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Dining lineup

t
tbooth Sep 21, 2010 11:05 AM

Looking for input concerning dining choices for long weekend trip to Austin in October - no football game. I have done a fair amount of research.

My current thoughts are...

Thursday. Lunch - City market in Luling for BBQ
Dinner - Uchi
Friday. Lunch - Baguette House (Vietnamese sandwich)
Dinner - Olivia
Saturday. Lunch - Franklin's BBQ vs Taco truck
Dinner - Perla's
Sunday. Brunch - La Condesa

Uchi is a sure thing, but I am unsure about Olivia (Wink, Parkside, Paggi House and Odd Duck are options). We (couple) have never been to Austin. I like the seafood option at Perla's, but it is not a given. Always open to suggestions. Driving in from Dallas, do not want to drive to much once we arrive (Luling being the exception)

Thanks

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Uchi Restaurant
801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Baguette House & Cafe
10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

Paggi House
200 Lee Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78704

La Condesa
400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

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  1. m
    missmitzi RE: tbooth Sep 21, 2010 11:37 AM

    The line up looks solid to me. As for Olivia, if the evening is nice, perhaps you should dine on the patio at the Paggi House instead. The patio is beautiful and relaxing. The food is obviously also top notch. Enjoy your trip and please report your thoughts!

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    Paggi House
    200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704

    1. t
      topodrinko RE: tbooth Sep 21, 2010 11:55 AM

      i went to La Condesa one weekend ago for Sunday brunch and was greatly disappointed.

      I ordered Huevos Condesa and dining companion ordered the BLT. My dish had pools of grease and was incredibly salty. the lack of textural contrast was off putting. The BLT was really, really pathetic. I would recommend going elsewhere for brunch. Maybe Lambert's would be a good substitute... There is a breakfast thread going right now with lots of options, too.

      I think Perla's is a great choice. They have great oysters, great outdoor seating, and a simple menu that really showcases the ingredients. I hope the weather will be nice for your stay and you can enjoy a leisurely dinner on the patio. (As a site note, i got the softshell crab BLT there and it was just ok. I must have bad luck with BLT's at higher end restaurants)

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      La Condesa
      400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

      1. Thorkel RE: tbooth Sep 22, 2010 02:07 PM

        I've never eaten at La Condesa, but I know that brunch at Green Pastures can't be beaten in this hemisphere. Great food and LOTS of it, and a really wonderful setting in an old house that looks like something out of Gone With The Wind.

        For a different take on brunch, try Vespaio Enoteca. They have fantastic food. And, for people who may have gluten-related allergies, they have lots of dishes that do not include wheat.

        For great barbeque at lunch, you could stop in Lockhart and hit either Smitty's or Black's. The one time I ever ate in the Luling City Market, I was not impressed.

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        Vespaio
        1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

        Enoteca
        1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

        Green Pastures Restaurant
        901 W Live Oak St, Austin, TX 78704

        City Market
        633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

        La Condesa
        400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

        1. b
          brentwood RE: tbooth Sep 22, 2010 06:10 PM

          Welcome to Ausin! Excellent choices, for sure. I prefer Wink, but any of your Friday options are excellent.

          If you want banh mi, I'd also consider Tam Deli. Definitely more charm and character than Baguette House. They have a garlic shrimp banh mi that's pretty unique, a lovely banh tom (shrimp and yam fritter), and excellent house made cream puffs. But Baguette House is still quite tasty.

          Get to Franklin early if you want BBQ.

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          Baguette House & Cafe
          10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

          Tam Deli & Cafe
          8222 N Lamar Blvd Ste D33, Austin, TX 78753

          3 Replies
          1. re: brentwood
            p
            puddles RE: brentwood Sep 30, 2010 06:21 PM

            Hear hear. Baguette House is fine, but I'd hit Tam Deli instead. Opinions will vary, but they get my vote for a comparable Banh Mi, and loads of other goodies you can't get at BH. Rice Wraps... mmm

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            Baguette House & Cafe
            10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

            Tam Deli & Cafe
            8222 N Lamar Blvd Ste D33, Austin, TX 78753

            1. re: puddles
              amysuehere RE: puddles Oct 1, 2010 05:28 AM

              This is a third for Tam Deli.

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              Tam Deli & Cafe
              8222 N Lamar Blvd Ste D33, Austin, TX 78753

              1. re: puddles
                TroyTempest RE: puddles Oct 1, 2010 11:00 AM

                A little further North, I like Thanh Ni as much as Tam Deli for Viet. Sandwich. Good Spring rolls as well.

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                Tam Deli & Cafe
                8222 N Lamar Blvd Ste D33, Austin, TX 78753

            2. g
              gilintx RE: tbooth Sep 22, 2010 08:55 PM

              I've never been to La Condesa, so I can't really comment on their brunch. Two brunches I have been to, and which I can heartily recommend are Fonda San Miguel and Lambert's. Fonda San Miguel is Mexican, in case you hadn't already guessed, and Lambert's is upscale barbecue. Neither is cheap, but they are both worth what they ask for it.
              I've not been to Olivia either, mostly because it seems to get mixed reviews. I can say that both Paggi House and Parkside have made some great dinners for us.
              Having only eaten at Uchiko, I can only speak for that place, but I can tell you that it was a meal that truly blew my mind. I assume that Uchi is similarly impressive.

              -----
              Uchi Restaurant
              801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

              Paggi House
              200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704

              Fonda San Miguel Restaurant
              2330 W North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756

              La Condesa
              400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

              7 Replies
              1. re: gilintx
                amysuehere RE: gilintx Sep 23, 2010 01:20 PM

                I personally like Uchico much better all around. It's still loud but not deafening like Uchi.

                We went to Lamberts for brunch recently and yeah, it was $30 p.p. but the a la carte (included in the price) were a real treat. The brioche french toast looked amazing, but I was too full by then.

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                Uchi Restaurant
                801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                1. re: amysuehere
                  t
                  tbooth RE: amysuehere Sep 24, 2010 08:06 AM

                  Thank you so much for your suggestions.

                  I have accordingly modified my food itinerary.

                  Thursday lunch - Luling or Lockhart
                  Thursday Dinner - Uchiko instead of Uchi
                  Friday Lunch - Tam Deli
                  Friday Dinner - Parkside - the menu looks so good!
                  Saturday Dinner - Asti (a bit out of left field, but Parkside appears seafood centric and an italian meal at the end of a look food weekend seems right)
                  Sunday Brunch - Tough one, I am not a fan of the buffet, still thinking of La Condesa, but what about Sazon. Any additional non-buffet suggestions would be appreciated.

                  Sorry, I think of food alot.

                  -----
                  Uchi Restaurant
                  801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                  Sazon
                  1816 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                  La Condesa
                  400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

                  Tam Deli & Cafe
                  8222 N Lamar Blvd Ste D33, Austin, TX 78753

                  1. re: tbooth
                    n
                    NirvRush RE: tbooth Sep 24, 2010 08:21 AM

                    i love sazon! idk if i would have thought about it for brunch, usually do dinner there. but i have had brunch there once. there was an item w/ eggs, ham, and black beans and plantains that was delicious. chipotle sauce on top. or chilaquiles are a good way to go. whatever you do do NOT miss the corn tortillas, they're wonderful. also, Sazon is on restaurant.com so you can get a cheap gift certificate. last week i paid $3 for a $25 gift certificate (r.com was running a special deal).
                    other wise, South Congress Cafe has a good brunch w/ delicious bloody marys. and Moonshine is our usual go-to, but you get a buffet with that (an above average buffet, though)

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                    Sazon
                    1816 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                    1. re: tbooth
                      a
                      ashes RE: tbooth Sep 24, 2010 11:49 AM

                      I really like the Brunch at La Condesa. I had the huevos chilangos once which was out of this world: slightly spicy, wild boar chorizo ( a little greasy...but when is chorizo not greasy), poached egg, quinoa cake (maybe my favorite part), and greens (arugula when i was there) melded with some great sauces. YUM! One of my friends actually dreams of this dish often. I have also had a daily special that included house smoked artic char and poached eggs that was equally yummy. The star of the show though are the dessert offerings. We usually order 2-4 for the table (depending on how many people we are with) and they are all some of the best desserts I've had in Austin. I've never been for dinner, but have heard it gets a little raucous and scenester in the evenings. Brunch, in my experience though, is much calmer, never packed, and lovely.

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                      La Condesa
                      400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

                      1. re: tbooth
                        t
                        txgrl99 RE: tbooth Sep 28, 2010 02:11 PM

                        Amysuehere definitely knows her stuff, but I disagree with her about Uchiko over Uchi. I have a pretty large circle of friends that dine at Uchi regularly, and we all prefer it hands down to Uchiko. The difference for me is that dishes at Uchiko have been much more hit or miss than at Uchi. There are great dishes, but always at least a couple of meh ones (I've eaten there three separate times now), and I don't have that issue at Uchi (although I'm sure others could rightfully dispute this; it's just not my experience). I think Uchiko is pretty loud in the main dining room, too. There are definitely more reservations available at Uchiko, though, and it is certainly good food.

                        Good call on Parkside. We have the best luck ordering small plates and sharing, but whatever you do, don't miss the veal cheeks entree.

                        I would replace Asti with Vespaio. After trying Asti numerous times and being disappointed more often than not, I just don't think it's a good representation of Italian food. I've never had a bad meal at Vespaio.

                        Enjoy!

                        1. re: txgrl99
                          amysuehere RE: txgrl99 Sep 29, 2010 06:22 AM

                          I can see your point, txgrl99. Uchiko still has some rough spots to iron out. I've only had one dish I considered "meh" but at $15 a small portion, that can really sting.

                          I sooo miss Vespaio now that I'm in the land of the bland...

                          In the way back days when we were dirt poor and living on East Riverside, our treat would be to order several things out of the display case to go and take it to the park. I need to do that again soon...

                          -----
                          Vespaio
                          1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

                        2. re: tbooth
                          w
                          willtryanythingonce RE: tbooth Sep 29, 2010 03:12 PM

                          I also respectfully disagree on Uchiko vs. Uchi. I've only been to Uchiko once, but we got a relatively broad selection of some of the smaller tasting plates and a larger thing or two. While good, every meal I've ever had at Uchi left me anywhere from impressed and satisfied to blown away, and my (admittedly small sample size of one) experience at Uchiko was 'meh'.
                          Also, I hear you on the buffet brunch opinion, but still pipe up to say Fonda San Miguel is very, very good, with sweet and savory interior-mex options that are unlike any other buffet i've seen in austin.
                          Parkside/Olivia/Wink is almost a wash for me, with parkside being more consistent, but Olivia having more standouts. If a full bar is a consideration, Olivia is Beer/Wine only and Parkside has some interesting and original cocktail options.

                          -----
                          Uchi Restaurant
                          801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                          Fonda San Miguel Restaurant
                          2330 W North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756

                    2. p
                      potluck RE: tbooth Sep 29, 2010 02:50 PM

                      I'd try to fit in Wink for one of your dinners over Olivia, Perla's and Parkside.

                      1. h
                        hungryinaustin RE: tbooth Sep 29, 2010 07:17 PM

                        I like your original list better. Italian food in Austin runs the gamut from mediocre to atrocious, and both Asti and Vespaio run that gamut. I have on 6 plus tries never had a decent let alone good meal at Vespaio - the menu is mostly a set of cliches and the pasta is invariably overcooked, Asti is better but still hit and miss. The desserts at Vespaio can be good, but otherwise boring to revolting. You can get MUCH better Italian food in Dallas. I think Foreign & Domestic does the locavore thing as well as Olivia and is cheaper, and might be worth looking into. I prefer Parkside to Perla's, though the people watching from both patios is pretty great. You have done good research and I think you are going to eat well. Lambert's also has a good half buffet, half a la carte brunch as does Paggi House.

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                        Vespaio
                        1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

                        Paggi House
                        200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hungryinaustin
                          s
                          storefronteats RE: hungryinaustin Oct 1, 2010 09:35 AM

                          Sadly, I agree about Vespaio. You may long for an Italian dinner on Sunday night, but you'd best not attempt it in Austin.

                          Olivia is a relaxing room with good food, good service. That would be my Sunday dinner pick. Have fun!

                        2. bubbleboy79 RE: tbooth Oct 1, 2010 01:42 AM

                          The original list is solid.

                          A couple of notes: Uchiko is three months old; it continues to improve. Uchi is a sure thing and Uchiko is rapidly getting there. Uchi might be the better bet coming from Dallas, because Uchiko is more pan-Asian, and having dined at the five sixty and Shinsei in the past six months, I know that Dallas is bursting with somewhat similar options.

                          Also, I tend to overlook parkside because I generally find the service abysmal. I'd rather spend an extra fifty bucks for a better wine list and better service at either Olivia or Wink (but mostly Wink).

                          And while I've been to Foreign & Domestic a couple of times, I can't imagine it ever being destination dining-- the food is uneven, the wine list more terse than succinct, and the atmosphere lacking. That said, the NYT, among others, recommends it.

                          Finally, as noted, do not order the soft-shell crab BLT at Perla's. I think Perla's and Lambert's both do sides and starters better than mains, but most choices are solid and both do brunch very well.

                          -----
                          Uchi Restaurant
                          801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bubbleboy79
                            t
                            tbooth RE: bubbleboy79 Oct 6, 2010 10:14 AM

                            Again thank you all for your opinions.

                            I have finalized my plans.

                            Uchi instead of Uchiko.
                            Sticking with Parkside
                            Odd Duck on Saturday.

                            Off we go!

                            -----
                            Uchi Restaurant
                            801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                            1. re: tbooth
                              amysuehere RE: tbooth Oct 6, 2010 10:28 AM

                              Just a reminder - Odd Duck doesn't open till 5 p.m.

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