One Dinner (and a Breakfast)
D.C. Hound here, finally able to visit Austin after many years away. My profoundest apologies, but I need quick advice, as in, tonight. Only just now firmed up my plans. Looking for dinner tomorrow evening and breakfast on Wednesday. I've perused the board, and many of your wonderful threads -- including the many compilations by the indefatigable MPH -- but don't yet have any clarity on what the obvious choices should be.
Parameters for dinner:
1. Not *extremely* formal or expensive. Doesn't have to be a ive; but that would fone, too, if that's where the best food is.
2. Not *extremely* noisy -- i.e., must be able to hold a conversation with a half-dozen other folks. But can be lively, of course.
3. Seating for seven, including two youngsters.
4. Must have good vegetarian options (alas, I think this means no on Smitty's -- perhaps another time).
5. Most importantly, great food that I can't get in D.C. I was *assuming* this meant Tex-Mex (once Lockhart is out of the picture), but perhaps not. Of the Tex-Mex places, are there uniform (or close to it) raves for El Chile, Angie's, Las Comales, El Meson -- or somewhere else? (I'm not even sure all these are Tex-Mex.)
Breakfast: Preferably walking distance from the Driskill -- or a manageable cab ride. Other than that -- simply great food I can't get in D.C.
Thanks so much in advance!
Out of those options you named, El Chile is probably your best bet for vegetarian. It shouldn't be too loud on a Wednesday. I am not sure if Angies or El Meson are even open at night during the week.
A cab ride from the driskill opens up most of Central Austin. Habanero on Oltorf and S. 1st would be a good choice for mexican breakfast. El Sol y La Luna offers some more interior mexican options on S. Congress with the S. Congress atmosphere, though I think their food has slipped in the last couple of years.
Angie's closes after lunch so that is out. I think El Chile is a good choice for you. Hip area, veggie friendly, kids should be fine, great salsa. Be aware that it is interior Mexican and not Tex-Mex.
For breakfast, Cafe 1886 in the Driskill is supposed to be really good. Never been there, but here is the link:
If you head to the South Congress area you will have El Sol y La Luna, South Congress Cafe (brunch everyday begins at 10 am), and the ubiquitous Magnolia. All would make a tatsy meal.
I would skip El Sol y La Luna. Service has always been terrible when I've gone and the food is either not good or nothing special. The breakfast at Austin Java is also nice if your not wanting tex mex breakfast. (There is one at 12th and Lamar and one on Barton Springs...both a quick cab ride from you). Their french toast is really tasty, and I'm also a fan of their benedicts. Both have a nice Austin-y feel to them. The one on Barton Springs is also close to Zilker, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, or the Botanical Gardens for a nice outdoor activity.
re: El General
Report: Plane delayed this a.m., so I was able to have breakfast at Las Menitas. Great spot, wonderful character -- but the migas really didin't compare to those at Angie's, especially taking into account the corn tortillas. (OJ was really good, though.) Angie's is a gem.
As I mentioned above, dinner at El Chile was great. Last night, I was with a group of nine that dined at the County Line. I don't have much by way of Texas BBQ to compare it to, but it was pretty forgettable. Next time, I'll try to schedule time for a trip to Lockhart. (We tried for a table at Uchi or Lockhart's, but in both cases the wait was upward of 1.5 hours!)
Anyway, thanks to everyone for the great advice. It was a very successful couple of days of chowing -- and it'll only take me a week or two of fasting to work it off!