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[Austin] Exploring Austin's Food


dexygus
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Hi Everyone,

I've posted an occasional comment here and there, but now that I've finally settled into Austin (I moved here in the beginning of October), I thought I'd introduce myself. My name is Renee, and I'm originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. For a change of pace, and want of a better and more affordable neighborhood, my husband and I picked up and moved into SoCo. We love it so far. I've been trained in baking and pastry, and have practiced it for the past 5 years, and am currently looking for a job here. Since I'm not sure if I want the stress of being a restaurant pastry chef, my options seem a little slim.

Anyway, exploring Austin food has been fun. My favorite Mexican place so far is El Borrego de Oro #2 on S. Congress. Homemade corn tortillas, and great tongue tacos. Though I've eaten many more Guisado de Puerco burritos from Polvos because it's so close.

Other things I've really enjoyed are banh mi from Ba Le, braised pork from Vespaio, and butter tortillas and naan from Central Market.

I can't wait to eat more!

dexygus
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Welcome to Austin, you'll fit right in with all the other Cali's that have moved here over the last twenty years. Over-all the restaurant food in the Bay Area is of a higher quality than that of Austin. But, you'll find many of the same raw food stuffs in the local markets.

The best restaurant food in Austin is all based on the cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Hope that you like BBQ. There is a vibrant oriental food scene in North Central Austin, tain't Chinatown, but...

And, October and November are nice. Wait until next June, 98 degrees, 88 per cent humidity for four straight months. Heh, heh, heh...

Edited by BigboyDan (log)
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Thanks for the welcome.

BigboyDan,

Yes, I love BBQ. I recently started eating meat again after being a vegetarian for 5 years. I've been following the BBQ thread, and I tried John Mueller's, and maybe it was an off day, but the brisket I had was dry dry dry. My throat was actually scraped up after trying to choke it down.

Kent,

Yeah, it was the pork shoulder, and it was good. I'm actually drooling thinking about it. I think it's time to eat lunch.

dexygus
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I've been following the BBQ thread, and I tried John Mueller's, and maybe it was an off day, but the brisket I had was dry dry dry.  My throat was actually scraped up after trying to choke it down.

Well, it happens sometimes. Did you ask for a moist cut? They have a new front of the house staff now, and sometimes they don't bother to ask.

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kent,

no, the staff didn't ask what cut i wanted, and i didn't know i had the option of choosing a moist cut. my question now is, who the heck wants a dry/lean cut? is it reserved for the poor inexperienced saps like me?

bill,

thanks for the welcome. i've only seen austin, but something tells me it would be my favorite city in texas, as well.

next question:

why is magnolia cafe so crowded? i've eaten there twice, and find nothing remarkable about it. the club sandwich had too much bacon in it, making it way too salty, and a pasta dish was non-descript. is their tex-mex stuff better?

dexygus
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my question now is, who the heck wants a dry/lean cut?  is it reserved for the poor inexperienced saps like me?

Haha, yes. And dieters I suppose, but why you would go to a BBQ joint if you're on a diet is beyond me.

why is magnolia cafe so crowded?  i've eaten there twice, and find nothing remarkable about it.  the club sandwich had too much bacon in it, making it way too salty, and a pasta dish was non-descript.  is their tex-mex stuff better?

Oooh, I was thinking about starting a thread about late night dining in Austin. Magnolia is not worth going to during the day when there are better options, but at 4am, it is one of your better options.

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A lean cut on a brisket is drier than a moist cut, but lean has, like, one-tenth the fat content of moist.

Here's what I say, "Gimmie' half-a-pound of brisket, mid-cut, no black." Stay away from end cuts unless you like either end-part; the difference in the cuts are remarkable. Remember, in the old days, the man behind the counter would give the least desireable part to an inexperienced customer if he could get away with it. Thus, the tradition of allowing the customer to choose his/her part of the brisket (and other meats) at the counter; a sacred right in a Cen-Tex BBQ joint.

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

The only reason to go to the Magnolia Cafe is for breakfast migas, cheap and good, hence the crowds. There are better places to eat sandwiches, Tex-Mex and pastas.

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

I'm going to throw out a place that you might like:

Cafe Josie on West 6th; try it for lunch,

http://www.cafejosie.com/pages/1/

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I moved to Austin near the end of 1980 from Springfield, MO (born and raised). My first visit to Louie Mueller's was early in 1981.

Fred Fontaine was the pitmaster then. He developed the "sauce" they serve. He called it "gravy". (BTW, it's NOT the same as it was.)

When you walked up to the counter, Fred would grab a tray. lay some butcher paper on it, then lay down a "burnt end" of brisket for you to sample. The conversation with me was ALWAYS:

Tremor: "Half pound of brisket."

Fred: "Lean or juicy?"

Tremor: "Juicy"

Fred: "Ya want gravy?"

Tremor: "Yes"

Thus started my meal of brisket and "gravy", along with the 4 pieces of white bread and pickles and onions that Fred added to the tray.

Bobby still tries to do that, and I appreciate the effort, but it just ain't ever gonna be the same. :rolleyes:

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  • 1 month later...

I've eaten at, I think, all of the Tex-Mex and Mexican places in the South 1st/Oltorf area. Many of them are mediocre at best. Let me tell about my favorite: Habanero Cafe on Oltorf about two blocks east of South 1st. Friendly, family-run, great value, great food. Try the Beef Fajita Gordita Plate or the Chile Colorado (slow-simmered pork in red chile sauce - get it hot and fresh around lunchtime). Hope you like it as much as I do.

As far as brisket, a lot of it's overrated. I had a good experience recently at Iron Works downtown because I got the combo plate. All the meats were very good but nothing really exceptional. The great thing was I had enough left to take home for another meal.

The baby back ribs at Artz Rib House on South Lamar are usually terrific, and they have great potato salad and cole slaw (no mayonnaise in either, I think). Their beans are terrible, though. (?!)

And Taco Deli over on Spyglass is worth checking out as well.

Anybody else know of any good pulled pork in Austin? I know it's a beef town, but thought I'd ask ...

Hi Everyone,

I've posted an occasional comment here and there, but now that I've finally settled into Austin (I moved here in the beginning of October), I thought I'd introduce myself.  My name is Renee, and I'm originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.  For a change of pace, and want of a better and more affordable neighborhood, my husband and I picked up and moved into SoCo.  We love it so far.  I've been trained in baking and pastry, and have practiced it for the past 5 years, and am currently looking for a job here.  Since I'm not sure if I want the stress of being a restaurant pastry chef, my options seem a little slim.

Anyway, exploring Austin food has been fun.  My favorite Mexican place so far is El Borrego de Oro #2 on S. Congress.  Homemade corn tortillas, and great tongue tacos.  Though I've eaten many more Guisado de Puerco burritos from Polvos because it's so close.

Other things I've really enjoyed are banh mi from Ba Le, braised pork from Vespaio, and butter tortillas  and naan from Central Market.

I can't wait to eat more!

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