After three days of music, film, walking and befriending amazing people at Austin’s SXSW music festival, the GrandLife team have worked up quite an appetite. Spoilt for choice in NY, we set out to discover the best of Austin’s culinary offerings and were not disappointed.
Brunch: For one of the best brunch’s in town, we suggest checking out South Congress Cafe. Loved by locals and great for celeb spotting (Robert Rodriguez, Dennis Quaid) this delicious menu delivers a mountain of experimental delicacies. We tried the Carrot Cake French Toast and pretty much went to heaven. Counter Cafe is the perfect hangover brunch spot. Whilst it’s got all the necessary diner style fixers (bacon & eggs etc), the menu has an excellent all-organic, all-natural gourmet twist.
Lunch: Let’s talk about Bánh mì & Boulangerie …French Vietnamese cuisine has arrived in South Austin! Elizabeth Street Café serves the most delicious Vietnamese food (Bún, phỏ, báhn mî, tea, Vietnamese coffee, punch and more) this side of the East. Though slightly pricey, it’s well worth it. The brainchild of Lucy’s Fried Chicken (another must-eat) Chef, and owner of the famed Olivia’s James Holmes, this relatively new eatery is receiving rave reviews. We tried the Pork Belly Bún and were not disappointed. Flavors exploding in our mouths, pork meat so delicious, perfect in its tender/crunchy-ness, this is our new favorite spot in Austin. Oh, and the desserts are to die for.
Dinner: Get in line at Franklin Barbecue and be prepared to wait. The juicy brisket, pulled pork, and ribs at the establishment are fast becoming legendary and require patience to reach. Often the restaurant’s entire fare sells out by 2:00 p.m. One of the “hottest” places in town is Barley Swine, an Austin eatery that made its way from food trailer to restaurant, and is listed as one of the top 10 best new restaurants in America, according to a list compiled by GQ magazine. On South Lamar, chef Bryce Gilmore (of the now-defunct Odd Duck trailer) provides a delicious array of small plates all made for sharing and enjoying alongside an impressive list of beers. It’s “foodie central”, but the space is tiny, so arrive early to avoid being disappointed. If you enjoy Japanese, and want some of the most sublime, most perfectly curated meals money can buy, try Uchi. A casual, hip setting, but mouth-wateringly good, this japanese eatery never gets a bad review. Try the Brie Tempura and tempt yourself with the melt-in-your-mouth array of sushimi. The sake list is diverse and the waitstaff know what they’re talking about, so let them guide you, if need be.
Must-Do: Gourdough’s Donut Truck is extrodinary. Housed in a vintage Airstream Trailer south of Lamar, this unique pit-stop will entice you away from even the most stringent of diets, and take you to heaven and back. With donut offerings ranging from the weird (Mother Clucker – topped with fried chicken and honey butter) to drool-worthy (Funky Monkey – topped with grilled banana and brown sugar) and everything in between, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime must-do whilst in Texas.
Bon Appetit, y’all.