CSA: Community Supported Agriculture

So briefly after moving to Austin, I heard the term CSA dropped numerous times. My first impression of it was ‘box of food’ before I took the time to Google search the term and educate myself on the program.

The craze of organic products has become a very passionate trend in the past few years, and though I respect the concept behind it, I could care less about Certified Organic. I view it as more of a marketing scheme than really being conscientious about the food we put in our body. We are supporting the same practices of over production, but due to the fact that it is organic, it is socially acceptable. In an ideal world, all of us would be completely self sufficient and harvest our own crops, and raise our own livestock for consumption. But since our generation thrives on a more fast paced, ‘urban’ lifestyle, that practice is difficult to bring to reality.

If I had to state my praises of Austin, it would be summed up to the balance between rural and city life. Giving support to local farmers is the next best thing to harvesting your own fruits, vegetables and anything in between. Food tastes much better when it is in season, and grown in a proper climate. Community Supported Agriculture is food in season, grown by farmers, and picked for consumption and packed in a box to be picked up by you or delivered to your door for an additional charge.

A CSA program I have been eyeing is Johnson’s Backyard Garden. They provide pictures of the weekly crops on their page, and even have methods of preparation. You are able to choose how frequently you would like to pick up/receive, but there is a minimum amount of boxes you will have to purchase to start receiving your produce.

The Certified Organic trend is a crock of shit to me, but locally sourced food gets an A+. After doing a little more research, I cannot wait to start getting my box of food. I feel like it will expose me to new things I never thought to use, or forget to get at the grocery store. I will also pretend I am on the Food Network show, “Chopped”, and hopefully get inspired to cook more spontaneously.

Summer Foodventures: ATX

Olivia Restaurant 2043 S Lamar

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‘Picnic style’ fried chicken w/ potato salad

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Brioche French toast w/ peaches & vanilla or citrus almond syrup

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I pass by Olivia everyday, and was dying to try it. The restaurant is open and bright, and decorated well. I heard Sunday brunch was good, so I was so excited I convinced my significant other to go. He had half of the French toast, and I had the fried chicken and the other half of his French toast. Sadly, I liked the toast better than the chicken. If I’m paying roughly $16 for fried chicken, I expect a delicious entree of fried chicken. I know picnic style denotes room temperature, which is fine. But look at them shits. It looks burnt because it was. I just didn’t like it. I’ll take Popeye’s over that anyday. But Olivia deserves another chance, and I will eventually give it that.

Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse 1501 S 1st Street

‘Summer Sammich’

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A coffeehouse that serves vegetarian food, coffee, and beer = my haven for alone time. This is the cutest/’hippest’ place. Despite everyone looking like thrift store scavengers, and bullshit plastered all over the walls, I really like this place. They have a great menu, and sitting at the bar for a solo lunch is a great way to pass time. It’s also right down the street from my chosen public library, and Mary Street [the cross street] is lined with fantastic little houses I love looking at.

Barley Swine 2024 S Lamar

Foie gras, pork belly, goat cheese grits, and watermelon

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SO GOOD. Unfortunately, this place is fairly expensive, and fills up quickly so it can’t be a frequent destination. But it is well worth it. I must say that ol’ Barley Swine really got my hopes up about Austin’s food scene. Even though I think it’s sad, or very pretentious of me, to only be impressed by a place I have to spend at least $50 at.

Hula Hut 3825 Lake Austin Blvd

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Having a [Canadian] friend in town really gave me a chance to see Austin, and spend quality time with the city I am still not used to. Hula Hut is a kitschy restaurant concept, but it sits right on Lake Austin, and the heat was bearable sitting outside. We were able to watch turtles while sipping on margaritas, and that is not a bad way to start a Sunday.

Tam Deli & Cafe 8222 N Lamar

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I live in South Austin, so anything “North Lamar” seems really fucking far sometimes, but I finally grew a pair and ventured that direction because I NEEDED Vietnamese food. The place was packed when I walked in, and I noticed I was the only Asian person not working there. That is ALWAYS the first indicator, but I really did not want to just leave. I was by myself, and wanted to dine in, so they sat me at a table with one of the other employees. I never mind communal seating, but I couldn’t help but I think I was being shunned. I took that as another warning sign, but the food was actually decent. They messed up my iced coffee, but other than that, I was satisfied. I don’t know if I will be back though.

Contigo Austin 2027 Anchor Ln

Grilled cheese and mussels

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The best thing about Contigo is their patio. When I’m able to eat, drink, and smoke all at once, it is a beautiful thing. The sun was setting by the time I arrived there, and the menu is very easy to navigate so I was ready to go when the server came by. ‘Chicken little’ was also ordered, but eaten very fast because it was tiny [but delicious]. There was some sort of feature available that night, and I ordered it because I heard pork belly, and didn’t care what it was aside from that. Turns out, it was a giant sandwich even I couldn’t finish. Contigo was a great experience overall. My server was great, the food decent, and the setting was perfect. For that reason, I will go back.

Phil’s Ice House 2901 S Lamar

Burger sampler platter!

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3 mini birthday burgers for the price of one! I wish every burger place had this because I was able to try 3 different signature burgers. My biggest nemesis is too much of one thing. I can probably continuously eat for days as long as it’s different food along the way. So being able to have a variety of burgers that may equate to one was a birthday wish come true! Plus, Phil’s Ice House on S Lamar is connected to Amy’s Ice Cream: the perfect combination, right?

Taqueria Selene (1700 E 6th Street Austin, TX)

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My fucking ‘veggie’ taco was a medley of frozen vegetables steamed in a bag [I am assuming]. That is all I have to say.

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Bananarchy (600 S Lamar Blvd Austin, TX)

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I can’t help but to think of Arrested Development when frozen bananas are involved. I had a friend in town, and this place is right down the street from my place of residence. So frozen bananas were the obvious choice for a snack on a hot as fuck day.

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On the left is the classic chocolate covered + nuts, and the left is chocolate covered + toffee.

The nutty one was saltier than a pair of sweaty balls after a dip in the ocean, but the toffee was delicious! I always think I can eat a whole frozen, chocolate covered banana, but I am always wrong. I need half of that. They have a wonderful selection of toppings with numerous ‘combo’ possibilities.

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Franklin Barbecue (900 E 11th Street Austin, TX)

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So apparently this is the best BBQ in Texas or some shit like that. I asked around because I am still fairly new in this town, and this was the most frequent response. With a friend from Jersey in town, I decided it would be fitting to wait in line for good ol’ Texas BBQ. So we showed up a little after 10 AM [doors open at 11 AM] to wait in line.

10:00 AM

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10:30 AM

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FUCKING FINALLY inside right after 11 AM

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We were one of the first in line. I probably would’ve gone crazy and started punching and motor boating people had I not been fed right at the time we were let inside.

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Brisket/ribs/potato salad

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Pulled pork/sausage/cole slaw/beans

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You know, it was pretty damn good. I don’t know if it was the fact that I fucking waited in line to eat plates of meat, but I would like to think it was just that damn good. Everything flaked apart, and had the perfect amount of ‘smoke’ on it. I would wait in line again. Only this time, it is absolutely necessary that I have a snack or a 6 pack of beer while waiting in line. MAKE THAT BOTH.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar (1400 S Congress Austin, TX) + My Opinion of Austin So Far.

South Congress is definitely a bustling food destination. It is a whole street full of ‘upscale’ dining, very casual eateries, and of course a food trailer park. Hopdoddy Burger Bar would fall right in between ‘upscale’ and casual. It is, after all, a burger joint and you order at the counter, but the restaurant is designed well.

I had their ‘Janis Joplin’ [$7.50] which was a vegetarian hemp seed burger because I gave up meat for a month, and I was so god damn sick of vegetarian burgers at this point, my opinion may be a little biased. The whole fucking thing was a mushy mess. My beer [512 Pecan Porter] had more texture than that bullshit. I really don’t think the sprouts, which I normally love on anything, had any business being on there. I am also a huge fan of avocado, which was lost on there as well. Because after the first bite, everything started to taste like NOTHING. I fucking hate trendy places with a unique concept serving up shitty food.

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Oh hi, welcome to Austin, we serve food out of storage containers and trailers. I must say that this new food culture was very enticing when I first arrived here. That was about four weeks ago, and the magic is wearing off. They are fucking everywhere, and seem to be the same thing revisited and located in different parts of the city. I still think they are adorable, and they still make me do double takes, but I have found the food to be below par. I am not referring to La Boite pictured below because I never actually ate there. I went in, didn’t see anything I wanted, and left.

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I honestly haven’t eaten anything since I’ve been here that has made me excited, and that is a reason for my lack of posts in Austin. Granted, I have been unemployed and haven’t been able to indulge in my normal FOODVENTURES, but still. Everything needs salt. I know I sound like a stuck up bitch, but I am merely speaking the truth [IMO]. I hope that as more time passes, and more food is ingested, I will change my mind. Until then, HATERS GON HATE AND I’M A HATER.

Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop (1905 S 1st Street Austin, TX)

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Another place I found because I got lost, and the building caught my eye. It’s also one of the rare bakeries that is open until 8 PM. The interior of Sugar Mama’s is vintage/retro. It reminded me of a 50′s diner/household kitchen. They playfully name their cupcakes, and they run $3.25 apiece or $30.something a dozen. I personally think it’s a little steep, but I guess clever names and good looking cupcakes can run for that much.

Clockwise from top left: Mint chocolate chip, Strawberry, ‘The James Brown’ [fucking racists], I got a molasses cookie instead, Carrot Cake, & ‘The Marilyn Monroe’

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Overall, I thought they were OK. The ‘cake’ part was a little too dense. It tasted like it was a bit over baked or the right flour wasn’t used, and that dumbass cupcake tray didn’t even work. Why bother? Should’ve just thrown those shits in a plastic bag and called it a day because by the time I got home, they were all over each other.

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