Tom Micklethwait recreated ZZ Top’s ‘Tres Hombres’ album art … and ate it

The inside cover of ZZ Top's 1973 album "Tres Hombres."
The inside cover of ZZ Top’s 1973 album “Tres Hombres.”


Update 2: ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons has seen the film and says of Micklethwait, “I stand in awe of what he accomplished.” Find out what else Gibbons had to tell Andy Langer about that seminal album art by reading the interview on

Before he rocked out sausage and other smoked-meats from his trailer on Rosewood Avenue, Tom Micklethwait once lived the life of a rock-and-roller. He played guitar as Tom Kodiak in Austin garage rock band the Hex Dispensers. He may have left the touring behind, but Micklethwait’s love for rock obviously endures.

In one of the most clever and joyful marriages of art, music and food, Micklethwait recreated the inside cover of Texas legends’ ZZ Top’s classic 1973 album “Tres Hombres,” which was inspired by the late Leo’s Mexican Restaurant in Houston.

Then he ate it. The whole thing was captured on film.

Hot, delicious and righteous, Tom. (I can’t believe a restaurant hasn’t offered this as a ‘Tres Hombres’ or ZZ Top special.)

Texas Forever.

Update: As it turns out, Mr. Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top is, not surprisingly a huge fan of Tex-Mex. Longtime Austin chef Luke Bibby, owner of Luke’s Inside Out, wrote me to tell me about some of Gibbons’ prolific ordering when Bibby worked at Manuel’s.

“Billy would order 6 beef enchiladas, 3 bowls tortilla soup, 3 baskets of chips, 2 bowls queso, bout a quart of salsa and wash it down with multiple virgin daiquiris. Hollow leg.”

Bibby, whose career has also included backstage catering at hundreds of concerts, said they recreated the order for Gibbons a few times at concerts at the Backyard. Well done, Billy. (And Luke.)

Opening soon: Flyrite Chicken in East Austin

flyrite chicken sandwic

The fried chicken craze continues in Austin. Hot on the heels of Shake Shack announcing its new fried chicken sandwich, and a few months before Todd Duplechan and company jump into the game with J.T. Youngblood’s Fried Chicken, Flyrite Chicken will open on February 7 at 2129 E. Seventh St. (at Robert Martinez Jr. St.).

Flyrite’s calling card will be antibiotic-free, veg-fed chickens served on sandwiches, salads and wraps. The menu also includes shakes, Cuvee coffee, craft beer and wine. View the menu at

The restaurant helmed by culinary director Quirino Silva and operations manager Dallas Miller, veterans of County Line barbecue, will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.;m. daily.

Flyrite will have a grand opening part on Valentine’s Day, giving away a free beer and koozie to the first 300 customers 21 or older. What says love like fried chicken? A portion of the proceeds from the first three hours of operation to the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Flyrite is planning a second location, at 6539 Burnet Road, later this summer.


Austin restaurants: Valentine’s Day weekend specials

lhs Counter 357 06

Valentine’s Day is approaching. You’re running out of time. If you want to make your beloved feel special, consider making reservations at one of the places listed below. If you wait much longer, you’ll be hitting the drive-thru. (* = critic’s pick)

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, The Italian-owned restaurant in North Austin serves a four-course meal on Valentine’s Day for $70 ($95 with pairings) that includes homemade meatballs, salmon carpaccio and squid ink risotto sautéed with bay scallops and shrimp.

*Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. 4220 Duval St. 512-531-9610, Here’s a clever twist on Valentine’s night. The Hyde Park cheese mongers will offer couples composed cheese plates, charcuterie boards and assorted craft chocolates and other desserts. The price is $110 (with BYOB for only $4 corkage fee), but the two 6:30 p.m. events are officially sold out. You can sign up for the wait list on the shop’s website.

*Apis. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436-8918, The romantic Hill Country retreat will run its three-course prix fixe menu from Feb. 12-14. The $85 dinner ($130 with pairings) includes smoked fish dip, charred Spanish octopus, angolotti pasta with curds and whey, grilled swordfish and smoked sturgeon with caviar.

*Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, The fine dining restaurant inside the AT&T Executive Conference and Education Center will serve a five-course prix-fixe menu Feb. 12-14. The $80 meal ($120 with pairings) includes options like venison tartare, butter-poached beef tenderloin and dark chocolate mousse bar.

*Counter 357. 315 Congress Ave. 512-291-3327, The open kitchen with ringside seating will serve special holiday menus on Feb. 13 and 14. The five-course tasting menu costs $100 ($150 with pairings), and there will be seatings at 5, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m.

Cooper. 3401 Esperanza Crossing. 512-215-3633, The restaurant and dessert lounge at the Domain hosts a four-course dinner that includes shrimp ceviche, roasted quail and flourless chocolate cake. The cost is $45 for those flying solo and $85 for two.

*Dai Due. 2406 Manor Road. 512-524-0688, Chef Jesse Griffiths’ quintessential Ausitn restaurant will serve an $85 prix-fixe menu on Valentine’s Day that includes a mixed grill of wild boar bockwurst, grilled quail, venison loin and more.

Driskill Grill. 604 Brazos St. 512-439-1234, The historic grill in Austin’s grand dame hotel will serve a five-course prix fixe dinner Feb. 12-14 for $125 ($170 with pairings). The menu includes foie gras torchon with house-made banana walnut bread, P.E.I. mussels and a dry-aged filet of beef.

*Emmer & Rye. 51 Rainey St #110. 512-366-5530, The lovers of ancient grains will serve a seven-course prix fixe dinner for $75, with courses like heirlooom lettuce salad with sourdough crumb and wheat berries, sunchokes confit in beef taro, and smoked pork belly in pork broth.

Finn & Porter. 500 E. Fourth St. 512-493-4900, The restaurant at the downtown Hilton will serve a four-course dinner on Saturday and Sunday night. The meal includes octopus carpaccio, lobster risotto, quail with buttermilk hushpuppies and chocolate terrine. The dinner costs $75 ($120 with pairings).

*Gardner. 1914 E. Sixth St. 512-354-1480, The elegant East Austin restaurant hosts a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner for $65 ($100 with pairings). The menu includes quail with celery root and horseradish, crab with fennel, king salmon with rutabaga ravioli and chocolate cremeux with strawberry and malted barley.

Goodall’s Kitchen. 1900 Rio Grande St. 512-495-1800, The restaurant at the Hotel Ella serves Valentine’s Day dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Options on the prix fixe menu, which costs $70, includes winter squash soup, grilled pork chops, lamb T-bone and dark chocolate cake.

Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile. 3235 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-366-5808, The rustic restaurant along the Colorado River will serve a three-course dinner for $55 ($80 with pairings), with a menu that includes roasted beet salad, pastrami duck breast and strawberry cake.

Josephine House. 1601 Waterston Ave. 512-477-5584, The charming cottage next to Jeffrey’s will serve a $75 prix fixe menu that include prime tenderloin filet, Gulf red snapper a la plancha and a chocolate flourless cake.

*Jeffrey’s. 1204 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5584, The revamped Austin institution will serve a $100 prix fixe menu that includes a seafood platter of Gulf prawns, raw oysters and King crab, Beeman Ranch Côte de Boeuf and baked Alaska.

*Lenoir. 1807 S. First St. 512-215-9778, The delightful shabby chic restaurant in South Austin is hosting a Valentine’s-themed wine tasting in its wine garden on Feb. 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The restaurant offers regular dinner service on Valentine’s Day, making it arguably the best deal in town that night.

Juliet. 1500 Barton Springs Road. 512-479-1800, The gorgeous Italian restaurant will serve a prix fixe menu for $99 from Feb. 12-15, adding an extra night for their friends and peers in the service industry. The dinner includes beef tenderloin meatballs, spaghetti cacio e pepe alla “Lady and the Tramp” (read: extra long noodles) and branzino stuffed with crab.

Max’s Wine Dive. 207 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-904-0111, The champagne and chicken lovers will offer a three-course menu with crab cakes, chicken-fried lobster tail and peanut butter and jelly cheesecake. Call or check site for pricing and more details.

Oasthouse Gastropub. 8300 N. RM 620. 737-222-5779, The refined European-inspired pub will serve a prix fixe menu. Check site or call for details.

*Olamaie. 1610 San Antonio St. 512-474-2796, The refined Southern restaurant serves a five-course tasting menu for $100 ($175 with pairings) on Feb. 13 and 14.

*Qui. 1600 E. Sixth St. 512-436-9626, The East Austin trailblazer will serve a five-course menu for $95 on February 12-14. Diners can add champagne pairing for $75 or beverage pairing for $65. The menu has not yet been released but is said to include oysters, caviar, and roses. Reservations can be made at the restaurant’s ticketing site,

Revival Public House. 340 E. Second St. 512-469-0000, The Southern comfort restaurant near the Convention Center will serve a special menu that includes lobster bisque, slow-roasted beef medallions and blackened redfish. Call or check site for pricing and more details.

Russian House. 307 E. Fifth St. 512-428-5442, The celebration of love runs all day at the downtown restaurant/cultural center, with a three-course prix fixe menu for $150 per couple (with a VIP caviar menu offered for $280 per couple). The meal includes a bottomless champagne dessert bar. There will also be much vodka and music.

Stella San Jac. 310 E. Fifth St. 512-391-2333, The restaurant inside the Westin downtown will enhance its dinner menu Feb. 12-14 with oysters, a broiled filet with lobster mash and Godiva white chocolate ice cream.

Sullivan’s. 300 Colorado St. 512-495-6504, The downtown steakhouse hosts a three-course prix fixe dinner for $62. The meal includes shrimp-lobster bisque and filet mignon with crab-stuffed shrimp.

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542-3660, The restaurant at the W will serve a three-course menu for $65 and four-course meal for $75. Options will include tortellini in brodo, beef filet, crispy pork shank and molten chocolate cake.

*Trio. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-685-8300, The restaurant at the Four Seasons will serve a special dinner Feb. 12-14. The $95 four-course menu includes options like short rib ravioli and pistachio-crusted sea bass. The regular a la carte menu will also be available.

*Vince Young Steakhouse. 301 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-457-8325, The downtown steakhouse will serve a three-course prix fixe dinner, featuring its regular roster of steak, for $75.

Vicsonti Ristorante. 320 Loop 360. 512-306-6400, The Italian restaurant at the recently opened Hotel Granduca in West Lake Hills will serve a special dinner Feb. 13 and 14. The three-course meal costs $85 ($130 with pairings) and includes spaghetti with lobster and sirloin with potato terrine.


Taco Tuesday: La Fantabulous

Fish and shrimp taco from La Fantabulous food truck.
Fish and shrimp taco from La Fantabulous food truck. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

“I like food more than people,” La Fantabulous owner Josie Paredes joked from behind the flat-top grill in her roving taco truck with the seductive mermaid on the side.

At least I think she was kidding.

But the former chef at J. Black’s, who also helped open the original Eddie V’s downtown, turns out juicy salmon that makes a strong argument for the case that she at least knows food as well as she does people. The thick fish, liberally salted, falls apart in pink slabs at the touch of a fork. And it’s the size of a small entree. The type of fish, buried in a spicy slaw mixture shimmering with a vinaigrette alive with jalapeno, rotates at the food truck that is stationed on Rainey Street at night and roves business parking lots during the daytime. Sometimes salmon, sometimes mahi mahi. Never tilapia. (My only gripe: I would have liked a lime to squeeze on my fish.)

The salmon is cradled in two corn tortillas straight from the bag. The same delivery system is used on toasty shrimp that taste like they must have something more going on than just Kosher salt, but Paredes says that’s all there is to it. That and knowing when to pluck those puckers from their sizzling dance to go on a taco dusted with queso fresco and that crunchy cabbage slaw. The shrimp tacos usually come with sections of mandarin, but with no fresh ones available, they were absent on this day. And Paredes wasn’t about to scoop them from a can.

The salsas are both green, and though the smooth avocado carries the “spicy” moniker, the glowing salsa verde has that grass fire kick that sneaks in on the back end. They worked with interchangeable ease on both tacos. Paredes, who gets much of her inspiration from time spent bouncing around Cabo, says she will introduce blue corn tortillas to the menu on February 1.

In addition to the roster of tacos that includes achiote and veggie-friendly bean tacos, the menu also offers occasional specials, like green chili pork quesadillas (on flour) that manage to keep the meat moist despite the gooey embrace of melted cheese.

Paredes also operates a monthly pop-up dinner series called Nelly Nights. The next event will be on Valentine’s Day at 7 p.m. at Nest Modern. The dinner will feature aphrodisiac foods from Mexico. You can purchase tickets here.


La Fantabulous

74 Rainey St. | Facebook | Twitter

Hours: Check the La Fantabulous Facebook page for times and daytime locations.


  • Fish tacos, two for $9
  • Shrimp tacos, two for $9
  • Green chili pork quesadilla, $8

Now open: Napa Flats near Lake Travis and Soup Peddler on Airport Boulevard

Minestrone soup at Napa Flats in Austin. (Credit:
Minestrone soup at Napa Flats in Austin. (Credit:

Napa Flats Wood Fired Kitchen opened in the Trails of 620 shopping center at 8300 N FM 620. The casual College Station-launched restaurant, which takes cues from California and Italy, serves lunch and dinner, with a menu that include pastas like kale and spinach ravioli and California fusion staples like sesame-crusted tuna, and the wood-fired oven gets a workout with plenty of pizzas. Napa Flats is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Soup Peddler opened at 4631 Airport Blvd. next to the Omelettry. The juice bar and café serves smoothies, juices, soups and sandwiches and is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is the fourth location of the Austin-born business.






Now open: Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que downtown


First the Schmidt family of Lockhart barbecue fame opened a restaurant (eventually two) in the Austin area. Then came Black’s Barbecue of Lockhart (and their relations over at Terry Black’s Barbecue). Now, Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que of Llano has opened an Austin outpost. The Austin location opened today at 217 Congress Avenue downtown. After a soft opening featuring limited service and hours, the restaurant is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is open until midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant’s Facebook page promises live music is also on the way.

Related: The Best Barbecue in Austin, from May 2014)

Dish of the week: Crab Florentine

FullSizeRenderTangy, tart, crunchy and creamy with a citrus-spritz iron punch of spinach, this week’s Dish of the Week is a longtime brunch standout.

The Crab Florentine ($24) at Perla’s on South Congress Avenue is one of the stars at that restaurant’s brunch, and one of my favorite brunch dishes in town right now. You’ll find opaque slivers of garlic mingled throughout the lemon-splashed spinach and lump crab meat that all gets buried under an ooze of egg yolk and Hollandaise. Somehow the English muffins at the bottom of the pile retain a nice crunch to support to rich dish.

Perla’s is open for brunch Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.