The Kid and I spent a few days in Austin week before last and here's our summary:
a great big Meh.
tried it for lunch a couple of weeks ago based upon some favorable reccos here and on ChowHound.
started with the ceviche. while it had decent flavor the fish was diced so small that the texture got boring real quick.
i got the al pastor fajitas and The Kid had a beef burrito. the al pastor was nothing like what i'm used to. it was pork mush with almost no spice. The Kid's burrito looked good and pretty big, he liked it but when he finished the whole thing in record time i asked if he was super hungry, he replied 'there wasn't much to it.'
service was prompt and friendly and it wasn't that expensive. but could they at least cover the foam on a lot of the seats that is poking through? a roll of duct tape would go a long way and be preferable to the fart absorber i was sitting on.
Rice Bowl Cafe-
there is very good Chinese food in Austin.
on our first day we BBQ'd ourselves out so we needed something different. although as others have noted it was a little hard to find but once we called they talked us in with no fuss.
we started with the shrimp rolls which were Very Good although if you're going to put green onions in a roll, cut them up a bit as the whole onions are hard to bite through cleanly and end up dangling from your mouth after the first bite.
next up we got the spicy beef noodle soup. this was Really Very Good. great broth, tender beef (shin?) toothsome handmade noodles, and bok choy. as another table of Asians was leaving one lady came over and said 'we never see Caucasians eating that soup' well, these white boys do, gladly.
we also got the twice cooked pork with preserved tofu and the ma po tofu. again, perfectly cooked and seasoned.
that, along with two bowls of white rice, a couple of cokes (no booze here) and an order of lo mein we got to go but never got around to eating was about $37 before t/t.
we'd go back.
Stubb's was our first taste of Texas BBQ on our trip to Austin. i must say that while pretty good, it didn't blow me away as did Black's and Smitty's in Lockhart.
we got some pork ribs and brisket tacos along with cole slaw, fries, mac-n-cheese, fried okra and potato salad. the tacos were pretty good especially with the addition of the side of salsa provided. the mac-n-cheese was very good as was the cole slaw, the fried okra was greasy and tasteless though. we liked the ribs but didn't have a significant smokiness.
also, of the places we sampled BBQ in Texas Stubb's was the most expensive.
cool bar with nice people. they let my kid in to catch the early sets.
cold beers and a decent (sour mix) margarita.
we caught Brother Magnum one night (what a trip!) and some pick-up band on another night that was decent.
four slices of reheated pizza and two bottle of water for $20?
the pizza was cardboard and the cheese was cheap and flavorless.
and the two guys behind the counter were trying to be funny but just came off as annoying, very annoying.
East Side King-
what a PIA to find. and since i had The Kid with me we had to order over the fence even though they said the bar was supposed to let us walk through.
we tried the fried chicken thingy and a a few of the buns but nothing really stood out.
BD Riley's Irish Pub-
typical Irish pub atmosphere that we have so much of in Boston.
they had 512 brewery's pecan porter which i fell completely in love with.
the music was typical Celtic stuff so we drank up and took off.
as an aside the bartender there on our second visit said that this is one of the only Red Sox bars in Austin and he also explained the Texas Law about minors being allowed to drink in bars as long as they're accompanied by a parent. good stuff to know.
so THIS is what they're talking about when they speak of Texas BBQ.
we got pork ribs, a hot link and some brisket. everything was amazing and the smoke room was a trip.
we got a few sides but they were really an afterthought as we kept our focus on the meat.
The Kid and i had just left Smitty's so we weren't able to do much more than sample our way around.
we got a beef rib (huge), a couple of pork ribs and a couple slices of brisket.
we couldn't declare a winner. but i will say that Smitty's and Blacks have the best BBQ we've ever had, we could find no fault with anything we tried.
tart organic frozen yogurt-
we stopped here on our segway tour and found it to be decent but not anything special. we tried several flavors and the pistachio was the only real stand-out.
it was hot, we were sweaty and the froyo was cold. it got the job done.
Round Rock Donuts-
my Son saw this on Man vs Food and since we were staying in nearby Austin and had time to kill before our flight out we made the 30 minute ride and were glad we did.
we got an assortment of donuts, including the jalapeno and cheese sausage stuffed one.
everything we tried was awesome and the sausage one was kinda weird but really good. my Son really enjoyed the eclair and he's an expert on those.
even though there was a line for the drive-up and a line out the door they know what they're doing and can get you out quickly.
another win for Texas in our book.
it was a little hard to find as my GPS said the address didn't exist but i'm glad i called. they happily talked us in for a landing.
it's a very clean (it's new) place with a long counter and a few tables and Michael himself is very outgoing and proud of what he's serving.
as we had just come from Round Rock Donuts we were in the mood for lunch tacos even though they were pushing out a lot of breakfast tacos even at noon.
we got the chicken fajita, and pork chop tacos. they were nice sized and served on flour tortillas with beans and cheese being standard. the chicken was very good but the pork chop was a standout. the chop was lightly breaded and deep fried before being sliced and taco-fied, it really lent the whole experience a nice crunch.
they have a small salsa bar with three or four types of salsa with green supposedly being the hottest. as chili-heads we weren't scorched but found all salsa to be authentic and highly flavorful.
if you're in Round Rock, def stop in and say Hi to Michael
208 S Commerce St, Lockhart, TX 78644