A Standard Birthday

A Standard Birthday

Well, maybe it wasn't so 'standard' after all.  

Just Central Standard.

For months, I had anticipated the opening of the new restaurant inside the South Congress Hotel here in Austin. Watching, waiting, passing it on beautiful Saturday afternoons - curious if we would love the food as much as I loved the brass fixtures and shimmering bar decor.  I'm so glad I was right. I loved it. 

I turned 32 this year. In the years prior, I have felt loved and honored, sometimes sad and lonely, other times really inebriated, and some years just plain happy.  This year, I felt grateful - more grateful than I think I've ever felt before. Even with the gorgeous atmosphere surrounding us at dinner and the delicious glass of bubbly rosé, I looked upon my husband's face and reflected on the last year -  fun travel adventures, crazy ups and downs with work, new friends, old friends, closer relationships with family, another/better year with the man I love. 

Wagyu Tartar, with egg yolk, capers, grain mustard, and French pickles.   Since my photos were a little dark from the minimal lighting, I "borrowed" some from Central Standard's Instagram. 

Wagyu Tartar, with egg yolk, capers, grain mustard, and French pickles.  Since my photos were a little dark from the minimal lighting, I "borrowed" some from Central Standard's Instagram. 

And with that said,  we ordered an amazing meal. Starting with the Wagyu Tartar (holy whoa), a dozen oysters on the half-shell, and the Roasted Bone Marrow (tasty, but not our fave) - we headed into a tantalizing feast.  Taking our time to get through appetizers and deciding to share the rest of our meal instead of ordering separate dishes, we switched to Old Fashioneds from vino and played the game "What's their story?" with the hipsters we shared the outdoor dining area with. When our swordfish skewers arrived, we were blown away (I think they have switched these on the menu to Grilled Mahi Mahi now - which I'm sure are equally as delish).  We finished our meal with espresso and the "Coffee & Donuts" dessert - which is just as visually enticing as it is flavorful.  When the dish arrived, our noses followed the aromatic scent of cinnamon and sugar from the donuts and we got excited when we saw the tonka bean cocoa nib ice cream on the side.... THEN the waitress poured the espresso OVER the ice cream and we watched it bubble and fizz as it melted and frothed right before eyes. I was entranced. 

We sipped and nibbled slowly and took in the warm spring air and listened to the the buzz of South Congress passersby, the clanking of glasses, and the occasional engine roar from one of the classic vehicles driving passed (it was Lone Star Roundup weekend).  We were super pleased with our experience for dinner - and now I have my heart set on my next visit there with girlfriends at happy hour.  Nicely done.