Austin is a rapidly growing city, known for its expanding tech hub, the capitol of Texas, and its unique culture. The food reflects this unique conglomeration, and on a recent weekend trip I sampled as much as I possibly could. Below are four food and drink opportunities that are not to be missed!
1) BBQ at Lamberts
BBQ in Texas is famous for good reason. When I asked Johnny, a friend from college, where we could go for the best BBQ, he immediately had his response: “Lamberts.”
Located in the 2nd Street District, Lamberts has a restaurant downstairs as well as a cool bar upstairs. I ordered the pulled pork for myself and sampled the brisket and steak, and every bite I had was so tender and delicious. I didn’t even order sides, unwilling to be distracted from my pulled pork smothered in house BBQ sauce.
2) “Manmosa” at Bangers
Bangers is known for its delicious sausage creations and fun, outdoor atmosphere. Found on up and coming Rainey Street, this restaurant is so popular that long lines often form on the weekends.
While it’s true their food is great, I was equally impressed with their “Manmosa,” which comes in a huge glass mug and contains an entire bottle of champagne. In fact, they are so large that the restaurant only lets its customers order one per person! They are perfect for sipping on through a long meal and listening to music. I couldn’t tackle one myself, so I shared with a friend, and even still we were both feeling a little buzzed at the end of our lunch. The best part? The price: each Manmosa is only $10!
3) Mac and cheese at Snack Bar
I am a mac and cheese connoisseur. Given this, I was still bowled over by how good the mac and cheese appetizer was at Snack Bar, a restaurant with a great outdoor patio on S Congress Avenue. It was raining, but we felt toasty underneath their roof, with fires warming the air.
Though it was an appetizer, I ordered the mac and cheese for my meal. Many M & C dishes have most of the cheese on the top, but in my bowl a good deal of cheese sauce was on the bottom as well, allowing me to revel in the gooey goodness. It was delightful from start to finish.
4) Hot chocolate at Opa Coffee and Wine Bar
Opa was one of the last places I visited on my Austin weekend, but ended up becoming one of my favorite locations. I had my doubts at first – you can see an Office Depot and CVS from the entrance – but as soon as I passed through the stone gate it felt like I was in another world.
Opa has a large outdoor seating area, strung with white lights and covered by a beautiful live oak tree. Customers can sit at tables or even on swinging benches, and on certain nights live musicians play to the small crowd. Opa has indoor seating as well, with food and a full bar.
I ordered a hot chocolate, which came out in a large, comforting mug. My friends and I took our drinks outside, tracing the curves of the live oak tree and feeling a little like we had entered the secret garden. As my friend commented, “never underestimate the power of twinkle lights.”
So there you have it! Four things to eat and drink in the great city of Austin. I know there is so much more to discover, and I cannot wait to return.