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Nov 3, 2009 06:37 AM

Help me impress my daughter's boyfriend (a foodie from Philly)

Little help please. I'm a longtime Austinite and I have my longtime favorites, so much so that I rarely try new places. I'm a Sunflower devotee and I almost never venture out into the real Austin cullinary world--but now I need to impress the boyfriend my Daughter is bringing in from Dallas, so here is what I'd like advise on please. He will only be eating a few meals with us, Saturday morning breakfast before the game and I am leaning towards my old standby Kerby Lane on Kerby Lane--suggestions? After the game he is hinting that barbque is what he wants, and he would really prefer to drive to Cooper's, which I will do but I'm prefer to stick closer to home (inside the city preferably), My wife likes County LIne on the Lake. I know the purists are prepared to pounce but you have to admit, its generally open, its always predictable, its cute and it did start in Austin, I like The Rib King, but it doesn't have much going for it ambience-wise, so I'm open to suggestion--for example would the Salt Lick near the Dell Diamond qualify as a true Texas BarBQue experience? Lets call this a late lunch. Then Saturday evening we'd like to impress without having to take out a second mortgage. I happen to be a Z-Tejas fan (another Austin institution) and I think the one in the Arboretum area is very nice, but I'm open to suggestion. If I had my way, of course I'd buy a great bottle of wine at Spec's and head to Sunflower but that just might not get my daughter married off. Finally, I'd like a different breakfast spot that best exemplifies the spirit that is Austin. Magnolia Cafe, Kerby Lane, and The Omletry don't count, however I do like the breakfast at the vegitarian place on Duval whose name escapes me. I'd like to impress with Austin ambience, and inventiveness please. Thanks for the help.

Salt Lick
3600 Presidential Blvd, Austin, TX

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  1. Take him where You like to go...if he inst impressed, then he will never be. If your always gonna be trying to impress him, how is that being Texan. Good food is good food...good comapny likewise.

    1. I recommend East Side Cafe for brunch on Saturday (10am-3pm). I very much like the Huevos Mexicanos and the blueberry blintzes.

      East Side Cafe
      2113 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722

      7 Replies
      1. re: Helind

        One more thing about the East Side Cafe. If you decide to go there, make sure you ask to be seated inside the house.

        1. re: Helind

          Take that boy to Smitty's in Lockhart and buy him some shoulder clod. He will ask for your daughter's hand the next day. Great bbq, and you showed him where to get it.
          Sorry but County Line might make him think again. It was bad last time I was there.
          You sound like you are from North Austin, but Saturday night take him to Nutty Brown, listen to music, drink and eat whatever. Fun place. This saturday might be a problem, because I think Randy Rogers Band is there. In that case take him to brunch Sunday and listen to the Java Jazz Band. You will have grandkids before you know it.

          Nutty Brown Cafe
          12225 W Highway 290, Austin, TX 78737

          1. re: tuckspop

            I absolutely second Smitty's, and was about to suggest it when I saw it had already been mentioned. If he knows enough about barbeque to want to drive to Cooper's, he is absolutely not going to be happy with any barbeque you can find in Austin, including County Line and the Salt Lick. Cooper's is quite a drive, but worth it if you have the time (you don't mention if you've ever been). Lockhart is much closer, so Smitty's meets your goal of staying closer to home. In addition to the moist brisket, the ribs are usually excellent. In fact, the last time I was there, I had the best pork ribs I've ever eaten! I've also been impressed with Opie's the last 3 times I was in Spicewood.

            I like Z-Tejas, although I usually only go for drinks and appetizers. I'm normally an on-the-rocks fan, but they make one of the only good frozen margaritas in town. I do think it's a nice place without being too stuffy.

        2. re: Helind

          My last 3 meals at the East Side Cafe have been horrible. Given the 3 strikes you are out rule, it's permanently off the list. Couple "Austin" places to consider. I would do Iron Works downtown before i did County Line. A much more authentic feel to it. Consider Maria'sTaco Xpress as an Austin institution for breakfast tacos.


          1. re: mkfoodie

            Wow. I'm really surprised. I've taken several people there from out of town and they've been very impressed. I haven't been in about a month. I wonder what's up.

            1. re: Helind

              Truthfully i have watched the comments on this on this site and have never understood it since our food has been mediocre at best and the service just okay. Over the last year i have gone 3 times. My wife has also gone a couple for lunches she was invited to. The last time was about 2 months ago when she said, and i quote, "I should have known better, never again".

              1. re: mkfoodie

                I have always thought Eastside was just ok, but my wife tends to give it higher ratings. Disclaimer, I usually want meat, while she is happy with the vegetarian offerings.

        3. I think the vegetarian place on Duval you're referring to is Mother's Cafe.

          If he wants Cooper's style BBQ, you might split the difference and stop in Spicewood at Opie's. They serve pretty good cowboy-style BBQ much closer to town than Llano.

          FWIW, the Bo Luc Lac at Sunflower would win me over - don't sell it short!

          2 Replies
          1. re: brentwood

            Yeah, I wouldn't be so quick to kick Sunflower to the curb!
            I would be quick to avoid the Count Line though. Lockhart isn't THAT far (though I would go to Luling, naturally, though that's a little further) . . .

            1. re: brentwood

              Coopers is also in New Braunfels now, so it's actually not a bad drive at all and you've got the dance hall always playing good music on the weekend - very "Texas"

            2. For the breakfast wing of the trip, I'm a big fan of Elsi's on Burnet. They offer a mix of standard American breakfast and some Salvadorian fare in a nice space with warm service. I've never been disappointed with my visits there. Stand-outs include the machacado and any plate with the diced potatoes.

              1. He should be trying to impress YOU!