We came, we saw, we ate a lot of tacos.
Katie and I had never been to Austin, Texas before, so naturally, we decided it was time to head down South! From the poppin’ 6th Street nightlife, to the INCREDIBLE food and drinks, we saw (and ate!) it all. Check out some highlights and start making your taco-tasting-to-do-list immediately:
Hands down, Emmer & Rye gave us one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. As you probably have read, I love small plates/sharable items and Emmer & Rye was the perfect restaurant to order a ton of different foods. The pork belly, burratta toast, and cacio de pepe are TO. DIE. FOR. Of course, don’t miss dessert–the pastry chef is a culinary genius! Bonus: Emmer & Rye has a dim sum chef who walks by periodically to offer you small dishes of more food that isn’t on the menu. Seriously, this place is worth flying to Austin.
For a quaint, delicious, and best of all–outdoor–brunch, head over to The Hightower for some southern comfort eats and treats. Walkable on 6th Street from the downtown area, you’ll love the great scenery, shops, and food truck corrals along the way. The grit waffle with peanut butter and caramelized banana (!!!) was incredible, and the Bloody Mary bar created a well-balanced brunching experience. Make sure to request the adorable patio seating!
Wait, what? A restaurant called bacon? YES. A bit off the beaten path, Bacon is a can’t-miss. The bacon burger was out-of-this-world delicious and quite literally had me in a fetal position of happiness (I have no other way to describe this burger). Adorable ambience, beautiful picnic-style patio, and amazing food–what more do you need?
Trek on over to the Zilker Park area for a full-on food truck experience! Choose from a variety of different cuisines, including American, Mediterranean, brunch, fish, and our fave–the Mighty Cone. Quite literally, a tortilla cone with your choice of protein and veggies (try the chicken and fried avocado–YUM!). Top it off with a cupcake or ice cream from a truck nearby.
Hot dogs and cold beer is the motto (and web URL!) of this cool, hip spot. Known for their phenomenal take on hot dogs, Frank offers a huge menu with creative ‘dogs, side dishes, and beer. Try the jackalope dog with a side of poutine and thank me later. The bi-level restaurant makes for some great people-watching and the service was impeccable (Shout out to Alex! Thanks for the Austin recommendations!) Oh–and make sure you have the chocolate chip bacon cookie with coffee ice cream. Wow.
For a quick, perfect meal while hanging out on 6th Street, stop into Chupa Cabra and have some (more) tacos and a marg. The honey jalapeno chicken taco was tasty and hearty, while the baja fish was light and perfectly citrusy–you can’t go wrong with anything on that menu!
Things To Do
If you’re looking for something completely new and different to try, look no further than The Escape Game. The top escape room experience in Austin, The Escape Game offers four different experiences at different difficulty levels. We opted for the Prison Break and were combined with another group, where we had to work together to solve a series of puzzles, clues, and more in order to, well, break out of prison. Unfortunately our group did not escape, but we made it pretty darn far and had the best time.
Want to bar hop? You’ll be able to do that and more on 6th Street. This stretch is dense with some of the most exciting dive bars, rooftops, and patios you’ll see. On weekends, 6th is blocked off to traffic, allowing for barhoppers to roam. Some of our favorite spots were The Blind Pig and Darwin’s–but let’s be honest, it’s worth it to just stop into several places for a happy hour drink, live music, and a LOT of fun.
Not into the 6th Street scene? Check out Rainey Street, a stretch of converted houses that are now some of the most fun bars I’ve been to. Live music, local beer, outdoor spaces, and of course, food trucks–spend as much or as little time as you’d like at each and definitely try to see them all. We enjoyed the live music at Blackheart, the energy of Container Bar (literally built out of containers), and the amazing beer selection at Craft Pride. Pro tip: take a pedi-cab from Rainey to 6th on a Saturday night–it’s a blast!
We stumbled upon Uncle Billy’s Brewery on our way to The Picnic, and I’m SO glad we did. This place is the perfect little brewery to try some brand new local beers (coffee porter anyone? DELISH!) and chill out (literally) from the humidity. The rustic ambience created a laid-back and relaxed vibe and the service was on point. We didn’t eat any of the delicious-smelling barbecue while there but take my word for it; if it tasted half as good as it smelled, eat it and enjoy.
You know that cute iconic graffiti that says “I love you so much”? Yeah, that’s at Jo’s Coffee and the story behind it is adorbs: in 2010, Amy Cook simply grabbed a red can of spray paint, and wrote “I love you so much” on the wall of Jo’s where her then-girlfriend Liz Lambert was part owner. Now, because of the high-traffic area, the mural is one of the hottest photo ops in Austin. Oh, and the coffee is wonderful too!