Who doesn't love Austin? If you've heard of what an amazing city it is, you really need to go. It totally lives up to the hype! It is one of my very favorite cities in the US. The food? The music? The outdoor activities? What's not to like? If you're heading there on fall break, I've put together a few of my favorite places for tasty eats. Check out the list, book your tickets, go eat!
Of course this list is not exhaustive, there are way too many amazing places for me to include everything. These are just places I love!
Papasitos- I can't really think of a better way to kick off a trip in Texas than with some amazing Tex Mex. Papasitos delivers. They have great margaritas of all kinds, those alone are worth the trip. I can be very happy with a margarita, chips, and salsa. Ok, and maybe guac. But their steak fajitas were amazing. I'm not sure how they do it, but the steak was SO tender and delicious. They were the best fajitas I've ever had. To top it all off, they are served with this melted butter sauce that you literally just pour it on top of everything. It’s PURE heaven. They also make all of their tortillas by hand, fresh to order. I skipped them, but if you can have gluten- this is the perfect opportunity!
Vinaigrette- This veggie-centric restaurant features a seasonal menu of salads. But these are not your ordinary salad! They're all full of amazing flavor and texture. My friend's salad was the inspiration for my own Bacon Apple Pork Salad. The fact that the restaurant uses sustainable practices just makes it all even better.
Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew- We stopped by here for a delicious and filling lunch. It was really busy, which means it's good, right? They've got all the typical BBQ fare- a wide variety of smokey meats and yummy sides. I got fries and their tomato cucumber salad with my brisket to stay paleo and egg-free. Of course they had coleslaw and corn casserole that looked divine as well.
East Side King- This hip restaurant is Austin meets Asia. I got the Bento Box so I could try as many things as possible, and it was all amazing. I could've eaten seconds of basically everything. The fried brussels sprouts salad with fresh herbs was to die for. Everything is marked vegan, gluten-free (or modifiable), so it's easy to figure out what you could order.
Picnik- Picnik is the pinnacle of all paleo restaurants. Everything is gluten-free (mostly grain- and dairy-free) and SERIOUSLY mouthwatering. I got their Salted Caramel Banana Pancakes, which were the size of my head, and they're topped with caramelized bananas and candied pecans. Their breakfast tacos were delicious and huge. I could basically bathe in the chipotle aioli sauce that goes on top. Of course their famous butter coffee drinks are to die for, more on that later. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone, paleo or not! High quality, delicious food always wins! I'm dying to return for Happy Hour someday.
Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden- Let me start out by saying that they serve mimosas in giant beer steins that contain and entire bottle of champagne. What's not to like? Honestly, there are not a lot of gluten- or grain-free options on the menu, but I was able to get a Benny and just remove the english muffin myself. It came with pork belly, chipotle hollandaise, and shoestring potatoes. I can still almost taste it. However they also have a steak and potatoes brunch option that sounds to.die.for. This would be a great option if there are both gluten and non-gluten eaters in your bunch. Get there early, and expect to wait. There is a lot of outdoor seating, but the wait is still generally long. They'll give you a giant mimosa to make up for it....
Coffee and Treats
Sweet Ritual- Holy. Cow. This entire shop is vegan, and it's the most amazing dairy-free ice cream I've EVER had! And I have tried a lot of vegan ice creams, haha. I got the peanut butter chocolate chip and it was super peanut buttery and beyond creamy. The best part is that they have different ice cream bases like almond, coconut, or peanut. So if you can't have coconut (like me) there are still lots of options here! The best part is that they also have gluten-free cones! So I could order an ice cream cone like a normal person, and I was in ecstasy. My only regret is that I didn't return during every single night of my trip.
Picnik Trailer- This is the original Picnik location, a trailer on South Lamar. While they don't have all the amazing food that the restaurant on Burnett Road has, they still have lots of yummy grab and go options, and of course their amazing coffee drinks. They have both hot and iced butter coffees loaded with all kinds of super foods like grass-fed butter and collagen. They even have a new mash-up of matcha and golden milk. Wow, it is spectacular! Every drink I've had from them is really incredible, and they're all made with real food ingredients, no sugar syrups (just pure maple syrup). They also have plenty of outdoor space, so you can bring a blanket and hang out on the lawn, or grab some food to-go.
Forthright- My friend happens to work near Forthright, so we visited several times, for both coffee and food! They have an amazing iced cashew milk latte featuring homemade, date-sweetened cashew milk. I also had their BLT, which featured bacon jam and a mustard aioli. Nearly all of their sandwiches can be made gluten-free. Their super crispy fries just made it over-the-top! Update: sadly there was a fire in the restaurant. I believe they’re rebuilding, but for now they’ve moved out a food truck that sits in a parking lot downtown. I’m unsure what food or drinks they’re offering during this time.
TOMS- Can you think of a better combination than sipping a latte while browsing new shoes?? Me neither. How about if you get to do all of that, while also doing something good for the world? I'm a sucker for ALL of that. Thankfully TOMS has created this great cafe where all of my dreams can come true. Grab a drink, try on some shoes, and help provides shoes and clean water for others around the world. When you've got your cute shoes, head to the back and hang out a while. It's the perfect place for studying or working, or meeting up with friends.
A Bit Further Out
Salt Lick BBQ- This BBQ place is a bit further out in Texas hill country, but well worth the drive! Established in 1967, they're celebrating their 50th anniversary this year! You know it's great BBQ if it can survive for 50 years! It's a big restaurant, with tons of outdoor seating as well, so the wait shouldn't be long. They have all the usual smokey meat suspects, but you can also buy meat by the pound, and sides by the pint/quart! This would be a great option for feeding a big ol' crowd.
Supper- Supper is not actually in Austin at all, it's in San Antonio. But the drive is short, and San Antonio was surprisingly adorable!! It's definitely worth the drive to check out the Riverfront and Pearl Districts. Supper is located in the trendy and cute Pearl District. The building is gorgeous, and the food is too. Everything is just picture perfect. We went all out, from drinks to dessert, and every bite was delicious! I could've eaten the braised pork with a spoon, it was so tender. The waitress was super knowledgable, and helped me choose items appropriate for me. Thankfully, since they're cooking with real food ingredients, so many of the dishes are gluten/grain and dairy free! I recommend making a reservation before you go.
Revolucion Coffee and Juice- This is another San Antonio stop. We grabbed some coffee and juice to-go for our drive back to Austin. All of the coffee and chai was great, but I especially loved the Black Gold fresh pressed juice. The charcoal lemonade is exactly what I needed to flush some of those vacation toxins out of my system. They have an incredible juice and non-dairy "not milk" menu. They also have fresh-pressed (non-pasteurized) in bottles so you can grab a few and save the for later.
Float the Guadalupe- This is one of my favorite Austin activities. It's so fun to just float along the river in a big tube, sip some rosé out of a can, and laugh with your best friends! It's definitely nothing fancy (the tubes are literally old tire innertubes), but it's a great way to soak up some Texas sunshine. You can pack a cooler and float it along with you in a spare tube. They'll give you string so you can tie your tubes together, or just float along separately. Any way you do it, it's such a good time, and the epitome of Texas summers.
I hope I've convinced you to book a trip to Austin. It's such a great city with incredible food. There is always something going on, so check out this calendar for live music or festivals going on while your'e in town.