On occasion, I enjoy a cocktail in downtown Austin. Oh, who am I kidding? Most nights, I’m on a bar stool. Living close to the famous Sixth Street, I probably have too many choices to revisit any place more than once or twice. But the one spot that keeps me coming back is Z’Tejas, for two reasons: 1) my favorite bartender, Chelsea, whose margaritas could probably fix global warming, and 2) the mac and cheese.
Recent changes at Z’Tejas have given me a few more reasons. There are menu additions due to hatch green chile season, which typically ends mid-October. We should all get in and try the following menu items before they’re gone. While you’re there, check out the new craft cocktails and Z’Tejas Cornbread for a Cause.
Hatch Chile Feast Starters
The regular queso at Z’Tejas has always been at the top of my list (doesn’t everyone in Austin have a queso list?), but the Green Chile Queso is richer and much spicier. I hope it gets added to the regular menu. With roasted jalapeños and green onions, this queso has hatch chile relish on top and it’s a cheese-lover’s dream.
Um…yes. Slathered in a tangy homemade BBQ sauce, this bacon-wrapped jalapeño appetizer will light your taste buds on fire! Hatch chile relish is served on the side, and there is plenty for sharing.
Hatch Chile Feast Main Dishes
The Hatch Chile Burger is my favorite menu addition (I’ve always been a sucker for a juicy slab of meat in a ciabatta bun, though). The beef is topped with spicy hatch chile relish, pickled red onions, blue tortilla strips and green chile queso. Big fat cilantro fries are served on the side.
Strawberry relish? On fish? At a Mexican place? I was skeptical of the Achiote Marinated Mahi Mahi, too. But mix it with spicy hatch chiles, drizzle balsamic on top, throw some asparagus on the side, and call it a win. Yum.
Topped with blueberries and pineapple relish, the Prime Pork Chop Milanesa consists of a roasted pepper stuffed with goat cheese, jalapeno bacon and (of course) hatch green chiles. It sits on top of a roasted tomatilla sauce.
Served on green chile mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, the tender Pepper Crusted Center Cut Beef Filet is stuffed with mushrooms, caramelized onions and plenty of hatch chiles. Pickled red onions dance on top of this meat like you danced on a bar top in your college days.
The final menu addition is the Cornmeal Crusted Stuffed Hatch Chile Relleno. Gulf crab meat, shrimp and roasted pepitas are enveloped in a delicately fried hatch chile that’s breaded in cornmeal. It’s served on saffron rice, a tangy red pepper cream sauce and chipotle oil.
New Craft Cocktails at Z’Tejas
Recently, the bartenders at Z’Tejas took their skills to the next level. New management wanted consistency among the new craft cocktails, while staying creative. Here are my favorites:
- Paloma (Espolon tequila, St. Germain liqueur, grapefruit juice, salt)
- Jalapeno Cucumber Margarita (el Jimador, fresh jalapeno, muddled cucumber)
- Lemons in Paradise (Deep Eddy Lemon, pineapple juice, mango, jalapeno syrups)
Check out the full cocktail menu. Bonus: Every Tuesday, all tequila drinks are half off, so let Chelsea shake up something amazing for you!
Cornbread for a Cause
Back in the day, Z’Tejas cornbread was free and it was buttery, golden deliciousness. Then it got bland and it wasn’t free. But now, the recipe tastes like it used to and every purchase goes to a charity here in Austin or in Arizona. More than $90,000 has been raised since last year. So the next time you feel guilty about carb-loading on the cornbread, don’t.
@ATX_Adrienne wants to know:
Have you checked out the new menu items at Z’Tejas yet?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!