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Austin food report

Cathy | Mar 24, 200001:34 PM

Just got back from a trip that included four days in Austin. Thought I’d report on some of my food experiences. Breakfast places included Cisco’s, which has been discussed on this board before, I think. When you sit down, they bring you a little dish of very bacony pinto beans. Great. I got migas, which seems to be the official breakfast food of Austin. Scrambled eggs with pieces of corn tortilla, peppers, etc. The plate came with sausage and a huge pool of warm salsa. Also had breakfast at Curra’s Grill, which is not quite as down-home as Cisco’s. Had huevos motulenos, which were eggs on refried black beans, topped with chipolte salsa and a fried banana (which I thought would be a plantain, but was a banana.) Very good.

Had the supreme taco experience at Polvo’s, on S. First Street, which seems to be the hot spot for Mexican food. The best al pastor tacos – the meat was very flavorful, with lots of citrus, onion and cilantro. But the salsas stole the show. They have five different kinds, including one that’s BLACK. I asked what makes it black, and the waiter said "we take fresh tomatoes and char them. Real bad." Wow.

Went to Sam’s bbq, which was a nice funky place. Sat on the porch with some old-timers, and ate good ribs and very elemental (in the best possible sense) sausage. At Hoover’s, we had great chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, but very odd vegetable sides. Like mustard greens that were so sweet they could have been dessert.

The highlight of the trip was driving out of town for barbecue. We wanted to go to Kruez, but it was closed on Sunday. So we went to Opie’s, a new place opened by a cook from the venerable Cooper’s in Llano. I have to say, I think it was even better than Cooper’s. You pull up to the building, and you’re facing the pits. You point to the meat you want, and they dip it in sauce and wrap it up in paper. Take it inside and get your corn and potato salad, plus more sauce, onions, and pickles. We got some of everything: chicken, giant pork chops weighing 1-2 lbs. each, brisket and pork ribs. Everything was good, but the pork ribs were outstanding. I had to pronounce them the best Texas ribs I’ve ever had. I really couldn’t get over how good they were! The pork chops were pretty special, too. And I loved the sauce – tomato-based, but very, very vinegary. We topped it all off with first-rate blackberry cobbler (oh, and peach and cherry, too.)

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