Top 10 Constant Cravings
1) Tom Yam Chicken Noodle Soup, Xian Sushi & Noodle This has become my go-to lemongrass-chile soup in town. Several spots have delicious firepots of similarly flavor-profiled tom yum, but the hand-pulled noodles push this one to the top. Coconut milk cools the fiery broth (though there's still enough heat to blast through any sinus issues), and the adorable enoki mushrooms and other veggies add a lovely texture. Pro tip: It's just as delicious when taken to go.
2) Short rib salpicon, Eldorado Cafe Braised in adobo with roasted chiles, tomato, and sherry, this shredded short rib dish is robust and full of flavor. The pickled onions cut the richness with delightful acidity, and the whole shebang pairs perfectly with their CheezNRice (basmati with roasted chiles, mixed with house queso). Try the Sandanista – vodka and watermelon aguas frescas – while you're at it.
3) Brisket-stuffed croissant, Bonhomie I'm genuinely sorry if you didn't get a chance to try this ridiculously delicious French-Texan mash-up, because, my friends, it's no longer on the menu. Consider this an in-memoriam blurb for the made-from-scratch croissant filled with shredded brisket and served with au jus. R.I.P. (Still, their newly revamped menu is absolutely worth a trip.)
4) Black forbidden rice, Honest Mary's OK, really it's the entire lineup of choices at this build-a-bowl eatery that is worth a mention. Newly opened in the Arboretum, this health-centric, flavor-forward fast-casual spot has a surprisingly craveworthy superfood-style rice that pairs with just about anything you could pile on top – from fresh poke to locally sourced farm veggies. (p.s. They've got Austin Beerworks' Pearl Snap on tap.)
5) CannaBees Rescue Blend Honey Local and new to the scene, BeeDelightful has married two of the Earth's greatest offerings in one adorable jar: Cannabidiol (CBD) and raw honey. Infused with an isolate form of the anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory wonder product, this variety of yummy honey also includes honey from their rescue bees. Check their website for a growing list of vendor locations.
6) Lunch sashimi plate, Komé Some of us don't get up early enough for breakfast. Lunch is essential, and even better when you can load up on brain-boosting omega-3s. There are sushi deals all over town, but Komé's sashimi lunch – seven types of fish, plus roe, served with a bowl of perfect rice and Japanese pickles – only sets you back $14.50, and it's some of the freshest, most thoughtfully prepared fish in town. Bonus: They have saké kombucha cocktails and a brand- new, bigger space.
7) Ta Lay Dancing, Titaya's Thai Cuisine This is not news: Titaya's offers some of the best Thai food around. Yes, their fan favorites like pad thai and gang kiew warn (green curry) are wonderful, but this queen of classic dishes rules. Ta Lay Dancing is loaded with shrimp, squid, green mussels, and veggies in their delectable, spicy Tom Yum sauce, and served with white rice. It has magical (hangover) healing properties.
8) Escargot, Le Politique Eating snails seems so exotic for many diners, but when they're smothered with a garlic parsley butter sauce from the new Downtown French brasserie, escargot becomes approachable. And maybe it's just me, but the flaky puff pastries look like tiny chef's hats atop each of the dish's wells.
9) The Stooges (Bar Style) Pizza, Via 313 The crispy browned cheese edges of Via's thinner pie pair perfectly with the spinach, marinated artichoke, and shallot toppings on this beauty. With a little extra of their signature red sauce and some bonus Parmesan crisps, this is a pizza I dream of regularly. There's no need for meat on this one.
10) Van Dayum!, Blue Owl Brewery This sour red ale was my gateway drug into the rabbit hole that is the sour beer world. I also love the saltiest of goses, but the power behind a fermented red ale makes this beer dangerously drinkable, especially with a right-on-the-money 5.7% ABV.