Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Austin catch-up

Alright, when I normally go out of town, I take pictures of everything.  I want people to experience everything and I want to write about everything.  But, after I get back and relax, the pictures just get pushed back further on my camera and I gradually forget what I was supposed to do.  Things are slow and as I look and see that I haven't written anything in a while, I need to catch things up and get rolling.

Austin is a great city for food.  It is starting to get to the level that St. Louis is at.  Every city has their fancy places and every city has their small places.  Every city has their farm-to-table and every city has their food trucks.  What makes certain places stand out though, is how they do it.

On 6th street, downtown, is a place for pub crawlers to get a complete hard-on.  The whole street has pubs and bars located side by side, for about 3 blocks or more, down the street, on both sides.  If you had started at 9am and went to each bar, had a bite to eat and a drink and listened to some music and then moved to the next bar, it would probably take you most of the day to finish every bar.  However, I didn't go into any bars: I had my two kids with me.  So, what do you do in an area which caters to the over 21 crowd and you have a 5 and a 7 year old?

We followed our noses and found ourselves near a pizza joint.  This place with a hole in the wall.  It had room for a doorway and a very small window and inside was a guy making and selling pizzas.  It was decorated with New York memorabilia and all sorts and had a very pizza theme to everything.  While the decoration was pizza, behind the glass, WAS pizza. You could see the yummy, steamy goodness of real tasty pizza.  Not some stupid paper thin crust, it was full, bready, yeasty happiness and with a tangy sauce and good ratio of cheese to meat, it was a great meal.

While this picture, shows the pizza a bit disheveled  this was after a long walk while carrying the pizza and holding the hands of said 5 and 7 year old.  So, even though it was a bit beat up, it tasted awesome.  I'd give it a 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.

 As we were wondering around one day, we found a food truck.  We had learned that food trucks are starting to hit Austin and they have a few spots around the city where they stay.  While driving around, we found one: Lulu B's.  Lulu B's makes Vietnamese sandwiches, which means that they take the awesome flavors and stick them in perfectly crusty and yummy French bread rolls.
Nothing was too expensive with the average cost around $6-$10 each.  There were salads, rolls and sandwiches and there was actually nothing that tasted bad.  Every herb was fresh from the mint leaves to the lemongrass.  Everything tasted so good that the leftovers went into the refrigerator and became lunch for the next day.
My suggestion is, if you are in the downtown Austin area, hunt down this truck and eat there.  Everything is good, I'd give it a 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.

For dinner one night, we wanted something fun and close, since this location was across the street from our hotel.  We ate at a restaurant called Pirana Killer Sushi, and the lit up sign could be seen perfectly in the dark.

Pirana Killer Sushi is listed as an upscale sushi restaurant and it was inside.  I saw every guy wearing at least a collared shirt with slacks and about every woman in a nice dress and heels.  It isn't really a place to bring kids, but sure enough, they were great serving us.  They were very friendly and makes you think twice that perhaps nice sushi places are okay to bring kids.

We ordered some Japanese noodles with chicken for the boys along with some gyoza and they tasted delicious.

I ordered a Korean Beef Tenderloin and expected something more Asian in presentation and got this:
But the flavor was there, the asparagus as cooked perfectly and seasoned and the beef was tender and juicy: a 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.

My wife ordered some sushi and sashimi:

Now, it is a bit more expensive than the golden arches, for your kids, but my kids liked to be in this "grown up" atmosphere and I'm sure that if your kids are good and not so loud, they will like it and fit in here just fine.

The last place we stopped at was called Wholly Cow.

Wholly Cow is a burger joint, situated about a block from the Capital building, and all of their beef comes from grass fed cows.  So, no hormones, no added anything but just regular naturally raised cows.  I know this may sound cliche', but the burgers tasted like burgers.  Albeit, the burger I ordered, tasted like a very good and delicious hamburger, and I know that it tasted better than most other burgers I have had.  I'd give my burger a 4 out of 5.

The place was busy and with more people standing in line than sitting with food I knew there would be a wait, but worth it.

My wife, who is on weight watchers, wanted a burger without the bun.  They have something for that.  I think they called it a "Paleo-burger".  So, this burger was a regular burger except, instead of a bun, they did a smart move and placed the burger and fixings in between two grilled portabella mushrooms.

So, I know I mentioned a bad place to go in Austin and I hope these good places make up for it.

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