I’m impatient. My Austin Food Journey started about six months ago, before I started this blog. I’ve been to some of the finest restaurants in town, but financial realities have limited my experiences to one or two per restaurant. According to the Association of Food Journalists Critics Guidelines, a good review should be based on at least two, preferably three visits. I can’t wait that long to talk about some of my favorites, so we’ll call this post the first in a collection of preliminary briefs, postcards, if you will, of my limited culinary journey to Austin’s best restaurants.
Olivia, oh how I adore thee. This was one dining experience that left a lasting impression. My sister and I impulsively stopped in Olivia one weeknight for an early dinner. We realized we were lucky to be seated right away as we quickly watched the dining room fill up. I’m not going to talk about Olivia’s famous Michael Hsu architecture, because the quality of the food stands out on its own. The chefs at Olivia could have served me in a tent, or a penitentiary, or Hell and I would have been happy.
We started with a wine recommendation from our server that was perfect. Sadly, I can’t remember the name. Our meal began with the best wedge salad I've ever tasted. Fresh iceberg lettuce wedge, topped with bacon, shallots and bleu cheese. Can you judge an entire restaurant experience by the quality of a wedge salad? The answer is, yes, you can, although it wasn‘t necessary in this case.
The server described the special for the evening as a Filet Mignon Foie Gras. I ordered it without asking the price. Turns out it was $49. And worth it. I didn’t even need a steak knife to cut into its buttery, medium-rare goodness. That’s how tender and juicy and thick and beautiful it was. With Olivia’s focus on organic, sustainable foods, I’m hoping beyond hope that my foie gras came from a naturally fattened duck and not the force-fed kind.
My sister ordered the scallops with risotto. This dish was the only misstep of the night. The lemon was overpowering and perfumy. Since Olivia already had our allegiance with the wine, wedge salad and steak, all was forgiven.
For dessert, my sister had the homemade chocolate ice cream which she pronounced as deeeevine. That wasn’t really the word she used, but it was something along those lines. I ordered the crème brulee made with, get this, Boggy Creek duck eggs. I know, right?
Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth every penny? Yes. Did I pay for it? No, my sister picked up the tab. Thanks T!