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  • - March 11th, 2015, 9:48 am
    - March 11th, 2015, 9:48 am Post #31 - March 11th, 2015, 9:48 am
    A roundup from my trip to Austin this past January. First things first I already covered the BBQ from this trip in this post. As you may or may not know Austin has the highest concentration of top notch BBQ in the country and I don't think that's even up for debate. Quite a transformation as pretty much all of the renowned spots are new within the last decade. That said there's lots of other interesting stuff to eat in the capitol of Texas and I was on it. Though I guess I missed the quail. I keed.
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    Lucy's Fried Chicken

    Where theres a surplus of good BBQ there tends to be good fried chicken, not the other way around though. Lucy's is a hip spot in a residential neighborhood away from the usual areas us tourists make it into. I'd heard good things so we went for lunch on the patio which happened to be the only day of the trip where the sun shined. Thus I just had to have their signature drink the Juicy Lucy which is a frozen watermelon margarita.

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    Juicy Lucy

    I know what some are thinking but I must say that they take the frozen margarita serious in the state where it was born. I've had quite a few good ones while there and none of them has lacked booze. These get you going and the Juicy Lucy had me feeling like I was in the sky. For food we had a basket of fried buttermilk brined chicken livers to start and they were terrific. Almost ordered another round but then the chicken basket came out.

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    Fried Chicken Livers

    The fried chicken was a tasty rendition. I would say the best characteristic of it was the quality of the bird. The coating was a medium layer that stuck right to the meat and remained relatively crunchy throughout the meal. It was a tad past perfect as far as juiciness. I'd give the fried chicken a B+ and then overall I'd give the lunch experience an A. It was a good meal and we needed that sun.

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    Fried Chicken Basket
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    Taco Tour

    Austin is indeed a great taco town, breakfast tacos reign supreme with the people but there's plenty of other options to try. I'm just going to share a quick note for each of these spots going down one by one. The breakfast tacos at El Chilito are pretty damn money and easily the quantity of two tacos from most anywhere else. Joe's Bakery is a city icon and was packed with people on a Sunday morning. There was some really good to it's product (the housemade flour tortilla) and there was some pretty bad (pre-cooked eggs) to it. Overall Joe's is still worth checking out if you've never been. FATs (fried avocado tacos) are a lesser known regional taco of the area and Papalote Taco House had a tasty one but not as good as that upthread. I'm still getting craves for the brisket taco at Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ doc'd HERE.

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    Charlies Special at El Chilito - farm eggs, chorizo, potato, tomato, onion, serrano

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    Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Taco at Joe's Bakery

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    Aguacate con Queso at Papalote Taco House - Fried avocado topped w/ black beans, pico de gallo, cabbage, queso fresco

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    Smoked Brisket Taco w/ Smokey House Salsa + House Guac on Handmade Flour Tortilla at Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ

    Taco Flats is a semi-new modern day taco shop ala Big Star. I'd been told to try their taco al pastor and did. Not as good as I'd hoped it was going to be. This may be attributed to the fact we got there when brunch was still being served and waited until lunch started and ordered them, resulting in meat not cut from the spit I was told they use. However their frozen house margarita was one of the spiciest, tipsiest, most delightful of it's kind. Tacodeli is renowned for their breakfast tacos, which are great, but so are the non-breakfast options. Try their fish taco offering which is as good as you'll find in an area not on water. La Condesa is one of our happy hour favorites as the food and drinks at this modern Mexican restaurant are full of life. Last but not least I did a search hoping to find a place in ATX that serves real deal San Antonio style puffy tacos and found a spot outside city limits that specializes in them. I stopped into Tio Dan's in Round Rock on the rebound back to Dallas and tried a ground beef and chicken one of each. So good in that guilty pleasure sort of way. It's probably a good thing for me that these aren't found in Chicago.

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    Taco al Pastor from Taco Flats

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    Mojo Fish Taco at Tacodeli - Line-caught Texas Gulf Coast Drum fillets grilled w/ mojo-garlic sauce, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo

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    Happy Hour Tacos at La Condesa - Cochinita Pibil and Chicken Verde

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    Puffy Tacos at Tio Dan's in Round Rock, TX
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    East Side King's Thai Kun

    I'm not big on lists, even if I make them, but I don't hate them. I just take them for what they're worth. Some are better than others though I still think you have to look at them from an objective standpoint. When it says the "best" just look at it as someone or a group of peoples "favorites" and decide if you trust the opinion. Enter Bon Appétit. As I'm sure they always do they listed their year end favorites in the December of 2014 issue and I perused through it while at my parents place. Enter Thai Kun which was listed as one of the ten best new restaurant openings of the year in the article, even if it's a truck. Thai Kun is owned by local celeb chef Paul Qui who brought in a chef from Thailand named Thai (no joke) to run the vessel that stays put at a cocktail bar on East 6th street.

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    Waterfall Pork with Sticky Rice

    The menu is small so it really wasn't all that hard to decide on what we were eating. Described as"OG Thai" we went with just two dishes since we were coming from a BBQ tasting. First up seen above is the waterfall pork aka Namtok, a favorite of the people of Laos. Grilled pieces of pork are loaded with tons of Thai flavor like fish sauce, lime and lots of chile peppers making this one of the hotter dishes I've ate in a minute. It was right at the peak as far as heat level being just tolerable enough to be enjoyed without breathing hot fire for the rest of the day. The sack of sticky rice sitting behind it helps cool down the flames. As did the peach and bourbon draft cocktail that I was downing. We also tried the Khoa Man Gai which can best be described as the Thai Version of Hainanese Chicken and Rice. Being one of the national dishes of Thailand this version is spicier and the recipe served at Thai Kun included one of the richest bowls of chicken broth you will ever come across. I could barely finish the thing but the glutton in me wouldn't let it escape. Easy gangster.

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    Khoa Man Gai
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    I had to stop in and try their locally loved Bob Armstrong Dip and a margarita to go with it. It did get better with each sip.
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    Mission Dogs

    I spied this guy on East 6th street while headed back to my hotel one evening and couldn't resist the smells of bacon and onions in the air. I went with their namesake option which includes grilled onions, jalapenos, ketchup, mayo, and mustard. This is what drinking food is all about. Bacon wrapped hot dogs from a cart at one in the morning on a Saturday night, what's not to like? Stay interesting Austin.

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    The Mission Dog
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    Lucy's Fried Chicken
    5408 Burnet Rd
    Austin, TX 78756
    (512) 514-0664

    El Chilito
    2219 Manor Rd
    Austin, TX 78722
    (512) 382-3797

    Joe's Bakery
    2305 E 7th St
    Austin, TX 78702
    (512) 472-0017

    Papalote Taco House
    2803 S Lamar Blvd
    Austin, TX 78704
    (512) 804-2474

    Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ
    600 West 6th Street
    Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 221-4248

    Taco Flats
    5520 Burnet Rd
    Ste 101
    Austin, TX 78756
    (512) 284-8352

    Tacodeli
    1500 Spyglass Dr
    Austin, TX 78746
    (512) 732-0303

    La Condesa
    400 W 2nd St
    Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 499-0300

    Tio Dan Puffy Tacos
    409 Round Rock Ave
    Round Rock, TX 78664
    (512) 246-7733

    Thai Kun
    1816 E 6th St
    Austin, TX 78702
    (512) 407-8166

    Matt's Famous El Rancho
    2613 S Lamar Blvd
    Austin, TX 78704
    (512) 462-9333

    Mission Dogs
    1412 E 6th St
    Austin, TX 78702

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