everything’s bigger in texas

October 17, 2009

Howdy ya’ll.

Well, I’m back from a glorious week in Austin. We saw old friends, drank beer, listened to awesome live music and most of all – ate all the food we could fit in our bellies! There are so many Texan delights that I miss since moving away from Austin. When I went to school there I enjoyed each and every one of them, all the time. It was a glorious, if slightly chubby era…

Dan and I actually had a list of food places we had to hit up during our visit and I’m happy to say we ticked every single one off our list!

Alright, people let’s get down to the good stuff. I didn’t picture everything but I got a good amount. Prepare to salivate (and prepare for some Texas sized portions and non-healthy fare…just giving you fair warning!)

It was a good friend of ours’ birthday last week and his heart’s desire was chicken wings from Pluckers – an old college classic. What you see before you is 40 chicken wings of various flavors and hotness, plus oodles of blue cheese dressing.

I’m not really a wing person so I just had three wings but I am proud and awed to tell you that three other people polished off the remaining 37 wings no problem. Hard core.

Okay, one of my all-time favorite Texas things is BBQ. Texas just wins at BBQ. Hands down. I tried out many a BBQ joint in my year studying here and while I’m no connoisseur, I have to say Salt Lick BBQ pretty much takes care of business.


I’m sad that I didn’t get my own photo at Salt Lick but this depicts literally exactly what we ordered. Pork ribs, sausage, beef brisket, chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, bread, bbq beans, pickles and onions. So.Effing.Good.

It is such a massive spread. I personally don’t think much of brisket although good BBQ sauce can make anything taste amazing! The sausage here was out of control good and the ribs are divine. The BBQ pit is a sight to behold!


Ugh. So good. I couldn’t eat it all the time, but BBQ is 100% one of my favorite things to eat a massive spread of with friends.

We came home one evening to this:

Maybe not the best picture in the world but you can understand my haste and excitement! One of the guys we were staying with works at this place called Tiff’s Treats in Austin that delivers cookies and brownies. Yeah, you heard right. Delivers. How dangerous is that?!

He actually makes the goods and he baked us a gigantic box full of the brownies you see. What you cannot see is the five layers of cookies beneath the brownies: chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, white chocolate and macadamia, peanut butter and choc chip, and plain peanut butter. It took four of us three days to finish them off. I kid you not! I literally cannot not eat cookies/brownies etc if they are there. Especially when they taste as ridiculous as these do.

Another sweet place that Dan and I used to go all the time in Austin is this little gem called Veggie Heaven:

This place is right by campus and it sells delicious vegetarian oriental-style cuisine. It’s really a unique place – nothing like what you would expect from a standard oriental-style restaurant. They use a big variety of meat-substitutes which will seriously rock your world, including tofu, wheat gluten, soy bean nuggets, bean curd, and vegetable protein nuggets.

I am a huge fan of the Protein Garden which includes vegetable proteins, broccoli, baby bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, napa cabbage, onion and garlic cooked in some magical brown sauce and served with brown rice.

Best of all, it costs $6.95 – such amazing value! Delicious, fresh steamed spring rolls go for one dollar. Bam.

I’m pretty sure that the two times we ate at Veggie Heaven last week were the only times we ate in any way healthily. What can I say, I was in hard core vacation mode!

Another awesome place, we’d been itching to get back to was this pub called the Crown and Anchor that Dan and I spent many a summer afternoon at, drinking beer and cider and eating their incredible baskets of burgers and fries.

I don’t know about you guys but I am all about a soft burger bun with a good old fashioned thin patty, cheese and pickles. Just right. The fries at this place are amazing too – thin, salty and they have malt vinegar which immediately transports me home to England!

We spent the night at Crown and Anchor with a bunch of old friends drinking $6 pitchers of Lone Star beer (ridiculous!) and catching up before heading out to see a friend’s band play at this dive bar called Hole in the Wall. Many an evening was spent at that place in college…

Funnily enough, after our night at Hole in the Wall, Dan and I were feeling less than stellar the next day. It was time to hit up yet another old favorite. This time, the best hangover-killer of all time: Juan in a Million.

Best name for a restaurant ever? You decide. I don’t know about you but I like to eat chips and salsa at 10.30am.

Juan in a Million is awesome for a few reasons:

It’s a for real Mexican place serving up delicious tacos and a ton of other delights. When you enter this place, the owner meets you at the door and gives you the most amazing hand shake you will ever receive. If you’re a girl, it’s a little more gentle…if you’re a guy, it is a hybrid high five/hand shake/ smack. He is basically a completely awesome bad ass and always makes you feel like he completely remembers you. Brilliant.

The third awesome thing about this place is the “Don Juan” – El Taco Grande. Breakfast tacos are not something you can really find in Minnesota. Breakfast burritos? Yes. Real breakfast tacos? Not so much. I heart them. I do however recognize that this does not necessarily look all that gorgeous:

three flour tortillas, potato, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese

You’ll just have to trust me. This is ace hangover food, although to be honest it did not taste quite as awesome as I remember. The $3.60 price tag though? Delish.

I’m sad I didn’t take photos of the other Tex Mex I ate because it was phenomenal. I had carnitas which never fail to rock my socks! Texans are so lucky!

So, with slightly heavy heart, I left Austin, but luckily home is pretty awesome too.
Bye bye cacti
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