Saturday, May 27, 2017

Micklethwait -- Austin, TX

Wednesday I dropped by Micklethwait in Austin for lunch before catching my plane back to the Bay Area. Am I glad that I did! I got the two-meat platter with brisket, pork spare ribs, jalapeno cheese grits and lemon slaw. The pork was nothing special and so was, for that matter, the barbecue sauce. What made this lunch was the brisket, which was as juicy and chunky a slab of meat as I've ever had. Yes, it's well marbled, but the experience was worth the fattiness. The grits tasted a lot like polenta but a little mushier and with a pleasant amount of bite from the jalapeno.

The majority of those ordering ahead of me got a Big Red soda. I'd never heard of it before but felt compelled to try one. I inquired with those eating at the same picnic table (at Micklethwait, you order at a trailer, then eat at one of several picnic tables under a tent) and found that Big Red is a Texas classic, bottled in San Antonio. It's sweet and tastes like bubble gum.

I got to the trailer at about 11:10 am and waited ten minutes to order and food was ready about five minutes after that. The line gets long, though, at about 11:30. The beef short ribs looked delicious, but to get them you need to order a pound and a quarter at once. They don't come with sandwiches or platters.

I walked to Micklethwait from the Austin Convention Center in 20 minutes with a backpack, a rollerbag and arthritis in both knees. So, even if you're in the downtown area and you're craving great barbecue, you don't have an excuse to not try Micklethwait!

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Seapot--San Mateo, CA

I'm slobbering as I write this review of Seapot, and that doesn't happen often. I'm thinking especially of the endless, steady stream of meat that came to our table by wait staff and the conveyor belt delivering bounties of shrimp, fish, veggies and other raw ingredients for a tasty hot pot. I don't recall being so, well, excited about lunch. And, why shouldn't anyone? For a $17 during a weekday lunch, you can have all the meat and veggies your belly can handle with, in my case, a "creamy milk" broth to cook it in. For all the meat they slice up for you, my favorite ingredient of all, in fact, was Spam (or its equivalent). Please take note of the following:

  • Although there are six soups to choose from to cook your items, you have to stick with one type for the entire meal. Your server will re-fill your pot when you want him to.
  • Chicken, pork, lamb and beef will be delivered to your table; if you want seafood you'll grab it from the conveyor belt.
  • You make your own sauce at the sauce bar.
  • For us, at any rate, the 90-minute limit was enforced.
Not done with mirrors: The conveyor belt really is this long.

Don't go to Seapot for the desserts. You'll be disappointed. There were, maybe, two or three different small cakes you could get and none of them were memorable.

Also, if you can swing it, go here for lunch on a weekday. Otherwise, you'll pay a $12 premium (that's more than 70%) for the same experience. At any rate, it's called "lunch", but for me it was my only meal of the day, if you know what I mean.

The service was attentive, but it could have been because our lunch was on the late side and the customer to server ratio was dwindling. Understood from the get-go was the 90-minute time limit and, indeed, at that point we received the check as our cue.