Habanero’s is a nice, intimate, gluten-free friendly neighborhood restaurant about which I’ve
previously written. I am pleased to see that it’s mentioned in this Zagat article about emerging foodie streets in Austin. Habanero is noted in the article as an old standby amidst new foodie-magnet restaurants such as Winebelly and AGBG located on W Oltorf (not S Oltorf, as the article’s author mistakenly refers to the street). Habanero’s corn tortillas are made without flour, which is a joyful find in a S Texas world filled with an increasing number of Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants that add a small amount of wheat flour to their corn tortillas. The wait staff, always eager to help, know all the ingredients in all the dishes and gladly answer questions about the items on the menu.
The other reason I’m happy to see Habanero in the article is that it means that Oltorf’s reputation may be improving. Our Austin home is on E Oltorf, and despite its reputation in some Austinites’ minds as a rather sketchy area, I love the street’s vibrant and colorful residents, and its 24/7 lively activity. I just hope that the more genteel establishments popping up on W Oltorf won’t change the area’s unique character such that it looses its individualistic charm.
Just a note about Winebelly: I’ve not eaten there; however, some of the items on the tapas menu seem to be gluten-free. The menu offerings sound delicious. I would probably call ahead before going to eat there, just to be sure I would have some gluten-free options from which to choose. Calling ahead is always a good idea. Phillip and I were recently invited to dinner at Casa Rio, a long established Mexican restaurant on San Antonio’s river walk. Phillip emailed the restaurant for me before we accepted the invitation. Someone from the restaurant responded to the email fairly quickly, but to our dismay the restaurant is one that adds wheat flour to its corn tortillas, and to just about everything on the menu. The email response we received listed only two: T-W-O items on the menu safe for me to eat. Sigh.