Tasty Tuesdays: The Austin Scene is Blowin’ Up
There are lots of new, big, and fun things happening in the Austin food scene lately and since I haven’t had time to blog much in 2012, I thought I’d just throw down a list of some of the news that is making me wiggle around in my seat with excitement!
- Bistrot Mirabelle: A romantic neighborhood bistro in Mesa Hills serving southern French-inspired dishes for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. I visited recently for an event and absolutely loved their mussels, along with a chocolate chocolate cookie, and am looking forward to going back with Adam for a date! Located at 8127 Mesa Drive in between Spicewood Springs and Steck, west of MoPac. Make reservations on their website.
- Elizabeth Street Cafe: A cozy spot for French-Vietnamese cuisine, I’ve visited this little gem twice — both for dinner and brunch. Dinner was tasty, but a little uneven, and brunch was delicious. Those looking for a $6 bowl of pho have come to the wrong place — this is high-end, ingredient-driven dining, y’all. Their specialties include noodles, bahn mi, and boulangerie — so those on a low-carb diet beware. I’d go for the crispy vermicelli cakes for breakfast and the house specialty banh mi for lunch or dinner. South First and Elizabeth Street, in the old Bouldin Creek Coffee location. Open breakfast (8 – 11 a.m.), lunch and dinner (11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.), 7 days a week.
- Lenoir: In late January, this neighborhood bistro offering a price fixe menu of three courses for $30 started by talented and adorable husband-and-wife team Todd Duplechan (TRIO at the Four Seasons) and Jessica Maher (Dai Due, Dishalicious) and opened in the space formerly occupied by Somnio’s Cafe. Located at 1807 South First between Annie and Mary; Open Tues – Sat, 5-10:30 p.m. Call 512.215.9778 for reservations.
- Kome: I always think of Kome as Uchiko light — a less expensive, less avant garde version. Soon after we heard that the owners of Sushi-A-Go-Go were opening a full restaurant, we stopped in for a lovely meal. Since then, we haven’t been able to get in without a wait. I’m hearing good things about their lunchtime ramen menu and hope to try it soon. Another thing I love about this place is that it’s biking distance from my house. 49th and Airport Blvd; Open Mon – Sat for lunch and dinner. Call 512.712.5700 for reservations for parties of five or more.
- Lick: Delicious, creamy ice cream made with fresh, local, and organic ingredients made with love. I’ve tried many of the flavors and have yet to find one that I didn’t like — even the roasted beets or caramelized carrots and tarragon are delicious. One of my favorites is the goat cheese, thyme and honey. A perfect place to kick back and relax on a milking stool. Located on S. Lamar just north of Oltorf near Barley Swine; Open Mon – Sun 12:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. (11:30 on Fri & Sat).
- Saigon Street Food Truck: The Yelpers are excited about this Vietnamese pho and banh mi truck on Airport Blvd and I like that it’s close to my house. For all the complainers saying Elizabeth Street is too expensive for a bowl of pho, this place might be for you. Located at 53rd and Airport Blvd; Open Tues – Sat 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew: I’d guess even Aaron Franklin is glad to hear another BBQ place has opened up in Austin that’s getting some buzz and taking s0me of the pressure off of him and his pits. And while Stiles Switch may not be the second coming, I have heard some good reviews of the brisket and look forward to enjoying some Q and brew sometime in the near future. Located in the Violet Crown Shopping Center, one of the oldest mini-malls in central Austin, the Stiles Switch space is in the location used as the pool hall in Dazed and Confused. Located on N. Lamar between Koenig and Airport; Open Mon – Sat 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Dock & Roll Diner: Formerly parked in Westlake, this diner will reopen in early February at S. 1st between Elizabeth and Monroe in the same parking lot as Gourdough’s and Izzoz Tacos, next to Elizabeth Street Cafe. I am drooling, drooling at the description of their lobster roll by those who have tried it, and can’t wait to check ‘em out when they get settled at 1503 S. 1st; Open Mon – Sat 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Gourmands: Addie’s review in the Statesman put me over the edge — she had me at “from-scratch potato chips.” According to Addie, this is a soup, sandwich and beer joint that pays attention to details like making their own potato chips, pickled vegetables, and house-sliced deli meats and cheeses. The bar includes 18 draft beers — 9 from local brewers. Located on Webberville Road, just north of E. 7th Street; Open daily 11 a.m. – 2 a..m.
- Hillside Farmacy: According to the Austinist, this Eastside specialty grocery and restaurant from East Side Show Room’s Sonya Cote will offer Stumptown coffee, Belgian beers, cocktails, oysters, cheese, charcuterie and more during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located on E. 11th near Rosewood Ave and the Texas State Cemetery, in the old Gene’s New Orleans Style Po Boys location.
Eats & Drinks
- drink.well. has a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter handle, but this North Loop “American Pub” is still in the process of being built out. Once open, possibly next month, they will offer craft beers, wines, and spirits from across the U.S. and will feature pub food. I’m excited about their drink menu, which they are creating with the help of the Tipsy Texan, David Alan. Looks like the makings of a nice little neighborhood bar, and will take some pressure off the popular Tigress down the street. East 53rd between Avenue F and G.
- Easy Tiger, in the former Habana on E. 6th Street, just west of I-35, is one of the few places on 6th Street that I would hang out at on purpose (along with Pete’s Dueling Piano bar, Parkside, and the Driskill). Enter at street level, and Easy Tiger offers coffee, fresh-baked baguettes, croissants and giant German-style pretzels by pedigreed baker, David Norman. Head downstairs and you are in a beer hall filled with tables and chairs, or a patio with a lit-up view of Waller Creek. Easy Tiger offers a full bar and 30 beers on draft, along with housemade meats and other bar food by 24 Diner chef Drew Curren. Open Mon – Sun from 7 a.m. – 2 a.m.
- Hopfields: A bar in walking distance from the UT campus that I’d actually want to go to? Amazing. With a solid beer list, cocktail menu, wine list, and bistro menu, there’s not a lot about Hopfields to complain about. Most of the seating is at communal tables or at the bar, and it feels like the kind of place where you could go often enough that everyone there would know your name.31st and Guadalupe; Open Tues – Fri 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sat until 1 a.m
- Workhorse Bar: Located in the same mini-mall as The Tigress, Workhorse is under construction, but their FB page promises a bar and restaurant with over fifty taps available for draft beer. They plan to promote local breweries and distilleries, and the rest, is a mystery. Sounds like a perfect place to sit my man and his buddies in front of a game while I catch up with my ladies next door. Northloop Blvd just east of Avenue F. My one concern for this area is where will everyone park?!
- Airport Boulevard between 35 and Lamar keeps getting awesome(r)! Austinites have long-loved Mrs. Johnson’s Donuts, Quality Seafood, the Lammes candy shop, La Canaria, Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs (open seasonally), and Tamale House (hat tip to Fed Man Walking for helping jog my memory); recent openings on and around Airport over the past year or so include Black Star Coop and Stiles Switch BBQ on Lamar, Kome, Saigon Street Food Truck, La Chaparrita (in Highland Mall), House Pizzeria, East Side Pies, and opening soon — Your Mom’s Burger Bar.
- North Loop, which is right around the corner from Airport — in fact — East Side Pies could be considered part of this hood, is growing like crazy. With the two new bars I mentioned above opening up in the next month or so, I think North Loop will really cement its identity and continue to grow. Currently, this neighborhood is home to The Tigress and Foreign & Domestic, two of our most-loved food and drink destinations in town.
- S. 1st – Within a couple block radius, S. 1st is home to Elizabeth Street Cafe, the new Bouldin Creek Cafe, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop (which is expanding), La Mexicana Bakery, Polvos, El Primo, Once Over Coffee Bar, Izzoz, Gourdoughs, and soon, Dock & Roll, J Mueller BBQ, La Patisserie, and a Thai restaurant from the La Condesa folks that is being built as we speak.
And those are the places I’m most excited to explore in the next few months. What about you?
MORE DELICIOUS FUN COMING SOON (Updated 1/31 at 1:33 p.m.):
- 400 Rabbits Cocktail Lounge (tequila bar/Mexican food) from the Alamo Drafthouse’s Beverage Director Bill Norris and chef John Bullington is set to open at the end of March. It is located at MoPac and Slaughter.
- Freedmen’s: A laid-back lounge in a historic building with retro cocktails and BBQ — opening soon and located at 2402 San Gabriel St.