Austin Top 10

When I had the chance to go to Austin for work, I scooped it up immediately. I had been wanting to go to Texas (and Austin particularly) for quite some time, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Taylor Kitsch stills lives there after shooting my favourite show in the entire world, Friday Night Lights. Impossible celebrity sightings aside, this trip was one for the books. I absolutely LOVED Austin and am finding any excuse to go back. I did a ton of research before I went (Camille Styles’ restaurant guide was a lifesaver) and I think I did a great job of packing everything into the four days I was there.

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Every morning, I would walk down from the JW Marriott (great location, pretty corporate but still lots of fun people there) and head to Jo’s Coffee for one of the best lattes I’ve ever had. I paired it with their yogurt and fruit because I try to keep it light when I’m travelling and know I’ll be indulging for dinner.

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Another amazing spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner is Elizabeth St. Café. They have incredible croissants (some of the best I’ve ever had) and apparently amazing Vietnamese food. I was just on my way to dinner so I ONLY (note the sarcasm) had a chocolate croissant. I sat on the patio and people watched and had so much fun. Such a cute spot.

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One of the coolest parts of Austin is that they repurpose old buildings and make them fresh and new again. Launderette used to be an old Laundromat and is now an incredible restaurant with tons of veggie dishes and one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, the birthday cake ice cream sandwich (local Austinites: run, don’t walk). My other favourite dish was the Burrata. I drank a nice Côtes du Rhône to go with my meal (mainly veggies).

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The star of the trip (if I can only pick one) had to be Uchi. If you told me I was going to go to Texas and eat mostly seafood, I would tell you to give your head a shake. What about tex mex? Steak? Not in this restaurant. Uchi was by far the best Japanese food I’ve ever had. What was even more fun was sitting at the bar alone, watching the sushi chefs make my food, and talking to them about all of the exotic ingredients. It’s amazing what can happen if you go out of your comfort zone and sit alone at a busy bar in a restaurant. To my right was a Vietnam war vet who then went on to a career in banking and is now retired. I never would have found that out if I was on a date at a table.

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As much as I loved Uchi, nothing was quite as amazing as Josephine House. Perched on a little corner in the middle of a gorgeous residential neighbourhood, this spot oozed charm and elegance. I mean, just look at the interior decor! It’s a farmhouse lovers’ dream!! I was so happy when I found one of my favourite Oregonian wineries, Soter, had their rosé on the menu. If it wasn’t a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is! Put this at the top of your list.

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If you are obsessed with food and want to spend a morning among the highest quality, most delicious and well-merchandised food, go to Whole Foods Austin. As I mentioned on my Snapchat (sophiecaldwellc), this is the mecca of Whole Foods. The office is upstairs, it takes up a whole city block, and is absolutely stunning. I bought tons of snacks for the way home and only wished I could take home some of these beautiful roses (these were only a portion of what greeted you upon entering).

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love to try new workouts (especially spin). Luckily for me, my cousin’s step sister Carly is an amazing spin instructor at RIDE. It was harder than Soul Cycle, but equally as fun. I got an incredible workout and I wish I could take her class everyday!! She even played Justin Bieber for me. Again, reasons I need to go back to Austin.

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I may have been the only person that didn’t know this, but Austin is the capital of Texas. I was only 15 minutes walking distance from the State Capitol, so the first thing I did when I landed was put on my running shoes and go outside to go for a quick run and see it as dusk. I couldn’t have run inside faster (it was 0 degrees) to get my coat and actually walk. It was absolutely freezing but so worth it. Such a beautiful building with so much history.

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You didn’t think I would write a whole blog post about Austin without talking about some Mexican food did you? I was so lucky that La Condesa was just down the street from my hotel. I had the most delicious, tropical inspired margarita filled with fresh pineapple juice in addition to lime juice, and rimmed with cactus-lemongrass salt. I need to recreate it! For dinner I had hamachi ceviche with habanero truffle oil (whattttt). Such a unique combination of flavours that I never could have imagined. Then I had the cochinitas tacos and Mexican street corn (my first time!) I rolled myself back to the hotel and went to bed.

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I can’t talk about Austin without mentioning my new found love for Outdoor Voices. Guys, this workout stuff is amazing. The founder, Ty Haney, started the line a couple of years ago with the intent that “Doing Things” just becomes a part of your day to day life. It’s for active people that aren’t defined by being active (kind of refreshing, isn’t it?) I bought these leggings and this crop top and have since worn both a total of about 20 times since. If you’re there, make sure to check out the store, because in true Austin style, it’s set up in a cute little house surrounded by fun shops and amazing restaurants.

#TexasForever

Where To Eat Tonight: España Restaurant

Last weekend at Cornucopia, I had the opportunity to sit down to a five course lunch (with wine pairings) put on by España Restaurant on Denman St. I had wanted to try it for a while, and I’m so glad I got the chance in such an intimate setting.

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One of my favourite dishes of the lunch was a roasted fennel with spanish ham. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and a perfect little appetizer.

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The fish stew was next and I never knew a stew with fish could be so rich, but this was velvety with full flavours and absolutely delicious.

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I loved the simplicity of the roasted pork loin. It wasn’t trying to be anything fancy, but the flavours were incredible!

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This was the view from our lunch. It was absolutely spectacular.

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The dessert was refreshing yet rich. It was a vanilla bean custard with a tangerine jelly, served with sherry. Talk about decadence!

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One of my favourite red wines from the lunch, plus a gorgeous dining room table that has since gone on my must-find list!

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The food, the wine, the people, and the setting, were all equally amazing. I highly recommend checking out España in Vancouver. While you won’t be sitting looking over a mountainous terrain, you will be enjoying some of the best Spanish food in Vancouver.

 

Where To Eat in Portland: Ava Gene’s

I’ve already told you how much I loved Oregon, and Ava Gene’s is a huge part of the reason why. I’m always on the lookout for new restaurants in different cities. When I find one that sounds appealing, I add it to my list of “to try” under city categories. When I read Bon Appetit’s review of the restaurant, I was immediately convinced I had to go there. Farm-to-table, local, Italian influence – it was right up my alley. I’m not kidding when I tell you that Ava Gene’s was one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. Ever

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Another one of my favourite Portland spots was Oregon Wines on Broadway, where we are pictured above, enjoying a flight (or two) or Oregon wine before dinner. I went home with a bottle of the Eyrie Pinot Gris.

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One of my favourite things to do when going out for dinner is to start with a cocktail while perusing (the incredible) menu, which changes daily by the way. I ordered one of my favourite classic Italian aperitifs, the Aperol Spritz. 

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This was by far one of my favourite dishes. Roasted beans with Talleggio cheese atop of a crostini – to die for. I have to recreate this dish at home.

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If you go, I highly reccomend the salad trio. You are able to try a few different veggies and it’s the perfect thing to whet your appetite. I’d never tried raw pumpkin, but it may have been my favourite dish of the night. It was superb.

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Another contender for my favourite dish was the duck ragu on homemade pasta. I think that picture encapsulates the deliciousness that was that dish.

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An Italian classic, the lamb was grilled over this massive flame and it was very neat to watch. It was much neater to eat, though 🙂

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To finish it up, we had THE BEST gelato (biscotti flavoured) and an affogato, one of my favourite simple desserts.

I’m not kidding when I say that I would drive down (minimum 5 hours) to Portland, just for the night, to have this meal again. It is not to be missed, and make sure you book ahead (far ahead!)

Where To Eat Tonight: Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar

Last week, my girlfriends and I were heading out for dinner and we wanted to try somewhere new. My friend suggested Chewies, and I had never heard of it but said let’s give it a go! Located in Kits right by Local, Chewies is basically the Rodney’s Oyster Bar of Kits. Lots of fun people, great service, and an incredible menu. Not to mention, their specials are amazing! We got some fresh oysters (I tried one for the first time and loved it), mussels in white wine sauce with frites, and a light salad for good measure. I was really impressed with all of the food and I can’t wait to go back and sample everything else! A few things on my menu for my next trip there: Creole Garlic Prawns, Fried Chicken (supposed to be amazing), Coconut & Jalapeno Mussels, and maybe even some more oysters. Let me know if you’ve been!

IMG_2355 IMG_2356 IMG_2357Happy Friday! Have an amazing weekend!

 

My Favourite Food Trucks: Vancouver

A few weekends ago, my family and I checked out the Vancouver Food Cart Festival. I was shocked with the amount of people that came out to try the food trucks! Almost every food truck in Vancouver was there, and we tested out a couple new ones that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. The information is below, and I suggest you check it out this Sunday! Read below for my favourite food carts in Vancouver!

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This food cart, PazzaRella Pizza was a gamble as I hadn’t heard of it, but I absolutely loved it! The pizzas were $9, they were made on the truck in less than 5 minutes, and made right in front of your eyes. It was some of the best napoletana pizza I’ve had in Vancouver. IMG_2234 IMG_2236 IMG_2238

The Soho Road truck was on my list for quite a while. While the portions were small, the wrap’s flavour easily made up for it. Above is the butter chicken wrap. We also tried the chicken and lamb, and the lamb was the clear winner. IMG_2239 IMG_2240While I loved checking out the fest, in the future I’ll probably just stick to going to the carts during the week. The lines were crazy long, and we didn’t get to check out our favourite truck, Tacofino. Either way, read below for my favourite food trucks in Vancouver.

Sip Savour Share’s Favourite Vancouver Food Trucks

1. Vij’s Railway Express. I have nothing but good things to say about this food truck. I’m a huge fan of Vikram, and frequent Vij’s and Rangoli quite often. My favourites at this food truck include the cassava fries, the lamb kebab and the butter chicken schnitzel.
2. Tacofino. I just recently tried this truck out, and I’m so mad that it took me this long! You really can’t go wrong, but you must try the Tuna Ta-Taco and the Fish Tacos. Both are clear winners. I was told the Diablo cookie was amazing, but it was way too spicy for a baked good in my mind (could have been an off day!)
3. Pazzarella. Can’t wait to try more types of their delicious pizza. The spicy salami was the one we tried, and I loved it.
4. Arturo’s Mexico To Go. This is a great place for Mexican on the go. Think delicious burritos served with Mexican soda. Yum!
5. Japadog. The hot dog stand – an original food cart! What’s better than a hot dog grilled on the sidewalk?? Japadog has been around for the longest, and they are still open and thriving after all of this competition. It’s a Vancouver classic.

Here are some trucks I want to try that I’ve heard great things about:
The Juice Truck (how have I not been here?)
Kaboom Box
Mom’s Grilled Cheese
Aussie Pie Guy
Fresh Local Wild

Tell me – what is your favourite food truck?

keep scrolling below to enter two giveaways this week!

 

GIVEAWAY: Hart House Restaurant

Last week, I was invited to dine in the Hart House Restaurant garden for The Italian Garden Party. I knew this would be a perfect fit for Sip Savour Share, due to my love for anything Italian (especially food!) When we arrived for the dinner, there were Italian wines set up all over the garden, and we enjoyed some great sips! A new favourite is the Rosa Dei Masi and Masi Campofiorin Single Vineyard Amarone-style red. Little did I know, Masi is made in the Veneto region! Keep reading for my thoughts on the dinner and a GIVEAWAY! Some delicious appies were handed out before we sat down…

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Once we got into the tent, there was a plethora of food, along with this amazing roast fish. How beautiful is it?

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I honestly can’t even pick a favourite dish. They were all amazing! Equally stunning were the Hart House grounds…located right on the water, it’s the perfect spot for a special occasion dinner or any event you need to plan.

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Hart House has some amazing garden parties coming up and I highly suggest you check them out here.

Now, onto the good stuff! Hart House Restaurant has generously donated a $50 gift card to a lucky reader!

Here’s how to enter:
1) Follow Hart House Restaurant and Sip Savour Share on Twitter.
2) Tweet “I’d love to have a night out @HartHouseRest from #SipSavourShare @sophie_collins. RT to enter!”

Additional entries:
1) Comment below with your favourite dish from Hart House’s amazing menu.
2) Follow me on Instagram and leave a comment letting me know!

PS – have you entered our other giveaway this week?