As a child I spent a good part of every summer in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. My meemaw used to tell us tales of shooing revenuers off family property so they couldn't find the family still. I never saw a still, but I did see people produce jugs of moonshine once in a while.
We just happened to be visiting Austin in December. It wasn't until we strolled the different downtown districts (6th Street, Warehouse district, Congress, Lamar) that we came to realize we were there during the valley season (as opposed to peak).
I wouldn't go as far to say that they all but rolled up the sidewalks, but it was a bit lonely at times. As lonely as one can be when spending time with your large, extended family. My point is we didn't get the full Austin experience of their entertainment district because the week between Christmas and New Years is a very popular time for the residents to vacate elsewhere.
Being one of the few tourists enjoying the warm weather (the Texans thought we were crazy to be excited about 50 degrees) made it easy to get dinner reservations anywhere we wanted. Upon the recommendation of my happy Texan friend Stiletto Mom we found our dinner spot for the night. Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill on Red River Street is housed in a building that is part of the historical Waterloo Compound, one of Austin's oldest groupings of commercial buildings.
The patio looked like a perfect outdoor spot, enclosed, with festive lights and firelplaces. Unfortunately they weren't seating outside that day (probably to avoid staff rebellion against cold working conditions). So our next idea was to check out the bar as we had read about several concoctions they are known for.
Inside the lighting was just right and and the rough light limestone walls were a great contrast to the gleaming wood bar. We got started right away with a Cucumber Cosmo Martini ($7) and Harvest Moon Tea ($7), some of the house specialties. That Harvest Moon Tea was a stealth glass of goodness. The kind that could divest you of your panties if you weren't careful (and you wouldn't even know it). Very sneaky indeed!
Tres amigos enjoying the scene
We were hitting our stride when they led us back to an interior room to be seated. We were all hungry so we got right down to business. We got the party started with Beer Battered Asparagus with Buttermilk Ranch and some calamari. I returned from a quick time away from the table to find the tasty treats to be eaten beyond the photo op stage so you'll have to take my word for it, it was good.
The staff was freindly and competant, easily picking up our cues on speed of service. We were a decisive bunch that night and they kept things moving without rushing us. A good time was had by all evidenced by the fact we actually managed to all complete our meal and cash out without anyone straying from the table.
Jalapeno Hanger Steak with Scallion Butter
We dug into our entrees and we all agreed that mine was an taste bud delighting Extravaganza. I love a well balanced looking meal, cooked perfectly by someone other than me. The smaller servings of veggies that accompanied everyone's meal just fulfilled that desire for variety, to keep things from getting boring.
Horseradish Crusted Salmon was very tasty
A big hit with our crowd that night was the Moonshine Macaroni & Cheese. This dish was one hot mess of creamy goodness. My daughter was delighted with her plain kid style bowl while the rest of us got the full monty with the jazzed up edition that included some green spicy goodies mixed in. It was quite unique, maybe the secret ingredient has something to do with the moonshine?
White Chocolate Bread Pudding with raisins, pecans & Bourbon Sauce
Par for the course, a fight just about broke out seeing who could be the quick draw on the dessert. They didn't listen when I recommended we order a Skillet Apple Pie or the Fudge Stout Brownie with Chocolate Malt Ball Ice Cream also. We came out of there with one chipped finger nail so I can't complain.
Next time we are in Austin we are going to be returning to Moonshine, especially to enjoy the patio. I've since read that the brunch there is outstanding starting out with $3.50 Mimosas and Bloody Mary's. Not to mention all the other menu items we didn't have a chance to try.
By the way you're going to be brave enough to try the moonshine. It will remain a mystery if we made good on the threat to sneak back in to the bar and try a shot of their White Lightening spiked with peach.