The Byte of Texas conference kicked off with a complimentary happy hour at Snack Bar. I’ve eaten here a couple of times over the years (love the mac and cheese!), but this was the widest variety of foods I’ve tried here and the most insight I’ve gotten about the history of the restaurant.
To give a snapshot of the history we learned, this building was originally the motel diner (El Sol y La Luna) for the Austin Motel next door.
The owners of Snack Bar, Bethany Andrée and Karl Gilkey, opened the current restaurant about five years ago when El Sol y La Luna moved to 6th street. They are lovely people and incredibly passionate about what they do and about doing it well. If you’re into Austin history and would like to hear more of their story, check out the food tour that Bethany leads (I think it was part of the Austin Eats food tour). She tells wonderful stories and I now want to check out one of her food tours.
First, the pâté. I’ll confess I was reluctant to try this one, but was glad I gave myself the push to do it. My first experience with pâté was with my host family while studying abroad during college, resulting in their describing the process of making pâté to me in Spanish in order to tell me what the food was since the word pâté meant nothing to me in English. In turn, the result of that is that I’m normally not a fan of pâté since I have a hard time disassociating the process with the food. This one, however, I liked very much. It had an especially smooth texture and subtle flavor that made me forget what turns me off of pâté while I was eating it.
Next, the black bean dip was delicious. I like to eat leftover refried black beans at home with chips, and this reminded me of doing that (only their chips are much tastier than mine at home, and they also add sliced veggies for a refreshing touch).
I’ve liked Brussels sprouts before, but this was the first time I could say I love Brussels sprouts. These were awesome, one of my favorite dishes of the night. They had a deliciously crunchy texture on the outer layers and the sauce was just amazing with them. This dish now ties with their mac and cheese for my favorite.
Next was a falafel board. Yum! The falafel had a good consistency and flavor (not dry or crumbly at all), and I loved the flavor the greens and pickled onions added.
And during all of this, we also had the opportunity to try the My Paloma cocktail, the rosé wine, and a basil saké cocktail that I don’t see on their menu. All three are awesome, and now I want to try their other saké and wine cocktails, especially the ones that use rosemary.
I’m looking forward to my next visit to Snack Bar (soon, I hope). Thank you, Snack Bar and AFBA, for a wonderful kick off to Byte of Texas!