Tag Archives: chicken fried steak

SOUTH BY SOUTH AUSTIN: Chicken fried steak & traditional country music @ Broken Spoke

Speaking of OG funky joints in Austin, the Broken Spoke is one of the original honky tonks in town, throwing it down since 1964 on a stretch of South Lamar that’s now completely surrounded by condos. They do have a dance hall in the back, but from 6 to 8 pm, they’re playing live music with no cover at the front bar, which is right when we moseyed on in.

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One thing you won’t find here is a lotta craft beer — their beer list is very heavy on the macrobrews. But I did find me this Hopadillo IPA, a nice dry-hopped brew checking in at an evil 6.6%.

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When it comes to food, the main attraction here is the chicken fried steak. Meat is nice n tender, with a crispy breading and a good white gravy. Served with thick, crispy fries and one lonely dinner roll, it’s a pretty good deal for 15 bucks, bro!

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On this evening, a feller named Ian Stewart was kicking it old school with some traditional country tunes going back to “Blue Yodel #8” by Jimmie Rodgers, “Walking the Floor” by Ernest Tubb, the George Jones version of “Tennessee Whiskey” and even “Lovesick Blues” by Hank. Let’s just say he did NOT take my request for “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” 😦

French food meets deep-fried diner classics @ Le Swan

Now, I dunno if they actually have diners in France. I mean, they’re all about the discotheque and the bibliothèque over there, with maybe a baguette or two for déjeuner. But when I heard about Le Swan, this funky joint on Queen West that calls itself a French diner, you KNOW I had to come check it out! And with half the menu in French and the other half in American, I was soooo down for this culinary exchange in Flavourtown!!!

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So, we’re starting off with a culinary classic from across the pond: French onion soup. Only, they do theirs a little bit different — instead of croutons, they bake the cheese onto three crispy baguettes, which are hard ‘n crusty at first, but get softer after you dump ’em in the soup. So it might not be what you’d find at, say, Le Sélect Bistro, but it’s still pretty tasty!

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But now it’s time for the main event — real-deal, southern-style chicken fried steak. Dude, I think the last time I had this dish was in Seattle, at a dingy dive that was even darker than Le Swan…which means I didn’t take any pictures. But the flavours here were definitely on point. Nice, crispy breading, with a bit of a peppery kick, on top of a bed of mashed potatoes and a gravy that really brings everything together. Now, if only they’d put, like, some raclette on top, that would really take it to the next level…

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Speaking of next-level, their rum chocolate malt really kicks things up a notch! This boozy Fudgesicle in Flavourtown takes the rich, chocolatey goodness of an old-school diner shake, and adds a nice kick of rum. This ain’t your grandmama’s milkshake, son!!!!