. Here's a quick look-

Lobster Roll
Roll- The bread itself was perfect for the sandwich, which is to say that while tasting good it knew its place. It had a nice fresh baked kind of taste without being too bready, if that's a word. If not, then I just invented it. As for the lobster salad, it was delicious and had very generous amount of lobster. Maybe I'm just used to crab salad which is usually made with krab, not crab, and seems to consist mostly of mayo. Not the case here at all. This lobster salad is absolutely delicious.

Add caption
Bisque- The soup offered when I went was lobster bisque. It had a nice rich broth, and again a surprising amount of lobster meat in it. I figured it would be just be a nice lobster broth but was pleasantly surprised to find large pieces of meat in it as well.

All in all this is a very good truck and well worth the visit. If you're interested in trying them, and I suggest you do, you'll need to visit their site for current locations because they are mobile.

Official AFJ rating- 2 points of the Lone Star

Garbo's Website

Friday, June 21, 2013

Benji's Cantina

Photo credit- Reagan Hackleman

West 6th street. For an old-timer like myself (I've been in Austin for nearly 18 years) the entire area has lots of great memories: Gatemouth Brown at Antone's with my buddy Noah, Sue Foley also at Antone's, with Dave and Alex. Social Distortion, the Misfits, and Clutch all at Liberty Lunch (RIP). And after great shows like that we would grab a bite at places like Best Wurst, and Katz's (RIP). But things change. Liberty Lunch is gone, and so is Katz's. Change is inevitable and not always a bad thing. For instance, one of the newer arrivals to 6th street is Benji's Cantina, a Tex-Mex and Mexican inspired gem that has popped up recently. The place was recommended to us by good friend Paula, and when Paula suggests a place it is bound to be good. Here's a quick rundown of what we had-

To start we opted for the guacamole. Guacamole so fresh it's made at your table. The avocados were mashed just the way I like them. Creamy but still plenty of texture, and the tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro were just right with a little fresh squeezed lime juice. Table side guacamole service.....I need this at my house.

 My lovely wife opted for the fish tacos. A piece of lightly fried redfish with tomatoes, cilantro, and topped off with fresh crema (Mexican style sour cream) and a little green sauce. Like much of what is served a Benji's the tortillas are made fresh which went perfectly with an absolutely stellar piece of fish. It was tender, flaky, and not even slightly dry. I'd order this again in a heartbeat.

I decided on Pork Adobodo. I'm not even sure where to start with this. We were told that this dish was one that they worked on for weeks to perfect. Quite frankly it shows. The flavor of the Adobo sauce was deep, rich and just a little sweet. The pork was cooked perfectly. Honestly I don't remember the last time I had pork this good. I ordered mine with corn tortillas. These were some of the best I've had in a long time. Seriously. I've had tortillas made right in front of me in Monterrey Mexico and these tortillas rivaled any of the tortillas I have ever had there. This one is a must order when you go.

The atmosphere of Benji's is pleasant and upscale. The service is as you would expect at a restaurant of that caliber- helpful, courteous, and attentive. Another thing that impressed me was that both the General Manager and one of the owners were walking the floor and did not hesitate to stop and chat and make sure that things were going as they should. It's that kind of attention that helps to ensure that a restaurant will succeed.

Benji's Cantina

Monday, April 15, 2013

El Monumento

El Monumento

Hey there food fanatics! I know, I can see the hurt look in your eyes and I am sorry that we have been absent. It's been a long, cold, lonely winter with nary a word from the fabulously fanatical, furiously fiendish Food Junkies but we are back friends! And back with a fantastic new find for you in Georgetown, TX.

For years in the Austin area if you wanted high end Mexican or Tex-Mex fare your options have been limited. Yes I know there are plenty good little places around, Maudies, Vasquez, or classic Austin staple Chuy's. But when it comes to higher end fare you pretty much have had two long-enduring options- Z-Tejas (Tex-Mex) or Fonda San Miguel (Mexican). And to be clear, either of those options are FANTASTIC, but little Georgetown has now produced a third option that is easily on par with those two places.

"Georgetown? Seriously? What could ever come from there?," you may be asking. And if you are, stop it. First, Georgetown is a lovely little town worth a visit in its own right. Secondly, Georgetown has already given us one of my favorite diners- Monument Cafe. And now they have El Monumento to offer us as well. El Monumento, as you may have guessed by the name, is the sister to Monument Cafe and given the quality of food from Monument I automatically set the standard high. Extremely high to be honest, and they met my expectations easily.

Located just down the street from Monument El Monumento specializes in Mexican and Mexican inspired food. Like its elder sister, much of its produce is grown on site and any of the ingredients they don't produce are sourced as locally as they possibly can.

The restaurant and the property it sits on are very striking. Seriously, Dave and I could have spent all afternoon just wandering around and admiring the place. That creates certain culinary expectations, and the food lives up to those expectations.

So here's a quick look at what we had-

Campechana Cocktail- Shrimp cocktail  but so much better than shrimp cocktail. Texas Gulf shrimp, crab, tomatoes, green olives, and lime juice. It was a little sweet, a little tangy, the olives are not overpowering (even Dave loved it and he hates olives) and there is a generous portion of seafood in the mix. It comes served with chips. We ordered a small and found it to be a perfect size for sharing.

Mexican Benedict- Their take on Eggs Benedict. It may not be traditional Mexican fare, but it comes served with a deep fried avocado. I'll say it again: Deep fried. Avo. Cado. The only place I've been to that serves deep fried avocado as good as this is Izzos Tacos (now called Mellizoz) and Izzos is still my favorite nontraditional taco trailer in town. The avocado comes out warm and soft and buttery and is topped with a tomato remulade........But wait! There's more! It also comes with a bacon (pork belly) flauta, poached eggs, and black beans. Order this.

El Mon Casserole- Eggs, chorizo, poblano pepper, onions and tortillas are some of my favorite things. How do you make them better? Serve them up together as a casserole! Imaging the best breakfast taco you've ever had, turn it up to 11, then serve it with fresh home fries and fresh fruit. When I go back I may have to order this and something else so I can have this for dinner!

As expected El Monumento easily met the standard set by Monument Cafe. The food was excellent, the setting was beautiful, and the service was superb. I can't wait to get back!

Official AFJ rating  5 points of the Lone Star