In Austin from Sunday until Tuesday
My husband and I are staying in Austin for three days after a Dallas wedding. We wanted to drive to Austin to try some delicious food!
We are staying at the San Jose Hotel, which I believe is centrally located.
We enjoy Mexican, Tex-Mex, Barbecue - anything spicy!
We'd also love some live music with our food one night.
Please give me some recommendations in the middle price range, if possible. Thank you!
The best BBQ in the Austin City Limits in my not so humble opinion is at Sam's BBQ, 12th and Chicon. BBQ Mutton there is incredible, and the prices are great. This style is African-American style BBQ, and as far as I know, one of the best examples of the style in Texas. Another great place in Austin recently shut down, but might re-open soon, fwiw.
For the best BBQ in the region if not the entire state, take a half hour drive south on 183 to Lockhart--try Smitty's, Kreuz's or Black's BBQ--all three rock. Don't bother with the sides. Just get meat, white bread and maybe some pickles on the side. These places specialize in the German-Czech style of BBQ, in fact, are the best examples of that style. People come down here from New York to try these places. Really seriously good. Smitty's and Kreuz's close pretty early, I think by 6pm.
Arguably the best Mexican food for the money in town is at La Michoacana, on East 7th--they have a taco stand inside at the back of this grocery store--we're talking cheap, good, and very authentic mind-blowing Mexican food.
Near to the San Jose, on Oltorf, east of Congress about four blocks, is Curra's. Quite excellent Mexican food too, pricier than La Michoacana, but not that much. One of the few places in town that serves a Mole that tastes like the real thing.
As to food and live music, boy, that depends on what kind of music you like. Look at the club listings in the Austin Chronicle. I can't think of a place offhand that has great food and great music--usually one or the other. I hear that there are some Creole and Cajun places around that definitely have great food, but they don't always have the great music there.
Agree with the rec for Sam's -- really good BBQ. Fantastic brisket, tender, moist, crusty on the outside. Note that you will undoubtedly want to carry out and take back to your hotel or a park picnic or somewhere; the place is more than divy. But after years of visiting family in Austin and trying and enjoying many of the local places (Rudy's, Iron Works, and Salt Lick, to name a few) the no frills, no nonsense meats at Sam's stand out.
As a chile relleno fan, I can tell you my two favorite places for this are in Austin. Trudy's offers delicious ones (and great stuffed avocados, too) with your choice of filling including fajita meats and your own choice of sauce (they offer very, very spicy options, too). Matt's El Rancho makes a delicious traditional chile relleno (ground beef, raisins, pecans). They are both very reasonable.
If you are looking for fantastic barbecue I recommend making a worthwhile drive to Luling and eat at City Market. It's a drive from Austin, but definitely worth the drive. It is quite simply the best barbecue I have ever eaten.