Eating Our Way Through Austin Part 1

Austin. An enchanting land that is a Disney Land for any foodie. A place where you can be calmly strolling from savory to sweet food trucks and later find yourself clenching your steering wheel while driving the scenic, yet overly hilly roads to Lake Travis. It’s the kind of city where you just want to eat everything and wish that there were more meals in a day. Our first stop was to find a relaxed brunch cafe where we could start off the day with a hearty dish. Many restaurants had outside seating and added their own zing to it like hanging up rows of string lights along trees paired with striped red and white chairs below for that pop of color.

Austin

Others had a covered ceiling which is perfect for avoiding that beating sun, while still being able to enjoy that occasional breeze.

Austin

Of course, when in Austin, you are bound to pass by more than just a few food trucks. This one screams Arizona and desert with its rustic chalkboard, bright yellow exterior, and of course the one thing no one can miss-the three cacti right outside which complete this food truck.

Austin

Yet another food truck find, but this one was sadly closed. Give me a crepe any time of day and I will be sure to take it. I loved the funky and creative font used on this food truck. The little aliens on the left definitely help with the whole futuristic vibe that I’m getting here. Food trucks are no longer what they used to be- a plain white van selling tacos on the street- rather they now bring novelty to the food truck scene, attracting a whole new type of consumers.

Austin

Let’s jump right into our first meal at South Congress Cafe.

  1. South Congress Cafe

1600 South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704

First off, expect a wait if you will be coming here around brunch time as it was about a 30 minute wait for us. With our stomachs screaming for food, we had the menu up on our phones and decided what we were ordering before coming in. I settled on the Carrot Cake French Toast which consisted of carrot cake, cinnamon vanilla egg batter, cream cheese-pecan syrup, along with a medley of fruit. It was a little deceiving because I thought that the dish would be french toast that was flavored as carrot cake. Rather, it was a carrot cake that was soaked in a batter to resemble a french toast… Regardless, it was a flavorful cake and me and my friend polished all three slices off quickly!

South Congress Cafe

Next up is the Jalapéno Venison Meatloaf with charred poblano demi-glace, garlic whipped Yukon potatoes, and sautéed collard greens. This one definitely won the award on presentation and just looked too good to eat! I sampled a bite from my friend and it has got to be the best meatloaf yet that I have tasted at a restaurant.

South Congress Cafe

If you’re into seafood then you will love the Crab Enchiladas. With a combination of crab lump meat, jalapeño, shallot, house made corn tortillas, cilantro lime sauce, refried black beans, and lime sour cream, this dish packs great flavor and has different textures that complement each other. I am usually used to having beef or chicken in enchiladas, so this dish was a nice twist by using seafood.

South Congress Cafe

2. Halal Bros

2712 Guadalupe Street Austin, TX 78705

Warning: Do not share this dish with a friend if you value your friendship. You’ll end up ordering a second plate or god forbid, your friend may eat more than their fair share. This didn’t happen to me, although me and my friends were contemplating the idea, which yes… quickly died once we stepped foot inside. This is the Chipotle heaven of Mediterranean food. The juicy grilled chicken complemented the fragrant basmati rice perfectly, along with their legendary white sauce. I would suggest getting any of their rice plates, which come with a meat of your choice such as beef shawarma, tender chopped lamb, or even a combination plate for the sampler within you. If you’re not too fond of hot sauce, mention that to them beforehand so that you don’t have half your chicken drenched in a fiery condiment.

Halal Bros

A heavenly plate of chicken kebab over rice covered with a magical sauce. I would ask for extra sauce, because it is really just that good!

Halal Bros

3.   Stile’s Switch and BBQ

6610 North Lamar Boulevard  Austin, TX 78757

BBQ is a must in ATX or anywhere in Texas for that matter. Our tray was brimming with beef brisket, beef ribs, mac n cheese, and a loaded Frito pie.

Frito Pie? It’s not just some Fritos simply covered with chili cheese. It’s tender beef brisket marinated in barbecue sauce and mixed with Fritos, spicy Jalapeño garnish, a moundful of cheese, sweet beans, and topped with crunchy, fresh onions. This is one time that you definitely should go for the extraordinary rather than simply brisket alone, unless you choose to order both of course like we did. The brisket was juicy & charred to perfection and the beef ribs were humongous & Fred Flintstone sized. Inside it was very spacious, rustic looking, and just the place where you could enjoy the quintessence of barbecue. The employees were friendly and even gave us some free brisket on the side and super-sized our Frito pie after seeing our indecisiveness on what to order. No matter what mood you come into this BBQ joint with, you will leave a changed, satisfied, and happy person.

Stiles Switch BBQ

The old fashioned general store feel of Stiles Switch even came right down to the drinks. Creamy vanilla with a touch of bubble gum was a must have to complete this meal.

Stiles Switch BBQ

In between all of that eating, a little exploring doesn’t hurt. Nothing like climbing up a mountain for a scenic view to burn off those extra calories. Well, it’s actually more of a steep, and rocky hill that only took us a few minutes to climb up. Located right before the famous 360 Bridge, this climb leads you to a mesmerizing view overlooking the Austin Country Club golf course, 360 Bridge, and the classic rolling hill country. It’s a surreal feeling to just stand there and take in the gorgeous sights. It’s a free attraction so why not add it to your plans?

4. 360 Bridge

Loop 360 and Lake Austin

Austin, TX 78746

360 Bridge

And that’s not it, only the end of Part 1! Check soon for Eating through Austin Part 2 where Arpeggio Grill, The Hideout CoffeeHouse, and Graffiti Park will be featured next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Houston Bites: Ca Phe Phin- Vietnamese Coffee House

Cà Phê Phin. The name has a catchy sound to it. Cà phê is actually the Vietnamese word for coffee and phin is the drip by drip brewing process that they use to make the coffee. Me and my friends were looking for a cafe that we hadn’t been to before in Houston, and so this place seemed like the perfect find. You may have driven by this place numerous times not knowing what quenching drinks lay inside (If you are a Houstonian, that is). This coffee house lays tucked away in the middle of a shopping center on Nasa Rd 1. It is right next to Akimi Sushi & Stir Fry, which is a great landmark to have to find this place. Located in Houston, this cafè has quite the prime location as it is a minute’s drive from Nasa Space Center. If you are looking for a laid-back, calm atmosphere to talk to your friends, do some homework, or just get a drink, then this is a place that you should put down on your to-do list. I, myself, will be coming back for sure to try some of their different drinks.

Right when we walked in, we instantly felt the inviting and cozy atmosphere. The sunlight, shining in from the large windows, lit up the whole interior and gave it a very nice and natural feel. The funky cultural artifacts around gave additional character to the small space.

Ca Phe PhinCa Phe Phin

Here is the menu that we spent forever looking at. I personally am a big green tea and thai tea person, but I decided to try something different while here. The Ca Phe Sua was described as a translucent, rich smooth drink with light condensed milk and so I tried that one out in frappe form!

Menu

The delicious Ca Phe Sua frappe! It had a strong coffee taste but was creamy and satisfying. If you love coffee, but want a cold drink for the day then I would suggest you try out the Ca Phe Sua.

Ca Phe Sua Frappe

One of my friends got the Banana Japanese Green Tea Frappe, but without the bananas. This drink did not have a bitter after-taste as some green tea frappes do, so this is one you will enjoy!

Green Tea Frappe

And finally, pictured on the left is the pineapple slush. Even though this a coffee house and you would think that the only good products would be the coffee, the pineapple slush did not disappoint. For those people who prefer fruity over coffee drinks, this is a go-to! On the right is the salted caramel frappe, which again tasted just as one would expect, with a hint of salted caramel. All of us finished our drinks and left with the intention of returning to try the other delights that we did not get a chance to. I really wanted to get the toasted sesame frappe. I am curious as to how that one will taste, but we will have to wait till the next visit.

pineapple slush