So it was my birthday last week! Instead of doing a party or group get together, the past couple of years I’ve opted to go on a mini tour of my favorite restaurants with my family, friends, and Travis whenever they’re available throughout the week/end. This year, my best friend Joey and I did dinner at Launderette, then I did brunch with my family and Travis at Wu Chow, had a fabulous happy hour and a movie (Girl on a Train) at Violet Crown with my favorite girls (shout out Laura, Mary, and Julia!), and then had date night at Perla’s with Travis on my actual birthday. This year was one of my favorite birthdays ever, a reminder that I am surround by such amazing, uplifting and positive people. I am so grateful for my fiancé, family and friendships that are like family!
Now, let’s talk Perla’s! Nestled in a South Congress nook, just past By George and Kendra Scott, sit Perla’s, an upscale seafood restaurant with modern nautical decor that makes you feel as if you’ve escaped to the New England coast.
The expansive patio is a perfect place to sit on a mild Austin evening. The striped umbrellas, seats, and waiter uniforms tie the theme together tastefully, and when the sun sets, the string and twinkle lights help set a romantic mood.
Inside you’re greeted by several gorgeous fish in their big salt water (I’m pretty sure it was salt water given the vibrant colors of the fish) tank.
Travis and I opted to sit outside, so had a short wait in the designated areas between outdoor and indoor dining. We had a server there who brought us glasses of Gruner Veltliner and Aaron, a friend of mine, surprised us with the Grilled Octopus & Papas Bravas. I’ve never tasted anything like it – the octopus was cooked perfectly and the greens, papas and sauce complimented the seafood so well.
At our table, we started with oysters (my one birthday request). As we don’t eat oysters as often as we’d like to, we’re not as familiar with the regions and what type to pick, so asked the server for a mixed dozen, chef’s recommendation. We ended up getting four from Maine, four from Prince Edward Island, and four from New Hampshire, I believe. While we could taste subtle differences between the three, it was impossible to pick a favorite, at least for me – I loved them all and could probably have eaten another dozen on my own!
Before our mains, I ordered the Vine Ripe Tomato & English Cucumber Gazpacho. Not only was this cold soup incredibly refreshing, the unique addition of the blue crab made it quite filling as well. It was hard to decide what I liked more, the flavorful soup, or the crispy Manchego Toast that was served with it (which I’m pretty sure was made entirely of Manchego cheese – one slice fully toasted and another melted on top – INSANE).
Since I had a significant amount of food already, instead of going for a full main, I opted to get another appetizer. Little did I know, the Crab Louie & Cornmeal Fried Green Tomatoes was large – likely the size, if not more, of a main dish! The tomatoes were firm and worked so well with the crab on top. I could only eat one at that point – Travis had to help me finish off the other!
Travis is a huge fan of escolar, so he opted for the Oak Grilled Hawaiian Escolar plate. It was accompanied by grapes, bacon, and goat cheese. Sadly, I didn’t get to taste it myself – my one regret of the night.
I’m obsessed with fried okra, so we also ordered Perla’s version as a side to share. It didn’t disappoint!
Because of my full belly, instead of a real dessert, I opted for rosé instead. French and bubbly – the best way!
Check out what Travis thought from a primal/paleo perspective here and also listen to our latest podcast where we discuss the restaurant, and more from my birthday week (including Travis’s gift to me, my very own wine brand!).
See you next time!