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NYC Chowhounder coming to Austin for the first time over Labor Day

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are coming to Austin for Labor Day, very excited to be visiting for the first time. We have a tentative itinerary and am looking to fill a few holes. FYI, we're staying at the Driskill.

Friday night (we won't get to city until 9:30ish): La Condesa
Saturday morning: Would love a recommendation for breakfast tacos near our hotel.
Saturday lunch: We're planning on going out to Hill County, would love recs for things to eat on the way out there, any favorite BBQ places there (I'll look through threads here too, of course).
Saturday night: Qui

Sunday brunch: Fonda San Miguel
Snack: Open to this ... is Gourdough's worth it? Looks pretty awesome from the website.
Dinner: Second Bar + Kitchen (OR anywhere else that's close to the Moody Theater)

Monday: Breakfast, would love suggestions. We have a 1 PM flight.

Thanks in advance, all!

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  1. Welcome to Austin!
    You will have a blast!
    Qui is amazing..
    Goudoughs is well worth it..
    You have two Heavy hitting brunches set up there... we also have some fun one of kind cafe breakfast places ....Yellow Jacket Social Club, Counter Cafe, Walton’s Fancy and Stable, Stubbs Gospel brunch, Odd Duck,
    For breakfast tacos.. Ciscos, Taco N' Madre,
    BBQ--I am not a bbq girl so take this for what it is worth the only BBQ I could ever say tasted any different from than others

    on the grand Hill country BBQ tour( kind of like a wine tour but with brisket tasting and sweet tea) was Blacks.

    If you can fit in a happy hour at Uchiko I highly recommend it( I am biased as everyone on this bored knows :) )

    9:30 is not a problem head down to the Violet crown district hit the food trucks ...

    1. I assume you'll have a car at your disposal for the whole trip?

      La Condesa is a great pick. It is very close to the Moody Theater; what about saving it for Sunday night and hitting a food trailer on Friday night? East Side Kings (Paul Qui is part owner) has a series of trailers on E. 6th Street that are all open late. All different menus, so you could do a crawl. Or Three Little Pigs is another one of my favorites.

      I may be in the minority, but I personally think that Uchi is much more consistently awesome than Qui.

      Gourdough's is very fun, but I'm not sure it would be on my "one weekend to eat in Austin" list. OTOH, it might be the one thing that would be different than what you can find in NYC.

      My vote for Monday breakfast is Noble Sandwich Co on Burnet. I had a house-made ham, jack, and egg sandwich on bacon bread there this weekend that was one of the best breakfast items I have ever eaten in my life.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Optimista

        I was telling my husband the exact same thing. Noble makes a perfect breakfast sandwich. It's so rare to get the eggs fluffy, soft and moist, yet still firm enough not to soak the bun or fall out in little fluflettes. Perfect in its simplicity.

          1. re: amysuehere

            I love the egg sandwich at 24 Hour Diner. The eggs and potatoes are always perfect. They changed how I cooked potatoes for breakfast.

              1. re: amysuehere

                I tried that egg sandwich on bacon bread today and upped the cardiovascular ante by subbing pork belly for the ham. my favorite measure of a kitchen is how well they can do eggs. You're so right, Amysue, perfect. Thanks for that rec. 'twas great.

                1. re: slowcoooked

                  Ooo, I might have to try that with pork belly next time. Though TNP's ham is pretty special...

              2. re: Optimista

                ohhh forgot Noble opened on burnet...yummmmy

                Uchiko-- over uchi( and yes better than Qui)

                ANnnnnd don forget Driskoll is haunted

                1. re: girloftheworld

                  Ha, I go back and forth between preferring Uchi and Uchiko, but I think I've landed on Uchi. There are a few dishes there that just rock my world every. single. time.

                2. re: Optimista

                  re: gordough's
                  are you looking for a snack, or wanted to try something that is both sweet and "austin"? if you are looking for something that fits both bills, here are a few ideas:

                  1. hand-held pies. never heard of them til moving here. see also: chess pie and the wide assortment of southern-style cream pies.

                  2. dessert sausage.
                  http://austin.eater.com/archives/2014...

                  3. casey's sno balls. technically new orleans style, but austin loves this establishment.

                  4. one of the many ice cream food trucks.
                  cow tipping creamery gets my vote.

                  i will probably come up with 3+ more ideas once i hit "post" and walk away...

                  1. re: dinaofdoom

                    You may have this in NYC, but I'd personally add Snow Monster to this list. Deeeeelicious Taiwanese snow ice.

                    Also, Lick. Best ice cream evarrrrr.

                    1. re: dinaofdoom

                      I much prefer Jim Jim's over Casey's. I know that I'm really comparing apples to oranges, but for a refreshing cold icy treat, I'd say go to Jim Jim's.

                  2. I got a recomendation for The BBQ. It's Kerlin BBQ.

                    I have tried a lot of places, and this was the best. It's a small place, just a little trailer and a truck.

                    1700 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702, USA

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Ropust

                      I would put Live Oak or Styles Switch above them. I only tried them once, however, and it may have been an off day. Certainly nice people.

                      1. re: amysuehere

                        You can't trust Styles's brisket. It's way too inconsistent. Part of the problem is they have brisket all day so if you go like after 6 p.m. you are eating shoe leather. But if I want good BBQ, air conditioning and no fuss it's my spot.

                        1. re: Rptrane

                          Yeah, I wouldn't get the brisket at SS after noon. I do enjoy the beef rib, though (wish their sides were better).

                          I like Live Oak for post noon. They don't even start serving the special until mid-afternoon.

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            I like that corn casserole side, and good though small beer selection

                          2. re: Rptrane

                            Rptrane, my sentiments exactly. I typically don't order brisket after noon. Amy - good info about Live Oak. You just startled a memory that they're good late in the day. Doll......

                          3. re: amysuehere

                            Hate to nit-pick, but it's Stiles Switch, not Styles Switch.
                            For an out of towner, that might be important.

                            http://www.stilesswitchbbq.com/static/

                              1. re: amysuehere

                                I started the mistake auto correct. That said I like the sides. Mac and cheese with the beef rib is heaven.

                        2. Your hotel has excellent food in the bar, like really good. I can't recommend a dish because the SOBs are always updating the menu and whatever I had might not be on it but I've never had a bad meal there.

                          La BBQ for lunch. Line is long but not crazy long. You'll have food in an hour, probably less.
                          If you have the coin order ala carte breakfast at the Four Seasons.. Very good food. If you have Hill Country plans i think it's fair to say that the Original Salt Lick is worth a visit. It's a Disneyland for BBQ and it's actually good, not great. I've heard Opie's is good but I can't vouch for it. If I recall Mandola Winery is out there too and it was good for Italian food, better atmosphere than food.

                          Do Not go to the following: Kerby Lane, County Line.

                          1. For breakfast tacos nearby I like Veracruz All Natural. It's a trailer on East Cesar Chavez next to the Shell gas station at Comal. A couple of blocks east of I35. Nice shaded seating area with 3 salsas, homemade tortillas and chips. They also have a couple of brick and mortar shops. You can pull up their migas taco on youtube.

                            1. Second for La Barbecue—the brisket might make you a convert. They should be in a new location (food trailer park) by Labor Day at E. Cesar Chavez just east of I-35 frontage road.

                              Justine's is perfect for a late(ish) arrival at the airport. It's on your way from the airport to The Driskill, kitchen's open until well after midnight, and you can have a relaxed meal of simple French fare under twinkly lights in the garden, or at a table inside the restored house. The bartenders are always spinning great vinyl, too. Good introduction to Austin.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: storefronteats

                                they're moving today, so it'll definitely be at the new location.

                                1. re: storefronteats

                                  Re: Justine's: by "relaxed," @storefronteats means that you'll be forced to sit around waiting for your food for two hours, whether you want to or not. Consider yourself warned. ;)

                                  1. re: Optimista

                                    Ha! That's never happened to me there, on many visits. I guess I'm lucky! As long as I'm in the mood for a buzzing atmosphere, I always enjoy Justine's.

                                    1. re: storefronteats

                                      You ARE lucky, @storefronteats! I've been five times. Once was good, once was great. The other three were slow - two of these, the service was abominable and one was hands-down the worst service experience I've EVER had in a restaurant. And I eat out an average of probably 12 times a week. I'm pretty convinced our server was on drugs. In case you're bored and want to read my blow-by-blow (first time I've ever written a Yelp review that exceeded maximum length and had to be edited back!), here ya go. ;)

                                      http://www.yelp.com/biz/justines-bras...

                                2. Hi everyone,

                                  Thank you for all of your great suggestions! We had an excellent time this past weekend, although I think I'm on a strict kale diet for the rest of this week, ha.

                                  We started out with La Condesa on Friday night. Tasty cocktails and my favorite dish was the chiles relleno with the taleggio fondue. The sauce was so salty and creamy, a perfect counterpart to the chiles. We opted for the pot de creme for dessert, which was tasty but very thick and rich, so we only conquered about a third of it.

                                  Saturday we tried Veracruz All Natural for our very first breakfast tacos! The wait wasn't too bad and they were everything I dreamt they would be. I especially like the white cheese they used.

                                  We stopped at Gourdough's to pick up a fresh doughnut with cream cheese frosting and grilled bananas. Definitely worth the line; I don't know how I'll ever go back to regular doughnuts that aren't right out of the fryer.

                                  Lunch was at Black's in Lockhart, we tried the ribs (husband said they were the best of his life) and two different types of sausage. They were crisp on the outside and moist on the inside: wonderful. Longish wait, but the big coolers of ice water helped!

                                  Dinner on Saturday was at Qui. We went with the veg menu because it looked more interesting to us. Standouts were the peaches with the Filipino curry and the dessert, which was a kind of mousse cake with sour cream ice cream. But we truly enjoyed every dish and the service was so friendly.

                                  Sunday we trekked over to Fonda San Miguel for their brunch. Absolutely the best cheese enchiladas I've ever had. They were also serving a white chocolate mole which was unlike anything I've tasted. I will miss this place the most.

                                  Sunday night dinner was Odd Duck. We sat at the bar and enjoyed the great soundtrack. They even brought us out a comped order of the pork cracklin's when we told them it was our first time to Austin. Our favorite dishes were the lamb ribs with peanuts and mint (a special that night) and the goat confit. We got the Kouign Amann for dessert, which was served with cheese, honey and apples. Very well done, but I have to say not quite as good as Dominique Ansel's here in NYC.

                                  Lastly Monday morning we stopped at Juan in a Million for those gut bomb breakfast tacos. I thought their chorizo was better than Veracruz's, but not sure if I liked their cheese as much. I think it was American?

                                  There are definitely many other places we didn't get to hit (Noble Sandwiches! So many food trucks) so I'm sure we'll back.

                                  Cheers!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: JulesTei

                                    Awesome report. Glad you had a great time and some good chow. Thanks for reporting back, and enjoy your further travels!

                                    1. re: JulesTei

                                      yum! glad you had fun, and thanks for reporting back :-D

                                      1. re: JulesTei

                                        Nice report and nice catch on the Odd Duck soundtrack - perfect selection and volume indeed. We go the bar every time and usually instantly.

                                        1. re: JulesTei

                                          I love it when people report back - thank you for doing so! Really glad you had a nice visit and some great eats. :)

                                          1. re: Optimista

                                            i love it too, especially in the wake of sxsw & acl posts!