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The Best Things the Eater Austin Team Ate and Drank This Week: Turkey-Burrata Sandwiches and Chinese Sweet Potato Noodles With Vegetables

Your handy guide on where to eat and drink from the editors at Eater Austin

The turkey-burrata sandwich from Destroyer Sandwiches.
The turkey-burrata sandwich from Destroyer Sandwiches.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Eater editors often get asked for restaurant recommendations, especially in a city like Austin where there are so many dining options. To help solve that particular dilemma, Eater Austin editors are sharing their favorite dishes, takeout orders, and dining recommendations with the weekly Something for the Weekend column.

As always, remember to tip generously and follow mask guidelines at respective restaurants/trucks/bars/etc. Looking for more ideas? Check out Eater’s previous takeout recommendation guide.

For sandwiches: Destroyer Sandwiches

I enjoy a good sandwich for dinner every so often. It’s easy and simple and usually delicious. We tried out the menu at Brew & Brew’s new on-site shop Destroyer Sandwich, and, much like everything that the restaurant team does, it was amazing. The Torquey is a cold sandwich packed with smoked sliced turkey, creamy burrata, and a nice green olive tapenade. It made for a great, satisfying meal. I want to try one of the hot sandwiches next time. Orders can be placed online or in person, there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas too. (500 San Marcos Street, Suite 105, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For vegetables and noodles: Old Thousand

I recently had a pleasant lunch on the patio at the Burnet Road location of the Chinese restaurant. The salty, indulgent brisket fried rice is my usual go-to, but this time my companion ordered the Buddha’s Delight — sweet potato noodles with seasonable vegetables — and I think I might have a new favorite order. The slippery noodles and fresh vegetables were a better choice to be able to get work done afterward and still made for great leftovers. Next time, I’m eyeing the five-spice Chinese churro for my next visit. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services, takeout orders can be placed online. (4805 Burnet Road, Brentwood) —Erin Russell


Past recommendations

October 29-31

For turkey at a barbecue restaurant: Interstellar BBQ

Yes, it will perhaps be really annoying procuring barbecue from the barbecue restaurant from the team behind the defunct Noble Sandwich Co. restaurant nowadays. You’ll have to wake up early and wait for a while, but really, the food is that good and well worth the lack of sleep. While people have been raving about the brisket and the lovely little peach-glazed pork belly, the turkey is really the best item on the menu. The sliced meat is so tender and flavorful and juicy, all thanks to the fact that it’s been marinated in Live Oak Brewery’s hefeweizen. (12233 Ranch Road 620, Far Northwest Austin)—Nadia Chaudhury

For seafood: Garbo’s

Having become recently enamored with lobster rolls, I was looking forward to a hosted media happy hour at Garbo’s. While the lobster rolls (cold with mayo or hot with butter) were great — I mean, how could anything on that buttery bun not be — I was even more impressed by two unexpected standouts on the menu: smoked fish dip and crab cakes. The smoked fish dip came topped with a hot sauce that was a true kick in the pants (which I loved), while the sumptuous crab cake was seasoned to flavorful perfection. Garbo’s new location also has a great patio for enjoying these fleeting fall days. (12709 North Mopac Expressway, North Austin) —Erin Russell


October 22-24

For tacos: Con Todo

As a huge fan of pastry pop-up Galleta, I was excited for chef Joseph Gomez’s border town taco truck Con Todo, and boy did it deliver. The carne asada taco with perfectly marinated skirt steak grilled over smoky mesquite is now one of my favorite tacos — especially when paired with the slow-burning spice from the red salsa. Of course, I also loved the crunchy, sweet buñuelos served with cream. The laidback atmosphere and Belgian brews at Celis’s new beer garden made it a perfect fall evening. (10001 Metric Boulevard, North Austin) —Erin Russell

For pastries and wine while reading: Texas French Bread

I spent a recent afternoon doing one of my favorite activities — reading, drinking wine, and eating a pastry — at the bistro and it was so very lovely. The glass of white was crisp and chilled, the croissant was a fun seeded cream cheese one, and the vibes were perfect. Highly recommend it if you’re engrossed in a good book. (2900 Rio Grande Street, Heritage) —Nadia Chaudhury


October 15-17

For tacos: El Primo

The small cart on South First is home to some of the very, very best tacos in Austin. The loaded migas is a dreamy hefty choice, and I also adore the barbacoa (add an avocado slice, you won’t regret it). And even better, El Primo is no longer cash-only, it takes ONLINE ORDERS which is a game-changer. Round out the meal with a coffee from Once Over Coffee. (2011 South First Street, Bouldin Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury

For Caribbean fare: Canje

Given that Emmer & Rye’s 2019 Caribbean brunch forever lives in my brain rent-free, I made reservations at Canje, the group’s newest restaurant, as soon as humanly possible. The beautifully golden roti was everything I remembered, and it was the perfect vehicle for rich curry wagyu beef. The pork lechon was tender with wonderful hits of tropical sweetness, and the drinks paired perfectly — my favorite was the fall-appropriate Grenada Spice with apple brandy, ginger, and allspice. (1914 East Sixth Street, East Austin) —Erin Russell


October 8-10

For Austin Restaurant Weeks dinner: Foreign & Domestic

I get really excited when restaurants create special menus for Austin Restaurant Weeks, and even more so when it’s from one of my favorite spots, Foreign & Domestic. The four-course menu included the classic salty-sweet combo of melon and speck, an absolutely unreal sungold tomato carbonara cooked so perfectly that even a cabonara purist like me had to give credit, an excellent cut of Berkshire pork with collard greens and purple hull peas, and olive oil cake to finish. All of that was $50, which is quite frankly a steal, but somehow still benefits Central Texas Food Bank. This is the last weekend for Austin Restaurant Weeks, so don’t miss out. (306 E 53rd Street, North Loop) —Erin Russell

For breakfast: Ovenbird

A friend has been raving about the menu at this South Austin cafe, so we decided to go there to celebrate a friend’s birthday and weren’t disappointed. The Hopple Popple combines my favorite morning-y ingredients: thick chunks of fried potatoes, corned beef, peppers, and an egg. It was hearty and flavorful (especially with the shakshuka aioli) and lovely. The baked goods veer on the European side, from the sturdy Bavarian croissant used for breakfast sandwiches to the delightful franzbroetchen, a little German-style cinnamon roll. I need to go back to check out both the babka, breakfast brioche, and the hand pies.(6501 South Congress Ave, Suite 211, South Congress) —Nadia Chaudhury


October 1-3

For cinnamon rolls: Épicerie

The Saturday bake sale at Épicerie is always an event to remember, with tempting, buttery creations. The tall cone-shaped cinnamon roll may seem a little “normal” compared to the other flaky pastries, but it is anything but. Cream cheese icing is slathered on both the top and the inside of the roll, which is also studded with nutty Texas pecans. It hits the perfect notes of sweetness and richness, and it is truly a towering masterpiece. (2307 Hancock Drive, Brentwood) —Erin Russell

For patio sushi: Musashino

Musashino is the place for easy, great sushi. I always forget how the restaurant is really the birthplace of Austin’s sushi scene, where its alum have gone on to open some of the city’s defining restaurants. The nigiri pieces are the way to go. During a recent meal, I ordered a little bit of everything, from tuna to salmon to perfect uni. It’s simple and great. The patio is luckily shaded, which means it’s cool enough to linger too. (2905 San Gabriel Street, Suite 200, Heritage) —Nadia Chaudhury


September 24-26

For a quality sandwich: Local Foods

I have two words for you: pretzel bun. If you are intrigued, you must check out the crunchy chicken sandwich from Local Foods, a Houston shop with an Austin pop-up. The chicken is coated with a nut/seed crumble, and there are crunchy pickles, romaine, buttermilk ranch, and all kinds of other magic loaded into the aforementioned pretzel bun (which honestly, is so good it’s enough of a reason to order the sandwich on its own). Each sandwich comes with two sides — I opted for kale with pine nuts and some lemony apples — and of course, there’s the requisite thick chocolate chip cookie. In the interest of transparency, this lunch was complimentary, but it is high on my list of lunch favorites. (5350 Burnet Road, Allandale) —Erin Russell

For Thai curry: Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine

Gearing up for a stressful week, I turned to one of my go-to restaurants for dinner: Sap’s. The menu is massive and full of often-hella-spicy hits, and while the pad spaghetti kee mao is a favorite, I decided to go with a curry this time (one of my well-documented comfort foods). I ordered the garee curry, and what I really love about the restaurant is that you can mix in additional ingredients. On top of the included potatoes and nuts, I added bok choy and green beans for some extra greens and textures. That paired with the tofu fresh spring roll made for a luscious satisfying meal. (4514 West Gate Boulevard, Westgate) —Nadia Chaudhury


September 10-12

For post-Deep Eddy Pool meal: Salt Traders Coastal Cooking

Realizing that summer was nearly over (we’ve got until September 22, folks), a friend and I trekked out to Deep Eddy Pool for some much-needed sun and cool water. We both were very hungry afterward, and the only meal that made sense to us was seafood (guess the theme), and luckily, Salt Traders’s Austin proper location is nearby. We shared the special of the day (perfect bacon-wrapped scallops) and the fish and chips. The fish was plump and juicy and paired well with the accompanying thick fries. I also recommend drizzling hot sauce for some added spice. (1101 South MoPac Expressway, Barton Hills) —Nadia Chaudhury

For happy hour: Easy Tiger

I’ve long held that Easy Tiger has one of the best happy hours in the city, and a recent visit proved this is still the case. Happy hour at Easy Tiger means $5 glasses of house wine, $5 cocktails, and $5 sausages, among other things. My pick is the hatch green chili cheddar sausage served with pickled veggies on a soft, toasty bun — because nothing says summer like a hot sausage oozing with cheese and peppers. Plus, with all that money you’ve saved, you can pick up one of Easy Tiger’s rich, buttery chocolate chip cookies. Pro tip: Though happy hour is only on weekdays, it lasts all day Monday — and if you stay late enough, you may score some of the day’s leftover pastries. (6406 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Highland) —Erin Russell


August 20-22

For Sichuan food: House of Three Gorges

In the mood for new-to-me restaurants and the fact that I am sans-car for the time being, I ordered delivery from House of Three Gorges after an endorsement from a friend. The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish was amazing with tender pieces of white fish drenched in a spicy broth mixed with raw jalapenos. The fried rice paired with Chinese sausage made for a sweeter counterpart. The portions are ginormous and have been lasting me for several days and going (if you know me, you know I love leftovers, and specifically mixing and matching leftovers). I need to try some of the lamb dishes which came highly recommended. To-go orders can be placed online and there are third-party deliveries. (8557 Research Boulevard Suite 144, North Austin)—Nadia Chaudhury

For eggs: Shirttail Creek Farms

I know this is more of a food recommendation than a restaurant recommendation, but everyone needs to experience these eggs. The yolks are a rich orange that make them almost look like duck eggs, and they barely even need seasoning, they have so much flavor. They make a difference in any dish — from scrambled eggs to custards to just fried rice. (Available at Salt & Time and occasionally at Central Market) —Erin Russell


August 13-15

For dinner and wine: Birdie’s

I try not to pull the “I used to live in Italy” card too often, but when I say that I had the best pasta in recent memory this week at Birdie’s, please understand it comes from a reverence for the art of flour and water. The plump, chewy orecchiette with pork sausage and fennel pollen was transported directly from my memories at the best trattorie in Puglia. The “obligatory vegetables” arugula salad is anything but boring with bright bursts from dill, tarragon, and lemon. And the soft serve with tangerine olive oil was a dream. The restaurant is counter service with open seating, which is nice for a casual night out with friends and a bottle of wine from the extensive list. (2944 East 12th Street, Chestnut) —Erin Russell

For Indian and Nepalese: Lali Son Fast Food

To celebrate a recent birthday, we took the time to drive up to Leander to grab takeout from the gas station restaurant based on the recommendation of a trusted friend. Our entire spread was magnificent. The steamed chicken momos were so plump and nicely spiced (I do love dumplings a lot); the cauliflower in the Gobi 65 was sturdy; and the chicken kadai was the ideal brothy entree. The restaurant is takeout only (read: nowhere to dine on the premises) and orders can be placed online. (12201 Hero Way West, Leander) —Nadia Chaudhury


August 6-8

For Texas cuisine: Dai Due

I haven’t been to Dai Due in a minute, and I’m pleased to report that it’s even better than I remembered. The restaurant uses ingredients exclusively from Texas — down to the wine and beer list — which suits the somewhat rustic-chic atmosphere of the restaurant. Choosing dishes on the menu was a truly monumental task because everything looked so good (quail with grits? wild boar confit?). I happened in on fish and chips night, and the crispy, tender black drum with remoulade, slaw, and perfectly seasoned fries was truly a meal to remember. I also had a glass of the house Blanc du Bois from Lewis Wines, whose light, crisp effervescence paired well with my meal. I can’t wait to return to try, well, everything else on the menu. (2406 Manor Road, Cherrywood) —Erin Russell

For Vietnamese cuisine: Bep Saigon

Because I was already in what I deemed as far, far, far North Austin, we decided to grab dinner from new-to-me Vietnamese restaurant since I know several trustworthy people who have raved about the menu. They were not wrong. The hu tieu ap chao had wonderfully chewy pan-fried noodles with loads of vegetables; the banh xeo was ginormous, the fried crepe overflowing with bean sprouts; and the red curry was tasty. My absolute favorite item was the little banh knot: perfect rice cakes topped with a great mix of shrimp, mung beans, and a dollop of coconut milk. Pickup and delivery orders can be placed online. (12901 N-35, Suite 1540, Parmer Center) —Nadia Chaudhury


July 30 - August 1

For special occasion sushi: Sushi|Bar ATX

I’ve had some excellent sushi experiences lately, but they all required a significant amount of foresight — so it’s worth noting for any special occasions coming up that Sushi Bar ATX opens reservations at 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 1. Sushi Bar is a small, 10-person counter omakase that almost qualifies as dinner and a show, thanks to the personal service from the chef in front of you and liberal use of torches and garnishes. The sushi is a bit more adorned than strictly traditional style — my favorite piece was shima aji with a small dot of fresno chili, though the eel fried in bone marrow fat was also a treat. My friend and I split the cocktail pairing and the sake pairing and loved them both. I could also eat an entire cake of the makrut ice cream bonbon dessert from chef Margarita Kallas-Lee. (2600 East Cesar Chavez Street, Holly) —Erin Russell

For tacos: Taco Joint

I’m in the middle of slowly working my way through revisiting and visiting taco trucks and restaurants around the city to eventually update the taco map (it’s been wonderful). A recent revisit was to our favorite go-to taco spot Taco Joint on East Riverside. I decided to shake things up by adding potatoes (I have done this before to wonderful results) and refried beans to my barbacoa taco, and, yeah, this is going to become a new staple taco for me. The diced potatoes play well with the juicy barbacoa and the refried beans added a nice bit of salt and texture. Pair with copious amounts of salsa, and enjoy. Pickup orders can be placed online. (134 East Riverside Drive, Travis Heights) —Nadia Chaudhury


July 23 - 25

For fancy dessert: Uchiko

I don’t need to tell anyone that Uchiko is one of the best restaurants in Austin, but I will remind you to never skip dessert. The pastry program started by Comedor chef Philip Speer so many years ago has been in the capable hands of Ariana Quant for five years now, and boy is she a master of flavors. Yes, the delicate kabocha tempura was a treat, and I loved the trumpet mushroom piece during my dinner, but the cilantro granita with compressed pineapple on top of the jasmine cream even pleased a genetic freak like myself. I would also love an entire plate of the brown butter crumbles on the okashi with fresh peaches. Bonus: The service is always extraordinary and the bar at Uchiko is one of the top 10 places in Austin for people-watching. (4200 North Lamar Boulevard, Rosedale)—Erin Russell

For halal Middle Eastern cuisine: Usta Kababgy

To celebrate Eid earlier this week, we ordered a straight-up feast from the North Lamar restaurant. The falafel was soft with a nice spicy kick; the lamb and beef kebabs were juicy and tender and robust; the fried kibbah texturally amazing and hearty; the meat flatbread reminded me of lahmajun I’ve had at home in Queens. The mhalabiyah (milk pudding) was the not-too-sweet way of ending the meal. I am definitely going to order from this restaurant a lot. (9717 North Lamar Boulevard, North Lamar)—Nadia Chaudhury


July 16 - 18

For burgers and margaritas: Workhorse Bar

It’s well-documented how much I adore my neighborhood, but a favorite I keep returning to lately is dive bar Workhorse. There’s just so much to love there — beer-battered fried pickles, parmesan fries, meaty burgers, a great patio, and friendly clientele. I’ll admit I was terrified when the bartender basically handed me a glass of tequila and called it a margarita, but for $6, who am I to argue? (It was perfect.) (100 North Loop Boulevard East, North Loop)—Erin Russell

For vegan desserts: The Beer Plant

Every single one of the desserts at the vegan gastropub is simply delightful. Chef Amanda Levy deftly created tantalizing concoctions that I couldn’t tell were vegan at all. The pecan porter chocolate cake slice was so wonderfully rich; the pistachio rose semolina cake was perfectly moist with hints of floral nutty notes; the key lime semifreddo was so coldly creamy. (3110 Windsor Road, Tarrytown)—Nadia Chaudhury


July 9 - 11

For solo dinner: Carpenters Hall

I’ve been behind on my reading so I wanted to take myself out to a no-distractions solo dinner to finish my latest book. I decided to sit at the bar of the Carpenter Hotel restaurant. The meal was lovely: the bright peach and tomato salad fulfilled my greatest fruit desires; the Gulf fish was plump and paired well with the crispy rice; the carrot cake was not made with any raisins thankfully; and the wine recommendations from the bartender were on-point. And, yes, I nearly finished my book. (400 Josephine Street, Zilker)—Nadia Chaudhury

For potstickers: Lin Asian Bar

I donated blood for the first time this week, and, afterward, all I could think about was dumplings. Lin Asian Bar delivered the beef potstickers of my dreams — fried to a crisp on one side, but still chewy on the others, and stuffed full of Akaushi beef. Bonus: the leftover crispy bits are included with the dumplings which might just be the best part. Chef Ling is known for her masterful dim sum, and someday soon, I hope to return for the full effect. (1203 West 6th Street, Clarksville)—Erin Russell


June 25 - 27

For a barbecue lunch: LeRoy & Lewis

I had been eyeing the barbacado at barbecue truck LeRoy & Lewis for a while. And I finally got to check that box during a first-time-in-real-life-co-working-session with a friend at Cosmic Coffee. It’s the perfect lunchtime meal: a flawless halved avocado stuffed with tender barbacoa topped with cilantro, diced white onions, and salsa. The avocado skin worked as a compostable bowl and I found myself scraping for every bit of the fruit. (121 Pickle Road, Dawson)—Nadia Chaudhury

For frozen drinks and burgers: Better Half

After a week of decadent Southern food, I should have gone to Better Half for the springy big salad (which is excellent), but instead, I went for the meaty burger, those perfect cauliflower tots, and a frozen “Whatamelon” cocktail so good that I had a second one that week. The burger is one of the best in town — big and juicy, but not overwhelming — and the tart, refreshing frozen cocktail provided great balance and a healthy kick of booze. Plus, it just feels so dang good to be seated inside at the bar again. (406 Walsh Street, Clarksville)—Erin Russell


June 11 - 13

For alfresco dinner: Aviary Wine & Kitchen

A dream team is really running the South Lamar wine restaurant. Chef Andre Molina serves beautifully plated, creative dishes like a pork loin with peach hot sauce, melon, and mint. Beverage director Alex Bell has a killer wine list, which he describes with vibrant detail (I loved my glass of Armenian rosé). And, to end the evening with absolute perfection, was cool, creamy, light-but-still-indulgent coconut panna cotta from Abby Sernal. (2110 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar) —Erin Russell

For Japanese lunch: Teddy Simon

Okay, so this is clearly not a restaurant, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the amazing Japanese lunch I had this week. Chef Teddy Simon (former of various sushi restaurants such as Soto and Tsuke Honten) has been operating his own lunch delivery service during these pandemic times, and Austin is all the better for it. My schedule worked out perfectly so that I could order the tuna tataki, a simple dish consisting of just-ever-so-slightly seared sliced tuna paired with chili garlic and aioli togarashi atop a bed of rice. I can easily say it was one of the best things I’ve eaten this year. We also lucked into an order of the beef rendang with rice, and it was so rich and lovely. Simon usually posts his typically one-dish menu on his Instagram, available for preorder via direct message for deliveries the next day. —Nadia Chaudhury


June 4 - 6

For tinned fish and orange wine: Lolo

I’ve been venturing into the dine-in service world slowly, and one of my recent favorites is a simple one. Nothing beats the combination of a breezy day, tinned fish and saltines, and orange wine, all of which can be found at LoLo. A full glass of the orange wine — Poderi Cellario E’Orange — was easy with a slight welcomed tang (I regret not buying a bottle right now). I opted for the tuna packed in oil, which paired wonderfully with the buttery saltines. It was perfect. The patio is open for dine-in service; pickup wine bottles can be purchased online. (1504 East Sixth Street, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For casual pizza: Love Supreme

I love the big, open space — and pretty much everything I tried on the menu — at Love Supreme. Yeah, there’s pizza, which is obviously great (the pepperoni was solid), but the stars for me were the expertly seasoned vegetable dishes. The charred broccolini and carrot salad both hit it out of the park for me. And of course, a big warm, gooey cookie was a great end to the meal. I look forward to returning to the patio if it ever stops raining. The pizzeria is open for dine-in service; takeout orders can be placed online. (2805 Manor Road, Cherrywood) —Erin Russell


February 28-March 1 2020

For brunch: Épicerie

With the rich ingredients in hollandaise sauce — egg yolk, butter, lemon juice, and herbs — it’s pretty much going to taste good no matter what. However, it takes a skillful touch to create a hollandaise with just the right blend to allow each flavor to shine. Add a perfectly poached egg, aromatic house-made breakfast sausage, and a toasted English muffin, and you have a stratospheric dish. That was my recent brunch experience at this neighborhood café — the Benedict became an art form. Those craving something sweet should indulge in the powdered sugar-laden beignets, and the curated wine list provides fun exploration. (2307 Hancock Drive, Rosedale) —Erin Russell

For dinner: Salt & Time

It’s been hell of a week (novel coronavirus outbreak, Texas primary, South by Southwest being canceled), so it’s time to distract myself with food. The hearty pasta plus meats at the butcher shop/restaurant does just the trick. It’s simple, it’s good, what more do you need? Currently, this means a bolognese with beef and pork. (1912 East Seventh Street, East Austin —Nadia Chaudhury


February 28, 2020-March 1, 2020

For vegan dessert: Bistro Vonish

After a week of subsisting on pizza (see last week’s recommendations), it was time to add some vegetables to the mix, and vegan food truck Bistro Vonish was a fun discovery. I loved my filling gnocchi with peas, mushrooms, and other veggies, and my friend was enamored with his giant barbecue seitan sandwich. However, my favorite part was the mousseline chocolate pie: a rich, silken concoction with just a prickling of cinnamon to keep things interesting. While I’m often acutely aware I’m eating vegan because the dishes taste like they’re missing something, Bistro Vonish’s high-end fare left nothing to be desired but another visit — and more pie. (701 East 53rd Street, North Loop) —Erin Russell

For burritos: Bummer Burrito

Maybe I am a fan of burritos? For a late dinner, my husband and I stopped by the new burrito truck from the Better Half/Little Brother team. It’s easy enough to place an order from the truck, parked next door to the tiny Rainey Street bar. I opted for the Frito Rito, essentially a Frito pie-stuffed burrito, and he got the house Bummer burrito with the Beyond chorizo. My burrito was very rich, full of nacho cheese, mashed beans, and melty Oaxacan jack cheese, and the chips offered a nice crispy crunch. I appreciated that neither burrito was overstuffed either, it was enough for a satisfying meal. (89 Rainey Street, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury


February 21-23, 2020

For sushi: Kome

For not-Valentine’s Day, my husband and I went to Japanese restaurant Kome before a screening of Y Tu Mama Tambien at AFS Cinema, which was the right move. I always enjoy how easy and simple the experience is. Sit at the bar (the pro-move) and order a bunch of nigiri and the fun new-school rolls. Every piece is texturally appetizing, from the sake-toro to the uni to the hotate, which are all sushi staples for me. (5301 Airport Boulevard, North Loop) —Nadia Chaudhury

For neighborhood pizza: Home Slice

I generally prefer Neapolitan pizza, but after a long day of moving, I wanted the carbiest pizza that had ever carbed. With a thick focaccia crust, melty mozzarella, pepperoni, and a thin layer of tomato sauce, the Sicilian-style pie from Home Slice fit the bill — and would go on to feed me for the better part of a week. The full bar and excellent chocolate chip cookies helped me decompress, and the community atmosphere at the North Loop location made me feel like I had finally moved home. (501 East 53rd Street, North Loop) —Erin Russell


February 14-16, 2020

For breakfast sandwiches: Patika

As inspired by Harley Quinn’s quest for a great bacon/egg/cheese (the best of the breakfast sandwiches) in the new Birds of Prey movie, I went to my favorite coffee shop Patika. While, yes, the breakfast sandwich is a fancier affair than your usual New York City-bodega one, Patika’s version is very great. It’s a sturdy sandwich layered with a thick, juicy grilled tomato slice, very crispy bacon strips, a delightful chile pepper mayonnaise, and a perfect fried egg that maintains its yolkiness. What makes the concoction even better is the pretzel roll. (The movie is also amazing so please go see it ASAP.) (2159 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar) —Nadia Chaudhury

For fancy dinner: Hestia

I went out for a celebration dinner with a friend this week, and the team at Hestia made us feel like royalty. I know it’s cliché to describe bread as “pillowy” or “soft,” but it’s possible the Parker House rolls are made of actual clouds (delicious, buttery clouds). The lightly dressed winter greens salad provided a punctuation of freshness mid-meal. For entrees, I got the halibut with velvety sauce punctuated by snaps of peas, while my friend got the smoky, meaty lion’s mane mushroom. We both gasped at our first bite. The s’more dessert, which was made, surprisingly, with a cool chocolate mousse, was an excellent end to the evening. (607 West Third Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell


February 7-9, 2020

For brunch: Suerte

I had friends in town this week and went on a whirlwind taco tour of Austin, saving the Mexican restaurant for brunch. While the tortillas with butter have been literally life-saving for me, the star of this meal was the breakfast pastries. We loved the pistachio concha and the duck and potato kolache, but the cruller was the group favorite. It was the perfect combination of light and cakey as the sweet appetizer to lead into the savory dishes to come. We enjoyed it with coffee mixed with excellent horchata, and, later, Mezonte Jalisco mezcal that had everyone taking pictures of the bottle to remember it. It was a festive kickoff to the weekend. (1800 East Sixth Street, East Austin) —Erin Russell

For barbacoa tacos: Taco Bronco

I am a sucker for barbacoa tacos, and the ones at Micklethwait Craft Meats’s new truck are perfect. The small sturdy corn tortillas are filled with very succulent beef cheek and strips of cactus, topped with hearty squirts of salsa verde. The tacos come in orders of three or five, and I went with three, in order to leave room for a peanut butter and jelly kolache from host site Batch. (3220 Manor Road, MLK) —Nadia Chaudhury


For surprisingly light flatbreads: Aviary Wine & Kitchen

As a busy North Austinite, Aviary has been been on my list to try for almost a year (I was excited to see what chef Andre Molina would do on his own, as I’m a huge fan of his previous employer Intero). When I finally stopped in this week, I was wowed by the big flavors coming out of that tiny kitchen. My favorite dish was the sweet potato flatbread: a fresh, vegetable-laden delight. There is a tweet going around about how to make not-boring salads and this flatbread is a masterclass in the proper use of fresh herbs (like bright dill), creamy house-made yogurt, and two kinds of mushrooms for decadence. Of course, I followed the saintly flatbread with Aviary’s rich pecan-studded ice cream, but life is all about balance, right? (2110 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar) —Erin Russell

For wine in Fredericksburg: Wild Hare Bistro

Did you know that you can walk around downtown Fredericksburg with an actual (plastic) glass of wine or beer? I didn’t until last weekend. Of the plentiful options for beer and wine in the Hill Country town, Wild Hare Bistro caught our eyes. Because, yeah, I have a thing for rabbits, and also because it offered a smartly curated wine list of Texas bottles, including William Chris. It’s found in the back of the Sleepy Hollow Boutique, which features all sorts of knick-knacks, many of which are, yes, rabbit-themed. (319 East Main Street Fredericksburg) —Nadia Chaudhury


For noodles: Xian Noodles

It’s been a stressful week for me, which means all carbs, all the time (which honestly is the same as my normal week). The stir-fried noodles at Xian really hit the spot, with a perfect, chewy texture (they’re hand-pulled — I go for the thick spaghetti), lots of veggies so I can pretend it’s healthy, and optional chili oil to spice things up. It’s an easy, comforting weeknight meal (or discounted as a lunch!). (3401 Esperanza Crossing, Domain, as well as Mueller and Lakeline ) —Erin Russell

For tacos: Taco Joint

My welcome-back-to-Austin meal after a vacation (hi and bye, Los Angeles) usually consists of tacos, because, yeah. My go-to is Taco Joint because of proximity to my place AND its wonderfully delicious and filling tacos. I’m a big fan of the meaty lunch/dinnertime tacos, especially the flavorful chicken fajita and the sturdy street taco with grilled sirloin. And, as per my m.o., I douse the tacos with several of the available salsas, the spicier the better. (134 East Riverside Drive, Travis Heights) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, January 3 - Sunday, January 5, 2020

For Tex-Mex: El Borrego de Oro

For hangovers, Tex-Mex is the best answer. For that, I turn to South Austin restaurant El Borrego de Oro, where the combination plate #1 is my go-to because it’s a perfect plate of much-needed greasiness. The crispy taco comes overflowing with ground beef, thick grated cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled jalapenos for a little tartness. It’s a messy eating experience, but the move is to finish the taco, and then put everything that fell out onto the main plate, which includes the enchilada (I go with beef) and the tamale. That plus melty cheese, rice, and beans, should take care of that pesky hangover. (3900 South Congress Avenue, Dawson) —Nadia Chaudhury

For tapas and dessert: Kalimotxo

All of the small plates I’ve tried at Kalimotxo have been excellent, but two specific dishes were just impeccable. First, the tortilla espagnola: yes, this is a dish you can make at home, but not like this. The potatoes, onions, and soft eggs melt into a perfect, savory bite that was honestly better than iterations I’ve had in Spain. Also, pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph’s Kalimotxo sundae is one of the best desserts in the city. Sour cherries, nuts, and bits of wonder hide underneath mounds of silky slightly whipped cream (Bristol-Joseph designed the “toppings” to remain hidden so people would share the sundae better). It’s a dessert that even sweets-haters will be fighting for. (607 West 3rd Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell


Friday, December 27 - Sunday, December 29, 2019

For vegetarian tacos: Nixta Taqueria

I’ll admit: the first time I went to Nixta, I was a little outraged at my $35 check for four tacos and two drinks. The second time, I got the sweet potato taco, which I would pay any amount of money to have in front of me right now. Chef Edgar Rico does amazing, almost indescribable things to vegetables, making beets taste like the jewels they look like and bringing out the earthy smoke of roasted sweet potatoes with pecan and guajillo salsa. Everything is bright in this tiny, homey shop — the decor, the flavors, the orange ginger turmeric agua fresca — and it’s a joy to visit. (2512 East 12th Street, Chestnut) —Erin Russell

For mac and cheese: La Barbecue

The smoked meats at La Barbecue are always great, but it’d a shame if you missed out on its shells and cheese. The cheesy pasta dish is naturally smoked and amped up with a little spice for an extra kick. (2027 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, December 20 - Sunday, December 22, 2019

For barbacoa: Micklethwait Craft Meats

Bypass the usual barbecue staples at smoked meats truck Micklethwait Craft Meats and opt for the barbacoa instead. The shredded beef cheeks are just exquisitely tender and rich in a way that isn’t super overwhelming. Leftovers work well mixed with rice too. (1309 Rosewood Avenue, Central East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For lasagna: Artipasta

Italian food truck Artipasta is a gem hiding in The Thicket food truck park in South Austin, and is worth a stop for pastas true to Italy. The rich, meaty, creamy lasagna was my favorite dish, and a perfect way to warm up during the recent cold spell, though the handmade gnocchi were also a treat. That said, save room for dessert: the tiramisu with a kind of vanilla semifreddo on top is killer. The food truck closes for the holidays on Sunday, December 22 until Thursday, January 9, so be sure to stop in while you can. (7800 South First Street, South Austin) —Erin Russell


Friday, December 13 - Sunday, December 15, 2019

For sushi: Uroko

This is less of a “restaurant you should visit this weekend” and more of a “reminder to make Uroko reservations for next month.” Like fellow restaurant of the year finalist DipDipDip Tatsu-ya, snagging a table at this tiny restaurant within Springdale General means planning far in advance. However, the sushi is decidedly worth the wait, as you will get a gloriously fun, friendly tour through several pieces in only 45 minutes (my favorites were the luscious Scottish salmon and the rich duck breast). Not able to plan ahead? Stop by the stall for a hand roll and a yuzu sake slushie during the day to get a taste of the powerhouse talent in the kitchen. (1023 Springdale Road, Govalle) —Erin Russell

For sandwiches: G’s Dynamite Deli

The end of the year is always hectic: wrapping up work-related things, holidays, travel, etc. That’s where the low-key South Austin sandwich shop comes in, because you have to eat. The sandwiches are sturdy, where the layered, quality ingredients are perfectly placed, and cut diagonally. A favorite is the toasted Carly’s Hot Mess sandwich, with a mess of meats (turkey, bacon) and gooey cheese (provolone, cheddar, and Swiss), plus pickles and avocado, and yes, bags of deli chips are included. (2312 South 1st Street, Bouldin Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, December 6 - Sunday, December 8, 2019

For burritos: Troublemaker

Granted, I don’t have much — or rather any — experience with San Diego and California burritos, which is the main food item at revamped East Austin bar Troublemaker (formerly Hightower). This particular West Coast-style of burrito is stuffed with straight-up french fries instead of rice and beans, plus all of the other ingredients. A friend and I ordered the carne asada and the pollo asado to share (you can get them cut in half). I was expecting ginormous, overstuffed burritos (expectations based on the hefty Chipotle burritos), but instead, I was presented with a slender one that was more manageable. I preferred the carne asada, which came with just-rightly-tender cuts of marinated steak. The fries added a nice texture and flavor to the overall burrito, and the house-made flour tortillas are amazingly excellent. I already know I’ll crave these burritos during my next hangover. (1209 East Seventh Street, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For Southern food worth a road trip: Milo All Day

I’ve been hearing the burgeoning restaurant and bar scene in Waco for a while now, and finally got a chance to see it for myself earlier this week. While I loved visiting Balcones Distillery, Sloane’s, and Guess Family Barbecue, my favorite stop was Milo All Day, where Georgia-born chef Corey McEntyre serves stick-to-your-ribs Southern classics in a hip, greenery-filled, all-day spot. The menu had a few surprises (an incredible trout dip served with Saltines fried with celery salt), but my favorite dish was the tender braised short rib with velvety mashed potatoes rich with butter and cream. Somehow I still had room for a biscuit, which arrived tall, warm, and fluffy. I never thought I would be telling you to visit Waco, but here we are. (1020 Franklin Avenue, Waco, Texas) —Erin Russell


Thursday, November 28 - Sunday, December 1, 2019

For wine and cheese: The Parlour

During this long weekend, take a little escape from the city and head out to the Hill Country in Johnson City. The Parlour, the rustic new tasting room from Southold Farm & Cellar in Fredericksburg, is right off the main square, and has glasses and a flight of the winery’s selections (my favorite was the juicy red Lightsome). There are also snacks, including a killer cheese and charcuterie board with Confituras jam, Pure Luck chèvre, and mesquite-bean baguette sourdough served with rich, creamy butter from Vermont. Sit on the back patio for the full fall experience, and take a walk afterwards to see the spectacular Christmas lights on the courthouse. (109 North Nugent Avenue, Johnson City) —Erin Russell

For pie: Tiny Pies

Since it’s Thanksgiving and all, pie is the right call this week. It also happens to be my favorite dessert, and yes, I still mourn the loss of Royer’s Pie Haven. Luckily enough, Tiny Pies makes it easy to order all of my favorite fillings all at once because of its, well, tiny portions. The little portions pack a lot of flavors and textures, and it makes it easier to mix-and-match several orders to equal a full-on pie. Cherry plus pumpkin plus chocolate cream? Pie perfection. (2032 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, November 22 - Sunday, November 24, 2019

For pizza: Bufalina Due

By Friday night, my energy reaches an all-time low — which means it’s time for pizza. With a beautifully rustic crust that puffs out at the perimeter; pure, sweet tomato sauce; and fresh mozzarella, Bufalina offers the most accurate parallel to the pizza I remember having when I lived in Italy. Truth be told, I often order for carryout, but with one of the best wine lists in town and Lick Honest Ice Creams next door (if you don’t indulge in the gooey chocolate brownie or spiced apple cake first), I understand this is a lesser option. (6555 Burnet Road, Allandale) —Erin Russell

For food while Thanksgiving shopping: Next Level Burger

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, which means I will be spending a lot of time in supermarkets. During a recent excursion to Whole Foods, because that wine selection is damn great, I grabbed dinner from on-site fast-casual vegan spot Next Level Burger. The All-American burger, with its vegan patty, tempeh bacon with hints of smoke, and fake-cheese pepper jack, satisfies in that quick and filling way without feeling overindulgent, with baked tater tots to boot. (Whole Foods Market, 525 North Lamar Boulevard, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, November 15 - Sunday, November 17, 2019

For cinnamon rolls: Teal House Coffee and Bakery

I am a lover of both pasta and cheese, but my favorite bite from last weekend’s Mac n Cheese Fest was the cinnamon roll from South Austin truck Teal House. The bun was pillow-soft, the frosting was just the right amount of sweet, and the family running the trailer was adorable. There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls on a weekend morning, and the taste of these is even better than that. (1716 East Slaughter Lane, South Austin) —Erin Russell

For Veracruz tacos and coffee: Veracruz All Natural at Radio Coffee

People often ask me where they should eat in Austin when they’re traveling through the city for work or pleasure. My first question to them is whether they’ve been here before or not. If not, then my recommendation is always: Veracruz All Natural, but not the original food truck on East Cesar Chavez. I prefer the truck parked at South Austin coffee shop and bar Radio. Why? You can place your order for those perfect tacos (migas poblanos on flour, al pastor on corn, a mixture of the three salsas) in what will probably be a long line, and then wait for said food with some excellent coffee, beer, and/or cocktails at hand. Plus, there’s plentiful seating outside and in. It’s also a great place for dog-watching. (4204 Manchaca Road, South Lamar) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, November 8 - Sunday, November 10, 2019

For a casual dinner: Provision

The former Red’s Porch has completely transformed into a gorgeous new restaurant, with excellent food to match. My basil tea (with bourbon, lemon, and basil) had just the right amount of sweetness to accompany the rich, gooey short rib quesadilla we ordered as a group (split four ways, it almost left us full). The family meals are a great idea for sharing, like a sampling of five kinds of sliders or a spread of appetizers accompanied by cheese plates. Make reservations now before word gets out. (4200 West Braker Lane, Quarry Lake) —Erin Russell

For mapo tofu: Sichuan River

It’s cold out, so I basically crave what I consider comfort food (read: Asian curries and saucy dishes) for takeout. Enter the excellent mapo tofu from Chinese restaurant Sichuan River. The ever-so-slightly-mouth-numbing (thank you, Sichuan peppercorns) version comes with a spicy sauce (I embrace and eat all of the straight-up peppers), silky tofu cubes, whole little beans, and just the right amount of ground meat. I highly recommend getting the green beans, and mix everything together with rice, for a wonderful play on textures. (4534 West Gate Boulevard, Westgate) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, November 1 - Sunday, November 3, 2019

For chicken soup: Julio’s Cafe

Now that the cold snaps are getting more serious, it’s time to bolster your immunity against whatever is making your coworkers sniffle — and that means Julio’s perfect chicken soup. Though this cozy, charming Hyde Park restaurant is known for rotisserie chickens and enchiladas, the real star of the menu is the soup, which comes with a light broth, lots of vegetables, a topping of avocado, optional rice and hot sauce, and corn or flour tortillas. Grab a limeade for a vitamin C boost and you’re set. (4230 Duval Street, Hyde Park) —Erin Russell

For banana splits: Sway

It might seem odd to order a banana split at a Thai restaurant, but the one at Sway is very much worth it. The dessert is a massive sweet blast of all sorts of flavors, from the sweet condensed milk ice cream (the best of the three differing ice cream scoops), the chewy brownie bites with hints of sesame, very great coconut milk jam, to, yes, a stellar slice of banana. Bonus: it works well as a shareable dessert too. (1417 South First Street, Bouldin) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, October 25 - Sunday, October 27, 2019

For croissant breakfast sandwiches: Crema Bakery and Cafe

I love a good breakfast sandwich, and I have a particular fondness for those made with croissants. Friends and I ventured down to southwest Austin bakery and restaurant Crema and all ordered the Big Breakfast Croissant, which, well, came with a giant fluffy sliced croissant with layers of eggs (I opted for a wonderfully yolky fried one), cheddar cheese, avocado, and meats. That, plus a side of the cubed breakfast potatoes and a hot mug of The Fix (espresso plus sweetened milk plus spices) made for the perfect Saturday morning meal. (9001 Brodie Lane, Suite B3, Southwest Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For excellent burgers: Luke’s Inside Out

There is something very gratifying about a griddled burger and Luke’s iteration is perfect and simple. It’s not a ginormous construction either: the patty is topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, and tomatoes, plus spinach instead of lettuce, which is really a strong, power move. (1109 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, October 18 - Sunday, October 20, 2019

For a fun drink: Russian House

Russian House is a thoroughly under-appreciated gem in downtown Austin. I’ve recently had some friends from Houston ask me for restaurants that are “an experience,” and Russian House absolutely fits that bill — walking into the restaurant, with blaring Russian television, a giant stuffed bear, costumes, and bottles upon bottles of flavor-infused vodka, truly feels like being transported into another country. Plus, there’s a great Monday through Friday happy hour, where sampling four flavored vodkas is just $7 (or, if you’re feeling fancy, a glass of champagne with red caviar is $10). I always have a great time when I go there, and it’s definitely a unique experience to have in Austin. (307 East 5th Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For take-out sushi: Lucky Robot

Sometimes, when I’ve had a busy week and I feel like I’ve just been out and about a lot, there’s nothing I enjoy more than eating sushi within the comforts of my own home. This makes Lucky Robot one of my go-to places. The nigiri pieces are excellent, and, even better, are packaged well for traveling, even the ikura surprisingly enough. I do recommend avoiding anything involving tuna as the restaurant, with a major focus on using sustainable fish, is trying to minimize its use of the overfished fish (so much so that it doesn’t serve tuna at all on Tuesdays and donates the days’s proceeds to the Ocean Conservancy.). (1303 South Congress Avenue, Travis Heights) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, October 11 - Sunday, October 13, 2019

For noodle soup: Julie’s Noodles

The cold front is here and it’s very chilly out there, which means it’s the perfect time to indulge in soup. Head up to Julie’s Noodles for any of the noodle soups, all rich and warming and flavorful and meaty, the perfect components of a foolproof cold-weather dish. I like the beef stewed noodles soup, which comes with tender beef slices, chewy handmade noodles, and a soothing broth, which I douse with Sriracha as is my tendency, because spicy = better. Be sure to order the dumplings, too, because they’re little pockets of juicy happiness. (8557 Research Boulevard, Suite 110, North Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For an alfresco snack: Better Half

Now that outside has dropped to non-baking temperatures, I can finally recommend my favorite restaurant in Austin: Better Half. This all-day restaurant and bar with a sprawling shaded patio (and parking!) is perfect for literally any occasion: brunch to catch up with friends, casual dates over wine, or caffeine-fueled working time. If you are in town for ACL, I highly recommend stopping in for cauliflower tots, the hearty-but-healthy salad, a juicy burger, or the pastrami-loaded queso (some of the best in town). (406 Walsh Street, Clarksville) —Erin Russell


Friday, October 4 - Sunday, October 6, 2019

For an ACL snack: Mmmpanadas

For those of us attending Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend (like me, say hi!), eating is probably an important thing to do. I’m not a fan of heavy meals while running around and dancing in the heat (sorry, barbecue places), so my usual go-to comes from empanada spot Mmmpanadas. The pocket-shape means it’s not messy, which is a big bonus for me. I opt for the spinach-and-mushroom and the green chili chicken, which are both great AND filling—Nadia Chaudhury

For a far away drink: Whisler’s

For those of us avoiding ACL this weekend (like me!), staying far away from Zilker Park is top priority. Essential east side cocktail bar Whisler’s drops its fall menu this weekend, making it an apt destination on the non-ACL part of town. Whisler’s has all the key ingredients for a great night out: well-made drinks (the Old Fashioned is a classic, but for a twist, try the Vieux Carre), indoor and outdoor space to make use of these (finally!) cool evenings, and exceptional people-watching. Bonus: Most Fridays and Saturdays, an ice cream cart will hand out free treats. (1816 East 6th Street, East Sixth) —Erin Russell


Friday, September 27 - Sunday, September 29, 2019

For a fancy evening: Garrison

While there are certainly some interesting design choices at the Fairmont hotel, the food and service at its signature restaurant Garrison are truly top-notch. At a recent media event to sample the new tasting menu, we debated which offering was most impressive. Was it the horchata milk punch with bourbon, sotol, mezcal, and Jägermeister that had been rendered clear? Was it the chef’s playful vegetable dishes, like a divine smoked tomato tart that coaxed triple the flavor out of the juicy red tomatoes? Or was it simply the buttery, meaty wagyu rib cab? Brandon Watson, the food editor at CultureMap and former Chronicle critic, named Garrison his biggest surprise of 2018, and it’s safe to say the chef de cuisine Jason Purcell is still delivering dishes that wow. (101 Red River Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For wine and cheese: Apt 115, 2019

After a busy week, day, hour, whatever, there’s nothing better than kicking back with a glass or two of fun, interesting, and — dare I say it — weird wine. East Austin wine bar Apt 115 has just the right lengthy and varied list for those purposes. Ask for a recommendation from owner Joseph Pannenbacker (who is often running around serving people) as well as suggestions for paired cheeses and cured meats. Personally, I’m a fan of the orange wines and a bunch of cheeses. The happy hour is a great deal where selected wines by-the-glass are $5 off. Even better: if you find a wine you really, really like, you can buy a to-go bottle for 30% off the list price. (2025 East 7th Street, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, September 13 - Sunday, September 15, 2019

For dessert: Il Brutto

The single most memorable bite I had this week was the ricotta semifreddo at Italian restaurant Il Brutto. As somewhat of a dessert purist, it’s not something I would have ordered based solely on the odd inclusion of tomato (and, to be transparent, this was at the end of a complimentary media dinner when I did not think I could eat another bite). However, the tomatoes (which are salted and savory on their own) blend perfectly with the other toppings of kiwi and pickled strawberry to create a luscious, juicy crown of fruit that melds with the creamy semifreddo. The crunchy crepe dentelle at the base provided a lovely contrast in texture. I’ve always enjoyed Il Brutto’s pastas like the meaty pappardelle and chewy pici, but the semifreddo gives me another reason to return. (1601 East 6th Street, East Sixth) —Erin Russell

For book-shopping with great food: Bistro at Lark & Owl Booksellers

I’m a sucker for a good bookstore, especially one containing a cafe run by the folks behind one of my favorite Austin restaurants Better Half. The menu is familiar: daytime-friendly bites like sandwiches, yogurt and granola, salads. What especially caught my eye and eventually my stomach was the chana masala Frito pie, where spiced chickpeas lay atop a bed of Frito chips, all with a big dollop of raita. The spices and textures (firm chickpeas, crisp chips, cooling dip) all worked wonderfully together. We ordered refreshing heavy-handed pours of sangria, and browsed the excellently curated bookshop portion. (I did find the book I wanted: Mary H.K. Choi’s new novel Permanent Record). The trek up to Georgetown is very worth it. (205 West Sixth Street, Suite 101, Georgetown) —Nadia Chaudhury


Friday, September 6 - Sunday, September 8, 2019

For quick and easy and late-night pizza: Home Slice

Sometimes, it’s difficult deciding what to eat and where, even though, yes, I know it’s my job, but also, my mind goes blank when I have to think about myself. Luckily and thankfully, I live near Home Slice. We’ve made use of the next-door slice shop More Home Slice more often than I’d like to admit. There’s something special and comforting about those New York-style slices, because pizza is important to me as someone who was born and raised in New York. The very, very late-night hours don’t hurt either. Pro-tip: Avoid the long wait at the window by going inside, where there’s usually a shorter line. Also get the chocolate chip cookie because it’s damn good. (1415 South Congress Avenue, Travis Heights) —Nadia Chaudhury

For Thai food: Dee Dee

I support Nadia’s advice from two weeks ago of fully embracing the heatwave with even spicier food, and essential food truck Dee Dee is definitely a place to light your mouth on fire. The om gai is my go-to, with the floral notes of dill and lemongrass a providing contrast to the burn of homemade chili-paste broth. The mango sticky rice, sweetened with coconut milk, offers a welcome reprieve while retaining depth of flavors. The uniquely Austin atmosphere (and great people-watching) of the surrounding Radio is part of its charm. (4204 Manchaca Road, South Lamar) —Erin Russell


August 30 - September 2, 2019

For tacos and tortas: El Super Taco

When someone who makes tacos for a living recommends a great Mexican truck, I listen. That’s why we headed to longtime spot El Super Taco, found on the property of a defunct car wash on Oltorf. The menu is simple: There’s a variety of mostly meaty fillings — from fluffy barbacoa to juicy pastor to flavorful chorizo — used in tacos made with thick flour tortillas and sturdy tortas. The service is super-friendly, the man taking our order asked whether we wanted cilantro and onions on every taco (no onions for me, please). Keep in mind that it’s cash-only too. I’ll want to come back to try the huaraches. (2005 East Oltorf Street, Riverside) —Nadia Chaudhury

For pastries: Swedish Hill

As a Clarksville native, I was wary of the neighborhood bakery’s takeover by McGuire Moorman, the beloved luxe restaurant group whose charms I have largely resisted thus far. However, the team has done an exquisite job on the new restaurant, with excellent pastries and a larger, light-filled space made for lingering. My favorite offering thus far is the bostock, a massive slice of soft brioche topped with berries and almonds, though the peach galette was also fantastic, managing to maintain the juiciness of sweet peaches in a firm, sugary crust. I enjoy the bustling coffee-bar atmosphere during the morning, using the wait time to peruse the various specialty products (cocktail syrups! fresh dairy!), while at night, the space becomes more intimate, with soft lighting and a well-curated wine selection (I’m eager to try the prix fixe at some point). While the bakery has certainly become more high-end, the expanded offerings and elegant space give Austin a new all-day option I can get behind. (1120 West 6th Street, Clarksville) —Erin Russell


August 23 - August 25, 2019

For a tasting menu: Barley Swine

Having never had Barley Swine’s tasting menu, I decided to splurge and take advantage of the summer discount ($30 off through the end of the month). It single-handedly reminded me why Austin is such an exciting dining scene. From the first bite — a fish crudo on rye with pears — I knew this would be a meal full of flavors to delight. The standout for me was a dish of delicate snapper and summer squash perched in a vibrant broth with lemongrass and basil, amplified with spicy greens. The shishito pepper tamale, which evokes the nostalgia of Tex-Mex, and a buttery aged Akaushi ribeye were also truly special. Even the celery sorbet, which I initially viewed with trepidation, offered a welcome wake-up call to the palate. (6555 Burnet Road, Allandale) —Erin Russell

For southeast Asian fare: Talād Thai and Lao Street Food

Southeast Asian trailer Talād made its permanent home in the 1606 East food trailer park next-door to Ramen Tatsu-ya, which means people can find reliable, delicious Thai and Laotian dishes. We started off with the pan-friend khao soi dumplings, where the crispy edges protected juicy chicken fillings. I opted for a savory curry with tender cubes of slow-cooked beef — yes, despite the 100+ degree weather outside — mixing it with the jasmine rice and piling bites onto the doughy, layered roti. It was a wholly satisfying take-home dining experience. (1606 East 6th Street, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


August 16 - August 18, 2019

For diet-friendly fare: Citizen Eatery

After a few restaurant trips with a friend whose vegan diet generally limited the menu to two less-than-desirable items, we ventured out to Citizen Eatery, which I remembered liking during its preview in 2016. I got the Citizen Scramble, which is honestly a feat of modern taste engineering. The “eggs,” “cheese,” and potato have that salty, filling, hangover-curing savoriness, while the kale and mushrooms add just enough healthiness without interfering. My friend got the sizable barbecue pulled plant sandwich, which had a great smoky-sweet flavor. The menu is friendly to those who are paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and have diet restrictions. Grab a beer or glass of wine (the cocktails, while tasty, are a bit weak) or a juice to complete the meal in the artistic, well-lit space. (5011 Burnet Road, Rosedale) —Erin Russell

For takeout Sichuan food: China’s Family Restaurant

As someone who enjoys catching up on television shows (currently Orange Is the New Black), my husband and I often order food to eat at home. Recently, we decided to place an order at Chinese restaurant China’s Family Restaurant along the Drag. The nondescript campus-area restaurant encompasses a stellar Sichuan selection full of mouth-numbing dishes. The tasty Chongqing chicken consists of stir-fried poultry mixed with toasted dried red chilies (yes, I like to eat them too). While the proclaimed dry fried eggplant and green beans isn’t very dry (the eggplants make that difficult), it still makes for an excellent accompaniment to rice. (1914 Guadalupe Street, Drag) —Nadia Chaudhury


August 9 - August 11, 2019

For post-swimming burgers: Pool Burger

It’s hot. Very hot. While being outside right now probably doesn’t sound appealing, a dip in a very, very cold pool does. This is where the combination of the Deep Eddy Pool and Pool Burger come into play, my new summer weekend move. (Deep Eddy isn’t affected by the current Lady Bird Lake ban because of the toxic algae because it gets its water from other unaffected sources.) Take advantage of the chilly water at the public pool ($5 for residents), and when you’re done, walk over to the alfresco casual bar. Order up the already-solid cheeseburger, but amp it up with a giant thick slice of pineapple for an extra citrus boost. It’s juicy, it’s messy, it’s delicious. (2315 Lake Austin Boulevard, West Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For pie: Hoover’s Cooking

Chef Hoover Alexander is a beloved figure on the Austin food scene, and one bite of his Texas cooking will tell you exactly why. With entrees like oversized chicken fried steak, perfectly seasoned chicken and waffles, or hot sausage with ample sides, it may seem impossible to save room for dessert, but the pies are a classic Southern treat not to be missed. There’s summery coconut buttermilk, decadent chocolate cream, and a host of seasonal flavors (mango cream, peach) worth trying. Though the pie is best enjoyed while basking in the restaurant’s friendly family atmosphere, the slices keep well when ordered to-go for breakfast pie. (2002 Manor Road, Cherrywood) —Erin Russell


August 2 - August 4, 2019

For date night: Dipdipdip Tatsu-ya

It’s 100 degrees outside and going to a restaurant centered on boiling broth sounds unappealing, but DipDipDip’s shabu shabu is one of the most fun dining experiences you can have in Austin right now. Don’t know what you’re doing? All the more enjoyable as a bonding experience! Walk into the romantically lit room with intricately carved wood details, create your own individual bowl (no sharing necessary!), and enjoy tender meats, fresh vegetables, noodles, and other delicacies to dip into your broth. Absolutely do not miss the queso dip (ideally paired with a cut of beef for a take on a cheesesteak) or the ginger-kissed meatballs. (7301 Burnet Road, Crestview) —Erin Russell

For Korean barbecue: Charm Korean BBQ

For another DIY dining experience, why not head to Charm Korean BBQ? The big peg of this Korean barbecue restaurant is its all-you-can-eat options, which work out to be better deals than just ordering off the a la carte menu especially if you’re in a group. There are different levels, but it usually comes with endless platters of meats from thin slices of beef to spicy marinated pork to spicy whole baby octopus, all of which are good choices. It also comes along with dishes that aren’t meant to be grilled, like the slightly chilly cold noodles served in ice and an array of banchan. Pro-tip: request specific desired meats, otherwise the staff will just send out whatever first. Pair everything with some bottles of soju. (1200 West Howard Lane, near Parmer Center) —Nadia Chaudhury


July 26 - July 28, 2019

For swanky cocktails: Geraldine’s

Like the rest of downtown Hotel Van Zandt, its fourth-floor restaurant Geraldine’s is irresistibly stylish. But beyond the pretty facade, Geraldine’s boasts an excellent cocktail menu and some creative dishes. The Honeysuckle Rose cocktail was a beautiful deep-blue cocktail that is gin-based and floral, containing a rose-infused ice cube that mellowed the drink as it melted. The 78704, another gin cocktail, was appropriately crisp and light for the summer. The ramen egg dish was also a treat, with a memorable coconut soy broth rich with flavors. (605 Davis Street, Rainey) —Erin Russell

For wine and cats: Hotel Eleven

I love cats, wine, and reading, so the lobby bar of the East Side boutique hotel made for the perfect place for me to hole up with a book. The wine and snack lineup during happy hour is easy — I opted for house rosé and edamame. And then there’s Louie, the beautiful 11-year-old black Bombay cat that rules the hotel. He’s so popular, there’s even a fact sheet about him. He slinks around the lobby and the outdoor areas, and can be quite friendly if you give him treats (just ask the bartender). It all makes for a very pleasant afternoon. (1123 East 11th Street, Central East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


July 19 - July 21, 2019

For bialies and smoked salmon: June’s

As someone who doesn’t really eat breakfast and a born-and-raised East Coaster, the appetizing board at June’s is nearly perfect. The DIY spread comes loaded with cream cheese studded with spicy wasabi tobiko, stripes of smoked salmon, sliced baby tomatoes, and always-required capers (I always forgo the raw onions, but go crazy if that’s your thing), all meant to be layered on the halved onion/poppy bialy. It’s just easy and light and delightful. (1722 South Congress Avenue, Bouldin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For fajitas: Chuy’s

Yes, our little homegrown Chuy’s has grown into a successful nationwide chain, but it’s just as good as ever. The sizzling fajitas are a carnivore’s delight, with juicy strips of tender beef mixed with onions and peppers. Tuck them into soft handmade flour tortillas, top with guacamole and melty Tex-Mex cheese (or the pro move: an order of queso), and enjoy with excellent refried beans and rice. At a time when so many classic Austin restaurants are closing, it’s worth showing the local locations some love. (multiple locations, try 1728 Barton Springs Road, Zilker) —Erin Russell


July 12 - July 14, 2019

For Japanese fare: Sugar Pine

The cute restaurant off Research Boulevard serves up a stellar, simple Japanese menu, making it the perfect place for a low-key anniversary dinner. The onigiri — the spicy tuna in particular — is tasty seasoned rice packed with fillings ranging from meats to avocado to tofu. The perfectly executed chicken katsu was topped with a rich mushroom/potato gravy, served on a cafeteria-style tray with various sides including a wonderfully chewy almond cookie. To cap off the meal, we shared dense-in-the-right-way sweet-but-not-too-sweet black sesame ice cream scoops covered in crunchy puffed rice, lending a great play on texture. (8578 Research Boulevard, Wooten) —Nadia Chaudhury

For burn-your-face-off fried chicken: Spicy Boys

Prior to visiting Soursop’s sibling trailer outside of Zilker Brewing, I was not familiar with the kind of spice that made your face go numb. Knowing that I prefer things on the milder side, my friend had ordered some citrus-miso and char siu chicken wings that I was happily munching on they were tender and meaty, but hardly piquant. Then, I went for the crispy, dark golden fried chicken, not knowing it has a spice level that can only be described as incendiary. The heat spread off my tongue and could not be quelled even by the easy drinking of the brewery’s Parks & Rec beer. Still, it was strangely appealing. Braver souls can move on to the signature namesake wings, which are supposedly even hotter, but I sought solace from the milky Thai tea cheesecake. (1701 East 6th Street, East Sixth) —Erin Russell


July 5 - July 7, 2019

For an indulgent burger: Arlo’s

Nothing says freedom like a big, juicy cheeseburger and Arlo’s has one of the best in town (and yes, it’s vegan). From the big puffy bun to the melty cheeze to the smoky bac’n, it checks every box for comfort food. Other indulgences include mac n cheez, Frito pie, and all the essential forms of potatoes (fries, sweet potato fries, and tots). Though the trailer has three locations, my favorite is the one at Cheer Up Charlie’s, a colorful bar (with organic juice cocktails!) that I love more each time I go. (900 Red River Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For spicy chicken wings: Tommy Want Wingy

I like my food very spicy — I’m the type of person who pours hot sauce all over salads — and the upper spice levels over at chicken wing truck Tommy Want Wingy do not disappoint. Friends and I recently shared the Buffalo-sauced wings (just one level below the hottest available one, the Holy Schnikes). It offered a sneaky burn: at first, I felt nothing, and then then my lips began to feel the fieriness. The side of ranch is highly recommended to soothe those taste buds. (94 Rainey Street, Downtown; 121 Pickle Road, South Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


June 28 - June 30, 2019

For Taiwanese egg tarts: 85C Bakery Cafe

As a big dessert person, the little egg tarts from the cult Taiwanese bakery chain are perfect: a flaky puff pastry crust filled with such a rich and creamy egg custard. The item is small enough that it’s easy to eat maybe two in one sitting. I tend to chase it with the indulgently sweet pudding milk tea, which, yes, comes with chunks of pudding floating around the beverage, and yes, it fits through the thankfully wide boba straw. (6929 Airport Boulevard, Highland) —Nadia Chaudhury

For healthy-ish bowls: Ranch Hand

As an Honest Mary’s stan, it took me a while to try Ranch Hand. The Texas Barbecue Bowl with purple rice, pulled pork, sauteed veggies, black beans, and a whole heap of avocado made for a filling, tasty lunch that made me feel powered-up for the day. Of particular note were the vegetables, a pleasantly crunchy mix that held a surprising amount of flavor, and the ample portion of creamy avocado. I didn’t think there was room for more grain bowls in my life — I was wrong. (807 East 4th Street, East Austin) —Erin Russell


June 21 - June 23, 2019

For brunch: Emmer & Rye

The American diner iteration of Emmer & Rye’s rotating brunch has arrived, and it is a wonderful journey through culinary Americana. The bloody mary with heirloom tomatoes was a fresh, welcome departure from the typical cocktail, the patty melt is juicy perfection, and the McJohnny Cakes, a maple-sweetened take on the restaurant’s popular johnnycakes, were golden, crispy, sweet, and savory all at once. Dessert at brunch is a rare indulgence, but nostalgic floats with homemade ice cream and a truly excellent New York cheesecake are worth saving room for. (51 Rainey Street, Rainey) —Erin Russell

For alfresco pasta: Patrizi’s

Italian food truck Patrizi’s entire setup at the Butterfly Bar is special. Enter the whimsical patio, wait in what is probably a line as staffers talk you through the entire ordering system while offering you a complimentary fresh bite. The entire pasta lineup is ridiculously strong, full of just-right chewy noodles drenched in freshly made sauces that are perfectly sweet and acidic. Best ordering bet? Hope the special amatriciana is available, which is wonderfully and actually very spicy (the sauce is made with dried peppers). Add a side of the giant firm meatball with some pomodoro sauce, and alternate bites between the two. Take advantage of the easy cocktails from Butterfly Bar (I like the daiquiri) and you’ve got yourself a perfect Austin summer evening. (2113 Manor Road, Cherrywood) —Nadia Chaudhury


June 14 - June 16, 2019

For lunchtime pie: Mum Foods Deli

Pie is perhaps the perfect dessert, but it shouldn’t be relegated to the end of dinner. That’s where Mum Foods Deli comes in with its perfect slice of the brown butter chess pie. The just-dense-enough crust is filled with the sugary, buttery mixture, all topped with a vibrant flower. And the slice is rich yet still light enough that it does the trick as a daytime snack before heading back to work. (2113 Manor Road, Cherrywood) —Nadia Chaudhury

For a fancy dinner: Olamaie

For my birthday dinner with my parents this week, I wanted to go somewhere with excellent service and filling food, and Olamaie knocked it out of the park for us. From those perfect biscuits to the last amaro, the servers at the Southern restaurant took care of every detail. My favorite dish was the crab rice: luscious, buttery crab plated between crispy rice and a rice porridge dotted with bursts of citrus. My mom favored the boiled peanuts that took her back to her childhood in the Carolinas, and everyone loved the passionfruit jello — the added texture from blackberries, toasted almonds, and whipped cream made it a hit. (1610 San Antonio Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell


June 7 - June 9, 2019

For gelato: Dolce Neve

It’s too hot outside, so getting ice cream is the right call. Specifically, the oh-so-fresh gelato from Dolce Neve. The family-owned shop prides itself on using very local, very seasonal fruits and the such for perfectly creamy frozen sweets. The pro move is to try a bunch of flavors, but be sure to order up one of the fruit and cheese combinations, say, like the fromage blanc and apricot jam, because it just tastes amazing. (1713 South 1st Street, South First) —Nadia Chaudhury

For noodles: DFG Noodles

It is an absolute blessing to offices everywhere in Austin that Southeast Asian food truck DFG Noodles offers catering. From the pork-tastic Scholar Noodles to the flaky, buttery roti, there are really no bad options on the menu, developed by Singapore-born chef Cheryl Chin. However, the Empress—an aromatic concoction of chicken, carrots, and chilis in a creamy coconut curry—is the standout, deftly blending the cultures in the region. My order is served atop vermicelli rice noodles and topped with a fried egg (because, obviously) and tastes like a mini-vacation across the Pacific. (Location varies) —Erin Russell


May 31 - June 2, 2019

For empanadas and sweets: Plaza Colombian Coffee

I stand by the fact that baked/fried/steamed dough with fillings — dumplings, samosas, hand pies, etc. — are the best. And on South Congress is the Colombian bakery and coffee shop with some of the most satisfying empanadas in Austin. Yes, there’s usually a slight wait, but it’s worth it for empanadas stuffed with steak and potatoes plus the house salsa. Chase it down with the pastel gloria, a puff pastry stuffed with oh-so-sweet layers of guava paste and cheese. (3842 South Congress Avenue, Dawson) —Nadia Chaudhury

For japchae: Koriente

For all the fancy restaurants downtown with big name chefs, Koriente is still one of my favorites. It’s reasonably priced (free miso soup!), kinda healthy, and definitely delicious. I am loyal to the japchae, which comes with delicate sweet potato noodles, evenly julienned vegetables, and crunchy sesame seeds, but you should definitely add avocado and a fried egg, too. (621 East 7th Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell


May 24-27, 2019

For fancy hangover brunch: Carpenters Hall

The restaurant of the Carpenter Hotel is good any time of day, thanks to an excellent menu from celebrated chef Grae Nonas, but it fills a particular niche for those who need to entertain guests while hiding a hangover. Offering up, say, the chori-migas at Habenero Cafe might give away the previous night’s revelry, but dining at Carpenter’s Hall feels like a special occasion with all the same curative ingredients. Flour tortillas get a bad rap, but the flaky ones at Carpenter’s Hall are the perfect vessel for fried eggs and beef cheek barbacoa in the Spanish Eggs. The heart-shaped waffle with berry butter is as good as Instagram indicates, and the burger is definitely worth a try. Keep in mind: the space is filled with natural light. While this is great for pictures, it’s bad for red eyes, so plan accordingly. (400 Josephine Street, Zilker) —Erin Russell

For Nepalese: Himalaya Kosheli

South Asian fare isn’t as plentiful in Austin as it is in, say, Houston, but there are still some amazing places to be had. For Nepalese fare, I really enjoy Himalaya Kosheli up in Barrington Oaks. Yes, it’s a far drive from my South Austin home, but it’s well worth the trek, plus it’s even approved by my Nepalese friends. While the Indian portion of the menu is good, dig into the Nepali Khana (food) section. That’s where you’ll find bountiful options, from momos aplenty (both fried and steamed) to springy chow mein to sauce-laden lamb chilis. (8650 Spicewood Springs Road, Barrington Oaks) —Nadia Chaudhury


May 17-19, 2019

For Tex-Mex: Eldorado Cafe

It’s easy to explain why the colorful restaurant on West Anderson Lane is busy most of the time: the food. Chef and owner Joel Fried knows what he’s doing, after all, since he used to work at Tacodeli. His expertise leads to hearty and delicious Tex-Mex plates like the fun little puzchkas (little fried dumplings filled with mashed potatoes and bacon) and the large carne adovado with simmered steak, plentiful sides, and tortillas. (3300 W Anderson Lane, North Shoal Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury

For picking up family dinner: Winner Winner

Some restaurants evoke a sense of nostalgia with decor, others do so by providing a glimpse at the friendly, weird Austin of yore. Winner Winner does both: a recent visit to the restored 1949 railway car revealed a young staffer dutifully (and cheerfully, especially for a teenager) serving his mom, who had come to check out her son’s first job. Service is excellent — the owner apologized profusely before quoting a wait time of only 10 minutes (which was happily passed at a spacious dining table reading about the history of the car). The rotisserie chicken is salty and succulent, the seasonal sides (shaved Brussels sprouts and white beans accented with celery and dill) were fresh and flavorful, and the satisfying meal was a mere $12 with tip. Southwest Austinites are lucky to have this little gem close by. (9300 Highway 290 West, Oak Hill) —Erin Russell


May 10-12, 2019

For a neighborhood favorite: Foreign & Domestic

The recent rains call for cozy dining, and chef’s counter at North Loop’s Foreign & Domestic is the perfect place to find it. Chefs and co-owners Nathan Lemley and Sarah Heard (who was a 2018 Eater Young Guns semifinalist) serve inspired farm-fresh dishes that will make it clear why the restaurant is essential to the Austin food scene. A salad of the season’s first strawberries with bright greens, pecans, and heavenly ricotta was a crowd-pleasing start, though there are also dishes for the more adventurous, like black pasta with goat heart bolognese. Fluffy Parisian gnocchi (made with pâte à choux rather than heavy potatoes) joined oyster mushrooms, mustard greens, and decadent koji butter for a plate rich with umami. Paired with a glass of Portuguese rosé and friendly service, it was a fun treat to make the week a bit brighter. (306 East 53rd Street, North Loop) —Erin Russell

For excellent snacky tacos: Discada

There is something enticing about a very simple menu: a lack of choices makes it easier to order, no? Rosewood taco truck Discada has just two items on its lineup: those discada tacos and elote. The recipe for the discada is based on co-owner, chef, and Mexico City native Xose Velasco’s over 20-year-old recipe from his family. The tiny corn tortillas are filled with a mixture of beef, pork, and vegetables cooked in seven tiers a plow disc, where each layer is cooked in the previous one’s juices, leading to a perfectly tender and juicy stuffing. The tacos are small enough that a single one works as a snack or an order of eight makes for a meal. Add a Mexican Coke, and it makes for an effortless, satisfying time. (1319 Rosewood Avenue, Rosewood) —Nadia Chaudhury

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