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JCI Productions, Inc.

"Where the Eagles Gather"
JCI Productions, Inc.

Village Center Shopping Strip

Three Restaurants Reviewed by the Gandy Family & Paula Collins

El Arroyo

    Restaurant Review - By Mauri Gandy & Family - August 8th, 2011

    Our family ate at El Arroyo on Far West Blvd. Everyone thought the food was delicious. But I thought my dinner was fantastic. The other day I came off a 6 day water fast, and for 33 days I fasted from red meat. After 21 days of a Daniel Fast I thought that I really wanted to eat a chicken breast and the following day I ate tuna fish. But then I quickly realized I really want to stay away from meat. But I enjoy going out to eat with my family and friends, and yesterday I had the best veggie meal ever!

    My choice was the Cancun Veggie Avocado stuffed with black bean "hummas" and corn salsa, drizzled with their specialty tomatillo salsa. Accompanied with soy sautned spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. Served with black beans and rice. Hmmmm I will be going back again! I am so excited to find a great veggie meal at a mexican restaurant.

    A great big plus of El Arroyo is that the owner is a Christian man who has a big heart for his savior Jesus Christ. I just love to go to a restaurant and find out the owner loves Jesus. Our family met Clay McPhail after we ate. We talked about our love for Jesus and he told us some great stories about some of the awesome promotions that El Arroyo does for many wonderful non-profit organizations around Austin. This is a Christian business owner that we have to get on our JCI program soon to tell us more. And there are some great stories about El Arroyo that we will have him share with you when we film there.

    While we were talking a waitress ran to Clay to tell him a little girl was locked inside the bathroom stall. Jamie our wonderful 19 year old daughter ran to the bathroom and climbed over the stall to rescue her. Jamie has wanted to be a firefighter for many years, and today she got to have her chance to do what she loves to do. Then she came home and wrote a short story about her rescue. I guess we will be going back to the fire station again now that she is finally old enough to be a volunteer. She is small but mighty strong, and there are some rescues that requires small people, and I know they need her.


    What we ate:
    Cancun Veggie Avocado with Black Beans - "EXCELLENT, The best veggie meal I have ever eaten. The avocado was suburb and so were the mushrooms. Those are my two favorite vegtables. The black beans are very healthy and added a great flavor to the meal." - Mauri

    Enchilada Dinner - "I think I would be a bad judge or critic because I just can't criticize this food." - Jonathan

    Chalupa Dinner - "Real Good, but more than I can eat. Actually I am making sure I have room for that Fried Ice Cream." - Jamie

    Flan is a vanilla custard which is an authentic Tex-Mex dessert with a hint of cinnamon. Scoop of whip cream on the side and plate drizzled with butterscotch. Wonderful way to end a mexican dinner.

    Fried Ice Cream Scoop of El Arroyo homemade Ice Cream quick fried with a flour tortilla drizzled with fresh from the bee honey and cinnamon, and served in a huge mexican designed bowl. Fabulous!

    Cheese Queso was just the way we like it. The spicy red sauce had a nice kick. The tortilla chips were brought out hot and were constantly refilled.

    El Arroyo is clean, has a Great Atmosphere and has an outside patio.

    The staff was constantly working together to make sure our food came out as soon as possible and that tortilla chips were always refilled. Since we are servers for special events we noticed how the staff were quick to discarding any trash on the tables. This is a detail most restaurant staff do not consider as service. I was also impressed with the owner's eagerness to ask me if there were any suggestions or recommendations that we could give to him and his staff. Their website also request that their patrons send them comments. During my conversation with Cliff about my wonderful avocado veggie dinner he told me that another restaurant owner told him once that they add sweet peas to their guacamole to make the cost go down. He replied that he would rather close his doors than do that. When I called Mr. McPhail about doing a review for El Arroyo he was more than willing for us to come in without staff or himself knowing who we were until after our dinner. This immediately let me know that he trusted his cooks, and the wait staff to treat all customers with their best service.

    The day before we ate at El Arroyo Jamie, Paula and I noticed a college student on the corner of Wood Hollow and Far West Blvd. He had on a big sombrero on his head and wore a poncho. He was dancing around so excitedly that we all laughed. When we walked by the restaurant on the way to HEB I noticed a couple coming to their car after leaving the restaurant. I asked them if the food was good. The man replied "Yes, but the margarita's are even better."

    Special Stories: Chandelier, Picture of Elvis, the staff who wraps the silverware and Why is the website called DITCH.com?


       Jamie's Rescue Story


    Bert's BBQ

    In October 1970 Bert & Joyce Johnson opened a family barbecue business on the corner of MLK and Rio Grande. The original building burned down four years ago on January 2007, and now brothers Jay & Gary operate their business on Wood Hollow in the Village Center Strip Mall. The Johnson brothers love to hunt, which is evident from the deer heads, huge turkey mounted on the walls, and their family hunting pictures pasted all around. But their claim to fame is their mouth watering tender brisket and Bert's Special Barbecue Sauce that is the best in Austin. The Potato Salad is outstanding too. Actually Paula said it best when she remarked that she can usually find something wrong with one of the dished "But there is nothing wrong with this meal."

    We met a man eating at the diner who told us that he has been eating here for 40 years, and he was only 19 years old when he attended their grand opening. Their unique favorite is T-MAN A speciality of chunks of beef & sliced sausage topped with beans and sauce. and their Turbo T-Man which is a small T-Man and small frito pie mixed together.

    Kneaded Pleasures

    This hidden treasure has gotten a bad rap over 5 years ago when their free wi-fi service gave them server problems which frustrated the owner and many of their Hi tech customers. This complex restaurant has a great roomy seating area, and a few tables outside for their customers. The bakery cakes, cookies and breakfast rolls are beautifully presented in their showcase. But their most famous feature is the homemade Gelato which is made daily right there. Owner Greg Nelson told me that their foods are made fresh every day. I look forward to filming there soon with some insider looks on their speciality foods. Meanwhile check out their website Kneaded Pleasures.com it has one of the best food presentations that I have ever seen.



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Isaiah 12:4

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