mame11

Austin, TX

54 posts in this topic

Why has Laura Bush failed to prevail on one of her Tex-Mex chef buddies from Austin to move to Washington? I have a trip coming up to Austin. Though I have my places I like to go, I wonder if Rockwellians have some to share? This trip I am staying downtown, next one I'll be lucky to be anywhere near Austin!

Thanks!

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We usually wind up at Maudie's on Lake Austin Blvd, since it's so close to my MIL's house, but the last time we were there she took us to a fabulous place on the south side of town. I'll try to find out that name for you. Holy cow it was good.

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We spent about 10 days in the Austin area last summer for my brother's wedding. We enjoyed Shady Grove for basic American w/ a Texas flair food, as well as Chuy's for Tex-Mex. It's not the most authentic Mexican...but it hits the spot for when you're craving the more americanized version. I believe Shady Grove and Chuy's are owned by the same group and are located along the same stretch of Barton Springs Road. Also in that area is Green Mesquite BBQ which has a great outdoor dining (drinking) patio. Avoid the Spaghetti Warehouse unless you're in the mood for incredibly pedestrian overcooked pasta fare. We tried to go to recommended Kerbey Lane for brunch one Sunday but the wait was over an hour and I decided that I couldn't handle that with two kids.

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When in both Austin and Oklahoma City we like to swing by County Line for BBQ. In Austin I've only been to the location on the lake...which is a beautiful drive and a terrific setting on the water.

(edited to add stuff cuz I keep thinking of new things)

If you have the chance, check out Central Market which is an amazing grocery store. It makes Wegman's and Whole Food look like slackers.

Edited by Free Wilma

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We tried to go to recommended Kerbey Lane for brunch one Sunday but the wait was over an hour and I decided that I couldn't handle that with two kids.

It's definitely worth the wait for pancakes or their queso - if you can't make it to the location on Kerbey Lane (parking stinks if memory serves), there are others (forewarned: local chain): Kerbey Lane addresses

If you have a car & some free time, don't waste your time at County Line for BBQ, hit 183 going south to Luling for some of the most sublime BBQ...it's only 40 minutes away (hang a right at the airport off 71 & keep going).

Central Market also has affordable, good eats in the attached food court. I spent many a weekend meal grazing the aisles in the store, then grabbing a pizza or sandwich next door.

EZ's across the street on Lamar is also pretty decent diner fare...nothing to go out of your way for, but still a viable solution to hunger pains.

Edited by MelGold

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When in both Austin and Oklahoma City we like to swing by County Line for BBQ.  In Austin I've only been to the location on the lake...which is a beautiful drive and a terrific setting on the water.

(edited to add stuff cuz I keep thinking of new things)

If you have the chance, check out Central Market which is an amazing grocery store.  It makes Wegman's and Whole Food look like slackers.

I still prefer the Wegman's in Sterling although the original Central Market gives it a real run. The "County Line on the hill" is an outstanding experience for a visitor with good ribs and good sides. I also think the original is better than any of their outposts in other cities in Texas and the Southwest. Having said this Mel Gold has given you the best advice of anyone: rent a car and drive to the Luling City Market which I believe has the best bbq'd beef brisket in the world. Serious. Over the years I've been to almost all of the "best" Texas pits from Cooper's to Clark's Outpost to Kreuz (original owners) to the Salt Lick, etc. (I've driven and crisscrossed all of TX a number of times for business.) The City Market is the best of all. It is an experience you will not find anywhere else; I'd also put their "marbled" brisket up with about any steak anywhere. There are some good photos of it in this link:

http://homepage.mac.com/ravnhaus/BBQ/joint...ingcitymkt.html

For Tex Mex while there are better, locally the most popular or easiest to find (on side of Interstate) may be Papasito's which is part of a Houston based mini chain. It's similar to Rio Grande Cafe here (which is called Uncle Julio's in Dallas and elsewhere) but, I think, better.

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First, thank you all for your ideas. In the end, I visited my favorite haunts with some new places:

1) Rockets--- I was hungry, dinner wasn't until much later, so I ended up grabbing a hot dog. First hot dog in 16 years. It was tasty. Chicago style. http://www.rocketburger.com/index.shtml

2) Manuels- Great place for a rowdy dinner. Technically described as Mexican but sure seemed upscale Tex-Mex to me as they serve chips and salsa. The food was good but the margaritas better and the company great.

3) Las Manitas Avenue Cafe-- Um, is it bad to say that I ate multiple meals at Las Manitas and would have eaten every meal there if their hours were better.

4) Moonshine. Happily I joined friends for dinner at a newish place right behind the Austin Convention Center. Moonshine is awesome. The menu is down home yet eclectic. As all but two of us were out of towners, the server encouraged us all to try the macaroni and cheese. I had a great salad with corn-flake crusted fried chicken and a side of the mac & cheese. Delicious. The next day, I was so busy lunch came and went with nothing to eat so I headed back to Moonshine for a late afternoon snack. I had a side of red beans and rice and side of their veggie of the days (steamed carrots and spicy green beans). The corn bread was light, spicy and special.

5) Halcyon-- A good coffeehouse, free wi-fi, above average coffee and delicious looking pastries and other homemade goodies. The music was icky which was a surprise for Austin.

Enjoy...

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I was in Austin a week ago. I didn't get out to many restaurants as I was visiting family but I just wanted to say that the Austin airport is one of the BEST food airports I've been in. The food outlets are run mostly by local establishments. Choices include Mexican from Matt's El Rancho, BBQ (brisket, sausage, ribs, etc) from the Salt Lick and Harlon's, and dessert from Amy's Ice Cream. There's the odd Quizno's and Auntie Anne's but you can totally skip those because of all the other good choices.

Even nicer, there is frequently live music at one or more locations throughout the airport. It's a great place to pass the time waiting for a flight and have some good local food/entertainment while doing do.

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I was in Austin a week ago.  I didn't get out to many restaurants as I was visiting family but I just wanted to say that the Austin airport is one of the BEST food airports I've been in.  The food outlets are run  mostly by local establishments.  Choices include Mexican from Matt's El Rancho, BBQ (brisket, sausage, ribs, etc) from the Salt Lick and Harlon's, and dessert from Amy's Ice Cream.  There's the odd Quizno's and Auntie Anne's but you can totally skip those because of all the other good choices.

Even nicer, there is frequently live music at one or more locations throughout the airport.  It's a great place to pass the time waiting for a flight and have some good local food/entertainment while doing do.

Now if they'd just add a Texadelphia or a Whataburger in the airport, I'd turn into the character from The Terminal! <_<

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Papasito's may set something of a local standard for Tex Mex all over Texas, Austin included but it is not much better, if at all, then Rio Grande here.
You are kidding right? Right? You are right that Papasitos is not much better than Rio Grand BUT I don't think it sets the standard for Tex Mex in Texas.

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... they are enormously popular all over Texas as well as Atlanta, Chicago and the other cities they are expanding into...

Joe, you should know better than to use popularity as an argument for quality with this crowd. Taco Bell is also extrememly popular in Texas. The lines at On the Border for weekend dinner here approach 2 hours, and the food is criminally bad.

My wife hasn't lived in Austin for 20 years, so she's comparing the neighborhood joints for Tex-Mex and BBQ from that era (though we do go back 1-2 times a year to visit family, and always hit some Tex-Mex and BBQ places). Have places expanded to their detriment, or rested on their laurels in that period? Probably. Does she remember them being better than they were - very possibly. But the average neighborhood joint there still tops here for Tex-Mex, and for "Texas style BBQ", namely brisket and beef ribs, there's nothing here (again, the aforementioned Capital Q in Chinatown is pretty bad.)

I will say that we have not yet been to Guajillo, but the same people that recommended Guajillo to us also recommended Los Tios and Taqueria Poblano, neither of which excited us.

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Why has Laura Bush failed to prevail on one of her Tex-Mex chef buddies from Austin to move to Washington? I have a trip coming up to Austin. Though I have my places I like to go, I wonder if Rockwellians have some to share? This trip I am staying downtown, next one I'll be lucky to be anywhere near Austin!

Thanks!

f I found myself in Austin, I'd seriously consider making a minor pilgrimage to Lockhart to try the BBQ out there. Three or four of the best BBQ joints anywhere. I am partial to Smitty's.

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ahhh. . i have such wonderful memories of plates full of chicken fried steak and red mashed potatoes covered in gravy at threadgills. . that's white gravy, not that brown stuff that yankees call "gravy." :unsure:

ahhhh chuy's. . .more fond memories. not to mention the shiner bock.

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...rent a car and drive to the Luling City Market which I believe has the best bbq'd beef brisket in the world. Serious. Over the years I've been to almost all of the "best" Texas pits from Cooper's to Clark's Outpost to Kreuz (original owners) to the Salt Lick, etc. (I've driven and crisscrossed all of TX a number of times for business.) The City Market is the best of all. It is an experience you will not find anywhere else; I'd also put their "marbled" brisket up with about any steak anywhere.

I forgot to post that I made this trek over my thanksgiving break with a friend. I'm from the Austin area but didn't really get interested in good food until I came to DC, so needless to say I had never considered driving out there just for the food before. The brisket was seriously good, but the sausage was actually what I went nuts over. I don't remember in clear enough detail to use fancy adjectives, but I do remember it being fairly oily but just delicious. On the way home we stopped in at Black's to see how the "Best BBQ in Texas" stacked up, and it was really disappointing. Granted, the place had cleared out when we got there (a weekday around 1pm), but it was still really weak.

Over the xmas break, I had a pretty decent lunch at Hyde Park Bar & Grill (the fries are great and they know it). Also had dinner with the family at the downtown Kerbey Lane location, and it was very pleasant...the place just screams Austin, and the food (I got a chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese and olives) was pretty good, especially for the price.

Oh, and Austin has some great microbrews...Live Oak and Independence both put out some stellar beers.

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Found a good cuban place off of Congress Street called Habana (I think the spelling is correct). Good roast pork. mmmmm!

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I'd seriously consider making a minor pilgrimage to Lockhart to try the BBQ out there. Three or four of the best BBQ joints anywhere. I am partial to Smitty's.
I'm still not sure what I'm missing when I go sailing by Kreuz's in Lockhart, but I'm a City Market devotee and it's just another 10 minutes down the road. Heavy weather in Houston meant that the brisket and ribs spent a bit longer in the hot bag than planned, but it still tastes great! I think I'll take them up on their offer to call ahead and ask for a whole brisket next time - it might travel just a bit better.

Some places to check out in "SoCo" (the South Congress area of Austin): Jo's Coffee - a funky coffee stand with (thankfully) shaded outdoor seating and tasty iced latte. Guero's Taco Bar - a fun local taqueria that's been around for 20+ years. Hand made corn tortillas with some delicious fillings, including al pastor (first time I've seen the meat shaved off a gyro-like spit) with fresh pineapple, carne guisada, and many more. There is a self-serve salsa bar, a long list of tequilas, and friendly service with plenty of suggestions if you're having trouble deciding. They also serve breakfast all day if you're hankering for some migas mid-afternoon :angry: !

Vespaio/Enoteca Vespaio - sister establishments sharing one storefront. Both Italian - Vespaio is the more upscale restaurant - didn't try it, but it sounds like it's popular with the locals and they have their own garden out back. The Enoteca half of the equation is pastry shop/gourmet market/cafe. I had a very nice lunch there. The menu is composed of a list of antipasti ($4 each or 3 for $12), charcuterie (also priced individually or with a break for a larger number), salads, pizza that looked thin, crispy and good, and several panini and pasta choices. Since I was dining on my own, I was a little limited - there were many dishes that would have been great to share B) . I started with the (if this is) small (I'd hate to see large!) spinach salad - lots of fresh baby spinach, radicchio, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, roasted red and yellow sweet peppers, and thinly sliced fresh mushrooms. It was dressed with a vinaigrette that was even a bit too vinegary for me who loves all things acidic, but all in all it was a very nice, fresh, filling salad. My second course was the antipasti special of the day - golden chanterelles and fresh bacon in a balsamic-veal reduction served over soft roasted corn polenta with thin and cripy crostini alongside. Very good and very rich - the super creamy polenta obviously had some sort of cheese in it. The dish was a touch salty for my taste - could have been the bacon. The place had a very comfortable bistro feel - small tables close together, tile floor, warm wood accents.

There are lots of other places in this stretch I didn't get to check out - Magnolia Cafe, Mars, Zen, Home Slice. One could quite happily spend the day wandering from galleries to funky junk shops to eating establishments!

We also hit Shady Grove (mentioned several times above). It's an easy place to go with kids - lots of outdoor seating, a simple but decent menu, and friendly service. The hippy chick sandwich (roasted veggies with grilled chicken) offset the green chile cheese fries (damn were they good!).

A visit to the flagship Whole Foods store is a must - though the one we have here in Fair Lakes compares quite favorably - and we've got the wine-tasting room!

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I am an Austin native and here is my favorite restaurant in town.

Mexican

Fonda San Miguel

This is true regional Mexican food, with representations from almost all the regions on the menu. It has been in business for over 30 years, is upscale and reservations are highly recommended unless you like to wait. Dishes to eat: Ceviche, queso con rajas, anything with quitlacoche, mole poblano, camarones in salsa verde, chile relleno, there homemade tortillas, crepas con cajeta, margarita with pear brandy!

They have the most spectacular brunch in town where you will find Chef Miguel Ravago serving you your brunch in the middle of the room, reservations are needed, however you can sometimes get a seat at the bar or the cocktail lounge. For the best service ask to sit in Tom or Jennifer's section, though all of the staff is knowledgeable and professional.

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Thanksgiving in Texas, a reflection.

My weekend was a mish-mash of things that I grew up on, trying new spots, and generally eating a ton of food (both home-cooked and restaurant). The new find of the weekend was Aster's Ethiopian, in an old taco-stand location on the IH-35 southbound frontage road at Dean Keaton (this is UT territory). I don't know how it compares to DC ethiopian, but this was pretty damn good. Spicy and savory were balanced in a very tasty assemblage. I had lamb in berbere sauce, and for $13.50, this came with my choice of three vegetarian "sides". Delicious.

I had a hankering for tamales on Sunday around lunchtime, and since I had heard about Curra's being one of the go-to places, I decided to give the Curra's Long Bar location (at Parmer/McNeil, much closer to me than the other locations) a try. Very eh. They weren't bad tamales, but they certainly weren't great.

With a hankering for brisket, and after finding out that Cooper's Pit BBQ had gone out of business, I ended up at the Round Rock Pok-e-Jo's. Big booths and country music on the radio. Dry brisket (surprisingly worse than the Harmon's BBQ brisket I had in the Houston airport...the airport!). Jalapeno cornbread that was more like a corn pudding, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Still, disappointed.

Thundercloud subs is more of a nostalgia thing for me than anything else. This was a staple of senior year high school lunches, and one summer while interning at a software company, I had Thundercloud for lunch at least 3-4 times a week. Not a holiday visit goes by that doesn't involve my sister and I going to Thundercloud and getting the exact same sandwiches we always get. California club (avocado and bacon!) for me, egg salad for her. It's simple, and the bread's not bad, but the nostalgia is why I keep going back. Seeing the same ornery sandwich lady still working there is a bit comforting, as odd as that sounds.

All in, it was a good weekend. I baked some pies and helped cook a turkey on Friday and a pork crown roast on Saturday. Now, off to the gym to work it all off!

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My wife and I just returned from a one-week sightseeing trip to Austin and San Antonio. In Austin, we liked the County Line BBQ (the lake location) and the Eastside Cafe at 2113 Manor Road (http://www.eastsidecafeaustin.com/). We ate at Eastside twice and loved it both times. The cafe sits on an acre parcel of land, on which they grow fruits and vegetables for use in the restaurant. Highly recommended!

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When in both Austin and Oklahoma City we like to swing by County Line for BBQ. In Austin I've only been to the location on the lake...which is a beautiful drive and a terrific setting on the water.

donrockwell.com comes to the rescue!

I've been in Austin all week on biz. This is my first time here. I was supposed to meet up with some co-workers for dinner, but plans fell through, so I took a spin out to the Bee Cave Road location of County Line which I think is the original. Despite my steady diet of burgers and tacos the past week, I took the plunge and had the giant sampler o' meat, or whatever they called it. Jeebus, that's a lot of meat, but I managed to plow through most of it. All of it was excellent except the brisket which was dry. The sausage and turkey were the big surprises. I think I liked them more than the pork ribs, and the giant flintstonian beef rib which probably took a year off my life. I thought the tater salad and cole slaw were pretty damn good too-- not too creamy and very fresh tasting. I ate at the ungodly late hour of 8:30, so the place was practically empty and the service was good.

Hey Don, Paris Hilton will be on Letterman in about 5 minutes!

Keepin' it weird in Austin,

Al

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Tex-Mex: El Azteca 2600 E 7th St Austin, TX 78702 (512) 477-4701

Jorge's www.tacosgarcia.com

BBQ: Stubb's (sticky and spicy!) www.stubbsaustin.com , also a killer music venue

Italian: Vespaio www.austinvespaio.com

Brazilian: Sao Paulo's www.saopaulos.net

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Having an amazing weekend in Austin & haven't wasted a calorie yet (I'll ignore the weird dry chicken at last night's wedding, but otherwise...)!

Friday went straight south on 183 from the airport to City Market in Luling. My friend & I finished off a pound of brisket, a rib a piece, a link of sausage, potato salad and beans paired with a $1.50 Shiner Bock before heading across the street to the little farmers market to pick out some huge peaches that actually taste like peaches to offset the protein.

From there, we headed back north to Austin, hitting the shops along South Congress just below the bridge. We took some cupcakes from Hey Cupcake over to a friend's house. The red velvet was AMAZING...tasting just like Mom's!

Saturday brought a stop at Taco Cabana for an 8 oz. tub of guacamole & a dozen fresh, warm tortillas for snack before a trip to HEB to pick up some briskets to deep freeze for the trip home (yes, I'm packing massive amounts of meat in my suitcase). :lol:

This morning was a second stop at TC for an egg & chorizo taco for breakfast appetizer before heading to Bouldin Creek Cafe on South 1st and Elizabeth. Awesome vegetarian options for both breakfast & lunch. I had scrambled eggs and a massive slice of blueberry cornbread with a half of a grapefruit and huge cup of coffee.

After a 4 mile trek around what will always be known as Town Lake to me, my friend & I hit the deck at Little Woodrow's for an icy cold brew before driving through Players 2 on the edge of campus for fried mushrooms & zucchini with ranch.

I'm in need of a scoop of Amy's ice cream and a Whataburger before heading home tomorrow morning, but all in all, another fun & tasty weekend in my favorite city in the world!

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Didn't get Amy's or Whataburger, thanks to a trip to Chuy's & the Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas and a swirl margarita. I'm missing Austin already.

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We got to spend a few days with family in Austin in August. The highlight of the visit was our first trip ever the The Salt Lick. Wow. That was the best brisket I've EVER had. Amazing and worth the wait under the shade trees drinking lemonade. We also had dinner at Chuy's...again. My kids demand a visit every time we're in Austin.

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