My wife Maureen and I returned recently from our week-long trip to San Antonio and Austin. Neither of us had been to Texas in over 20 years, so we were eager to see what the Lone Star State offers tourists nowadays. I'll post our thoughts on San Antonio eats in another message. This one's about Austin.
We were in Austin for only two nights, sad to say, but we made the most of it. Friday night we went to the fabled Stubbs on Red River, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I've read pro and con comments about Stubbs on this board, but for a coupla New Yorkers, Stubbs seemed on the money.
The weekend we were there was graduation weekend for U of T in Austin and everyone told us we were gonna have to wait in line in restaurants and other places, but we really didn't have any trouble. We arrived at Stubbs around 7:30 on Friday night and were told it'd be at least 20 minutes to a half hour wait. So we went to the bar and ordered a couple of Lone Stars. We no sooner got the beers than they called our name and seated us, a five minute wait at most.
Maureen had the pork ribs and I had the sampler plate (pork ribs, brisket and sausage). We both thought the ribs were great, me with the BBQ sauce and Maureen without. We also loved the sides of cole slaw. Stubbs may be past its prime, but we thought it was great.
Saturday morning we went to Trudy's, the one on Burnett Road. We got there around 11:00 AM, naively thinking that we'd just walk in and get a table. Nope. They gave us a beeper so we could walk around outside (in the sweltering heat) while we waited, but it was only about 15 minutes. Maureen had the Migas and I had the Migas fajitas with chicken. What a knockout dish! Never had Migas before, will miss having them until we encounter them again. The home fries that accompanied Maureen's Migas dish were as good or better than any I've ever had (and I have put away some home fries in my time). During our meal, the manager asked if we would mind moving to another table so he could accommodate a large group that had been waiting quite awhile, and in return he bought us a round of margaritas. All in all, we loved the place and could see why Austinians flock there.
Saturday night we tried the East Side Cafe, a place the concierge in our hotel insisted we should visit. He told us that it is off the beaten path and we would probably be the only tourists there. The menu at East Side Cafe is American/Continental, and they flavor the dishes with herbs and spices they grow on the property. There are several buildings (one of which is a gift shop), and different rooms within the buildings. They have a small, eclectic and interesting wine list. It reminded me in some ways of New Hampshire places we've visited, with its porch and home-style layout. I had the salmon and Maureen had the mushroom ravioli, both of which we liked. However, there wasn't anything particularly Texas about the place.
Other fond memories of Austin: driving right up to and walking around the Capitol building; taking the Duck tour; enjoying a couple of pints of Guinness at Fado's in downtown Austin; the friendly demeanor of most Texans; the low prices.
All in all, a delightful visit (except, of course, for I35, the traffic-clogged artery that is under construction for miles and miles and miles).