Monday, September 20, 2010

We try new restaurant Urban, and, what makes a "foodie?"

Last week, Megan and I joined a few other bloggers in town to try out Urban, a new restaurant inside The Westin, which technically speaking, is inside of The Domain.  Did you just get a vision of a Russian doll?  Because I did.

Anywho.  We were lucky enough to sit with Becky Bullard from Texanthropology, who is also an Austinist food writer and Examiner drinks writer, as well as her friend Jessica.  Before our samples arrived, we got to pondering this matter: Just what, exactly, makes a foodie?

But like I am about to do with you, we were suddenly interrupted by gorgeous food before we could dive too deeply into that question.

Grilled Crab Cake with Avocado, Micro Cilantro, and "Dynamite" Sauce. "Dynamite?" Yes, dynamite. To indicate a flavor explosion, if you will, and after licking it off my spoon, I'd say that's an accurate description.

Texas Quail, with Green Tomato Chow Chow, Grits, Guajillo Honey.  Teehee, "chow chow." I have no idea what that means!  But let's pretend we do anyway. The chow chow was fabulous!

Seared Tuna.

Bar Steak with Chile Arbol Chimichurri, and Sweet Corn Bisque. Let me tell you something. That bisque was ridonkulous. We all decided to call it not bisque, but rather, a "little bowl of heaven."  I wish I could reach out of the computer screen and offer you a spoonful of this amazing bisque.

(PS. Are you wondering why these food photos are in a completely different, altogether better league than the photos you normally see on Austin Eavesdropper?  That is because Megan took them. Isn't she too good.)

Chef Mizael Saucedo, who put together the sample menu for the evening, came to Urban from Bess Bistro - Sandra Bullock's restaurant.  For dessert, he served us Avocado Tres Leches, far and away my favorite dish of the night.  We heard that Mizael used his mom's classic Tres Leches recipe, and when he added the avocado, his mom got mad at him.  Well.  What the dish loses in classic form, it gains in screams of ecstasy.  I am being serious.

There are no words for Avocado Tres Leches.  Only guttural sounds. We were so taken with it, we forgot to take a picture.

Alright, so back to our original question.  What makes a foodie?

Here is my opinion.  I think most people are snobby about something.  Me?  Books.  I'm sorry, I don't like Twilight.  Oh well.  But television?  Five words: The Real Housewives of New York.  See?  I'm kind of a dumbass in that department.

(My mom is the most hilarious example of this high culture/low culture thing, by the way. Namely when it comes to movies.  She loves Big Night, Happiness, these two French flicks she's been raving about ... but, also, White Chicks.  Yes.  THAT White Chicks.  As in, starring the Wayans brothers).

So "food" is one of those things, I think, where if you train your palate long enough on high quality versions of things, you get to become a "foodie." The only time this gets tricky is when people have different definitions of "quality."  Which to you, might mean "local," but to someone else, might mean: "imported from its country of origin." Gruyère cheese that actually comes from the town of Gruyères, for instance.

What do you think makes a foodie?

Oh, and! I almost forgot to thank lovely Jetté Momant, for inviting us out, and putting this lovely tasting at Urban together. Thank you dearly, Jetté!


Anonymous said...

Sigh... I can't wait until I have a salary, haha. Everything looks delicious.

katherine said...

foodie means not eating mcdonald's. at least for me. i can be snobby about what i eat because i have reasons for why i eat it, just like i can be snobby about books (because i'm with you: twilight? ugh, gag me with a shovel).

and ps: the housewives of new jersey are /way/ more fun because they are /way/ more trashy. i don't have cable but i sure as hell get excited when i see new episodes of that pop up on hulu.

Piper Jones said...

I think a 'foodie' is someone who's experienced the best and measures all else against it. Once you've had superior meats, vegetables, etc it's hard not to do. Pair that with some of the exceptional talent who actually make the food magic happen and voila, you can't go back.

It's the same for me with fine wine, beer, COFFEE (obviously) - I'm a snob and feel life is just too short to not have the good out there.

That Chelsea Girl™ said...

Oh, this just makes me so hungry!
I think foodies, to me, are intellectual and educated food-eaters who follow food trends and are very big on what's healthy. They also know how to cook.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@thefirstkitchen - AND IT WAS. Not going to lie.

But keep it up, woman. Seriously wouldn't be surprised if you opened up shop yourself down the road. The First Kitchen FOOD TRAILER, perhaps? Delicious dorm room cuisine?

@Katherine - I love you. Speaking of Real Housewives of NJ...have you seen skinny Caroline?? Damn! She look good!

@Piper!!! Clap clap clap. Happy you are here!

Your definition of "foodie" is a lot like Kim Severson's, actually. Have you read her marvelous memoir, Spoon Fed? You. Would love. Inside, she describes Hershey's chocolate as "waxy." But that, she would never have known, had she not tried some of the BEST chocolate the world has to offer. Now she's an NY Times food writer, so there you go.

@That Chelsea Girl - Ah, the 'knowing how to cook' part! An interesting inclusion. I wonder if there are any foodies out there who would cop to NOT knowing?


I consider myself a foodie-in-training, but severely lack the kind of sensitive palate needed for cooking. I sautee everything in Bragg's and call it a day.

Pang said...

Dude, I work across the street from this place, and never gave it a second look, cuz it sounded like a douchey bar/restaurant. Now I must try their food. Thanks, AE.

Also, I always figured a "foodie" was just someone that loved food. Be it a connoisseur or not.

Texanthropology said...

Awwww, thanks so much for the shout-out, Tolly! I really enjoyed having dinner with you and Megan and would love to do it again. I'm working on a post about this foodie conversation, too, and will have to let you know once it's up.

Anastasia said...

I think a foodie just takes pleasure in food. Whether it's a greasy cheeseburger or Fancy Schmancy pants with tiny portions but great plating. And I don't think you have to cook to be a foodie, but ti probably helps.

Anonymous said...

CAFE 71 in Bastrop. Grand Opening October 15th 2010.

Linda said...

got pointed to here from Kay's tweet and I just wanted to add my two cents on what makes a foodie.
my definition of a foodie is simply just someone who is passionate about food. this can include those who do not cook or those who have fast food guilty pleasures.

can't wait to try this avocado tres leche.