Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Food in Austin

So I am sure that all of you have been eagerly awaiting the post about the food in Austin. Well... perhaps not, but since there are so many amazing restaurants in Austin I figured I would delve into. Also the weekend of July 30 we went to Guerro's, which is Bill Clinton's favorite restaurant in Austin, and supposedly he always goes there when he comes to Austin, as well as Franklin BBQ, which is one of the best, if not the best BBQ places in all of Austin. Since it was pretty much a weekend of food I figured I would just go into all of the food places in Austin that I have been to. This means that there are going to be lots of pictures in this article. I contemplated breaking it up into different posts, but figured it would be better to just consolidate them into one.

On Friday we decided that we would go see the bat bridge and so we could eat somewhere close to there. I had been wanting to go to Guerros for a long time, and since it was close I recommended it to people. For some reason, probably because no one else really has an opinion, we went there.

It was ok... certainly not amazing, and I think the only reason that Bill Clinton likes it so much is because he doesn't have to wait in line. We got there in separate groups, which to them meant that we weren't ready. I tried to put our name in early so that we could get a table... but.... they wouldn't let us until we were all there. I thought this was amazingly ridiculous and it pissed me off quite a bit. We ended up having to wait about 30 minutes until our group all arrived, and then... then they said the wait would be another 40 minutes!!! I mean... geez... so I asked if we could sit outside and the wait was less for that... So we got seated about an hour after we got there.... which meant that we would have to be quick to get to the bats.

Sadly, at Guerro's, quick does not exist. They were slooooooow.... and we finished dinner about 15 minutes before the bats were supposed to launch. Jesse and Trish headed off to try and see them, and they sort of made it. The rest of us had to wait for the slow process of paying the check to be completed. Also.. they don't split checks... so that was fun! :P

Anyway, the food was pretty decent, it wasn't great, and it certainly wasn't worth the trouble. Shown below is what I ordered, which is supposedly what Bill Clinton gets when he goes there. The tamale was ok, and so was the enchilada. I liked the taco pretty well, but the beans weren't really all that good.

Franklin BBQ
On Saturday no one wanted to get up early with me to go to Franklin Barbecue, so basically Saturday was just sort of a lazy day. I ended up reading and just resting up, which was nice. But Sunday, I convinced Aaron and Daniel to get up early with me and go. Franklin's is a pretty small place and they are only open from 11 - 1, well... at least officially. In reality they are open from 11 until they run out of food. So you have to get there early or you will miss it entirely.

Of course, you can also get there slightly too early. So we arrived at about 11:45 and we were the 15th, 16th, and 17th person in line. We were also almost the only peoeple standing in the sun. There were two people in front of us and one person behind us who were also in the sun. So had we gotten there a little bit later.... lol

The people in front of us

Anyway, we had to wile away the time as we stood in line so we basically just talked about random topics and we played some triva and soon... although not soon enough given that we were standing in the sun, the doors opened. The picture below was taken slightly before that and you can see the line stretching past the building. It actually wrapped around the building... so there were a lot of people. At it was 11 AM on a Sunday!!
The people behind us
Anyway, we got inside and soon we were at the counter, Franklin, the owner, is actually a cool guy and ... given the quality of his food, very skinny. He is the guy in the blue shirt on the right side of the picture below. He also did all of the serving, which was cool and he clearly has a lot of pride in his food.

Soon we ordered and got our food. I wanted to try as much as possible, so I ordered..... every kind of meat. I figured that I could use it as leftovers. We were also pretty lucky since we got a table. It was pretty annoying, people would sneak inside and steal tables when they weren't even close to being able to eat. Franklin said that he would find us a table if there wasn't one, which was really cool. Below is my very very full tray of stuff. You can easily see the sausage, but I also got... pulled pork and brisket and ribs... lol.. and coleslaw, and bourbon banana pie.... so... it was a lot of food.
OMG... so much food. (I didn't eat it all)

Since they deserve there own close ups, I have included pictures of the individual meats. The first one were the ribs... and ... they were amazing!! Easily the best ribs that I have every had, just so tender and fall off the bone and succulent and wonderful.

Just looking at this picture makes we want them

Next is the Brisket and the pulled pork. The Brisket was also amazing. I actually liked it a lot more when I reheated it, it was easily the best of the 4 meats as leftovers... it just held it's flavor really really well. THe pulled pork was ok, but.... very overshadowed by the first two.

The finally two items are the sausage and the bourbon banana pie. The sausage was pretty good, again overshadowed by the ribs and brisket, but the Pie was really really good. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect since it was mostly a BBQ/meat place, and the sides were pretty lackluster. But it was very good. I was pretty full at the time, so I shared it with Aaron and Daniel

As we left the place I snapped a picture of the line. It was still back to the end of the building.... This was an hour after the opened. So Franklin BBQ is getting a lot of people coming and waiting... and I have to say, it was very very worth it! The food was amazing.
The suckers who got there too late

One of my roommates favorite... By far my roommate Andy's favorite restaurant in the entire world, Chuy's is located in Austin, and he managed to convince us to go 3 times before I got tired of it.

The food there is ok, nothing special and I don't really understand why he loves it so much. They serve a texmex style of food as the two pictures below show. One of the cool things about the second Chuy's that we went to was that it was the place where Jenna Bush got arrested for a DUI! So that was interesting... I tried to tell myself that I was sitting in the booth were it happened, especially since Andy was talking about underage drinking... but it just wasn't happening

Overall, the food is decent, but nothing special, and I don't really recommend this place if you are only in Austin for a few days... or really... I don't recommend it at all.

Mangia's is a local pizza place that comes highly recommended by locals. And the pizza is ok, Jacob and Kyle didn't really like it so I ended up getting to eat most of it. It was chicago style deep dish with the sauce on top... which I haven't had much, but I enjoyed it. I thought it was better as cold pizza though. :) (I am sure that those sentiments are not shared by many people).

Taco More
The only other place that I have extensive pictures of is Taco More, which is a very, very authentic mexican place. When Daniel and I went there, we were the only non-hispanic people there. And when we went a second time with people from work so that Guillermo could go, we were again the only non-hispanic people there. It was a little bit intimidating at first, particularly since in the evening there was only one guy who spole english. But we managed. I ordered two tacos as well as a Gringa de Pastor, which is basically a little quesadilla with martinated pork.

They also had an amazing salsa bar, so it was fun trying all the different types. There was one that was super hot. The second time we went, guillermo, who loves spicy food tried it and at first he just poured in on his taco and was like, oh yeah, this is probably a 7 or something. As time went by he kept revising his estimate, all the way up to 9, and soon was just barely dripping it on his tacos.

The second time I went I got a cubano sandwhich.. there was another name, but I can't recall it, and a breakfast taco. The sandwhich was excellent and very filling, and the breakfast taco was also good.
Jesse got crunchy quessidillas which are much bigger than the actual quesidillas for the same price, they looked pretty good.

Finally, for some reason, maybe because we had 8 people, they gave us dessert... on the house! That was amazing. They had some tres leches cake, which is cake soaked or made with 3 kinds of milk and then some jello stuff and some candy bars. Jacob got a candy bar...... I went with the cake. It was really really good. So I think I made the right choice. I can get a snickers any time :p.

Other Restaurants of note

Fabi and Rosi, which is a really fancy European styled place. I went there for a group intern dinner and it was great. The food was amazing and the dessert was excellent. It is a little expensive, but really really good and worth a visit.

Torchy's Tacos A local taco place, that has really good cheap tacos, not as authentic as Taco More, but still very good. I like the Fried avocado one and the Democrat. Todd says there are two camps, Taco Deli and Torchy's. After being to both places, I am very solidly in the Torchy's camp.

Freebird Burritos This is a local burrito place that is pretty good. I didn't think they were incredible, but the food was good. However, of note is the fact that they make a super monsterburrito... which is really huge. We went there for Nico's last lunch. He got one... he is pictured with it below..... He said that was a small one. There is no way that I could eat that, but he finished it with ease.

Rudy's Rudy's is probably the second best BBQ place that I have been too. But I didn't make it to salt lick, so I am pretty sure those places were better. Kyle went to both places and enjoyed Salt Lick more, so I trust him.

Lick it, Bite it, or Both This is a local cupcake place that I went to. They make really good cupcakes. They are flat tops, which means the frosting is sometimes a little over the top, but they were really good. I particularly liked the Peanut butter ones (3 at the bottom).

The Monument Cafe I already talked about this place, but this is best southern food in the area. It is a little far away, about a 25 minute drive, but the food was sooo good, and they have fried pie!

I am sure that I am leaving a place or two out.... and I certainly haven't been to all of the places that I want to go too here, but this is a pretty good primer.

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