Blue Dahlia Bistro

1115 E 11th St. Austin, TX 78702(512) 542-9542 •


Just down the street from the painfully long line at Franklin’s Barbecue you’ll find a place that looks like it belongs in Berkley, CA with its granola vibe and granola-hipster patrons. Cozy, earthy, wood elements cover just about every surface with a large communal table in the middle, a la an LPQ (Le Pain Quotidien).

Unfortunately the food isn’t as good as an LPQ, which is disheartening that it can’t even best a global chain (granted a very good global chain), but Blue Dahlia isn’t a all-out miss per se, it just barely passes mustard. Speaking of which, the special frittata could’ve used some. Or habanero sauce, which is what I used to bring the gorgonzola, spinach, onion and peppers back from the dead. But even that wasn’t enough to mask the bad toast and lame salad they tried to pawn off with it.

The smoked salmon platter was also just okay, but I find it hard to fault a place in Texas for its lox when I’m coming from New York- #lowexpectations.

And the pomegranate lemonade, while also “just okay,” was not so okay because it was the compromise I was forced to make because they don’t have fresh squeezed juice. Not even the pseudo-fresh kind! We’re talking Tropicana! What kind of self-respecting, granola, Berkley-wannabe doesn’t have fresh juice?! I’ll tell you… The kind that’s “just okay.”

2 teeth


75 E Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60601(312)


In Chicago there are two epicurean musts, deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. Now I’m not exactly sure why, but for whatever reasons, Chicago is the only place in the world that seems to eat these two mainstream dishes differently than everybody else, and they are hell-bent on keeping it that way. Sort of like how the United States is the only hold out to adopt the metric system.

So, when in Rome (technically Sicily)… or Chicago, if you want to do as the locals, I recommend choosing Bacino’s for your authentic deep-dish experience versus the more touristy Giordano’s. It’s probably a good two inches thick, loaded with cheese and whatever other ingredients you fancy. For me, when I lived there, the go-to was the veggie with hot giardiniera, yet another very Chicago-centric concoction. It’s basically a spicy chopped up, marinated mixture of jalapeños, carrots, celery, onions, red peppers and cauliflower. It packs just enough heat to keep things interesting amidst all of that cheese sticking to your ribs. Which is a plus in terms of wintertime insulation if you think about it. But my suggestion is that you not think too much about it and just enjoy… unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case you might want to at least think about taking a pill first.

3 teeth