Help with first Austin Trip!
Hey everybody, I am heading to Austin for my first trip to Austin City Limits next weekend. Very excited about the city, I've heard great things. What are some must hits for eating and nightlife. All foods types and bars welcome. Thanks!
I hope this posting is not too late to help you, but I have to say I would recommend avoiding Threadgill's, Chuy's, and Mangia, all of which will be slammed but don't serve very good food. If my past experiences with ACL are any indication, after spending a day there you will be very dirty, sweaty, and exhausted, and altogether in dire need of good chow.
Fuel up ahead of ACL by hitting Taqueria el Riconsito, a humble taco truck with delicious handmade flour tortillas located a little east of Airport on Manor, for breakfast tacos or tacos of beef deshebrado. While you're there, get a fruit cup or agua fresca from La Fruta Feliz in the strip mall next to which the taco truck parks. Dose either of these up with some lime juice, salt, and chili powder--if you do this, you will hydrate yourself and elevate your electrolyte levels, essential for the day ahead of you. Whether you plan on drinking beer at ACL or not, make sure to bring and drink lots and lots of water while you're there. A couple of years ago, I suffered from the fever and chills of heat stroke after a day at ACL because of the 110+ degree weather. It's not going to be so hot this weekend, but it is still good to be careful.
If you can make it on time, after the festival make your way to El Pollo Regio on E. Riverside in the evening (they are open until 10), and bring back one, two, or however many grilled chickens you need to feed your party to your hotel--don't forget to ask for extra salsa verde--it's hot but delicious. (There are also several taco trucks in the vicinity that serve good chow--a quick search should yield good results). Take turns taking showers and making tacos out of some excellent grilled chicken and onions, and chow down on the rice and beans that come with the chickens.
If you're still up to it, do a little bar hopping at any of the places people have suggested above.
I agree that Taquería el Rinconsito puts out a quality flour tortilla and an excellent taco. I've never been fortunate enough to order from them while the carne deshebrada was still available. I imagine it would help to put your recommendation in context if you could describe your reactions to that and other fillings you've tried, and what makes them rate singling out in comparison to the dozens of other taco trucks in town. (Links to comments of others on the same dishes can also provide good context.)
The breakfast tacos and carne deshebrada were reviewed by scrumptiouschef and MPH in the conversation linked below. It also includes your comment on their flour tortillas.
Thanks, Knoblauch, you're right, I should have included other links as well as more detail in my posting. But there really is a wealth of information here already. So maybe I was unconsciously frustrated by an apparent unwillingness to research an oft-cited topic; no matter, though, the point is to help other 'hounds. To help the original poster out, about Taqueria El Riconsito, I can say that the deshebrado is perfectly tender and well-seasoned. For lack of a better metaphor, I would say that it is delectable Mexican-style beef pot roast served within a very good flour tortilla with onions and cilantro, and it melted in my mouth when I ate it. That is a cliche, but I don't know how to describe it better having not grown up with a lot of this style of food. I like all the breakfast taco fillings I've tried, which include egg and potato and egg and chorizo. I have also tried the chicken fajita, which is more like tender stewed than grilled chicken, as well as the flavorful ground beef filling (I don't think they call it picadillo, but that is kind of what it is like). This taco truck offers both green and red salsas; I favor the green for its heat and complexity (elements of citrus, pure heat, cilantro, onion, garlic, chile flavor). I don't think you can go too wrong here regardless of the filling you order, especially when you compare the chow here to that which is available at Chuy's or Threadgill's which were among the recommendations people offered to the OP. The reason I single this truck out to recommend is because of both the tortillas' quality and the fact that its more pedestrian (read: non-tripas, non-lengua, non-barbacoa, non-chicharonnes) fillings are really good.
On the other hand, for more late-night options, let me just say that I drove by the taco truck Piedras Negras last night at Pleasant Valley and E. Cesar Chavez, and this truck was doing a brisk business at about 11:45, so it is open at least that late. I haven't had the pleasure of trying it since shortly after Dos Hermanos burned down years ago which was long before I discovered chowhound, so I can't comment on the food, other than to say I remember I liked it. Others have reviewed it both more recently and positively.
In the same parking lot as El Regio which I recommended earlier for grilled chicken, and behind it a little bit, Janitzio stays open quite late, and I like its chile rellenos (cheese is what I've tried several times) as well as their gorditas. I like the way the chile rellenos are lightly breaded and fried, and I love the sauce they put on them, which seems to me like it is made with fire-roasted tomatoes and canned green chiles. I know this description may not sound too appealing, but I think the sauce tastes really good. Make sure the servers put salsa in your bag if you get something to go from there.
In any case, happy ACL-attending to anyone reading who is willing to brave the heat and crowds, and I hope you find your version of good food while you're here.
Your best report so far,very descriptive and enticing.Now it's your turn to take it to the next level of hounding.
Hit the link above and take the challenge.I look forward to your post.
And I'm not mentioning any names but there are a few hounds who I expect great reports from on the challenge who've not posted....yet.
Knoblauch,Chuckles and MPH;you're feet are safe from being held to the Chowfire that burns within but we need fresh posts from some of the heavy hitters who have yet to respond.
Exactly, scrumptiouschef. It feels like déjà vu when I read reports that recover the same territory—down to specifically-recommended dishes at the same off-the-beaten-path spots—that others have previously reported on. (It seems to me that obvious echoes of earlier reports ought to include a link to them.)
In the world of chow tips, imitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery. Doing something new is. After all, chowhounding involves blazing one's own trail in search of personal deliciousness, not just following in others' footsteps. And besides, no one likes a doppelgänger. ;-)
I’m working on a post for your "Go To A Place Never Reviewed On This Board" thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/439450 ). I hope other 'hounds do the same. While I may still be checking out the east side for months, I know that there are whole swaths of town (and entire cuisines) that would benefit from intrepid chowhounding.
As for recommendations for the OP [original poster], here are links to several threads that round up the usual suspects:
Please note that Threadgill's prime was over about 1985. And that the Mangia pizza which was delivered to my house...not what I ordered...was a whole wheat crust that tasted worse than cardboard...totally unacceptable. So, better homestyle food elsewhere, far better pizza almost anywhere...hell, I'd rather eat Domino's than Mangia....
Freddies for chicken fried steak ( or chicken ) under the oak trees
Angies for great Tex _mex..Chuys is decent,too
Iron Works or County Line for beef ribs
Salt Lick for pork ribs....much more and very varied
age is a factor for nitelife recommends, 6th st for under 30 ,warehouse district for over. SO-CO is hoppin' sometimes too.Generally speaking , but so much music that you really follow where the bands are , not the bar itself. Go to Austinchronicle.com for a clearer picture....just an opinion , Austinite since 1977...Bars/venues to visit ...Continental Club,Antones,Saxon Pub, Jovitas....and all those spots on 6th or warehouse area