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DK Sushi South

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I now work in South Austin and have been trying to explore the eats around I-35 and William Cannon.  That's how I've come to start eating an occasional lunch at the DK Sushi South location.  I have been a fan of DK Sushi since around 4 years ago, but have always frequented the North Lamar location since it's closer to my house.  I even dragged a few of my friends to a karaoke night there years ago, before we all had kids.  It was....quite the spectacle.  DK himself hosts their karaoke nights and there may be naked pictures of women on the lyric screens...Let's just say, it's not something you can do with a 2-year-old.  I think we also witnessed DK get one of his employees, who's birthday it was, really really really drunk.  Sake bombs were involved prior to each song.

Anywho, now that I've been getting into a better groove at work and have some time on Friday if we don't have meetings, I've been using the time to explore nearby eateries.  Since DK …

Hayley Cakes and Cookies

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Custom cookies or baked goods are a sure fire way to my heart. Hayley Cakes and Cookies were randomly introduced to me via Instagram and my Insta-savvy cousin, Yvi. Yvi lives in the Los Angeles area of California. How she stumbled upon Hayley Cakes beats me, but once she shared their instagram page I was sold. So since I was the designated 'local,' I had to peep into their store and buy some cookies. Ok, I bought a ton of cookies. Like a bucket-full. Or pants-load full (Dragons Love Tacos reference here for those who aren't in the know ;) ) I was like that's cute. and that one. and that one. ooo that one, too! They weren't for me, so they were guilt-free cookies. The first box I purchased were for Reid's grandmother, Mimi. Mimi, or Margaret Bolding, is amazing. She's like, this super-hero woman who has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live (no joke, check those commercial breaks) and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. Mimi is one of…

Atia's Kitchen Food Truck

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I've been exploring South Austin a little more on some of my lunch breaks from Century Animal Hospital (a little self-promo never hurt anything, right?). This Pakistani food trailer was on my list of places to check out. My roomie back at UT, Fauz, is Pakastani and I had to check this out to report back to her. She lives in Houston now, with abundance of good Pakastani food around her, but I had to see if Austin has anything that can hold a candle to all the delicious foods she had introduced to me. Also, I like chatting up Aunties. Spoiler alert, there was no auntie at the trailer. But there was a very nice, helpful young lady who walked me through every menu item and gave me a recommendation.

I ordered the aloo something and some samosas. The time took a little while, because there was just one person working in the trailer on the cold day I visited, but that gave me some time to check out the Thicket trailer park. Very cute and cool area with tons of trailers and option…

Remembering Ba Ngoai with her Pâté Chaud

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Back in October of the last year, I lost my grandmother.

She lived in Paris and I was thankfully able to attend her funeral. It's been a hard loss, and I'm not sure I've really allowed myself to fully process it all. I loved my grandmother, my ba ngoai, so much. More than I can even grasp. She is how I was able to appreciate food. She is the reason I can fully understand how love can be shown through food and cooking. Her cooking, the smells wafting through her tiny apartment in Paris, are tied to some of my best childhood memories. My ba ngoai taught me how to love everyone. She taught me how to smile in the face of adversity; how the glint in smiling eyes can disarm anyone. Ba ngoai lived through a lot. She lived through a war that tore her home and wealth from her, she lived through re-establishing herself and life in another country, she lived through her brother never coming home, she lived through raising 3 children, she lived through her husbands death, and…

Mom's Famous Roast Beef

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Every year for Christmas, and sometimes for Thanksgiving (our family aren't huge turkey eaters), my mom makes her famous roast beef for my entire dad's side of the family.  It's something everyone has come to look forward to.  I think once she said she was going to make Osso Bucco or something else and I was like, No!!!!! you can't not make the roast beef!!!!  Many people have asked for the recipe and a few have tried to replicate, but no one in our family will be the roast beef queen like my mom is.  So, we definitely need to have this recipe here for prosperity.

It's a relatively simple recipe but the key is to buy a really good quality piece of roast.  My mom says the key is to get certified black angus ribeye bone-in roast.  The best cut is between rib 6 and 12 so it's good to befriend your local butcher :)  Mom says it's pricey, maybe a little over $100 for a 6-8 lb roast, but that's what makes it so good.

Mom's Famous Roast Beef
For one 6-8 lb …

Unfussy Eggplant Parmesan

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When I read this recipe, it was so simple and genius it blew my mind.  I couldn't wait to try it.  Who doesn't love eggplant parmesan?  But the breading, and frying, and layering can all be a bit time consuming and laborious. This proved to be a great recipe with all the great flavors of eggplant parmesan, that really was unfussy.  And delicious.  And probably slightly healthier with no frying.   I made it even more 'unfussy' by using pre-made tomato sauce, but adding a few fresh tomatoes for a better taste.  The idea came from this Food52 recipe.

Unfussy Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 4
Ingredients:

2 large globe eggplants1 24 oz. jar tomato sauce (or you can make your own like the Food52 recipe)1 Roma tomato, cut in quarters1/2 c. shredded low moisture mozzarella cheese2 tbs. grated parmesan 1/2 c. roughly torn breadsaltolive oiloptional: Basil leaves for garnish, Parmesan curls Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut eggplants lengthwise in half.  Score cut sides in diagonal …

What I learned while on Whole 30

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We celebrated Tet this year in Houston with my family and it was loads of fun and excitement for John.  I made red longevity noodles for the first time and looked with forlorn envy as everyone ate my aunt's bun bo hue, I skipped out on my mom's homemade banh tet, and even bypassed my birthday cake.  Ok, it was only 1/3 of my birthday cake.  It was the 'February birthdays' birthday cake within my dad's family and I actually brought it so there was no surprise there.  All this sacrifice and withholding is due to my new resolution to try a month-long elimination diet trial.

You heard right, I'm attempting Whole30!
But Christine, you freaking love grains, alcohol, added sugar, legumes and dairy!
Why yes, I do, but for the sake of my continued health, and to see if there is a nutrition-related link with Bell's Palsy (every holistic health person tells me this), I'm going to do some self-experimentation.  Let's see if cutting out sugar, grains, alcohol, …