I went to Austin in May to attend the 2016 Paleo f(x) conference, and since most of my days were consumed with conference-related activities, I didn’t have time to explore all that the city has to offer. However, I ate my way around Austin, which for me is the best way to get to know any new place.
Austin eats (#halfindiantravels)
Traveling anywhere is ALL ABOUT THE FOOD…at least for me! I’d never been to Austin before, but I stayed with a group of ladies who had been there multiple times (and love food, too!), so I let them be my guides as we tasted our way through Austin.
Slow smoked BBQ! We went here to celebrate a team member’s birthday and because we couldn’t leave Texas without having some BBQ, and it was such a wonderful, memorable experience. We dined on the outdoor patio and had some of the best service I’ve ever experienced, not to mention the fact that the food–oh, the food!– was absolutely delicious. My favorites from the evening: Crispy Wild Boar Ribs (appetizer); Natural Black Angus Brisket (entree, which I shared with a friend); Brussels Sprouts, Lamberts Bacon, Brown Butter and Fried Okra with Spicy Remoulade (sides). I had leftover Brussels sprouts for breakfast the next day and they were the best!
Grass-fed and dairy-free artisanal ice cream. I had one scoop each of Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey and Caramel Salt Lick on my first visit, and Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint and Horchata on my second. The Goat Cheese and Beet ice creams were my favorites!
Paleo coffee shop, serving butter coffee, butter bone broth (a MUST!), and grain-free pastries and food. Seriously, the butter broth is like a warm Thanksgiving hug. I had some every morning and it was worth every penny.
American gastropub that sources their ingredients from local farms and purveyors. The Truffled Deviled Eggs and Bacon & Gruyere Roasted Bone Marrow (appetizers) were soooo good! If you are gluten-free and decide to order the bone marrow, ask them leave off the bread crumbs and bread; they will provide apple slices to spread the bone marrow on, but it is truly delicious enough to eat with a spoon. For dinner I had the Crispy Chicken Thighs which were tasty, but the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Golden Raisins and Pecorino were even better!
Whole Foods Market (for the kombucha!)
Whole Foods began in Austin in 1980, and we visited the flagship store (which is HUGE!). Beyond my love for grocery stores, one of my favorite things to do while traveling is to taste the local kombucha. I loved both Kickin Kombucha (Ruby Red) and Kosmic (Local.Lemon.Love and Matcha Peachu). If only I had more time…
We also had lunch at Whole Foods a couple of times because the prepared foods are quite good and it’s a quick and easy meal.
Good, if you have time
Full service butcher shop and restaurant serving locally sourced and sustainably raised meats. Awesome Salumi Board (charcuterie) and an excellent grass-fed burger with beef tallow fries. If you like spicy food, get the burger with the N’duja Tejano–yum!
Long lines testify that this place makes good tacos. It’s a chain restaurant, with locations outside of Austin, but since we don’t have them in California, it was fun to try. The Crossroads (brisket) taco was fantastic.
Deep dish, Detroit-style pizza (more like focaccia). We got ours gluten-free, and you’d never know it was gluten-free if someone didn’t tell you (which is how I like my gluten-free food!). We shared several pizzas–I liked the Cadillac and the Omnivore.
The bat bridge
The largest urban colony of bats in North America roosts underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. During the summer, at dusk, up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from under the bridge in a large black cloud. Or so I’ve heard.
I had been hoping to see the bats every night since I arrived in Austin, but our dinner plans often overlapped with sundown. But one night, we dined downtown, near the “bat bridge,” and everyone was game to try to see the bats. We walked to the bridge, waited with hundreds of people for over an hour…but no bats. A man standing near us said the bats didn’t fly out the previous night either. So we walked away, disappointed, and headed back to our houses to get some rest for the next day.
Overall, I had a great time in Austin, and would love to return someday to explore more and eat more. And maybe see some bats!