Trevor’s Travels: Austin, TX
Many cities across the U.S. identify as “food cities” and I couldn’t be happier. Eating adventurously (then finding ways to burn it all off) is my favorite life-sustaining pastime, so when I visit cities with vibrant culinary scenes like Austin, TX, I go to eat.
Needless to say, the food scene in the 11th most populated U.S. city kept up with its unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird.” Austin’s culinary vibe keeps it “weird” with quality innovators passionately exploring new approaches in daily menu specials, food preparation, cultural inspirations, and dining styles that aren’t happening anywhere else.
Saying that, even though there’s nothing weird about BBQ, I definitely made sure to visit Franklin’s Barbecue when I landed in Austin. Non-foodies may have heard about Franklin’s as the place where the president famously vetoed waiting-in-line “laws” in 2014 and skipped ahead to claim his brisket (let’s be honest… you would have done the same thing if you were president because the brisket was just that good). He then paid for everyone in the place as an apology.
Award-winning chef Aaron Franklin achieves a masterful smoky, savory flavor to his BBQ using a minimalist approach (salt, pepper, and oak wood are his only ingredients); Franklin’s was well worth waiting hours in line for. So, come hungry and wear elastic-waist pants.
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In Texas, BBQ and Southwestern masters reign supreme. While Austin has a selection of fantastic BBQ eateries, the city’s other eclectic, dynamic offerings bear influence from around the world. For example, Uchi and Uchiko offer contemporary and farmhouse style Japanese dining and sushi. French, Southern, Mexican, and other such inspired menus can be found throughout Austin. All you have to do is decide if you’re looking for something more dressed-down like La Condesa or if you want a custom, fine dining experience like that at Restaurant Jezebel.
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This one might sound a little weird (hey, when in Austin), but the Lamar location of Whole Foods in Austin was a must-see for me. As the flagship Whole Foods Headquarters establishment, this Whole Foods was more than just a grocery store. It’s an 80,000 square-foot behemoth with five in-store prepared food bars featuring cuisine from around the world.
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Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about Austin is the fact that I had to leave, but I know I’ll be back for another taste of what’s feeding Austin. What chefs, restaurants, and food trends do you think I should check out next time I’m in town?