Celebrating Beautiful, Simple Food at Austin’s Sala and Betty Restaurant

IMG_3586Honestly, I don’t do a lot of restaurant reviews. It seems kind of silly when I explain to people that I’m a food writer and that I don’t really ‘do’ reviews, but this is hard work! A restaurant has got to have nice people, great food, and decent prices. In that tall order. So, a restaurant really has to make me happy to make the cut. It just so worked out that the people at Sala and Betty on Airport Rd are the nicest and I had an incredible time previewing some items from their expanded dinner menu. I really felt passionate about sharing my experience. When Teresa Wilson asked me what I wanted to try, I gave her the guideline: “I like food.” So the wine and food kept coming. They fed us 6 courses with wine pairings for each dish, explaining each in detail and enthusiasm.

The food was overall incredibly thoughtful and enjoyable – I really felt like I recognized the food, but was presented in a beautifully elevated way- I felt like I was sitting in a family’s dining room on a special occasion. Some highlights included the Salmon with Braised Cabbage and Crispy Rice Noodles- the fish (seared to a beautiful golden crisp, but pleasantly not overdone) could have been presented on a white plate with a side, but the height of the crispy rice noodles and beautiful orange of the apricot vinaigrette just brought the entree to a whole new level. Details like the caramel swirl on the bottom of the Chocolate Soufflé and linear Meatball positioning made me feel special and important, which was my main takeaway of Sala and Betty. I’d definitely recommend the spot to anyone to celebrate an occasion, or to simply celebrate the day. Enjoy a glass of wine and a few appetizers on their porch, or a few glasses of wine and all the courses inside of their gorgeous dining room (whatever you do, it must include their amazing and expansive wine program). Thanks Sala and Betty for an amazing meal!

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Roasted Cauliflower with Curried Lemon Garlic Aioli, Meatball of the Day with Carrot Slaw
Pairing: Kraemer (Blanc Brut – France), Brady Vineyards (Petit Syrah, Paso Robles ’12)

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Mister T Sandwich – Smoked Wagyu Sirloin, French Fries, Avocado Aioli, Mixed Greens, Bleu Cheese Sauce
Pairing: Macrostie (Chardonnay, Sonoma ’12)

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Gnocchi, Beets, Horseradish, Creme Fraiche, Spinach
Pairing: Domaine Sarrail (Pinor Noir, France ’14)

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Salmon, Ginger Braised Cabbage, Apricot Vinaigrette, Orange Supremes, Peanuts, Fried Rice Noodles
Pairing: Chateau Gravelier (Bordeaux ’10)

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Chocolate Soufflé and Banana Bread Pudding
Pairing: Niepoort (Tawny, Portugal) and Marchese Incisa Della Rochetta (Moscato)

For more information on Sala and Betty, visit their website.

Real Dang Simple Brussels Sprouts Salad Recipes

Brussels Sprouts Salad With Crispy Chickpeas

Brussels sprouts do not have any more perks of being a wallflower- they are now central stage and covered in bacon. Even your mom likes brussels sprouts now, and the brassica growers are doing so many happy dances. Roasted brussels, shaved brussels, glaze-y bacon-y brussels… the opportunities are endless, but salted and boiled is where to draw the line. Check out these fantastic salads I developed for RealSimple.com; from crispy chickpeas and charred corn, sweet poppyseed dressing and pops of tart pomegranate- a punch of flavor really makes these brussels sprouts salads top notch. I’m pretty proud of them, if you can’t tell – ha! (Also, I didn’t take these photos, the amazing team at Time Inc. Food Studios did! Shout out to my Birmingham friends!)

Click on the photos to check out each recipe- each one serves 4-6 and takes about 30 minutes. Plus, save time by buying pre-shredded brussels in the refrigerated produce section- don’t mess with a mandoline if you don’t have to!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad With Poppyseed Dressing

Farro and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Brussels Sprouts Slaw With Charred Corn and Scallions

Waffles and Oatmeal: Breakfast Hacks for the Laziest of Us

When I tell people I’ve been working on some projects for BravoTV.com, I hope they really believe that I am BFF’s with the Housewives and that I’m going to totally cameo on Top Chef (Masters, duh). It’s actually a whole lot cooler- they’re letting me post on their new website, The Feast, amongst other buzzworthy food news content and now- original recipes!

I’ve been working on these two posts- Instant Oatmeal Hacks and Frozen Waffle Ideas, perfect for the lazy (ahem, unmotivated?) cook who happens to be watching Bravo TV at the same time! In any case, this is just more Stupid Good for you, on different outlets, but always with the same sassy food nonsense way. Check both posts out below!

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6 Easy Ways to Hack Frozen Waffles to Make Ice Cream Sandwiches, Birthday Cakes, Grilled Cheese and More

These 10 Instant Oatmeal Hacks Will Magically Change Your Breakfast Game