This summer I spent three days in Austin, Texas with my fiancé, Austin. It was my first time in Texas, and I was really excited to scope out great Tex Mex and BBQ in the city. A friend of ours from college used to live there, so he recommended a number of places to check out. Our only complaint was that there were not enough meals to enjoy all the great restaurants in Austin.
Our first meal was at Cafe Crepe. It wasn’t quintessential Texas food, but I never turn down crepes. These did not disappoint. We got one sweet crepe (the Fruit Rouge) and one savory breakfast crepe with egg, mozzarella, and sausage.
That evening, we did one of my favorite things to do in a new city because it allows you to try a little something from several restaurants. I call it a food crawl or a progressive dinner. We started at The Bonneville, which has Happy Hour every day from 4:30-7. To start, Austin got the habanero margarita, and I got the pear and ginger fizz. The margarita was fresh and really packed some heat. The pear and ginger fizz was light and refreshing.
We ordered the mussels in a spicy red coconut curry sauce. The dish was delicious. I sopped up the sauce with a crusty crostini.
After that we headed to Swift’s Attic, a spot that specializes in small plates (which are perfect for a food crawl/progressive dinner). We ordered drinks and a couple of small plates to share. It was dark so pictures didn’t turn out well, but I would definitely recommend this place!
On our second morning in Austin we made the trek to Torchy’s Tacos in the South Congress area, a really cool part of Austin. We didn’t rent a car while we were there, so we walked everywhere. I had really worked up an appetite by the time we arrived, but it was well worth it. Torchy’s is a taco trailer with a big selection of unique tacos. It was hard to choose just a few.
We started with green chile queso.
Then we dug into our tacos: The Republican, green chile pork, monk special, and migas.
Satisfied taco lover.
That night we ate at La Condesa. We started with margaritas. They were so fresh, and the lemongrass-infused salt rim made it extra special.
Then we ordered the tasting of guacamoles and salsas. We sampled four guacamoles: traditional, chipotle puree and toasted almond, watermelon and queso fresco, and jumbo lump crab and apple. It was hard to choose a favorite but I loved the heat and crunch of the chipotle almond. The watermelon queso was very refreshing. And the lump crab was rich and delicious.
Finally, we ordered entrees. Austin got the mole dominguero. The skin of the chicken was crisp and the meat was so juicy.
I got the costillas de puerco. The meat was so tender it fell right off the ribs. I really enjoyed the charred corn chipotle slaw too.
On our last day, we went back to the South Congress area and had brunch at South Congress Cafe.
They had a great drink list.
We both had specials, and both were amazing. There was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it.
We did a little shopping around South Congress while we waited for a table for brunch. There were several cool shops in that area. Uncommon Objects was must-visit. It’s a huge antique store with all kinds of crazy stuff from skulls to vintage post cards to taxidermy to wood type.
On the last night we went to Lambert’s for BBQ and live music. Our server was very knowledgeable and told us that their best items were the short rib and the ribeye. Austin ordered the short rib, and even though I usually prefer a filet to a ribeye, I went for the ribeye at Lambert’s. It was delicious! I was impressed. The outside was sweet and crispy. The inside was so tender and juicy. Austin’s short ribs (that I of course tasted) were smoky and paired perfectly with a mixture of their three sauces. We also shared the green chili cheese grits (I love green chili, and it was abundant in Austin) and the brussels sprouts (the side most recommended by our server). The portions were pretty huge here, so sharing is probably the way to go. I also thought my leftover steak would have been great on top of a salad with blue cheese or as a great steak sandwich.
I would definitely suggest Austin to anyone looking for a fun, delicious getaway. There is lots to do and lots to eat.