If Austin, Texas were cologne it would smell like brisket, with an undertone of tacos and hoppy beer.
I was going to write a “Top Ten Restaurants In Austin” piece, but that would be impossible, seeing as there are hundreds of “top” places to eat in my perfectly weird hometown.
This is a tiny splash of Austin eateries that will leave you full, jolly and searching for more.
1. Magnolia Café
This is the “something for everyone” café- but unlike many similar establishments, Magnolia has ensured everything they offer tastes really good. You can close your eyes, randomly point to something on the menu and be sure to love it.
I have recurring dreams of Torchy’s Fried Avocado taco. Torchy’s has blown past the egg, cheese and potato basics to create flavor blends that are like a roller coaster ride for your taste buds (a roller coaster that you enjoy, and won’t make you sick.)
Caution! Make sure to eat some yummy fare at this café before journeying into the attached gourmet grocery store- it will help you avoid spending hundreds of dollars on delish food you didn’t even know you needed.
This “beef bar” stays true to Austin’s au natural vibe by providing beef from (hormone and antibiotic-free) humanely raised cows, hand cut fries and buns made from scratch daily. Want a strangely fabulous pairing? Try the Goodnight/Good Cause burger with a Double Fina Margarita.
Planted in a very “Austin-y” part of town (South Congress) Home Slice serves up a classic Austin experience with hand tossed pizzas (try the White Clam Pizza!), loads of pizza-friendly booze (try a Lone Star!) and occasional events like the Carnival of Pizza (they had a fortune teller!)
Not your average sushi establishment. Uchi stays true to the “Keep Austin Weird” credo by creating strangely incredible fusions with ingredients like fried apple puree and salmon. Don’t knock it till you try it!
This place is home to old school fancy food that’s worth the cost. All entrees are prepared on, or in, a wood fire rotisserie, open flame grill or wood oven, and the happy hour is a big fat yes- specifically because of their Big Ass Burger.
9. Amy’s Ice Cream
I select arrival and departure times at the Austin airport that coincide with the hours of the Amy’s Ice Cream located there. I will not visit Austin without one (or eight) trips to this ice cream kingdom. Amy’s supplies artisan creamy products that send you on an epic flavor adventure- and their employees have seriously fun personalities, and ice cream flipping skills.
Food trucks are the beating heart of Austin cuisine. Take yourself on a food tour by checking out the site Roaming Hunger http://roaminghunger.com/aus/, picking out a few trucks that suit your cravings and heading out on a taste-bud quest that is sure to please.
*A version of this article originally appeared on Flight Network. The author is not affiliated with any of the listed establishments.