Without really intending to attend Austin Restaurant Week last week, S and I opted for an early dinner at Annie’s Cafe and Bar, a downtown cafe that S frequents for lunch (do we get a lame-citizens discount for starting Date Night at 5:45 pm?). The restaurant is beautiful, with a bright interior, giant mirrored bar, and tall ceilings – a lovely respite from the cold, dark rain we walked through to get there. As we were *a little* early for the dinner crowd, we were given a choice of tables and ended up at booth in the back corner. It was a little bright when we arrived, but the closer it got to 6:30 or so, the lights dimmed and candles were distributed, providing a surprisingly romantical setting.
Two menus lay before us: the Late Night & Bar Menu, and, to our delight, the prix-fixe ARW menu – three courses and a glass of wine for $25/$35 (depending on entree). ARW Menu, obvi.
We ordered the mussels and corn soup as appetizers. While I find mussels slimy and creepy, S loved slurping them and their apparently tasty juices from their shells. I tried not to watch and just enjoy my corn soup, which was sweet, but not too sweet, and delicious. I wish I could remember the house white wine that we got. It was nothing we had ever heard of, but it was very good.
While waiting for our main courses, I devoured the little rectangles of spongy, herb bread like I hadn’t eaten in three days. Had everything else not been tasty, I would still go back, just for the bread.
Our main dishes came: iron seared halibut for S and breast of young chicken for me. The chicken was moist, and the surrounding veggies were perfectly cooked. Although I don’t remember him just raving about it, S cleaned his plate and patted his belly – a good sign.
My dessert, a frozen pistachio parfait with burnt honey caramel, was flavorful but not worth the calories. S got the chocolate sea salt tart (layers of salty sweet chocolate and caramel in a square shell), which was amazing and totally worth the calories. However, we were good girls and boys and only ate half.
After a quick visit with an old UT professor of mine who I spotted over at the bar, we headed back out into the rain, full and happy, and umbrella-ed ourselves over to the Four Seasons lounge for after dinner cocktails. Doesn’t get more perfect than that :).