SXSW 2009: Chow Report
The other day, I posted a list of my favorite places to eat while in Austin for SXSW. Since then, I've had some valuable feedback from a few trusted locals, and I've also learned that two of the places on my list, sadly, have closed their doors. (So you won't be able to savor those delicious chilaquiles for breakfast at Las Manitas this year, nor that juicy steak at McClusky's. Este es la vida.)
But the good thing is that there are plenty of new places I've been tipped off about. Here are a few...
• The Best Wurst: If you're looking for a quick lunch or a late-night snack, there are countless street vendors in Austin, but none can compete with the quality of the aptly named Best Wurst. Try the snoked jalapeño sausage, all the way (kraut, grilled onions, brown mustard and Best Wurst homemade curry ketchup)—filling, and only $4. You can find Best Wurst stands on E 6th St.
• Casa Columbia: This place is a must-dine spot if you're looking for authentic South American cuisine. Go for the fried plantains, meat-and-potato empanadas, and the pabellon (shredded beef in a tasty sauce) or tamal valluno (corn masa stuffed with beef, chicken, pork and veggies). 1614 E. 7th St.
• The Ginger Man: Paste publisher Nick Purdy's favorite Austin watering hole, The Ginger Man is the place to go in town if you take beer drinking seriously. Their selection is unparalleled, and it's a great place to talk music and music business over a pint.
• Mann's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que: We hear that Mann's has some of the most tender, moist, flavorful brisket anywhere in town. They don't drown their meats in sauces, but use a dry rub instead, letting the meat's smoky flavor speak for itself. There are also a huge variety of sides to choose from. 8624 Research, 459-5077.
• Maria's Taco Xpress: The tacos are good here, but it's the festive atmosphere and outdoor seating that makes it memorable. Supposedly, the very best time to go is at noon on Sundays, for "Hippie Sunday Church," i.e. Maria's brunch, complete with live music and dancing. Order the tacos pastor and/or some breakfast tacos, and set yourself up with a mango margarita or bloody mary. 2529 S Lamar Blvd.
• Maudie's Tex-Mex: Great for breakfast lunch or dinner, Maudie's is an Austin institution. The menu is your standard tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and chalupas, but done exceptionally well. For breakfast, try the chipotle shrimp migas con queso. 2608 W. 7th St.
*If the spring-breakish vibe of the E 6th St. bar scene is getting to be a little much, try the relatively laid-back bars down W 6th St. —Key Bar, J Black's, Union Park, The Ranch and Molotov all come highly recommended. Also, check out managing editor Nick Marino's post, "The Best Places to Drink in Austin."