My dad had some use it or lose it vacation time and decided to take off a week in September. After he told me about it, I started entertaining the notion of visiting home, if I find a good deal.
Lately, I’ve been flying Southwest Airlines because they have a direct flight from DCA to AUS. I tested some dates near my dad’s time off and came across an awesome sale. It was too good to pass up! So, I bought my ticket with the intent to work my hours during the time my mom was at her job and my dad became my “co-worker.”
It worked out perfectly because during my off hours, I was able to visit with friends and spend some much needed time with my family in my hometown. The only time I get to go home is during Christmas. I know that’s more than some people, but I was looking forward to time at home that’s outside of the Holiday season.
Naturally, when I go home, I also begin my food tour of Austin. It’s amazing how some of the popular restaurants have made their way outside of the town. The best example is Chuy’s because they now have two locations in Northern Virginia, which my husband and I take advantage of frequently.
If you ever find yourself in the Live Music Capital, check out these local gems!
The Shady Grove — I love the hamburgers from this place! It’s also a wonderful place to listen to live music outside. During the Spring and Summer, they have a series called “Unplugged at the Grove.” Since my time in Austin, they really expanded their outdoor space and it was so much fun outside. They have a drive-in movie type feel and had the movie “Cars” projecting on the wall. I’ve heard in passing that their chicken fried steak (or chicken) is to die for!
Kerbey Lane Cafe — This place is my family’s go-to for brunch after church. It’s literally right around the corner from our church (it’s the same one my husband and I got married in!). My dish of choice is the Migas and I ask for extra torillas. The Kerbey Queso is a must get too!
Waterloo Ice House — My favorite dish here is the Texas Philly. They use pablano peppers insead of regular green peppers and it has such a great flavor! My family ironically also comes here for breakfast as well. They have tasty breakfast tacos and just has such a great Austin overall vibe.
Austin Cake Ball — This is a relatively new place because I don’t recall having a cake ball when I lived in Austin. Last Christmas, my mom got a Austin Cake Ball gift and it was yummy! When we were walking around the Domain area, I noticed they had a brick-and-mortar restaurant and thought it would be nice to stop and have a cake ball snack. Best decision of the day!
Trudy’s Tex-Mex — This restaurant has an a-m-a-z-i-n-g happy hour and you have to try their margaritas! You would do yourself an injustice if you don’t drink it, seriously. Their famous Migas and Fajitas is served all day and they have some other great breakfast dishes that are served all day too. If you haven’t guessed by now, Texans love breakfast.
Schlotzsky’s — My husband has told me that they also have a Schlotzsky’s in Arizona! He sent me a picture of the location there informing patrons of their Austin roots. I love coming here for lunch and we stopped by here to have a bite with an old friend.
Thundercloud Subs — My dad and I frequented this beloved Austin sandwich shop when I lived there. We thought it would only be appropriate to stop in for lunch when I was in town. The bread they use is so good and I enjoy their “thunder sauce” on any sandwich I get. Yum!
Dan’s Hamburgers — With a name like Dan’s Hamburgers, it goes without saying that their burgers are DELICIOUS! I used to eat them at 6am when they opened up as a teen when I worked the inventory shift of my job in high school. In the morning hours, they have a full-service breakfast available with one of the best breakfast tacos.
Texican Cafe — Well, if you haven’t figured it out, I love Tex-Mex food. Texican Cafe has some of the best enchiladas! I pretty much religiously get the enchiladas here. My mom loves their soups and my dad pretty much sticks with their chimichanga. In the morning hours, they have a full breakfast too!
The Salt Lick — Okay, I seriously saved the best for last. You can’t go to Texas without eating Texas Barbeque. It wouldn’t have been a complete visit, if I didn’t have brisket. So, that’s what I had at the Salt Lick, as well as ribs and sausage. No words can best explain how the food tastes. It’s pure amazingness. I don’t know how they do it. The restaurant isn’t techically in Austin, it’s in Driftwood, but it’s only a 20 minute ride or so from my parents house. We ended our meal with the chocolate chip pecan pie, which was heavenly. It was oh so very Texan of us!
Have you been to Austin? What’s your favorite restaurant? If you haven’t, what’s your favorite hometown place?