In the last two years, I have gained a considerable group of friends in Austin to the point where a bi-annual visit has become imperative or else I simply miss them too much. And so last weekend, I flew over to the Third Coast for a short, sweet, and bittersweet adventure.
In my previous travels to Austin, TX, the days were hectic, packed with music shows and restaurants and cycling from one end of town to the next. In a nutshell, however, that is the essence of the city – a liberal oasis of creative minds, supportive youth, and tacos. Lots of tacos (I’ll still never forget the taco cannon from SXSW).
Unlike San Francisco, Austin is very easy to navigate, as everything is more or less in a grid with downtown right in the middle. By my fourth trip, I feel that I am a pro now, and so I spent the weekend revisiting classic food joints like La Condesa and Elizabeth Street Café.
Of course, the curiosity of the city is forever present in me, leading me to discover new aspects of Austin as well, like the following:
Fresas, a literal hole-in-the-wall, is known for its tacos (both breakfast and chicken). It’s also known for catering President Obama’s fundraiser in July, so there’s that. When you go, there is a Presidente Taco now permanently on the menu – chicken fajita, carrot, jicama, cucumber, jalapeño, and tomatillo salsa!
Castle Hill Graffiti Park: While not a food joint, this explosion of ephemeral street art is a testament to the evolving creativity of Austin. The pieces change frequently, reminding me of San Francisco’s Clarion Alley, but on a large scale. There is an equally colorful trailer helmed by Karl where you can purchase prints of the artwork to take home. Naturally, I picked this one:
As tends to happen each time I visit, Austin captures my heart in its heat and humid glory. And I’ll be back.
- La Condesa: 400A West 2nd Street. Known for brunch and its El Cúbico cocktail.
- Seventh Flag Coffee: 1506 South First Street. A fairly new addition to this neighborhood, the cold brew and iced soy chai are perfect for Austin’s heat.
- La Patisserie: 602 W. Annie Street. Vanilla pastry cream-filled cronut. Get it.
- Elizabeth Street Café: 1501 S. First Street. French-Vietnamese with a penchant for good banh mi sandwiches and escargot.
- Bacon: 900 W. 10th Street. Need I say more?
- Food for Fitness Café: 1112 N. Lamar Blvd. A quick way to be healthy with salads and great smoothies.
- Fresas: 915 N. Lamar Blvd
- Castle Hill Graffiti Park: 11th and Baylor Streets