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Guide to Eating in Austin

I’ve been living in Austin for two months now, and in that time, I’ve consumed a lot of food. After all, Austin is home to an incredible food scene — from BBQ joints to food trucks to healthy, organic outlets to (of course) Mexican restaurants. As more and more people move to Austin (close to […]

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I’ve been living in Austin for two months now, and in that time, I’ve consumed a lot of food. After all, Austin is home to an incredible food scene — from BBQ joints to food trucks to healthy, organic outlets to (of course) Mexican restaurants. As more and more people move to Austin (close to 160 a day at last count) and the city balloons with a more diverse population, Austin has expanded its dining fare to include more varied and higher-quality food.

Part of the reason Austin’s food tastes so delicious is because of the locally-sourced ingredients. As the birthplace of Whole Foods, Austin has always embraced organic food, and it was one of the frontrunners in the farm-to-table movement.

Moreover, to meet the needs of the expanding population, nearly 200 new food trucks and restaurants open up each year! With so many eateries opening all the time, you’re going to get hugely increased variety, selection, and quality.

While I still have much more exploring to do and food to eat, I want to share some of my favorite places to eat in the city for your next visit:

Asian

If there is anything I dislike about Austin, it would be the lack of good Asian cuisine, as it is my favorite in the world. When it comes to Asian food, it has a lot of those fusion joints that serve Chinese, Thai, sushi, and Korean all at once. Most are simply acceptable; they won’t blow you away. However, there are a few restaurants worth eating at:

  • Bar Chi (206 Colorado St., (512) 382-5557, www.barchiaustin.com) – Decent sushi but an unbelievably affordable happy hour (5-7pm each day). My friends and I come here because it satisfies the sushi craving on the cheap!
  • East Side King (1618 1/2 E. 6th S., (512) 407-8166, www.eskaustin.com) – Located in The Liberty Bar (also a kick-ass bar), this is best Asian-Thai fusion food truck in the city! Be sure to get the pork buns, tori meshi, or the chicken buns.
  • Lulu B’s (3632 S. Congress Ave., (512) 921-4828, www.facebook.com/LuLuBsAustin) – I found this place thanks to Jodi from Legal Nomads. I’m not the Vietnamese food expert she is, but this place was delectable. I’ve only had the beef pho, but it was a flavorful broth.
  • Piranha (207 San Jacinto Blvd. #202, (512) 473-8775, www.piranhakillersushi.com/piranha-locations/austin) – My all-around favorite sushi joint. The sushi here gives you the most value for your money, and it’s always fresh and of high quality. I particularly love their yellowtail.
  • Thai-Khun (1816 E. 6th St., (512) 407-8166, eskaustin.com/v2/thaikun) – As a Thai food snob (ever since I lived in Thailand), I’m always disappointed at Thai restaurants because I never think the food is as breathtaking as in Thailand. This place in Austin is the closest to true Thai food that I’ve found so far.
  • Uchi (801 S. Lamar, (512) 916-4808, uchiaustin.com) – The fanciest high-end sushi restaurant in the city. They also have a sister restaurant called Uchiko. Both live up to their reputations and are good date places. Reservations recommended!
  • Wu Cho (500 W. 5th St. #168, (512) 476-2469, wuchowaustin.com) – This is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the city. They serve a very popular dim sum brunch on Sundays. Be sure to come early as it gets packed during dinnertime and Sunday brunch, and the wait for a table can be up to an hour.

Americana

If there is one thing Austin does well, it’s “Americana” food. I define that as a fusion of multiple cuisines: burgers, fries, steaks, seafood, and the like.

  • Launderette (2115 Holly St., (512) 382-1599, launderetteaustin.com) – Located in an old laundry store, this restaurant is one of the hottest spots in town and serves an amazing menu of Americana and seafood, as well as a decent selection of wine. Some of my favorite dishes include crab toast, burrata, okra, brussels sprouts, and grilled octopus. If you’re coming for dinner, come early, as it fills up fast.
  • Truluck (400 Colorado St., (512) 482-9000, trulucks.com) – This is my favorite steak restaurant because it’s one of the few places where you can also get fresh seafood (crab, oysters, lobster). It’s not cheap, but if you want a upscale steak house, try this.
  • Péché (208 W. 4th St., (512) 494-4011, www.pecheaustin.com) – A New Orleans–inspired restaurant serving Bayou food, and it has a very friendly staff, tasty cocktails, and an extensive whiskey list.

BBQ

Austin is world-famous for its BBQ, and you can’t walk down the street without running into a restaurant that serves it. The title for Austin’s best BBQ is hotly contested among fans, and I don’t claim to know who’s right — to me, BBQ is either good or really damn good. But these are among my favorites:

  • Franklin Barbecue (900 E. 11th St., (512) 653-1187, franklinbarbecue.com) – This is considered the top of the top of the top BBQ joints in the country. Even the president ate here! It’s open from 11am until they run out of food (usually in a few hours). Lines start at 8am, so it’s best to go midweek in summer when most people don’t want to wait in that line and you don’t need to line up until 9 or 10am.
  • La Barbecue (1906 E. Cesar Chavez St., (512) 605-9696, www.labarbecue.com) – BBQ is a matter of perspective. A lot of people say Franklin’s is the best, but La Barbecue is #1 to me. It opens at 11am. Expect two-hour waits during lunchtime, so get here early.
  • Iron Works BBQ (100 Red River St., (512) 478-4855, ironworksbbq.com) – Located downtown, this restaurant serves above-average BBQ with large portions and hearty helpings of side dishes. I come here for the lunch brisket plate.
  • Micklethwait Craft Meats (1309 Rosewood Ave., (512) 791-5961, craftmeatsaustin.com) – An awesome food truck on the east side of the city. I’m in love with its ribs, brisket, and BBQ sauce. While it’s very popular, the line here isn’t as long as the other places listed.

Tacos

Tacos are serious business in this city. I have yet to fully experience much of the wonder that Austin has to offer on this front, but I do like a few of the big names:

  • Veracruz (1704 E. Cesar Chavez St., (512) 981-1760, veracruztacos.com) – The best food truck in town (conveniently located across the street from my hostel). It makes wonderful breakfast tacos, and the migas was voted #1 in the country. There is never really a line, but service is slow.
  • Torchy’s (multiple locations, torchystacos.com/in/austin) – World famous (and another spot where the president ate), this taco place has multiple locations in the city. It lives up to all the hype! I’m a big fan of the fried avocado and trailer park tacos. Every location is always packed, so expect a wait, especially on the weekends. The food here is pretty spicy, too.
  • Taco Deli (multiple locations, www.tacodeli.com) – Another delicious eatery serving mouth watering breakfast tacos.

Mexican & Tex-Mex

Like tacos, there are a lot of world-class Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in Austin! There are plenty of people who can dissect their finer points — I am not one of those people, however. But these establishments will never steer you wrong:

  • Vivo (6406 N. Interstate Highway 35, (512) 407-8302, vivoaustin.com) – Solid Mexican with huge portions, spicy dishes, and friendly staff.
  • Benji’s (716 W. 6th St., (512) 476-8226, benjiscantina.com) – Amazing margaritas, huge portions, and an outdoor patio area. Their incredible guacamole is made tableside.
  • Tamale House East (1707 E. 6th St., (512) 495-9504, www.facebook.com/tamalehouse.east) – Located in East Austin, this hole-in-the-wall is only open for breakfast or lunch. It’s famous for its tacos, but like the name suggests, get the tamales!

Indian

There isn’t a lot of good Indian food in town, mostly because there just isn’t a lot of good Asian food in general. I’m not an Indian food expert, but these two are my favorites:

  • The Clay Pit (1601 Guadalupe St., (512) 322-5131, claypit.com) – I order from this spot through UberEats all the time since it often has fast delivery. I love the samosas and jasmine rice, and their naan is just perfect!
  • Masala Dhaba (75 Rainey St., (512) 665-6513) – A higher-end, sit-down restaurant with a flavorful chicken tikka masala!

Miscellaneous

Some other of my favorite must-eats:

  • P. Terry’s (multiple locations, pterrys.com) – This is the best burger bar in the city. It’s delicious and cheap (you can get a burger, fries, and a drink for $6 USD), with filling portions. This is one of my all-time favorite spots in the city, and since it’s close to my house, I tend to eat here too often!
  • The Onion (408 Brazos St., (512) 476-6466, onionbaby.com) – Coming from NYC, I’m spoiled for pizza — you can buy tasty dollar slices anywhere you go there. That’s not the case in Austin: slices are around $4 USD and not as good, but if there is one pizza place I do like, it’s this one.
  • Gus’s Fried Chicken (117 San Jacinto, (512) 474-4877, gusfriedchicken.com/austin-texas-location) – The sister restaurant to the famous location in Memphis, this place has juicy, moist chicken with battered skin that bursts with flavor in your mouth. It’s freaking amazing! They also serve mouthwatering fried green tomatoes and pickles.
  • Leaf (115 W. 6th St., (512) 474-5323, leafsalad.com) – This new lunchtime salad place is incredible (also the line is long). Its gigantic salad bar has anything and everything you could ever want to put in a salad. It’s one of my favorite places for a healthy meal in Austin.
  • True Kitchen (222 West Ave. #HR100, (512) 777-2430, truefoodkitchen.com) – This new restaurant is incredibly popular with people after work. All its food is natural and organic. You’ll find healthy wraps, salad bowls, sandwiches, and fresh and flavorful seafood, as well as an incredible selection of wine and cocktails.

Austin’s growing food scene means that there are still plenty of places I haven’t eaten at yet — and a few locations I probably left out, as a result — but during your visit to Austin, you’ll find yourself with more than enough choices by using this list as your guide!

 

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Destinations

The Best Natural Wonders In The US You’ve Never Heard Of

No matter where you live, you can find great natural wonders that are similar to the Grand Canyon where you can visit and marvel at the beauty of nature.

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When you think of natural wonders in the United States you probably think of one place, the Grand Canyon. You’re right, the Grand Canyon is absolutely breathtaking and will undoubtedly blow you away no matter how many times you visit. But, honestly, for a lot of people, the Grand Canyon can be hard to get to. If you don’t think you can make it all the way out to the Grand Canyon don’t worry. In fact, no matter where you live, you can find a natural wonder that is similar to the Grand Canyon where you can visit and marvel at the beauty of nature.

 

 

Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon is on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. So if you don’t live in Hawaii then this beautiful canyon may not be the most accessible of the natural wonders either. However, if you ever find yourself in Kauai then make sure to visit this unbelievable wonder. This awesome site is just like the Grand Canyon except for the fact that it is in Kauai which is the most beautiful island of Hawaii. So imagine if someone transported the Grand Canyon to one of the most beautiful places on earth and voila you have the Waimea Canyon. You can drive right up to an awesome lookout or you can take one of the incredible hiking trails that run all over this beautiful place. Either way, you will not regret your visit to Waimea Canyon.

 

Letchworth State Park
This state park is breathtakingly beautiful and is one of the best natural wonders in the country. If you live on the east coast then definitely consider visiting Letchworth State Park. You will see beautiful dramatic cliffs, a gorgeous river that has some amazing waterfalls all surrounded by an unbelievable forest. You can hike, ski, bike or even ride horses through this incredible park that is sure to give you plenty of amazing views. If flying is something you’re more interested in then try a hot air balloon tour. That is a seriously sweet way to see the epic beauty that is Letchworth State Park.

 

Pine Creek Gorge
Pennsylvania’s thick lush forests run along the unbelievable Pine Creek Gorge making the views around here simply spectacular. You can hike along the Pine Creek Rail Trail which is actually a former railroad bed that has been converted into a biking and walking trail. Or if you’re a bit more extreme you can canoe or kayak down the river that runs through the center of this gorge.

 

Palo Duro Canyon
If you want to see some out-of-this-world rock formations then head over to the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. There are a ton of trails that run along this beautiful place so you can walk or bike or ride your horses all over this epic trail. This is actually the second-largest canyon in all of the United States so it is the perfect alternative. You can enjoy the rocks and the epic views while you explore this unbelievable canyon.

 

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Visit Your Favorite Comic Books Real-Life Locations

Go visit your favorite superheroes with a trip to one of these not so fictional cities from your favorite comic books.

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Reading comic books is always a great time. There is so much action and adventure that most of us have been burning through these action-packed storyboards since we were kids. A lot of people love the mystery and imagining their favorite hero’s world entirely. Others, however, would like to experience what exactly these destinations look like in real life. Where is Gotham? What does Metropolis really look like? Well, now you can find out because through films or hints we’ve been given through the illustrations and the interviews the creators of these wonderful comic books have given we can now surmiser where a lot of these amazing locations actually are. So go visit your favorite superheroes with a trip to one of these not so fictional cities from your favorite comic books.

 

Batman – Chicago
That’s right, the Windy City is where Bruce Wayne resides and spends a huge amount of time protecting. A lot of people wrongly assume that Gotham is based on New York City but they’re wrong, Chicago is actually the home of Batman. This is why Christopher Nolan filmed his trilogy in the long history of Batman films in this super awesome city. You can see a lot that Gotham and Chicago have in common and you may even see a bat or two. If you don’t sniff out Bruce Wayne’s manor or the Joker’s Asylum then just hang out and enjoy a delicious Chicago hot dog. After that Batman won’t be your superhero, Tums will.

 

Wonder Woman – Mediterranean Sea
If you want to head to PAradise Island then head out to the Mediterranean. Maybe that is why the new Wonder Woman is played by the Israeli Gal Gadot. Themyscira, also known as Paradise Island is not given an exact location but since she is Amazonian royalty it is thought that the Mediterranean Sea is where this awesome island resides. Head over there, because let’s face it, every island in the Mediterranean is a paradise island. Right?

 

Black Panther – East Africa
Black Panther is an awesome new superhero with a film coming out in 2018. Black Panther is a super popular hero and was actually the first black superhero from Marvel Comics. He is a character that everyone loves and his awesome fighting skills make him extremely exciting. He lives in the city of Wakanda which is a fictional city but is also an insanely technologically advanced one. If you ask the author Ta-Nehisi Coats, he would tell you that the Black Panther lives in East Africa somewhere along Lake Victoria which sounds pretty sweet to us.

 

Superman – New York City
Metropolis is named after the Big Apple. This makes sense considering Superman is the one you would want watching over a giant urban area like New York City. The skyline of the original Metropolis was actually modeled after Toronto, but in future adaptations, the city slowly morphed into New York City. Does this mean Superman is hanging out with Carrie, Samantha and the gang? Only a trip to Metropolis will tell you for sure.

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Destinations

Get Brewed Up At These Oktoberfests From Around The World

Well, we talked to our experienced traveling and drinking teams and they came up with their absolute favorite must-see Oktoberfests from around the world.

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Beer rules! Who doesn’t love chugging down an ice cold glass of suds every once in a while? The barley brew is so delicious and helps you unwind after a long day or for some before the long day even starts. Now that October is right around the corner you are about to enter the beer drinker’s paradise that is known as Oktoberfest. The Oktoberfest festival is a ton of fun. You get to chug beer out of a giant boot and wear your tightest lederhosen all while singing your favorite German songs and sucking down a schnitzel or two. Oktoberfest is definitely one of the best festivals of the year, but where are the best places to celebrate? Well, we talked to our experienced traveling and drinking teams and they came up with their absolute favorite must-see Oktoberfests from around the world.

 

Munich, Germany
Go to where it all started by celebrating Oktoberfest at one of the incredible brewery tents in Munich, Germany. The atmosphere around this city is absolutely electric and it will have you buzzing with alcohol-induced excitement. This is where you will find the world’s biggest Oktoberfest celebration which makes sense because it is the genesis of this awesome beer drinking festival. So, get out your dancing shoes and your drinking underwear and head on out to Munich, Germany and prepare to get nasty!

 

Fredericksburg, Texas
All the Germans in Texas seem to have all come together in the beautiful town of Fredericksburg. That is why it has become possibly the best place in the United States to celebrate Oktoberfest. The best part of the celebrations in Fredericksburg is that they bring the influence of southern cuisine into the celebration. So now you can settle your stomach after a day of drinking with a big bowl of piping hot gumbo.

 

Blumenau, Brazil
When you think of Oktoberfest odds are Brazil isn’t the first country that comes to mind. Well now maybe it will because Blumenau has a huge German population. People around Brazil call this place Little Germany so that would make sense that it is home to some seriously awesome celebrations. In fact, Blumenau is where you will find the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the entire world. So if you’re looking for a place to samba with a schnitzel then look no further than the awesome Blumenau, Brazil.

 

La Crosse, Wisconsin
Let’s face it, Wisconsin knows beer and sausage. So if you want to go celebrate at a super fun place for your Oktoberfest needs then La Crosse is absolutely the place for you. Here you will find delicious beer and exquisite sausage that will leave your taste buds completely content. But beer and sausage isn’t the only thing offered in La Crosse, you can also watch a Dachshund Dash dog race and a Miss Oktoberfest Pageant. Those are just two of the many options offered to you in this epic celebration that is sure to make your Oktoberfest one to remember.

 

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