Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





What I Ate: August 22, 2009 (Texas Roadhouse, Tapioca House, Coco's Cafe)

Posted 22 August, 2009 at 8:16pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Lunch: We went back to Texas Roadhouse for lunch because Tina and I both felt like a nice hearty salad for lunch and didn't know where else to go. Also, we had a $5 off coupon (which is one of the reasons why we went to Texas Roadhouse last night) that we forgot to use last night. I don't think we've even gone to the same place in two consecutive meals before. We went to a different Texas Roadhouse (this time in Southpark Meadows - the most southern part of Austin on I-35), and it also said it was owned by Willie Nelson. One day I'll get to the bottom of this - but not today.
Texas Roadhouse

I ordered the Chicken Critters Salad (Chicken Critters are fried chunks of chicken breast). The breading on the chicken was quite flavorful and went well with the salad. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Lighting was really bad again - we had a red colored lamp hanging over our table as our main source of illumination.
Texas Roadhouse - Chicken Critters Salad

Dinner: After going to the circus, Tina and I joined Peter of Tastingbuds for dinner at two Taiwanese food shops near where we were. Our first stop was Tapioca House (1906 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX‎ - (512) 482-9880‎).
Tapioca House - Exterior

The interior of Tapioca House isn't anything to write home about - slightly old feeling and too warm, it was hard to get comfortable. We ordered our food at the counter - Peter ordered the spicy beef noodle soup while Tina and I chose the bamboo shoots and pork and an order of pot stickers.
Tapioca House - Interior

When the bamboo shoot with pork arrived, we realized that the shop serves all the food in lunch boxes - complete with mung bean sprouts, soy sauce boiled egg (lu dan), and white rice. The dish was tasty but nothing spectacular - certainly worth eating again.
Tapioca House - Bamboo shoot with pork

My potstickers were actually really good. The flavor of the filling was perfect and the skins had just the right amount of chewiness. I couldn't help but eat more. Later I asked if they were store bought dumplings (hoping to get the brand)… of course, I asked if they were made in house (how rude otherwise!) and they told me they were Wei-Chuan brand which didn't surprise me.
Tapioca House - Pot Stickers

Peter's beef noodle soup was surprisingly good. I usually don't like beef noodle soup, but the soup was rich, salty, and spicy while the beef was tender and just slightly chewy. The noodles also picked up a good amount of flavor from the soup. Most of the beef noodle soup I've had in the past has a thin soup and noodles that taste simply of boiled flour and nothing else. Drinking the soup was always the only tasty part. Here the entire bowl was good stuff.
Tapioca House - Beef Noodle Soup

We then went two doors down to Coco's Cafe (1910 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX‎ - (512) 236-9398‎) where we shared a scallion pancake (cong you bing) which was crispy, oily, and amply seasoned with green onions. Delicious.

We also ordered the Sticky Rice which is a column of glutinous rice cooked with pork and shiitake mushrooms. Pork floss (rou song) is sprinkled on top and normally they pour sweet and sour sauce over it. We requested the sweet & sour sauce to be on the side. The glutinous rice had a good consistency - loosely packed so it wasn't too dense and cooked so it was sticky and soft. The seasoning was just right - a lightly salted to bring out the pork flavor without making it overly salty.
Coco’s Cafe - Sticky Rice

3 comments to What I Ate: August 22, 2009 (Texas Roadhouse, Tapioca House, Coco's Cafe)

Anonymous, August 23rd, 2009 at 10:00 am:

  • How do they make that pork floss?

Michael Chu, August 23rd, 2009 at 4:51 pm:

  • Well, I'm sure that Coco's Cafe just buys it from the Asian grocery store, but the manufacturer (or someone at home) would just take pork and boil or braise it until it is falling apart. I think they cook it longer than we normally would because the objective is to get all the gelatin out of the meat and into the liquid. When boiling or braising, we usually just want the collagen to turn into gelatin but stay in the muscle fibers. The meat is then removed and shredded. The shredded meat is then dried (using a dehydrator or an oven), seasoned, and then cooked without oil or liquid until completely dry. What you get is pork floss. This can be done with fish. Not sure about beef and chicken since I've never seen the product.

What I Ate: September 7, 2009 (Coco’s Cafe, Burger King) | Orthogonal Thought, September 7th, 2009 at 9:01 pm:

  • […] Cafe next door to Din Ho which has a good reputation. We didn't know it was the same Coco's Cafe (in a different location) that we ate at a couple weeks […]