The hubs and I voyage to Austin several times a year because it is awesome. There's so much creativity and life flowing around that city, it's ridiculous. One of our favorite features is all the damn good food that gets made there. Not that Dallas does not have some seriously tasty fare. Austin just takes it to the next level with some crazy creative, mind-blowing consumables.
Here is our round up of restaurants and dishes from our latest trip that you absolutely must try if you're ever in town. They've been rated, but really it's like differentiating between kittens and baby porcupines as the cutest thing in the world. Apple and oranges, my friends.
1st Place: Uchiko
I want to preface this review by saying that we tried to get reservations here long before the great and beautiful Paul Qui blew up on Top Chef Texas. We were unsuccessful on multiple occasions, so this time I made reservations about a millennia in advance.
The modern Japanese restaurant was packed in a really pleasant way. The atmosphere was fun and energetic, made more so by the fact that Paul showed his gorgeous face every now and then to schmooze and smile with various guests.
1. herbaceous cocktail, 2. hot menu (I'm not big on sushi), 3. Jar Jar Duck, 4. Bacon Tataki, 5. Salted Popcorn Ice-cream, 4. logo
Amazingly, the food overshadowed even Paul's amazing presence (did I mention how cute he is?). Even aside from the sheer freshness of it all (their food is mostly locally sourced), Uchiko gave me, hands down, the most interesting, exciting, and challenging cuisine I've ever tasted.
Best Cocktail: I now know that herbaceous cocktails are the best thing I could possibly put in my face. I don't remember the name of this one, but it included sparking wine and grilled thyme. Insane.
Best Hot Dish: Jar Jar Duck. The combination of sweet and salty blew my mind a thousand times over. I could eat this for days.
Best Dessert: This was a daily special dessert, and I don't remember the name, but it consisted of salted popcorn, chocolate, and blueberry flavors. Mind = additionally blown. It would be safe to say that this is the best dessert I've ever had in a restaurant, which is especially exciting in a world of mediocre creme brûlées.
If you have one meal in Austin, TX, it should be here. Seriously.
2nd Place: Perla's
We've been to Perla's on several occasions, but keep coming back and back and back. With a fabulous oyster bar, super fun cocktails, and adorable patio area, what's not to love?
1. Hibiscus + Thyme Sour, 2. Raspberry Point cold oyster
Best Cocktail: Again with the herbs. The Hibiscus + Thyme Sour was a perfect complement to a very bright and fresh brunch. I kind of wanted to just hang out and drink these until brunch turned into dinner!
Best Oyster: Admittedly, I'm all about the West Coast oysters, so I have to give a shout out to the California Kumamoto. They are tiny and delicious little creatures. That being said, we also went to town on some PEI Raspberry Point oysters and were amazed. People, these oysters are so fresh I can't stand it. I don't like to eat oysters anywhere else. Go. Eat oysters. Enjoy life.
3rd Place: Peché
This pre-prohibition style restaurant/bar is all about the booze. And I am so glad that they are. We went for half-off drinks on Sunday since we had kind of broken the bank with our previous meals. Not at all a bad way to end one's weekend.
1. Bee's Knees, 2. Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese
Best Cocktail: Bee's Knees. Gin + honey + lemon sounds medicinal, but it's definitely a party in your mouth. I got mine non-spicy, but there's the option for a kick of jalapeño. Need I say more?
Best Snack: We've had full-on dinners here before, but where Peché really shines is the cocktails, so this time we just ordered some snack foods. The Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese was insane perfection and the perfect complement to one or *ahem* three delicious adult beverages.
Since this trip was our Valentine's celebration, I'm so glad the mister and I got to chill, enjoy each other's company, and generally eat like fat kids together.
Man, I'm making myself hungry...
I'd love to hear any Austin food experiences you have, especially with food trucks! Once the weather gets nice, we're going to go to town on some Austin street good. Suggestions?