Leisurely lunch on a sunny December day

I’m loving the weather in Austin right now—it’s currently a yummy 75 degrees farenheit, with a high of 82 today.  Tomorrow we’ll have the same weather, then it will slowly come crashing down this weekend when we have an arctic blast that will chill Austin down to a cool 30 something degrees.

Because of this weather whiplash, I turn to foods that I can enjoy when it’s both cold and hot this time of year, and I seek out patios where I can sit outside and enjoy the weather and the food.

One of my favorite places to do this is Elizabeth Street Cafe.  I went there with a friend for lunch yesterday, and decided to venture out a bit and order some stuff that I had not yet had off their menu.

Grilled Octopus Salad from Elizabeth Street Cafe

I started with their Grilled Octopus Salad, served with kohlrabi, mint, radish, charred jalapeno, lemongrass dressing, and it’s topped with fried shallots.  This salad is beautiful, and was perfect for a sunny day like yesterday.  The ingredients were fresh and crunchy, the mint and radish cooling the warm octopus and spicy jalapeno, and the lemongrass dressing offered the perfect amount of tang.  This salad would also work beautifully at a picnic in the middle of our 100 degree Austin summers.

Fried Spring Rolls from Elizabeth Street Cafe

My friend ordered the juicy fried spring rolls, stuffed with ginger pork sausage, napa cabbage, lettuce & herbs.  This is a wonderfully comforting dish, I love how the ginger complements the pork flavor, and topping it off with some hoisin and sriracha is the way to go for me.

Vietnamese yellow curry from Elizabeth Street Cafe

For our main meals, we enjoyed their yellow curry and their chicken Pho.  The yellow curry is a wonderful Vietnamese curry that combines PEI mussels, chicken meatballs, kaffir lime, kohlrabi and cauliflower, and is served with sticky rice and a beatiful baguette on the side.  This dish is as impressive as it is delicious, and can easily feed 2, maybe three people (I’d say maybe two Hungry Girls).

Phó Gà with chicken broth at Elizabeth Street Cafe

I ordered their Chicken Pho, and let me tell you, they’re not messing around.  You can swim in this soup, mainly because the bowl is so big, but also because it’s so incredibly tasty.  This Pho is a flat rice noodle soup served with bean sprouts, garden herbs, jalapeno, & herbs on the side.  The soup itself was made with chicken broth, and contained chicken breast and lemongrass-skewered chicken meat. I requested they add mushrooms, and chinese broccoli.  The way I like to enjoy this soup is by adding in all the sprouts, jalapenos, and thai basil leaves, then I squeeze the life out of the lime into the soup.  I add some sriracha and hoisin sauce, and listen to my heart and tastebuds jump for joy with each bite.

If I had an endless pit for a stomach, I also would have ordered any of their fresh spring rolls, their chicken liver mousse and pork pâté bahn mi, and their Singapore Noodles, followed by a selection of their delectable macarons and a vietnamese coffee.  I always have next time.  To check out the menu and get more info on the restaurant, go here.

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