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Austin

Austin Eats

June 23, 2013

Austin. What a funky, downright awesome city.

So sincerely hot, so thoroughly covered in tattoos, so deeply cool and laid back.

Let’s keep it weird, Austin style, and eat brisket for breakfast. Here are my Austin eating recommendations from our one week stay this past June. Texas!!

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I think it best to start with Franklin BBQ, where you’ll find the most incredible brisket. Be sure to arrive 2-3 hours before opening time at 11am (for real) and avoid weekends if you can. They’re closed on Mondays, don’t make that mistake. There will be tears.

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You simply must visit the WholeFoods store in Austin. This is the flagship store, and it’s giant and extensive and wonderful. I visited for yoghurt, Charmeleon cold-brew (local!), a salad bar date with Ben and for general browsing fun. P.S. Anthropologie is next door…dangerous. You’re welcome/I’m sorry.

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Austin sure knows it’s food truck business! For the very best of food truck tastiness, you cannot beat Paul Qui‘s East Side King. With multiple locations, you’re sure to find one near you serving up crazy delicious bites. Our favourites were the beet fries and brussels sprouts, as well as the chicken karaage and beef tongue lettuce wraps. Mmmmhmmmmm.

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We also liked Chilantro BBQ‘s kimchi fries, though I have to say I didn’t find them to be quite as scrumptious as Namu Gaji‘s version in SF.

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After all this meat, you surely need some fresh veggie goodness. Koriente hits the spot. We loved the vegetable, mushroom and rice bowls, as well as miso-marinated fish. The hummus wraps are delicious too.

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La Condesa is a really popular, chic modern Mexican restaurant, and I really recommend a visit. I loved their classic Margarita, while Ben unabashedly loved his pink watermelon cocktail. Pretty in pink, y’all. Their salsa and guacamole sampler plate? Bananas good. So much smoky flavour, I wanted to happy dance after each mouthful. Other much-enjoyed bites here were the tacos, hanger steak and chicken mole. Really, really good stuff. Book ahead, peeps.

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We had Hut’s burgers one night. While I had heard that Hopdoddy burgers were the business, we simply could not fathom walking 30 minutes in the heat when we found ourselves so close to Hut’s – an adorable 1930s-style Diner that is said to be an Austin institution. In my terribly foreign opinion, I found Hut’s burgers to be similar to In-N-Out. My favourite part of this meal was sharing a shake with my love. What’s sweeter than that? Well, the shake, I guess…

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For coffee, we loved East Village Cafe, which was located a mere minute from where we were staying – win! Their coffee was nice and they had a stack of Chobani yoghurt for a nutritious breakfast, as well as Red Rabbit Co-Op Bakery goods and Coolhaus ice-cream sandwiches. Plus their wifi and air-conditioning ran strong. We loved this friendly neighbourhood joint, what a gem.

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Stubb’s BBQ is another popular Austin BBQ eatery. The closing party of BlogHer Food was held here. While I feel it had nothing on Franklin’s brisket, it was surely tasty and a really fun spot to hang out for the evening. Lots of cool bands perform here (we just missed Of Monsters and Men) so do check out the listing if you’re in town.

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We didn’t try the famous Amy’s Ice-Cream, however we did get real familiar with Jeni’s Ice-Cream one night while watching a House of Cards marathon on Netflix in bed. Brown butter almond brittle…

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Let’s end on my very favourite place to eat and drink in Austin, Justine’s. This French Brasserie is so cool, so busy, so loud and so fabulous. It’s everything I could ever want in a bar and restaurant. We visited twice during our stay and enjoyed delicious cocktails, lovely wine, beautiful buttery swordfish and a crazy good steak and frites. Best, favourite, I want a Justine’s wherever I go.

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Now for cocktail hour! P.S. while in Austin, cocktail hour for Ben and I was any hour past 10am. I blame the heat and cheap prices…but mainly the heat.

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We loved East Side Showroom for its classy, cool vibe, old movies on show and it’s delicious chartreuse cocktail, The Last Word. Lovely.

I highly recommend you visit The Driskell bar to revel in this gorgeous historic hotel, its fast wifi and air conditioning, its cow skin-covered seats and its splendid cocktail, The Batini.

Hillside Farmacy serves a super refreshing strawberry, basil and balsamic lemonade as well as an array of cocktails. As a bonus, the store is super cute and was conveniently located just around the corner from us.

Justine’s, as listed above. You’ll feel really cool if you turn up here and order a cocktail or moody glass of red.

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Other places I’ve heard are ace in Austin:
* Easy Tiger – I’m still upset we didn’t fit this in.
* Contigo – same with this one…
* Banger’s
* Handlebar
* QuiPaul Qui‘s latest venture. We missed the opening, but it’s surely fabulous.
Hopdoddy burgers
* Rainey Street bars

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Austin Notes

Length of stay: 1 week – a nice time for a laid-back visit. I also went to the BlogHer Food conference for 2 days during this time. I’d recommend at least a couple of days when visiting Austin, to see the city and get some good eats in. Accommodation is cheaper here than in other parts of the USA, so it might be a nice spot to break up your trip, chill out for a bit and eat some Texas BBQ, like we did.

Accommodation: we stayed in an Air BnB rental just east of Downtown. To get to the city centre was 20-30 minute walk (depending on how hot it was). We loved this residential location, and it was super cost friendly. Our little cottage was $55 per night and was a lovely little sanctuary.

For fun: bar hop down Rainey street, try the above eats, visit Barton Springs for a dip, play in WholeFoods and see a movie. Not necessarily in that order. Check out Austin Chronicle to learn what’s up, from music to food to things and stuff.

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Heidi xo

 

Franklin BBQ

June 4, 2013

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I’ve got a bit of a different Wednesday Breakfast Club post for you today. It involves barbeque . Barbeque for breakfast. Hold on to your belts. But first, let me ask you a question.

Would you wait in line for 2 and a half hours for brisket? What if it was reported to be the best barbeque in all of Austin? Maybe? Yeah, of course you would, right?

This morning, Ben and I did just that. We got into our sports gear and set off, jogging to Franklin BBQ, the slow-cooked meat lovers’ paradise, to see what was up. With already three groups in line ahead of us at 8:30am, we knew we had to leave one of our men behind. Bravely, Ben stayed on while I scooted home, showered and then swapped places with him. In line (heavily sun-screened and hydrated – Austin is hot) I read a book and Ben replied to emails while we waited…

…and waited…

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…and waited. Water from the balcony graciously misted us hungry, hopeful patrons. From the start of the line we watched it grow…and grow…and grow… until this crazy line of barbeque-lovin’ peeps entirely wrapped around the side of the restaurant. It was not even 10:30am at that point. One lady even showed up at 10:45am and took the place of a lady a few spots down from us. She had hired this lady to wait in line for her. It was a legitimate business transaction. For real.

Why all the drama? Well, people have been reported to have shed tears when arriving late (or even on-time, at 11am) and hearing Franklin’s has run our of brisket. The only tears we wanted to shed that day were happy tears, and so we arrived early. P.S. this was a Tuesday.

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At 11am, the crowd let out a hungry *sigh* as the doors to Franklin BBQ opened. Filing in and placing our order, we watched these crafty gents and ladies slice up pound after pound of brisket, ribs, sausages and pulled pork…

♥ Ben and I went with a pound of brisket (a mix of lean and fatty cuts), and a plate of two meats (ribs and more brisket…what?), with a side of beans, slaw, bread, pickles, onions and sweet tea. Oh, boy.

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So how was it? Was it worth the 2.5 hour wait?

Yes. Yes. With all of my heart, YES.

So flavourful, so melting, so well-seasoned, so tenderly delicious. This was, without a glistening shimmer of a doubt, the best brisket, the best barbeque meat, we have ever had. The ribs were tasty as well, most definitely. But that brisket… The beans were so scrumptious, as was the slaw and pickles and tea. But that brisket…

Ben and I did not even bother with the bread (I mean, really, it’s just a waste of stomach space at this point), and we still needed a take-home pack for all that brisket. Was it worth it? Are you kidding me? Of course it was. That brisket…

What did you have for breakfast today? And would you wait in line for almost three hours for brisket? Don’t lie, you totally would.

 

Heidi xo