Quarantine Diaries XVII
Tuesday 14th April 2020
Following the incredible food we splashed out on for my fabulous birthday celebrations, I’ve gone in for a week of crazy-intensive cooking, which has been fun, tasting and super-welcomingly distracting – I don’t think JB has ever been so well-fed by my own hand! Nonetheless, by Monday I was so ready to eat something different, exciting, and not prepared by me. We first discovered Cherry Creek Catfish a couple of years ago, as part of our ongoing search for ‘local-local’ restaurants and diners in Austin, a pursuit that has met with periodic but limited success. While we dearly love our adopted city and everything about its constantly-evolving super-hip restaurant scene, we have an enduring love for the classic American cuisine which is a highlight of our frequent road trips (remember those), stopping in small towns and getting stuck into no-frills local fare.
Cherry Creek is a 100% hipster-free Old Austin establishment, so proper old-school they have their very own Hall of Fame, a wall where regulars pin pics and tell stories of their biggest catch – there are some gargantuan fish up there! The restaurant is always heaving with rambunctious families, old folks enjoying an evening out and giddy groups of students, all of whom must be missing their fab regular hangout like hell. I really hope they are all able to make the most of the extensive to-go menu. Which brings me to the food. Cherry Creek fish fry is hands-down the best we’ve had in the city. Lightly spiced golden crumbs gently coating soft, juicy catfish (never dry) and big chunky shrimp – just heavenly. Their sides are equally delicious – we particularly enjoy the extra-moreish sautéed squash and zucchini, robust crispy slaw and mash n gravy (white gravy that’s more like bread sauce for any Brits reading) – what a combination, and an excellent way to break our take-away-fast! It was so good I may have had a second helping. Oh well, you’re (hopefully) only quarantined once.
Texas Leaguer 2 Hopper American IPA
This is only the second Texas Leaguer beer that I’ve tried, and like the first (the very tasty Knucklebock), it is clean, precise and impressive. Based out of Missouri City in Fort Bend County TX, just Southwest of Houston, Texas Leaguer have absolutely nailed the clean, smooth, piney malt of a perfectly balanced APA where the sweetness and bitterness flow together rather than facing off against each other. This beer is light, crushable (6.2% – a nice day-to-night segue beer) and very moreish indeed – it practically disappeared into my mouth as I reached for another that sadly was not there. Prior to lockdown, I rarely needed to keep go-to beers at home – mine was a list saved for bars and restaurants with limited options, but as our time in confinement continues to extend into the future, the need for a fridge that mixes up new releases with old faithfuls is making me revaluate my purchasing habits. Like Real Ale’s Axis and Independence’s Stash (both of which I really need to re-stock my fridge with!), the 2 Hopper hits that dank-n-sticky hop-craving spot, and that touch of lightness definitely makes it a late-afternoon-tempter. Not that I need much tempting of course…