Fan Mail Question From HOB friend Laurie R-K.

My question to the House of Been is where do you go in Austin for a nice dinner at a GOOD restaurant, not a sh!%ty chain or a mediocre kitschy place where they will trade on hip waitresses and tricky wines named for cute reptiles… But a place with intelligent helpful staff, where you can get a nice glass of wine and an interesting fresh meal in a comfortable atmosphere?

If I had to compiled a list of examples they would be

Vespaio Enoteca
Chez Nous
Mandolas (for the food BUT it is WAY too crowded to just go have a nice dinner in quiet)
Mars (but a lil $$)

BUT I want MORE!!!

This is my question for the House of BEEN! Can you please help me? L

P.S. no  thai, vietnamese texmex or BBQ please… Got that covered!

Great Question L!

Some of our favorites would be:

Real. Italian. Food. We’ve enjoyed hand made pastas and delicious lamb and perfect polenta here. The atmosphere is elegant and the staff was knowledgeable, friendly and very professional. A great experience. The bar while small is a great place to have a drink before your meal. We’ve also seen couples split a pizza and couple glasses of wine at the bar too. We’re going to do that soon!

Mikado Ryotei
While the overall Sushi experience might be a little better at Musashino, Mikado has the atmosphere. Moderen and slick with lower, dare I say, romantic lighting. The staff is attentive and always has great suggestions. Sushi not your thing? No problem. While the Sushi is creative and delicious they also specialize if wonderful grilled items. The Oak Grilled Prawns are fantastic!

Vin Bistro (soon to be VIN Midtown Restaurant & Lounge)

The dishes we’ve had here, very good and the deals on and selection of wine also very good. Beth loved the Southern Fried Chicken with a gourmet spin and the Lamb Shank in Jus was near perfect. All menu items are pared with a suggested wine or the very knowable server can offer a suggestion too.  Wednesdays offered 1/2 price wine by the glass. Atmosphere was a little lacking. However, that looks like it could change. Vin is currently being remodeled and re-imagined. Let’s hope it is for the better.


House of Been


Julia Was a Spy!

Not only was Julia Child a hero to so many aspiring cooks and chefs, she is a national war hero too. Turns out Julia was a member of the OSS, a precursor of the CIA.

See the full article here.

Adventure and Wine! A trip report from HOB friend Christina Cagle

Our dear friend Christina, who is often an adventure partner of the Beens, took a road trip to Ontario. She tasted some wine, took some pics and was kind enough to provide a report. Check it out in it entirety at House of Been, Wining section.

For The Love Of More Than One Grape

Yes, we in the new world are dedicated to our single varitals. If we do not see the name of the grape on the label, up goes the nose and on go our eyes to the next shelf. This, friends, is a bit of a tragedy. There are many fine blended wines out there. Take for instant the 2004 St. Francis Red. A blend of 60% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cab Franc and 4% Zinfandel. All grown in Sonoma county. Not only is the wine a steal at around $15 (if you can find it) but it is delicious, juicy and balanced nicely. It is one of my favorites, especially at the price. I find it pairs well with Pork and even Salmon. This is just one example though. There are plenty of others out there for you to enjoy. Just go ask your trusted wine merchant and you will be pointed to plenty of good wines. Oh and guess what? You might just spend less money. Blended wines are often cheaper, simply because they are less popular. This does not mean it is not a quality wine.

If you would like to check out another opinion on this subject, check out Vinography‘s post on the subject. Messages in a Bottle: Ode to the Blended Wine

Been Neglecting Wine and Adventure ….

…… So let’s change that!

My wife, Beth, aka the Scarlot Harlot aka the Redhead with the Bedhead writes us a report on the search for a giant Hot Dog or a least a guy in a giant Hot Dog suit!

Check out the full Report here!

Porchetta for Hooligans

Traveling Bistro (my company) sponsored the Heartbreak Hooligans tailgate party at last weeks Texas Rollergirls roller derby bout. Good times!

Porcheta is an Italian food sold at festivals and street corners. So I thought this would be a great opportunity to roast up this porky treat. Porchetta is often a whole pig stuffed with sausage, fennel, onions and garlic. I have used just the pork loin in this application.


5  Sweet onion (like 1015 or  Vidalia)

10 Garlic cloves sliced thin

1 Fennel bulb diced small (reserve the fonds)

Mild Italian Sausage, removed from casings

5 Eggs

Pork loin  4-5 lbs

Salt and Pepper

1 qt chicken stock

Return the loin the the fridge or cooler.

Dice two onions. Place the diced onion and fennel in a large saute pan and saute until golden brown. Add about half of the garlic to the pan. Saute for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the sausage. Fully cook. Allow this sausage mixture to full cool in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425.

Once sausage mixture is fully cooled, add the eggs and fennel fronds and mix thoroughly. Butterfly the loin. You should have a flat piece about 8″x 15″. If you have a nice butcher he may do this for you. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the spread out loin. Roll the loin up like a jelly roll. Salt and pepper the loin on all sides. Tie the rolled loin in several places with butchers twine. Halve the remaining onions. Place halved onions in roasting pan and place the loin on top of the onions. Roast in the preheated oven for 70 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Once the Porchetta is done remove from pan and place on cutting board. Cover with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes while the gravy is prepared.

Place the roasting pan on the the stove top with medium high heat. Leaving the onions and the juices in the pan add the remaining garlic. Saute until the garlic is soft. Add the chicken stock. Be sure to scrape the brown bits up off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Strain the gravy through a fine sieve.

Slice the loin and serve on rolls or crusty bread for tailgates or slice the loin and serve on plates with sides for a more formal affair.

Hooray for Red Wine … or a least a compound in Red Wine!

Yet again it is found that elements of red wine are beneficial. This time it may help protect against aging.

Read the Washington Post article here.