Why does Kerbey Lane’s 24-hour-diner goodness epitomize Austin? Is it the way that West Lake moms and drunken UT undergrads come together at Kerbey to enjoy pancakes, burgers, home fries, and everything in between? The laid-back, interestingly tattooed staff, always happy to oblige special requests? Or maybe it’s just the famed queso that is the glue that holds it together and keeps us coming back.
Kerbey Lane Cafe
3704 Kerbey, 512/451-1436
13435 Hwy. 183 N. #415, 512/258-7757
2606 Guadalupe, 512/477-5717
4301 W. William Cannon, 512/899-1500
3003 S. Lamar, 512/445-4451
2120 N. Mays, Round Rock, 512/879-2827
701 Capital of TX Hwy. S., 512/879-2820
There's Tex-Mex, and then there's Austin, Tex-Mex, and it's the latter this tasty taco joint has perfected. These tortilla titans have a sense of humor (see menu items like the Dirty Sanchez and the Trailer Park); show your date you've got one, too, by ordering your tacos "trashy." He'll get your drift.
2809 S. First, 512/444-0300
2801 Guadalupe, 512/494-8226
4301 W. William Cannon, 512/514-0767
4211 Spicewood Springs, 512/291-7277
1468 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 512/337-0997
5119 Burnet Rd., 512/382-0823
3005 S. Lamar, 512/614-1832
11521 FM 620 N., 512/381-8226
1801 E. 51st, 512/322-2411
301 N. Guadalupe, San Marcos, 512/757-8888
2150 E. Palm Valley, Round Rock, 512/381-0173
1822 S. Congress, 512/916-9025
Although it recently relocated to the Barton Creek Square back lot, this market has provided the connection between Texas farmers and South Austinites for almost 13 years. From High Country Bison and Caskey Orchards peaches to kettle corn, kombucha, and jewelry, this Austin institution offers something for everyone.
When it comes to hot ways to partake in this city's many food events, two beloved perennials come to mind: The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival features hot items in the most literal sense, and AIDS Services of Austin's Dining for Life program is the local restaurant community's piquant way to boost the nonprofit's coffers – and all we have to do is choose to eat out.
North Lamar's Wink serves as the definition of intimate. You're going to be in very close quarters while dining, but after a few glasses of wine you'll hardly notice, and the delectable menu is a nice diversion too. Over on the Eastside, the French-inspired Justine's has a bit more legroom and later hours, and the low light and vintage feel are perfect paired with a chocolate pear tart or charcuterie plate.
Calendar-makers argue over whether Sunday or Monday marks the start of the week, but ours begins Saturday mornings at this Eastside gem, where fresh greens, henhouse eggs, Larry's legendary smoke-dried tomatoes, and more nourish our tummy and our soul. Think "nommm" meets ommmmmmmm.
We love to dial up this popular food blog on Tasty Tuesdays, a weekly feature showcasing local favorites which lately has kept us in the burgeoning loop of food-trailer mania. You'll also find Jodi Bart's charming anecdotal "Tasty Bits" posts, recipes, and restaurant reviews, so you won't have to dread the dinnertime question, "What do you want?"
Consistently good delivery service and beautiful organic produce have kept Greenling a readers' favorite four years running. Don't be overwhelmed by the selection; the Quick Shop Baskets will get you started. Top picks are the Local Box, overflowing with seasonal organic produce, and the Longhorn Box for maximum brain power with snack-ready veggies and fruit, baby carrots, and Texas pecans. Follow @Greenling_com on Twitter for this week's bounty.
Our readers know that behind the spectacular typography employed to promote this chain's sammichy wares, the freshly created comestibles themselves, delivered direct to your stomach's current ZIP code, are meat-and-veggie-packed heavyweights that can knock hunger for a loop without coldcocking a student's (or a harried office-worker's) wallet.
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
601 W. MLK, 512/478-3111
3203 Red River, 512/499-0100
515 Congress, 512/457-4900
6317 Bee Caves Rd., 512/327-6500
2937 W. Anderson, 512/465-9700
10900 Research, 512/340-0050
Since its renovation and expansion, Wheatsville has re-embraced the idea of community. As the landscape of Guadalupe has changed in the past few years, so has the veteran food co-op, and the updated interior and exterior signal that. However, the same friendly vibe is just within its doors; the biggest difference is that the aisles and food selections are a little bigger now.
For the sixth year running the readers' mandate stands: Shady Grove's twinkling canopy, barbecue, Hippie Sandwich, and stone patio make us happy on both sunny days and summer nights. Go by on a Thursday night for the Unplugged live music series.
A friend once told us that at Uchi, it's not just about a reverence for raw fish; it's about a delicate balance of flavors, an attention not just to all five senses but to all five taste sensations – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and that most furtive and flirtatious of the five: umami, or savoriness. As any good romantic comedy will tell you, you may reel in your would-be lover with a shared taste for the finer things in life or a flair for racy repartee under the influence of hot sake, but you and your new squeeze will need to ply every corner of the palate – not just the sweet and savory – to get you to that second date and beyond.
We've all heard the University of Texas slogan "What Starts Here Changes the World," and this has proven true in at least one case — Tiff's Treats, the brainchild of UT grads Tiffany Taylor and Leon Chen. Delivering delicious fresh baked goods at all hours of night and day, Tiff’s has changed the way we crave.
1806 Nueces, 512/473-2600
11011 Research, 512/349-2200
3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/519-3300
117 Louis Henna Blvd 130, Round Rock, 512/808-4300
4301 W William Cannon #210, 512/687-6800
1200 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Bldg , Ste. B, 512/813-7100
While these gems aren't exactly hidden (they each have their loyalists), they are less obvious than more crowded contenders. And therein lies added appeal. St. David's Cafe Divine is an air-conditioned respite in the heart of Downtown offering free wi-fi (boasting a "higher connection," ha-ha!), hot coffee, cold libations, sinful brownies, sandwiches and wraps, and walls of books and gifts. The Sandwich Joint is a hip li'l Burnet Road staple featuring hearty (and oh-so-affordable) "Daily Hook-up" lunch specials with names like Its-a-Gouda, Knuckle Sandwich, and Gobble Gobble. Both have earned our readers' desire to make them more well-known. Well, the secret's out now, baby.
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