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Annual Trip (at the holidays) please vet my list!

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Well, we are holding to our annual trip in Austin, only this year, over Christmas for one week (at Barton Creek Resort) as always. Are there any holiday can't miss spots for a fun festive cocktail or even Xmas dinner (and my dad's birthday)? Places with great xmas decorations? Fabulous food and ambience is a must. Ambience can be any type from hoel in the wall to more formal.

Re: BBQ. We always go to Lockhart. Once we went to Cooper's and were not very impressed. Always go to Salt Lick in Hill COuntry for the ambience. Anything have better brisket than Lockhart for a fun day trip?

Re: Mexican: Are there any really good Mexican places with good ambience? We have done Trudy's (migas), Chuy's (loved the chips and salas and margs), Guerros, Polvos (it was pretty dirty on the last trip there), Curra, Angies on 7th, Vivo, Maria's Taco Xpress(sunday brunch)...all were ok...any with better food or new places? We really liked El Chile but on last visit, was just ok. We are alwyas looking for fun, new, great Mex and BBQ spots. Never can have enough.

Re: food carts: We love Flip Happy. Any others new that we should try?

Re: higher end: We love Uchi. It is our one must dine spots. Any others in this list? Just nothing French or American, as we have great American at home in Chicago and prefer something more unusual. We really liked the casual side of Vespaio. Esp. for Xmas, maybe Trio? Is that the best? Prefer not stuffy, though, and no game.

We also would love some fun festive bar spots with the family for the holiday, fun day trips with good food/wine stops, and great brunch or breakfast spots (liked west end). All recs are greatly appreciated. We love the holidays and cannot wait to hit the town..for everything! thank you, thank you!

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  1. Suggest you:

    * Add Fabi & Rosi to your list. Quite good, especially if you like Swiss cuisine
    * Hit TRIO for their $39 prixe fixe holiday menu
    * Head for Ronnie's (http://www.ronniesrealfood.com), though this requires planning

    1. Fonda San MIguel for an uncommon sunday brunch buffet of Mexican cuisine.
      Hudson's on the Bend for Texas game.
      Actually Hudson's has, or had, a food cart on South Congress. "The MIghty Cone"
      Stopping by the Whole Foods flagship store on Lamar might be a fun adventure.
      Lambert's has a notable Sunday Brunch/buffet.

      1. You said no French but sounds like you just didn't want stuffy. For casual, bistro French (and not expensive, at least less than Vespaio and Uchi by a margin) try Justine's Brasserie on the far East side. Great music spinning, neat bar, very authentic decor (check out the room numbers and bathroom signs) and good food. From your descriptions of places, I think this place will best hit your mark.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shlomoaren

          Thanks...would it be open xmas eve? what is ambience there like and what do you enjjoy eating there?

        2. For Mexican you should try Garrido's. It is new and has great food and ambience. My friends, daughter, husband and I are crazy for it. Another place you may like is FINO. The food is very good and has nice outdoor dining, weather permitting. I always use gift certificates there from restaurant.com. (By the way, they are 80% off for the next couple of days!) In the high-end category you may want to check out Olivia. It has received some national attention lately. (Wall Street Journal weekend edition a few weeks ago.) Brunch there is yummy, too.

          1. You might also consider City Market in Luling or Snow's in Lexingon for BBQ. Snow's is kind of a pain - long drive and very short hours - but I have to say the considerable hype was justified for their brisket.

            1 Reply
            1. re: brentwood

              Thanks for the recommendations. I have always wanted to try Snow's. We drove to Louie Mueller's last time and were unimpressed; I thought Lockhart was better.

              Are there any fun holiday spots or recommendations for a festive christmas Eve or christmas dinner? It is also my father's birthday. Thank you!