Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chill Out at Walton's Fancy & Staple with Dolce Neve Gelato Sandwiches & Iced Coffee

Chill Out at Walton’s Fancy & Staple:
West 6th Gem to Serve Handcrafted Dolce Neve Gelato Sandwiches &
Infused Iced Coffee

Chill out this August with iced coffees and ice cream sandwiches at Walton’s Fancy and Staple, the city’s go-to spot for baked goods, catered offerings, and dine-in and take-out meals. Walton’s culinary director Justin “Raif” Raiford is the mastermind behind these cool ideas—what better way to beat the summer heat—which pairs hand-crafted drinks with homemade treats featuring true Italian gelato made locally from the folks at Dolce Neve.

Raif thought of doing ice cream sandwiches after seeing someone receive a box of hot cookies on a 100-degree day. Once he sampled some of the amazing made-from-scratch flavors at Dolce Neve, a tiny gelato spot along S. 1st that opened last winter, the self-proclaimed ice cream lover knew he had the perfect match. It all starts with Walton’s signature cookies, which are made fresh every day with real butter, pure vanilla, fresh and crystallized ginger, and brown sugar (no shortening on this list). Next add the gelato, which is made from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, organic fresh milk from a local dairy, and absolutely no artificial flavorings, preservatives, or thickeners. The freezing technique at Dolce Neve—owned by three native Italians—takes a little longer than an industrial method but the finished product is creamier and simply tastes better.

For the filling for the sandwiches, Raif selected vanilla and goat cheese gelato, which proved to be smart flavor complements to the assortment of cookies that make up the menu: chocolate chunk cookies with vanilla gelato, ginger cookies with goat cheese, peanut butter cookies with goat cheese, and salty oat cookies with either vanilla or goat cheese. Diners can expect several surprise rotating flavors to be mixed in throughout the month, as well. The ice cream sandwiches come in small rounds ($4.50) or giant rounds ($9.50) and will be featured at Walton’s throughout the month of August.

Wash everything down with a specialty iced coffee (or a hot one if you dare) that is bursting with deliciousness because of the infused house-made syrups. “I steep flavoring into simple syrup and let the flavors bloom,” said Raif. He’s been experimenting with ingredients and combinations, including a vanilla syrup that has bourbon and Mexican vanilla, a toasted hazelnut, a salted caramel with sea salt for balance, a raspberry, and a simple coconut syrup that mixes well with a little chocolate syrup. Another creation not to be missed is the Walton’s Toddy, made with frozen ultra purified water and a special roast of Cuvee coffee; prepared with a dripping process that takes anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, this intricate caffeinated beverage will both delight and rejuvenate. Drinks run from $4.50 to $5.50 and will be incorporated into the permanent menu.

A throwback to an old general store but with just enough of a modern touch, Walton’s is the ideal spot to linger over a blue plate special, pick up a gift for a friend, or take home fresh flowers.

Get away from the rising temps, savor the moment, and cool your heels.

Walton’s Fancy & Staple is located at 609 W. Sixth Street, Austin, TX 78701. For hours, catering assistance, and more information, call 512-542-3380 or go to

Follow Walton’s Fancy & Staple on Social Media:

Twitter: @WaltonsAustin
Instagram: @WaltonsAustin

Follow Dolce Neve on Social Media:

Twitter: @DolceNeve
Instagram: @DolceNeveGelato

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dock & Roll Diner Releases New Summer Menu, Represents Texas in 2014 Lobster Rumble

Dock & Roll Diner Releases New Summer Menu, 
Represents the Lone Star State in Tasting Table's 2014 Lobster Rumble

At Dock & Roll Diner, the city’s go-to food truck for ultra-fresh seafood, everything starts with the finest ingredients. So when chef-owner Lee Krassner recently began working with a new purveyor, he wanted to build on his already wildly popular offerings and added four new menu items just in time for summer.

The new menu items include the Maine Jonah Crab Roll (Maine Jonah crab leg meat lightly dressed in Dock & Roll’s secret house dressing with Romaine, lemon butter, and chive), the Maine Scallop Roll (seared Maine scallops with scallion and lemon butter), Sea Slaw (Ocean Approved fresh seaweed, shredded greens, red cabbage, and carrot with chive and secret house dressing), and the Lobster Peaux Boy (panko-crusted Maine lobster claws with Mardi-slaw—shredded greens, red cabbage, carrot, and grilled corn—and r√©moulade √† la New Orleans). “We wanted to showcase the quality of our new products,” said Krassner, who founded Dock & Roll nearly three years ago after working in restaurants in New York and San Francisco, including Todd English’s Olives, Commerce, and Public.

Krassner and his team recently traveled back east to participate in Tasting Table’s 2014 Lobster Rumble in New York. Tasting Table named Dock & Roll Diner one of the country’s best venues for lobster rolls and invited Krassner to compete against the other top picks. The sole entry from Texas, Dock & Roll served its signature dish, the Maine Event, a classic Maine-style lobster roll with Maine lobster claw and knuckle meat served chilled and lightly drizzled with the secret house dressing, lemon, butter, and chive. Krassner also served a variation of the Austin Roll with its award-winning habanero sauce, the Truth. Although Dock & Roll didn’t win, the Austin venture did do a fine job of representing the Lone Star State. “It was a wonderful experience getting to showcase what we do,” said Krassner. “The competition was stiff, but we certainly held our own. We feel we made Austin proud and are looking forward to heading to the West Coast for the LA Lobster Rumble on August 1.”

Not only did Krassner go up against restaurants he remembers frequenting in Maine and New York, including places such as Luke’s Lobster that contributed to the early beginnings of the lobster roll craze, but he also forged a relationship with Ready Seafood, a family-owned lobster wholesaler based in Portland, Maine. “Their product and the quality they take to ensure their customers receive the freshest, best Maine lobster is what really drew us in,” said Krassner. “They took us out on their lobster boat to show us exactly where their product comes from . . . proving they not only talk the talk but walk it too.” Business partner Daniel Dennis, who spends a majority of his time working directly with patrons, is also excited about the partnership with Ready Seafood and is looking forward to getting consumer feedback on the premium lobster and other offerings and meeting new customers.

Dock & Roll Diner features top-of-the-line seafood mixed with a little Texas flair and a lot of Austin weird.

Two permanent trailer locations are at 1503 S. 1st and 1905 S. Capitol of Texas Highway, and a new truck is on the streets and ready for catering and events. Dock & Roll hopes to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant by the end of the year. For hours and more information, go to