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Not to miss in Austin area and environs


Jason Perlow
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Blacks or Smittys. I just do not like Kreuz. Blacks ribs were the best I have ever had.

Make sure you check out the 80,000 sq. feet Whole Foods Flagship store. Also DO NOT miss the Central Markets. I know this isn't what you asked for, but you will be glad you did.

If you happen to have a costco membership, stop by and grab a few bags of their in-store roasted house blend. It hasn't been quite the same since the tsunami, but it is still amazing for the price.

Have fun, it is my favorite city.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Lockhart itself counts as Austin Area... I have a car. Where should I go there? Smitty's? Salt Lick? South Side Market? Kreuz? All of the above?

Try them all, then give us a blow by blow comparison of what you think. I know everyone has their favorite for personal reasons.

And I second the recommendation to check out that Whole foods and I hear that the Central on the south side has a new cafe. CHeck out the blood orange soda for starters.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Maybe one of the locals can weigh in on this but I thought the Guadalupe River Meat Company was good. It's in New Braunfel's, just a stone's throw from Gruene Hall and there are a couple of wineries within the 1-2 block area. Dry Comal Creek is the only name I can recall but, again, maybe the locals can elaborate (or tell us that no self-respecting Texan would go there :wink:).

If your schedule and interest allows, I've always wanted to learn more about Tito's Vodka. I notice on their website that they no longer allow tours (insurance reasons) but I imagine if you explained who you are and asked nicely you could arrange an interview. That's on my list of things to do next time I'm there.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Lockhart itself counts as Austin Area... I have a car. Where should I go there? Smitty's? Salt Lick? South Side Market? Kreuz? All of the above?

Try them all, then give us a blow by blow comparison of what you think. I know everyone has their favorite for personal reasons.

I would do that, but then everyone would comment how fat and disgusting and callous I was.

Who am I kidding. I'm going to do it anyway.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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For Mexican, Polvo's on S. First is a must-try.

They have excellent frozen house margaritas (I'm usually an on-the-rocks guy, but I get the frozen here). There's lots of patio tables to enjoy this weather and the laid back Austin pace, even if the patio isn't all that pretty (it has South Austin charm :laugh: ).

The fajitas al guajillo are hands down my favorite fajitas in Austin.

Also great are the nachos with chicken fajitas. This is not your typical chicken fajita....it has been marinated in some sort of recado lending it a great orange color. An order of these plus a side order of guacamole was plenty to fill up three of us during happy hour last Friday.

Also, if you go, they will bring chips to your table, but not salsa...the salsa is at the salsa bar inside the restaurant...help yourself.

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For Mexican, Polvo's on S. First is a must-try. 

They have excellent frozen house margaritas (I'm usually an on-the-rocks guy, but I get the frozen here).  There's lots of patio tables to enjoy this weather and the laid back Austin pace, even if the patio isn't all that pretty (it has South Austin charm  :laugh: ).

The fajitas al guajillo are hands down my favorite fajitas in Austin. 

Also great are the nachos with chicken fajitas.  This is not your typical chicken fajita....it has been marinated in some sort of recado lending it a great orange color.  An order of these plus a side order of guacamole was plenty to fill up three of us during happy hour last Friday.

Also, if you go, they will bring chips to your table, but not salsa...the salsa is at the salsa bar inside the restaurant...help yourself.

For garden fresh cuisine that is authentic - Zoot or Wink is at your feet

For sushi - Uchi is tops for us!

Driskell - Chef Bull is said to be the MAN!

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Anyone know if Hoover's is still a great bet for chicken fried steak?

It's still my favorite! They've recently opened a new location up north as well, in Anderson Mill just off 183, but I haven't been to that one yet.

They're great for weekend brunch too. Mmmmmm...chicken fried chicken etoufee on biscuits. :wub:

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Threadgill's is the "You must eat here" spot in town. If you don't, everyone will ask you how you could go to Austin and not eat there.

I like Magnolia Cafe on Congress, a little south of the river. Funky little 24 hour place with good grub.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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jason

there are 4 bbq places in the Austin area that are MUST tries.

Louie Meuller's in Taylor (just east of Roundrock)

http://www.louiemuellerbarbeque.com/

Kreuz Market in Lockhart

http://www.kreuzmarket.com/index.shtml

Smitty's in Lockhart

http://www.smittysmarket.com/

City Market in Luling

If you were able to fit those 4 places into your itinerary.....I think even the most ardent bbq fan (myself included) would have to admit that you were at the best places in all of Texas. Personally, I prefer the brisket at Smitty's, but, try them all and tell us which ones you like best.

For something a little out of the ordinary, on the way to Louis Mueller's, you might want to stop in Roundrock for a Roundrock donut. They really are quite good.

http://www.roundrockdonuts.com/

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Jason - you must, must, must go to Central Market while in Austin. It is not like anything that you can imagine. I took Steven to a CM in Dallas last year when he was here for IACP. After every twist and turn in the store his jaw dropped a little further. He had always thought it was a local chain of little gourmet shops. "Bwaaaa!" he cried. "We have nothing, nothing, nothing like this in New Yawk City!" I tried to console him with a handful of tacos from a favorite taqueria, but then he cried, tears streaming down, "Bwaaaa! We don't have anything like this either!" Only a real Texas Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar seemed to help at all, but then....

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Threadgill's is the "You must eat here" spot in town. If you don't, everyone will ask you how you could go to Austin and not eat there.

I like Magnolia Cafe on Congress, a little south of the river. Funky little 24 hour place with good grub.

Sorry, FistFullaRoux, but I have to disagree on Threadgills. I used to think it was pretty darn good southern comfort food....but then I found Hoovers. And since then, most folks I talk to tend to agree Threadgills isn't what it was. :sad:

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Threadgill's is the "You must eat here" spot in town. If you don't, everyone will ask you how you could go to Austin and not eat there.

I like Magnolia Cafe on Congress, a little south of the river. Funky little 24 hour place with good grub.

Sorry, FistFullaRoux, but I have to disagree on Threadgills. I used to think it was pretty darn good southern comfort food....but then I found Hoovers. And since then, most folks I talk to tend to agree Threadgills isn't what it was. :sad:

Yeah, but it's still like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Threadgill's is the "You must eat here" spot in town. If you don't, everyone will ask you how you could go to Austin and not eat there.
Sorry, FistFullaRoux, but I have to disagree on Threadgills. I used to think it was pretty darn good southern comfort food....but then I found Hoovers. And since then, most folks I talk to tend to agree Threadgills isn't what it was. :sad:
Yeah, but it's still like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower...

Just HAD to comment on this. Couldn't help myself. :wacko:

I'm totally with you FFR. First, if we're just talking nothing but the quality of the food, most of my friends, and certainly I, think Tony's and Dot's both beat Hoover's.

But there are a great many reasons to go to a restaurant other than just the food. There's ambiance, atmosphere, view, service, etc.

And there's also history.

Threadgill's is an Austin institution. It is history and I always take out-of-towners there. Wednesday night is still Open Mic Night and the place is jammed with an assortment of the usual suspects and other characters and at any time, it's a fun, colorful, interesting and historic place to be.

It opened in 1933 as a service station north of town on the Dallas Highway. My dad, who is 85, was a student at UT, and he would stop at that station to fill up with Good Gulf Gasoline on his way north to Dallas to court my mother.

And when Travis County went 'wet,' Kenneth Threadgill stood in line all night long to get the first liquor license they granted. It's still there, on the wall, Travis County Liquor License #1.

Kenneth loved country music and when my former husband was a UT student in the early 1960's, he and his pals would drive north to what had become essentially a Texas roadhouse and sit around Threadgill's and drink beer (I think they've got Shiner on tap) and listen to Kenneth warble country tunes a la Jimmy Rogers. Janis Joplin got her start there, too, on Open Mic Night.

Just be sure to go to the original one on north Lamar, and sit in the alcove where the small stage is. Jason and Rachel could even work up a duet for Wednesday night.

I completely agree that it's a do-not-miss slice of "old Austin."

And while the food may not be what it once was, it ain't bad.

Get the fried chicken livers and gravy.

:biggrin:

Edit: So okay, as long as I'm here...

No self-respecting visitor to our fair city should leave before they:

Yuck it up at Esther's Follies, but don't sit in the front row unless you want to be part of the show.

Buy a cowboy hat, some fancy boots and a big ol' Texas belt buckle at Callahan's General Store.

Tip that hat, polish that belt buckle and scoot those boots at the Broken Spoke.

Walk the hallowed halls of the Texas State Capitol.

Get choked up along with us Texicans at the Texas State History Museum.

Admire the spirit of our 36th president at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.

Be a kid again (and watch for Leslie) on Sixth Street.

If you're too chicken to take a dip in Barton Springs Pool, at least go admire Austin's crown jewel.

Get snockered with the Bush Twins (and Nacho) at the original Chuy's on Barton Springs Road. Pause for a reverential moment at the Elvis Shrine, and then order the Elvis Presley Memorial Enchilada Combo, and buy the Elvis Presley Memorial Enchilada Combo T-shirt to prove it.

Ah yes, Austin, Texas. Where the cool kids are.

:cool:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

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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Fine then, get all nostalgic on Threadgills. :biggrin:

As for Tony's Southern Comfort, I've heard good things and it's on my shortlist to try...just haven't made it there yet.

Ahh, Dot's, yes she could cook up some mean grub. I haven't been there in over 6 years though since I now work on the south side of town and that's too far to drive north for lunch. We used to go often though when i was on the north side of town. Has anyone heard how business is after the building burned to the ground (and she was without insurance)? Last I heard, she was still cooking to-go plates out of a trailer at the same site. Any news if construction has started (or is finished, possibly??) on a new permanent place?

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I see no one has chimed in yet on Tex-Mex, so I'll add my two cents...

My favorite Tex-Mex is at a bit of a dive on S.Lamar and Ben White Blvd, right next to the Target. It's called Azul Tequilla, and their lunch specials are a great bargain at $5.50. The chicken burritos with chipotle sauce are a favorite, but everything else runs a close second. For dinner (and also available at lunch) they have an interior Mexican menu that I've heard good things about, but it's hard during the noon hour to pass up the $5.50 cheap lunch.

On a good day, I enjoy the outdoor dining at Nueva Onda. It's just off of S. Congress, and only open for breakfast and lunch.

I'm also a fan of Chuy's, which I'm sure will get me more criticism than that little slight against Threadgills. :wink: They are a smallish Austin chain, but I've never been disappointed, except for the long waits to get a table.

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For chicken fried steak, I am digging RO's Outpost in Spicewood. It's rather different, very fluffy, not really a traditional CFS but I think much much better than Hoover's. They tenderize it and cook it once you order so it takes about 40 minutes. Spicewood is about an hour away from downtown Austin and the drive through the Hill Country is always worth it.

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There are two places on the high end I'd recommend: Fonda San Miguel sunday brunch (already mentioned above), and Hudson's on the Bend (technically, I suppose, a BBQ place). There are admittedly a few better restaurants in the area (perhaps Uchi, also cited above; almost certainly le Reve in SA), but none of them seem to me to have a lot of local character.

Andrew

Andrew Riggsby

ariggsby@mail.utexas.edu

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If they are doing an "Austin City Limits" while you are there, go---no matter what style of music is performed. My stepson says there are more pretty girls at Jason's Deli than in some states. Great town.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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Jaymes, how's the chicken fried steak at the Broken Spoke?

We went to this historic, hopping dancehall a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it! Alvin Crow's band was playing.

Thanks for all the recs as I might be down that way in June!

Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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