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Going to Austin Saturday without reservations

If you go at 430 I think you will get a spot at the counter.

about 20 hours ago
lixlix in Austin

Birthday During SxSW

Soto is very different and I actually prefer the sushi at Soto. It's my favorite sushi spot in Austin. Just went today and found out they have A5 grade Japanese wagyu.

Mar 02, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Weekend in Austin

Yeah SXSW will make everything very difficult and expensive. Most of the boutique hotels are possibly booked already. You might have to book somewhere further away from town.

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

You're also close to Via 313 at the Violet Crowne, Kyoten, a bunch of other food trailers, a bunch of other bars.

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Weekend in Austin

If its one lunch and one dinner, I would go with Odd Duck for lunch (unless if its Saturday as they are not open then) and Uchiko for dinner.

If it is a saturday, I would do lunch at LA BBQ. Go early.

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Weekend in Austin

Do you have any culinary preferences or budget constraints?

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Your best bet is Sweet Potato Noodles (Jap Chae) at a Korean spot or bean thread noodles at a Chinese/Vietnamese spot.

Pho is rice noodles as is vermicelli so you should be fine.

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

I would also suggest substituting ESK Thai Kun for ESK Hole in the Wall as I think the food is better at ESK Thai Kun and there are more options for bar hopping/food hopping in the E 6th area as opposed to near campus. Unless if you really want Ramen in which case you should just go to Ramen Tatsuya.

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin
1

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

I tend to avoid nostalgia/Austiny spots as there are too many places these days that are uniquely Austin but with better food.

As to Mighty Cone, its origins are indeed from Hudson's. Hudson's had a long time item on their menu, the Hot and Crunchy trout. They were asked to be one of the vendors for ACL and adapted that recipe to chicken and later avocado fried in the same mix of seeds, spices, breadcrumbs that the trout was fried in. Then its wrapped in a tortilla placed in a paper cup for easy festival eating.

Taste wise, it is a slightly crunchier chicken tender wrapped in a store bought tortilla.

What Mighty Cone revolutionized is better festival eating, but in a non festival environment, there are too many better choices .

Feb 26, 2015
lixlix in Austin

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

Feb 24, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Saturday Lunch

You got to go during lunch Wednesday to Saturday I believe. It's worth it.

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Saturday Lunch

If you don't mind something casual, I would go to Melvin's and get the Reuben, The Italian hot beef dip, and the Pork Confit Sandwiches at the least.

Their sandwiches are large and they cut them in 1/2 so its easy to share. Its also easily the best sandwichs in Austin.

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Restaurants with lean red meat options?

What about Pho ?

If you want the fancy version, you can always do Elizabeth Street.

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

On Wednesday, I am not sure you will have the room to have breakfast tacos, eat a bbq lunch, drink beer/possibly snack on Pizza, and then eat a dinner.

What I would recommend is

Breakfast Taco

Jester King Brewery/Thirsty Planet Brewery. Possibly snack at Pieous. Maybe even hit up one of the wineries near 290/Wemberly like Duchman's.

Then have dinner BBQ at either Stiles Switch, Freedmen's (try their large bourbon selection), or Lambert's.

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

The other Mexican goat option that I like is Taco More which in addition to a Cabrito taco also has a Cabrito soup.

Teji's (an Indian restaurant that has a location near campus) has a great Goat Curry.

If you end up going to Taco More (the one up north near North Lamar), you can stop by next door at Michoacana Natural Ice Cream. This isn't in the nicest part of town but you should be more than safe. Both spots will be fairly hole in the wall but the food is great.

My favorite ice cream spot in Austin is Dolce Neve. Make sure to try their 70% Chocolate and the Cassata if they have it (its ricotta, candied orange peel, and chocolate chips, essentially a canoli filling in ice cream form). Lick is pretty good too with a nice honey and goat cheese flavor and its right next to Barley Swine.

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Caspian Grill confirmed awesome. Such great value too. My favorite was the roasted eggplant appetizer and the Akbar Joojeh (The cornish game hen).

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin

How does my itinerary look? Excited for five days in Austin in April!

For your festive Mexican Dinner, I highly recommend Licha's Cantina.

Feb 23, 2015
lixlix in Austin
1

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Usually but there are a few that aren't available in both forms or works better with/without rice.

I love uni but it works better with rice and is not available in sashimi form oftentimes.

I think toro works better with rice.

Usually the rich tasting seafood I have with rice and the cleaner, more refreshing ones I can eat more of and thus have in sashimi form to limit total rice intake.

Seafood types that comes with a part that is cooked another way I almost always order. Examples include aji sashimi which is usually 1/2 the fish with the remaining spine and head fried to a chip. Another example would be yellowtail or tuna collar, in which the bone and head is grilled after most of the accessible sashimi meat is eaten.

Feb 21, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Hanabi is awesome. In my top 3 Sushi joints in Austin along with Soto and Tomo.

The omakase at Hanabi is exquisite but you should order in advance. Their Sushi sampler on the blackboard is also a great pick at $27 or so but you usually get a nice selection of 7 or 8 pieces of the more special fishes ( no salmon or maguro here) .

I love Uchi and Uchiko but the regular sushi is just ok. The Tsukiji selection is good but runs like $25 for 3 pieces.

I had a few bad experiences at Musashino so I don't go anymore though the Botan Ebi there is the best in Austin aside from the rare time I have had the live Botan Ebi at Soto.

Feb 20, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Cantonese

BBQ and Seafood Joints -

First Chinese BBQ - best roast duck amongst First CHinese, Din HO, and Ho Ho. If you want the closest thing to Beijing roast duck, don't order the Beijing roast duck at the restaurant as it comes with puffy steamed buns which is really more Cantonese style. What you do is, get a packet of warm freshly made flour tortillas from HEB because the HEB tortillas aren't as charred. Get a bottle of Hoisin sauce, some spring onions, and a cucumber at MT. Buy a whole duck to go from First Chinese. Take it home and have your own Beijing duck feast. Tip : get in to the pocket of the tortilla and pull it in half to get the ideal thinness.
cut batons of cucumber and slivers of green onion.

Din Ho - Best BBQ Pork. depth of flavor and tender.

Best roast pork really depends more on time of day rather than place. YOu want to catch it right when there is a fresh pig off the roaster.

Ho Ho - Best for seafood. crab fried rice, razor clams, steamed live spot prawns (amaebi), geoduck clams, rock grouper (garoupa), you name it.

One dish that all 3 places serve but gets largely ignored is Wonton noodles. With the Ramen craze, I'm not sure why more people aren't in to Wonton noodles. You have a base of extremely toothsome and al dente alkaline noodles, topped with shrimp and pork wontons and a BBQ meat of your choice in a light broth. Usually this costs about $7.50 or so. Not sure why more people dont go for this.

Other favorite dishs at both Din Ho and Ho HO : Hot plate Oyster with ginger and onions and hot plate black pepper scallops.

Guity Pleasure - Walnut Shrimp. Fried shrimp covered in Kewpie mayo served with candied walnuts.

Dim Sum

Haven't had anything that good in Austin. Shanghai was good when they first opened but is just passable now. Same with Fortune. Your only options are Shanghai, Fortune, Chinatown, and Golden Wok. I find Chinatown and Fortune a bit pricy and not neccesarily worth it.

The Ha Gaw (shrimp dumpling) is my measuring stick for Dim Sum. Has to be transluscent, not gummy, even thickness, with fresh crunchy shrimp. So far disappointed everywhere.

Won't even go in to Xiao Long Bao. Nobody can make a decent Xiao Long Bao to save their life in Austin. You get a better product buying the frozen ones from the grocery and steaming yourself.

Feb 20, 2015
lixlix in Austin
1

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Korean Food.

BBQ - Chosun Galbi. The most authentic grill. The best quality short ribs. Grill it yourself option. It will be more expensive than other Korean BBQ places but it is expensive for a reason. THere is also a large selection of specialty dishes you won't find anywhere else but I haven't tried a lot of these. I haven't tried the Bo Ssam here but mean to.

Korea House - Like the duck and tongue BBq here.

Bo Ssam - Steamed pork belly with raw oysters and lettuce wraps. I first found out about Bo Ssam when reading about Momofuku Ssam Bar before David Chang made it big. While the meat at Momofuku is a roasted pork butt, the authentic Bo Ssam is made with steamed pork belly. I've only had the versions at Misung 888 and Miso and I like both. No oysters at Miso though.

Soon dubu chigae - Soft Tofu soup. Sushi Odaku by far has the best since they have homemade tofu. Their seafood is fresh and not overcooked and also the egg is always nicely poached inside. Service can be a bit slow during the lunch rush but it is worth it.

Kamja Tang - named as potato soup, it is really more accurately pork bone soup. The version at Misung 888 is second to none. Very much depth of flavor.

Korean fried chicken - ROcking Rice. the best. Crisp, tangy, and spicy but you have to be careful of small bone shards due to way chicken is cut.

JaJangMien - Noodles in blackbean sauce. THis is the quintessential Korean Chinese Dish. A CHinese dish that got altered for Korean tastes and became more popular in Korea than China. Best version is at Hunan on Lamar. Ignore the rest of the menu here as the rest of the menu is just Panda Express type lunch special CHinese food.

Sulungtang - Korean bone soup with thin sliced beef and vermecelli noodles. I like the version at Osaka on Anderson mill. ALso a nice selection of Ban Chan at Osaka. THe Soondubu Chigae at Osaka also very nice but slightly inferior to the Odaku one.

Korean Chicken soup - Sam Gae Tang. The two counter service Korean restaurants next to groceries carry this (one inside Hanaworld and the other at Lamar and Justin). The quality of chicken can be higher at both and both lack the Gingseng and Herbs that traditionally inhabit this dish but thats to be expected at this price point. Still its a very nourishing dish to have when you have a cold even tough Koreans eat it in the summer.

Too many places with Bibimbap and Pajeon for me to have a favorite and I don't order these two often enough.

Feb 20, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

For most ethnic restaurants in Austin, usually the restaurant excels in one or two dishes and then have a bunch of staples on the menu to please what most people expect at a restaurant of that nationality.

Vietnamese food

Banh Mi -
NG BMT at the top for me. Fantastic gum cutter crispy baguette with a chewy interior, good flavor on meats, fresh veggies. Wish they had dine in.

Baguette House - Bread almost as good as NG BMT, good grilled pork and combination BM.

Tam Deli - Bread a bit too Bolillo like but the freshly made garlic shrimp BM is very hot and very good.

Pho - My gold standard is Pho Danh. Deep rich yet clear broth. Quality meats. fresh Veggies and herb. Less traffic in the Round Rock location so service is also better there compared to Braker location. Other highlights is the noodle soup with shrimp, shrimp balls, and thinly sliced pork knuckles.

Pho King. Very good pho but I somehow prefer the Pho Danh version but its close.

Pho Saigon. Broth almost as good as the previous two. Also has a great version of the soup with shrimp, shrimp balls, and thinly sliced pork knuckles. I actually prefer this soup here barely over the Pho Danh version.

Bun Bo Hue - The classic beef noodle soup from the old capital of Hue. Unlike a pho broth, this is filled with flavors of lemongrass, sweetness from Pineapple juice, and umami and funk from shrimp paste.

My favorite version is at Pho King. The broth is just outstanding. Not only that but there are 4 versions so you can mix up your meats if pork blood cubes and pork knuckles are too adventurous.

Pho Danh version is close but not as complex.

Tan My has a decent version but again the broth is not as complex.

Bo Kho - Vietnamese beef stew. Beef shank stewed with carrots in a rich sauce/soup. Its like beef bourgignon with lemongrass. Can be either served with rice noodles or baguette. I prefer it with baguette.

Duy in the Chinatown complex and Baguette house also in the Chinatown complex. Baguette house has the better bread though.

More formal Vietnamese dining - Sunflower. Some of the dishes are almost cantonese (such as the claypot offerings and the seabass). However, one of the only places to get a banh xeo or vietnamese crepe. Also has a good Bun Rieu ( crab and egg flower soup with tomato and vermicelli).

Sea Dragon - again, some of the dishes are fairly cantonese but if you want a banquet style Vietnamese dinner, this could be a good option. Skip it for lunch as its buffet only.

Nem Nuong - grilled pork paste patties. Thanh Nhi. Very flavorful Nem Nuong wrapped with crunchy cigar in an herb filled spring roll. awesome.

I haven't ordered grilled meats with rice or vermicelli plates recently so I can't say who has the best version of these at present.

Feb 20, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Popping up all over - What are our favorite ethnic restaurants?

Too much info to condense in to one post for me.

I'll make a few wordy posts when I get home.

Feb 19, 2015
lixlix in Austin
1

Austin for 1st time this weekend-recs

If your son claims there are no good restaurants here, perhaps he is used to a level of restaurant in NYC that is simply not available in Austin. Can you at least list the places he has been to so we don't recommend something that he has already tried?

Feb 19, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Daito on the drag

Hi Conquer,

it won't reach the level of a lot of the Kaiseki spots in Japan but I still think its the closest we got.

Feb 18, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Daito on the drag

They definitely serve the full menu including noodles at dinner.

I have never been for lunch so I can't comment.

Feb 17, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Daito on the drag

We went back again on friday for dinner. Tried a lot of dishes that we didn't try the first time.

Had the chawanmushi, the pork belly, the karage, more tamago tofu, more onsen egg, some sushi.

The chawanmushi was very delicately cooked with pieces of fish cake, shrimp, and chicken inside.

The pork belly was stewed for very long and had a great texture on the fatty portion though the lean meat was slightly stringy.

Karage was great. Nicely crisp skin and juicy thigh meat.

The sushi has great rice texture but is packed a bit loose to where it was very difficult to pick up. I always use my fingers to pick up nigiri and even so had difficulty picking it up. The couple next to us tried to do it with chopsticks and failed miserably. I told the manager to tell the kitchen to pack the nigiri rice a bit tighter.

Feb 17, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Barlata - what to get?

I'm a big fan of the squid stuffed with fennel sausage in ink sauce, the octopus, the chef choice gazpacho when it is the ajo blanco, jamon iberico is always good but you can get it from SPEC's for like $80 a pound.

The gambas ajillo is solid and safer choice. THe pig's feet terrine is delicious but a bit heavy.

Feb 16, 2015
lixlix in Austin

Barley Swine vs. Qui

I prefer the food at Barley Swine.

Feb 16, 2015
lixlix in Austin

What Austin really needs

The closest is Java Noodles but its more Indonesian, but then again I consider Nasi Goreng/Mie Goreng more Indonesian than Malaysian.

Its also been many years since I've been to Java Noodles so not sure how good it is now.

There used to be a Malaysian place where Chen's Noodle's currently resides.

Feb 09, 2015
lixlix in Austin