Austin Food Love - Part 1

Austin is a great food town. I've been there a few times and I never feel that I have enough time. I was in Austin last month for SXSW Interactive. It's one of the times when I can mix business with pleasure.

Let's start with one of our favorite places - La Condesa. This restaurant is just a five minute walk down 2nd Street from the convention center. We discovered it last year, also while attending SXSW. An afternoon of sangria, guacamole, and the salsa sampler would be reason enough to go. The salsa sampler ranges from light and fresh to smoky to a bit of heat.

Perfect sangria...


...paired with fresh tortilla chips, salsas, and fresh guacamole
But to stop there would mean missing my absolutely favorite thing on the menu - congrejo tostadas - mini tostadas with generous amounts of lump crab meat, corn, tomatoes, and lime. We went twice while we were in Austin and the second time we got individual orders, no sharing.

Congrejo tostadas - delicious bites of perfection
We rounded out our first meal with a couple of other dishes from the botanas part of the menu:

Callos y coco - diver scalops with lemongrass-coconut cream,
avocado and grapefruit "caviar"

Flautas de pollo - roasted chicken flautas with avocado,
crema, and salsa verde
On our second visit (and our last meal in Austin) I tried a couple of new dishes (in addition to the congrejo tostadas):

Panza de puerco huaraches - Berkshire pork belly, blue cheese,
poached pears, arugula, and radish on a corn tortilla base

Elote - grilled corn with cotija, chile, and lime

As much as we love La Condesa - and trust me, I will be back every chance I get when visiting Austin - there were also new places we wanted to try. One of those places is 24 Diner. As the name suggests, it's open 24 hours a day (except for a relatively brief closure on Wednesdays, 1 - 6 AM). Your first decision is to select something from the all-day breakfast menu - waffles, french toast, eggs, hash - or from the diner "classics" comfort food menu - burgers, grilled cheese, deviled eggs, meatloaf. Since I couldn't decide I chose chicken & waffles. The nice thing is the chicken is boneless but still moist, even the white meat. The full portion was GENEROUS and could have easily been shared between the two of us. Unfortunately we didn't know that and when you're staying in a hotel, leftovers aren't really an option :(

Chicken & waffles, Texas-style
The day we went they had just introduced a new dessert item - sticky toffee pudding. I was too full at the restaurant but had to take a portion to go. It would have been better served warm but it was still yummy.

Sticky toffee pudding
And a trip to Texas wouldn't be complete without some barbecue. Believe it or not this was the first time for me even though I'd visited Texas more than a few times. This delicious platter of smoked and barbecued meats is from Stubb's Bar-B-Q.


My next post will focus on the other area that Austin does so well - food trucks!


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