We are self-proclaimed food critics. Food snobs. Foodies. Whatever you want to call it, we pride ourselves on it. We know good food when we see it (or taste it, if we're being technical). As mentioned previously, we went to Austin, Texas, a while back and fell so head over heels for the food scene that we planned a return trip.
Below are the places we ate and the dishes we ordered in chronological order. In hind sight, we ate way too much rich food and felt miserable by the end of the trip, but hey.....it's vacation..... I'll be back soon to tell you about what we did in ATX outside of stuffing our faces!
Veracruz All Natural @ Radio Coffee & Beer
We cruised into Austin just in time for dinner on Cinco De Mayo - basically a universal sign that we had to get a tacos from a food truck. We headed to Radio Coffee & Beer where the Veracruz All Natural truck sets up shop before we even checked in or unloaded the car. We ordered the following:
- Migas Tacos (what they're famous for)
- Fish Tacos
- Chicken Mole Tacos
- Al Pastor Tacos
The verdict: Delicious with a capital D. Amazingly fresh tortillas. The fish tacos were my fav - they had a great mango slaw (light on the mango) and a chipotle mayo sauce. I'm not a huge mole fan, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The migas, though their most popular item, were my least favorite. Delicious, yes, but definitely not as good as the others. Radio Coffee & Beer also gets two thumbs up. The tiny food-truck park was the perfect setting to sit on the patio and watch the Texas Sunset.
I wrote a whole blog post on this place...if that doesn't say something, maybe this will. We went to not once, but twice on this trip because I literally cannot get enough of it. It is my second favorite donut shop in the entire world next to Doughnut Plant in NYC. Nom. Nom Nom. We ordered the following* (and ate every single bite):
- Blueberry Cake Donut
- Buttermilk Bar
- VooDoo Doll
- Old Fashioned Maple
- Memphis Mafia
- Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donut
The verdict: 100% fantastic. Most donuts are pretty self explanatory, but I want to note that the VooDoo Doll is a chocolate glazed donut with raspberry jam filling. The chocolate and raspberry pairs so incredibly well I can't even put it into words. The Memphis Mafia is a conglomeration of banana, cinnamon, peanut butter and chocolate - basically like an old fashioned PB & Banana sandwich on steroids.
*In order of my preference
*In order of my preference
Would you wait 4+ hours in line for the most highly rated BBQ in the state of Texas? I dropped Cole off at 7 a.m. to get our spot in line. There was a good 20 people ahead of us. I'm very curious as to what time the first person in line got there..... I ran a few errands (think: donuts, dogs and coffee) before returning between 9 and 9:30. At this point, the line literally wrapped around the building through the parking lot and down the street. It was basically a BBQ tailgate - people had coolers filled with beers, mimosas, you name it. The joint opened at 11 and we finally sat down to eat around 11:45. We ordered:
The verdict: Worth it. Glad we did it. Although we wouldn't do it again. Easily the most moist brisket I've ever encountered. The ribs gave a new definition to "fall off the bone." The turkey was meh, but it allowed us to sample their special espresso bbq sauce without dousing the brisket perfection. All the meats were seasoned with S&P only, so if you're the kind of gal like myself who likes sweet, spicy or saucy BBQ, prepare to be slightly disappointed but still in love with the quality and texture of the meat.
The Peached Tortilla
I'll be honest with you, we were not very hungry for dinner after indulging in Franklin BBQ. However, we didn't let that stop us. We headed to The Peached Tortilla, an Asian-fusion restaurant. We had terrible service, but the manager made up for it by giving us our entrée for free. We ordered:
- Mom's Toast
- Bacon Jam Fries
The verdict: Mom's Toast was AMAZING. Like, I died and went to heaven. I don't even know how to describe it to you, but think bite sized shrimp flavored toast in a sweet and sour-ish sauce topped with fresh herbs that has multiple layers of flavor in every bite. Yes and amen. The Bacon Jam Fries were equally as delicious; perfectly fried fries that tasted like bacon covered in egg yolk, cheese and chili ailoli. The okonomiyaki.....let's just say Cole ordered this and ate 87% of it. He gave it 5 stars, though.
Hey Cupcake! has a location next-door to The Peached Tortilla so we had to try it for desert. We ordered:
- Red Velvet
- Lemony Snicket
The verdict: meh. Very average. Basically rivals a boxed cake mix. The cream cheese frosting was surprisingly fluffy, but nothing to write home about. I almost didn't include it in this post, but I don't want you to waste your time if you're ever in the area.
Elizabeth Street Cafe
The cutest of little cafes tucked away off 1st Street. Elizabeth Street's menu is a mixture of Vietnamese Cafe and French Bakery - a strange combo, but a good one. We dined on the patio and enjoyed the colorful decor, perfect weather and the 1950s resort-style outfits that the staff sported. We ordered:
- Kouign Amann
- Vietnamese Coffee
- House Baked Brioche French Toast
- Breakfast Bahn Mi
The verdict: Great setting, good food. The Kouign Amann was the highlight the meal. Basically a denser croissant with more layers of flakes that literally just tastes like it is infused with butter. I don't know about you, but I freaking love the taste of butter. The Vietnamese coffee was interesting: extremely strong coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. I wouldn't order it again, but it was fun to try. The french toast was so pretty. It was topped with blueberries, brown butter syrup and a tiny bit of fresh ice cream that tied the flavors together perfectly. The Bahn Mi was good, but was basically served Jimmy John Style (all bread, no meat) which was a little disappointing.
Noble Sandwiches came highly recommended by many-a-food blog. Unique sandwich toppings always speak straight to my soul, so I was excited to give it a try. We ordered:
- Seared Beef Tongue
- The Noble Pig
The verdict: Not worth it. Though the sandwiches were good, per say, they were not worth the hype nor the price. The beef tongue sandwich was much more flavorful than the noble pig, but neither were very impressive to me. They must have hired the best food photographer in the metro because the photos on their website were much more impressive than real life.
We saved our "fancy" meal for our last night. My only regret is that we were pretty darn full and tired of eating rich food by this point, but we didn't let that stop us! Olamaie was easily the best meal of the trip. They specialized in upscale southern food and man, it embodied everything that southern food is supposed to. We ordered:
- Hoppin' John
- Country Fried Cornbread
- Salad of Smoked Potato
- Some kind of fancy fish that I can't remember the name of
The verdict: Ohmytastebuds. The hoppin' john had a soft boiled egg on top (I'm a sucker for anything with an egg) that gave it the most creamy texture to balance out the smokey flavor. It also had crispy bites of ham that were to-die-for. The cornbread was swimming in a bowl of ham juice and butter and exploded with layers of southern flavor. If Paula Dean had a flavor, this would be it. The potato salad.....I can't even. It was little balls of crispy potatoes covered in cheese and infused with smokey campfire flavor. Speechless. The fish was good, too, but everything else was so unique and full of flavor that it doesn't even compare. I HIGHLY recommend this place to anyone in Austin wanting a nice night out!
Last but not least, ever since trying Shake Shack in NYC, I can't visit a city with a Shack location and not stop in for a burger. It's really nothing special, but the high quality beef, ooey-gooey cheese and the not-too-soggy not-to-stiff bun make the best burger combination known to man. We ordered:
- Double Shack Burgers
The verdict: Just as good as it always is. So much quality for a fast food joint; it keeps me coming back time after time. Of course, we had to get a pooch-ini for the pups to reward them for being so well behaved over the weekend. They both gave it two (or would it be four?) paws up.
As I mentioned earlier, I'll be back to give you a run down on all the activities we did in Austin when we weren't in food comas. Stay tuned! There might even be a Vlog along with it. Maybe. TBD.