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Austin Lunch

Affordable lunch north, around Braker & I-35?


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Restaurants & Bars Austin Lunch

Affordable lunch north, around Braker & I-35?

keishin | | Oct 15, 2008 12:00 PM

I've tried to do some looking here on CH to see if anyone has any favorites that are relatively close to the area, but haven't come up with much. Been working up here for a while, and as far as I can tell the options are not too great. Being ON 35 tends to be more limiting than helpful, due to the amount of time you have to spend at the associated lights, turnarounds, and the limited east-west roads with access if you decide to strike out latitudinally on anything but a main road.

Anyway, basically looking for recommendations for some new staple destinations. Here's what I've found so far.

Burgers: Ross' Old Town Cafe @ Lamar just north of Braker. Sort of a greasy, down home comfort food cafe. Bottle Caps (sliced, fried jalapenos) and the bacon cheeseburger are personal favorites.
Burger-Tex @ 183 & I-35, northwest corner (technically closer to Georgian Dr). Seems to be asian-run, so they have a few different burgers than your standard fair, including a bulgogi burger. The buns are notably tasty, and you fix the burger yourself at the bar.

Coffee: Teo's @ Parmer & I-35, inside the HEB. I'm a coffee-holic, so I was pretty stoked when they opened up here. Don't know of a single other coffee joint that's not a sbux/Seattle's Best in the area. They also have some pretty smashingly good gelato. Unfortunately they also seem to have some terrifically high churn at the north location, so sometimes the results (especially if you order a blended drink, as my lunch-hour-mate typically does) can be spotty.

Asian: There is at least some decent variety here. For Vietnamese I'll usually go to Pho Saigon @ Lamar, south of Braker in the Chinatown Center. Service is regularly abysmal, but the food is pretty much the same every time, fairly good.
For Chinese I typically go to Wok on Fire in the same center. To my uneducated eye they seem to have a mix of somewhat more traditional dishes as well as a selection of the more Americanized counterparts. As terrible & stereotypical as it is, I'm totally addicted to their orange beef; it's stellar.
I'm not really sure how to categorize this one, but Express Teriyaki & Grill @ Lamar, just north of Rundberg is another frequent stop. Unfortunately they recently increased their prices, so it's not near as good of a deal as it once was. Seems to be owned by a Japanese(?) family. The husband prepares the sushi, which seems to be a bit different than normal. I guess I would say that ti's a bit... larger, and more leisurely packed? It's not really falling apart, just... a bit loose. They do have some original rolls that are ridiculously tasty, and the lunch specials are good as well. The best standard dishes they offer for lunch are their bulgogi.
Unfortunately, neither me nor my lunch-hour-mate are particularly familiar with any of the asian languages, so we'll need at least a barebones explanation of dishes in English - something we learned the hard way at the Mongolian BBQ in the same Chinatown Center.

So far that's about all that I've found. There's of course a slew of chains up in Tech Ridge, which can do in a pinch. What I'd probably like to find the most is some sort of deli. There's of course Subway and Quiznos around here, but it would be nice to have a smaller place with simple, fresh ingredients. And maybe a chicken salad sandwich that's not atrocious.

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