Monday, June 26, 2017

EurAsia Sushi Bar in Oak Hill

EurAsia Sushi Bar Austin
If you've lived in Austin for more than a minute you know that our fair city is rapidly growing and changing. No part of town is immune to development and gentrification, for better or worse. The far southwest part of town, known as Oak Hill has become a trafficky mess due to the convergence of Highways 290 and 71, with William Cannon, Southwest Parkway and Mopac also nearby. Fortunately for area residents and those stuck in traffic on the way to outlying areas now have more meal options.

On the Highway 71 side of things, across from the HEB is a sprawling shopping center (or is it two centers? three?) with a gym, Goodwill, and what's rapidly becoming a cool selection of restaurants. Slab BBQ has already moved in on the northern side (and I hear good things!). Jim's has renovated. Pluckers is coming. And EurAsia Sushi Bar and Seafood is (mostly) booming.

I went for lunch last month, and even though we were on the early side, it still wasn't very busy especially given the number of employees working. But I have heard from a few different people that in the evening, the dinner wait has been upwards of an hour. (So go for lunch!) Very modern and clean inside, clearly there was some money put into this place. A gorgeous water feature runs along the banked seating. The sushi bar is in the rear of the restaurant and they have a camera directly on one of the sushi chefs so you can watch them prepare the food on TV! If I had to guess, I would say EurAsia is owned by Indonesians, as there is an Indonesian section on the menu and the sushi chefs were wearing Indonesian head cloths.
EurAsia Austin interior
With a very extensive pan-Asian menu, there is something for every palate, including your standard Chinese and Japanese (non-sushi) dishes, and things like Kobe beef or salmon burgers for lunch. And for those who are there for the sushi, there are a multitude of options, including sashimi, rolls, and chef's specials.

I went with Sushi Combo A, with your choice of two of the classic rolls, so I got unagi (smoked eel) and the veggie tempura. All the plates we saw coming from the kitchen looked beautifully plated, and the orchid was a nice touch. The menu said the veggie tempura included sweet potato, asparagus and broccoli, but instead of broccoli it was taro root. We didn't mind the change, but asked the waitress about it later, who sent the manager over. He didn't really seem to know, but apologized and took it off our bill, even though we weren't complaining! (I do see that the online version of the menu has taro listed, so I don't know if the printed menu was an error or if they have changed it to taro since our visit.)
EurAsia sushi rolls
My Thai friend (the one who turned me on to Thai Taste across the street) has now been a few times and partial to the Indonesian pho, which was really good, though certainly not very photogenic. It's traditional name is Bakso Sapi, but is also listed on the menu as Obama's favorite, as President Obama was said to have enjoyed this soup on a trip to Indonesia.  The broth isn't quite as flavorful as a good Vietnamese pho broth should be, but there's a bounty of meatballs, meat-wrapped hard-boiled eggs, tofu, veggies, and noodles, plus it is a large bowl and good for sharing if you're in the mood.
EurAsia Indonesian pho
My friend loves squid, and also in the Indonesian section is a grilled squid dish called Cumi Bakar Pedas. Granted she asked for the spicy sauce on the side, but the squid was fairly dry and tough, and you could tell it had been previously frozen. Has potential though.
EurAsia Indonesian grilled squid
EurAsia is located at 7101 Highway 71; they DO take reservations and you also can order food online. They have late hours (open til midnight)  with two daily happy hour from 4:30 - 6:30 pm, and a reverse one from 10 pm - midnight. So if you need a place to wait out some traffic, pull into EurAsia and eat in or get it to go.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

La Dolda Pasta

I am a confirmed carboholic, so when I first heard about La Dolda Artisinal Pasta shop opening up in Westlake, I was excited! I have always enjoyed the fresh pastas from Pasta + Co on Kerbey Lane, but I just don't get up to that part of town too frequently, though they can be found at a couple farmer's markets too. So to have a new place -- owned by Italians -- south of the river is awesome. And while I didn't originally intend to write a blog post about La Dolda (and hence the photos aren't great), here we are. :)
La Dolda Pasta Logo
Only open since the third week of May, the word of fresh pasta is quickly spreading. La Dolda (Facebook page) is located at 4238 Bee Caves Road; as you are headed west on Bee Caves towards 360, they are on the right, just a bit past the light at Camp Craft Road. Inside, there are a few tables and fresh and dried pasta all around. A nice glass case highlights the days offering of freshly made pastas, from the familiar linguine, tortellini, and raviolis to fun corkscrews and some tiny bean-like offerings. Plus a variety of sauces (pesto, ragu, pomodoro) to take home as well. Prices range per pound.
La Dolda Pasa fresh pasta case
Two walls have shelving of nothing but bags of dried artisan pasta, and another wall had a big case of Italian condiments like balsamic vinegars and truffle oil.
La Dolda Pasa dry pasta

La Dolda Pasa condiments
If you're there between 11 am - 4 pm, you can eat a meal there; here are some of the offerings.
La Dolda Pasa menu
I got two different fresh pastas, plus a dried pasta as a birthday gift for a friend.
La Dolda Pasa fresh and dried pastas
With the paparadelle, I tossed it with some mascarpone, fresh lemon juice, parmesan cheese, sugar snap peas, a bit of basil and toasted pine nuts. It was thick and hearty, and next time, I would do it with a ragu.
La Dolda Pasa paparadelle
The tortellini I choose was filled with prosciutto and parmesan. I just tossed this with olive oil, parmesan, and wilted spinach. Owner Matteo said not to salt the pasta water, because the pasta was salty enough. Valid point! And I am sure he has all kinds of tidbits about preparing his different pastas.
La Dolda Pasa tortellini
This is not your average grocery store pasta; everything is hand made and the prices and quality reflect that.  And absolutely worth it! Benvenuto a Austin, La Dolda! Buon appetito!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Taste of Ethiopia + My 500th Blog Post!

This marks my 500th blog post! I have been blogging in South Austin since September 2008, and it's been interesting to see how social media platforms have changed the last few years, especially with the rise of Instagram. I strive for substance in my work, and will continue to provide honest feedback on the places I eat. Onward!

I have been to Taste of Ethiopia at 3801 South Congress Avenue twice in the past couple months; their other location is in Pflugerville. The first time was for lunch, where I had the lunch buffet and the second time was dinner with a group of foodie friends and we ordered off the menu, for a typical communal Ethiopian meal. I am hardly an expert in Ethiopian, though I have had it many times throughout the years. It's a great way to literally share a meal and expand your cultural horizons, and many vegetarian options (and I'd guess gluten and dairy free as well). I found a blog, Uncornered Market, that has a good primer on the basics of Ethiopian foods.
Taste of Ethiopia South Congress
Somehow Girl Eats World's hand ended up in my picture! Foodie is the New Forty was also snapping shots. ;) 
The interior of the restaurant is spacious and includes a bar area. Most of the seating runs parallel to the windows along the South Congress side, and there are nice Ethiopian touches throughout, like these baskets, or mesob, that the food is served in.
Taste of Ethiopia South Congress buffet
The lunch buffet is almost all vegetarian, with a variety of lentil, vegetable, and rice dishes. I think this doro wat chicken dish was the only meat item on the buffet. Doro wat is chicken simmered in berbere spices, which can include savory ones like chile and fenugreek and sweeter notes such as cardamom, cinnamon and clove; like curry powder each family has their own recipe! I love the flavor of the chicken!
Taste of Ethiopia South Congress buffet
The roll at the top of the picture above and what's in my hand below is called injera, and it's the tortilla of Ethiopian food. Made from fermented teff flour, it has a spongy texture and also a lightly fermented flavor; I totally dig it, but not everyone does! Typically in Ethiopia, you eat with your hands and can use in the injera to help scoop up your food. Now I am entirely curious to know what injera would be like if toasted like tortilla chips! I may have to get some extra on my next visit and try this at home. And from reading the Uncornered Market referenced above, as in India, it's considered impolite to eat with your left hand. I will say I only ate with my left hand for this picture so I could use the camera with my right hand. Apologizes if I offended anyone!
Taste of Ethiopia South Congress injera
This appetizer from our dinner visit is called minchet abish, and it's finely chopped beef, seasoned with spices (garlic, ginger, cardamom), sauteed in berbere sauce and served with bread. A touch oily, but I really enjoy the flavor.
If you take a look at the photo at the top of this post, you'll see the lamb tibbs on the platter at the 6 o'clock position, and items from the veggie sampler arranged around the platter. These included gomen (collard greens), two different lentil dishes, tikil gomen (cabbage), and fesolia (green beans + carrots). They bring an empty platter and place it in the mesob basket with some injera as the base layer, and they they spoon the lamb and other vegetable dishes onto the injera, leaving some rolls of fresh injera behind for eating with. It's a fun, communal way to eat. The lamb and lentils were my favorites.

Both times, the service has been warm and friendly, and the staff is happy to answer questions about the food, which they are very proud of. They will also bring forks upon request. Again the meat and lentil dishes have been my favorites, and there's a few more on the menu that I'd like to go back and try!

Just a note about parking: there is space available behind the building, turn east on Alpine and then an immediate right into the parking lot, up the hill. When I was there for lunch, there was no problem parking there. For dinner on a Saturday though, the lot was completely filled at 6 pm. I kind of think a lot of the spots were being used by people at the apartments there, because neither the restaurant nor the rest of the complex was all that busy. From the parking lot, there's a wall sign indicating stairs, but things are not well-marked. The door closest to the stair sign was the first I tried, and it was unlocked, but it lead directly into the residential area and I am guessing this door shouldn't have been unlocked. The next door I tried did lead to a stairwell, which does lead to the street level, and the restaurant is straight ahead on the right when you exit the stairwell. It would be nice if the property management company marked things better! Let's just say I was glad it was daylight when I first went.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Home Cooking: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

I am a relative newcomer to crock pot/slow cooker cooking. My mother didn't use a cooker when I was growing up, and it's only been in the last 5 - 7 years that I bought myself one. But I definitely appreciate the time advantages to using one, and actually now I have two: a big six quart one and a baby two quart. They are both REAL handy!

My friend Sharon Chen of Delish Plan has written a slow cooker cookbook. Disclosure, she was offering some advance e-copies at a discount to members of our food blogger group (Austin Food Bloggers Alliance) for critique and to review on Amazon, which I provided. I was not monetarily compensated otherwise, and all opinions are my own. This link here will take you to her web page for the cookbook; or click here to go directly to Amazon to purchase either an e-book or paperback copy. There are a lot of creative recipes from meats to vegetarian dishes to dessert.  And one of the beautiful things about using a slow cooker, it doesn't heat up your entire kitchen the way an oven does in the Texas summer! But back to pulled pork!
Delish Plan Slow Cooker Cookbook
Available on Amazon
I bought a small pork shoulder from Whole Foods, that was about a pound and a half; I decided to make half the recipe and use my smaller cooker. While Sharon advocates for using plastic liners for ease of clean up, I don't care to cook in plastic, so I sprayed the cooker well with non-stick spray. An onion, the meat, and a mixture of ketchup, hard cider (I used Crabbie's, which is more of an alcoholic ginger beer than hard apple cider, but the flavors lent well), Dijon mustard, brown sugar, salt + pepper, bay leaf, and chile garlic paste all went in the pot. I cranked the heat all the way to low and let it work it's magic overnight.  My house smelled good in the morning! Here's what it all looked like still in the pot.
Delish Plan Slow Cooker Hard Cider Pulled Pork
And below, with minimal shredding, you can see how the meat just fell off the bone.  One thing I did though was to reduce the remaining liquid from the pot; I poured it all into a skillet and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. It reduced somewhat, but definitely thickened.
Delish Plan Slow Cooker Hard Cider Pulled Pork
One night for dinner, I made some polenta and brussels and had an easy meal, adding some of the reduced juices.
Delish Plan Slow Cooker Hard Cider Pulled Pork
And this was my favorite, the pulled pork with a great pasta, goat cheese, fresh basil and some of that reduction.
Delish Plan Slow Cooker Hard Cider Pulled Pork

Without a doubt, I would make this pulled pork recipe again! In addition to what I made, there's so much you can do with the pork, like make tacos or pulled pork sandwiches. Easy and versatile. I can happily recommend Delish Plan's cookbook!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Snooze: An AM Eatery (South Lamar) -- Caught Napping or Wide Awake?

Snooze: An AM Eatery South Lamar restaurant review
I've been pondering this blog post in my mind for over a month now, and it's just time to put it out there. Maybe you can tell from the title of this blog post of the conflict going through my head. Read on to learn about my first visit to Snooze: An AM Eatery at 1700 South Lamar, which coincided with International Pancake Day on February 28th, where a portion of pancake profits go to help local community gardens.

What started out as lunch with friends M and B became a very leisurely lunch, though not entirely by choice. More on that in a minute. Snooze is in a strip center on South Lamar, just north of the light at W. Mary/Hether Streets; its patio seating with orange accents is visible from Lamar. They are open daily from 6:30 am - 2:30 pm, and feature breakfast foods (heavy on eggs) and some sandwiches, as well as a full bar. The original is in Denver, where I ate several years ago when visiting friends; there are now around 20 Snooze locations from Texas to California.

I arrived a little after 11:30 am and found the parking lot to be mostly full, but fortunately Snooze was not packed. (I have heard stories about two hour waits on weekends which is one of the reasons I have not gone until now.) I was immediately greeted and seated along the back wall; as I waited for my friends, I admired the playful decor. I don't know what you call the little starburst/jacks thingys, but they are fun and nicely incorporated on the walls, on the glasses, etc.

Our waitress was personable and happily made some menu suggestions when asked.  I ordered the Breakfast Pot Pie, which is a big piece of puff pastry, with choice of egg and gravy, along with their very nice and crisp hash browns. The pastry is probably made from vegetable shortening, not butter, but it's still light, flaky and tasty.  This is a good sized plate of food! The food took maybe a little long to come, but nothing egregious.
Snooze South Lamar Breakfast Pot Pie

Snooze South Lamar Breakfast Pot Pie
B had the Benny Goodman, with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers.
Snooze South Lamar Benny Goodman
M had the Bella! Bella! Benny, which the waitress had mentioned was one of the post popular benedicts, with prosciutto, Taleggio cheese, arugula and balsamic. Both of them enjoyed their food. The menu says you can also order a combo plate of any two benedicts if you can't decide, which is a nice option.
Snooze South Lamar Bella Bella Benny
We all liked our food, and decided to split a couple of the special pancakes for dessert. I can't even remember what we ordered, but I think it was the Acai and Cannoli. So..... 25 minutes go by, and we still haven't received our order, so I asked the waitress when she was nearby. The lunch rush seemed to have peaked and was starting to thin a bit. I saw her go into the kitchen, and another minute or so later, a manager came over. He apologized for the delay and said they should be out in about 5 minutes; he further explained that a lot of his staff was in San Antonio preparing for Snooze's opening down there which was set for the next day or so, and the kitchen was backed up. I told him politely that shouldn't be an excuse for two pancakes.
Snooze pancakes
A few minutes later, the pancakes did arrive; I took a bite of each, and they both seemed a bit dry. But then I saw it: there was a long hair in the batter; I was done eating. We pointed it out to the staff but did not make a scene over it.
Snooze pancakes
Honestly, I think I was more disturbed by the long wait for two pancakes and what seemed like an excuse than I am about the hair. Don't get me wrong, I am not thrilled about the hair, but it can happen at any type of food establishment from fine dining on down. However, I am sure Snooze will be less than thrilled to know that it happened to a local food blogger. I will say the manager comped us a generous portion of the bill after learning of the incident, and I do appreciate his working quickly to try to rectify the situation.

I think I did catch Snooze on a day they were both napping and awake. I will return at some point, though I may still steer clear of the pancakes, but a Dirty Drunken Chai will definitely be in my future.

Addendum: I received a press release earlier this week from their PR agency; the two Austin Snooze locations (1700 South Lamar and 3800 North Lamar) donated $2000 to Becker Elementary and the Sustainable Food Center for their gardens from International Pancake Day. Nicely done.

Friday, March 17, 2017

El Burro: New Fresh and Casual Mexican in Lamar Union

I met a friend last month at the new El Burro, sibling to VOX Table, both in Lamar Union at 1100 South Lamar Blvd. Having just opened earlier this winter, I was curious to try it and hopefully include them in my guide to the Best Mexican Food in Austin, and they did not disappoint! Plus they recently started a happy hour program, which will certainly encourage my return.

We sat outside on the patio, which did have heaters (and hopefully those will turn into misters as the weather heats up), and fortunately since we were on the driveway side, the noise from the Lamar Blvd. traffic wasn't too bad. Also fun to people watch at this new, hip complex.
El Burro Austin
I started with a lovely sangria and my friend a classic margarita.
El Burro Austin sangria
Okay, admittedly it's been a month since I was there, and I didn't write down what my friend had, but I think this is the carnitas taco plate with green salsa. She was rather pleased with it!
El Burro Austin
Mine is definitely the al pastor! Decent corn tortillas, very nice flavor and tenderness to the pork. I almost always feel that al pastor tacos should have a teeny bit more pineapple than what they come with, but the pickled onions were a nice addition. Now the menu calls this avocado salsa, but it was certainly more of a sauce than salsa. But I would still order them again!
El Burro Austin Tacos al Pastor
The El Burro website mentions free valet parking, and also has an online ordering feature that's coming soon. So whether you are planning on dining in or getting food to go, you've got options on how to get your El Burro fix!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Toss Pizza: New York Style Pizza in South Austin

Toss Pizza neon sign
There are no shortage of pizza places in Austin, but last summer welcomed Toss Pizza into the mix. This New York-style pizza place is at 2901 South First Street, and offers on-site parking and an outdoor, dog-friendly seating area.

Somewhere between a restaurant and a bar, there was a laid-back vibe on a recent weeknight. Multiple televisions are positioned throughout, but fortunately they were not blaring. Each day has a different drink/happy hour special, and there's also a window to the kitchen where you can watch them toss pizza dough.

I started with beer and my friend and I split the garlic knots. Looking back at the menu, it says "choice of garlic butter, marinara or ranch." I realize now, the waiter didn't ask our preference, and just brought all three sauces with the order. Except the ranch wasn't ranch; it tasted more like an alfredo, though it congealed quickly, making me now wonder if it was the beer cheese that's mentioned in the pretzel appetizer. But it tasted more like an alfredo than a beer cheese. Oh well. The garlic butter was my favorite of the three.  Who doesn't like soft chewy bread and melted butter?
Toss Pizza garlic knots
Toss makes big 20" pies. That's the only size. Fortunately, you can order a HALF pie. So we picked our own toppings with sausage and roast garlic, though some of their specialty pies sound delicious. As you can see, the half pie is still four very large slices, so we each ate one and took one home. I really liked the pizza. It was sort of easier to eat it with a fork and knife, at least initially, but it's also very foldable for those who like to eat their pizza that way.  Crust is pretty thin on the bottom, with a decent edge to it, almost like a Neapolitan. It crisped very nicely in the toaster oven when I reheated it.
Toss Pizza
We also ordered the warm Brussels sprout salad, with beets, pancetta, walnuts, and balsamic. The flavors were fantastic, but the execution was poor. The Brussels were completely soggy, and after a few bites, I just couldn't do it, and we set the tray to the side. I told the waiter, who sort of apologized, but didn't really appear to take any corrective action, and left them on our check. So I was about to leave a little disgruntled when someone who I assume was a manager came over to the table. He said the waiter told him what I said about the Brussels, so he went back to the kitchen to check, and  sure enough, he felt they were sub par. He apologized and gave us a card for 10% off our next visit. I felt vindicated, and appreciated the manager's efforts, and that of the waiter for reporting it.

You can order online for pick up or delivery; this will come in handy. I will happily return to Toss for the pizza. So while I hope the kitchen gets the Brussels perfected, the pizza is pretty much perfect as is.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Best Restaurants in South Austin

Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2017 #ATXBestEats
Click here for a link to the entire City Guide! 
Updated for 2017! "Where should we eat in South Austin?" The age-old question! Well, I've tried to think of every possible decent meal/dish I've had, and list MY FAVORITES here by type of cuisine (warning: there's a lot of info here). Here are my picks for best restaurants in South Austin, focusing on the area from Town Lake to William Cannon, and IH-35 to Mopac. For restaurant picks south of William Cannon, please see Homemade Austin's post. Happy eating! 

Finer Dining (Let's be real, nothing in South Austin requires a tie, but pants without holes in them would be nice.) Eberly, 615 South Lamar
Decor is said to be stunning, but I have not yet been.

Lenoir, 1807 South First Street
Prix fixe at $45 for 3 courses; seasonal menu, enchanting dining room and expanded backyard space
.

Uchi,
801 South Lamar Boulevard

Japanese, the epitome of customer service and creative food that's not just sushi. Tip: go for social hour when they have half-price apps. And make a reservation!
Uchi
Uchi assortment

Vespaio
, 1610 South Congress Avenue
It all reminds you of your Italian grandmother's cooking -- pasta, pancetta, parmesan, pizza... mmmm.


VOX Table,
1100 South Lamar Boulevard at Lamar Union
Brunch was delicious and full of carbs! Happy hour there is lovely too. Previous post here.

VOX Table chicken and biscuit
VOX Table chicken and biscuit
Americana
Cafe No Se, 1603 South Congress Avenue at the South Congress Hotel
Serving B, L, D and save room for dessert! Previous post here.

Cafe No Se croissants
Cafe No Se croissants
Deckhand Oyster Bar, 4211 S. Lamar (by the Target at S. Lamar + Ben White) 
This Thai-owned spot opened in 2016; the original location is in far north Austin. Traditional po'boys, raw oysters, chowders, etc, and the added bonus of a few Thai dishes like tom som seafood soup.

Jack Allen's Kitchen, 7721 Hwy 71 
Texas food -- upscale cross of Southern and Mexican

June's All Day, 1722 South Congress Avenue

If you had to call it a genre, American bistro food? Half-price happy hour really makes the food extra delicious! Full blog post here. 
June's French Onion Soup

Odd Duck
, 1201 South Lamar Boulevard
Local seasonal food, amazing breads; I haven't tried their burger, but people swear by it blog post here.

Parker House rolls with pig head meat. Yum.
Porter Ale House, 3715 South First Street
Excellent happy hour with equally excellent desserts; my post here.
Porter Ale House
S'mores in a mason jar from Porter
Snooze, 1700 South Lamar 
Breakfast. All day. Pancakes, French toast, Benedicts galore. Cocktails.
Snooze South Lamar Breakfast Pot Pie
Snooze's Breakfast Pot Pie

South Congress Cafe, 1600 South Congress Avenue
I recently dined here, and had a very lovely salad for lunch.

South Congress Cafe fried goat cheese prosciutto salad
Fried goat cheese and prosciutto salad
Vinaigrette, 2201 College Avenue
This New Mexico transplant is salad-centric, with some nice cocktails to boot. Mix and match salads with various proteins. See my report.
Vinaigrette South Austin
Ginger turmeric tonic

Winebelly, 519 West Oltorf Street
This hidden gem has a nice wine list, and some of the silkiest, smoothest pate I've had. Past blog post here.


Burgers
Hill's Cafe, 4700 South Congress Avenue
This has been one of my favorite burgers for years, largely because of the sweet kolache bun they serve it on (other bun options available); meatloaf, catfish and chicken fried steak -- something for everyone.

Hopdoddy, 1400 South Congress Avenue (and other locations around town)
Fabulous, creative burgers, partial to the lamb myself; truffle fries and thick milkshakes (honestly, two average adults could split a burger, fries and milkshake); be prepared to stand in line, but they won't take your order until there is a table available. Tip: you can order food from the bar.
Hopdoddy Greek burger
Hopdoddy's Greek (lamb) burger
Odd Duck, 1201 South Lamar
Many consider their burger the best in town.

Pizza (lots of places like aRoma and Enoteca have good pizza too)

Cane Rosso, 4715 S. Lamar (Sunset Valley)
While the address is South Lamar, they're really on the Hwy 290 eastbound frontage road, in the former St. Philip spot. Great Neopolitan pizza. 
Cane Rosso pizza
Cane Rosso pizza
Homeslice,1415 South Congress Avenue
New York style pizza; I appreciate the fact they close for a week and take the whole staff to NYC for pizza research and they have a walk up window for slices and to-go orders.

Toss Pizza, 2901 South First Street
Also New York style, huge 20" pies, though fortunately you can order a half-pie. Parking (!) and an outdoor patio space as well. Slices were also good reheated in toaster oven the next day.

Toss Pizza
Pizza at Toss with sausage and roast garlic

Via 313, 6705 Hwy 290 West (same strip center as Chen Z's above)
This is their first brick and mortar location, with two trailers in town and another storefront (31st and Guadalupe) on the way. Detroit style pizza, with it's toasty + cheesy edges will make a thick-crust believer out of you. And if you're into artichokes, get the goat cheese stuffed ones on the appetizer menu!

What you can't see in the picture are the nice crusty edges from the melted cheese!

Vegetarian/Soup/Smoothie/Sandwich
Bouldin Creek Cafe1900 South First Street
Vegetarian spot, great patio, huge omelets, and my favorite veggie burger around.
Bouldin Creek Cafe
One of the many omelet options at Bouldin Creek Cafe
Casa de Luz, 1701 Toomey Road
Macrobiotic (which is not for everyone!), charming locale.

G's Dynomite, 2312 South First Street
Hidden gem with great sandwiches.

Mr. Natural, 2414 South Lamar Boulevard
One of two locations, all vegetarian with lots of vegan options.

Soup Peddler, 501 West Mary Street and 2801 South Lamar Boulevard
Fresh soups and juices/smoothies; love the Flotsam and Jetsam (green juice with a lot of ginger!).

Vinaigrette, 2201 College Avenue
A little pricey for a salad, but I've had some excellent ones here. Not exclusively vegetarian but salad-based with soup and sandwiches too.

Vinaigrette asian chopped salad
Asian chopped salad with duck confit

Mexican (My personal preference is interior Mexican, as opposed to Tex-Mex, but there is some crossover; see my 2017 guide to the Best Mexican Food in Austin)
Alcomar, 1816 South First Street
A beautifully remodeled space specializing in Latin seafood; brunch, happy hour specials.

Alcomar's snapper ceviche
Alcomar's snapper ceviche
El Burro, 1100 South Lamar at Lamar Union
Recently opened from the VOX Table team, nice patio space and a newly added happy hour menu. 
El Burro Austin Lamar Union tacos al pastor
Taco al pastor at El Burro

Borrego de Oro, 3900 South Congress Avenue
No frills, just good food. Yes, that nondescript place on South Congress right before Ben White. Try it! BL+D

Borrego de Oro chipotle cabrito
Borrego's chipotle cabrito
Curra's, 614 East Oltorf Street
Al pastor, mole, cochinita pibil, avocado margarita, very popular spot...also BL+D

El Alma, 1025 Barton Springs Road One of the few places that uses duck (rellenos and enmoladas); great rooftop patio.
El Alma
Refreshing sangria from El Alma
Habanero, 501 West Oltorf Street
This little place is mostly open for breakfast and lunch; dinner on Fri/Sat only.

La Mexicana Bakery, 1924 South First Street
Cheap (and good) breakfast tacos and a ridiculous amount of sweets, aka pan dulce. Bonus: open 24 hours.

Papalote,
2803 South Lamar Boulevard
Street food and just plain good (sister restaurant to Azul Tequila); for the vegetarians, they're known for their cauliflower taco.

Sazon,
1816 South Lamar Boulevard
Their parking can be challenging, but I have always loved their mole, and how many places do you know that serve huitlacoche? Nice patio too. My blog post here.

Sazon tacos al pastor
Tacos al pastor at Sazon

Barbecue
Rudy's, 2451 S. Capital of Texas Hwy
A bit outside the geographical boundaries I am trying to stick with for this post, but Rudy's is definitely worth a mention, even if they are a chain.  

Terry Black's, 1003 Barton Springs

I didn't love it, but didn't hate it either. See my post
Terry Black's BBQ
Terry Black's menu board
Uncle Billy's, 1530 Barton Springs Road
They're doing nice things with meat, plus they brew their own beer.

Uncle Billy's BBQ
Pork belly tacos

Italian/Spanish
Barlata, 1500 South Lamar Boulevard
Spanish, tapas, don't miss the Crema Catalana for dessert. Nice happy hour pricing in the bar area.

Enoteca, 1610 South Congress Avenue
This bistro has been my go-to Italian for years, as their carbonara is one of my favorite comfort foods. (The less-formal sibling to Vespaio; they share a kitchen.)

Enoteca carbonara
The spaghetti carbonara done with linguine
Juliet, 1500 Barton Springs Road
Amazing outdoor patio, delicious agnolotti pasta; my post here.

Agnolotti at Juliet
Goat cheese agnolotti at Juliet

Chinese + Korean
Chen Z Noodles, 6705 W Hwy 290 
This is not your typical Chinese restaurant; they specialize in hand-cut noodles, which can be a bit doughy, but I love them. Their pan-fried dumplings, green onion pancakes, and lamb skewers are top notch; previous post here.
Chen Z
Green onion pancake from Chen Z's
Chi'lantro, 1509 South Lamar Boulevard
Korea meets Mexico with this food truck empire that made the leap to brick and mortar; try the kim chi french fries and k-pop chicken wings.

Sichuan River, 4534 Westgate Boulevard
Finally! Sichuan food that's not in far north Austin! Sizzling Sichuan lamb, mapo tofu, egg foo young, and dan dan noodles are among the specialties; see my review here. I recently had their snow pea leaves for the first time which were amazing.

Sichuan River -- sizzling sichuan lamb
Sizzling Sichuan lamb...if you're a lamb lover, this is a must-try!

Thai 
Sap's, 4514 Westgate Boulevard
While I don't love their noodle dishes, their tom kha soup is other-worldly. My Thai friend also compliments their leaf-wrapped savories dish or mieng kum, which you don't often see on typical Thai menus. Moo ping is another fave, along with Tiger Cry.

Sap's Thai mieng kum
Mieng kum, #S-A9 on the specials menu
Sway, 1417 South First Street
Australian-influenced Thai, can be very loud inside. Son in law and jungle curry both delish; upscale spot.
Sway Austin salt + pepper tofu
Sway's salt + pepper tofu and caramel chili wings

Thai Fresh, 909 West Mary Street
Some of the best pad thai I've had, but they can be inconsistent.

Thai Taste, 7010 W Hwy 71
Bit of a hidden spot by the HEB in Oak Hill; love their pad se ew; my review here.
Thai Taste
Thai Taste's Pad Se Ew
Tuk Tuk, 5517 Manchaca Road
My Thai friend particularly loves their khao soy.
Khao soy at Tuk Tuk
Japanese 
Michi Ramen, 3005 South Lamar Boulevard
Open for carryout only, choices include light, regular or stout broths.

Michi Ramen
Michi Ramen carry out
Ramen Tatsu-ya, 1234 South Lamar Boulevard
If you're feeling hungry, get the #1 original tonkotsu (pork) broth -- it's super rich and filling. I was surprised at how much I like the chicken ramen though, tons of flavor and not as filling as the pork.

Ramen Tatsu-ya South Lamar
Lunch at Ramen Tatsu-ya with the chicken broth ramen
Uchi, 801 South Lamar Boulevard
Again, the gold standard for food and service. Exquisite sushi but plenty of other dishes for those who aren't into raw fish (see Finer Dining, above).

Vietnamese

Dong Nai, 4211 South Lamar Boulevard
I love having this casual place so close to me, and the #7D bun (vermicelli) bowl with char-grilled pork and a crispy egg roll will forever have my heart. (They updated their menu, and it's now no longer the #7D! Can't remember the new menu number.)
Dong Nai
Love this pork! 
Elizabeth Street Cafe, 1501 South First Street 
Upscale French-inspired Vietnamese; hormone/antibiotic free meats; decent banh mi, bun, and pho, but the real stars are their range of French pastries.
Elizabeth Street Cafe ham and cheese croissant
Elizabeth Street Cafe ham and cheese croissant

Indian 
Asiana, 801 E. William Cannon
You wouldn't guess by their name that it's an Indian restaurant, and while their interior decor makes no sense to me (I think it's just been left up since the previous tenants), many people consider Asiana the best Indian food in town.

Asiana Indian
The Manchurian cauliflower in the back was especially amazing at Asiana!
Bombay Bistro, 4200 South Lamar Boulevard
Always a good sign when Indians are at an Indian lunch buffet; delicious curried mussels on the a la carte menu and I hear occasionally on the buffet. 

New India, 2304 South Congress Avenue
I know people who swear by this place, but I haven't been in years. On my to do list!

Tarka, 5207 Brodie Lane (other locations too)
Modern Indian cuisine in Sunset Valley, with both traditional dishes like samosas, biryani, and korma as well as twists like "naanini" sandwiches.
Tarka Indian
Tarka's chicken korma
Whip In, 1950 IH-35 (northbound frontage road)
Is it a liquor store, bar or restaurant? Yes. Indian twists on bar food as well as some more traditional dhaba bowls. Open late too. 

Other Ethnic 

Habana, 2728 South Congress Avenue
The outdoor cabanas, along with mojitos, pollo salteado, and maduros make for a perfect Cuban meal.

Phoenica Bakery, 2912 South Lamar Boulevard
This Mediterranean staple is both a grocery and take-out deli; the simple cheese bread with garlic sauce makes me swoon. And baklava.

Taste of Ethiopia, 3801 South Congress Avenue

A welcome addition to the South Austin scene; I've only been for the lunch buffet and look forward to go back for dinner, and ordering off the menu.


Taste of Ethiopia South Congress
The injera bread, made from fermented teff flour. Traditionally, you use
 the injera as your utensil and eat with your hands. 


Sweets/Desserts
Amy's Ice Cream multiple locations
The best ice cream in town with bold flavors and fun mix-ins! Several locations, including a small outlet at the Phil's Ice House.


Central Market Westgate, 4477 South Lamar Boulevard
Full-service bakery (four words: Anthony's Chocolate Mousse Cake) and house-made gelato.

Cow Tipping Creamery, 4715 S. Lamar (Sunset Valley)
Soft-serve ice cream with add-ins and crushin's. Mint milkshake is a favorite.

Crepe Crazy, 3103 South Lamar Boulevard
This newcomer just north of the Broken Spoke has both sweet and savory crepes; my post here.

Crepe Crazy prosciutto and fig jam crepe
The prosciutto and apricot jam crepe.
Dolce Neve, 1713 South First Street
A crazy-good Italian gelateria run by Italians! They've embraced South Austin culture, and "do it" in front of everyone. Lots of traditional (chocolate, salted caramel) and unique flavors (roasted pistachio, lemon creme) Blog post here.

Lick, 1100 South Lamar in Lamar Union
Great quality ingredients, more subtle but interesting flavors like goat cheese with thyme.

La Patisserie, 602 West Annie Street (also on Burnet Road)
French pastries? Yes, please. {And the toasted almond macaron flavor was suggested by yours truly!} The morning bun is a favorite, especially slightly warmed in the toaster oven so the sugar caramelizes. But you really can't go wrong.

Sugar Mama's, 1905 South First Street
Not just cupcakes, but cakes, pies, muffins, bars... sugar heaven!

Sugar Mama's Bakeshop
Can't go wrong with a Sugar Mama's carrot cake cupcake!
Bars/Breweries with decent food
Austin Beer Garden Brewing (ABGB), 1305 West Oltorf Street
They brew all their own beer onsite and make a mean pizza.

Black Sheep Lodge, 2108 South Lamar Boulevard
Mini corn dogs? Yes! Great spot to watch the game.

Pinthouse Pizza, 4236 South Lamar (in the Brodie Oaks Shopping Center)
That bit I wrote above for ABGB -- ditto.

Red's Porch, 3508 South Lamar Boulevard
Quite good food, a Tex-Mex/Cajun combo, and the upper level has greenbelt views.

The Park, 4024 South Lamar (also in Brodie Oaks Shopping Center)
Great burgers, popular place to watch sporting events.

St. Elmo Brewery, 440 East St. Elmo Road
Beer was good, but the Asian-fusion Soursop trailer was delicious! (Though I am admittedly more into food than I am beer.) 
😉
Panang Eggplant at Soursop Austin St Elmo Brewing
Panang Eggplant at Soursop Austin 
Wine Bars
House Wine, 408 Josephine
Parking can be a challenge, but you're in for a nice reward.

Patika Wine and Coffee, 2159 South Lamar Boulevard
Coffee, wine, and pastries.
Patika Coffee
Have wine or coffee at Patika
Winebelly, 519 W. Oltorf Street
Again (see Gastro Pub), nice wines and tapas. 


Old Standbys

Central Market Westgate Cafe, 4477 South Lamar
Soup, salad, pizza, nightly specials, and live music Thursday - Sunday.

Magnolia Cafe, 1920 South Congress Avenue (and on Lake Austin Blvd.)

Open 24/7 for breakfast, soup, desserts, you name it.

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 3003 South Lamar (also multiple locations)

Also open 24/7, not just for stoners or college students. :)


What are your favorite South Austin meals? Please share and leave a comment below! Also, see my guide to South Austin food trailers and favorite Mexican food in Austin!