Against the Grain Dining – Wholly Cow!!!

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I was on the run today and needed a quick bite. Not us how I ever missed this place when I was living downtown, but it’s killer. Located just south of 7th St on Congress, Wholly Cow features local, grass-fed beef in all their burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, reubens and chili as well as locally-grown organic produce.

I went with the Fit Cross Burger and Sweet Potato Fries (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know they’re not paleo, but it was one of those days 😉 The burger was hugged between two portobello mushroom caps with lettuce, tomato and onions. The mushroom caps are a nice change from my standard naked burger. There’s something just not quite right about having to eat a burger with silverware and lettuce cups tend to disintegrate about halfway through. I’ve had other restaurants attempts at shroom buns, but most of the time you end up with one of two things. The caps are either raw and end up crumbling, or they are over marinated or cooked to the point that they are a slimy mess. This was perfect. I’ll definitely be back and will have to checkout their S. Lamar location inside Zen Food Mart and Convenience Store. Zen is also known for their selection of local organic produce for sale as well as organic non-GMO Fredericksburg Peaches while you’re there. Noms!!!

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The original location is located inside the new ZEN Food Mart Convenience Store at 3010 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704. 512-394-8156.
Restaurant hours are:
Mon-Thurs from 7AM – 9:30PM.
Friday & Saturday 7AM -10:30PM.
Sunday 10:30AM – 8:30PM.

The downtown location is at 619 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701. 512-425-0811
Hours are:
Monday – Thursday 8AM – 9PM.
Friday 8AM – 3AM. Saturday 10AM – 3AM.
Sunday 10:30AM – 8:30PM.

Gluten-Free Dining Out… Austin, Get Ready to Have Some “Finn”

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I had the opportunity this week to get a sneak peak into The Domain’s new hot spot, Blackfinn Ameripub. With over 100 menu options, they have something for everyone.

    What does this have to do with Against the Grain?

    Navigating restaurant menus can be very intimidating and is something I spend a great deal of time with when working with clients. Most of the time I deal with selecting options that are supportive of fitness and wellness goals. Basically, “eat this and not that” and specifically, how to make substitutions without worrying about getting on the chef’s bad side. Believe me, this does happen all too often with over zealous chefs who tend to live by the ideal of “keep your lifestyle choice out of my restaurant”. Whether it be a lifestyle choice for those of us choosing grain free or paleo, or health related choices resulting from celiac disease or other inflammatory conditions, an attitude like that is the surest way to ensure Customers won’t be back or recommend the spot to others.

    Many restaurants are making an effort to cater to options like light fare and vegetarian, gluten-free is a whole different animal due to issues of cross-contamination and lack of consumer education on what lesser know ingredients may be in the other ingredients. Lesser known gluten containing items like soy, worcestershire and other sauces, bouillon, salad dressings, and even processed oils can make it downright scary to try and safely order in a restaurant. How many times have you been to a restaurant and asked a server what items are gluten free only to be met with those deer in headlight eyes and answered with “ummmm I need to go ask my chef/manager” because they haven’t been educated properly.

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    Blackfinn has taken it beyond just educating the team members. They have come up with a way to clearly label gluten free items on the menu and have gone one step further. They are labeling which items on the menu contain gluten, but can’t also be prepared gluten free by the kitchen. No more guess work wondering “If I just order it without that, maybe it’ll be ok.” They have also taken strides to prevent cross contamination issues in the kitchen. No worries about the cook accidental grabbing the bottle of soy sauce instead of the gluten free tamari. They only use gluten free tamari. This pro activity is the future of dining out as these lifestyle choices move away from being looked at as being “alternative”, and very admirable of the creative team at Blackfinn.

    Blackfinn Grand Opening Party
    Be sure not to miss all the “Finn” this Friday night. Print, fill out and bring in the image below for VIP access and entry into a drawing to win 2 VIP Badges for SXSW!!! Under invited by, write Michael Dunlap/Against the Grain Fitness to be sure your entry gets in. I’ll see ya there at the party!!!

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Elevation Time C’mon!!!

elevation burger

In the words of my homie, Kool and his gang, it’s time to Elevate and have a good time… Well, he would have sang that after one of these burgers…

We’ll spend plenty of time on here focusing on healthy recipes. But, what about when you’re on the go? What about cheat meals? (Yes, it’s ok to cheat, just cheat smart!) Elevation Burger currently 4 locations in Texas (2 here in Austin) and more popping up across the country in California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia markets. I can’t recommend this place enough. Let’s look at the numbers. The beef is 100% USDA-certified organic, 100% grass-fed, 100% free-range and 100% ground-on-premises. For those of you not quite so paleo, their fresh cut fries are cooked in 100% heart-healthy olive oil.

When I make it here, I’m in carnivore mode, so I stick with the Vertigo. A stack ’em up, build your own burger with your choice of 3-10 patties and your choice of  toppings. All ingredients are locally sourced when practical and contain no trans-fat. The only thing I would change is a little more seasoning in the meat, but that’s an easy fix right before I dig in. I’m happy to add that the condiment counter stocked with real sea salt rather than the processed iodized junk.

With a vision for an elevated product that is fresh and flavorful, made from the highest quality ingredients and sustainably prepared food that is better for you and the environment, ya gotta try ’em out…

Elevation Burger Site

Elevation Burger Nutritional Info

Vertigo Burger at Elevation Burger

Vertigo Burger at Elevation Burger