I'm a great traveler, for the most part. And I never travel anywhere without a list in hand of where to eat (because room service inevitably, always, sucks).
Austin is no exception to the rule. With my list, and the advice of some lovely, friendly austinites, my appetite was well taken care of at SXSW - with the slight caveat that I never, EVER, want to eat BBQ ever again. At least not until it's summertime in Montreal.
A few people have asked about great spots in and around Austin, so I thought I would share my short list.
Along Came A Slider
A great truck selling sliders and hand-cut fries (and homemade ketchup). Burgers vary, but the shredder duck and the regular natural burger got the two thumbs up.
Chi'lantro Korean BBQ
Helloooooo, Korean tacos and Kimchi fries. A stone's throw from our hotel, these became a last-night, post-10-sxsw-shows staple, and they never disappointed. The kimchi fries were better than any poutine I ever had, and the burrito made many a hungry band-member happy, based on the in-line reports I received.
I'm pretty sure brett would have sacrificed something he loved for another one of their al pastor tacos. The wait is long, but thank god you are at one of the greatest local bars to help pass the time ($4 lonestars!). Rejoice and order more.
Juan in a Million
We didn't actually get to eat here, but that didn't stop more than one set of locals from recommending it as THE SPOT to get the best breakfast burritos in town. Duly noted for next time, Austin.
Classic great austin venue with the BEST bbq around (at least as determined from our informal survey). It was impossible to get a good photo because it was too good to let sit for more than a few seconds. I had a hankering for collard greens and fried green tomatoes, and fried okra and Stubbs gave me all three.
One word: yum.
This was hands down my favourite place to eat AND drink in Austin. It was fantastic, and they make their own tonic from scratch. They also have a cocktail that features duck fat. I was too chicken to try it.
It should be noted that I never once paid for their popcorn (thank you, lobby freebies), but WOW was this good. Just thinking about this makes me want some of their spicy-sweet Texas mix.
Cool is an understatement. Both times I had Cool Haus' homemade ice cream sandwiches - with delicate, fantastic ice cream sandwiched between chewy decadent cookies - I couldn't imagine eating a regular ice cream sandwich ever again. That one up above? It was the Firefox blood orange sorbet on salted chocolate cookies. OMG.
Best. Falafel. Ever. Also famous for a looooong slooooow sxsw line. Worth waiting, but best visited at off hours.
Please, please, go here. You have to. It's delicious and friendly, and all I wanted to eat in our final Austin days was this beautiful fried catfish tucked into a corn tortilla and topped with coleslaw and cilantro, paired with a sweet tea half-and-half (lemonade and iced tea). Food of my dreams.
Taqueria Los Jaliscienses
Make the deliciousness stop! This was a stop early in the week and the best nopales I've had outside of a few food trucks in LA.
The Iron Works
Great bbq, boring sides. It was ok, though rumored to be Austin's Best. I'd rather go to Stubbs.
The place I wish I had discovered before the end of my last day. Rocking chairs on the porch! Hidden behind the conference center! Close enough to the super weird HPMobile trailer park so you can watch all the pitchfork writers come and go along with their new band friends.
There were more places, but these were the quick favourites. If you're visiting Austin, especially if you're visiting during SXSW, they're all worth trying.
Next up, music!