Austin-Some random suggestions
Just a few suggestions for visitors etc. I'm going ot stay completely out of the BBQ and Tex-Mex areas. Those seem to be beaten to death.
Those looking for an excellent cup of coffee in the downtown area (though admittedly a "funky" atmosphere) should try Cafe Mundi 1707 East 6th St. It's the kind of hole in the wall place I love. Next to the railroad tracks. A bit difficult to find as it's hidden behind a Mexican restaurant. First time I went there was just on a whim. I was impressed with the excellent coffee and friendly service. They have a good light menu and delicious waffles (possibly only on Sunday mornings?)
Let me be perfectly clear on this point I hate Starbucks. I drink my coffee black and (in my opinion) they have the worst coffee imaginable. If you're not into "funky" there are two CC coffee shops in Austin. One on the drag, just below 24th street and the other in the far west by the corner of Exposition and Windsor that are great places to hang. In addition the one on the drag has electrical plugs and modem outlets on the two long tables just inside the front door. I'm not certain the modem connections are usable though.
Tam Deli and Cafe 8222 N. Lamar (Vietnamese) is a good bet for a slightly different menu. In addition they carry large pork buns (bau) everyday which they will heat up for you. A nice alternative to noodles or vietnamese sandwiches at only $1.39 each, two of them really fill you up for lunch.
Highlife Cafe 407 East 7th. Better than average sandwich and salad selection. Lousy service (when we were there). But a nice hangout none the less.
Well, in keeping with the theme (i.e. no BBQ, no Tex-Mex), here are a few more suggestions for the Austin area. Perhaps these will be useful to those poor souls who now have to deal with Austin-based politicos. You'll have to excuse my imprecise directions -- I know where these places are so I don't know their addresses exactly.
For a few more coffee suggestions, I like Spider House (just east of Guadalupe around 34th), although it's better in warm weather when you can sit outside. Pacha, on Burnet just north of 45th is another good place. They have a Bolivian cornbread that is delicious and not your usual cornbread.
Thai Kitchen on Guadalope (again, around 30th) has good, cheap Thai food.
For those stuck downtown, Empanada Parlor (east end of 6th Street) serves both empanadas and regular meals. If you go at dinner time, you have to ask for the empanada menu separate.
Also downtown (7th and Colorado) is Jean-Luc's Bistro. While the dining room is a little pricy, as expected for a French place, you can sit at the bar and order small dishes for a light meal and a good glass of wine.
Madras Pavillion at Burnet and 183 -- South Indian vegetarian, serves a good lunch buffet.
The Omeletry on Burnet for breakfast, if you can get in.
There are plenty more, but I've got to go.