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4 days tacos + brisket tour report

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got back, im still trying to catch up at home with various chores but i thought id drop in a quick note of thanks to everyone who has posted in the past, for i got all the recs from the chowhound board!

during our trip i somehow never got a chance to order any chilaquiles. ill just have to make them at home.

okay. so for the report...

we did go to rubys for lunch right off the bat. it was good: we ordered brisket and pork ribs. decent. definitely a place i would return if i knew i wanted to have some bbq but i didnt want to wait. and if it isnt too hot outside, i like the seating: its very breezy but well covered from the shade.

i liked the vinaigrette cole slaw very much. it was right up my alley.

we had our dinner at el taco rico and we loved it there. it is in a very quiet part of town, it had kind of a low-key sleepy sort of feel. there sure are a lot of stray dogs in that part of town; we saw four while eating our tacos.

we ate: al pastor, the beef fajitas, the chicharron, the barbacoa and our toddler had a beans and cheese.

all were good but we really really liked the barbacoa and the al pastor ones. all our tacos were with corn tortillas and the tortillas were excellent. pleasantly chewy. one layer held all meats, onion and cilantro well. two salsas provided were also good.

it was a great way to end our first night.

friday morning i dropped by sazon at 8:30 am but they werent open. i had to go to a playground to make it in time for franklins so i skipped bfast and fed my toddler a banana and yogurt that i had brought.

we went to the playscape at zilker (near the train). i had trouble finding it but got help from two strangers. the second lady walked me and my son there since she was jogging. so friendly! (and thank you jennifer, whereever you are!)

most excellent playground! charming sea theme with working (!) xylophone-type play instruments! nice large clean sandbox and infant swings. perfect way to kill an hour and a half.

got to franklins at exactly 10 am. there were 15 people ahead of us by this time.

they opened the doors promptly at 11. it did take a little while before we got to place our order (didnt notice when i did, though).

got a pound each of the brisket and pork ribs and a single serving of coleslaw and beans.

mmmmmm. mmmmmmmmm. i was just dying. i was so so hungry and the brisket was just divine. i saved just a tiniest bit of the brisket for hubby and ate one of his ribs. just wolfed the rest down. so tender. i also liked one of the sauces. it wasnt the vinegary one and it wasnt the coffee one. the middle one.

i REALLY regretted not getting a pint of the coleslaw. but otherwise it was so good. yall are so lucky to have this fine establishment in town!!!

drove home and put the rest of the meat in our fridge.

i took my boy to the nature center in a different part of zilker. another nice, low key place. i was astounded to see the preschool in the park. what a great place to have a preschool! im so jealous! my son liked seeing the coyote and the bobcat as well as the littler critters in the inside (snakes, mice, turtles, etc). a nice way to kill an hour or two.

dinner was not at whole foods. i took my toddler to the h-e-b to try to get a pastrami, but the kosher market was closed until saturday or sunday. i forgot. i have the sign on my camera, but the point is is that they were closed for a holiday. i was seriously bummed out about that. i really wanted a really good pastrami sandwich.

i was very impressed with the h-e-b, though. very very clean and very well stocked for a grocery!

saturday we went to the whole foods for bfast. tried their bfast tacos. bleargh. did not like it at all. the fillings were okay but the corn tortillas were vile. they are local tortillas but they werent treated right. all our tortillas were at once mushy and crumbly. we should have gotten flour, which is what everyone else was getting. but i dont usually like eating flour.

we got some overpriced prepared fruit and some salads for lunch. also got some green bean and okra chips. VERY tasty, those veggie chips.

drove to hamilton pool.

apparently we were very lucky because hamilton pool had been closed for a week because of high bacterial counts. it opened up the afternoon before. we breezed in at 11 am. there were, at most, 13 people during our stay there. very quiet. apparently, for a saturday, even in oct, this was pretty quiet, so i feel we really blessed. no obnoxious kids, plenty of space to spread out. all around relaxed vibe.

the advice to wear sneakers is excellent. the hike down to the pool is def not for flipflops. the edge of the pool and the pool itself is rocky and not at all friendly for bare feet. we swam in our sneakers since we didnt bring sandals. but the pool was fantastic. swam out to the covered area and felt the spring drip onto my face. wonderful.

a very beautiful spot.

i would highly recommend any locals to go there, but to go there on a weekday, if you can skip a day of work.

dropped by bee cave for a bathroom and coffee break at the bookstore there.

did you know there is a city hall and a library in the mall at bee cave?

i had no idea that any city did that.


we ate dinner rositas al pastor.

they give you free chips (it was okay. not terrible, but not great either) and salsa (pretty good, imo. has a nice pleasant kick, but not too hot).

we got a large horchata. the horchata is HUGE but it was just okay. not bad, but not great.

hubby ordered two taco combo: one taco al pastor and one fajita. it came with rice and beans. he said that between his two tacos, the al pastor was definitely superior. the al pastor came with the onions and cilantro but the other came with iceberg, tomatoes and cheese (i think. i have to refer to my photos later. but it definitely did not come with onions and cilantro). the rice on hubbys combo was really mediocre but the beans were excellent. it had a smoky flavor, so good. we ate all the beans up (the toddler really did not get his share because i ate so much of it -- yes, i am the kind of mom who steals from her baby).

i got the 3 tacos al pastor special. 3 tacos, thats it. generous amt of delicious al pastor and cilantro and onions. it was SO good. i would really recommend this to everyone, esp if you like al pastor and esp if you like corn tortillas.

sunday we didnt make time to go anywhere so we just ended up having breakfast at burger king. :-(

anything else? i read up about h-e-b central market and wished i could have had enough time to visit. i was bummed about that. and while i was in line at franklin bbq some guy said we had to go to gourdoughs, but i also could not find the time to go there.

hmm. oh i want to say that i have lived in three large metro areas dc, bay area and l.a., and the traffic in austin, reminds me of them. yall have a LOT of heavy traffic! i would be frustrated. the dual highway system thing is interesting. is this a texan thing or an austin thing? or maybe im really sheltered and it is quite common elsewhere in the states? we were only there for three days. not quite enough time to get used to it. do you like it?

but man, your mexican food is excellent, just even the little tiny taste we had was so, so, so good. and there is definitely some bbq happening in austin! i am so glad i stood in line with my baby for an hour. worth it!

thanks again for everybodys past postings as well as for the input to my query and the suggestions to go to zilker.

we had a FANTASTIC time in austin. what a nice city! and thank all austin chowhounds for being so helpful!

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  1. Thanks for the detailed report, doughnut....we enjoyed reading it/having you here.

    1. I had to smile when you mentioned that Rosita's has free chip & salsa. It's a very rare tex-mex place that doesn't start you out with complimentary chips & salsa; I hadn't realized how much I had taken that fact for granted!

      I'm curious as to what you mean about a dual highway system: are you talking about the dual transit backbones of Austin, MoPac & IH35, or perhaps the upper and lower decks of IH35 downtown?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ret3

        i guess im talking about the upper and lower decks of ih35... and i guess this was restricted only to the downtown area! it was kind of confusing, esp when using the gps.

        1. re: doughnut

          That was a 1970s innovation hit upon when they wanted to increase the number of lanes, but the right-of-way was too narrow for lateral expansion. I think San Antonio has a similar arrangement on their downtown stretch of IH35. Just to make this food-related, I wish an enterprising taco truck would start sending guys out on motorcycles to sell to folks stuck in the gridlock. Rush hour Moto-tacos!

      2. i must say, its only been three days but i already miss the tacos and bbq!

        1. photos. ive never posted photos here. not sure how to annotate... ill just list as i see them here...

          first two are rubys bbq

          the kosher store closed sign

          next four are el taco rico pics

          next two are franklin bbq pics

          one hamilton pool pic (not food, but i add it anyway. it was so empty!)

          last three are of rositas al pastor

           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
          2 Replies
          1. re: doughnut

            one follow up on the rositas al pastor tacos. my husband got one taco that was fajitas meat. it had iceberg and tomatoes. no cheese but i do believe there were some refried beans. dont order it. just get the tacos al pastor. much better.

            1. re: doughnut

              I am so hungry now. Thank you for the excellent report and mouth watering pictures. Seems you had an excellent trip!

              I also am not sure what to make of the Upper and Lower Deck on I-35. I cannot tell you how many times I have discussed it with people in the car while driving on them. No one seems to know what they were trying to do with them, but I don't think it worked!

          2. So glad you made time for Zilker!! Always been one of my fav places in ATX;)