Reprogramming my Skewed Perception of Escargot

Vietnamese traditional cuisine often features snails. I’ve never sees them in Vietnamese restaurants in the US but stories from the parents have told me they often cook with it and put it over bun (vermicelli) in Vietnam. I’ve planned to try out a few snail dishes in Vietnamese fare when I go back to visit.

In July 2007, I had my first and only escargot experience up til last weekend. I had a friend visiting from Houston and we were just hopping from new experience to the next. We drove by a West Campus (a neighborhood walking distance from campus) restaurant called Tony’s Vineyard. I wouldn’t doubt it if it went out of business since our visiting. It was a disastrous restaurant with tasteless pasta and soups. My penchant for taking food photos started in 2005 (way before I started food blogging) so I actually have some photos of this experience.

Highly doubt this place still exists. Which is a good thing.

4 years ago, I was still operating on one master bucket list, letting whatever on that list guide me in life. “Try escargot” was on my list. Unfortunately for me, the first time I encountered escargot on a menu was here, at this seedy questionable restaurant. Chris, my visiting friend, appeased me and agreed to share the escargot as an appetizer.

Oi. Foolish mistake to go here for my first experience. It was extremely rubbery and took me full minutes to chew it enough to make it safe to swallow. I was eager to cross escargot off my list and even more eager to not try them again. Since then, my escargot loving friends, namely Cindy, kept telling me I should go for the really buttery places at good French restaurants. She made bold promises that I will love it, done right. My parents made promises that I will enjoy it if I had in Vietnamese cuisine. So fast forward almost exactly 4 years, last weekend while trying out Justine’s, a popular French restaurant in East Austin, I saw escargot on the menu and was excited to try again.

I could have ordered 2 orders of escargot! Swimming in parsley butter sauce, the snails were delicious. The texture was not painfully rubbery like my first time but rather succulent and almost a little like the texture mushrooms. I’m pleased to reprogram my perception of escargot. Thank you, Justine’s.

The escargot at Justine’s

Note: Review for Justine’s is on the horizon!

Question: When was the last time you gave something (food related or not) a chance and was pleasantly surprised?

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