Ok so maybe the title is a bit of an exaggeration. If you’ve never been to Austin, let me tell you, one weekend was not nearly enough time to eat and drink my way through it. I wish I had been there for a solid week to try all the places that intrigued me, alas I was only there for a weekend bachelorette getaway and therefore really did he best I could… I mean it… My scale can testify to that fact.
One of the things I loved best about Austin was the amount of food truck areas around the whole city. There could be a lone one on its own or a cluster of up to five, but they were everywhere! It made my group wonder if Austin is where the food truck phenomenon actually has its roots… I’ll have to look that up sometime. I did not get to experience it as much as I would have liked, I really should go back and just have a food truck trip.
I would like to share where I did make it to in Austin, both the highs and lows of my food and drinking experiences. I came to the conclusion that the best way to do this is in bullet form (hey Texas is a gun state after all…. Sorry bad joke). Anywho here’s my run down (in no particular order) enjoy!
- East Side Show Room : Our group went here for dinner on a Friday night. Walking in, we were instantly awed by the atmosphere. Exposed brick walls, thick rich red velvet curtains, and flickering candles. The owners definitely nailed it with the decor. It becomes a restaurant you almost don’t want to leave. All the food was delicious, as well as the cocktails. The family style menu is great because it allows you to order and taste multiple items without stuffing yourself. The service was also amazing, that is until the end of the night. We were sitting at our table for six with the food finished, but still sipping our drinks when a server that had no involvement in our table previously came up and started asking what we were doing for the rest of the night. The server then went into a sales pitch for a bar we should go to down the street that has a cocktail special, oh but oops it’s after 10pm and the special ends at 11pm so we better hurry down there. I can tell you that our table all had confused looks, why was she approaching our table in the first place? and why giving us an unsolicited pitch on another place to go for cocktails? well….. about 5 minutes before this happened one of my dinner companions had made a trip to the ladies room. On the way she witnessed our sweet (or so we thought) server asking the other server for help in getting us to leave the table so that she could turn it over. If the tip hadn’t been included in our bill then that incident right there would have caused a great reduction. That one mistake ruined all the good service that had come before. When our server later came to get our payment for the bill,I stressed our apologies for the length of time we were taking. I hope I got the point across that we knew what they were doing and we were not impressed. This was not a cheap restaurant and I would have expected more class then that from them. Website HERE.
- Kerlin BBQ : One of many road side BBQ food truck spots that can be found throughout Austin. While I didn’t get to try much to compare, Kerlin was a great one. Friendly husband and wife team that obviously know how to smoke their meat! I got the pork ribs that literally could be eaten with a knife and fork. Can be ordered in a quantity as small as a 1/4 lb and up to multiple lbs. Accompanying the ribs, I ordered their creamed corn with bacon and chipotle. The corn was delicious, the chipotle wasn’t needed but didn’t take away from it either. Website HERE.
- Veracruz Tacos : With 2 food trucks around Austin, Veracruz knows how to serve quality food. A delicious assortment of tacos (including breakfast tacos), quesadillas, and tortas to satisfy any craving. I went with the Al Pastor which has always been my favourite Mexican taco and it did not disappoint. Make sure you add avocado as it adds the perfect compliment of creaminess. As well you have to order one of the Agua Frescas, my go to is always Pineapple which was absolutely delicious, any of them will satisfy your thirst and make you feel like you are lying out in the sun in Mexico. Website HERE.
- Dive Bar & Lounge : Fun little spot that has amazing craft cocktails along with a good selection of craft beer. Come here to either start or end your evening. Regardless of when you are there, the vibe is positive and fun and the bartenders are up to any cocktail challenge you pose. Website HERE.
- Magnolia Cafe South : a popular spot for a solid diner type breakfast. I wasn’t wowed but it was decent enough for breakfast and the service is great. Try their pancakes, each one is the size of a plate! Website HERE.
- Guero’s Taco Bar : I saw this spot as I was walking down South Congress checking out all the shops. It is a full service restaurant in an historic building from the 1800’s. I hit up the taco stand they have set up next door as a part of Guero’s Oak Garden, an outdoor bar and music area that is the perfect place to rest your tired feet. This is also where I got my truly authentic Tacos Al Pastor. Other places in Austin were good, but this spot was exactly like in Mexico City at a roadside taco stand. The only miss was they only did a single corn tortilla rather then a double, so it’s a bit messier but every bite was like heaven! Website HERE.
- Cuvée Coffee : After checking out some more tourist sites in Austin one day I decided I needed somewhere to sit and take a load off for a bit. I googled best cafe in Austin or something to that effect and found there was a Cuvée coffee quite close to where I was staying. I made my way over and it was the perfect spot. Set in a warehouse type building there was a good number of chairs out in front of the building to catch the late afternoon sun. Inside you can choose from high and low top tables and a coffee bar to sit at. The unique thing about Cuvée is that while you can get a range of coffee drinks to satisfy your craving, they also have a number of craft beers on tap if thats more your thing. Website HERE.
- La Condesa : this was our last night dinner and what a wonderful way to end the weekend. Contemporary Mexican food designed to be ordered family style. Portions are not too large allowing you to order and try an array of dishes. The Venison tacos were probably my favourite as it was such a unique concept and the venison was incredibly tender. I left wishing I had a second stomach to fit more of the delicious food into. Website HERE.
- Hula Hut : A fun Tex-Mex restaurant with a Polynesian twist right on Lake Austin. This is not a place to go for gourmet food but rather a fun somewhat corny tiki experience. Family friendly casual dining experience. If weather is agreeable sit outside overlooking the lake. Website HERE.
- Casa Colombia : East Austin local South American restaurant. Excellent food at excellent prices. Satisfy your craving for a margarita while m
unching on a variety of Colombian, Venezuelian, and other South American yum
miness. I had the arroz con pollo which was pretty literal. Ri
ce with chicken and veggies mixed in. It may have looked simple but the taste was anything but, this was the most flavourful rice dish I have ever had. On the side where also sweet plantains. I have never been a fan of plantains but these ones were amazing, sweet with a crispy outer layer and perfectly cooked inside. Website HERE.