HOME > Chowhound > Austin >


Austin Food Memories

This sort of relates to the "most missed restaurants" detailed in past threads, but I'm going for specific, ethereal moments from restaurants past and present. I have a few (I may have mentioned these before):

1) 2005 family style dinner at T&S Seafood on N. Lamar. My birfday. I think that we had a 10 or 12 group, and they just kept bringing out all this seafood. Now that T&S is going, it will just be nostalgia.

2) Acorn Cafe on Guadalupe circa 1993. My sister and I were riding bikes, and we were freezing and heading north uphill. Rolled up to the place, and the sign said the soup du jour was chicken and dumplings.. Sounded soooo good at the time. Sat down, and the German lady that owned the place said, gruffly, "we're out - we have spinach cheese." I was imagining the worst, but it was the best soup ever and I've made it many times since. Lentils and nuts and shit in a veggie broth, tons of spinach, and shredded baby swiss drizzled over the whole thing. My sis and I get all bleary-eyed when we talk about it.

3) Rib festival 1990's - sorry to repeat it here from another post. But I was on bikes with friends, we were starving, potentially high, pocket full of cash, and we rolled over town lake smack dab into a pork rib festival (before food festivals were cool).

4) Fist time I'd ever seen orange beets in the late 90s. Dinner with a very close friend in the front window at La Traviata. Seared scallops with baby greens atop grilled golden beet disks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Biking to Les Ami on dreary days and having their powman's lunch next to the fire.

    After a full day of sailing going to (was it?) Good Eats on Barton Springs (where Billy's is now) and getting chicken fried chicken and a big beer.

    Still love going to Green Mesquite on a summer day and sitting in the back yard having wings, slaw and okra with a big schooner of beer.

    Going to Ski Shores BEFORE the land owners took it away and made the food suck.

    8 Replies
    1. re: amysuehere

      Those are all good ones that I remember well. Had forgotten about Les Amis. I got into a shoving match there a long time ago (like 1990) with a dude that was pestering my sister. I always got the Plowman's (or the $2 beans and rice plate because I was on a tight budget in college).

      1. re: amysuehere

        Oh, forgot one or two...

        There was this bbq joint on Westlake Drive in the back of the mall that now houses the Popeye's Chicken that we'd hit on our way out to the sailboat that had a big ice vat full of free beer. Good times.

        Does anyone remember the Cajun place that used to be on the corner of 360/2222. It was before they built the strip mall there and it was a sad little tin-roofed shack, but made the best Cajun we could get at the time. I may be remembering it waaaay better than it really was.

        1. re: amysuehere

          Alligator Grill. We used to go there for happy hours after work. They had 10-cent crawfish and 10-cent peel & eat shrimp specials.

          1. re: tori_atx

            Nope. Alligator Grill was on South Lamar near the 1/2 Price Books with the big patio with the live oak. We used to live behind Kerby Lane and used to walk there all the time for the cheap eats.

            As a side note, we were there when they were doing the filming for Office Space, so we were "evicted" for several weeks, but had fun watching.

            1. re: amysuehere

              Five Star was the BBQ joint behind the Popeyes. Sadly it's gone and replaced with a mediocre pizza place now (yaghi's was there for a while and it was very good though).

              I miss Mad Dogs and Beans. I didn't go to college in Austin but when we moved here in the late 80s we lived up around Seton and would ride our bikes down to it in weekends. Also miss Ted's. Hard to find a gyro anywhere close to as good although the aforementioned Yaghi's is close.

              1. re: ftf

                Sadly, I never went to Mad Dogs and Beans (that I remember anyhow). I do remember going to Ted's quite a few times. That was a huge space I think at 4th and Congress. Ted would always flirt with one's girlfriend or wife. Or you could use the term "leer."

          2. In the mid-80's I enjoyed the Capitol Grill on 6th Ave. (not to be confused with the more recent chain). I recall a baby coho salmon grilled over mesquite that was one of the best fish dishes I ever ate.
            Good Eats on Barton springs had the best 'ritas in town. They had a lime press attached to the bar and would squeeze to order.
            And the Thundercloud sub shop neat Town Lake served cold pitchers of beer after a run!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              Hey Veggo - are you referring to "City Grill" that was just off 6th? I used to work there and it was one of the only places in town that focused on very fresh fish (as I recall). We had this large grill and it was fired with mesquite, and we had coho salmon on the menu. One could order from a choice of five different sauces to accompany. It was in an old building.

              I was a waiter, and when you showed up for your shift, there was freshly cooked fish for the staff to eat for FREE! I was making $16+ per hour there in 1990, which was great for a college student.

              1. re: rudeboy

                I always wanted to go to City Grill, but at the time we were starving students.

                1. re: rudeboy

                  I think that was it. What a meal! Thanks for rekindling the memory!

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    City Grill was a big favorite when I was dating my hubby. We both reminisce about the great fish and an amazing steak we had there. Building was charming, too.

                  2. re: Veggo

                    Capitol Grill had a GREAT duck and andouille gumbo. Really nice place. The project to widen Congress and fancy up the sidewalks in 1983 really did the place in, unfortunately. It was a wonderful place. Unpretentious, open late, and very good food.

                  3. In the very early aughts, Roy Henry's Chicken & Waffles on Ben White Blvd near Manchaca Rd was our go-to weekend breakfast and bunch spot. Excellent waffles, enormous and well-seasoned fried chicken, hot water cornbread, and an array of southern style veggie sides. Oh, and rather budget-friendly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ret3

                      And hoe cakes - I loved that place!

                    2. One time we had such a long wait at the Magic Time Machine that we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to their waiting room-- they said no one had ever done that before and they were impressed enough that they gave us free beers to go with it.

                      Calabash on Manor Rd. made me realize that it was possible for salads to taste good. Bitter End was the other place that had one of the first salads I liked.

                      I liked the colanders-for-lampshades idea at the defunct Cafe Spiazzo in Westlake so much that I duplicated it at home.

                      One night I met some friends at Stelline's in northwest Austin and it ended up turning into a first date with a friend-of-a-friend and we went out for the next year and a half.

                      Stopping by the Fillin' Station for dinner after swimming all afternoon at Barton Springs.

                      Pot roast at Barbara Ellen's on highway 71.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tori_atx

                        Oh, Barbara Ellen's had real broasted chicken, too.

                      2. I have good memories of Chuys (pre-franchise) on Barton Springs and Upper Crust on Burnet road.

                        Trudy's in East Austin? Or did I dream that?

                        Also another good tex-mex place in East Austin. Don't recall the name, but I can still taste their borracho beans.

                        5 Replies
                              1. re: rudeboy

                                I always loved the calendars at El Azteca

                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            Trudy's is just north of the UT Campus on 29th or 30th.

                          2. I miss a "Mexican BBQ" trailer on Montopolis and Ponca. It had a couple of different owners but was in a lot of an auto mechanic. They grilled skirt steak and chicken over mesquite and roasted all their vegetables for the salsa. It was called something like Laredo Molcajete. They made their own tortillas. I would get there at 9:30 on Sat. morning just as the meat was coming off the grill and get chicken and steak tacos. They would set a huge molcajete of fresh salsa at the picnic table. The meat was so moist and flavorful and the salsa would set me on fire. I now make my salsa that way thanks to them.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: crippstom

                              Man, that sounds great - let's hope that they show up again. My sister live near there, so I with that the trailer was still in existence.

                              There used to be a place on N. Lamar just north of Justin on the E. side. They would serve in a molcajete. I cannot remember the dish or the name, but I loved this place. There were never many patrons outside, but a lot of very expensive cars in the parking lot. Kinda made you go "hmmmm?"

                            2. I moved here in the fall of 2004 from the DC metro and have enjoyed lots of southern BBQ experiences, but had no idea what Texas bbq was about. My baptism was J. Muellers then on Manor - his peppery barked brisket and nicely grained / textured beef sausage - served to me by Aaron Franklin and sidekick Cody. It wasn't much time after that year that JM's shut down, due at least in part to his famous temper. I followed his, my first brisket to Bastrop - and again - shutdown - and again two more restaurants in Austin thank GOD. No food memory of Austin in my decade here trumps John's place on Manor. Certainly glad he's back on the east side and Aaron is just cranking an A game, but the manor memories remain. nice thread RB.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: slowcoooked

                                I'm sure that we could have been at the LM Mueller's at the same time, slowcooked. My wife and I took our father-in-law there once - he's from Philly. Quite the experience for him. Still have pictures.......

                                1. re: rudeboy

                                  Yeah - I insisted all my guests try it. Never much of a wait if at all, so convenient. One of my favorite JM memories was taking a physician friend of mine in there on his visit up from Houston. He was out of brisket so we decided to dine elsewhere. JM knew me by at least by face if not my name - and when I said "okay, we'll have to come back" he replied "don't bullshit me!!!" with this obviously annoyed facial expression. That was my first of many encounters with his cranky side - we laughed and I was there once or twice a week as long as it lasted.

                              2. I was also dragged to RibFest in the 90s, and it was a good thing.

                                1. I was also dragged to RibFest in the 90s, and it was a good thing.

                                  1. Mezzaluna. Bitter End. Miguel la Bodega: best tres leches cake ever. Louis 106. That place where Wink is now used to be a tiny interior Mex place with the best salsa. Gilligans.

                                    Sitting on the steps at the Alamo on Colorado, eating Roppolo's, waiting for whatever started next ,because it just didn't matter, we knew it would be fun.

                                    Edit: Adding Kyoto, the first serious sushi I ever ate.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Jenilyn

                                      I have that same original Alamo experience - saw the original Austin Powers. I remember stating that I'd never go to another theatre again that doesn't serve beer. I had recently been in Amsterdam, where they served beer and mixed drinks in a regular movie house. Partially Although it is hard to later remember the end of a movie after having had a few.

                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                        We saw the very first showing there and made it a regular outing. If you've never been to the Mr. Sin-er.... Master Pancake Christmas Special, you really should.

                                        RB, you should try the Moviehouse and Eatery on 620. Big puffy recliners, mixed drinks, small theaters. Food's a bit fancier than Alamo. However, they did serve me raw-raw wings once...

                                        1. re: amysuehere

                                          I used to go to that theater a lot before it was the Alamo. It showed the sorts of "independent art films" that I like. But that theater was so old and smelly (seemed like they were forever renovating it and had new or old carpeting rolled up in the lobby) that none of my friends ever wanted to go there with me.

                                          So my favorite thing to do was see a double-header: get in two movies in one day.

                                          And in-between showings, I'd walk across the parking lot to have a meal at the Shanghai River Buffet.

                                          When I first started going there, the food was really good, and the place was always busy, often with large Asian families occupying the bigger tables. After Alamo took over the theater, offering food, Shanghai River seemed, to me anyway, to go rapidly downhill. And finally it closed.

                                          But I spent many a pleasant Saturday with my own personal version of "dinner and some movies."

                                      2. re: Jenilyn

                                        I think the little interior Mex place was called Ay Chiwawa. We used to go there all the time for the Wawa burrito at lunch.

                                        Speaking of that area, Castle Hill was our go to place for a nice night out. I always ordered what ever variant of the pork tenderloin dish was on the menu and had the peanut butter pie for dessert.

                                        1. re: ssouth

                                          Wow. Thank you! That's totally right. They won some hot sauce awards--they had a salsa that was just a great tasting brown salsa. I know brown isn't a kind , but that's what it was. Service was always great, food was wonderful. I'm so glad you remembered the name for me.

                                      3. Gilligans! I think it is Frank now. and the jerk chicken at shaggy's was always good.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ieathereforeiam

                                          Oh, I LOVED Shaggy's! Billy's on Burnet did their wings for a while, but have since stopped (and now just have the gross fried standards).

                                          1. re: ieathereforeiam

                                            I also loved Gilligan's. I don't remember anything about dishes that I ordered, but I do remember it being comfortable, not too expensive, and accommodating. I used to go there frequently with an old shack-up that I loved. We made out in the women's restroom one time. Too much info?

                                            1. re: rudeboy

                                              Why do I remember Gilliagans. Must have gone a few times.

                                              hehe...that's nasty. Guess it's better than the men's restroom.

                                          2. I remember a very cold winter night when my date and I drove out to Alpenhof Swiss Restaurant for a romantic meal in a beautiful stone walled room complete with a roaring fireplace. We started with a wonderfully rich Emmental cheese and white wine fondue. My entrée was a tender veal weinerschnitzel with a wine and lemon butter sauce. Finishing with coffee and cognac gave us time to digest. The combination of great food and young love made it a remarkable evening.

                                            Then there was the life changing experience of eating beef fajitas for the very first time. The Foothills Restaurant in the Hyatt had been open for almost a month and everyone in town was talking about this new dish called sizzling fajitas. Our party arrived and put our name on the list for an estimated hour wait until we could be seated. As it happened, my friends had that day scored what in those days was some very potent maryjane so we used to time to walk over to the gazebo at Auditorium Shores and partake. By the time we were called to our table, every detail of the evening had that added intensity that comes with being really high. The place was packed and literally every table was ordering fajitas. Waiter after waiter emerged from the kitchen to the pop and hiss of grilled meats and onions on a hot cast iron platter, a slowly rising cloud of steam and smoke tracing out their path behind them. When our turn came, the huge mound of beef was quickly devoured and we each declared it to be the best meal we had ever eaten.

                                            I also vividly remember a particular fun late lunch at G&M Steakhouse on the Drag. Customers would come in, grab a tray and order at the counter – usually a cheeseburger or a chicken fried steak. The young bucks behind the counter would put a huge beef patty on the grill and when it was almost done, top it to overflowing with a mound of grated cheddar and serve it on a hot toasted bun with fresh cut fries. As they cooked your order, each customer was the butt of sarcastic comments and mild insults – an advertised “free service” included with the meal. It so happened that 2 of the line cooks lived on the same floor of the dorm as I did. One had seen me out at Club Foot the night before dancing with another guy and had finally figured out my orientation. The wise cracks that next day were nonstop. I was overwhelmed by the shear number of ways that topping hot beef with a mound of cheese and putting it in a toasted bun could be made to sound sexually explicit. By the time I got my meal, I was so doubled over with laughter I could barely breath. Oh, and the burgers? They were amazing!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Alan Sudo

                                              Alan - great memories......I remember the first time I saw fajitas in Orange Texas. The best pizza I've ever had was in NYC after smogging out in Washington Square Park, so I understand your fajita experience.

                                              Also, I'll have to top some hot beef with a mound of cheese and put it in a toasted bun, as I haven't tried that yet!

                                                1. re: Alan Sudo

                                                  G&M - if you wanted a hamburger, you had to order a cheese burger without cheese!

                                                  1. re: Alan Sudo

                                                    Dittos to GM Steakhouse.

                                                    The crepes with an apricot filling at Foothills were my favorite dessert.

                                                    And I loved the Purple Plum near Seton Medical Center!

                                                    On breaks from Foley's at Highland Mall, I would eat a Napolean in the food court but I don't remember the name of the bakery.

                                                    I would go back to any of them.

                                                  2. -Gumbo's in Wells Branch. Discovered it at 16. At cash strapped times I used to save my lunch money by just having a can of coke and a bag of peanut M&Ms every day so that I could afford a bowl of crawfish ettoufee on Friday. My best friend and I would go almost every Friday. I remember once we were really broke and out of gas, so we put 1$ of gas in the car (1$/gallon at that time 1997-1998) so that we could save the rest of our money to go have a bowl of crawfish ettoufee. RIP Mike and Yoli.

                                                    -Saigon Kitchen on North Lamar. They had the best bo luc lac I had ever eaten. Another place my best friend and I would go when I was in high school. I've never found a place that makes bo luc lac like that again. (So many places serve tough fried beef cubes, what's up with that?!?) They eventually changed owners and then the place later turned into something totally different. The South Austin Saigon Kitchen was never as good.

                                                    -Saigon Supermarket on North Lamar's bun bo nuong. This place was owned by my best friend's aunt and uncle. Before my high school had a closed campus lunch rule, we used to walk there from school for lunch. Her aunt never shared the secret in her marinade, not even with family. The beef was sooo smokey, flavorful, and tender. Every once in a while I come across bo nuong that is similar, but nothing beats my best friend's aunt's grilled beef. She still sold it a few years ago even when the market closed. Eventually the place became a Mexican market.

                                                    -Getting invited to Vietnamese wedding banquet at Sea Dragon. Sea Dragon is still there and still great.

                                                    -Taco Cabana barbacoa tacos in the middle of the night in my late teens. Taco Cabana has pretty gross food otherwise. But their brisket and barbacoa are delicious. Also, I love their tortillas. A super soft, fresh flour tortilla slightly overstuffed with salty barbacoa, a squeeze of lime, some onions and cilantro, and a dash of salsa, collagen filled grease oozing from the taco, making my fingers sticky...mmmmh!

                                                    -Enchiladas potosinas at La Fogata food truck.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                                      I wish someone in the "know" would meet me at Sea Dragon someday and share entrees. I work walking distance from that place and can't seem to work up the courage to go in and order. Friends took me to the buffet one day and I think all I had was a spring roll and soup.

                                                      1. re: amysuehere

                                                        Never had the buffet. I don't live in Austin now, but am coming to town for about a month at the end of July. Maybe we can have a CH meet up there or something. :D We've had some threads about the place that give menu guidance, though.

                                                        1. re: luckyfatima

                                                          We have and I keep forgetting. It's just cursed that way for me. I think I secretly know if I find something crave-worthy, I'll make it too much of an addiction. Way too close to work and way too much time in the middle of the day to be up to no good.

                                                          1. re: luckyfatima

                                                            That would be awesome. I know for a fact that you are quite active on the DC-Baltimore forums, and having moved to Austin from DC recently, I miss the opportunities to have a CH meetup.

                                                            1. re: altan

                                                              Haha you're missing DC and I am missing Austin!

                                                        2. re: luckyfatima

                                                          Great post, luckyfatima. I got images in my head just reading it. I think that you were hooked on food from an early age, being so resourceful to get that crawfish etoufee. Reminds me of HS when I'd save to go eat BBQ crabs at Sartin's in Sabine Pass.

                                                          I was invited to a wedding banquet at Sea Dragon, but unfortunately got sick that day and could not go. My wife said that the food was phenomenal. From what I remember, the lunch buffet at Sea Dragon is more American Chinese, of course to cater to the office lunch crowd. When I worked near there from 92 to 2000, we'd go all the time. Back then, I didn't even realize that it was Vietnamese.

                                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                                            The owners are Chinese from Vietnam. Some members of the family that owns that place went to my high school, too. They are the same family that owns (or at least owned for a long time, dunno if still) Hong Kong Supermarket. They do have American Chinese but also Chinese-Vietnamese and Vietnamese specialties. My favorite dish hands down is the hu tieu ap chao do bien. Also, if you feel like spending money, the ginger-garlic lobster is gorgeous.

                                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                                              Never had those noodles, so I'll try them next time. I've had the lobster and I loved it and getting all messy eating. My favorite is the S&P crawfish. I can't go there and not order it.

                                                              My 6 year old loves the seaweed soup. I should add that as a memory to this thread, being proud when we'd tell her that we're going to the "seaweed soup restaurant" and she would squeal and say "seaweed soup - my favorite!" I had to get her into CH mode before she got old enough to be grossed out by seaweed. She likes the crawfish also.

                                                          2. re: luckyfatima

                                                            Oh, I forgot one. One of my first favorite restaurants:

                                                            -Tien Hong, RIP. Dim Sum was so great for so many years. The place went down hill eventually. But when it was good, it was so very very good. I also recall some wedding banquet meals there, too.

                                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                                              Yeah! Now it is Shu Shu's (who has a good singapore noodle if they spice it up, btw). We would go there all the time for dim sum. Which brings up another memory at the place near highland mall. My kid, who had to have chopsticks on the way out, was acting all nuts while walking with them. The proprietor, understandingly so, freaked out, took them, and she freaked out in response. You turn away for 10 seconds and you never know what's going to happen. Amysue would have loved it!

                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                A. You were walking out.

                                                                B. What kind of complete idiot takes something from a little girl happy with two cents worth of stick?! What was she doing; stabbing people on the way out?!

                                                                (Of course, I grew up in a distant crazy land that you rode not only without a helmet; usually in a halter top and no shoes - GASP!)

                                                                1. re: amysuehere

                                                                  She was three at the time, and kind of prancing about and singing. I guess that he thought that she would fall and stab herself. With our litigious society, I suppose that I understand.

                                                                  Like you, we had no stinkin helmets. Where I grew up, if you were a boy and wore a helmet while riding a bike, some other kid would kick the living shit out of you.

                                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                                    As long as she was happy and not messing with other patrons, more power to her. They can't live in bubbles and accidents happen no matter how hard to try to protect them. It's part of learning.

                                                                    I'd rather have them singing happily (within reason) than melting down or running around and climbing things. I'm sure Chuy's north has tried everything short of yanking them out of the trees to keep them from climbing and running around. Have you noticed all the new (useless) signs?

                                                                    1. re: amysuehere

                                                                      Haven't been to Chuy's in a long time. I did notice a lot of kids at the N Lamar location last time I went. Try going to Central Market on a Tuesday (kids eat free day). My kids are reasonably well behaved, but some of those damn kids run amok and some are just plain mean. We stopped going, because they only offer mediocre free kid food (and I don't want mine 'hooked" on mac and cheese for the next ten years).

                                                                      And to continue with the food memory concept in passing, once, Abigail disappeared after she was done eating and left to play on the playscape. Heart stopped. Found her clear on the other side of the "lake" that they have east of the playscape. All sorts of things go through your mind. I guess that's not an actual food memory, but just a memory.

                                                              2. re: luckyfatima

                                                                I moved to Austin 1n 1991. Shortly after that we went to Tien Hong 2 or 3 times only for Dim Sum, which was plenty. I went lots for the other food, and lunch, which was pretty good and fast.
                                                                Back to the Dim Sum. My Dim Sum memories aren't so fond. I'm a white guy, and every time that i went i can recall the guy wheeling the cart around to every Asian person in the place before bringing it to our table. Usually all that was left on the cart was some congee, and maybe a chicken wing or a dumpling if i was lucky. This happened enough for me not to want to come back for dim Sum.

                                                            2. As a picky eater child in the 1960's I was left with my aunt and uncle. I had never experienced Mexican food before and we went to El Chico. I could not believe how good the chips and salsa were having never tasted anything like it. I can't remember what else we had, but I was hooked on Mexican food forever. The next mountain to climb was Chinese.

                                                              1. College memories -

                                                                The Hole in the Wall on Guadelupe

                                                                Original Chuys

                                                                and that taco shack in the parking lot behind the Castillian dorm on San Antonio.

                                                                1. A bit out of Austin, College Station Kyle Field, but many should enjoy this. My first hot dog with mustard, how they came. I was a meat and bread picky kid, but they were pre-wrapped with mustard. Loved it. Final score, mighty Rice Owls 18-17 over the Aggies, 1970.


                                                                  1. Vikashmo's, Southern Dinette, Italian Village, Pao's when it was downtown, The Hitchin' Post, Mosley's Cafeteria, Lung's Chinese Kitchen, Chapli Kabob, Biismilah, Marakesh before they moved, Virginia's, Dot's before she burned at Orchid Ln, Arkie's, black bottomed pie at Dobb's House, Speranza's, Caruso's, soul food at Brook's Tavern on 6th st, Kirschner's, The Chicken Shack, Mad Dog and Beans, Les Amis, El Matamoros, cinnamon rolls and coffee at Chambers, G&M Steakhouse, etc. etc. etc.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: gustidude

                                                                      Sign me up, too, for the "Dot's before she burned" list. Boy, do I miss that. Also, worked for a while around the corner from Ken's Subs, Tacos & More, and almost every morning somebody from the office would make a breakfast taco run there. Always on a diet, I'd try not to partake, but knew I'd have to smell and see everybody else's, and I couldn't manage that.

                                                                      And the old days out on the lake, taking the water taxi across to Shades. Some seriously good times. Food and drink and throwing leftover fries into the water to watch the catfish and ducks fighting over them.

                                                                      Working at Shades was a rite of passage for Lago Vista High School students. Almost everybody did that at one time or another.

                                                                        1. re: amysuehere

                                                                          Haven't been back for a while, but still have friends out in "Lago," and they say that it closed, but then was bought out by somebody else and reopened as the Gnarly Gar. http://gnarlygar.com/who-are-we/

                                                                          I've only followed the Lake Travis news from afar, and know it's been really low, so not sure if the restaurant is still "afloat" (pun intended).

                                                                          But, speaking of the lake has reminded me of another favorite food memory and that's the Chiles Rellenos at Rosie's Tamale House out in Bee Cave. I know that various Rosie's opened and closed at several locations around Austin, supposedly run by relatives, and the same as the one out at the lake, and I tried them all, but didn't think they were as good. Also, remember such good tamales at Rosie's little tamale shack across the highway.

                                                                          And, speaking of tamales, how about this food memory: Ordering your Christmas tamales at Green & White Grocery.


                                                                    2. Adding one that I thought of while posting somewhere else:

                                                                      Whole Food on Lamar late 80's. There were only two stores at that time.

                                                                      I used to bring my dalmatian dog there and tie her up outside. There was a meat "cabinet" that had roasted lamb ribs, each side for a dollar. I'd come out, and all the nice people had water and sometimes food for her. I'd take her off to the outside tables and eat the meat off the bones. She would consume the rib bones entirely. She lived to 17, so I guess it was okay to let her eat the bones.

                                                                      1. Two memories from distinctly different ends of the spectrum. First, Alana's Texas Kitchen on Sixth Street. Wonderful Texas regional cuisine. House specialty was redfish with tomatilla sauce. But they had many more fresh, Southwestern inspired dishes. Excellent execution, minimalist interior with lovely Austin stone walls and white table cloths, nice wine list, etc. Impeccable. The other thing that they had was European tarts for dessert. Just amazing tarts with a sable crust coated in a thin layer of jam; then a layer of Creme Anglais, fresh fruit geometrically arranged on the creme, and then coated with the thin layer of heated jam again to prevent oxidation. Many flavors, but my favorites were banana and kiwi; strawberry; and apricot. To absolutely die for. Open from around 1979 or 80 until about 1985.

                                                                        At the other end of the spectrum, Sonny Falcon's Fajita King. In a dirt parking lot on 29th, just west of the drag. Sold 'em out of a trailer. Fresh cooked and you ate them on a picnic table under a big tree. Amazingly good. And dirt cheap.

                                                                        1. Hao Hao at Dobie Mall. when i was a broke college student I'd eat there about 4 x a week. always hot and sour soup and fried rice. it was less than 6 bucks and filled you up. the soup was spicy and consistently great. the same odd guy worked there the whole time.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: ieathereforeiam

                                                                            Oh yeah1 I used to frequent that hao hao, too!

                                                                          2. Great memories from my college days, late 70's and early 80's.

                                                                            The Lazy Daisy on Guadalupe where Torchy's is now. At the time, I think it was one of the only twenty-four hour places. We would would go there after drinking and dancing at places like The Keg. We had some of the best late, late nights there before heading back to the dorm.

                                                                            Rocco's, or was it Rico's, that was at 15th and Lavaca. They had the very best stuffed artichokes. No matter how many times I have tried, I have never duplicated that wonderful taste. It was my favorite "date night" place while in college.

                                                                            Common Market, a Greek deli that was located in an old general store with hardwood floors. I cannot remember exactly where the old location was but I think it was near 10th and Lavaca, Years later, it later moved to what eventually turned in to Mars and Sagra. In the old place the hardwood floors had soaked in all those wonderful smells from the Greek dishes that were served. It had the most amazing moussaka, I am still searching for moussaka that is as good as Common Market's.

                                                                            Italian Gardens, located somewhere near 10th and Guadalupe. It was old school Italian with the candles in Chianti bottles and plastic grapes as decor. It was a warm, inviting and cozy, family owned place you could go and linger over a wonderful meal, wine and dessert.

                                                                            Other places, to grab a bite to eat, that I fondly think back on from the college days; Beans on 6th between Guadalupe and Lavaca, Mad Dog and Beans on 24th, Jake's on 6th, Madison Square Garden's on 6th, The Stallion on North Lamar, Blooms on Rio Grande, The Filling Station and Dirty's, thank goodness Dirty's is still around. Oh, and Jeffery's or Green Pastures when the parental units came into town and took you out for dinner!!

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jmvw1600

                                                                              Ah, someone of my generation. In addition to the Stallion and Dirty's, my faves were Little Matt's, the Ditch, Nau's, G&M, La Tapatia, Iron Works (gone to seed now) and Sandy's. The double double at the Stallion remains my fondest memory - double chicken fried steak, double order of mashed, $2!

                                                                              1. re: FoodMan88

                                                                                Oh FoodMan88, I had forgotten La Tapatia, I enjoyed sitting in the fountain room, that was great Tex-Mex.

                                                                                How about the chicken fried steak at The Raw Deal, the little hole in the wall on Sabine on Waller Creek. It had that terrible mural on the wall with the man in the sombrero coming over the mountain, they had the best CFS ever!

                                                                                I also have very fond memories of Amaya's Taco Village when I was this little bitty place just down from Cisco's. It had a whole six tables.

                                                                                I know this is not in the food category but a great drinking memory, do you remember the Cedar Door when it was located at its first location on 15th and San Antonio. Good Times!

                                                                            2. It seems this thread has focused on restaurants and cafes.

                                                                              Today I was thinking about Whole Foods on Lamar. No not the multi-storied palace...errr place, on Lamar, but the little dive on the West (?) side of the street. At the time it was the ~only~ Whole Foods. The floors were kinda grungy.

                                                                              Is Wheatsville still around? ( A quick google says "yes"). Hopefully their offerings still set them apart from the HEB crowd.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                Yeah, wheatsville is still there. A bit updated, but essentially the same. They seem to be doing well.

                                                                                I never saw the original Whole Foods, but I used to always go the one one you are talking about. I remember that they painted the high water marks for various floods on the side of the building where the patio was. I'd tie up my dalmatian to the rail outside, and when I came out with our lamb ribs, all the hippies would have given her water and treats and food (I was kinda of a hippie, too). I remember meeting John Mackey - he asked me if I wanted to partner and I said no.

                                                                                1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                  I remember that Whole Foods. One of my girlfriends was telling us about a blind date she had that had not gone very well: "And I don't think he even has a job. He didn't pay for anything. He was dirty and grungy and smelly and his car was a broken down old heap that had more bumper stickers than the entire parking lot at Whole Foods."

                                                                                2. I recall the roman orgy at the Magic Time Machine off Riverside. Food was so so, but always a good time there.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: robbie6805

                                                                                    i had that for many a birthday party growing up in north texas.i remember the salad car. clever.

                                                                                  2. Jalapeno Charlies

                                                                                    Oysters at Gus's and shuffleboard

                                                                                    South Point Seafood

                                                                                    Captain Boomer's

                                                                                    1. I have great memories of going to Basil's when I was a kid. It was an Italian restaurant in the same spot that Bacon occupies now. Every time we went we ordered their sausage appetizer which was phenomenal.

                                                                                      Another great place was Zoot which was where Fabi and Rosi is now. I have vivid memories of a wild boar ragu over fresh pappardelle when I was about 11 years old.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: austineatsworld

                                                                                        You were a lucky kid. I'm fervently trying to give my kids (6 and 4) quality food.