Monday, October 17, 2011

Pork Belly Eggs Benedict at Olivia in Austin, Texas

2043 So. Lamar
Austin, Texas 78704

I had fun this weekend in Austin playing with Hipstamatic for iPhone. Initially downloaded years ago around the time I got my first DSLR, Hipstamatic was definitely the ignored step child in terms of what I chose to use for snaps during that time.  This weekend, the Nikon made it out of my bag for a couple shots of the beautiful Greyhounds, but the Hipstamatic app got lots of play. I am going to admit it's not great for food shots in terms of clarity and toothsome looking pics, but it's moody and fun. In these shots, Kamal lens and Kodot xGrizzled film.


We brunched en masse at Olivia in Austin, Kristine's choice. Kristine's choices in restaurants, let me tell you about them. She has a nose for what's just perfect. Not just food wise, she's also interested in atmosphere and a well balanced menu that will perfectly appeal to whatever diverse group is dining. A couple people asked me if I had looked them up online or checked out the menu, I said no. When Kristine is handling something, Kristine handles something. Always. Olivia in southwest Austin was perfect!


Mimosas: pomegranate in the foreground, blood orange in the rear. Olivia is much heralded in the media.   In 2009, Bon Appetit included Olivia in its list of top ten new restaurants in the U.S. This link gives you their recipe for beef with pears and fresh ginger.


Deviled farm eggs with wasabi roe. This is roe that is not roe, roe, roe. Instead they are made using the MG technology for caviar. Here my friend Joe of My Last Bite shows you how it's done. At any rate, the eggs were delicious with just the right wasabi punch! We shared 3 orders for the table.


Bacon is bacon is bacon except this is amazebacon. Huge strips cooked just barely beyond crisp, house cured.


Cara's (and everyone else's) Taff's southern sticky bun. I don't know who Taff is, but that creamy sugary icing was generous and irresistible.


Smoked grouda grits. I can't even....I couldn't. I didn't try to restrain myself from enjoying these. I pretty much did a face plant into this giant bowl of cheesy goodness.


To my left, John and Karla ordered the chicken fried steak. This shot does not do it justice, partially because of the bright late morning light shining behind us in from underneath the back porch canopy and partially because I was too lazy to move and improve the shot. Food blogger fail. About 8 oz of steak chicken fried in fluffy yet crisp batter, gargantuan mound of mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. This is some Texas sized food.


I admit to food envy here.  Cara's Lamar MacDaddy Muffin Sandwich with bbq pulled pork, scrambled egg, Swiss cheese, garden greens all on a homemade English muffin with a mound of fries all the babies nommed onto. This is like an advanced Egg McMuffin, bigger, better, more but also made elegant with greens grown in a garden about 50 feet directly behind our table.


About half the table ordered some variation of the Eggs Benedict. Kristine, Brian and I all ordered this version. Pork rillon Benedict with maple hollandaise and an herb salad, rillons made from pork belly. Outstanding pork belly and only slightly sweetened hollandaise made special with maple syrup, the only disappointment at the table was the muffin. It was more cakey than flakey (as Cara said, I think) and I didn't love. Poached eggs? I would eat them on literally anything. Pork belly rillons, slightly crispy and wonderful. Herb salad lended a verdant touch to every bite. But the muffin fell flat. Disappoint. I ate more grits instead of the muffin so the meal was still a win.


This was a lovely Sunday morning group brunch...three beautiful babies at the table and one gorgeous woman with a bun in the oven (my friend Jess). Kristine's cousin Shelley posted more snaps on her photography blog, Shelley Moon Photography. The morning was sunny, the food was plentiful and everyone was of those perfect moments in life.


Thank you, Olivia, for the wonderful food, terrific service and free reign to frolic in your back garden. I better not hear any of you snickering, you know who you are.


Kristine G. said...

I'm still dreaming about those deviled eggs... and can totally picture you re-creating the recipe in your kitchen.

The wasabe caviar totally reminded me of our dabbling in molecular gastromony with those grape jelly "balls" and I spent a good part of the plane ride marveling at how cool it is that edibles can be manipulated, played with, and highlighted so it's not *just* a tasting experience, but a visual one as well. Loves!

Olivia is such a perfect place. If I lived in Austin I would be there all the time, they'd sooooo get sick of me. lol

Food, she thought. said...

Did you read the caviar tutorial on Joe's blog? I think you and I need to do this sometime when the crazy merry-go-round of life slows down long enough for us to do some quality cooking together. Wait....that might never happen! I love love loved Olivia. You always pick just the right place! <3 <3 <3

Kristine G. said...

I remember her; she was there at Sur La Table, as well. Super friendly.

Dude, I am so getting the ingredients. Calcium Chloride, here we come!

(Maybe when Lovely Mrs. Vervets comes into town in December!?!?) I think she would LOVE it.