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Jun 13, 2013 05:47 PM

I Guess I'm No Longer in the "Cool Group"

So, my sister (a real global foodie) is coming into town Monday night and she says, "You pick." I freeze.

Here's the story. Sis lived here in the 80's and she LOVES Chuy's. I could do that - we could go to the 183 location - totally Austin. Then there's close - County Line on the Lake ( GREAT outdoor location, totally Austin, but crap food). Next comes SkiShores (see above).

And now comes the sad truth...I've become a "has been" when it comes to great food in this town. I either can't stand the hipsters, crowds or drive. I've been to a few of the new places, but I need help...

She arrives around 7 on Monday. Help me be a foodie again.

P.S. - Looks like Rainey Street is a dud on Mondays, but if y'all think this is something, I'm listening.

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  1. Probably less than a 20 minute wait at Barley Swine at 7 on a Monday. Me? I'd go to Azul Tequila or Zax.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ftf

      Take the train downtown for apps and drinks at backspace. Do something fun in the interim, whilst drinking, then hit East Side Kings.

      1. re: rudeboy

        Tell me, do the ESK locations differ in quality/atmosphere? I was thinking the one on campus would be much closer.

        1. re: amysuehere

          The Hole in the Wall one has ramen and I don't know if all the other ones do. It's summer time so it's probably worth the effort to go there. I thought the ramen was killer. I'd opt for Stiles Switch ( which I love) for BBQ or LA BBQ (based on recs not my own experience.) Also I'd recommend making room for Gordough's for dessert it's very unique and kinda awesome. But it can be greasy. I'd also throw in Z'Tejas for Tex Mex.

          1. re: amysuehere

            I've actually NEVER been, but it is on my list. Regarding Rainey St., I've been wanting to try El Naranjo.....


      2. Hmm well it depends on how much you want to spend. I had a friend in town recently and our best food experiences were at:

        Bar Congress (we had multiple things, but the smoked paprika calamari really stood out, not breaded but more tempura style, very light, yum dipping sauce, bonus was the fried slices of lemon, soooo good);

        Brunch at La Condesa (tamales soft as a baby's bottom, green chile pozole that will knock your socks off, and several variations on huevos rancheros that were all absolutely delicious);

        I'm a huge fan of small plates (that way I get to taste more!) so I really like Barley Swine and Swift's Attic as well.

        1. Cafe Josie (revamped)
          Rio's Brazilian
          Buenos Aires Cafe
          Justine's (don't know how crowded they are on Mondays)
          Chez Nous (oldie but goodie)

          If you don't mind a lack of atmosphere: La Chaparrita, El Zunzal, Hana World Market (cash only)

          2 Replies
          1. re: conquer

            Thanks for mentioning El Zunzal - fell off my radar for some reason. How is it lately?

            1. re: rudeboy

              They recently repainted (waste of money, imo).

              Highly recommend their tamales (wrapped in plantain leaves), fried yuca w/ fried chicharron, and tamarindo. They also serve some of the spiciest salsa (w/ black pepper) I've ever tasted.

              One of my top 5 restaurants in Austin right now.

          2. Here is my list
            Qui is open...
            Uchiko happy hour
            swifts attic
            Noble pig
            barley Swine
            East Side King
            Nubian Queen Lola Cajun
            Jack Allens
            Forigne and Domestic
            cuban sandwich cafe

            5 Replies
            1. re: girloftheworld

              God bless her but Nubian Queen food is not worth the hassle. I waited over an hour during lunch for a half cooked po boy. She runs it by herself and it's really not sustainable.

              1. re: Rptrane

                it was great when we went.. but not busy.. maybe it is one of those hit or miss?

                1. re: girloftheworld

                  There were a total of four people in my party, including myself and it took more than an hour. It was a nightmare and the food I got was half cooked. Never been back.

                  1. re: Rptrane

                    that is sad to hear.. when we were there she had two other ladies with her. That may have made the difference?

                    1. re: girloftheworld

                      Yeah we didn't get any food until a young girl appeared and started helping her.

            2. On a dish to dish basis, my current standouts on rotation are

              * An Omnivore pizza at Via 313 while you wait with an Iron Whip + 1 straight + 1 vanilla vodka shot cocktail or 50 at Violet Crown
              * the beef tongue and popovers - foreign and domestic
              * the #1 pork broth (tonkatsu) ramen with pork belly and a soft boiled egg and mushrooms, and a side of dumplings and spicy edamame at Ramen Tatsu-Ya
              * hama chili (yellowtail), yokai berry (salmon), duck, pork belly and everything else at Uchiko.
              * the pastor and the goat barbacoa on homemade corn tortillas at La Fruta Feliz
              * the mushroom and leek tart (great crust) along with salad of mustard vinaigrette, or the mussels / frites - hopfields.
              * the pastrami and swiss on rye, or the ham and cheese on sourdough. take it somewhere else and picnic lunch? - melvin's
              * halibut cheek - barley swine
              * the three course prix fixe at lenoir - my faves thus far = heirloom tomato + watermelon salad and the crispy goat terrine (great dish). sit out back and drink wine in that cute little back yard area. the cobia was forgettable.
              * the med. rare cold beef and cheddar on soft rye with horseradish sauce with a side of about 6 deviled eggs (with notes of curry and cayenne, best version ever)
              * i wonder if your sis loves pinos' salsa and fare as much as you?
              * salsa sampler, guacamole, and tortas ahogada at La Condessa
              * the Puerco con Cascabel at Sazon - damn their salsa and service though.
              * I am not sure that you could top the cool charts any faster (or drain your change purse any faster) than to be the first on this board to review Qui - opens Wednesday. Pretty exciting.

              Here's a review from: Tumblr’s Jen Pelka Previews Qui in Austin, via NYMag's Grub Street:

              "Dinner was spectacular. We started with the “Ode to Michel Bras” — a silky chilled garlic dashi and perfect little Austin-raised vegetables. Next up was the “Salmon Butter” (Paul told us to “smush it like cat food and spread it”) — salmon confit with crème fraîche, egg, ramps, and roe with crispy crackers — and the value bet on the menu: a $4 “banchan” of green tomatoes compressed in something delicious, a smear of something creamy and sprinkling of something crunchy.

              Then the “Street Urchin" — Mexican-style corn smothered in brown butter corn nut dust and shaved uni bottarga, which is exactly as delicious as it sounds. The real stunner is the “Rabbit 7 Ways." It's a multi-course tableside preparation that starts with an intense rabbit consommé poured into a white ceramic mug with a rabbit tail as a handle. Then a play on rabbit food: a bowl of leafy garden greens you use as lettuce wraps for rabbit ballotine and some sort of smooth paté, and little roll-ups of steamed greens. For dessert, we had the “Coconut Snow Cone” — a beautiful mess of coconut snow, peanut pralines, and cajeta. It was such a delight to be in that room with Paul bouncing around so happily from table to table."

              5 Replies
              1. re: slowcoooked

                qui is open..there are no reservations taken kind of a lotterry deal.

                tell more about lenior please

                1. re: slowcoooked

                  This is good - consider starting a new post about "Best Dishes." We can all add to it.

                  1. re: slowcoooked

                    You and I HAVE to meet up someday, Slowcooked...seriously...

                    1. re: amysuehere

                      Yes we must. In your honor Amysue i donned ridiculous white rimmed sunglasses all day ;-). Btw i think i recall reading your disdain of community seating so ask for a two top if you hit lenoir. Weekday reservations aren't problematic typically. Especially with one day notice. The place is cute country french white inside and out.

                    2. re: slowcoooked

                      Sorry the beef and cheddar is little deli in crestview