takeout

Austin Gastro Graze 5: Asia Cafe

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I love this place. When I’m reminiscent for New York Chinese food, I have to head to Asia Cafe. I’m still looking for a place with NYC style egg rolls, but they may simply not exist out here. Every thing else delicious that I crave, however, can be found at Asia Cafe. You don’t have to take my word for it, though, as Asia Cafe is a local favorite among people of all walks of life in Austin and surrounding areas as well as extremely deserving of their 95% positive rating on Yelp.

There are two things you can count on at Asia Cafe:

1. Delicious food.

2. A line. (See countable item number 1)

You order at the counter, receive a number, and they call out your order number once it’s ready. Often my husband and I will call in an order. When you call in an order for pick up, they ask you skip the line. March right up to the front and let them know you called in an order for pickup. Yes, it looks and feels rude, BUT your food is sitting back there on the counter and that’s what they ask you to do. I have actually waited in line twice after calling in an order, keeping my food waiting a solid extra 15 – 20 minutes and the woman behind the counter hit my arm – “Come to front!” she berated me. And she’s right. Chip and I normally are craving pieces of home when we go there, which is shameful because there are dozen upon dozens of dishes to try. It’s great to go with friends, grab a table and order family style. It’s affordable, super tasty, and very affordable. Their General Tso’s is the best in town, as are their green beans and eggplant dishes. Their spring rolls are good, but are served with a little container of applesauce; I prefer duck sauce, which they don’t actually offers, but this really doesn’t matter. Every else is so good. Their dumplings are made in house and are an excellent change to the general pre-frozed fare you get at other restaurants. I don’t think I’ve every ordered a dish over $9.95 and the servings are so large that there’s always enough for lunch the next day. If my husband and I order one order of General Tso’s, a vegetable, and an order of dumplings, our bill is well less than $30 and there are always left overs!

I’m already disappointed in this review. Each and everyone of my friends loves Asia Cafe and everyone has a separate favorite dish that I’m definitely going to miss out placing in here. A couple of friends claim Asia Cafe’s spicy fish to be the best they’ve had, as well as excellent garlic pork, baby bok choy, and crispy tofu dishes. Asia Cafe is excellent for both meters and vegetarians.

Sweet potato pancake with a stuffing of black bean curd.

Baby Bok Choy

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Snacks on a Plane

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NOVEMBER OpenSalon Editor’s Pick
And as featured on the front page of Salon.com November


We’re all going to travel soon, all on top of each other and full of holiday cheer, though “cheer” may be the wrong term. Here’s a little something to keep that Hanger (hunger induced anger) at bay while on the road or in the skies.

I love having your elbow jammed unceremoniously into my love handle.

I don’t know you, but I already feel like you’re moving your way to second base, every time you squirm in your seat or take over the corner of my tray table.

I hate you and I hate being stuck on this plane. There’s nothing do to, movies aren’t offered any more, people feel more entitled then ever, and here we are sharing air for hours. The magazines have long lost any allure, and the crossword puzzle in People is pathetic.

That leaves one thing to do:

Eat.

Here Comes the Aeroplane!

I’m a firm believer in treating others the way you would like to be treated. I may be one of the last people on earth that lives that way. It even affects how and what I eat, especially when I travel.

I refuse to be that stinky person. You know the one I mean.

When I get on a plane I generally have celery and carrots on me, maybe a sliced apple. If it’s a particularly long flight I have successfully brought along peanut butter, but I generally do not eat my veggies with any kind of salad dressing as salad dressing can be smelly and I refuse to be that person on a plane.

And of course everything has to include a chaser of an Airborne & Advil cocktail, especially if I’m going to visit my parents.

My favorite Get Through Security & Get On With Your Life snackage that won’t stink up a plane:

‘You Wish You Had My Snack’ trail mix

1/3 chocolate chips (milk or dark)

11/4 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch

1/3 cups Craisins

1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup marshmallows

1/2 cup dried apricots

1 pack of M&M’s (optional)

Melt chocolate chips and pour over 2 cups Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cearal that has been mixed with craisins. Let set, break into pieces, toss with nuts, apricots, marshmallows, and anything else you feel like. Place mix into any size ziplock bag and jam into a purse or carry on. You don’t have to worry about this stuff getting crushed. Go to airport.

Feel Fresh and Less Disgusting Upon Arrival crudités

1/2 cup celery

1/2 cup baby carrots

1 red pepper, sliced

3 string cheese things or Baby Bon Bell Cheeses

1 sliced and cored apple sprinkled lightly with lemon juice.

½ cup Green Olives (rinsed to help odor)

This may be a bit loud to eat, but the protein and fiber will keep you full without causing a sugar rush. Also great for those way over-priced wine pairings as offered by airlines. The lemon juice will add flavor and keep the apple from turning brown and the cheeses are low-smell and a decent replacement for salad dressing. I’ve found this little snack is the one from which I earn the most jealous stares. People seem to use a day of flying as an excuse to eat crap; by the end of it all that’s exactly what they feel like. I break out veggies and they glare at me like I won the lottery and won’t share. And I don’t share.

The sizes on these are all relative and easily changed based on the people eating and what you like.

It’s amazing what foods you can bring on planes. Provided it’s not a liquid or a nail clipper, security allows more through their gates then what people generally believe is okay. The last trip back to Austin I brought 2.5 pounds of different cheeses and a 1 pound link of sopresata, though, as per my refusal to be the smelly person, everything was triple plastic-wrapped and kept that way for the duration of the flight. On a trip a few months prior, I took 6 eggrolls and a couple 3oz. cups of duck sauce (neither of which you can get in Austin… well, not good ones at least) and steamed dumplings without a problem.

Hopefully by sharing that with you I didn’t just jinx anything for my next trip back east.