Saturday, January 23, 2010

Austin: Annie's, Koriente

Day two brought two interesting eateries, plus visits to the state capital and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library. Both are fantastic stops in Austin and easily reached on foot since we were staying downtown.

Annie's Cafe and Bar was the only re-visit during the entire trip and that's because it seems to be one of the few places downtown that serves a sit-down breakfast.

During our first visit, I had oatmeal, topped with bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, walnuts, berries and raisins. Perfectly cooked, although it was served a bit cold. I liked the interior decor, starkly black, white, and silver with clean lines.

Breakfast tacos are apparently an Austin and Texas thing and, while I haven't sampled a wide range of them, I love them more than the California classic breakfast burrito. Annie's version has chorizo, cheese and egg with a simple salsa and a side of fried potatoes. The salsa's nothing to write home about, but the tortilla was perfect, as was the chorizo with egg.

We headed to the Texas state capitol, where the Senate and House chambers have amazing chandeliers that spell TEXAS in bright lights, and the LBJ library, where we learned a lot more about him beyond his presidency during the Vietnam War. It was pouring, so we needed to dry off and find some inexpensive eats, because we were going to end the evening with beer. Lots of it.

Koriente fit the bill perfectly. Korean-influenced dishes that were well-prepared and inexpensive. The menu is vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free friendly.

The Koriente pickles fell flat, as they had lots of heat but no flavor. My japchae, however, was lovely. The noodles were tender and toothsome with the veggies cooked to perfection. Unlike many other versions of japchae, this wasn't greasy at all.

I'm a sucker for green tea ice cream and they make a simple scoop of green tea ice cream fabulous with chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Afterwards, we fulfilled our mission with lots of beer at The Side Bar and Casino El Camino, the latter having great food to satisfy late-night drunken munchies.

319 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

621 E. 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701

602 E. 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701
517 E. 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701

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