Last week I got to tag along with my mom and sister for her college orientation. For her it was a jam-packed few days of information about housing, classes, majors, and more. For me, it was a solid three days of what felt like walking and eating. With a little bit of planning ahead, I found some great places to eat. This trip to Austin was definitely a foodie success, as documented by my iPhone. I have definitely been inspired to try making some of these dishes myself.
We started our trip at a small little Italian restaurant off 6th street. I split a meatball calzone and a muffuletta, which is one of the most delicious sandwich combinations in existence with salty salami and topped with a olive tapenade and cheese. The muffuletta was good and salty, and the meatballs in the calzone were juicy and tender. On the table, there was a dead fly in our Parmesan shaker, which did not bother me but instead sparked a conversation of how said fly got in there in the first place. Death by Parmesan- I wouldn’t mind going that way.
Hyde Park Bar and Grill
The next day for lunch we went to a small restaurant in north Austin. I had a fried eggplant sandwich, which was good but should have been called a mushroom sandwich given the vegetable ratio, and Hyde’s famous fries. The fries were good, different that your average fry with a crunchy coating, but the real specialty was Hyde’s special dipping sauce. Creamy and tangy, so good. For dessert, I split banana cream pie with my mom. The banana cream pie was yummy and got better with each additional bite. We also had a celebrity sighting here- we saw Lyle Lovett. And I also learned who Lyle Lovett was that day.
Although it took a longer walk than planned to get here, Franks was definitely worth every step it took to walk there. The restaurant sounded good when reading the menu, but it surpassed my foodie expectations. The dishes were all unique with changing weekly specials (including pineapple aiolis, homemade sausage combinations, and homemade buns). I ordered the Jackalope- a rabbit, antelope, & pork sausage with a huckleberry compote, cheddar cheese, and sriracha aoili. The homemae bun was soft and pillowy, the huckleberry compote was sweet, the cheese was sharp, and the sausage was crispy and delicious. With this I had poutine waffle fries. Fries with gravy and cheese curds- enough said. This meal still haunts my dreams.
Let me set the scene for you. It’s 9:30 in the morning, the sun is barely peeking through the clouds, and we are sitting in an empty handicap spot in a parking lot in an already long line for barbecue. Franklin Barbecue has been dubbed the best barbecue in the state (and even the country by some), and it has sold out every day before mid-afternoon. We may have been over-ambitious with our meat ordering (I will not admit our actual total weight of meat), but we rallied through (as evident by the before and after photos above). The meat was tender, and the barbecue sauce was tangy. Yum. My personal favorite was the ribs, but the brisket and turkey were also divine. Definitely a fun experience.
A donut food truck- where can you go wrong? Although it was hot as blazes outside, I still ate a piping hot donut. First I had the Cherry Bombs- donut holes covered with cherry sauce, cake batter mix, and cinnamon sugar. There are few things in life better than freshly made donuts- warm and crunchy and soft all at once. These donuts were so good, and I knew my sister would love them that we made a pit stop and took them to go before driving home. The second time I ordered the blue balls- donut holes covered in blueberry sauce and blue icing.
We saw Amy’s Ice Cream all over Austin. Definitely a fun ice cream place, with a few standard flavors and new flavors every day. I had a waffle cone with white chocolate ice cream with snickers mixed in. I also sampled key lime pie and rum raisin. All very good (actually tasted like their flavor!) and creamy.
Our parting meal from Austin was lunch at this Vietnamese cafe. I have never really delved into Vietnamese
food before and was excited to try it. The menu offers a nice range of Vietnamese dishes- from summer rolls to pho to Bánh mì to noodles all with different meats. I ordered the vermicelli noodle dish with mushrooms and tofu (I was still recovering from the meat overload from the day before eating barbecue), and the dish was good although a little spicy. It was crisp and refreshing, and the tofu especially was fabulous.
Halfway between Austin and Houston is a little bakery on the side of the highway. It’s the perfect place to stop for gas or to use the restroom on a road trip. An added bonus is the delicious sweet and savory kolaches they make here. Although we arrived there mid-afternoon and the kolaches weren’t immediately fresh, they were still very good. A sweet dough surrounding a cheese and cherry filling.