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Austin Eats, Saturday: East Side Show Room

September 7, 2009

Saturday night we met some friends at the Shuck Shack for a few games of bocce ball and washers. We didn’t eat here; I’ve tried it before, and unless I’m really in the mood for fried, fried, fried food, I’ll probably opt to eat elsewhere. I ordered a margarita on the rocks, which was so sour that my face puckered when I tasted it. I actually sent it back (I rarely send things back), and the next version was better, if a bit weak. Anyway, the bocce ball was fun.

Afterward, we stopped by Shangri-La to check things out. I’ve heard great things about this place, and I can see why people love it. There’s a huge patio out back and a couple of pool tables inside. When we arrived, it wasn’t too full, but people were smoking on the patio and the indoor bar reeked of pine sol. So we opted to duck out and go across the street to East Side Show Room.

Aaaaah, East Side Show Room. This place really has it figured out. The aesthetic is pretty  much my dream style, which I’ve written about before. When I’m there, I feel like Amelie, like it’s 1940’s France, like I’m in another time, another place, another mood. I wish I had brought my camera, but alas, it was at home.

This time we arrived late in the evening, and the music was pumping, people were scattered around the adorable tables chatting and enjoying drinks, and the place just had that perfect Saturday night lounge vibe. We snagged a corner couch and drank far too many cocktails, because they were just so darned good. (We also used the Shazam app on our iPhones throughout the night to snag song names from their fabulous playlist, which ranged from vintage Bollywood to Rosemary Clooney to The Walkmen.)

Adam Bryan, the barkeep and fabulous mixologist, was kind enough to make some off-the-menu drinks for us, and we loved EVERY SINGLE ONE. We tried the Pink Pony (gin, aperol, grapefruit, cucumber), the Rhum Punch (eight year Barbancourt Rum, Creole Shrubb Liqueur and freshly grated nutmeg – which I adored), the New Chrysanthemum (Lillet Blanc, Strega, St. George Absinthe), a Martinez, a Manhattan, and a Last Word. Such delicious cocktails, and lovely explanations from Adam himself.

Late in the evening, I needed a snack. I decided on the Shrimp Dumpling Soup, the daily special. Oh, but it was wonderful. The broth was full-flavored, perhaps made with roasted shrimp shells or other such goodness that infused it with a meaty, but shrimp-filled flavor. There was a tiny strip of bacon in there, reminiscent of peppercorn beef jerky, tiny leaves of peppery arugula, and the most perfect shrimp dumpling ever. I drank every last drop of that broth.

We also wanted a little something sweet, so we decided on the dessert special – Peach Tart with Basil Ice Cream. So simple, but amazingly good. The tart crust was fantastic, and the ice cream was just bursting with basil flavor (I expected it to be green because it was so basil-y, but it was white – not sure how they did that).

So yes, I adore East Side Show Room, and I’m anxious to get back. Oh, Austin, you make it so difficult for me to eat at home! :)

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3 Discussion to this post
  1. Sandy says:

    They probably infused hot cream with whole basil leaves and let it steep awhile, then strained them out before continuing with the ice cream base (I used to make fresh mint ice cream and lavender ice cream in a similar way, and they turned out white too). I must admit this is a singular idea, though – sweet basil indeed.

  2. Found your blog through TollyM’s FF on Twitter, and am absolutely in love with it! Love your believable style of writing with the things you didn’t like in there along with the raves!

  3. Crystal says:

    Thanks, Pink! So glad you found my little haven. :)

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