Holiday Supper Club
Sunday, December 23rd 6:30
4 courses $35 // no corkage fee
with a pre-purchased ticket or email us
for seats and pay at the event. Reservations are limited.
Ben & Murph
December 23rd, 2012 Holiday Supper Club, 6:30Click here
for reservations, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited.
Crostini, chicken liver & tapenade
Guinea fowl consomme, chive gruyere dumplings
Salad of guinea fowl confit, shaved sunchokes, mustard greens
Pickled striped bass, pine nuts, raisins, kohlrabi
Daube of beef, baby carrots, new potatoes, green olive
Bread and butter pudding, creme anglaise
Its almost 2013. And Texas French Bread will be 32!
Okay, that doesn’t exactly have the right ring to it. But we are REALLY excited about some big changes coming in the new year. First, we’ve begun the process of remodeling our dining room, kitchen and garden! Second, we’re adding new salads and entrees to our lunch menu in the spirit of our local, seasonal dinner. We’ve come a long way. Exclamation points!
In order to celebrate, we are offering a special holiday promotion: purchase in advance — and receive a generous discount. On the one hand it’s a gift card. But you will also be participating in a new model of community supported enterprise which small businesses around the country are practicing. It helps us fund new efforts — and we can show you a little love for your continued support.
$100 Gift Cards — get $110 for $100!
$500 Gift Cards — get $600 for $500!
$1000 Gift Cards – get $1200 for $1000!
AND join us for a Spring 2013 multi-course appreciation dinner
To purchase your card, send your name and phone number to email@example.com and reference “Gift Cards.” We’ll get you set up straight away.
All the best to everyone this holiday season. And as always – bon appetit.
Ben & Murph
We’ve been making a risotto dish each Tuesday for the past few months, but this week’s was so tasty we decided to hold it over and serve it all week. How tasty was it you ask? Well, Carol – one of my favorite customers (ok check that, let’s just go with “favorite customer” singular, so she doesn’t yell at me) – grabbed my arm after inhaling a bowl and says “where’s Ben? – tell him to leave his wife because I’m marrying him – that was the best meal I’ve ever had”.
Anyway, the dish sounds simple – we’re making it with Jerusalem artichokes (which as you might or might not know, are really closer in flavor and consistency to a potato than to a artichoke), fresh Gulf shrimp, and some lightly dressed arugula. It’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe in which the dish is topped with the brown butter in which we’ve cooked the shrimp – and I can’t explain it. I had the same response as Carol – as in, wow, that’s really, really good.
Anyway – it got me thinking about where I first encountered Arborio rice – the basic component of risotto. And honestly, I had assumed that I would be writing a story about my summer in Spain in 1986 on the coast in Valencia where I learned to love love love Paella. No, not that awful imitation that you occasionally find on the back page of the menu at some stateside restaurant – but the real, robust, unbelievable, cooked in a pan that’s never actually been washed but has just had the bottom layer of dried spice scraped off repeatedly only to be refilled with rice, stock and seafood goodness and baked again, hopefully to serve me, damn it – good stuff. I’m talking about a dish that can only be properly experienced if you are sitting with an ice cold Spanish beer on a boardwalk that is within direct eyesight of the Mediterranean. (Since I’ve been on the photo nostalgia trip this week, yes, that’s me and a friend at a beachside bar, where we just finished the specialty of the casa – paella & beer.)
But – a very small amount of research informed me that my whole approach here was shot. Traditional paella from Valencia, is not only (as it turns out) not made with Arborio rice (named for a city in Italy, duh), but is in fact made with something called a Bomba rice that is grown in Spain (again, duh) and is far less starchy than true risotto rice and really closer to a short grain, white, sushi style rice. There goes my angle – oh well.
As you might imagine, I had intended to draw a parallel between the delicious paella of my misspent and rowdy youth, and this exemplary and restrained dish now on our menu that features some faint hints of that Spanish travel experience. But, God, it doesn’t even use the same type of rice. I’ll leave it at this – this risotto is blow-your-mind good – come try it.
Finally – we wanted to let you know that starting today and running through December 23 – get 10% off your purchase of any of our cookie tins and/or tea breads when you join us for dinner. That should help with solve some of your holiday gift-giving dilemmas.
And – as some of you have noticed, over the past couple of months we’ve partnered with Open Table to make some of our tables available for reservations for parties up to six guests. We’d like to emphasize two things: 1) we would be very grateful if you could make your reservations through the link on our site
, rather than going directly to Open Table (it’s much less expensive for us that way), and 2) we only make a portion of the dining room available for reservations which means we can almost always accommodate your party on a walk-in basis.
hope to see you soon – bon appetite,
You know, it pains me to confess this, but when I was young, my mother often made the most amazing food which I rather consistently failed to appreciate. She was partial to understated preparations, utilizing simple, graceful ingredients. Her motto was that in cooking, less was almost always more – she would bring in the good stuff and do her best not to mess up. Sound familiar?
In hazy memory, on Sunday evenings mom would often prepare one of her favorites – a simple delicious chicken soup with a bit of fresh parsley, some new potatoes, onions and carrots, and perhaps a nice green salad. Sadly, I remember my response to this menu tended towards something like “Oh God – boiled chicken again?” My assessment of this dish that embodied the very essence of restraint and delicateness upon which later in life I would come to place great value – was a dismissal of outright certitude and aplomb that I was scarcely entitled to. I fancied I knew a thing or two about the finer things. I favored such well known delicacies as Marlboros (yes that miserable looking young man was me, and I believe that is a box of them in my shirt pocket along with a bic lighter). I was quite fond of the malted beverage popularly known as “beer” when I could get it, and when I couldn’t, the universal favorite, “infusion of Nestle’s Quik in milk” was another top choice. My snacking preferences ran to standards such as “schmear of sour cream dip on potato chips,” and the ever popular “melted cheddar with spread of canned refried beans on tortilla chips” (aka nachos).
Yep – quite the gourmand I was. But all kidding aside, I’ve probably always had a bit of a heavy hand. A couple of years back, there was a style of Nike shoes I wanted. I went to the Nike website, but they were sold out of all models save the “create your own design” feature. So I set forth and picked a few colors and ordered myself a pair of – can’t wait till they get here – fine looking footwear. Unfortunately, when the shoes arrived you could hear the shrieks of laughter and derision from around the block. Apparently, red on purple on yellow on blue looks better on Nike’s web site than on my feet. Oh well – can’t win them all.
My point is that while each of us has our own essential nature, individual tastes, and particular preferences – our palates are capable of development. There’s a reason my mother really liked her lovely chicken vegetable soup which I didn’t understand, just as there is a reason why a toddler can’t appreciate Proust or Verde. Culture, taste, richness, and sophistication do not come without education, training, a certain amount of work by way of attention to detail. But just because I now really appreciate 15 year old Burgundy, doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the occasional Enchiladas Numero Uno Plate with the brown meat sauce, and crispy tacos on the side.
Sometimes though, one is fortunate enough to indulge both the high and the low at the same time. This week the Pot au Feu reappears on our dinner menu. It is one of my favorite winter dishes that Ben introduced me to a year or so ago. Pot au Feu speaks to me of the growth of my palate over the years, in that it proffers a strong connection to my mother’s “boiled chicken” – while also indulging some flavors that indulge a bit more of my leftover teenage aggression.
The name Pot au Feu translates roughly as “pot of fire” – a reference to the long, slow simmer that gives the dish its rich character. It’s a fine example of what Ben calls “French grandmother food.” A delicate broth made from various cuts of meat and poultry forms the predominant motif – in our case this broth is crafted from beef shank, chicken, bratwurst, and a bit of short rib. The braised meats are added, along with cabbage, carrots, onion, new potatoes, and turnips.
But the teenage playfulness comes on the side. We’ll bring you cornichon pickles (and caper berries when we can get them), Dijon mustard to spread liberally on the meats, and finally, crisp, delicate fleur de sel (sea salt). The broth with its braised meats and vegetables is lovely and sustaining, but restrained. On the other hand, the tart astringency of the pickles and the sinus clearing roar of the mustard along with the crunchy salt fleur de sel make this dish an adventure and treat.
Hope to see you all in for dinner soon – bon appetite,
Only last week it seemed fall had arrived. It was sunny, crisp and cool. Trees had begun turning orange and red at Ladybird Lake. I broke out my recipes for braises and stews. And then…it started creeping right back up into the 80s, as if summer just refused to go away.
Our unpredictable weather never fails to bring to mind the challenges of farming here. While I may feel a little pushed and pulled by the temperature changes, our local farmers hold their collective breath to see if autumn crops are going to make it. Fortunately this year hasn’t been too bad. A lot of the folks we buy from got an early start on cooler weather crops like green beans, broccoli, chard and kale. And since it’s not really cool yet, they’ve got summer stuff as well — zucchini, eggplant, peppers and the like.
Tonight we have a couple of new dishes which make the best of our central Texas summer-is-almost-over, autumn-is-almost-here October. First, we’re offering Gulf Coast black drum in a saffron broth with kohlrabi, kale and new potatoes, finished with a parsley orange zest gremolata and a dollop of crème fraiche. It’s restrained and grown up, light but with an eye toward more substantial cold weather fare. We are also offering a dish of pan seared quail, roasted sweet potatoes and faro in vadouvan curry brown butter and arugula. The quail is finished with a drizzle of Texas extra virgin olive oil spiked with fresh chilis. It’s…a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, if I may. As well as a little bit summer and a little bit autumn. Hope you can join us.
Come join us for Austin Restaurant Week! We couldn’t be more thrilled to be participating this year to benefit Meals on Wheels. Come in tonight, Tuesday & Wednesday night for three delectable courses for $27!
arugula & raddichio salad
mussels, tomato, roasted garlic, chili
black drum, polenta, chard, olive pan jus
poussin, roasted squash, purple potatoes, purslane, toum
pork milanese, arugula, radicchio
Is it cocktail hour yet? Woke this lovely morning with visions of a crisp French wine and bruschetta with cream peas, Angel Valley Organic Farm arugula, and parmesan dancing in our heads. Join us for Friday dinner 6-10.
Ben’s finding inspiration for tonight’s Guinea Fowl Ragu–borrowing a little from Mario Batali, Fergus Henderson & Julia Child for this warm and richly flavored pancetta-flecked, peasant-style braise. We’re serving up this deliciousness tonight with farm-ground polenta from Boggy Creek Farm!
We’ll be open 8am until 3pm on Monday, Labor Day. The cake case will be fully restocked by mid morning and we’ll have plenty of pastries and bread!