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Sour Duck ~ Austin TX

Austin, Texas By July 18, 2018 Tags: , , , , No Comments

 

The Vitals:
the spot: Sour Duck Market 1814 E. Martin Luther King Blvd Austin TX 78702
the eats: Goat Chorizo Breakfast Sandwich
the bucks: $9
the full nelson: it looks like a burger. it tastes like legit Mexican food. And its for breakfast.

Sour Duck Market is the latest offering from Bryce Gilmore, the chef who turned a food trailer into two of the more celebrated restaurants in Austin Texas: Odd Duck and Barley Swine. I have been going to Odd Duck for years now, in part because I take food tours there via Austin Eats and because ponying up to the bar for a brilliant cocktail program and some intriguing farm to table cooking with a Texas edge is worth the money for the babysitter. Though its set up as fast casual, Sour Duck is serving up something more than his Odd relative: a family friendly environment. The place is practically kid proof, has a full bar and serves up the same quality ingredients is a casual all day menu. There is a God. And God likes breakfast.

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Bird Bird Biscuit ~ Austin

Austin, Breakfast, Cheap Eats By July 5, 2018 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Bird Bird Biscuit 2701 Manor road Austin TX 78702
the eats: Bird Bird Bacon
the bucks: $7
the full nelson: a full on portable breakfast meal that is not on a tortilla

To the tourist and the local, breakfast in Austin means breakfast tacos. While popular throughout the state, Austin seems to have made breakfast tacos part of the city’s brand, dare I say part of the city’s soul. But there is more to AM carbs than just corn or wheat tortillas, like biscuits, which are kind of a thing in the South. Part of the excitement for me when I moved to Austin was the idea that I would be getting loads of great Southern eats in the ATX. After all moving from Southern California to Texas is dramatically closer to the land of whistling dixie. But the South, Austin is not. Up until recently I haven’t found fried chicken worth blogging about(coming soon). And as far as biscuits go, I’d just as soon hop on a plane to the deep South, which I have been doing a lot lately if you have been catching up on your Cheap Eats. Still, it doesn’t mean it is impossible to make a good biscuit in the 512 and I think that just may have been the motivation for Thunderbird founders Brian Batch and Ryan McElroy to bring their biscuit dream out of the oven and into the mouths of hungry Austinites looking for a quick breakfast fix with the brand new Bird Bird Biscuit.

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Hightower – Austin TX

Austin, Burgers By January 7, 2018 Tags: , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Hightower 1209 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: “Burger”
the bucks: $9
the full nelson: one messy steal of a burger that is worth the extra napkins

Austin is an unpretentious food town, and Hightower’s dimly lit interior and casual service set you up perfectly to be surprised by a dynamic menu wrangling in Mexican and Asian flavors in a small plates format sized for tipsy appetites. Every time I eat there I like it more and more. If you watch Cheap Eats carefully or read this blog(which I’m guessing you do since you are right now) you know that I flip for flavor forward foods. Mexican and Asian cooking certainly can serve that up, and being an American who is spoiled by food culture choices, it is nice to go to one place that has great whiskey and food I would crave a day after having plenty of whiskey. Before we get to the burger however I do feel we need to get into some other highlights of the menu that might have you picking Hightower for a date night as much as a burger binge.

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Contigo – Austin TX

Austin, Burgers, Texas By November 14, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Contigo 2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723
the eats: Burger w/ cheese and fries
the bucks: $16
the full nelson: one of the best burgers in Austin

An article came out in Bon Appétit magazine last year describing Contigo as a restaurant “locals bring out of towners in order to convince them to move here”. I would go a step further and say it is a place to bring your friends visiting from Brooklyn, Silver Lake or San Francisco and say “hey Austin has food as good as you do plus we are as laid back as the patio you are eating and drinking in”. Austin of course has food worthy making a trip for, especially if you hail from the latest and greatest corners of gentrification. Contigo isn’t so much a meal you see on an episode of Chef’s Table but they are as timely and relevant as chef driven, farm to table burgers get. It’s among my top two burgers in Austin and proof that the best Bang for your Burger Buck in this town sits in the mid teen range(Odd Duck is right up there too). But wait, did I say the best burger value is in fact closer to an Andrew Jackson then a Abraham Lincoln? Yeah, I really did. As much as P. Terry’s and Hopdoddy will absolutely sate your burger fix for under $10, whats happening around the $15 mark at Contigo and Odd Duck, well that’s good enough to convince your East and West Coast friends that Austin’s food scene is as relevant as LA, SF or NYC. Need more convincing? Well that’s what I’m here to do.

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Bang for your TACO Buck: Pueblo Viejo – Austin, TX

Austin, Taco Spotting, Taco Trucks, Tacos By November 2, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Pueblo Viejo 502 Brushy st Austin TX 78702 
the eats: lamb barbacoa, taco Nes, taco chicharron
the bucks: $3.75, $3.75 and $3.20 respectively per taco
the full nelson: you can’t eat more than three. but you will want to. 

My people, sometimes I just gotta come at ya and flat out say it: right now Pueblo Viejo is my favorite taco spot in Austin, may the whole damn world. They take the idea of cheap tacos and turned it on its side. Rather than offering a small tasty treat for $2 or less(and I know LA peeps – $2 a taco is $$$), Pueblo charges you somewhere between $3 and $4 for a tortilla stuffed with enough meat to fill a San Francisco Mission style burrito. Two will be enough, yet I dream about eating more than three because they are as flavorful as they are generous. Being a taco spot in Austin you might be tempted to try the breakfast tacos, and while cheaper, the fun lies in lunch . . . oh lordy these tacos are bumpin’ so let’s just my Pueblo pics . . .

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Launderette – Austin TX

Austin, Burgers, Texas By October 10, 2017 Tags: , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Launderette 2115 Holly St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Plancha Burger
the bucks: $9
the full nelson:  A chef driven take on a classic comfort food burger

I have been living in Austin for a little over two years now and while I feel comfortable waxing poetic on some obvious edible essentials like La Barbecue, P. Terry’s or Taco Deli; the fine dining scene eludes me. Part of it is because since having a kid, my wife and I eat out at these types of establishments far less. The other part is that you don’t need to eat at a fine dining establishment to get a taste of the chef driven, farm to table food experience that is the cornerstone of our contemporary fine dining movement. Which brings me to my visit at Launderette for the Plancha burger. First off Launderette is far more than a mere burger spot, their menu is a mix of shared plates and a few entrées, with a heavy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influence. The chef behind the savory side of the menu, Rene Ortiz, is an accomplished one, with a resumé that rattles off names like Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse like a teaser for an upcoming episode of Top Chef Masters. And the burger costs $9, so this should be a perfect storm for Bang for your Burger Buck right? That depends on what you expect out of your burgers. The Plancha is a chef driven version of a classic American Diner cheeseburger, a burger genre whose entries make the lists of the best burgers around. And if you need support that a diner cheeseburger can draw the admiration of top tier critics, just ask Jonathan Gold, George Motz or Nick Solares. How does the Plancha stack up? Let’s find out.

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