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Oct 7, 2013 08:00 PM

Specific what to eat downtown questions

I know that there's lots of threads on where to eat in the downtown area, but I'm looking for some very particular Texas staples.

I lived in Dallas for about 8 years and haven't been back to Texas in a dozen, so I've got some pretty serious cravings going on... what I can get in Canada is just not right.... I'm going to be in Austin for a week near the convention center, no car planned.

So where can I get a decent:

1) Chicken Fried Steak - Yep, good ole CFS... something that doesn't really make it far out of Texas before the quality disappears...

2) Chile Rellano - I can find the odd one around here that might almost be meh in Texas....

3) Chicken/Sour Cream Enchiladas - Hey... don't judge me...judge my wife on that one.

4) Decent BBQ sandwich - Brisket done right...maybe some jalapenos, onions, pickles stuffed in it.

5) Beer - Not looking for Miller Light... prefer a good dark beer. Shiner Bock works, but if anyone in micro-brewing up something dark and interesting that would be cool as well.

6) Music Bar- Austin rules with live bands and bars.... which bars typically have the better bands (rock preferred...)?

Thanks for any and all help

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  1. 1) Hoover's used to be good for CFS - haven't been in a while. Short cab ride from downtown.

    2) I like the chicken and cheese "chile relleno original" at Polvo's on South First street. Somewhat short cab ride.

    3) Do you mean with tomatillo (green) sauce and sour cream?

    4) You didn't say anything about transportation, but I'm sure if you just want a brisket sandwich, Iron Works would do.

    5) There's no limit to the types of beer in Austin. You could walk in anywhere. You could also take the train from downtown to Crestview Station and eat/drink at Black Star Co-op. Maybe a 15 min ride for a dollar I think. Stiles Switch BBQ is a small hike north from there.

    6) Continental Club on S. Congress. There are many places to go - I used to just walk around until I heard something that I liked.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rudeboy

      Second on Polvo's for the Chile Relleno and Enchiladas.

      Styles for the bbq and beer.

      Green Mesquite makes a pretty mean Chicken Fried Steak and CF Chicken. I love the pulled pork sammich and chopped beef sammich (slaw and okra!). Wings are crave-worthy. Great back yard and schooners of Shiner.

    2. 5) On east 6th Violet Crown social Club has a good Beer selection. the other direction downtown, is Gingerman (you'll have to google it, i can't remember the address) which has about 100 beers on Tap and usually a couple in the cask.
      It's not downtown, but a new venture by award winning brewers can be found at austin beer garden brewery
      6.) Also, maybe Antone's. They moved to E. Riverside, which logistically might be a problem.
      Pick up an Austin Chronicle for Live music listings. or check out their website

      1 Reply
      1. re: TroyTempest

        Oh, yes! Absolutely Gingerman! I dare say the new place is cooler than the first.

      2. I'll throw in Hill's Cafe for CFS. I suggest the yellow gravy option (they offer white and brown as well). It's a total heart attack on a plate, and I mean that as a compliment (I mean, we are talking CFS after all). Bonus: their sides have gotten a LOT better. I recently heard that they're under new ownership, so maybe that's the reason.

        I've always liked El Chile's relleno: non-fried, filled with achiote pork. While the restaurant's general reputation was slipping, the relleno was my go-to and I never had a bad one. I haven't been back in quite a while though, would love to hear if anyone's had one recently.

        Both would be short cab rides from downtown. I'll also second Polvos... probably my favorite Mexican place in town in terms of good, solid food combined with great neighborhood vibe.

        1. Since you're staying near the Convention Center, Rainey Street is very close and I'd say is a must-see part of town if you haven't been here before. I'll go out of order here, and ensure you don't have to drive or cab to any of these....

          5) Austin's locally made brews are plentiful and excellent. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't check some out. Best beer bars you can walk to:

          - Easy Tiger
          - Chicago House
          - Bangers (on Rainey Street)

          Ginger Man is okay, but they are very slow to rotate their selections. They've had 3 or 4 Spatens on tap since 1994 (stretching the point to make the point).

          6) They focus more on dub and reggae, but an hour or two at Flamingo Cantina is a great Austin music experience (and not one you'll read about in the brochures). For more rock and metal, go with Red River Street north of 6th Street (Mohawk, Beer Land, Club DeVille, Stubbs...maybe 2 or 3 others)

          4) Iron Works should be able to put together a decent BBQ sandwich for you. You may also run across a BBQ trailer in your downtown wanderings too. They pop up here and there at different times. Just follow the smell of burning oak.

          2) & 3) Maybe to nudge you toward some Mexican food that you and your wife might not have tried before, give El Naranjo a look. A pricier ordeal, but the food is excellent and the rellenos are top notch and inventive, from what I remember. Again, walking distance for you, on Rainey Street

          1) I can't help you much with CFS. All over town, I find so many much bad or mediocre CFS that I've stopped trying. Not worth the artery real estate. Walk to Bangers instead and try one of their 9 or 10 great house-made sausages.

          1. <<smacks forehead>>

            I can't believe I left Craft Pride off the list for #5. 50 or so taps, every one of them from Texas breweries. I hope you're thirsty. :)