CHOW Tour Handmade
AUSTIN
2/14 - 2/27
OAKLAND
2/28 - 3/13
PORTLAND
3/14 - 3/25
See Where We've Eaten!

Where to Eat in Austin, SXSW Edition

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Two of our editors have been tirelessly crawling Austin to find the best food the city has to offer. And hordes of people are about to descend upon the place

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Why Austin Is So Rad

We went to Austin right before the mania of SXSW, and despite working superlong days and freezing half the time, we were reluctant to hop a plane back to the Bay Area. The biggest reason: the people. Everywhere we went, Austinites were friendly, helpful, and fun to work with. Marisela from El Mesón actually offered to loan us warm jackets when she overheard us commiserating about not having packed for the cold snap. We even had a random run-in with Chowhound stellawine at a picnic table in front of the Odd Duck trailer, and had a friendly chat while we were filming that perfect soft-boiled duck egg.

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CHOW Tour Austin: The Next Generation of Austin Cuisine

CHOW Tour Handmade Austin The Next Generation of Austin Cuisine Austin's creative spirit is really evident when you meet chefs like Tyson Cole (of Uchi and Uchiko) who are pushing the perception of the city's cuisine way beyond the barbecue and Tex-Mex stereotypes. We also visit two relative newcomers to the neo-Austin scene: East Side Show Room and Foreign & Domestic. WATCH THE VIDEO

Olivia’s Ode to the Twice Baked Potato

We stopped into Olivia for lunch, having read all sorts of accolades about it, from Eater Austin calling it restaurant of the year to Bon Appétit putting it on the 2009 list of the 10 best new restaurants. Chef James Holmes’s menu has all the hallmarks of neo-American cuisine: an assortment of animal parts prepared in tasty ways—familiar enough to not seem intimidating to unaccustomed diners—locally sourced ingredients from produce to cheeses, and the blending of classic preparations (fries, terrines, sabayon) with a touch of modern technique (powders, gelées). READ MORE

Black Star, a Co-Op for Beer-Lovers

While we were filming at Salt & Time, bearded butcher Bryan Butler mentioned that Austin had the only cooperatively owned brewpub in the world, making small batches of craft brew and Austinized pub grub. While other folks who shall remain nameless warned us that it “looked like an IKEA in there,” we still wanted to see what Black Star was doing. READ MORE

CHOW Tour Austin: Tex-Mex or Mex-Tex?

Austin has a ton of great Mexican food, from old-school Tex-Mex to authentic interior Mexican cuisine. We wanted to see the range, so we consulted Austin Chowhounds for a little guidance. On scrumptiouschef's urging, we learned some of the secrets behind a family recipe for enchiladas, complete with classic brown gravy, served at a bowling alley. There were also breakfast tacos at the tiny El Taco Rico trailer, another Chowhound favorite where every corn tortilla is made fresh, and a taste of authentic home-style Mexican cooking at El Mesón. WATCH THE VIDEO

Alamo Drafthouse: Movies Plus Food Plus Beer

A visit to Austin would not be complete without checking out the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. This legendary theater chain (there are nine locations across Texas and one in Virginia) is known for serving beer and food alongside its fantastic curated film screenings—like the Lord of the Rings marathon and hobbit feast or a boy cartoon versus girl cartoon smackdown with all-you-can-eat sugar cereal buffet.

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CHOW Tour Austin: Beards, Butchery, and Salumi

CHOW Tour Austin: Meat Curing, Butchery, Salumi Given that Texas is a big meat state, it's not surprising that the local, sustainable trend is catching on. At the center of the local butchery scene is Jesse Griffiths, chef/co-owner of Dai Due. We also check out Salt & Time's cured pig parts just outside Austin, and then cruise up north to the Noble Pig sandwich shop, where the owners flip a duck inside out, cure it, and make a damn good pastrami sandwich. WATCH THE VIDEO

CHOW Tour Austin: Purple Gold, Texas Wine

CHOW Tour Handmade: Austin, Texas Wine When we heard there was a wine country outside of Austin (the Texas Hill Country AVA), we were immediately intrigued, mostly because, well, we had never really thought about the fact that winemaking was happening in Texas. WATCH THE VIDEO

A Less Sketchy Take on the 24-Hour Diner

A town like Austin with lots of nightlife must have all-night diners. But were greasy spoons serving slop from a can the only options? We were tipped off by one of the owners of La Boîte about a diner that actually bothers with stuff like the provenance of the eggs.

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At Austin’s Barley Swine, Fancy Food Without the Fuss

After scoping out Barley Swine while interviewing Chef Bryce Gilmore about his trailer Odd Duck, we wanted to go back and actually eat dinner at the month-old restaurant.

Barley Swine is in South Austin, in a low-key brown brick building—we missed it the first time we drove by. The interior is also simple, with high wooden tables and a little bit of a pub feel. Definitely seemed like a natural extension of Gilmore’s trailer ethos of cooking locally sourced stuff with a few fancier presentations, but serving it in a nonfussy environment and keeping it affordable.

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CHOW Tour Austin: Food Trailers Are King

Food trailers are everywhere in Austin, cooking and serving everything from doughnuts covered in Canadian bacon, hot pepper jelly, and cream cheese to vegan Frito pies. We visited two trailers that we heard were serving really excellent food: La Boîte, a retrofitted shipping container turned coffee shop, and Odd Duck, where Chef Bryce Gilmore serves food like quail, venison, and duck eggs—things that don't sound like you'd buy them out of an old orange trailer. WATCH THE VIDEO

Austin’s Lone Cheese Rangers

In Hyde Park, we visited Austin’s only dedicated cheese shop, Antonelli’s, on the suggestion of Chowhound amysuehere. John and Kendall Antonelli, the shop’s owners, sell cheeses from all over the world, including some made in Texas, as well as cured meats from artisan salumi-makers (local and national) and preserves from Austin-based Confituras like a salted caramel pear butter and Rio Star grapefruit marmalade. READ MORE

The Weird, Independent Republic of Austin, Texas

Before our trip to Austin we hit the phones and the Web, calling around, researching, and posting to Chowhound to figure out the places we should cover. One of the most knowledgeable people we had the pleasure to chat with was Virginia B. Wood, food editor of the Austin Chronicle. Here’s some of the insight she shared with us on Austin’s food scene after living there for 40 years and covering local food for the paper for nearly 20. READ MORE

CHOW Tour Austin: Best Barbecue

If you go to Texas to document food, you'd better get your hands on as much barbecued brisket as possible. That was our guiding principle at least. WATCH THE VIDEO

Austin: A Sneak Peek at CHOW Tour: Handmade!

Austin, you are keeping it weird. And that’s exactly why we are excited about visiting you on CHOW Tour: Handmade. The first place we’ll be filming is a winery tucked away in the Hill Country where the owner does everything by hand and talks Texas terroir with pride.

We’ll hit the big meat state for a barbecue road-trip with the Franklins of Franklin Barbecue, but also bring you a look at the salumi and butchery scene, from Dai Due taking a whole hog and transforming it into sausage for biscuits and gravy, to a sandwich shop that makes everything—from mustard to bacon—from scratch.

We’re taking Chowhound scrumptiouschef‘s recommendation and heading to a bowling alley for a taste of old-school Tex-Mex, where the chef who’s been making the enchiladas for 38 years will show off some of her secrets (but not the secret spice mix!). And we’ll bring you a look at some of the new wave of chefs who are taking Austin’s cuisine beyond Tex-Mex and barbecue.

Check back! Austin videos start running February 14.