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Mar 3, 2009 08:15 AM

One day in Austin - what's great to eat?

I'll be in Austin for one day next week (visiting from NYC) - where can I absolutely not miss eating? I'm up for just about anything as long as it's tasty, the two caveats being a) inexpensive is better and b) I don't eat beef, so pork bbq is fine but no brisket for me. Near downtown is best; I'll be spending most of the day walking around there. (It was supposed to be a campus visit to University of Texas, but then I got into Yale. The airline wants to charge me more to cancel the ticket than my hotel room will cost for the trip, so I'm sightseeing instead.) Thanks!

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  1. Whoa. First you say you chose Yale over UT, then you say you don't eat beef. I guess it's a good thing you'll only be here one day.

    Just kidding! Although in general the prime don't-miss food around these parts is barbecue, and that means brisket. But at most places that have good brisket the pork ribs are usually pretty darn good, too, so you're not totally out of luck. If you want to make the drive to the best barbecue places, Smitty's and Kreuze's in Lockhart and City Market in Luling, it's about a 45-minute drive each way, so factor that into what else you want to do. Otherwise there's Sam's barbecue, just east of downtown, and you might want to check out some Tex-Mex; El Chile is good and close to downtown. Those two - barbecue and Tex-mex - are the two main food groups that are really good here, not so much where you're from....

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bat Guano

      Yale offered me way more money; can't argue with that these days... Thanks for the recs! I've got a few days in Tucson before I head over to Austin, so I'm looking forward to some good Mexican/Tex-Mex/bbq over the next week :-)

      1. re: Bat Guano

        House PArk BBQ is really proud of their pork loin, though i've never had it. Maybe some other hounds can help with this

        1. re: TroyTempest

          If you like sushi, a wonderful and unique dining experience in Austin is Uchi. Not your ordinary rolls and sashimi -- a lot of very innovative small dishes with amazing garnishes and sauces. If you go early, they offer some "happy hour" food discounts that when I went were only $5 per dish.

          Sam's is the best BBQ actually near downtown Austin (on the east side) but it is really, truly divy -- you may want to take it out to a park or back to your hotel, and they are open very late. Unfortunately, brisket is what they do best, though they do ribs and chicken. If you don't eat beef you may not eat mutton -- it is an unusual specialty of theirs.

          Amy's is fun for ice cream -- while a bit touristy it is also a kid favorite, and the scoopers do some impressive tossing and catching. There is a stand or small place that does stuffed crepes called Flip Happy or something like that. There are some cute breakfast places, such as Kerbey Lane. A great place for monster burgers and hotly spiced dogs and fries is Casino el Camino, but alas that is a punkish bar and you are probably underage. Scan this board for other ideas, and congrats and best fortunes at Yale -- you should be proud to get into the second-best university in CT.

          1. re: nosh

            I'm of age - going to grad school (good way to avoid the job market for a few years til things settle down...). Thanks for the recs - and keep 'em coming!

          2. re: TroyTempest

            House Park does have excellent pork loin, with a decent crust and a good smoke ring. Also, the chicken there is the best I've had in Austin. If I had to pick one 'que restaurant in Austin, House Park (12th just west of Lamar, open 11:00-2:20 weekdays), that would be it.