Recently, my husband was sent to Austin, TX for the better part of a month for training. Austin is less than 2 hours from San Antonio, so we decided to make a family trip of it. I packed up my mini crockpot so that we wouldn’t have to rely on fast food for every meal, and we headed to Austin. By the way, if you ever need to go on an extended trip and don’t want to spend money eating out 3 meals a day, pick up a small crockpot like this one to save your budget. It was the perfect size to feed 2 adults and a toddler.
I suppose I should mention that since I moved out here (4 years ago), TJ and I have often said that we wanted to take a roadtrip to explore Austin. It was supposed to happen before we had a kid in tow, but umm… yeah, so cancel the 6th Street bar crawl. We did go into foodie mode; and it turns out Austin has an incredible food scene! Here are my favorite spots, and you need to go to them. Now.
- Ramen Tatsu-Ya– This tiny little place does not offer take out because they want their food appreciated in the freshest state possible. They make everything from scratch and the line that circles the end of the strip mall they’re located in is a testament to that. It was AMAZING!! I have not had ramen this authentic since visiting Japan 5 years ago. Get the tonkotsu shoyu. Just do it.
- Bacon– Why, yes. Heaven IS located in Austin. And it’s a little bitty shack where they make their own bacon in a variety of different flavors and it’s included in EVERY. SINGLE. DISH. Once again, there’s a line that extends out the door and down the block, but every bite was absolutely worth it.
- Hopdoddy Burger Bar– You will never even look at a Burger King again after you’ve been to this place just once. I’ve never had a burger that tasted so… natural, wholesome, healthy… I could describe it so many ways. The point is, it was delicious, and I didn’t feel my arteries clogging up as I ate. Another unique dining experience that is worth enjoying once if you ever pass by one of these restaurants.
- Bone Daddy’s– A classic BBQ joint with a Hooters- style atmosphere. We went here with the whole training group and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even my 2-year old cleared his plate! I wouldn’t say it felt healthy, but you can’t visit a major city in Texas and skip the BBQ, right?
- Javi’s Tex-Mex– We did not go out looking for Tex-Mex food. I mean, it’s only everywhere. But there was one night that we didn’t want to go far, and this spot was very close to our hotel, so we went. And it was delicious!! They were pretty empty on a weeknight, but the queso was on point!
- 888 Pan Asian– This place had a lunch buffet, and I could’ve eaten there every day. They sure do stay crowded, though. Fortunately, we were still able to get in, eat, and get out in a timely manner.
- Java Noodles– This restaurant was in the same strip mall as 888, so the next day we tried it for lunch. Tiny with an appetizer bar included in the meal, this was a very quiet place. The food was better than most Asian places I’ve been to since moving to Texas, so it’s a good alternative to 888 if you can find a parking spot.
- Hai Ky– Yes, this place was also small, but I’m a sucker for Pho. Service was quick, and the pho was delicious! I hope you don’t mind getting cozy with strangers, though, because this place gets packed.
- Maiko Sushi Lounge– Ok, so by now you’ve noticed that I have a thing for Asian food. Don’t judge me. Just go here for a hipster crowd and yummy sushi. The place has a very “cocktail” hour atmosphere. It was the kind of place I would’ve gone to for a quick bite and a few drinks before heading to the clubs further down the street.
- Estancia Churrascaria– Look! I totally eat other types of cuisine! Especially when it’s carved right off the bone and onto your plate in an endless supply until you tap out and have to flip over your token. Brazilian steakhouses are expensive, but you’ve got to try this at least once in your life.
- Daruma Ramen– Yes, it’s another ramen shop. And yes, it was good. This restaurant was even smaller than the first one, but it’s located on 6th street near a few bars. I feel like this place is a great option if you are looking for a slightly lighter ramen because their broth is chicken-based instead of the rich pork broth from Tatsu-Ya.
- Verts Kebap– Imagine a place like Freebirds or Moe’s or Subway, except the bread is reminiscent of pita pockets and they have falafel. That’s Verts, and it’s amazing. This german-inspired chain is taking far too long to add locations closer to me. I must confess, I ate one kebap there for dinner and then ordered a second one to take back to the hotel for a midnight snack… that happened. Don’t judge me.
Well, I can’t remember any other places at the moment, but if I do I’ll just add a part 2. Please let me know if you visit Austin any time soon. I’d love an excuse to go to any of these places again. I’ve now been inspired to develop my own ramen recipe, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading 🙂 ~ HC