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Hi y'all.

I'm a former Texan who goes back to visit family each year. Used to be, I had to travel around the state doing so, but my relatives have been sensible enough in the last year to all move to Austin and the surrounding area.

 

So this year's trip should be a lot more relaxing!

 

So how 'bout if I tell you where I've been and you tell me what I'm missing? I'm staying with my sister, so we can cook, and I'd love to know about local ingredients and products, too. Wine shops? Cafes? BBQ? Hole in the wall Mexican? Let me know everything!

 

I've been to

BBQ in Lockhart, Luling and Llano

Fonda San Miguel

Jeffery's

Wink

Shady Grove

Flipnotics

Kerbey Lane

Las Manitas

El Sol y La Luna

Hudson's on the Bend

The Oasis (for the view, natch)

Threadgill's

Eastside Cafe

Guero's

Hyde Park

Starlight

Malaga

Chez Nous

 

This trip, I want to go to

Cafe 909

Little Texas Bistro

Enoteca

 

Where else?

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For Italian:Vespaio in south Austin is good . Also I'm particularly fond of La Traviata on 4th and Congress.

 

For French: Aquarelle at Rio Grande and N. Lamar. Chef Robert Brady is a lovely man and excellent cook.

 

Uchi has received TONS of press because their chef/owner, Tyson Cole is one of this year's Food and Wine bst new chefs. I haven't eaten there yet. My son has, and he says it's amazing.

 

 

I really enjoy Manuels (two locations) for happy hour because their drinks are good and their apps are half price and delicious!

 

Have you ever eaten at Mars? It's on Rio Grande as well, but more toward UT. Good, eclectic food and a cute little bar. (Mars Bar).

 

Jump in , everyone!!

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I've moved from Austin, so am not up on the latest, but seems like there are some great new restaurants in downtown hotels, right, guys? Something about 'judge' and the Stephen F. Austin, and the Driskill. Not new, but the Cafe at Four Seasons seems to have good food with a local emphasis. And there's often a jazz singer at the bar at the Driskill, so it's a favorite for me when I'm doing before-dinner drinks.

 

Iif you have't already, I'd definitely and strongly recommend you take in the show at Esther's Follies one evening. No food, but hilarious "Saturday Night Live" style comedy skits.

 

In keeping with that vein of fun things to do, see if they're still giving the "Haunted Austin" downtown walking tour. It starts in this cool bar that is supposedly haunted, and then they show you other places of import in the world of the strange and weird. Like, did you know that Austin had its own Jack the Ripper?

 

I'll put on my thinking cap. Haven't had it on for quite a while, so it may no longer fit, but I'll try.

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Thanks foodie52 and Jaymes.

 

foodie, how do you think Uchi might compare to Japanese restaurants in NYC?

I think my sister wanted to take me to Mars last time but we didn't make it, so it'll go on the list! And I think Enoteca instead of Vespaio this time around.

 

Also, what kind of French is Aquarelle? Old school bistro stuff?

 

Jaymes, is the Esther's Follies show the one I saw a Bill Giest piece on CBS about the 'Keep Austin Weird' show? I LOVE the haunted Austin idea, too... I'll search around for more info. Thanks for the lead!

 

I do like the bar at the Driskill, too.

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Thanks foodie52 and Jaymes.

 

foodie, how do you think Uchi might compare to Japanese restaurants in NYC?

I think my sister wanted to take me to Mars last time but we didn't make it, so it'll go on the list! And I think Enoteca instead of Vespaio this time around.

 

Also, what kind of French is Aquarelle? Old school bistro stuff?

 

Jaymes, is the Esther's Follies show the one I saw a Bill Giest piece on CBS about the 'Keep Austin Weird' show? I LOVE the haunted Austin idea, too... I'll search around for more info. Thanks for the lead!

 

I do like the bar at the Driskill, too.

With respect to NY, Uchi is kind of a Sushi of Gari or Seki type place. Interesting combinations, relatively casual, definitely not a temple of sushi ala Yasuda.

 

You have a lot of my favorite spots covered. I had a great meal at Mirabelle recently, but would probably go to Castle Hill first, if you haven't been.

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Of course. How could I forget Mirabelle? Or Castle Hill Cafe.They were the first in Austin to establish a menu where the entree was always ALWAYS under $10! They were located where Wink is now. Great flavor pairings, bold food. I definitely would do Castle Hill Cafe.

 

Aquarelle is kinda old French, but Chef Brady is meticulous about freshness, flavor and style. It doesn't come cheap, tho.

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I'm another ex-Texan who will be going to Austin to visit relatives. Some live in Austin and some live near Temple, which is where I will spend most of my time, but I'll get at least one lunch and one dinner in Austin. BTW, I'm coming from Los Angeles - where will you be travelling from?

 

I used to look for Cajun food in Austin, since that is relatively rare in L.A. - Japanese OTOH is quite common and excellent here, although I have to travel a bit to find Vietnamese. My brother-in-law in Austin used to live in Tokyo, and so we go to Japanese restaurants when he visits me, but he's not good at recommending places in Austin. I only somewhat trust my sister, but I have a neice who has made fairly good recommendations, but she always chooses something extremely cheap, which is not necessary for me.

 

I wanted to go to Fonda San Miguel for lunch, but DS says they are no longer open for lunch. BTW, I need something that is good for the lactose intolerant, especially since we will be driving right after lunch. I have found many restaurants in Austin to be a bit too liberal with their use of cheese, especially places like Mother's. I used to live across the street from Hyde Park and really liked that when I was there. Is it still good?

 

Aquarelle has a website, but I generally avoid French food because milk and/or cream are common ingredients. Uchi Austin also has a website, and their menu looks a bit like some of the Izakaya style restaurants that are popular (and common) here. It might be a good choice for me, and I could make a comparison to what I have here, although it would be a bit more interesting to have a more unique adventure.

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Jaymes, is the Esther's Follies show the one I saw a Bill Giest piece on CBS about the 'Keep Austin Weird' show? I LOVE the haunted Austin idea, too... I'll search around for more info. Thanks for the lead!

Don't know about the Bill Giest piece, but if it was about skit comedy with a Texas bent, it was undoubtedly Esther's. That is a GREAT evening. I've seen it countless times....it's part of my standard "I've got guests in town" evening. We get down on 6th early, do dinner, and then go to Esther's. I even have some VERY chichi LA friends (she works in sales for the LA Music Center), and they absolutely loved it. Were still raving about it years later. It is a hilarious show.

 

And, that Haunted Austin walking tour is another great evening. I've done that several times as well....including as an event for a social group that I belonged to. In addition, the woman that runs it is very knowledgeable about Austin lore in general, and is a terrific source for all things Austonian.

 

Here's more info: Austin Tours -- Ghosts & Legends

 

Esther's Follies

 

Also, if any of your relatives live way north -- around Cedar Park/Leander -- I like La Cocina Michoacana. Excellent and authentic Michoacan-style food.

 

Gawd I miss Austin.

 

:D

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And -- I also am going to be in Austin sometime the end of this month. Arriving around the 27th, and will stay about a week or so, I think. And then down to Houston to visit my son & his wife. Then probably stopping back through Austin around the 4th or 5th of January.

 

Lots of visitors to Austin, it appears.

 

Anything doing? I really do need to chat y'all up.

 

:D

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Lars: you can contact Chef Brady; I bet he would make a special meal for you.

 

Jaymes: OF COURSE we will have to get together. Just pick a date and I'll make it work.

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Jaymes, is the Esther's Follies show the one I saw a Bill Giest piece on CBS about the 'Keep Austin Weird' show? I LOVE the haunted Austin idea, too... I'll search around for more info. Thanks for the lead!

Liz, the Bill Geist piece was about a play that ran at Zachary Scott Theater earlier this year. It's not playing now, but I found that they still have a link to it on their website. http://www.zachscott.com/on_our_stage/weird.html

 

Also, you asked about a "hole in the wall" Mexican place. Try Jaime's Spanish Village downtown on Red River. (lunch or dinner)

 

The best Mexican breakfast in town (actually, in the whole world) is at Joe's Bakery on east 7th.

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Thank you everyone -- tremor, jaymes, Steven, foodie, lars -- for all the suggestions. This is shaping up to be a good plan! (though expensive!)

 

I'm confused though... Castle Hill Cafe is where Wink is now? So did CHC move somewhere else?

What kind of food?

 

Has anyone been to the Ransom center recently? Wondering if it might make a good touristy type thing to do.

 

And still nobody's mentioned any bars. Do I have to make my own drinks to get good ones?

 

And if y'all are planning a get-together, let me know. I have a lot of relatives to see so I might be tied up for most meals, but if it's something where I can meet for a drink it might work.

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And still nobody's mentioned any bars. Do I have to make my own drinks to get good ones?

 

And if y'all are planning a get-together, let me know. I have a lot of relatives to see so I might be tied up for most meals, but if it's something where I can meet for a drink it might work.

Liz -- what are your dates?

 

And about the bar thing. Interesting isn't it? Guess nobody that's checked in yet is into 'mixology.' I know it isn't because we're a bunch of teetotalers.

 

I do have a couple of places I like to alight for a drink, but don't know about the skill of the keeps insofar as mixing unusual and interesting stuff goes.

 

I like the bar at Four Seasons, the aforementioned Driskill, and the B-Side Bar, off of the Bitter End.

 

And hey y'all, remember when we had that get together when Bourdain came to town? That woman that writes the bar column for the Chronicle (A Girl Walks Into a Bar) joined us. Does anyone know if she's still writing it? If so, I wouldn't mind getting in touch with her and asking. Liz -- I'll see if I can track her down.

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