My first meal in Austin was in Russian House Restaurant in downtown area. The restaurant looked fanciful and its lobby had a suspicious sense of being Revolutionary kitsch, but a glimpse of a party room alleviated my reservation and I gave it a try.
The main dinning hall was clear of kitschy displays; rather, it was decorated tastefully with muted chandeliers and old photographs, including the family of the last Tsar.
The food was delicious and I also like the way they presented green onion, pickles, bread and salt on a wooden board. My main dish was a dumpling in a clay pot and the dessert was a very traditional Ukraine cake.
Even the invoice was presented in a lovely way - inside a lacquered box, decorated with traditional Russian folk scene.
lacquered box for bills
I also had an opportunity to dine in a lovely 1886 Café & Bakery inside the landmark Driskill Hotel dating indeed back to 1886.
Entrance to the hotel lobby and cafe
Hotel staircase and suite
Hotel Grill restaurant with live music
I opted for the fun-looking Bakery, with stained glass decorations, instead of the Grill restaurant with live music, which was a bit too lively and too stately.
The food was very delicious - seared fish for main course and a glorious banana pudding for dessert. The waiter assured me that if I could have only either appetizer or dessert, I ought to have dessert, which was the Café's selling point.
A couple days later, after the sumptuous Driskill, I chose a more down-to-earth German restaurant, Easy Tiger, for a simple dinner. The restaurant was in a pleasant grove setting and served German food and beer including breads and pretzels freshly baked in the restaurant.
My simple meal, consisting of fennel and duck sausage in pretzel buns, heirloom tomato salad, smoked Gouda cheese and sauerkraut, was nicely balanced and contrasted in flavors and textures.
After the business, I had the opportunity to visit the art museum of the University of Texas, Austin - Blanton Museum and had my lunch in its Café - a beautifully presented and flavorful grilled Portobello stack:
Never expected so many wonderful meals in Texas.
More on Austin, Texas Trip, June 2014
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