One of the things I was most looking forward to attending South by Southwest for was FOOD! I had such a long list of BBQ, Tex Mex and other awesome cuisine to try that I feel like I hardly made a dent. Though I will definitely be hitting the gym for weeks because of all I did try.
One of the first foods I had to seek out once landing in Austin was Chili! I’m a huge chili enthusiast and near the top of my list of must-try places was the Texas Chili Parlor. I had to try an authentic “bowl of red” the official food of the state of Texas. This place did not disappoint! Their chili is amazing and the atmosphere is original and not-to-be-missed. I liked the XX chili the best but also tried the black bean and sausage and habanero, both are delicious.
One of the second foods I had to seek out was queso. I’d heard a lot about queso and chips, mainly that we don’t have it in California, which is true. I tried it in several places. None really blew me away but the best was at the Oasis overlooking lake Travis. This is a beautiful location, I highly recommend it. While there I tried their puerco pibil quesadilla. I’ve always wanted to try puerco pibil ever since director Robert Rodriguez included a “10 min. cooking school” teaching how to make it on the DVD of Once Upon a Time in Mexico. It’s the dish Johnny Depp orders in that movie. It is truly amazing!!
During SXSW we ate at several excellent places on the famous 6th street: The Iron Cactus, Old Pecan St. Cafe, Jackalope, Death Metal Pizza, Daddy’s, but the place that stood out the most to me was Habana. They have excellent mariquitas. But if you’re into cuban food and in a hurry, you can’t beat the MMMpanadas empanada truck! This was a pleasant discovery I made through twitter. They have awesome gourmet empanadas, everything from savory like green chili chicken to sweet ones like smores!
As far as BBQ is concerned I was a bit underwhelmed. I guess we have pretty good barbque here in California. I tried several places including The County Line, but the place I really wanted to try was The Salt Lick. I didn’t get to make it out to their location but I tried their BBQ at the airport. Their sauce is great, sort of a sweet and spicy mustard based sauce. Hamburgers may not count as BBQ but I had to make a stop in at Mighty Fine which was a stone’s throw away from my hotel. They rival In-N-Out’s burgers but aren’t quite up to that level.
Of course, one of the goals of the trip was to not only see a movie at the famous Alamo Drafthouse but to also eat dinner during the movie! I saw many films at both the Drafthouse South Lamar and the Ritz on 6th street and made it a point at almost every movie to order something off the menu. Everything I tried at the Drafthouse was good, but their milkshakes are the best I’ve ever had in my life! They are unbelievably light and creamy and topped with candy coated sunflower seeds. They’re inspired by the movie Pulp Fiction and are definitely worth $5!