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The Best Things the Eater Austin Team Ate This Week: Duck Pizza and Focaccia Sandwiches

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

A pizza topped with meat.
The duck carnitas pizza at Bufalina with Nixta.
Erin Russell/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.

For duck pizza: Bufalina

Bufalina collaborated with Nixta Taqueria to create a duck carnitas pizza with all proceeds going to helping Nixta reopen fully (they are open in a limited capacity right now). Given that duck and carbs are my two favorite things, I visited immediately. It was heaven: the succulent duck carnitas with Calabrian chiles and salsa macha on Bufalina’s puffy, charred crust was a perfect pairing. The specialty pie is only available through Sunday, September 24, so get over there quick (although, Bufalina and Nixta teams, if you’re reading this — please put it on the menu full-time). (2215 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Cesar Chavez) —Erin Russell

For focaccia sandwiches: Casper Fermentables

I’ve already sung my praises for croissant sandwiches, so when I saw that this farmers market stand-turned-deli offered focaccia sandwiches, considered me intrigued. We ordered the spicy turkey sandwich and the kimchi tuna melt. The turkey one was actually really spicy in a good way; the kimchi in the tuna melt added a nice sourness. The bread itself was springy and worked well for sandwich purposes. We ended the meal with a delightful rugleach too. (4715 South Lamar Boulevard, Sunset Valley) —Nadia Chaudhury

Past recommendations

September 15-17, 2023

For seafood happy hour: Clark’s Oyster Bar

During a recent treat-myself-day, I decided to head to the bar of the little seafood restaurant during its actually-really-fantastic happy hour. I ordered half-dozen oysters (which were each 50 cents off), a substantial jumbo shrimp cocktail with wonderful horseradish, and a very dirty gin martini. The oysters were plump and briny, the shrimp cocktail exactly what a shrimp cocktail should be, and the very dirty martini is one of the best I’ve had recently. It made for a very lovely early dinner of snacks. And FYI: its happy hour is 3 to 5 p.m. on weekdays. (1200 West Sixth Street, Clarksville) —Nadia Chaudhury

For a great burger: Baretto Bistro

For my mom’s birthday, we went to lunch at a restaurant she’d been wanting me to try, the unassuming Baretto Bistro, which shares owners with Westlake Italian restaurant Siena and Brick Oven. I got the lunch combo and was thoroughly impressed: it came with a smash burger slider, a salad, and soup (minestrone which had prosciutto in it which, while sacreligious, I thoroughly enjoyed). However the smash burger was the star here: a great brioche bun, perfectly seared beef, and a thick slice of oozy cheddar. I’m very interested in returning to sample the Italian options. (1026B West 38th Street, Rosedale) —Erin Russell

August 23-25, 2023

For a French dip sandwich: Barlett’s

American restaurant Barlett’s is the perfect restaurant to go with a parent or an older-than-me adult figure. We took my stepmother-in-law to the restaurant for a recent pleasant dinner. I decided to try something new and ordered the French dip sandwich, which was just at meaty as a steak order would’ve been, honestly. The compact sandwich came jam-packed with such beautifully thin and rich layers of prime rib with a side of horseradish sauce and a side of beefy au jus for dipping purposes. I rounded out the meal with a very dirty gin martini, which made the meal feel even more luxurious. (2408 West Anderson Lane, North Shoal Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury

For a vegan ice cream: Luv Fats

Is this the last weekend of all triple-digit temps? We can only hope, but we can at least celebrate breaking a 45-day streak. of no rain and stupidly hot weather with ice cream. Luv Fats has a base of avocados and coconut milk for a sublimely creamy scoop. The flavors are super creative — cucumber sorbet, miso coffee, and more. I got rosemary caramel with Biscoff crumbles — the sweet caramel benefitted from the savory rosemary, and it was a home run. (7135 North Lamar Boulevard, Highland) —Erin Russell

August 18-20, 2023

For a savory pastry: Goldy’s

Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Cookie Rich, so I couldn’t wait to try the team’s savory food as well. Goldy’s is a great spot for lunch — Littlefield’s is surprisingly cool and pleasant, even in this ungodly weather. But more importantly, the food is great. I loved the chicken panino (I will love most sandwiches on focaccia) and the melon salad, but my absolute favorite item was the ham and cheese roll. Made in the style of a cinnamon roll but with savory ingredients, the soft roll is spiked with salty ham and cheese. I tried it after I’d already had a panino and still had to eat the whole thing. (2401 Winsted Lane, Tarrytown) —Erin Russell

For fish and chips: Kelly’s Irish Pub

A friend and I wanted an easy hang and I know she had been to the South Austin Irish bar a bunch of times, so we decided to go there again. We headed straight to the back bar (her favorite spot), grabbed bar stools, and placed our orders. Again, because it was an Irish pub, I went for the fish and chips and pints of Smithwick’s Ales (sorry, Guinness is just too heavy for me). The food was classically prepared and just want I wanted. The large strips of fish had a crispy exterior and tender meat inside, the chips were hefty, thick steak-style fries. Plus it came with a little bowl of mushy peas which was delightful and I could’ve eaten a larger portion of. We were surrounded by solo diners and groups of people catching up, and the bartender was very pleasant. The meal itself was very carby, comforting, filling meal (perfect for someone who was about to travel a bunch), and I can’t wait to go back and try out the rest of the menu. (519 West Oltorf Street, Dawson) —Nadia Chaudhury

July 28-30, 2023

For khao man gai: P. Thai Khao Man Gai

The hype is real. P. Thai Khao Man Gai only makes one dish — fried or steamed chicken with rice and broth — but he does it perfectly. I got the combo with both fried and steamed chicken and even so soon after opening, chef Changthong has created an “all hits, no skips” version of the food. The chicken fat rice is complex and floral, the chicken is rich and tender (I prefer the crispy fried version, although this is probably because I’m from Texas), and the pale golden broth has new depth with every sip. Brilliant. (8557 Research Boulevard, North Austin) —Erin Russell

For barbacoa tacos: Taqueria Peloncitos

Everybody knows that the actual best tacos can be found at your nearest taco truck. After a lengthy trip home for most of July, I came back to Austin wanting tacos. So for dinner that day we ordered tacos from Taqueria Peloncitos, a little truck parked at the Chevron gas station. I have generally shared my deep love for barbacoa tacos, and the truck’s version is so tender and moist with a nice balance of fattiness and meats, brightened up with the excellent salsas. It was a nice welcome back. (5303 Nuckols Crossing Road, McKinney) —Nadia Chaudhury

July 21-23, 2023

For burgers (and ice cream): Sour Duck Market

I was craving a burger and when I learned that Sour Duck Market has happy hour every day with $6 burgers, it was a no-brainer to zip over there (you can also add a beer or mini-margarita for $4). The burger was great — it’s served on its brioche buns with a piquant sauce and pickles — and there are so many tempting dishes to highlight the summer harvest. I also finally got to try the soft serve which was incredible. I got a swirl and while I’m usually a vanilla girl, the chocolate was rich and dreamy. Plus, the restaurant is having a bad week, so I’m sure they would appreciate a visit (and yes, there are indoor dining areas, too!). (1814 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Blackland) —Erin Russell

For Beijing duck: Bamboo House

For a recent-ish friends dinner, we went to the popular Austin location of the also-popular Houston Chinese restaurant to partake in its famous Beijing duck. We ordered the half portion because it was just the three of us (full duck orders are only available for larger parties), among other dishes (spicy and crispy chicken, bok choy). The duck was fantastically prepared — cut into easy-to-manage portions with such tender meat and crispy-sweet skin. It comes with accouterments like very thin spring pancakes, sliced crunchy vegetables, sauces, and the such. There’s also the very rich giant bowl of duck broth soup which comes with bits of tofu and duck meat, which I wanted to sip like a drink because it was that good. We got there early, too — 5 p.m. — to make sure duck was still available, and soon after we were seated, the restaurant filled up fast. (7010 Easy Wind Drive, Unit 100, Crestview) —Nadia Chaudhury

June 30-July 2, 2023

For Lockhart barbecue: Barbs B Q

We made the trek out to Lockhart earlier this month because firstly and mostly I knew I needed to check out Barbs B Q ASAP because the menu sounded so good and the women behind the restaurant seem so fun. I wasn’t disappointed. The meats, cut and served by co-owners Co-owners Chuck Charnichart, Alexis Tovías Morales, and Haley Conlin. were so wonderfully flavorful in a way I haven’t experienced at a barbecue restaurant in quite some time. The brisket was actually spicy; the recommended lamp chop was so juicy, and the turkey was tender. We fashioned little tacos with house-made corn tortillas and open-face sandwiches with the wonderful spelt swirl bread with layers of charro beans, pickles, and the house barbecue sauce. The sides were so great too, my favorite was the green spaghett, which had such a nice build of heat from the creamy poblano sauce. Rounding out the meal was the perfect-for-these-hot-temperature-days cucumber lemonade and the sweet concha bread pudding. I am already planning my next visit out there. (2708 East Cesar Chavez Street, Holly) —Nadia Chaudhury

For ice cream: Lick Honest Ice Creams

Someday, I will eat savory foods again, but until then, I strive to give you as many options for frozen sweets as possible. And this is truly a critical update: Kendall Melton, who does double duty as Director Of Culinary Operations at Lick and with her pastry pop-up Vivian’s Boulangerie, has finally created the collaboration we deserve: Lick Honey Vanilla ice cream with Vivian’s excellent salted bourbon chocolate chip cookies. The rich, buttery cookies from Vivian’s are some of my favorite in Austin and to have them available for a whole month — with Lick’s super-soft ice cream, no less — is truly a treat. The pints are also available at Whole Foods. (Multiple locations) —Erin Russell

June 23-25, 2023

For summer-perfect produce dishes: Ezov

For a dinner out, we decided to check out the new Israeli restaurant under the Emmer & Rye umbrella. During this very, very, very hot heat, we ordered a bunch of vegetable and fruit-based dishes, which was the right call. The spring tomato comes with a delightful acidy mess of tomatoes of all shapes and sizes that are either plain, dried, or pickled, plus big chunks of urfa-spiced crotons and this nice refreshing fill vinaigrette. I wanted to drink up the resulting broth honestly. And then there were the smashed cucumbers, which came on top of this bed of fantastic smoky labne (which is really another one of those excellent hot weather foods) and this nice pickled mango sauce. It was exactly what I needed to eat this Texas summer. (2708 East Cesar Chavez Street, Holly) —Nadia Chaudhury

For breakfast: The Omelettry

Swayed by our work on Diner Week last week, I headed over to the Omelettry because sometimes nothing hits like a fluffy stack of pancakes. The Omelettry specializes in comforting, classic diner fare in a friendly setting — my phone stopped working and I happily spent the hour gazing at the various egg-related drawings on the wall. Someday — someday — I will get an actual omelet here, but it’s really hard to beat excellent pancakes, eggs, and bacon for $7. (4500 Duval Street, North Loop) — Erin Russell

June 16-18, 2023

For Filipino omelets: Fil N’ Viet

For a post-drinks dinner, a friend and I decided to go to the food truck at Camp East. We ordered a bunch of great stuff including refreshing tuna kinilaw and beef skewers. But my personal standout item was the tortang talong, a very fluffy and flavorful eggplant omelet paired with fresh little tomatoes and perfectly cooked rice. It was exactly what I needed and wanted to eat that evening. (2903 East 12th Street, Rosewood) —Nadia Chaudhury

For gelato: Gelatoro

I fully admit I am an ice cream fiend but I have been mostly saved from gluttony by not having any shops within walking distance of my house. That has changed with Gelatoro, which makes lovely gelato, conveniently located just a block away from the swimming pool at Shipe Park. There are indulgent flavors like chocolate and honey almond but there are also bright fruit flavors like blackberry chip and, my favorite, kibana (kiwi and banana gelato — the kiwi’s sharpness is made mellow and creamy with the banana). Gelatoro also has coffee drinks so it’s very possible I will be posted there from morning through the afternoon. (4500 Duval Street, Hyde Park) — Erin Russell

June 9-11, 2023

For ice cream: Merry Monarch Creamery

As we prepare for our first 100-degree days next week, it’s important to take inventory of the excellent cold treats around Austin. Merry Monarch’s ice cream is extra creamy and silky smooth, and has fun, creative flavors like mango mole and fan favorite Oreo miso. Plus, you can do half scoops to try multiple flavors. It’s located at the Burnet Road food truck park, so it has a nice atmosphere to sit while enjoying your scoops. (5000 Burnet Road, Rosedale) — Erin Russell

For ramen: Daiboku

And on the other side of the gamut, because I seek out hot soups in the summer, I really enjoyed the ramen at the new Japanese spot Daiboku from Sazan Ramen. The spicy miso is very wonderfully spicy, full of habanero peppers, a spicy condiment, and Japanese chile oil, plus really nice slices of meats and vegetables. Next time, I will attempt a bowl junk-style, which adds in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and American cheese, because why not? (609 West 29th Street, West Campus) — Nadia Chaudhury

June 2-4, 2023

For sweet toast: Asti Trattoria

Asti is one of those great longtime Austin restaurants that new residents don’t seem to have caught onto yet. The Hyde Park restaurant has a great dinner menu of fresh pastas, but it also serves a killer brunch (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!). In addition to the aforementioned fresh pastas, egg dishes, and fluffy biscuits, there’s some of the best sweet toast I’ve had. Focaccia is sweetened with bright lemon curd and rosemary, and served with creamy ricotta and meringue. It’s a wonderful option in a pretty neighborhood without a two-hour wait. (408 C East 43rd Street, Hyde Park) — Erin Russell

For tapas: El Raval

We went to the former Barlata-now El Raval under new owner and chef Laila Bazahm, and it really was great. There’s an upbeat vibe to the menu and space. Of the dishes, the red snapper ceviche with leche de tigre and corn puffs was texturally fun and I could’ve drank up the juices; the setas al carbon with savory mushrooms mixed with a very runny cured egg yolk and sunchoke-miso hummus was great, especially when paired with the flaky paratha; and especially the paella with squid ink, a condiment made of ’nduja, and fantastic plops of uni for this salty touch. The accompanying cocktails were amazing too, especially the frothy Tangier Fizz with white chocolate, cream, and yogurt (!!!) with citrus and mint flavors. I want to explore the rest of the menu ASAP. (1500 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker) — Nadia Chaudhury

May 26-28, 2023

For easy meals: Snap Kitchen

Do you know a new parent or someone who is about to become one? Get them a gift certificate to Snap Kitchen — they will thank you later. As a new mom who was exhausted, completely overwhelmed, and unable to do anything other than press buttons on the microwave, Snap Kitchen totally saved me with meals that taste great, are well-portioned, and take less than two minutes to cook. My favorites are the almond butter pancakes, Greek salad and/or bowl, and the cacio e pepe with rosemary chicken, but I have not had a bad dish. Their kitchen is gluten-free, if that’s your jam, and they will deliver meals to your door. (1014 West 6th Street, West Sixth) — Erin Russell

For quiche: Abby Jane Bakeshop

I feel like I’ve sung the praises of the quiche at Abby Jane before, but it’s worth bringing up again. A friend and I drove out to the Hill Country bakery recently for a breakfast trip, and I was delighted to see that there was quiche. It’s just a perfectly creamy and soft yet solid texture that is just wonderful, plus the crust is fantastic. I love it. (16604 Fitzhugh Road, Dripping Springs) — Nadia Chaudhury

May 12-14, 2023

An incredibly flavorful hamburguesa: Bar Toti

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Bar Toti, which opened on Este’s grounds last month. Initially, I just wanted to try the hamburguesa, have one drink, and head home to spend the rest of my Friday night relaxing. However, things got a little out of hand. My girlfriend and I shared the marinated olives, escargot, mussels, and fries and sipped on a mezcal margarita, paloma, sherry cobbler, tinto verano, and porto tonico. Everything was so good that we had to try more and more. The crown jewel here though is that hamburguesa. It’s made with a sesame seed bun, griddled ham, white American cheese, chipotle mayo, and a tart umami-packing escabeche relish that makes this one of the more unique sandwiches you’ll have the pleasure of eating in Austin. (2113 Manor Road, Cherrywood) — H. Drew Blackburn

An ebi burger: Underdog

After hearing Underdog co-owner Richard Hargreave talk up the ebi burger at his and Claudia Lee’s new restaurant, I knew I had to try it myself. The patty consists of shrimp chunks formed into a loose-yet-intact disc in between a really nice fluffy bun topped with black sesame seeds, and layered with a slaw. It’s a nice little dish where the shrimp flavor shines in a bright way, feeling like summer in food form. What made the burger even better was the glass of champagne I had, plus the really nice white. We also ordered the caviar set and I was particularly taken with the little pandan pancakes, which went great with the cavair and this pink peppercorn sauce. (1600 South First Street, Bouldin Creek) — Nadia Chaudhury

May 5-7, 2023

For Mediterranean food, coffee, and wine: Opa

I opened up the weather app on my phone and saw that we’re looking at a forecast of ten straight days of rainfall. Who knows if this is actually what’s going to happen, but you know how the weather is around here — it’ll be 95 degrees with clear skies one minute and the next there’s a torrential downfall and out of the corner of your eye you spot animals in pairs loading an ark. If you’re thinking about dining out, a coffee shop in a house might provide the perfect atmosphere and flexibility. Opa in South Austin is one of my favorite places to waste a couple of hours on that side of town. It’s a Greek cafe in a beautiful space carrying wine, beer, cocktails, coffee, tea, and Mediterranean cuisine. There’s a spacious patio to catch some rays if the sun happens to be out too. A gyro, a cup of coffee, and a glass of wine all do the soul good, rain or shine. (2050 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker) — H. Drew Blackburn

For Mexican seafood: Este

I know I’ve sung the praises of the trout a la pulla dish at the Mexican seafood restaurant Este (see: October 2022), but I wanted to talk about the rest of the menu here. I went to the bar for a solo dinner out and went all seafood out. The oysters were plump and briney and in particular, the spicy hot sauce paired well with the bivalves. I made little snacks out of the tuna tiradito in this lovely salsa negra and chunks of fresh avocado atop the house-made chips. My main was the Camorones “El Ricas,” which the menu describes as its “messiest dish” per executive chef Fermín Núñez. The barbecued shrimp doused in this bright and rich spicy garlic butter and lime juice was fantastic, and having to use my hands to peel the meat made it that much better. I made little taco bites using the fresh tortillas accompanying the dish. Closing out my dinner was the just herbal enough semifreddo paired with an amaro I can’t remember that was shaken per the server's recommendation, which was perfect. (2113 Manor Road, Cherrywood) — Nadia Chaudhury

April 28-30, 2023

For Mexican food by way of CDMX: La Popular

New restaurant La Popular is seriously great Mexican food by way of Mexico City. It has some interesting takes on things you’ve seen many times over like the guacamole, but with rib-eye chicharrones, and excels on staples like hearty tacos, ahi tuna tostadas, and heaping fajita plates. The cocktails are great too. The Yucatan Toucan features a sugar skull lit on fire, and for those who don’t care about the Instagram potential of such a drink, the silky milk-washed punch is actually even better than it looks.

To be honest, I probably won’t visit La Popular much because I’m on the east side and I consider traveling anywhere this far west a road trip. And besides, I live a mile from Suerte and a block away from Nixta, two of the most beloved Mexican restaurants in the city. However, I’ll definitely be back at some point and would recommend any Austinite interested in the city’s food scene give it a visit, no matter where you’re located. And if you’re a little closer to Mopac than I am, it’s probably a good idea to visit more frequently. (7415 Southwest Parkway Building 5, Suite 100, Barton Creek) — H. Drew Blackburn

For South Austin sushi: Soto South

It’s easy to forget that Soto has a location on South Lamar — especially when Uchi is nearby — but the Japanese restaurant is quite good and probably a good bet when you’re looking for a last-minute sushi trek. I went there for a solo lunch recently and ordered a bunch of nigiri under the recommendation of the very knowledgeable server and I wasn’t steered wrong. The kinki and the managatsuo — idiot rockfish and Japanese butterfish — were fantastic unexpected bites, and, I’m always a sucker for uni, especially when it’s from Hokkaido. It was the perfect albeit pricey lunch. (1100 South Lamar Boulevard, Suite 2115, Zilker) — Nadia Chaudhury

April 21-23, 2023

For outrageously good cocktails: Nickel City

Nickel City is one of the most exceptional bars I’ve ever been to. It has great music and tasty bar food courtesy of the Delray Cafe, but most importantly, a fantastic selection of cocktails that reach all corners of the flavor spectrum. You could try an umami martini if you’re feeling particularly savory or a carrot colada if you’ve got a little more of a sweet tooth. Looking for something more spirit-forward, but adventurous and familiar? Try a Dr Pepper Boulevardier. Need something to cool off as the temperatures start to rise again? Have one of the frozen cocktails — the Chi-Chi with vodka, aloe liquor, coconut, pineapple, and green tea is particularly good. And you can take the plastic cup home as a souvenir. (1133 East 11th Street, Central East Austin) — H. Drew Blackburn

For a birthday dinner: El Naranjo

I’m someone who believes in birthday weeks/months, hence I took a week off work for my birthday. For one of my many birthday meals (which also included Bufalina, Soto, the Texas Chain Saw Massacre house, Holiday, etc., etc.), we went to Oaxacan restaurant El Naranjo with my in-laws. I didn’t even have to look at the menu to know my order: the Tamarindo cocktail, a beautifully just-tart beverage; and the seriously iconic mole negro with duck breast. It’s one of my favorite dishes ever: the sliced duck breast is so tender and juicy, the mole is rich and spiced, and the accompanying rice and blue corn tortillas offer a nice balance to the plate. It’s just the right level of decadence for my birthday. (2717 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar) — Nadia Chaudhury

April 14-16, 2023

For succulent meat and delicious sides: KG BBQ

Contrary to what many people may think, what makes great barbecue are the sides. No disrespect to the arduous process of cooking large cuts of meat for a long time, but fantastic brisket, for the most part, is fantastic brisket. How many times have you had great smoked meat next to some bland mac and cheese? Pitmaster Kareem El-Ghayesh’s Egyptian-Texan food truck KG BBQ has its superb brisket, ribs, and lamb chops, but the James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas has sides that pack a flavorful punch too. On a recent visit I had the Egyptian mac n’ cheese, pink buttermilk potato salad, and the Egyptian Baladi Salad, along with cardamon pistachio rice pudding for dessert. I’ll dream of them frequently and what else I’ll be able to try until I visit again. (3108 Manor Road, Martin Luther King) — H. Drew Blackburn

For Aaron Franklin’s take on New Orleans cuisine: Uptown Sports Club

Aaron Franklin’s new restaurant is a collaboration with James Moody of the Mohawk, who is his partner in the Hot Luck festival. Uptown Sports Club is housed in the same long-vacant building as the historic East Side bar of the same name and the revived version serves po’ boy sandwiches, gumbo, a variety of seafood, coffee, and tea, which is helpful for its long hours (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.). On a visit, I grabbed the green tomato po’ boy, gumbo, and East Coast oysters, which were great, but there’s something on the menu I wish I was there late enough to try. From midnight to close Uptown sells a “family meal” which is listed as a market price on the menu. The bartender told me it’s usually gumbo, rice, and something else and is only six dollars. The green tomato po’ boy in particular was fantastic as it had the right amount of tart and moistness, but that family meal could be one of the best deals in town. (1200 East 6th Street, East Austin) — H. Drew Blackburn

April 7-9, 2023

For rice balls: Rice Ball Co.

Every time I find myself at 99 Ranch Market on a grocery run, I get amazed by how packed and bustling the Crescent shopping plaza is. You could really lose an afternoon out there, poking in and out of the shops, where you can find board games, books, and stationery. It seems like one of my true rituals before looking like a kid in a candy store wandering 99 Ranch’s aisles is a pre-shopping trip to Rice Ball Co. Here, you can have your choice of a few onigiris ranging from salmon to fried chicken to mushrooms. One makes for a delicious snack and a couple will leave you full and satiated. The thing that makes this dish so compelling is its resemblance to a sushi roll — it has all of the main ingredients in sushi rice, protein, and toasted nori — but is a much more simple and casual affair. The Crescent is a go-to spot in Austin for a range of different Asian foods, all of which are worth a trip, but a couple of rice balls washed down with boba tea is what keeps calling my name when I’m in the area. (6929 Airport Boulevard, Highland) — H. Drew Blackburn

For soothing seafood and frozen Mexican martinis: Holiday

A friend and I checked out the hot new cocktail lounge in East Austin, and we were not disappointed. The cocktails — courtesy of Erin Ashford — are just as delicious as they are delightful. I was wowed by the frozen Mexican martini, which was perfectly briny and acidic without being too tart, and dipping the actual olive garnish into the frozen slush was so good. And then there’s the food courtesy of Peter Klein. Our server recommended the mussels, so naturally, we got the mussels, which were wonderfully plump especially when scooped up with the broth, which contained surprise-to-me gigante beans (I love brothy beans so much). We dipped our fries into the broth too, which was a fantastic combination. The patio isn’t ideal for rainy weather (save it for a breezy evening) but the indoors are cute too. (5020 East Seventh Street, Govalle) — Nadia Chaudhury

March 31-April 2, 2023

For smash burgers: Skinny’s Off Track Bar

The newest entry on East 12th Street’s row of nightlife spots is a sports bar. However, Skinny’s puts a little more thought into its interior decor than what is typical for such watering holes. The bar’s look is inspired by New York City’s off-track betting parlors of the 1970s. A lot of brown, leather seating, and artifacts from a distant era pepper the building. With all of the above and its Bachelor watch parties, Skinny’s comes off as the rare sports bar that people who don’t know anything about sports might want to visit and visit often. For all the unexpected here, Skinny’s hits a familiar mark with its food, which isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel or do anything special. It’s pub fare and pub fare done well, the sort of food that would put a smile on Bourdain’s face were he still with us. In particular, the smash burger is the direction I’d steer you to. It’s meaty but has just enough sharpness to cut through the fat. Best of all, on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. it’s only five dollars. (1806 East 12th Street, Central East Austin) — H. Drew Blackburn

For pizza and wine: Flo’s and Allday Pizza

So many people I trust have raved about Allday Pizza during its quiet delivery service time, so I was very happy when it opened its first physical location in a new wine bar nevertheless up in Tarrytown. We headed there for dinner recently, and ordered one of every slice available, rounded out by a couple of glasses of wine. All of the wines we tried were fantastic, but I was particularly fond of the just-bubbly-enough Medivol Cremant de Limoux pinot noir. And then of the New York-style slices: I love them all, but I really loved the Tomato Tomatoe one, which was topped with lemon-pepper panko; and then the house cheese with a wh (3111 West 35th Street, Tarrytown) — Nadia Chaudhury

March 24-26, 2023

For an affordable and iconic Austin dish: Texas Chili Parlor

While at South by Southwest, I checked out the Future of Food event, which promised free food. There was free food, delicious free food — albeit very small samples. After walking miles and miles all around downtown Austin, I was in serious need of sustenance, and lo’ and behold, just across the street was Texas Chili Parlor, an Austin staple. Nothing fancy, just great food that’s easy on the wallet. Texas Chili Parlor has plenty of options from a burger to tamales, but the bowl of red, which comes in three different spice levels and adheres to a real traditional Texas chili dish with no beans and big chunks of beef is the icon here and a good part of why this restaurant’s been in Austin since 1976. A bowl of red from Texas Chili Parlor is something every meat-eating Austinite should have once and revisit often. (1409 Lavaca Street, Downtown) — H. Drew Blackburn

For impeccable sushi: Uchi

I was meeting a friend for dinner who was in from out of town, so I let her pick where we would go out. She opted for Uchi, which was I into since it’s been a while since I’ve personally been there. And I forgot how on-point and perfect the restaurant’s service and bites are. We lucked into seats at the sushi bar (a first for me) which made the presentation of our dishes delightful. In particular, the sawara nigiri (a Spanish mackerel) was this wonderful thicky buttery texture; the bluefin chutoro was everything a tuna bite should be; and the Santa Barbara uni was perfect. (801 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker) — Nadia Chaudhury

March 17-19, 2023

For mouthwatering ice cream: BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya

The Tatsu-Ya umbrella is ever expanding with multiple Ramen Tatsu-Ya locations and other restaurants in Austin and Houston. The latest Tatsu-ya is BBQ Ramen Tastsu-Ya, where the concepts of barbecue and ramen collide again. The real star of the show here though, isn’t the broth or the slow-cooked meat, no — it’s the dessert. On the menu is an ice cream sandwich with a banana ice cream neatly pressed in between black sesame cookies. Black sesame is nuttier and bolder than its white counterpart and is truly one of the more underrated ingredients for sweet treats. Banana in ice cream form is not something you see very often either, but this combo works so well. (2027 Anchor Lane, MLK) — H. Drew Blackburn

For quick and easy and delicious onigiri: Asahi Imports

Life has been hectic and busy for me lately — in the middle of a move, SXSWness, and lots of mini-trips — so recently, I found myself at the South Lamar location of thrift shop Uptown Cheapskate selling/donating clothes. Because I needed a quick snack for fuel, I got an onigiri from Japanese market Asahi (which thankfully has a South Austin location). I always forget how perfect Asahi’s onigiri is: compact, flavorful, and dense. I got the Austin one, which came with a fun textural mix of seaweed, quinoa, kidney beans, and sliced almonds for a nice savory/salty flavor. (3005 South Lamar Boulevard, Suite B-105B, South Lamar) — Nadia Chaudhury

March 3-5, 2023

For neighborhood bar cocktails: King Bee Lounge

The moment I first stepped foot inside King Bee, I knew it’d be my neighborhood bar. It’s a perfect version of one: friendly and knowledgeable bartenders; a tiny cramped section near the door where service industry vets hang; well-worn interior decor; a spacious patio, weekly programming like Sunday’s jazz nights; and most importantly great drinks. Lone Star on tap is unusually good thanks to its rich, bock-like taste, and you can order any standard cocktail from an old-fashioned, margarita, to a dirty martini. The bar has a couple of house cocktails, but the frozen Bee’s Knees is the one I keep coming back to. It’s tart, sweet, and a refreshing sipper. The only problem with it is you might not want to sip it at all and opt for guzzling it, so beware of a delicious frozen drink’s Achilles heel — brain freeze. (1906 East 12th Street, Central East Austin) — H. Drew Blackburn

For tartines: Blue Dahlia Bistro

I was in the Westlake area for an errand and wanted to grab food in the area. I had frequented Blue Dahlia’s East Austin location a bunch before it closed, so I was pleasantly surprised when I walked by this outpost of the restaurant. I ordered the tuna salad, which was loaded with capers, white beans, and — I forgot how much I do enjoy these — sun-dried tomatoes, and it made for such a nice little easy meal. I also got a side salad with a wonderful lemon-dijon dressing, because flavorful veggies are good for you. Sit-down solo lunches are just so nice. (3663 Bee Caves Road, Westlake) — Nadia Chaudhury

February 24-26, 2023

For creative Texas dishes: Odd Duck

Odd Duck has been around for over a decade and it is still turning out creative flavors not seen anywhere else (quite frankly, every time I visit, I think Bryce Gilmore has been robbed by the James Beard Foundation — seven times). Like, what else could you possibly want from a restaurant: the servers are knowledgable pros ready to accommodate any allergy, the restaurant is bright and welcoming, and virtually every dish is a home run. My favorites from a recent trip were broccoli with mole spice and apple gastrique (truly, I wish to meet the wizard who dreamed up that flavor combination) and a sunchoke cacio e pepe with carrot salsa macha. I also enjoyed watching each diner at the bar successively order the excellent cornbread, influenced by smell alone. Odd Duck is always worth your time. (1201 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker) —Erin Russell

For crispy french fries: Salty Sow

There are a number of ways to cook french fries. They can be made like, say, In-N-Out — with just a shrug and nary a care in the world. Or they can be done like Salty Sow — topped in an egg that’s been prepared in sous vide for 110 minutes and triple-fried in duck fat to produce very crispy fries. Also instead of ketchup, you get cold béarnaise on the side. I haven’t been able to check out the full menu here yet, but the french fries are packed with enough flavor to make Guy Fieri a very happy man. (1917 Manor Road, Cherrywood) —H. Drew Blackburn

For chaat: Bombay Street Food

Before seeing a movie up in far-from-us North Austin, we decided to grab food from the Indian chaat truck, and it was so good. We got the pani puri, which was wonderful crispy bursting round bites; the vada pav, which was so spicy without the thoughtful addition of fresh green chiles; and the ragda pattice, essentially a potato patty with chickpeas and sev drenched in chutneys in a soup-like format. Everything was rounded out by a steaming hot cup of chai. Everything was so wonderful and flavorful and I need to go back to try the rest of the wide menu. (13775 Research Boulevard, Anderson Mill-adjacent) —Nadia Chaudhury

February 17-19, 2023

For an Italian-American feast: Birdie’s/Aiello’s

I am a big fan of Birdie’s normally but this is the first time I’ve tried their Italian-American pop-up, Aiello’s. First of all, four (filling!) courses for $65 is a pretty good deal for Austin these days, and from the second you walk into the transformed restaurant — complete with red-and-white checked tablecloths and vintage bottles of Chianti as vases — you’ll get the vibe. The main course of fusilli alla vodka is transcendent, with a sauce of creamy tomato, meaty umami from guanciale, and subtle spice. I honestly wish it came in a vat-sized to-go container. Then, you have the opportunity to end your meal with that perfect vanilla soft-serve — and what could be better? (2944 East 12th Street, Chestnut) —Erin Russell

For mole ramen: Ramen Del Barrio

I had the opportunity to check out Ramen Del Barrio during a preview test and, my god, it’s fantastic. My party ordered all three of the Yaki tacos, and the skewered meats were so tender and juicy, perfectly blanketed by the soft corn tortillas. I opted for the mole tsukemen, where the thick ramen noodles were served separately from the rich and spicy bowl of soupy mole with thick chunks of chicken karaage, and it is hands down one of the best things I’ve eaten this year and in a long time. The spice builds in a lovely way, the lime squeeze adds a nice bit of acid to the dish, and, even better, it worked wonderfully for leftovers the next day. Thankfully for Austin, the restaurant opens on February 17. (Hana World Market, 1700 Parmer Lane, Suite 100, Scofield Farms) —Nadia Chaudhury

February 10-12, 2023

For hefty breakfast tacos: Vaquero Taquero

Vaquero Taquero has some of my favorite breakfast tacos in Austin, for one main reason: that cheese. The tacos are big and filling, both the flour and corn tortillas are well-made, and the melty, crispy costra de queso (griddled cheese) puts them on another level. These are a great way to recover after a night of one too many. (104 East 31st Street, North Campus; 603 Sabine Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For indulgent cookies: Cookie Rich

I had a packed week with three (!) events, all of which featured the really wonderful cookie sandwiches from Cookie Rich. The little round cookies are like cake, soft and moist, sandwiching really indulgent creams. My favorite was the chocolate chip and dark chocolate fudge cookie, where the chips add a nice texture and flavor to the cookie layer. It’s easy to eat, like, four at a time. (2201 North Lamar Boulevard, West Campus) —Nadia Chaudhury

January 27-29, 2023

For a cozy meal: Soup Peddler

With all the gross weather coming up, I will likely be relying on one of my go-to comforting food spots; Soup Peddler. With smoothies, grilled cheese sandwiches, and soups under one roof, it has basically everything I need to stay warm and keep my immune system in tip-top shape for a pretty reasonable price. I usually go for the classic chicken soup with rice, although if you see the mulligatawny soup on the menu, grab it. (Multiple locations) —Erin Russell

For a recommended mac and cheese: Roaring Fork

After an event at the Contemporary Austin last night, a friend and I crossed the street to try what she claims is one of the best mac and cheeses in Austin at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. And honestly, I wasn’t let down. The green chile mac and cheese was very cozy and warming and cheesy and actually spicy thanks to those peppers. And even though it’s technically a side portion, it’s still quite large. (701 Congress Avenue, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury

January 20-22, 2023

For a new take on fries: Drop Kick Cocktail Bar and Kitchen

I recently went to a happy hour at this unassuming cocktail bar on East Sixth and was pleasantly surprised to discover their delightful huancaina fries, which were sort of like a Peruvian poutine. The crispy fries were smothered in huancaina sauce (a creamy sauce tinged with aji amarillo), queso fresco, and small bits of cilantro. I loved that the fries retained its crunch, and the result was a rich creamy/salty/crispy indulgence. (1630 East Sixth Street, East Sixth) —Erin Russell

For sushi: Kome

Simply put: Kome serves up the most reliable and tasty sushi in Austin. Service is always impeccable, the recommendations are perfect, each piece of my nigiri was exactly what I wanted and needed, and the sake was wonderful. (5301 Airport Boulevard, North Loop) —Nadia Chaudhury

January 13-15, 2023

For fancy cake: Paper Route Bakery

Apparently, I am late to the game regarding this East Side bakery, because the first time I tried to procure some cake, they were sold out of everything. My second attempt was more successful (get there when they open), and the slice of Coffee Fox was absolutely worth the wait. The cake was perfectly light and moist, with a great nutty coffee flavor, and I appreciated that the mocha chantilly cream frosting kept it from being too heavy. I can’t wait to explore the full menu. (1010 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Cesar Chavez) —Erin Russell

For Japanese sandwiches: Choo Sando

Thanks to a nearby haircut, I was able to grab one of those really fantastic-looking sandwiches from Choo Sando. There were so many sandwiches to choose from, but I went with the tamago because egg salad sounded good for lunch. The sandwich — cut into three sections — is sturdier than it seems, with a really thick but also nicely light egg salad seasoned with pepper and anchored with a nicely hard-boiled egg. The bread was sweet and thick and pleasant. It’s honestly one of the best lunches I’ve had in a while. (5222 Burnet Road, Brentwood) —Nadia Chaudhury

December 16-18, 2022

For risotto: Blind Salamander

For a recent staycation, we went to the Omni Barton Creek Resort for a couple of days and decided to stay in to try one of its on-site restaurants. Over at the Blind Salamander, I ordered the saffron risotto and it was great. It was a soothing creamy but not overly risotto paired with nice juicy smoked tomatoes and crunchy sugar snap peas and almost-creamy mushrooms. It’s a dish that works well for this current cold front too. (8212 Barton Club Drive, Barton Creek) —Nadia Chaudhury

For a great burger: Crown and Anchor

A favorite of 2021 Eater Award winner Bad Larry, Crown and Anchor have one of the most perfect casual burgers in town. The burger has a spongy, toasted bun, melty American cheese, and well-seasoned, crispy fries (and, as Larry likes to note, lettuce on the bottom). Service is super friendly and attentive for such a casual bar, and the pool tables and multiple TVs provide great entertainment. (2911 San Jacinto Boulevard, North University) —Erin Russell

December 2-4, 2022

For pizza & pasta & wines: Bufalina

For this South Austinite, the return of Bufalina to East Austin and it’s back and better than ever. And this is especially so under the purview of new-to-the-restaurant chef Grae Nonas and owner Steven Dilley and wine mastermind Rania Zayyat and the rest of the team. The Neapolitan pizza is still as fantastic — the anchovy pie is still one of my favorites — and the salad is a constructed green-filled wonder. As for pasta, we went for the orecchiette which was a nice hearty plate with giant beans and a delicate tomato passata. The torta di ricotta is a great, savor-ish cheese dessert to wrap the meal up. Plus the wonderful glasses of recommended wines rounded out the dishes so well. (2215 East Cesar Chavez Street, Holly) —Nadia Chaudhury

For drinks and soccer: Skinny’s Off Track

Skinny’s Off Track bar is a great place to be anyways — balanced piña coladas, fun frozens, fried bar foods, and lots of TVs. However, it’s also my favorite place to watch the (problematic and thrilling) World Cup. The bar opens early for games, and there’s a jumbotron set up on the patio with nary a bad seat with an enthusiastic crowd. Win or lose, the mini-corn dogs with spicy ketchup improve any situation. (1806 East 12th Street, Central East Austin) —Erin Russell

November 18-20, 2022

For fancy cocktails: In Plain Sight/Here Nor There

Needing a place to while away time while awaiting news and to celebrate said news, we went and did a mini-two-stop cocktail crawl in downtown Austin at sibling bars In Plain Sight and Here Nor There. At In Plain Sight, the deeply-hued lighting is jarring but festive, and the drinks are fun and delicious. I had the Southern Pearl because I’m a sucker for egg white cocktails, and the addition of gin, a tea blend, honey, and citrus flavors made for a nice drink. And then, we headed downstairs to its older sibling bar Here Nor There for a second drink. The menu is even more fun where the cocktails are inspired by their color names. I had the Gold because of the luxurious combination of caviar, pineapple, and rum for a slightly saline yet sweet yet creamy drink. (612 Brazos Street, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury

For coffee and pastries: Texas French Bread

Texas French Bread is back, baby. Yes, the beloved hometown bakery has been available at farmers markets, but there’s something magical about taking a morning or midday pause in their peaceful garden with a warm cup of excellent coffee and a cookie (ginger cookies, how I have missed thee). All of their pastries are great, but I’m particularly a fan of the blueberry danish and croissants. Be sure to get there early as they have a limited selection and are apt to run out. (2900 Rio Grande Street, Heritage) —Erin Russell

November 11-13, 2022

For rainy day dumplings: Steamie’s

With the cold front coming in I stopped by this dumpling shop for their new lunch special (only available during the week — but useful to plan ahead) and was quite pleased. The pork and cabbage pan-fried dumplings were great, I adored the crispy, chewy scallion pancakes, and the pineapple ginger soda was a nice treat to end the meal. Plus, the family-run shop is just adorable. I will be returning ASAP for a repeat with the noodles and Thai basil dumplings. (6929 Airport Boulevard, Highland) —Erin Russell

For a satisfying sandwich: Bella Donna

G’s Dynamite Deli has been my go-to sandwich spot on our side of the river, but alas, it closed during the pandemic. And luckily, the Italian deli fits the bill exactly. It’s a no-frills restaurant, with a long list of hot and cold sandwiches. I got the Flying Turkey, a cold sub with nice chunks of avocado and spicy mustard. It works perfectly for an easy lunch, and they often have cookies for sale, this time, it was a wonderful red velvet one. which was perfect. (4612 Burleson Road, Suite E, McKinney) —Nadia Chaudhury

October 28-30, 2022

For fantastic fish: Este

We made our way to the coastal Mexican seafood restaurant from the talented team behind Suerte for an early weekday (we had no reservations, but walking in was relatively easy and there was no wait). Naturally, I had to get the trout a la pulla because, when multiple trustworthy recommend a very specific dish to you, you have to order it, right? And I wasn’t steered wrong, the seared fish was flaky and covered in this ridiculously amazing thick and creamy sesame pulla crema sauce that felt like a curry-ish-thing and topped with trout roe for an extra burst of flavor. I built my own tacos with house-made tortillas and basically dipped each bite into the sauce. Fantastic. Other gems were the tuna tiradito and guava-glazed apple tart. I need to go back and indulge in more of the raw seafood offerings. (2113 Manor Road, Blackland) —Nadia Chaudhury

For a fried “chicken” sandwich and chill vibe: Sunny’s Backyard

A week ago, I had a fried chicken sandwich at the vegan food trailer Sunny’s Backyard and I have not stopped thinking about it since. It’s double-battered and twice-fried “chicken” on a vegan brioche bun with pickles, aioli, and magic. It’s basically everything you want in a fried chicken sandwich — crunchy, filling, a little spicy — without any of the greasiness or immobilization that can sometimes follow. Sunny’s is overall a great place to hang out, with a nice patio and full bar, but the food puts it over the top. (3526 East 7th Street, Govalle) —Erin Russell

October 21-23, 2022

For wine and cheese/charcuterie: Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar

The new Central East Austin bookstore and wine bar is basically a Nadia dream come true. A couple of friends and I visited Vintage this week and it was everything we wanted it to be. There are people browsing books, people cozied up in comfortable sofas reading books with wine, people buying books and nibbling on snack boxes from Cultured Grazing Company. We holed up in one of the backrooms with our glasses of whites and reds (I had several of the Storm Point chenin blanc from South Africa) while sharing a large box of cheese and charcuterie snacks and chit-chatting away. It made for a pleasant easy evening. Across the group, we purchased five books by the end of the night. (1101 East 11th Street, Central East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

For cupcakes: SusieCakes

I volunteered to bring dessert when having dinner at a friend’s house, and SusieCakes cupcakes were the best possible choice. I’m not much of a cupcake person — scarred by too many office parties — but these were sweet and moist, with great buttercream and a surprise ganache center. They’d make a great crowd-pleaser for a party. (3267 Bee Caves Road, Rollingwood) —Erin Russell

October 14-16, 2022

For fancy lunch: Salt & Time

Don’t ask me why a butcher shop also makes some of the best pasta in Austin, but I guess it is proof of Salt & Time’s dedication to using the best ingredients in all things. I stopped in for lunch and got the bolognese, served on thick, al dente fettuccine and meaty ragù with the perfect combination of flavorful pork and hearty beef served over fresh ricotta. My lunch companion got a roast beef sandwich, which thankfully meant I got to steal some of the beef fat fries. For those wanting something lighter, I have had the grain bowl too which was fresh and satisfying. My visit was a great reminder of why Salt & Time is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin — can’t wait to go back for its new $20 steak happy hour. (1912 East Seventh Street, East Seventh) —Erin Russell

For omakase: Toshokan

A friend invited me out to the omakase at the intimate restaurant within the Native. Since I had only dined at Toshokan during one of its really fun Taylor Swift-themed dinners, I wanted to go experience a regular proper omakase service. It was fantastic: chef Saine Wong puts together a well-paced and delicious array of bites from the simple salmon nigiri with fresh wasabi to torched fish to entirely-whole-and-edible spot prawn served with crunchy and raw portions to a decadent bone marrow bite. Paired with sakes recommended by the team, it made for an enjoyable evening catching up and indulging. (The Native, 807 East Fourth, East Austin) —Nadia Chaudhury

October 7-9, 2022

For a burger: 40 North

Tragically, this is the last weekend for 40 North which, in addition to having excellent Neapolitan-style pizza, is hiding one of the best burgers in town. Listen, I love pizza — I once ate pizza for five meals in a row — and I still opt for the burger at 40 North. It’s juicy and cheesy, has a big soft bun, and tastes like love and joy. It comes with a perfectly dressed side salad, y’know, for vegetables. My most recent visit, in that cozy space with graphic music posters, hearing the strains of a Friday night football game down the street at House Park ... it was perfect. If life is fair, the restaurant will return in another form after this weekend, but until then I will mourn. (900 West 10th Street, West End) —Erin Russell

For udon soup: Narrow Street 512

I’m pretending that it’s fall in Austin and indulging in soothing soupy dishes. I also stand by my claim that udon is the best noodle out there. So we picked up an order from the H Mart food court’s new-to-me stand Narrow Street 512. The spicy seafood udon is wonderful with a fiery broth, plump shrimp, and nice little mussels. It’s exactly what I needed. (H Mart, 11301 Lakeline Boulevard, Lakeline) —Nadia Chaudhury

September 1-3, 2022

For pastries and ice cream: Tiny’s Milk and Cookies

My latest craving has been Tiny’s Milk and Cookies — but not for the cookies (which are great). Having explored most of the pastry menu, I can confidently say there are pretty much no bad options, from the tiny savory sausage biscuit to the chocolate brownie with the perfect marriage of fudge and cake. I definitely recommend savoring the lingering tastes of summer with a scoop of the strawberry ice cream, too. The tiny to-go shack gets busy around noon so try to go before then. (1515 West 35th Street, Bryker Woods) —Erin Russell

For mint chocolate chip ice cream: Besame

I went to the book fair at Meanwhile Brewing last week and decided to lounge around the brewery for a bit to actually read a book. Since I had time, I grabbed some ice cream from the ice cream trailer, and I was very pleased. I actually would’ve loved to try the Smoked Peach Sundae (apparently made with peaches smoked by neighboring truck Distant Relatives), but it was sold out. I instead went for the Cookie Monster, a subtle mint ice cream mixed with thick pieces of shaved ice and bits of cookie dough (perhaps my choice was subconsciously influenced by Better Call Saul). It was absolutely delightful and creamy and refreshing and I look forward to trying other flavors soon. (3901 Promontory Point Drive, McKinney) —Nadia Chaudhury

August 26-28, 2022

For a refreshing tomato-y burrata salad: Wax Myrtle’s

Tis the tomato season and I’ve been seeking out the perfect juicy summer fruit/vegetable as much as possible this season (yes, I brought back New York tomatoes from my parents’ garden as part of my carry-on during a recent trip back home). A friend and I met up at the Thompson Hotel bar and restaurant to catch up, and we decided to share the tomato burrata, among our other dishes and drinks. It was lovely and refreshing: the juicy tomato chunks paired with the creamy burrata plus the nice tanginess of diced mangos (which is also another great summer fruit) and the crispy textures from the bits of bread. It’s exactly what every summer meal should be like. (506 San Jacinto Boulevard, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury

For a nice lunch: Blue Dahlia Bistro

I ventured into Westlake to meet my mom for lunch this week and we had a great lunch at Blue Dahlia. It’s nice, simple, French-ish food — I had savory crepes with ham and melty Havarti, and she had the veggie frittata, both served with a side salad and very good bread. My favorite part of lunch (other than seeing my mom, of course) was the tomato white bean soup. I know those flavors are hard to mess up but on a dreary, rainy day, that warm soup in the lively, bright bistro was just what I needed. (3663 Bee Cave Road, Westlake) —Erin Russell

August 19-21, 2022

For a ham and cheese croissant: Quack’s Bakery

My recent obsession has been ham and cheese croissants and after extensive research, I can assert that no one does them better than Quack’s. The giant pastries have all the best parts of a croissant (flaky, buttery), excellent construction so that you get the filling in every bite, and a hint of sweetness from the Swiss cheese. Everyone has a favorite baked good from this longtime local bakery (the danishes, the cupcakes, or the salty oat cookie), and I have certainly found mine. (411 East 43rd Street, Hyde Park) —Erin Russell

For barbacoa tacos: El Super Taco

South Austin does have great taco spots and I am so lucky that truck El Super Taco exists. The barbacoa tacos plus green salsa are impeccable: tender and juicy. The setup is different during these pandemic times: the truck and ordering table is encased in a hard-plastic-sheet structure inside which a person takes your order. Keep in mind it’s cash only. (2005 East Oltorf Street, East Riverside-Oltorf) —Nadia Chaudhury

July 29-31, 2022

For a great dinner downtown: Wu Chow

I’m ashamed to admit it but I went to Wu Chow for the first time on a Friday a few weeks ago — and for the second time the following Monday. I generally try to avoid downtown, but Wu Chow made it absolutely worth it — fantastic dumplings, chewy beef chow fun, mouth-numbing Sichuan deep-fried chicken, and great cocktails. My friend also loved his massive portion of two-faced crispy noodles, which were like a fun treasure hunt for the most delicious bites. One of my surprising favorites was the delicately flavored chicken with celery, which made for an excellent lunch the next day. (500 West 5th Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For steamed rice rolls: Fresh Tofu

Because we were in the far (to us) north Austin area, I wanted to stop by Fresh Tofu to pick up food for later. I went with the bánh cuốn — Vietnamese steamed rice rolls — which came with a cup of fish sauce and fried onions packaged separately. I heated up the rolls doused with the sauce, and the results were nice and chewy and filling. I topped it with the fried onions plus generous drizzles of sriracha. It was also the perfect lunchtime portion. Next time, I need to try the noodle soups. (10901 North Lamar Boulevard, North Lamar) — Nadia Chaudhury

July 15-17, 2022

For cheesesteak: Otherside Deli

If The Bear has you craving a super beefy sandwich, look no further than Otherside Deli (who is freshly back from vacation). The peppery cheesesteak is one of the best in town, with tender ribeye, melty cheese, and grilled onions and peppers on a French roll. Of course, all of their sandwiches are really home runs — don’t miss the ones with smoky pastrami. (1104 West 34th Street, Bryker Woods) —Erin Russell

For Southern dinner: Diner Bar Austin

A friend and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner out at chef Mashama Bailey’s upscale-ish Southern restaurant Diner Bar within the Thompson Austin hotel. I waited for her at the bar with a lovely array of oysters and a very dirty martini that was just what I needed. For our proper dinner, we shared the fried ugali, an African staple dish consisting of ground cornmeal, paired with a mega-flavorful salsa macha, that was even better than boring old slices of bread. I also got the really succulent shrimp with Carolina gold rice, which was lovely, plus a side of the oh-so-creamy pureed potatoes (the leftovers of which served as my hangover-prevention meal much, much later that evening). I was very, very happy. (501 Brazos Street, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury

July 8-10, 2022

For ramen: Sazan Ramen

Sure, it’s supposed to be 107 degrees this weekend and the world is on fire but at least there’s ramen. Ramen in itself is great but the creamy base of the paitan ramen with a chicken and pork broth and chewy noodles is ultra-comforting, and it’s an easy dish to grab to-go if you just want to watch movies in the darkened air conditioning of your room. (However, the dining room — with beer and sake! — is also super cute). (6929 Airport Boulevard, Highland) —Erin Russell

For dumplings: Qi

For a celebratory dinner, we went to modern Chinese restaurant Qi, which was a really good call. I forget how good chef Ling Qi Wu’s dumplings are, particularly the Shanghai soup dumplings and the succulent and decadent lobster dumplings. Good times should be acknowledged with great dumplings. (835 West Sixth Street, Downtown) —Nadia Chaudhury

July 1-3, 2022

For a steak: Dean’s Italian Steakhouse

It’s too dang hot out to be standing outside over a flame. Take a break from grillmaster duties and head to the freshly opened Dean’s Italian Steakhouse in the JW Marriott hotel. With beefy dishes, generous portions, attentive waitstaff, and perhaps most importantly, blessed air conditioning, it’s a great spot to treat yourself. Scared of steakhouse pricing? Try one of the pastas — they’re all under $30 and it’s extremely likely you’ll have leftovers, as I did with my hearty, meaty bolognese on fresh pappardelle. Speaking of carbs, don’t miss the soft buttery Parker House rolls, either. Newly opened restaurants usually have a few hiccups at the start, but the pros at Dean’s seem to have everything down pat. (110 East Second Street, Downtown) —Erin Russell

For a burger and beer: Posse East

Goddamn, the cheeseburger at the sports bar is so amazingly good. The layering of cheese to patty to ripped-apart lettuce to tomato slice made for a sturdy and unmessy burger. The addition of cheese tots and a Lone Star made the meal complete, especially for a post-Deep Eddy Pool dip-and-general-lazing-about. (2900 Duval Street, Central East Austin)

June 17-19, 2022

For a great, casual dinner: Birdie’s

For my birthday this year, I didn’t want anything too fancy — just the kind of place where everybody knows your name, as it were. I ended up at Birdie’s for yet another wonderful meal. I loved the cantaloupe with ricotta, honey, black pepper, and tomatoes, and the fish in a chilled corn broth (with perfectly salty potatoes) was perfect for the ridiculous temperature outside. I ended with the soft serve with olive oil which is quickly becoming one of my favorite desserts in Austin. There (miraculously!) hasn’t been a line at the restaurant lately so it’s a great time to go visit. (2944 East 12th Street, Chestnut) —Erin Russell

For excellent pad see ew: Titaya’s Thai Cuisine

Being a well-noted South Austin forever person means that my go-to Thai spots are Sap’s and Dee Dee. But because we were in across the river in the North Loop neighborhood, we decided to pick up dinner from oft-recommended Titaya’s. We weren’t steered wrong, and specifically: the pad see ew was one of the best stir-fried flat noodle dishes I’ve had in quite some time, and the spice level was perfect and the combination of chicken and fried tofu with Chinese broccoli was delightful. (5501 North Lamar Boulevard, North Loop) —Nadia Chaudhury

May 27-29, 2022

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 to return for 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

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 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

Looking for more ideas? Check out Eater’s previous no-longer-updated takeout recommendation guide.