Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weekend Fun: New Things!

Hi friends! This is less of a food post and more of a life post!

I had a really productive and fun weekend. Spent time with some of the greatest people in my life and also got to try some new things and even got some new "things!"

Tried kayaking for the first time. I'm kind of afraid of water, but the experience wasn't bad at all. I actually had a lot of fun and got to work out the guns (bahaha.. what guns??). Arms were pretty sore the next day though!

We went kayaking at the Rowing Dock around 9am and the weather was great. Cloudy and not too hot. We left at the right time because the clouds started to disappear and the temperature started climbing.

The honey, me, Meg, and Laura
Meg cut half of herself out haha.. 
Much better! :)
Needed coffee after kayaking so Meg (coffee enthusiast) took us to one of her favorite places: Patika. I love trying new coffee places... You know... a REAL coffee place. Granted I love me an iced coffee from Starbucks, but I don't get that coffee house feel or that cute little coffee design from a drive thru.

Patika was adorable and I could find myself sitting there for hours studying and reading.... If it wasn't so darn far from our house! But definitely worth the drive.

Cookies & Cream Donut. YESSS!
Surprisingly not overly sweet.. Just the perfect amount of sweet.
Vanilla Sweet Latte
You can't beat that heart leaf (is that what coffee people call it?? haha)
We were tired and hungry after kayaking. By hungry I mean to say HANGRY. Meg told us she was getting tacos and we are always down to get some tacos! She took us to this cute little taco place called Papalote. 

I probably would have never noticed this place, but it was just down the street from Patika. Megan said the lengua is amazing. I'm not a big fan of lengua, but I honestly have to say that I don't even know that I'm eating beef tongue when eating Papalote's lengua tacos (don't forget the green sauce!!!!!)

OK guys don't hate me but I didn't get a photo of the food.
I was SOOOO hungry I scarfed down my tacos and forgot to snap a photo.
But this is a MUST try taco place!!

Car buying is not the funnest thing in the world. Endless paperwork, endless signatures. But I am proud to say that honey and I made the decision to trade in my red 2 door sports car for a more practical and spacious SUV (and family car once that adventure comes along. hah!)

Definitely hard getting used to driving a bigger car since I'm used to a little car, but really loving all of the space and being so high up!


I have been wanting to cut my hair for a longggggggg time and finally had the guts to make the appointment with my lovely friend/stylist. My hair is my security blanket and don't really know life without my long hair. It just got so unmanageable and I couldn't deal with it anymore. 

New car, new hair... Why not!
We cut off about 6 inches, he glossed my hair and put in some highlights around my face.
Thank you for my awesome hair :)

Rowing Dock
2418 Stratford Dr.
Austin, TX 78746

Patika Wine & Coffee
Physical Store
2159 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

West 4th & Congress

Papalote Taco House (2 Locations)
13219 N 183 Research Blvd. Ste. 100
Austin, TX 78750

2803 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

Orange Salon -- Ask for Ruben Rosales!
*Next to Magnolia Cafe 
2004 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

Monday, September 14, 2015

JBT Cooks: Pad Kee Mao

The honey and I love to eat Thai Food... But our favorite Thai place, Madam Mam's, is about 30 minutes away from us and sometimes we just don't wanna drive that far. Here's a post that talks about our Mam's faves: Date Night @ Mam's.

Last week I tried to be adventurous and make chicken and shrimp Pad Thai. It was nothing special and almost mediocre. I didn't put enough sauce and the noodles were too dry. The chicken and shrimp were good, but it needed more sawwwceeee. (Note to self: more sawwwceee next time.)

A few days later I wanted to give cooking another try and try to make Pad Kee Mao (PKM) "Thai Drunken Noodles"... One of our absolute favorite dishes and the honey orders it every single time we eat at Mam's. I was trying to remember the ingredients in the PKM at Mam's. The most dominant flavors are Thai basil and garlic... LOTS AND LOTS OF GARLIC. Can you tell that I love garlic? My last post was pretty much based on a garlic sauce!

I found this recipe for PKM while doing a simple Google search. I picked this one because it looked simple and I could add and subtract things to make it like Mam's PKM dish. I just really needed the sauce recipe because I wasn't sure which sauces went into this dish.

So here's my rendition of PKM....


  • 3-4 Tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable oil. Use an oil with a high smoking point)
  • 1 Pkg. (14 oz) rice noodles (I used the wide flat noodles... Any rice noodle will do)
  • 1 lb. (maybe more) of Chinese Broccoli (I used a big bundle that I bought)
  • Large packet of white button mushrooms cut into about 1/2 cm to 1 cm slices. (Use a lot... They get so small when you cook 'em!!)
  • 8 cloves of garlic (or more if you love garlic like me!)
  • As many Thai chili peppers you can handle (I had equal parts garlic and chilis)
  • 8 oz of chicken (that's all the meat that I had from the chicken I used for Pad Thai the other night)
  • Lots and LOTS of Thai basil (chop it up or leave it whole... The more the better!!!)
Sauce Ingredients (Note: I just used my best judgement/intuition when making the sauce since this was my first time)
  • 4 Tablespoons Fish sauce (Viet Huong brand is BEST.. but any will do)
  • 5 Tablespoons Oyster sauce
  • 5 Tablespoons Thai Sweet Black Soy sauce
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of sugar (this helps even out all the saltiness from the other sauces)
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of pepper (original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon, but I love pepper!)
  • Optional: 3 Tablespoons of Holy Basil Seasoning (I only used one tablespoon of the sauce and omitted the basil and chilis in the jar. I felt that the dish didn't need this component)
(Feel free to add or reduce the sauce depending on how saucy you want your noodles to be. Knowing my honey.... I had to add a lot of sauce!)

  1. Soak the noodles in luke warm water for 40 minutes to an hour... *Recommend doing this as soon as you get home or know that you want to make this dish. (This is the part that I HATE the most because I hate waiting! I have soaked the noodles in hot water for 25 minutes before and it was fine. You just have to leave the noodles in the pan a little longer when cooking)
  2. Fill a small pot of water and let the water boil (This boiling water is for the stems of the Chinese broccoli because the stems are too tough to cook thoroughly without boiling them) Cook the stems and place aside.
  3. Mix the sauces, sugar, and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in the pan until the oil is almost smoking. (You want HIGH heat for this! Use a wok if you have one!) 
  5. Add the garlic and Thai chilis and stir fry them quickly in the pan. After 30 seconds of stir frying the garlic and chilis, add the chicken (or whatever meat you choose). Stir fry the chicken until almost cooked. Push the chicken to one side of the pan/wok.
  6. Add the mushrooms into the pan to cook alongside the chicken.
  7. Once the mushrooms and chicken are done, add the Chinese broccoli leaves and stems.
  8. Once the leaves are wilted, drain your noodles and add them to the pan. Now is a good time to add the Thai basil leaves
  9. Add the sauce all over the noodles in the pan and incorporate all of the ingredients with the noodles. (I do it like I'm mixing a salad bowl hehe) Make sure that your noodles are saucy enough and covered in sauce. If not, mix some more sauce together and add it in the pan.
  10. Make sure everything is mixed together and the noodles are cooked enough (shouldn't be too chewy)  and VOILA... You are all done!!!
(OOPSIES for the lengthy instructions... Just want to set you up for success!)
This will be your marvelous final product!
Helpful photos of the some ingredients used:
Fish Sauce!
Oyster sauce

Sweet Soy sauce

Happy Eatings!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mediterranean Faves

A few years ago when I was attending college in San Antonio, my friend Roger introduced me to this amazing Mediterranean restaurant called Pasha. When I lived there for a year, I ate there pretty much every week since my apartment was down the street from one and one meal could feed me two times (broke college student probs!) My favorite plate from Pasha was the Chicken Sheesh Tawook plate. The Shawarma is absolutely scrumptious as well.

For $10.99, you get two skewers of chicken, a Greek salad, hummus, a bunch of pita bread, and GARLIC SAUCE. Oh my gosh. That garlic sauce changed my life!!!!! It's definitely not something you wanna eat when you're gonna be in close proximity to others because no matter how many times you brush and rinse with mouth wash.... that garlic will stay! But it was one of the most delicious sauces I have ever eaten. I love garlic too so that's probably why. :)

I had to search through many Instagram photos to find these two gems.
Chicken Sheesh Tawook plate
When it was time to move back to Austin, I knew my life would never be the same again.... Because there is no Pasha in Austin!! I have been on the hunt for a Mediterranean restaurant in Austin. I've looked at many menus searching for "garlic sauce or garlic aioli" and was not able to find anything. 

But then all of my prayers were answered.... A Mediterranean restaurant opened not too long ago near my office (and by a bunch of other restaurants that I frequent.). Peace Bakery & Deli is family owned and operated. It's a huge space on the corner of Braker & N. Lamar in the same shopping center as Rice Bowl Cafe and Pho Dan. They have those awesome meat spinning grillers that cook their shawarma meat and chicken. I love how their restaurant is set up because you can see the meat cooking and the sides in a glass window so that you can see them all and pick. Peace Bakery also has Mediterranean desserts that look amazing, but I was there for one thing. Ok maybe a couple things.... But I was in search for that GARLIC SAUCE and to see if they made it like Pasha.

I ordered a Chicken Shawarma plate togo. It included juicy chicken shawarma, a HUGE side of hummus, GARLIC SAUCE, lettuce/tomatoes/onions, and two large pitas.The pitas were in a huge basket at the end of the "food line" and they were warm and fresh. I could eat pitas all day long. CARBS ON CARBS ON CARBS. The food was inexpensive, the family was so kind, and I really enjoyed my first experience. 

Look at all of that food! I still have leftovers for today's lunch! :)
Happy Eatings!!!

Pasha Mediterranean Grill
(3 Locations in San Antonio Area)
@ The Vineyard -- Where I frequented 
1207 N Loop 1604 West
San Antonio, TX 78258

Peace Bakery and Deli
11200 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753

Saturday, July 18, 2015

BFF Dinner: Tortuga Flats

My birthday was over a month ago, but my BFFs (Laura and Ashley) and I weren't able to get together to go eat dinner. We were finally able to go have dinner together last Friday. I wanted to find a place we had never been to before that wasn't too far from home (all three of us had a really exhausting week). The last thing I wanted to do after a long week was to drive in traffic to eat somewhere downtown.

A little background story on how I met Laura and Ashley. It's pretty funny actually. A year ago around the time of my birthday I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and find a new job. This was a really hard decision for me since I had been working at my then current job for 3 years and they were pretty much my family. I wanted to find a job that was relevant to what I went to college for, which was HR. I found a job and it was at a place that Laura and Ashley were working at. I was actually going to be Laura's replacement! Long story short -- none of us work there anymore... But I was lucky enough to gain two amazing friends out of the whole experience. Everything happens for a reason and the universe has a crazy way of working things out!

Fast forward to present day... I told the girls I wanted to try Tortuga Flats. I've heard about it and stalked their Facebook for yummy photos, but have never been. Tortuga Flats is in a really unexpected shopping center. It's located off of IH-35 in Round Rock by Target, Best Buy, and Third Base. I say that it's in an unexpected place because it looks like a restaurant that I would see downtown. The decor was cute & modern, they had live music blasting, and the food & drinks were legit. Definitely a worthy restaurant to try if you live in Round Rock/Pflugerville... Or if you're just in the neighborhood! They even have happy hour Mon - Fri 3pm-7pm. Yummy! 

Yummy drinks. I got the bottom left drink and it was a Pineapple Spritzer... It tasted just like juice!
That's dangerous....
Tacos Al Carbon
(Sirloin, caramelized onions, queso fundido, crispy onions, molcajete, and cilantro aioli)
The black refried beans and Mexican rice were spot on as well!

Happy eatings!! :)

3107 S. IH-35 
Round Rock, TX 78664

Monday, June 22, 2015

Date Night: The Peached Tortilla

If you haven't heard about The Peached Tortilla and you live in Austin, you must be living under a rock! The Peached Tortilla is the love child of Asian classics and Southern comfort food. I first heard about Peached back in 2011 when my Twitter game was real strong (hah!). I was really eager about trying the place out!

When Peached first started, they were a food truck stationed at Star Bar (West 6th Street) on the weekends. I remember being greeted by a kind, charming face. That face was Mr. Eric Silverstein himself. He asked me how I heard about Peached and I said "TWITTER!!" Lol thank god for social media!

Four or so years later, Eric opened his brick and mortar and I couldn't be happier for him. I didn't know how hard it was for him to start out until I read this article on Business Insider (click). I knew it was difficult, but I didn't think it was that difficult! Eric even talks about wanting to give up. Boy am I glad that he kept up the fight! I can't imagine life without The Peached Tortilla.

I just turned twenty six and what better way than to celebrate with good food? The honey is all about Peached too! I'm so glad that they accept reservations. That was probably the only way for us to get in to eat. When we arrived, the place was flooded with hungry folks. And luckily, the businesses across the street allow for customers to park there after hours. The parking would be horrendous without that option.

We ordered five dishes, one being the famous JapaJam burger, for two people... We asked our waiter if that was enough to fill us up. He said oh definitely and that the JapaJam burger is a meal in and of itself. I told him, "we can eat!" Oh yes we can!

Margarita de Peached
(habanero infused tequila, thai basil, cointreau, lime juice)

Charred Brussels
(bacon jam, Parmesan, lemon oil)
this photo does not do these brussels justice... just sayin'!
Mom's Toast
(chopped shrimp. ground pork, gochujang chili sauce, fresh herbs)
**WOW! I felt like I was eating upscale dim sum!**

Crispy Umami Chicken Wings
(fish sauce vinaigrette, herbs, shallots)

JapaJam Burger w/ Fries
(tomato jam, 6 oz all beef patty, pepper-jack cheese, fried egg, tempura onion rings, chinese bbq sauce)
**Possibly mine and honey's favorite dish!**

Lush Pork Belly Bowl
(five spice pork belly, house kimchi **TO DIE FOR!!!! RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!!**,
pickled daikon carrots, 45 minute egg)
**This dish was so rich and packed with flavor! Wowzaaaaaaaa**

The food was amazing, the service was great, and I got to celebrate another year with the honey. But one of my highlights was getting to see Eric! It was so great seeing an old friend and it makes me so happy to see him become so successful. It warms my heart to see people who work hard and strive to succeed, do exactly that... Succeed. I cannot say enough good things about Eric and his delicious creations! Thank you for a splendid evening!

Birthday girl gets to have dessert right???
I was thrilled to hear that Lick had a food truck at their future location.
We were INCREDIBLY stuffed to the MAX MAX MAX.... but who could say no to Lick?!?!??!!

My current favorite flavors from Lick are the Texas au Lait and the Caramel Salt Lick... OOOHH TO DIE FOR!!!!

The future home of the new Lick Ice Creams!
6555 Burnet Road   |   Austin, TX 78757

The Peached Tortilla
(Food truck changes location daily... Check website & Twitter for updates!)
Brick and Mortar:
5520 Burnet Rd.
Ste. 100
Austin, TX 78756

Lick Ice Creams
2032 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
*Burnet location to come!

Til next time my friends....

Happy Eatings!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Good Eats for a Good Cause

If you live in Texas, you are aware of the floods we had a few weeks ago. It is such a devastating and helpless feeling watching these floods take people's lives and homes. When I heard that Hopdoddy was going to be donating 100% of ALL SALES (not just profit!!!!) all day on June 4th, I knew that I had to join in for the cause.

Of course the lines for June 4th would be massive, as if the lines weren't already massive..... LOL! I asked my boss and co-worker to tag along for the deliciousness. We have it all figured out. We leave the office by 10:30 and get to Hopdoddy around 10:45 then stand in line for a little bit. When we pulled up to Hopdoddy that day around 10:45, there were already about 20 people in line ahead of us. Hopdoddy has such a huge following! (I already knew that... but just WOW!)

I decided on getting the Continental Club: turkey patty with provolone cheese, apple-smoked bacon (because BACON), arugula, mayo, and basil pesto on a wheat bun. Let me tell you... The wheat bun at Hopdoddy is just a thing of beauty, along with the spicy arugula, fatty bacon, and salty cheese. You have one amazing burger. You don't even miss the mooooo! And you feel just a little bit healthier because you got arugula and the wheat bun.

We also got the chili cheese fries with ground bison and the truffle fries to share among the three of us. I have never had the truffle fries before, but I quickly fell in love after trying the truffle aioli. YUM!

Kennebec Fries with Chili Cheese + Ground Bison

Truffle Fries with Parmesan + Truffle Aioli

Continental Club

Look at that marvelous burger!!!!!

AMAZING Hopdoddy + Austin!!!
I love my city!!

Happy eatings!

(Multiple Locations Throughout Texas, One in Arizona, and One in Colorado)
I went to the one on Anderson Lane:
2438A W. Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78757
(In the same parking lot as Precision Camera)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bribery Bakery

Happy hump day!!!!!!

I heard there was a new bakery that opened near my house not too long ago. I thought, "SCORE!!!!!" There aren't that many noteworthy bakeries in Pflugerville/Round Rock. Sure there's Tiff's Treats and I LOVE their cookies, but there are no cupcakes, no cakes, no pies, no quiches!!! I was so happy to finally get to try Bribery Bakery!

Tuesday night is girls night where two of my sweetest girlfriends and I gorge our faces and watch "Married At First Sight" on FYI. We usually order Pluckers to go so we don't have to be embarrassed for being fatties. I missed last week's girls night and thought I would make up for it with dessert from Bribery Bakery. 

My office is not too far from Bribery and it's kind of the middle point between home and work. I am so glad that I decided to stop by! I got there around 5pm and was lucky that there were even goodies left. (They close at 5:30pm). As I was about to enter, a lady was coming out and told me there was one more thing of chocolate cake left! I had to take make sure I got that last piece!!!!

I was just mesmerized by the bakery when I stepped in. I felt like I was at home and felt so warm and welcome. The ladies at the counter were so sweet (no pun intended!) and helpful. I had to ask what a bunch of things were since it was my first time. 

I decided to get the chocolate cream cake (of course), carrot cake, and lemon-strawberry cake. One of the honey's favorite cakes is carrot cake. Which is weird because he hates carrots! But I guess if you add it into a delicious cake with amazing frosting, what is there to hate? I love anything lemon & berry so the lemon-strawberry was calling my name!

I dropped off the carrot cake and the pups with the honey and I was off to the girls' place. We were stuffed to the brim with chicken, but still managed to make room for dessert. Everyone has a second stomach for dessert right??

Surprisingly, the desserts were not too sweet. They looked like they would be a sweet tooth lover's dream, but I have to say it was just the perfect amount! 

Look at the delicious treats!
Look at how damn cute this box is! 
The carrot cake and chocolate cream cake were enough to feed 4 people!!!
This was my favorite :)

If you have not tried Bribery Bakery yet, what are you waiting for?!?!?!

2013 Wells Branch Pkwy.
Suite 109
Austin, TX 78728
(It is two doors away from Crawfish Shack)

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Productive" Weekend

I had a pretty productive weekend... If you count lounging on the couch with my three chiweenies, grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking new recipes as productive, then yes. It was productive. HAH!

The honey was out with the guys for a bachelor weekend so I was left to my own devices and the three pups. I decided I would try making one of his favorite dishes and desserts. I was pretty nervous because the two dishes sound a little intimidating.

So what were the recipes you ask? Lasagna and a fruit tart. SCARY! I have NEVER made lasagna before OR egg custard for a fruit tart. I was freaking out a little on the inside. But I took a deep breath and knew that The Pioneer Woman would not do me wrong.

What does The Pioneer Woman have anything to do with this? If you know me, you know that I am totally UHHHB-SESSED with Ree Drummond! I watch her show religiously and re-watch my recorded episodes again and again. To get to my point..... I used her Lasagna Rollups recipe. Her recipes are dummy proof and her website has step by step photos. I have never failed once when using her recipes (which is surprising! I'm not a "great" cook.) I was hoping the lasagna rollups would come out great as well.

The only thing I changed with my lasagna rollups is that I added mushrooms and I used low fat ricotta and wheat lasagna noodles. I probably would have used lean ground beef and low fat Italian sausage if it didn't cost so much money! Gah, why are "healthy" ingredients more expensive?! Anyhow, those were the only things I changed/added.
Before the deliciousness happened.

Sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms + ground beef + spicy Italian sausage

Low fat ricotta, two eggs, Parmesan cheese, basil, Italian parsley, salt + peppah

Sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms, meat + diced tomatoes + tomato paste

Pretty herbs

Simmering sauce... Smelled amazing

Smearing the ricotta mixture onto the lasagna noodle

Serving for two or one REALLY hungry person

Now for the fruit tart! One scary recipe done, one more to go! I used this recipe from food.com. It looked pretty dummy proof.... Until I started making the dough for the crust. I wish I had a flour cutter instead of trying to incorporate the flour and the butter by hand. I think it would have came out much better. I just had a feeling it wouldn't come out well. My fruit tart craving and making gut was right. It did NOT come out right!

Here's a photo of my fail.....
It just fell apart and would not form into the dough I was hoping for. :(
The only good thing about this fail was that I got to play with my food like Play-Doh! Hehe...

I ended up buying a pre-made frozen pie crust from Target.

The egg custard made me nervous while I was making it. I made sure to temper my egg yolks with the warm milk so that the egg yolks wouldn't curdle. All these years of watching the Food Network taught me some valuable kitchen skills. I was finally able to start using some of my knowledge!

The egg custard came out perfect. Now it's not the prettiest fruit tart, but it tasted darn delicious! If I had to compare it to a "store-bought" fruit tart, I would compare it to La Madaleine's fruit tarts.

Cooled egg custard and macerated berries

Lol.. The store bought crust looks awful, but at least it tasted good with the egg custard and fruit ;)

I got the honey's stamp of approval. I think he was actually really excited that I made these two dishes for him. I'm pretty proud of myself as well for venturing out and making dishes I have never made before.

Stay tune to see what I'll make next!!!

Happy eatings!! :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Date Night: Madam Mam's


Hello old friend! Let's catch up. Some things have changed over the past couple of years. I graduated from UTSA (Go Roadrunners!!), started my Human Resources career, and got engaged to the love of my life! Things are good!

I am excited to start blogging again. This will serve as my "food diary" and help me reflect over the years. It was fun looking back at my old food posts!

So last Saturday, it was storming like CRAZY. Austin and surrounding cities were even flooding! So what did the honey and I do? We ventured out into the storm and go out to eat 20 minutes away from our home. We're nuts. I'm glad he was driving his truck because 1.) my driving skills at night have declined and 2.) my coupe would not have made it in the storm.

It took us about 30 minutes to figure out what we wanted for dinner. Is this a glimpse of married life? If so, that's not so bad. Plus, if it's the only "REAL" issue we have, we should be just fine! By the time it took us to figure out what to eat and for him to pick me up, it was almost 9:45pm. Dinner at 10pm? YIKES! Luckily one of our food/restaurant staples was open until 11pm that night. Madam Mam's is our FAVORITE Thai place in Austin. We've probably had more than 50+ lunches/date nights here during our 6.5 years together.

The honey orders the same thing every time.. The Pad Spaghetti Kee Mao with flat noodles, pork, chicken, and extra noodles if he's feeling hungry. He got lucky this particular night because the chef must have been feeling generous. They happened to double his usual order. He had a HUGE plate! You can't tell in the photo, but his plate was a lot larger than mine. It was so funny because our waitress said "WOW! So heavy and so much food!" and she made a funny comment about him eating the whole plate and he said "Oh, I will!" If you know my honey, you know that he can eat! He's lucky he has a fast metabolism. Me, not so lucky. Pfft.

I go back and forth between my two favorite plates... The Pad Thai with beef or Pad See Ew with beef. This time I got the Pad See Ew with beef and flat noodles. One day I will be able to make these two dishes like Mam's does (HOPEFULLY!). They are so amazing, tasty, garlicky, and packed with flavor.

Look at that plate! It's all gone!!!

Madam Mam's 
Village Shopping Center
2700 W Anderson Ln Suite 419
Austin, TX

Happy eatings! :)