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The Best Things the Eater Austin Team Ate This Week: Fancy Pizza and Quesabirria Tacos

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

A tray of tacos.
Quesabirria tacos from Los Danzantes.
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, wear a mask, and follow COVID-19 guidelines at respective restaurants/trucks/bars/etc. Looking for more ideas? Check out Eater’s previous no-longer-updated takeout recommendation guide.

For fancy pizza and cocktails: Pecan Square Cafe

I am not always the biggest fan of McGuire Moorman Lambert’s aesthetic-and-price-heavy restaurants, but Pecan Square Cafe is a home run for me. After passing the water feature with lilies and some truly excellent people-watching, I made my way to the gorgeous bar with virtually no wait. I loved my thin-crust pizza with squash and salty cheese (which they were able to modify to accommodate my allergy) and am already planning my next visit to try the martini with black lemon bitters and grapefruit oil. I loved my visit and have been inspired to stop by sibling bakery Swedish Hill a few times since — coincidence? (1200B West 6th Street, Clarksville) —Erin Russell

For tacos & cocktails: Los Danzantes & The Far Out Lounge

As another one of those “a lot of trusted people recommended this place to me” situations, we visited far south Austin food truck Los Danzantes and host bar the Far Out for the first time (we’ve always been thwarted by concerts). The food truck’s menu is simple: the quesabirria plate with three beef tacos and consomé was perfection. Alternating bites of that plus the chile toreado, chased by a margarita made for a pleasant evening out. It’s a nice, easy, sprawling space with plenty of outdoor areas plus an outdoor bar. (8504 South Congress Avenue, Far South Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


Past recommendations

May 20-22, 2022

For chilaquiles: Salsa Limón

I love chilaquiles and have a hard time finding them in our breakfast-taco-crazed city. However, this fast-casual export from Fort Worth has made me remember what I’ve been missing. With thick, crispy chips, spicy red salsa, creamy avocado, cheese, eggs, and chicken, they have everything I want in chilaquiles and nothing I don’t. They’re great anytime, but they’re also an excellent hangover cure. (3001 Guadalupe Street, North Campus) —Erin Russell

For pizza and cocktails: Pedroso’s Pizza & Night Owl

Multiple people have recommended the Burnet Road pizza truck to me recently, so it had been on my mind when we were in the Wooten area after watching a movie at Regal Arbor. We decided to pop into Night Owl for a post-film cocktail and order pizza to-go for dinner. The drinks were easy and lovely — I’m a fan of the Ramos Gin Fizz. As for the pizza, the New York-style pie topped with pepperoni and blobs of ricotta and shredded basil was delightfully delicious, with a great doughy crust. It’s my new favorite pizza joint. (8315 Burnet Road, Wooten) —Nadia Chaudhury


May 13-15, 2022

For a nice steakhouse dinner: Maie Day

A friend and I decided to check out the newly revamped restaurant from the Olamaie folks in the South Congress Hotel this week, where we had a lot of fun and dined very well. It reminded me of steakhouses in midtown Manhattan in the best way possible. We went all out with our shared order: the shrimp cocktail (something I never think to order for myself) was succulent; the tartare was made with nicely chunkier-than-expected steak; the funereal potatoes were so tasty; the mac and cheese superb; the steak juicy; and the Cesaer salad adds a nice bit of greens. But also, the real winner of the dinner was the ginormous decadent Texas chocolate cake slice — honestly enough for four people — with three layers of cake and frosting. (1603 South Congress Avenue, Travis Heights) —Nadia Chaudhury

For lunch: the Steeping Room

Something about hotter weather makes me try to eat healthier and the Steeping Room is all I’ve been craving lately. I love getting the Buddha Bowl with sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, greens, and chicken in sesame tamari sauce... and then a salty toffee chocolate chip cookie (one of the best in Austin). However, their whole menu is a delight (tomato coconut soup! tea sandwiches! scones!) and obviously, the tea selection is unparalleled. It’s a nice way to add a little bit of fancy to your afternoon. (4400 North Lamar Boulevard, Rosedale) —Erin Russell


May 6-8, 2022

For barbacoa tacos: La Santa Barbacha

My love of barbacoa is well-documented on this site, so a trip to the South Congress neighborhood truck (south of 71) was a delight for me. So. Much. Barbacoa. The migas barbacoa was sublime; the chilaquiles robustly flavorful; the sope sturdy; the corn tortillas fantastic; and the strawberry-lemonade auga fresca hella refreshing. I need to go back ASAP to try out the desserts and the potato-barbacoa taco combination. (5708 South Congress Avenue, South Congress) —Nadia Chaudhury

For Kenyan food: The Kibanda

I’d never had Kenyan food before, but my friend from Africa insisted delivery and catering restaurant Kibanda was better than what he’s had there. I got the Rolex, which was tender spiced beef and coconut butter cabbage rolled into chapati (kind of like roti). It was rich, it was decadent, I could only eat half but I still want five of them right now. (3400 Comsouth Drive, McKinney) —Erin Russell


April 29 - May 1, 2022

For pizza: Pizza Leon

The pastrami pizza at the new-to-me food truck is perfect. It’s a balance of everything that makes pastrami sandwiches so good, but on a great pizza: tender beef, acidy crunchy pickles and pepperoncini, salty olives, and lots of melty cheese. I also love how the toppings/cheese extend up onto the crust, a major bonus for me since I don’t like crusts usually. (4749 East Ben White Boulevard, McKinney) —Nadia Chaudhury

For pastries: Tiny’s Milk & Cookies

There’s nothing better than starting your morning with a cup of strong coffee and an excellent pastry. Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, the to-go stand of bougie restaurant Tiny Boxwoods, has recently become my go-to. I love the crumbly blueberry scone with a hot chai — and of course, it’s essential to pick up some of those famous gooey chocolate chip cookies for later. (1515 West 35th Street, Bryker Woods) —Erin Russell


April 8-10, 2022

For great steaks: Bartlett’s

American restaurant Bartlett’s is really fantastic, from the New York-ish vibes without being too cool or mega-fancy to the ridiculously great service to the amazing food and drinks. If available, the 100-hour marinated rib-eye is delightful: the tender steak is juicy and citrusy (thanks to the pineapple-sesame-ginger marinade). Then there’s the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and the superb mezcal sour. Go ASAP. (2408 West Anderson Lane, North Shoal Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury

For creative fare: Emmer & Rye

I went to Emmer & Rye for a couple of dinners during South by Southwest, and they always knock it out of the park. The dishes are so fresh, creative, and perfectly executed. I had a cheese macaron that is probably the first macaron I’ve ever liked, a perfectly cooked and seasoned ribeye with sunchoke puree (sunchokes are the most underrated root vegetable), and of course that wonderful standby of cacio e pepe. It was a great reminder to visit because there’s always something exciting on the menu. (51 Rainey Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell


March 11-13, 2022

For tacos: Hot Tacos

My love for Veracruz All Natural’s tacos is well known, so it’s obvious that I had to check out the Vazquez sisters’ new truck Hot Tacos. The tacos are in fact great. I’ve had the cochinita pibil special which comes with two tacos and a side of consommé meant for dipping and the vegan one with al pastor cauliflower. The tacos are tasty and flavorful and filling and sturdy and the grilled corn tortillas are a nice touch (making them different than Veracruz’s original offerings). Highly highly recommend it, and the truck will remain parked downtown after SXSW for a bit too. (75 Rainey Street, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury

For baked goods: Abby Jane Bakeshop

I assume that anyone reading this and not foraging for free food is looking to stay the hell away from SXSW. So, for baked goods worth going all the way out of town for, I recommend a stop at Abby Jane Bakeshop. In addition to lovely pastries like croissants, cakes, and an apricot-coconut scone, Abby Jane has picnic-ready sides like pasta salad and, for this weekend, the return of their wood-fired pizza. Stock up on snacks and go take a hike at Milton Reimers Ranch Park about 10 minutes away for some well-deserved peace and quiet. (16604 Fitzhugh Road, Dripping Springs) —Erin Russell


March 4-6, 2022

For tacos and ciders: Taco Bronco & Saddle Up

I met up with a former roommate and her friends during the recent long holiday and suggested that we meet up at Micklethwait Craft Meats’s new outdoor bar Saddle Up, because out-of-towners should get barbecue + tacos + local beers and ciders in a pleasant outdoor setting. We drank up Fairweather Ciders (one of my favorites) until on-site truck Taco Bronco opened up. I got the lamb birria and the chicken tinga tacos. The birria was so perfectly tender and juicy and the chicken plump. The casual outdoor space was perfect for lounging and watching all of the cute puppies too. (1309 Rosewood Avenue, Central East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For pasta: Asti Trattoria

After writing up the best Italian restaurants and best pasta in Austin, and after the restaurant’s well-deserved win at the Mac and Cheese fest, I had a hankering to revisit Asti. If you haven’t been in a while, I highly recommend revisiting. My favorite was the trout served in a decadent almond sage butter with sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi, but the smoked salmon linguine was also a creamy and satisfying meal. It’s such a nice neighborhood spot. (408 East 43rd Street, Hyde Park) Erin Russell


February 18-20, 2022

For alfresco Peruvian: Llama Kid

The newer Peruvian restaurant is very delightful and makes for a very pleasant evening out. We ordered a bunch of appetizers: nicely chewy fried calamari, thick potatoes, and zesty mixto cebiche with a mess of seafood (including shrimp and fish) and nice crunchy cancha corn. For my entree, I went with the lomo saltado with oh-so-tender tenderloin, quartered tomatoes, those same roasted potato chunks, and soy sauce-drenched jasmine rice. Rounding off the meal was a perfect pisco sour. The outdoor vibes are on point and lovely. (4620 East Cesar Chavez Street, Govalle) —Nadia Chaudhury

For pizza: Home Slice

It’s the week after Valentine’s Day, so rather than big and fancy, why not go comforting? Home Slice has reliably perfect thin and crispy pizza, conveniently available by the giant slice for those of us who did not celebrate on Monday. There are also sandwiches (the Italian is popular), cookies, salads. The South Congress location can have a line, but the North Loop location has plentiful seating and a full bar, to boot. Just follow the wafting cloud of garlic. (501 East 53rd Street, North Loop) —Erin Russell


February 11-13, 2022

For tapas: Kalimotxo

Basically, the only way to convince me to go to downtown proper is to sit for excellent cocktails and dishes at Spanish bar Kalimotxo. Located at the end of a cul-de-sac, it’s a bit more peaceful than other restaurants downtown, and there are a variety of heater options to stay warm. I absolutely adore the tortilla española, and the olives and nuts — not a thing I would usually order — make for a satisfying snack with the addition of a sherry caramel. I usually go for the rosemary-scented gin and tonic, but any of the drinks options are great. (607 West 3rd Street, Suite 105, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For vegan pizza: Possum Pizza

In the mood for pizza, as we’re catching up on the television series Station Eleven, we ordered a pie from new-to-us truck Possum Pizza, found just outside of Buzz Mill. The thin-crust pie was the perfect vehicle for the Buffalo cauliflower topping: a really wonderfully creamy and tangy-spicy mess of vegan cheese, roasted cauliflowers, Buffalo sauce, and ranch drizzle. The accompanying fried mozzarella sticks had a great juxtaposition of crispy exterior and creamy interior too. To-go orders can be placed in person, over the phone or over text message at (512) 939-7787; there are indoor and outdoor dining areas at Buzz Mill. (1516 Tinnin Ford Road, East Riverside) —Nadia Chaudhury


February 4-6, 2022

For noodles: Sip Pho

Sip Pho is a great restaurant for all seasons. When it’s warm, I steer towards the grilled meats served over vermicelli or rice and the refreshing bubble teas. Then when it’s cold, I get pho — personally, I like the light, delicate chicken and vegetables. The banh mi are great as well, and I loved the spicy lemongrass beef bao. Takeout orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services (if you’re dining in, the airy restaurant is quite adorable). (512 West 29th Street, North Campus) —Erin Russell

For breakfast sandwiches: The Meteor

I haven’t been to the South Congress cafe in a while, and it’s changed a bunch since the before times. There’s a beautiful big patio in the back, perfect for sunny day lounging, there are more prominent wine displays near the counter (yes, I ended up buying a bottle with a black cat on it). And then there’s the food. While my first choice was out (one day, I will try the lox focaccia), my friend and I both ordered the BEC. The robust sandwich is made with a strong biscuit (read: it didn’t fall apart) layered with a just-rightly-yolky egg, cheese, and crispy bacon. I slathered my sandwich with both red and green hot sauces, which really is the way to go. Pair it with the frozen orange wine (a delight) and you’ve got yourself a morning perfect meal. Takeout orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services. (2110 South Congress Avenue, Bouldin Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury


January 28-30, 2022

For lunch: Walton’s Fancy & Staple

I consider Walton’s to be one of the under-the-radar gems in Austin — everything I’ve had from there has been great. This week, I stopped in at lunch for a BFT (bacon, frisée, tomato) and a cup of crab and corn chowder, as well as some desserts to-go. The sandwich had crispy bacon and creamy avocado — the perfect combo, if you ask me — while the rich soup had plenty of crab and a touch of freshness (lemon? herbs?) to keep it from being too much. The “too much” was saved for the fudge-covered Oreo cupcake I took home. Takeout orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services. (609 West Sixth Street, West Sixth) —Erin Russell

For baguette sandwich and potatoes: Austin Rotisserie

Because I was still in a French-ish mood, we picked up food from Fareground food hall stall Austin Rotisseie for lunch last weekend. The baguette sandwich was really good and simple and fulfilled my French craving. The poulet roti came with shredded roast chicken (making the sandwich sturdier), goat cheese, dijon, and vinaigrette, plus arugula for a nice bright slight-crunch. The side of roasted potatoes — whole spuds roasted in chicken drippings — were delightful with a magically creamy texture. Takeout orders can be placed online or in person; Fareground is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services. (111 Congress Avenue, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury


January 21-23, 2022

For a weekend treat: Cookie Rich

I had a rough week, and one of the things that kept me going through it was knowing I had delicious treats from Cookie Rich in my fridge. The sweet, petite cookie sandwiches are a nice indulgence — chocolate chip with fudge icing is a comforting favorite, but I really loved the new seasonal flavors, pink chip with strawberry whip and a green cookie with Irish cream-tinged frosting. Everything about them — from the packaging to the velvety frosting — feels luxurious. Order online for delivery or pickup. (2201 North Lamar Boulevard, West Campus) —Erin Russell

For French duck: Justine’s

To take advantage of the nice weather before the current cold front came in, a friend and I met up at the East Side French restaurant for an alfresco dinner. We shared a bunch of dishes, and the best of the best was the duck breast. The oh-so-tender meat was doused in an orange gastrique and topped chestnuts, paired with even more tender carrots. Then there was the delightful dessert combo of a Paris-Brest with chocolate mousse, all rounded out with several glasses of French wine. The bungalow setup is nice, intimate enough to focus on good company, food, and drinks, but open enough to enjoy the weather. To-go orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services. (4710 East Fifth Street, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury


January 14-16, 2022

For Indonesian chicken porridge: Yeni’s Fusion

Stewy rice dishes are some of my favorite things in the world, and the Indonesian iteration at food truck Yeni’s Fusion is superb. The bubur ayam is made with creamy rice paired with tender shredded chicken, and fried shallots which had a nice textural jolt to the entire dish. Paired with the fried wontons that are plump and study and surprisingly chewy little food packets. I love it all so much. To-go orders can be placed online or in person; there is a dedicated outdoor area for dine-in service; host site the Aristocrat Lounge is also open for on-site services. (6507 Burnet Road, Brentwood) —Nadia Chaudhury

For French fare and pastries: Épicerie

I was in search of French food and treats in Austin, and decided to place an order at Epicerie and wasn’t disappointed. The kouign-amann was delightful, balancing crispy and fluffy textures. Because the timing worked out, we lucked into ordering the galette des rois (French king’s cake) with a really nice strawberry-almond filling (these are still available). My actual entree was the gnocchi Parisienne, consisting of lovely little gnocchi with a creamy sauce plus collard greens and crisper sunchokes. To-go orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services. (2307 Hancock Drive, Brentwood) —NC

For an easy rice bowl: Chi’lantro

Chi’lantro is one of those “always there for you” restaurants, especially when it comes to mega-packed rice bowls. I love the create-your-own-bowl option and just adding as many things as possible. Necessarily ingredients include spicy chicken, marinated tofu, carmelized kimchi, and esquites. It makes for an easy and filling dinner. To-go orders can be placed online or in person; the restaurants are open for dine-in services. (multiple locations) —NC

For chicken tenders: Old Pal

For ridiculously juicy and plump chicken tenders, head down to Lockhart bar and restaurant Old Pal. The three-piece chicken tender basket with honey mustard paired with the thick and well-seasoned potato wedges is your move. Pickup orders can be placed online; the restaurant is open for dine-in services. (100 East Market Street, Lockhart) —NC


December 13-17, 2021

For cookies, delivered: Buenos Aires Cafe

I am apparently behind the times as I just heard of Farmhouse Delivery, but I got to try it last week and I am sold. In addition to fresh produce, you can order favorite dishes from local restaurants, like lobster mac and cheese from Quality Seafood, or my favorite, alfajores from Buenos Aires Cafe. Buttery cookies, rich caramel, and a sprinkle of coconut — they made my week so much sweeter. (1201 East Sixth Street, East Sixth) —Erin Russell

For takeout pasta: Better Half

When I tend to order at or from Better Half, I usually get the burger or a sandwich plus the tater tots. This time, I decided to switch things up and order the mafaldini pasta. It was lovely, with huge chunks of meaty lion’s mane mushrooms, smears of refreshing pink peppercorn ricotta, and bright oregano. (I obviously also ordered the cauli-tots.) It was exactly what I needed for a nice takeout dinner in. (406 Walsh Street, Clarksville ) —Nadia Chaudhury


November 19-21, 2021

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


October 29-31, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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, 2021

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

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