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On our Austin vacation, I knew that gluten-free and sugar-free would not be at the top of my priority list! Austin is known for their diverse and unique flair wth food and I was not going to hold back!
Here’s the rundown on my favorite Austin eats we indulged in!
The Roaring Fork: A few friends that hubs works with, who travel to Austin a lot, recommended this restaurant to us. The Roaring Fork had 3 locations – one in downtown Austin, one in Dallas, and the other was closer to our hotel in the Arboretum/Austin area. On our first night in Austin, we decided to stay close to our hotel for the evening, after walking around downtown all day, and try the location closest to us. Known for their wood-grilled steaks, the Roaring Fork offers a wide variety of Texas cuisine ranging from fried avocado topped with crab meat (we had this for an appetizer) to cedar-planked salmon (my choice) to a Big A** burger (hubs’ choice.) They serve local craft beer and have an extensive wine list. The servers (not just here but in all of Austin) were very friendly and cordial – a great first impression of the city!
Whole Foods downtown ATX (flagship store): I checked in here 4 times on Yelp. Yea. If that’s any indication of how awesome of a store/restaurant/happening place to be, then I don’t know what is! Lindsay (cottercrunch) recommended that we come to the Whole Foods in downtown Austin off of North Lamar and then take a walk downtown by the lake – yes ma’am, we were down! On our first visit, we were so hungry [coming right from the airport before checking in at the hotel] that we really didn’t get to see the extensively large store in its entirety. We ate at Bowie BBQ where we both shared beef brisket and ribs along with WF salsa, guacamole, cole slaw with vinaigrette, and green beans. On the 2nd trip, we discovered the cookie bar – yes, cookie BAR – where there were Vegan, Gluten free, and Sugar free options, yay! Aside from that, we also finally saw the sushi bar, sandwich section, smoothie bar, gelato bar, salad bar, soup bar, pasta bar, WINE bar, and BEER bar – there really wasn’t a BAR that didn’t exist in this place! We brought back my cousin and his girlfriend here, who are also WF fans, and they were in just as much awe as we were. It was nice to be able to indulge in Austin (see other eats below) while also popping by here for a quick swig of Kombucha and a fresh bowl of veggies 😉
Koriente: On our way to see the show at Esther’s Follies, the night before the race, we looked online with Yelp to find a local place to have dinner beforehand. My cousin asked what I usually eat pre-race, and when I mentioned rice, he found Koriente, which had a 4 star rating and for good reason. Situated off of 6th street and a block from where we were seeing the show, this Korean restaurant has the uniqueness of Austin – weird decor, in the nicest sense of the word – along with authentic cuisine at great prices! The prices for each dish ranged from $5-10, helping our vacation budget out a ton! I tried the Obake bowl with chicken, rice, veggies, and a fried egg on top. We all shared some awesome salmon fresh rolls, too. Hubs had the same bowl I did, mixing noodles and rice – they encourage you to mix and match the sides and dishses themselves. You can’t beat authentic food off the beaten path of the Sixth street district!
Gourdough’s: Within one of the food truck colonies on 1st street in South downtown Austin lies a donut wonderment called Gourdough’s. My IG friend Rachel recommended it when I mentioned I would be looking for something to quench my Sugar-deprived sweettooth on vacation. I immediately googled Gourdough’s and their menu of donuts – including a vivid photo gallery – sold me immediately. After tons of walking in San Antonio, the 4 of us were craving some carbs like there was no tomorrow. We all literally stared at the menu on the side of Gourdough’s for a good 5 minutes before we were able to settle on 2 donuts to share between the 4 of us – the boys wanted to be bold and eat their own, but quickly changed their minds when they saw how huge the portions were! I’d say about 5″ x 5″? We shared a Funky Monkey and a Granny’s pie donut. Each had bananas on top, the Funky Monkey’s were cooked in brown sugar and sat on top of cream cheese icing while the Granny’s pie bananas were sliced sat on top of pecans. Marvel at the yumminess:
Elizabeth Street Cafe: When we drove down 1st street and found Gourdough’s by tons of food truck colonies, we noticed one restaurant we wanted to come back and try before we left. The words “Elizabeth Street Cafe: Noodles & Banh Mi” were all we needed to make the effort through the front door. An authentic Vietnamese sandwich, Banh Mi is usually made with a fresh baguette, Vietnamese lunch meats, liver pate, and fresh diakon radish, carrots, cucumer, and cilantro. An ethnic flavor explosion. The Elizabeth Street Cafe offered about 8 variations of the same sandwich along with having a French bakery mixed in the menu! There was a very unique, a.k.a. Austin, vibe inside with old Vietnamese portraits and French decor everywhere. I tried the short rip (bottom left) Banh Mi and hubs had the meatball one (top right.) We also shared some sweets: a coconut cream puff and a cinnamon curry French maccaroon. Say what?! They both tasted uber delicious and the maccaroon was a welcome surprise! I’ve asked a few Austin friends if they’ve tried this place and they hadn’t – but are coming to try it as I can’t shut up about it! Spectacular food from all spectrums!
Hey Cupcake: Any foodie who loves cupcakes knows about Hey Cupcake. And if they don’t, they should get to know it! I love cupcakes. Not super sweet cupcakes, but ones with light, fluffy icing – mmmmm. The last time I was in Austin, I saw the Hey Cupcake food truck and immediately fell in love with their goods! Situated in the heart of food-truck-ville on Congress Ave, these guys serve mini and regular-sized cupcake awesomeness. So much, that when we got there they were out of minis…sad face. I swallowed my pride and ordered a BIG GIRL Sweetberry cupcake – strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese icing. Hubs got the Vanilla dream cupcake. We shared. We were happy.
Iron Works: Barbeque at it’s best! Helpings are huge so be sure to share! This hidden gem is near the capital off of Congress avenue and is sure to please anyone’s taste for the grill!
Torchy’s Tacos: Many Austinites recommended that we try Torchy’s Tacos and on our last day in Austin we booked it over to one near our hotel to try them out before we headed home! Advertised as “Damn Good Tacos” I was all in! We asked the ever-so-friendly employee at the front what his recommendations were and he suggested a few breakfast tacos – oh we got here around 930am lol – along with some of their specials including one with fried chicken and waffles as well as another with beef brisket! I tried the Migas taco (breakfast taco w/acovado) and a fish taco (Mr. Pink) and hubs also had a Migas along with a Wrangler taco (the one with beef brisket.) Wow. They also had THE best queso w/green chiles that we tried also – hungry much? Their flavors were not too salty and full of flavor and they offered many different red chile, green chile, and topping sauces to try. We were in taco heaven. We already miss Torchy’s – sigh.
This list is my NO MEANS an inclusive one of ALL Austin has to offer. We barely scratched the surface of all of the uniquely original cuisine we could try while we were there. There’s a good 10+ restaurants I still haven’t checked off of my “must eat” list along with the mass of others I haven’t discovered yet! These are just my favorites from this trip 😉
Here’s my other Austin Racecation posts:
Are you a foodie at heart?
What’s the ‘oddest’, most unique, food you’ve tried on vacation?
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