We ate SO much and drank SO much in eight days in Austin that since coming home, we’ve been on a strict exercise regimen. It was so, so worth it. We had some phenomenal food experiences in Austin, including fish tacos, sushi, and, surprisingly, Indian food.
Best food we had in Austin
Part of my orientation process in a new city is to grab any local freebie magazines or newspapers I can find to learn what events and restaurants people are talking about. In Austin, I picked up the Austin Chronicle newspaper and Edible Austin food magazine. The Chronicle listed an intriguing event: a four-course beer dinner, pairing our favorite cuisine, Indian food, with our favorite beverage, beer, from a brewery near Austin. We walked (walked! remember how I raved about the location of our campground?) up to the Rainey Street historic/bar district to the fantastically-named G’raj Mahal for an incredible meal and surprisingly (as we expected it to play second fiddle to the food) good (and generously poured) beer from Lone Pint Brewery in Magnolia, TX. (Did I use enough parentheticals in that sentence?) The beers included two IPAs, which tend to be our favorite, a brown, and a porter, and the food came in meat and veggie versions.
Second best food we had in Austin
Another internet search we like to do when we’re in a new city: where’s the best sushi? How lucky for us that the internet told us to go to Uchi, which we could walk to from our campground. (I cannot say it enough: you have to stay at Pecan Grove.) You’ll want to get a reservation, and you’ll want to brace yourself for the bill, but if you’re a sushi aficionado, you’ll be in heaven.
Third best food we had in Austin
As you may know if you read here, or if you actually know us, I don’t eat pig, but J eats all the pig he can get. So one objective for our trip to Austin was to try some bbq. Our friend Jeremy gave us a list of the best/most famous/most popular bbq joints in town:
He said Franklin always has a multi-hour wait, La Barbecue was opened by a former Franklin’s employee and has less of a wait, and crowds at the other two are more reasonable, especially when the students are gone on holiday. We rode our beach cruisers up to Micklethwaite and J waltzed right up to the window and was eating succulent, peppery bbq with homemade bread and free beer (on the weekends) ten minutes later.
Then it was my turn to treat myself to non-pig based food. Jeremy (I’ll tell you about Jeremy in one of these posts–there’s a story there) recommended a spot that went to the top of my “must visit” list. If you are not new here, you might be able to guess: FISH TACOS. Turf ‘n’ Surf was formerly a food truck in a food truck park on the same block as our campground (there are TWO food truck parks within a block of the campground) (YOU MUST STAY THERE) and now it’s a window in a divey bar on Lavaca Street downtown. The tacos are not cheap, but they’re huge, and the two cod tacos I had were… drumroll… the BEST fish tacos I have ever had, and I do a LOT of fish taco research.
Other food we had in Austin
The tacos at the new Lazarus Brewery were really good, and I thought their saison was great.
ABGB, another brewery, has a super cool, dark, laid-back atmosphere, top-notch beer, and fantastic pizza and tacos.
Speaking of beer and pizza: Have you had Detroit-style pizza? Maybe, like us, you haven’t even heard of it? It’s kind of like deep-dish Chicago pizza, but the sauce goes on top instead of in the middle, and if you get it from the Via 313 pizza truck parked at Violet Crown Social Club and enjoy it with a beer on the patio, you will not be sorry.
If you’ve visited the southwest, you’ve probably seen Chuy’s tex-mex restaurant. The original Chuy’s is just a few doors down from the campground where you will stay when you visit Austin, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a chain restaurant serving tex-mex. The location is awfully convenient, though.
Just as close to home in the other direction is the original of another Austin chain of restaurants: P.Terry’s Burger Stand. J and Bugsy both report that the all-natural burgers are delicious (Bugsy got a bacon cheeseburger on Bugsy Day: 2 years since we brought her home!), and I can vouch for the tastiness of the fries. The milkshakes didn’t do it for us, though.
Austin is also the birthplace of Whole Foods and the flagship store is worth a visit. We stocked up on groceries (including excellent veggie burgers from P.Terry’s) and chose lunch from an incredible array of prepared foods. It’s a huge, beautiful, happy place.
Have I mentioned how well-situated the campground is? Next door to the campground, Juliet Ristorante has a lovely patio and happy hour everyday. Everyday! Because we are good neighbors, we stopped by for a discount cocktail and arancini one evening. Both food and drink were delightful.
Our last morning in town we said goodbye to Austin with breakfast at Cenote, a cool cafe with an interesting interior, great outdoor space, and tasty food.
And finally: guess what we found in downtown Austin! Voodoo Doughnuts!!!! Voodoo got us hooked on doughnuts in Denver; since then, we’ve done a fair amount of doughnut research in our travels, and no doughnuts have compared with Voodoo’s. We were thrilled to see Voodoo in Austin (and surprised to learn there’s a Voodoo in Taiwan).