Summertime dining options at Iron Cactus star seasonal ingredients, perfect margaritas, and decadently delicious desserts!
I received a complimentary meal at Iron Cactus. All opinions and images below are my own.
The first time I moved to Austin was in February 2011 (yes, I moved here twice…) and the very first restaurant I dined at upon arriving was Iron Cactus on Stonelake Boulevard in North Austin. It was my first taste of Mexican food outside of New York’s chain restaurants I grew up eating (Taco Bell). It was such a special moment in my life, moving to Austin, that I even remember what I ate at Iron Cactus for dinner that night — Ahi Tuna Salad with a side of chips & queso, of course!
It was such a special moment in my life, moving to Austin, that I even remember what I ate at Iron Cactus for dinner that night — Ahi Tuna Salad with a side of chips & queso, of course!
When I lived in North Austin, <3M and I used to visit Iron Cactus on date nights (when we could afford it…we were poor, fresh-out-of-college kids at the time!) but since moving to South Austin about 5 years ago, we haven’t been back. Not because we didn’t enjoy the food or drinks, but simply because ‘out of sight, out of mind.’
When Iron Cactus reached out with an invitation to join them in celebration of their Summer menu that starred fresh corn and seasonal crab, I couldn’t help but say yes! <3M and I were excited to reminisce about our past life and see if Iron Cactus lived up to all its initial ‘new-to-Austin’ glory!
For our meal, <3M and I were each treated to a 3-course selection plus drinks. Below are my thoughts on the meal with a few truly drool worthy photos!
We started our meal with a couple margaritas. I enjoyed the El Perfecto margarita and happily ordered round 2 when I quickly sucked down my first glass. <3M went fancy with his drink and ordered a frozen mango margarita.
Although I love mango myself, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mango puree as it was too sweet for me. But, if you don’t enjoy the flavor of tequila or prefer sweeter drinks, then this margarita is perfect for you!
<3M and I shared the two appetizers, Crab Stuffed Jalapeños & Picadillo Purses. The Crab Stuffed Jalapeños had a kick to them but the cream cheese filling smoothed out the heat of the pepper. I was also pleased to find the crab to be a prevalent flavor that wasn’t lost among the spice & cheese.
The Picadillo Purses weren’t our favorites and both <3M and I preferred the Crab Stuffed Jalapeños. The purses reminded me of a shepherd’s pie stuffed into a wonton wrapper with the ground beef and specs of corn. I felt the star of this appetizer was the sauce. It left me wishing we had a bit of bread to dip it in because it was that delicious.
For dinner, <3M ordered the Pollo Relleno chicken which was stuffed with the tastiest cornbread ever and topped with a jalapeño cream sauce that made my mouth all sorts of happy! I had serious order envy when I tasted <3M’s dinner and definitely took more than a few tasting bites from his plate.
For my meal, I ordered the Hickory Grilled Salmon. This dish was delicious but I was surprised overall as I was expecting a lighter meal based on the menu description.
My favorite part about this dish was the fresh succotash with asparagus, corn, and hearty chunks of crab meat throughout. The salmon was cooked perfectly, the waiter even asked my preference when taking the order! Although I truly enjoyed the jalapeño cream sauce on the Pollo Relleno, I was wishing for more freshness and something not quite as heavy to pair with the salmon. Overall, still a great entree!
When it came to dessert, I couldn’t decide which I liked best. The presentations were out of this world stunning. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
I loved the Margarita Key Lime Tartlet for its crumbly, nutty crust and tart lime filling but the Dulce De Leche Cheesecake, made with boñuelo crust (which we learned from our host, Victoria, is like crispy fried dough) was so decadent, creamy, and perfectly sweet — and this coming from a girl who usually doesn’t like cheesecake!
I truly enjoyed our meal at Iron Cactus North and it brought back wonderful memories from my first few weeks in Austin. My advice for your visit is to start with their El Perfecto margarita (with salt of course) and save room for dessert because both options we tried, the Dulce De Leche Cheesecake and Margarita Key Lime Tartlet, were out of this world delicious!
Many thanks to Iron Cactus and its staff for a great night out!