Wednesday, April 27, 2016

austin, tx - a food and antique guide.

Tyler and I left our puppy and headed to Austin a couple of weekends ago.  Sadly, due to the awful thunderstorms they had, we didn't get to experience Austin the way the locals do i.e. outdoors drinking really good local beer and eating breakfast tacos in the sun.  Regardless, we made the most of it.

Austin isn't like the rest of Texas, it's a lot more urban, liberal, and filled with young kids who spend their money on fancy coffee, farmhouse ales, and superb tacos.   It feels a lot like Nashville and Portland (Oregon that is) and it's another one of those cities where I wonder what everyone actually does for a living.  No one seems to get dressed up and go to a corporate job.  Do corporate jobs exist outside of New York?

Despite my misgivings about careers in Austin, it's a fun place to visit.   The food is great and the antiquing is even better (if only we had an apartment we owned to put all of these things in!).  Below is my list of must check out places - mostly food and some shopping (because those are the things I know best).   

El Primo, Tacodeli, Veracruz all Natural - One does not visit Austin without eating at least one breakfast taco. The breakfast taco should be composed of a flour tortilla, egg, and cheese.   Additional add-ins can include avocado (duh), homemade salsas, bacon or chorizo, and if you are like me, beans.   We ate a boat load of breakfast tacos from a range of places and all were really good in different ways.  I can't rank one above the other so if you're smart, you'll visit all 3 spots.  Veracruz all Natural does win points for the absurdly large and utterly delicious mango agua frescas (it's a must order).

Elizabeth St. Cafe - An utterly charming and absurdly adorable Vietnamese cafe.   Their poached shrimp, avocado, and cilantro spring rolls have me dreaming of endless varieties that Tyler and I will consume with abandon this summer (there is no dish more suited for hot summer weather then spring rolls and peanut sauce). The whole menu is exciting, in-expensive, and very delicious.  They also make outstanding macarons in incredibly unusual flavors (I'm looking at you everything bagel) and a dreamy bouchon (which is a fancy French brownie).      

Josephine House - I had this as a maybe on my initial list of places to eat in Austin.  It seemed to hyped for me and I was worried it wouldn't be worth it.  Oh how wrong I was.  I don't think I would visit for dinner but their brunch is magical.   The morning pastries are incredible - buckwheat scones with jam, carrot cake with beets and pistachios.  It's just all around exciting breakfast foods done well and what more does anyone want?   

Launderette - Looking at a restaurants menu, it's easy for me to tell if I'm going to like the place.  Does it do small plates?  Do they have a section devoted to vegetables?   Are there things served on toast?  This restaurant checked off all of those boxes so it was no surprise that we ate there and loved it.   The labneh with beet hummus and everything crackers was light, fresh, and exciting.  (I need to figure out how to recreate.)  Oh! They have adorable birthday cake ice cream sandwiches that are insanely good and are also on my list of things I need to make a version of.  I see them being the dessert of 2016 in our house.    

Uptown Modern - As a mid-century modern junkie, I felt as if I died and went to my version of heaven.  The furnititure is beautiful and decently priced.   They sell an assortment of mid-century knick-knacks as well in case you want something that you can easily transport on a plane.

The Austin Antique Mall - Tyler and I spent several hours perusing this 30,000 square foot space. They have SO MUCH STUFF and not awful junk stuff.  I picked up a pair of amazing 1950's science prints that I'm looking to frame.  It's impossible to leave this place without buying something.   

Uncommon Objects - This place is a madhouse on the weekends since it's on the main strip in downtown Austin, but it has an awesome selection of well edited antiques/curiosities.   Some stuff is priced high, but if you dig through, you'll find some treasures (I picked up some cool candlesticks for $10).   

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