This is the first post of three in our Austin trip series. I figured I’d start with food because that was really the focus of the trip. If you haven’t been to Austin, I suggest trying as many restaurants as you can. Austin has a wonderful variety of flavor and a ton of really cute and funky restaurants. The food is tasty, the atmosphere is great, what more could you want? I was sad to leave mostly because I felt like I hadn’t tried as many restaurants as I wanted, but trust me, we stuffed our faces nonstop. Guess we’ll just have to go back.
Before our trip to Austin I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching restaurants. Like an insane amount. Our main goal was to try as much delicious food as we could, and I think we succeeded because we both went home 5+lbs. heavier. Before we went I made a spreadsheet with all of the possible places we could hit during our four day trip. I asked friends and read articles about the best places to eat in Austin. Basically I am an insane person when it comes to planning food and I wanted to make the best of our short vacation by trying a variety of bombness. If you have questions on what we ate or where to go in Austin, leave a comment. I still have that spreadsheet full of places and if you go to Austin you should make it about the food.
Honorable mentions include: Torchy’s Tacos – um hello, everyone I talked to said we must try Torchy’s. SO good. So so good. I’d order the fried avocado or shrimp tacos again in a heartbeat. On our last day we went to Lockhart with my friend Matt who took us to Kreuz and Smitty’s for BBQ. Both were awesome. Both had their pit right next to the register and they serve up your meat right there. It was insane and HOT and delicious and VERY Texas.
Five Restaurants to Try in Austin
Easy Tiger : Facebook photo by Raymond Thompson
After Dan got me from the airport and we settled into our hotel, we headed straight for Easy Tiger. According to Dan, this was his favorite spot of the trip. He loved the chilled out setting, good music, and delicious salty goodness as well as variety of veggie options. We were both starving and kept ordering food until we felt like we were going to explode.
We ordered the snack board of two pretzels, beer cheese, house mustard, chex mix, and beef jerky, along with a knackwurst, two orders of the cucumber and tomato salad, and kale & pastrami. When we left Dan picked up a coffee and ginger cookie from the bakery upstairs which stays open until 2AM every day. Take me back! Or bring your deliciousness to Seattle! My only regret is that I didn’t try everything at Easy Tiger but my stomach could only handle so much. I suggest trying any or all of what we ordered.
Elizabeth St. Café : Facebook photo by Casey Dunn
Dan was PUMPED for this breakfast. He loves Vietnamese food and breakfast so the fact that the two were combined really lit him up. What I loved was the decor. And their uniforms. All the girls wear the same style of wrap dress but different floral patterns. So cool and retro. The restaurant is beautiful and they have antique dishes and silverware. Think Anthropologie but surrounded by tropical elements and green cafe chairs.
But let me get back to the food. We got the beignets with lychee raspberry jam (to die!), the roasted pork & wood ear mushroom omelette, and the house baked brioche french toast with sweetened condensed milk ice cream and blueberry Thai basil compote. I think the french toast knocked Dan out because after that he ordered a ham & gruyère croissant and that was it. But if I had to choose, I’d go for either the beignets (because of the jam!) or that intense french toast.
Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar : Facebook photo by Casey Dunn
We went to Perla’s for our anniversary dinner and it was supposed to be this big outing but the restaurant was literally across the street from our hotel so it felt funny to get dressed up and walk 20 feet. Whatever, we lived it up by ordering a bottle of champagne and oysters and celebrated five years of…basically eating…our relationship is 99% about eating.
This was my first time trying Atlantic oysters and they were delicious! We split the summer melon & burrata, the bay scallop pozole verde, the tomato & cucumber gazpacho with blue crab, and the dun, dun, dun! A lobster roll! I really wanted a lobster roll and I know it sounds silly for a “fancy” dinner but it was worth it. In this relationship Dan usually eats most of the dessert but I devoured the butterscotch pot de creme and Dan said I looked like a psycho pregnant woman trying to hoard all the dessert. This resulted in me passing the f*** out from champagne and sugar overload. Yay :)
Café No Sé : FÖDA, Austin photo by Nick Simonite
I want to go back just for this restaurant. Seriously, I fell in loooove with Café No Sé and was bummed that we didn’t get to try their breakfast menu as planned. Thankfully we went here for an early dinner (before we met up with Kris at G’Raj Mahal for more food) but this was the meal that stuck with me. It was so fresh! Plus, great decor. That’s always a plus. Beautiful restaurants get me.
Here’s what we ordered: the café spread of white bean hummus, marinated fava beans, za’atar spiced dukkah, and grilled laffa, the big eye tuna poke bowl, their daily crudo, the beet and grapefruit salad, the roasted sweet potato with burrata, and the biggest bowl of olives anyone has seen in the history of mankind. Like why did we get soo many olives? They were delicious but I suggest having at least four people in your group, unless you want to eat your weight in olives. When we got home I was so in love with the white bean hummus, marinated fava beans, and laffa that we tried to recreate it. I wouldn’t say ours was anywhere near as good but it brought me back to that delicious meal.
G’Raj Mahal : photo via Facebook
G’Rah Mahal was on our master list of restaurants to hit but we didn’t think we’d make it here. When my friend Kris and I were figuring out where to meet up, she suggested G’Raj Mahal. I’m so glad we had a chance to try it! I’m also happy that we were with people who enjoy trying new things because Dan and I ALWAYS get chicken tikka masala (favorite) but we ordered a bunch of stuff we’d never tried before. Including kashmiri, madrasi, and rogan josh. All mopped up with yummy naan. One thing I love about Austin is that pretty much everywhere you go has outdoor seating so you can enjoy your meal outside with friends and some drinks. Relaxing, fun, and in the case of G’Raj Mahal, dog friendly.