barbecue

So, you’re visiting my town: The Food Edition

launderette-east-austin

Launderette

I meet a lot of tourists on Tinder. I know that’s a weird thing to admit, but I find it entertaining. I can’t open that ridiculous app without seeing 200 new messages from: Australians on road trips, British businessmen, touring musicians, or software engineers from out of town throwing a bachelor party. For a while, I would share my nightlife guide of where to go out (which I still recommend), but more often than not I get asked about where to eat. Well, guy-likely-holding-up-some-animal-he-killed-in-his-profile-photo, here’s your guide:

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Torchy’s Tacos

Everyone wants to know where they ‘have to’ go. That’s subjective, since you may have a certain price range, or food style that you want. I am seasoned enough to know that everyone wants tacos, and barbecue when they come. Fair enough! I get it. Tacos are amazing.

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Mellizoz

I would definitely start at Torchy’s Tacos. Get the queso. Don’t question me. Just get it. President Obama ate there, and he didn’t get the queso. It broke my heart. Also, it’s best to go to the truck on South 1st. BYO? You know it. I’d say Mellizoz, and Taco Deli are also great in their own right, but Torchy’s is special. Ask for some diablo sauce, and if you ask for anything to be made ‘trashy’ they remove the lettuce, and add queso. Another great stop is Veracruz All Natural which is just up the road from La Barbecue.

torchy-tacos-queso

Torchy’s Tacos

I will not name names, but I cringe when tourists consistently tell me they have been to _________ Barbecue, and loved it. No! That is not good barbecue. Why do you all go there?! Who is spreading lies that you should go to this place?! WHY!? Again, I’ll never tell you which place it is, but if you feel compelled to go there, and it’s not Franklin or La Barbecue, then definitely reconsider what you’re about to do. Yes, the rumors about the Franklin line are true, but it’s part of the charm. You bring a bunch of booze, show up around 8 in the morning, and proceed to get hammered for the next 3 hours. La Barbecue is going to be a lot easier to get into, and there’s a lot of debate about which one is best.

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Brunch at Odd Duck

In my last guide, I talked a lot about the food trucks you can find on East 6th. There’s some incredible Asian food, and a very famous pizza truck connected to one of my go-to dive bars. If that appeals to you, and it should, refer back to that.

thai-kun

Thai-Kun

Now, onto my favorite part: FANCY FOOD. Don’t get scared yet! I know the touring musicians just clicked away from this page, but the British businessmen with company cards know what I’m talking about. (Also, I totally will tell you when the happy hour is, so don’t panic – if I can afford it, you can too).

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Uchiko

Austin is home to the number one sushi restaurant in the country. That’s right. Yes, I know we’re not near water, and you’re not the first person to inform me of that. I get it. You’re surprised. Uchiko has got to be my favorite place on earth, and their daily happy hour is 5-6:30. Sit at the bar, and prepare to be blown away. They’re fresh, inventive, and worth it. If you’re reading this, and want to take me there? You should. #rly #yarly #srsly

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Odd Duck

Another incredible spot is Odd Duck, and if you’re looking for a life-changing brunch, this is the spot for you. They also have a happy hour, and happen to be next to Uchi, the sister restaurant to my beloved Uchiko. If you’re situated on the east side (like me!) then I highly recommend Launderette.

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Mellizoz

Now, keep in mind that there are hundreds and hundreds of other restaurants around, but these are the ones that I like, and for good reason. I would say Uchiko is my ‘must,’ but this is your trip, and you do you! There are many other wonderful restaurants that specialize in specific food types such as: Barlata for tapas, Clark’s Oyster Bar/Perla’s for incredible seafood, and the renowned Ramen Tatsu-Ya for, well… that’s obvious. I’m sure that I left a lot out, but this is a good guide to get you started. I hope it helped out, and yes, you can buy me a drink.

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Food Find: Terry Black’s Barbecue

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We made a quick stop in to Terry Black’s to try Austin’s most talked about, new barbecue stand. The weather was nice, and their patio offered plenty of seating with a beautiful view of the Long Center.

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It was late in the afternoon, but we still managed to grab some of their last brisket. Given that I can’t have beer lately (blame it on the low-carb diet), I was happy to see wine offered by both  the bottle and half-bottle ($12-$18). There were no lines, despite the restaurant being moderately busy.

terry-black-brisket-burger

We thought what we had was above-average, and even better when you factor in that there wasn’t a 2 hour wait, or a 3 hour drive to acquire it. I should also mention that given you don’t have to jump through hoops to get their food, it’s not necessarily an insane, melt-in-your-mouth, Franklin-esque experience. It’s still good though, and definitely worth a try on a lazy Saturday afternoon after a dip in Barton Springs.

Lunch at Franklin Barbecue

Moist Brisket, Sausage, and Peppers

I’d be hard pressed to find someone that has never heard of Franklin Barbecue, the place that Anthony Bourdain claims has the best barbecue in America. If you live in Austin, chances are that you’ve been before, or at least seen the lines of hungry would-be patrons wrapped around the block in hopes of getting in before Franklin runs out.
Moist Brisket
 I don’t eat red meat, but my partner and his friends are pretty much anti-vegetarians. I think cookies are the only non-meat thing they’ll consume. We woke up early, stocked up on booze, and set up camp in line hours before Franklin opened. I recommend getting there as early as 9 a.m. and bringing a chair. Bringing your own alcohol helps make the time pass rather quickly.

Once inside, the seating gets competitive. Expect to have to sit outside for the most part, and to see Aaron Franklin himself serving you from behind the counter. He complimented my partner’s glasses and I’ve never heard the end of it. “Aaron Franklin likes my glasses!”

Out of the ribs, sausage, and brisket that was had, it appears that brisket was the star (and most photogenic). I admit to taking a tiny piece of the meat just to say I did, and despite what everyone on Twitter said, which was mostly, “You’re going to be a carnivore after trying Franklin!” I must confess that I am still not into meat, but could see how people who enjoyed meat would especially enjoy Franklin’s creations.
Was it the best barbecue my partner and his friends ever had? Yes.
Will they wait in line for it again any time soon? Probably not. The hassle of getting in makes it more of a special occasion sort of thing, and not a weekly excursion.