We walked into the Austin Terrier with no expectations other than to see terriers on the walls. Indeed, puppies and dogs are everywhere, as befits the owner's puppy love. We were in the neighborhood doing errands on a quiet afternoon, hoping to find a cold beer and some good food. That turned out to be an understatement. The most popular dish among that afternoon's crowd appeared to be pizza. A basic 12-inch cheese pie comes with either marinara or pesto sauce for $7.95, a huge choice of add-on ingredients (ranging from 95 cents to $1.45 each), and three crust options (white, wheat, or, for an additional $4.95, gluten-free). But I found myself zeroing in on the sandwich menu. For just a moment, I contemplated the Gunner ($4.95), with peanut butter, banana, and Nutella. Instead, I went for the Scottie ($7.95), made with bacon, organic greens, marinated tomatoes, and avocado on a French roll. The sandwich arrived on a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside roll. The bacon was top quality, the avocado perfectly ripe – even the tomatoes were good. My wife ordered the grilled cheese ($4.95), with melted cheddar, fontina, and mozzarella on toasted white bread with diced tomatoes and, added on for 95 cents, strips of avocado. Together, the three cheeses and avocado were magic. The unfiltered Breckenridge Agave Wheat Beer ($5) from Colorado made me consider spending the whole afternoon there.
Seconds later, the coup de grâce arrived: The Trio of Fries ($6.95) offers three substantial containers with ultra-crispy sweet potato fries; truffle and Parmesan fries redolent of white truffles; and zesty paprika-and-mustard fries. Sides of spicy ketchup and garlic aioli complete the orgy of flavors. Not only that, but all of the fries were cooked to perfection, crunchy at first bite, but then yielding to perfectly textured potato in the middle. We also loved their creative wine list with nothing over $27 a bottle; on Monday nights, the bottle prices are cut in half. Now I understand why our intelligent readers picked Austin Terrier as the Best Kept Secret in our 2012 "Best of Austin" Awards.
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