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Local Fast Food of Texas


NewYorkTexan
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There has been a lot of discussion about the horrors of fast food, but there are some good options, mostly local or regional operations here in the lone star state.

Barbeque is the ultimate fast food, but that is definitely worthy of its own, probably multiple threads.

A few in and around Austin-

Taco Cabana, a San Antonio based chain – good fresh Mexican food. Their fajita platters are a good value.

Rudy’s BBQ, another San Antonio based chain. I know I said that I would not discuss BBQ, but I lied. While they are not close in consistent quality to the greats in Lockhart, they are a fine option when you want your Q fix without driving far. You are not supposed to factor in the quality of the sauce when discussing great barbeque, but theirs has a nice spicy kick.

TacoXpress - not a chain, but certainly fast food. Some of the best breakfast tacos in Austin…especially the migas tacos.

Sandy’s hamburgers

Zen fast food

Lucky dog, if you like Chicago style hot dogs.

Culvers – a chain based in Wisconsin.........good fries, much better than McDees.

What am I missing both in Austin and around the state.

Edited by NewYorkTexan (log)
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Barbeque is the ultimate fast food, but that is definitely worthy of its own, probably multiple threads.

A few in and around Austin-

Taco Cabana, a San Antonio based chain – good fresh Mexican food. Their fajita platters are a good value.

Ruby’s BBQ, another San Antonio based chain. I know I said that I would not discuss BBQ, but I lied. While they are not close in consistent quality to the greats in Lockhart, they are a fine option when you want your Q fix without driving far. You are not supposed to factor in the quality of the sauce when discussing great barbeque, but theirs has a nice spicy kick.

TacoXpress - not a chain, but certainly fast food. Some of the best breakfast tacos in Austin…especially the migas tacos.

Sandy’s hamburgers

Zen fast food

Lucky dog, if you like Chicago style hot dogs.

Culvers – a chain based in Wisconsin.........good fries, much better than McDees.

What am I missing both in Austin and around the state.

I've never heard the words bbq and fast food mentioned within the same day, let alone within one paragraph. :wink:

By fast you must mean, how quickly a cheap white roll, mounded with hunks of smoked pork, and laced with a vinegar sauce can be displaced into ones pie hole.

woodburner

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The ancient and venerable hot dog source in Houston is James's Coney Island.

Tookies is a similar institution for hamburgers in Seabrook. They have a bean burger that I am addicted to... refried beans, cheese, salsa, onion and Fritos... Yes... Fritos.

Then we have our places to pick up tamales, more thoroughly discussed here, and here.

Houston has lots of pho shops. I haven't gotten into those yet but intend to. Perhaps one of our members will fill in those blanks.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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So how are we defining fast food here? Anything with a drive through? Anything inexpensive? Anything where you have to walk up to a counter? Anything that will take your order and hand you food within five minutes?

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So how are we defining fast food here?

Interesting question. I, too, have never thought of BBQ as "fast food," but it does meet my definition, now that I think about it.

I can walk into my fave local BBQ joint and ask for a "sliced beef sandwich," and walk out five minutes later eating one of the best meals on the planet.

So from that standpoint, ya gotta say it's "fast."

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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So how are we defining fast food here? Anything with a drive through? Anything inexpensive? Anything where you have to walk up to a counter? Anything that will take your order and hand you food within five minutes?

Any place where you place your order and receive your food at a counter, I would categorize as a fast food restaurant. This is a broad group and includes such wonderful options as BBQ, chesesteaks, etc.

(this might work better if Jeff Foxworthy could read it out loud)

If you can just reach out of your car window and they hand you your meal, you are at a fast food restaurant.

If you can have a larger portion of your side dishes by saying a magical word designated by a marketing flunkie, you are a at fast food restaurant.

If they place the silverware (plastic of course) and napkins in bug buckets at an island by themselves instead of on the tables, then you are at a fast food restaurant.

If your meal has a promotional association with a current movie......maybe even with a cheap plastic toy that will eventually be recalled....., then you are a fast food restaurant.

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and napkins in bug buckets

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

If that is a typo, it has to be Freudian!

I guess that makes my entries valid. Yes, I can hear the voice of Jeff Foxworthy.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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New York Texan: I think you meant Rudy's bbq, not Ruby's.....

Thundercloud Subs for excellent sandwiches all over the austin area

Texadelphia for cheesesteaks...

Dirty's on the drag is pretty fast..

Taco's at any of the carts all over Riverside...

Roppolos pizza on sixth...

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In Houston El Rey (3 locations I usually go to the one on Washington) comes to mind for great acupulco sandwich. Good tacos as well. Counter service or drive thru.

Taqueria Laredo also on Washington has counter service and some awesome tacos. I prefer the plain fajita over the spices because of texture. The salsas they give you at the table are plenty spicey.

El taconazo on Fulton for some of the best fajita tacos around.

Royal Pakistani food on Bissonnet is a counter service place where they bring the order to you. I ask to make the chicken tikka masala as hot as possible and its great.

Thiem Hung? on Pease for Banh Mi or beef noodle soup.

Givrali on Milan and Bellaire for bbq pork Banh Mi.

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In an online Q&A on the New York Times food forums several years ago, chef Daniel Boulud made a distinction between fast food and junk food. I doubt he was the first, but it was the first time I had heard it clearly articulated that way -- and I've used that distinction ever since. Framed in that manner, I'd say this topic is about "fast food that isn't junk." An admirable category.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Culvers – a chain based in Wisconsin.........good fries, much better than McDees.

Culvers - Yes, I love their ButterBurger®. Best burger in town.

I'd prefer an In-N-Out burger, Animal style, but they're only in CA, NV, & AZ so far. Wish they'd get a move on and get to Texas!

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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No mea culpas required, Goeff.

Maybe someone on this forum will see your post, get a great idea, and... voila... a new idea for our market is born. :laugh:

That corn with black salt sounds pretty tasty. Ummm... What is black salt?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Ummm... What is black salt?

I was curious too. I googled it and got this teaser...Black salt is pink. It is used in Indian recipes and adds a very unusual flavor totally different than its aroma.

I tried to go to the link but our firewall blocked me. Look at the URL and you'll see why.

culinaryexotica.com/blacsalfromi.html :laugh:

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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I second Thundercloud. Not only do thay have dern tasty grub, but they have done more to support the Austin music scene than people know. They are extremely flexible with their scheduling, so practices and shows can be worked around. You gotta love that. I know many people who have worked there.

There is (or was) a little taco stand walk up place just north of campus in Austin, I think on N Lamar near Ruby's. 59 cents for the best breakfast taco with fresh homemade pic de gallo you will ever have. And they serve breakfast all day. I used to work at the plasma center right there and it was often lunch for me. Plus the college students would get out of the donation chairs a little woozy and venture down there to refill the tanks for cheap.

And while I'm in that neighborhood, you can't forget Dirty's. Just about the only place in Austin that cares enough about french fries to fry them twice, as God intended.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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There is (or was) a little taco stand walk up place just north of campus in Austin, I think on N Lamar near Ruby's. 59 cents for the best breakfast taco with fresh homemade pic de gallo you will ever have.

Not sure if this is the same place, but I used to LOVE Tamale House when I lived in Austin. I'm not even sure if it was open all day, so it might be a different place. It was certainly near the plasma center though...so I've been told :wink:

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I was born and raised in Texas, and I have to admit I sort of miss Whataburger. I remember that everything tasted like onions there.

Yes! My mom went into labor with my sister in a Whataburger. Maybe it was the onions. :smile:

Kelli

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In Dallas, it's Wild About Harry's for great (and I mean great!) hot dogs and custard. The original shop is still my favorite. The cookie-cutter expansion sites just don't have the same character.

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I second Thundercloud. Not only do thay have dern tasty grub, but they have done more to support the Austin music scene than people know. They are extremely flexible with their scheduling, so practices and shows can be worked around. You gotta love that. I know many people who have worked there.

Sorry, I have to be the dissenting voice on Thundercloud. I agree with you on their business practices, but have had too many gross-out experiences at too many of their stores to feel kindly towards the (mediocre, IMHO) sandwiches. Glad y'all have had better experiences, though.

As for other Austin quickies, I love EZ's and Delaware Subs. And Schlotzsky's too -- there aren't any near my new neck of the woods, and I miss them. How about Central Market's cafe?

And, I have an embarrassing soft spot for the sort-of-gross campus egg roll stands. I know the food sucks, but it's cheap and fast and the vendors are so darn friendly. Just undergrad nostalgia, I guess.

Also -- the best breakfast tacos in town are at Porfirio's. I'm sorry -- there is to be no argument about this. :wub:

North of Austin, can't beat the Czech Stop for a quick treat, even if it's not technically fast food..

amanda

Googlista

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Also -- the best breakfast tacos in town are at Porfirio's. I'm sorry -- there is to be no argument about this. :wub:

That is a strong endorsement Porfirio's. I have never been there, but find it hard to imagine that they are better than TacoXpress.

TacoXpress uses great ingredients and they make a great Migas Taco.

What makes Profirio’s so good?

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I was born and raised in Texas, and I have to admit I sort of miss Whataburger.  I remember that everything tasted like onions there.

Yeah, I was stuck in College Station for grad school, and I have fond memories of Whataburger (even the breakfast tastes like onions - not that this is a bad thing!) and Taco Cabana.

And, in the not-quite-so-fast-food realm, Snook Bakery and Slovacek's Sausage (also in Snook). :wub:

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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