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Tacos, tacos, tacos

Get thee to Taqueria Chapala on E. 1st/Cesar Chavez (2000 or 2100 block) for some righteous barbacoa (the barbacoa tacos special). They fry up the tortillas beforehand and IIRC it comes with onions, cilantro, and lots of peppers. It is not healthy but it sure is delicious. Chips and salsa varies but that tacos special is fantastic and in the same league as scrumptiouschef favorite El Taco Rico's barbacoa (which is my second favorite barbacoa only because I am a sucker for fried accompaniments). Bonus is that they are super fast; I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a lunch order.

Mar 04, 2011
geek23 in Austin

Alamo Drafthouse

I'm with ya. I love going to Alamo to watch movies and have a few cold ones. Used to order food every time I went, but I stick to popcorn now *if* I order any food at all. It used to be more reasonably priced and tastier. With all of the great food options in this town atm, the food at Alamo is now a pretty bad deal.

Sep 17, 2010
geek23 in Austin

Any good Chinese food in SW austin?

Glad to find this thread yesterday, as I was having some serious cravings but driving from downtown to Ho Ho is just too annoying of a trek at rush hour. So we went to Tienjin instead and were pleasantly surprised.

We got there early, so the restaurant was empty, but it had filled up nicely by the time we left. Many online reviews suggest asking for the "other" menu but we were provided with both upon seating. We tried dishes from both menus:

- Crab Ragoon - I love these fried cream cheesy bombs, and theirs were very good, with an actual depth of flavor to the gooey-crunchy fried goodness,

- Fried Dumplings - okay, probably wouldn't order them again. 8 pcs and nice crunch on the bottom but filling was a bit bland.

- Pipa Tofu - their speciality according to one of the owners. Lovely pockets of fluffy tofu combined with minced shrimp, shaped into little oblong spheres and lightly fried, served with a gelatinous white wine sauce. I really enjoyed the shrimp flavor with the soft tofu texture, though I could have done with a bit more crispiness on the outside/contrast in texture. The sauce complemented the tofu well. I liked these so much I may order them every time and plan on trying to make a totally bastardized version at home.

- Spicy Crispy Chicken - "Spicy Crispy __(anything)_" was recommended in several reviews online. I am very curious as to how this dish was made...small pieces of chicken seemingly dry-fried(?) with grilled onions and jalapenos. Neat preparation - the chicken was indeed crispy but juicy at the same time. Perhaps in salt? (ETA from eating leftovers at lunch - nice hint of five-spice-ish sweetness) I totally want to see how they prepare other proteins in this style, but we had two complaints - it definitely was not very spicy, and I thought it was overall too salty. (I'm thinking part of that is because salt is used in the way it's "fried," but I don't know for sure.) That said, I kept sneaking bites off of the plate when we were full.

- Sesame Chicken and Orange-Flavored Beef - I like trying new dishes and cuisines but sesame chicken is one of my comfort foods, and the best I've had remains from Ho Ho. Orange beef is the BF's Chinese comfort food so we got these two dishes to go to see how they compared. The Sesame Chicken was nowhere near as delicious as Ho Ho or Din Ho and used the same curious chicken prep (very small pieces) as the spicy crispy dish. I have to say for chicken I far prefer fewer, larger pieces of meat, and dark meat at that. The orange beef was really tender and tasty and I wish I was having that for lunch today instead of the chicken...

Other reviews note that this is a mom-and-pop shop, and we briefly spoke to both of them, very welcoming atmosphere. They greeted the next table over by name. All in all we are *really* happy to have found such good food down south and look forward to trying more items off the Cantonese/second/other/authentic/real/tasty/blahblahblah menu. I expect Tienjin to become our go-to South and takeout place for Chinese food...

Aug 06, 2010
geek23 in Austin

The Current State of Soul Food in Austin Texas: Summer 2010

We went to Bayseas several weeks ago, while they were still fixing up the main dining room. I had their fried catfish special with a side of hush puppies. The fish was fried perfectly and the hush puppies were the best I've ever had (note: I normally am not a fan of 'em...but I could not get enough of these). Came with fries and some wheat bread.

Went back about a month ago and had the trout instead of the catfish, it was nowhere near as good (the hush puppies were, though). I look forward to having their fried catfish again this week and trying some of the daily soul food specials.

Jul 28, 2010
geek23 in Austin

Great food around the Long Center for the Performing Arts and other various recs first time in Austin?

For a quick, cheap, and delicious lunch nearby, Izzoz Tacos (1207 South 1st Street, big blue trailer) is about a ten-minute walk south from the Long Center and has two excellent veggie tacos - the portabella mushroom taco and the fried avocado taco. Their migas taco is also quite good but I haven't had much else off the breakfast menu there.

Austin Java is about a ten-minute walk west of the Long Center on Barton Springs Road. Good coffee and decent food (breakfast quesadillas are veggie and filling).

Karibu on East 7th (Ethiopian) has a very filling lunch special.

For more typical restaurant dining, I second the recommendation for East Side Cafe on Manor Road. I *adore* their artichoke manicotti (get the full order) and their sweet potato sides.

Drink lots of water while you're out and about.

Jun 16, 2010
geek23 in Austin

Working on my Austin Food Itinerary of Must-Eats

You have to try the Lone Star beef torta at Izzoz Tacos. It's a wonderful thing. The same meat is also used in the Slowrider if you would rather have a taco. I've been going there over a year and have tried the entire menu, but lately it's been all about that beef torta.

Just thinking about it makes me want one NOW.

Jun 10, 2010
geek23 in Austin

Natto

Asahi has almost a dozen varieties of natto, including two that are GMO-free. So, so yummy.

Sep 23, 2008
geek23 in Austin