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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

Helicopter Tours That Raise Hairs

Imagine flying amongst the clouds as you glide through the sky in a helicopter as your mind is blown by the incredible views.

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     If adventure is what you seek, there is no greater way to see your vacation destinations than by helicopter. Imagine yourself flying amongst the clouds as you glide through the sky in a helicopter – the mind blown by the incredible views. There is no better way to enjoy attractions then up a couple of thousand feet in a rotary-winged machine. They may be loud but a helicopter ride will easily be the most memorable experience from any vacation. Check out the best destinations to take a helicopter ride and see things from a truly unique vantage point. 

Las Vegas

     Las Vegas is one of the busiest helicopter tour destinations, with plenty to see in a short ride. From the Vegas strip to the Hoover Dam to the granddaddy of them all, the Grand Canyon. A helicopter is the only way to see the Grand Canyon in all its glory and majesty. The Grand Canyon is over 270 miles long and can be 15 miles across; something that grand needs a copter to see it fully.

Niagara Falls

     Most people will tell you the best view of Niagara Falls is from a boat in the water beneath the falls, but that’s not true, obviously, the best view is from a helicopter. Niagara Falls is just a massive sight to see and with all the tourists that jam the site, it can be difficult to have a perfect vantage point. If you really want an amazing view that is unforgettable, you must see the falls from a helicopter. Imagine the immense beauty of something so powerful as Niagara Falls seen from above in the peace of a smoothly flying helicopter.

Kauai, Hawaii

     If you have seen the beginning scene of Jurassic Park then you know that in Kauai there are waterfalls only accessible by helicopter. Kauai is known as the garden island because it’s so lush and only 20% of the island is accessible by car. The island has many amazing sights that have to be seen by helicopter to understand how massive they are. The Na Pali Coast is the Western side of the Island and is characterized by the huge, steep mountains covered in green ferns. The entire side of the island is unreachable by car and a helicopter is the only way to see it or you can traverse the 17 miles up and down over a two-day hike. The Waimea Canyon is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific as its massive and beautiful. Plus there are a dozen or so mega waterfalls you have to see from a helicopter.

New York City

     New York City is the mega-metropolis city that we all love and never have enough time to see it all when we visit. If you want to really understand how huge NYC is, you have to see it from a helicopter. Imagine flying between the skyscrapers, above the central park and around the Statue of Liberty. New York is such an expansive city it’s nearly impossible to catch it all in one trip, but a great way to check it out is a few hundred feet up, in a whirlybird.


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Destinations

Talking A Walk In The Best Beer Gardens Around The World

Drinking beer with your best buds, in a beautiful environment, with our drinkers can be a beautiful experience.

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     Drinking beer is always a great time, but doing it in a grungy bar can get old. Feel good about sipping your suds by drinking in a beautiful beer garden. You will have tons of room in a magnificent outdoor bar where you can stretch out and really take down a pint or two.
“But where are these gardens?” I hear you asking.

HOFBRAUHAUS, MUNICH, GERMANY

     This is the beer garden that started them all. The Hofbrauhaus has been in business since the 1500s which means they know what they’re doing when it comes to brewing the brew. That makes this the ideal place to get a humongous mug of brew and slurp it on down.

MOUNT TAKAO BEER MOUNT, TOKYO

     Head on over to a beer garden at one of the highest elevations in the world at the Mount Takao Beer Mount. This destination will give you fantastic views of the beautiful skyline of Tokyo which you can marvel at while chugging down a nice ale. The only way to get up there is either hike up or ride in a cable car.

BOHEMIAN HALL AND BEER GARDEN, ASTORIA, NEW YORK

     Head over to Queens and get your beer drinking on at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. You can play ping-pong here as well as listen to live music so you don’t have to talk to your friends that much. Now you can say “Hey! I’m drinkin’ here!”

KONIGLICHER HIRSCHGARTEN, MUNICH, GERMANY

     If you want to find the biggest beer garden you can then head to Koniglicher Hirschgarten. This place is smack dab in the middle of a 100-acre-park so you have beautiful sprawling views of Munich and some tasty brews to boot. Now that sounds too good to be…brew.

CAFE VLISSINGHE, BRUGES, BELGIUM

     Head to Bruges’s oldest bar at the Cafe Vlissinghe. If you need a place to wash all that chocolate down then grab a drink here. In one word, this bar is charming. Actually, in four words it’s charming to the max.

LETNA BEER GARDEN, PRAGUE

     This beer garden has one seriously awesome view. You can drink while strolling along the Vltava River. If you’ve ever done some drinking around a river then you know it is quite possibly the best place to suck down on some suds. This place is great because it gives you the option of hiking with your brew or just taking it easy and taking it all in.

BROUWERIJ ‘T IJ, AMSTERDAM

     This place used to be a bathhouse and now it’s still relaxing its patrons but this time with beers, not steam rooms. This place is beautiful mostly because it is directly next to a huge windmill making it for a real unique drinking experience. Now that is definitely too good to be brew.


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Destinations

Zip Lines For The Adrenaline Junkie

We talked to our travel team and came up with our favorite zip line adventures around the globe so you can keep on zipping you crazy zipper!

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     Riding on a zip line is the thrill of a lifetime. There is nothing quite like jumping off and feeling the wind rushing through your hair as you propel over various bridges or trees. No matter where, you’re bound to feel like a true superhero. We talked to our travel team and came up with our favorite zip line adventures around the globe so you can keep on zipping!

Zip World Velocity
     If you find yourself in Wales then be on the lookout for the longest zip line in all of Europe. This thing travels along 1,600 yards… you will definitely be getting your money’s worth here. You will take a long, effortless ride over beautiful mountains and water, glazing over many beautiful sites. We suggest you have a convenient camera handy. If that sounds too big for you, they have a smaller version available to you as well. You can still get your thrills without freaking.

El Monstruo
     Puerto Rico is home to many great zip lines but none better than “El Monstruo,” translating to “The Monster” in English. This is officially the longest zip line in the world according to the Guinness World Record books. This line is astoundingly 8,300 feet long so you will be zipping on down for over a mile. Jungles are cool, especially when you get to experience them from a bird’s eye view, literally! You will be one fast bird too, considering this ride gets up to speeds of 95 mph so if you’re looking for a serious thrill then this is the one for you.

Cloudscraper
     Thrillseekers beware, the Cloudscraper is scarier than you may think. This zip line is super high up and will definitely make the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you take in the whole experience. You will get a beautiful view of the incredible Royal Gorge as you fly overhead. You’ll feel a lot like Wile E. Coyote right after making a wrong turn, except you won’t fall when you look down, you’ll just scream in ecstasy as you enjoy your fantastic ride.

Zipflyer
     When most people think about Nepal they don’t think about the awesome thrill-seeking adventures they can partake in besides climbing Everest. Well, maybe Everest will soon take a back seat to zip-lining thanks to the Zipflyer in the Himalayas. This zip line is unique because you will partake in a 2,000-foot vertical drop that will leave you squealing with delight. You better be an adrenaline junky if you want to take this zip line on because it is for sure to shock and amaze you all the way down.


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