You've been to SXSW before - and you've done the Salt Lick run, you've eaten at various trailer eateries, and maybe had a few too many "passed appetizer" dinners... So I thought I'd recommend a few places that, to me, you just won't find outside of Austin... most of which are close enough to ground-zero SXSW that you could get to them if you're motivated... Of course, there are a crazy number of fabulous places to eat that aren't mentioned here - so if you don't find what you're looking for on this list, don't let it discourage you!
- Peached Tortilla - if you can find this trailer, stop whatever you are doing and get the banh-mi slider. ?Yeah, I know it is a taco truck.? Get the slider. Trust me.? It has pork belly in it, so if you don't like pork, I guess order something else.? But this slider will change your life.? If you want more than one slider, the brisket slider makes a good complement to this. The fries with truffle mayo are also divine.? But whatever else you do, get the banh-mi slider.
- Chilantro BBQ - another asian-mexican fusion truck.? You really can't go wrong with the various spicy tacos and burritos.? Bulgogi abounds.? Pick something, you'll like it.
- Alternate tacos - Torchy's tacos if you can find a location convenient to you (best Queso in town, guaranteed), or Taco Deli (breakfast and lunch only).
- Franklin's BBQ - if you can taste one Austin BBQ while you're here, and you don't mind missing half a day of SXSW sessions, get to Franklin's early and wait for a taste of the finest BBQ in the world. The Anthony Bourdain video is pretty awesome.
- Frank - crazy hot dogs. I'm not sure "hot dog" does it justice.? Gourmet on a bun.? And, as an extra surprise, they have some of the best coffee in Austin (serving, last time I checked, Handsome Roasters' coffee).
- Moonshine - Austin comfort food at it's finest. But ask them why they took the Red Velvet Cake off the menu - that was the best dessert I ever had.? I recommend the Jalapeno Hanger Steak.
- Kerbey Lane - there are several locations - all of which are a car or taxi ride away.? Kerbey is open 24-7, serving breakfast all day.? Pancakes the size of dinner plates, and the best migas in town (you haven't really had breakfast in Austin unless you've sampled migas).? Recommended: Migas, Queso, and Gingerbread pancakes. Not necessarily in that order. Alternate 24-7 diner: Magnolia cafe.
Of course, you probably won't find me at any of these places unless the line is short. I live here.? I'm going to a few places that I wouldn't dare list on this blog post at the risk of generating even more traffic to where I plan to eat!
Is there anything more important than where to get your caffeine fix during SXSW? Well, maybe for day 1... but after that, espresso is king.? I'd recommend trying a cortado at least once if you haven't had one before.
- Houndstooth - They're going to have a "pop-up" location at the Frost Tower (you can't miss the tower)- as the new location they're opening in the Frost Tower isn't quite open yet.? Likely will find me there.? At least long enough to stand in line for coffee.
- Caffe Medici - this is the gold standard downtown ever since it opened up in the Austonian.? However, there are a few annoyances (you want a different size for that drink? too bad). The fact that it is close to the excellent Congress and 2nd Bar + Kitchen restaurants is a bonus.
- Frank - mentioned above, but wow.? Great coffee.
- Juan Pelota - kind of at the far end of downtown from the convention center, and next to Mellow Johnny's, making it a bit of a cycling hangout. But the coffee is for real.? And it might be a nice break from the action near the convention center, if you don't mind the walk.
- Halcyon - if you want something a little different, Halcyon may be your speed.? More alcoholic and other coffee-inspired drinks.
Of course you can find Starbucks and the coffee shops inside various hotels.? They're fine.? But the ones above are local to Austin and worthy of your patronage as well.
I'm not really the best person to recommend drinks, but if you're from out of town, and haven't tried the Texas Martini or Mexican Martini, give it a shot.? It may not be for you, but some people swear by it.? And it seems to be fairly localized to Texas.
Enjoy SXSW - hope a few of these tips actually help!