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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jack Allen's Kitchen in Austin - A Texas experience...

Today for Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads, I'm going to talk about an Austin area restaurant that we love, Jack Allen's Kitchen.  Some of the best food that you can get in the Austin area and, believe me, that is saying something.  I've given you the link, so click over and see what you can see.

I've got a few pictures of the Jack Allen's that is 'our' location - there are 3 in our area.  I've got a bit about my favorite thing to order - The Country Club Chicken Salad.  I've got a bit about the cookbook that came out last October - Jack Allen's Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas.  And I'll share a quote from the cookbook telling a bit about Jack Gilmore himself.

Jack Allen's Kitchen is owned and operated by Jack Gilmore and Tom Kamm.  They serve fresh, locally sourced foods that are delicious and a melding of Southern, southwestern and uniquely Texas tastes.  Here's the Round Rock location that we often visit:



If you've not ever visited Central Texas and the Austin area, life is pretty laid back here.  You'll find very little formality in dress or speech.  We're all about keeping it easy.




So, you can wear your shorts and your tennis shoes or flip-flops, and you don't have to take off your hat (especially if you have 'hat hair').  You can order a big glass of iced tea and settle in for some great food.  And, yes, I will admit that I drink unsweetened tea and most of our restaurants serve it that way all the time.  Some do still ask if you want it sweet or unsweetened.  I may have grown up on sweet tea, but those days are long gone.  

My favorite thing to order is the Country Club Chicken Salad.  It's just really, really good.  Here's a little look at what you get.  This is a picture from the cookbook. 




This salad starts with fresh greens and then they add some really yummy ingredients.  There some achiote grilled chicken breast and some blue cheese.  There are some sliced pears and some dried figs.  There are some spiced walnuts (which have brown sugar, cayenne pepper and sesame oil in their recipe) and it's dressed with a lovely champagne vinaigrette.  The recipe for the vinaigrette contains shallots, champagne vinegar, kosher salt, white pepper, fresh basil, and olive oil.  It is amazingly good.  I love this salad.  I have the recipe from the cookbook, but honestly, I know I'd never be able to duplicate it.




Jack Gilmore was a local chef that had worked at a bunch of different locations in our area.  He spent 20 years at the Z Tejas restaurants, which are also local, but have now branched out to Arizona and California.  In 2009, Mr. Gilmore opened Jack Allen's Kitchen with his partner Tom Kamm.  Here's a little bit from his cookbook about his story:

On Saturday mornings, you'll find me at the farmers market.  Actually, I get to a few of them throughout town.  Most open at 9 a.m., and I'm usually standing right at the entrance by 8:45.  At opening time, I move through the tents as if it were a timed competition.  In some ways, it is.  I'm not the only chef in Austin who likes to get an early jump on the best picks of the weekend.  Plus, if you don't get there early enough, you have to compete with the general public, who are also hoping to find great ingredients.

Jack's cookbook contains lots of recipes, divided among the seasons.  He also highlights many of the farms and businesses where he acquires his food.  The cookbook is as much a story of his life and food and restaurant philosophy as about cooking.  It also has some wonderful pictures.

So, if you ever get to Austin, get yourself to a Jack Allen's Kitchen and sample some wonderful, fresh, locally sourced food.  You enjoy it - I promise!

38 comments:

  1. That salad looks delicious. There is definitely nothing better than fresh, local foods!

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    1. It is a very tasty salad. I'd like to have one for dinner. LOL

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  2. Wow what a great post. That salad looks awesome. Jack Allen sounds like my kind of guy: I'm a strong believer in fresh and local.

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    1. Thanks! It is a good salad and their other food is just as tasty.

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  3. Good local food... Served in a people-friendly environment.... Sounds great...

    Enjoy!!!

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  4. Oh that looks fun! I've never been to Texas though my husband goes a lot for work (he's not particularly fond of Houston) and Austin is on my list of places to visit. Jack Allen's is now on my list of places to visit and this cookbook looks like one I'd enjoy! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I don't blame him about Houston. It's not horrible, but big, big, big. If you ever get to Austin, let me know. We'll go to Jack Allen's. :-)

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  5. That salad looks delicious!

    I get a kick out of spotting chef's at the Farmers Markets -- you do have to get there early, for that!

    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Joy! I don't go to the farmer's market as often as I should. I'll have to be on the lookout for the chefs.

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  6. Wow, my mouth is watering. I love chicken salads! I'll have to tell my husband about Jack Allen's, as he visits Austin for business sometimes.

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    1. Oh, yes, if he comes here, there are 3 locations. One should somewhere around wherever he is.

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  7. Time to visit my Texas friends and family so I can try this restaurant. I might wait until it dries out a bit though, after the recent flooding.

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    1. We're drying up nicely. It was a little too much, but honestly, we needed the rain so badly. Our lakes are in good shape for the first time in a long time.

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  8. I would love to visit Texas one day. That salad looks amazing and from all the other fun things you described, I would like to eat at that restaurant.

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    1. Tina, you are most welcome to come on down! LOL

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  9. Well, if I'm ever in the area..........unlikely, but still, you never know. I've been at our farmer's market in Hilo when it's just getting light, and seen a few local chefs grabbing the good produce.

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    1. Claudia, did I ever mention that my husband's grandparents lived in Hilo for number of years. It was in the '70's I guess or maybe the late '60's.

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  10. I have never heard of this place. I think I will suggest it for our work birthday lunch next time. The menu looks wonderful.

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    1. You should try it, Gayle. There are lots of delicious things.

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  11. I don't thnk I've ever been to Texas except on a layover. Sigh. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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    1. I understand, Carole. Maybe one day.

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  12. I would love that salad, if I'm ever in Austin, I'm heading to Jack Allen's Kitchen.

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  13. Farmers Markets are such great places to shop, especially this time of year. That salad from Jack Allen's sounds and looks delicious.

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    1. It really is. I need to visit the Farmers Market more often. I always like it when I do.

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  14. I rest easy knowing the local farmers markets are the source! I've never been to Austin but the flavor of the south is always the best. As a northerner, I appreciate the service of the sweet tea when I head south.

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    1. Hope you get to come to Austin sometime and try our southern food.

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  15. I will make a point of looking for this restaurant the next time I am in Austin. Thank you!

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    1. You should definitely try it on your next visit if you have time.

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  16. Still have not made it to this restaurant although everyone tells me I need to! I did discover The Salty Sow this weekend and that was totally delicious so if you are ever on the east side of town I recommend it.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Iliana! I've heard of The Salty Sow, but never been.

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  17. We love restaurants that feature locally sourced food. This sounds wonderful!

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  18. Yum!!! I love a good salad, and that one sounds amazing. Sweet and spicy and tangy all at the same time. I need to find an excuse to get to Austin!

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    1. That's a good description - sweet, spicy, tangy. Love it!

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  19. Love the sound of this restaurant. I love a place that serves local and fresh food! I usually only go to Dallas whenever I go to Texas. If I ever hit the Austin area, I will make sure to check this place out.

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    1. Dallas isn't so far from Austin. You should visit sometime. :-)

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