mexican food

East Side Find: Jalapeno’s Taco Bar

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I went to Jalapenos Taco Bar expecting not to like it, and boy was I wrong.

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The place was small, but not cramped, and the salsa was delicious.

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I mixed it into everything.

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The ceviche tostada was overloaded with fish, and my boyfriend’s bacon breakfast tacos more than filled him up.

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Their prices were already low, but we had a Restaurant.com coupon, and the check was unbelievably cheap. We essentially had a Mexican Thanksgiving feast for what came out to be around $13. I highly recommend stopping by this place for good, cheap tacos.

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Austin Eats Food Tour: South Congress Avenue

La Patisserie Pastry

Have you ever thought about visiting Austin? Better yet, Austinites, have you considered becoming a tourist in your own town? Perhaps you’re just hungry? Whatever the reason, you should definitely check out Austin Eats Food Tours. Recently, I dragged my boyfriend out of the house, and along with me on their South Congress walking tour.

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Now, I consider myself a bit of an “expert” (heavy accent on those quotation marks) on food in Austin, and even I, Amber (Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, King of the Andals and the First Men), found myself genuinely enlightened. South Congress is a touristy street that most locals have found themselves on half a million times, and even though a few of the stops were pretty famous, each one offered something that I hadn’t really tried before. To kick off the tour, we met up by Jo’s to sample iced coffee with pastries from La Patisserie.

Snack Bar South Congress

After introducing ourselves to the group, we strolled down to Snack Bar, where the owner gave us a thorough history lesson regarding South Congress’s seedy past, and the relation her restaurant held to the iconic Austin Motel next door. (tl;dr: If you wanted hookers and crack back in the 80’s, SoCo was the place to be.)

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We were served her take on onomiyaki, which is a savory Japanese pancake, and learned about Snack Bar’s dedication to local, organic food. All the while I was pitifully trying to remove the shrimp from inside the pancake in a last ditch effort to “sort of maintain my low carb diet.”

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Speaking of diets, if you’re on one whilst taking this tour, then count it as your totally-worth-it-awesome-cheat-day-that-you-will-never-regret. NEVER REGRET! Our next restaurant was Guero’s, which had been around for much longer than I ever would have thought. A waiter told us about how the restaurant was once a feed store while we sipped small margaritas, enjoyed pork tacos, and watched tortillas being made right before our eyes.

Hopdoddy

We left to hit the next place, and received rockstar treatment at Hopdoddy.

Hopdoddy Milkshake

Hopdoddy is known for having massively long lines, and worth-it-waits, but we arrived to a table set just for our group. Zero wait. Immediate samples.

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Drinks weren’t included at this stop, but I still took advantage of the bar using my own cash, as did a few others in the group.

Croque Madame

We ate quickly, and later learned that our group holds some sort of record for being the fastest eaters, then crossed the street to Burro Cheese Kitchen. Burro is a local food truck specializing in deluxe grilled cheese sandwiches.

Croque Madame

They even do sandwiches with brisket, and offer free beer once a week! Despite feeling a bit full, we devoured the unctuous croque madames, and cooled off with complimentary water bottles. The croque madames contained everything but the kitchen sink: sour dough, smoked ham, fried egg, fontina, pesto aioli, dulce de leche…

Homeslice Pizza

It’s at this point in the tour that we started to feel the fullness hitting us, but when we heard that Homeslice Pizza was going to be our next and final stop, we decided to soldier on.

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Homeslice has consistently been a local darling amongst New York style pizza fans, and pizza fans in general. They have that “quirky, South Austin vibe” and nothing exemplifies that more than their bizarre coloring books, which I always ask for.

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With our day coming to a close, we chatted with our tour guide and enjoyed the pitchers of beer he brought to our table (well, I got wine, I actually did pretty much maintain my low carb thing, believe it or not). My boyfriend moaned that he was in a happy state of food coma as I demolished the toppings from his pizza. It was a fun, filling day that made me see an all-too-familiar neighborhood in a new, mouthwatering light. Which place would you try?

Happy Hour At El Alma


El Alma is the adorable new spot on Barton Springs that you’ve probably driven by 100 times without trying.


I stopped in during happy hour (4-7), and my mind was blown by the overall quality, especially for the price.


The margaritas are made from fresh ingredients, not sweet-n-sour mix, and the spicy one can’t be beat.


I fell in love with their green salsa, cute decor, and amicable waitstaff.


El Alma is more than worth a try for great Mexican food just south of downtown.