Jan 10, 2024 - News

Desert Island dish with Austin's Amir Hajimaleki

Photo Illustration of Amir Hajimaleki inside a bottle on a beach.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Courtesy of Amir Hajimaleki

Amir Hajimaleki tends many pots.

Background: Hajimaleki, who grew up cooking with his mother and grandmother, moved to Austin from Iran as a 9 year-old. He attended Anderson High and graduated from Westwood.

  • In America, he tells Axios, he was exposed to a "melting pot of cuisine."

As part of a running feature about Austin chefs' favorite meals, we talked with Hajimaleki about the one dish he would take with him on a desert island.

What's the one dish you'd want with you on a desert island?

"As far as sentimental, I'll go with fesenjoon — a Persian mole, with a pomegranate-braised chicken thigh, served over basmati rice. We serve it at District. Grandma taught me what to do. Otherwise, from the godfather of Austin sushi, Smokey Fuse at Musashino, the albacore belly, with a slight sear on top. Because of the fat, it gets a smoky taste to it. That bite, man, every time I go, it's perfect."

You can bring along a dessert. What's it going to be?

"I'm not a big dessert person. In Iran our desserts are not as sweet — they're more on the savory side. So I like something like the chocolate croissant at Abby Jane Bakeshop."

You're also allowed to bring along a drink.

"The beverage director at Keepers offers something called the Doctor's Order, with a pineapple mezcal. If I'm on an island, that's what I want, served in a pineapple glass. It's a really, really good cocktail. Also, anything Justin Lavenue makes at the Roosevelt Room leaves me so happy."

If you go: District Kitchen + Cocktails has locations at the intersection of Shoal Creek Blvd. and Anderson Lane and by Slaughter Lane and Escarpment.

  • Oasthouse has locations on FM 620 and by Slaughter Lane and MoPac.
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