Good Eats in Austin

This coming Friday is the BlogHer Food Conference in Austin. There are a lot of folks coming in from all parts, so I thought I'd put together a short list of some good places to eat around town. The list is by no means exhaustive and simply includes places that I enjoy or have been wanting to check out.


El Primo (2101 S. First St.) good, simple and inexpensive breakfast tacos. The way it should be.
Pop into Once Over for a cup of coffee and you've got a great portable breakfast!

Veracruz Tacos (1704 E. Cesar Chavez) I haven't actually tried them, but I hear they make a great breakfast taco.

SFC Farmers' Market Downtown (400 W. Guadalupe) when I travel I love to visit the local farmers' market if there's one around, so I had to share one of ours! You can find a number of breakfast options at the market. My recommendations? Check out Dai Due, Tacodeli or Gardener's Feast/Tamale Addiction. You can't go wrong with either one.

24 Hour Diner  (600 N. Lamar) traditional breakfast menu like pancakes, waffles and hash. They also have a good gluten free menu.

Chuy's Panaderia (801 E. William Cannon) I had to throw this one in, because sometimes all you want in the morning is some good Mexican sweet bread and a cup of coffee (or tea in my case).


This list is a bit harder to put together, because there are quite a few good spots in town.

Elizabeth Street Cafe (1501 S. First) good Vietnamese and lovely French pastries. I don't know that it's authentically Vietnamese, but I really enjoy eating here any time of day. Maybe it's the decor, maybe it's the macarons, but I go there time and time again.

Kome (4917 Airport Blvd.) authentic home-style Japanese cooking. I go for the sushi and noodle bowls. Simple, good food.

Hopdoddy (1400 S. Congress) one of my favorite burger places in town. Most folks would call these gourmet burgers, but what keeps me going back is their Classic Burger and french fries. Go figure!

Cenote (1010 E. Cesar Chavez) old East Austin home converted into a comfy cafe. Good coffee, sandwiches and baked treats from local bakeries like Quack's. 

Franklin's BBQ (900 E. 11th St.) if you don't mind waiting in line for 2 hours to get your lunch, then head to Franklin's for some of the tastiest brisket in town. Pick up a breakfast taco and coffee to hold you over!


Sway (1417 S. First St.) go for the food and ambience, and definitely stay for the desserts. Pastry chef Laura Sawicki creates wonderful desserts using traditional and less than traditional foods. Kabocha squash ganache or miso white chocolate panna cotta are just a few of her creations.

Eastside Kings (various locations; partial to Liberty Bar) 3 food trucks and one brick and mortar location make up Eastside Kings. It's co-owned by Paul Qui winner of Top Chef Season 9 and an all around Austin favorite. The Thai Chicken Karaage, fried brussels sprout salad and beet home fries are my go to menu items.

Barley Swine (2024 S. Lamar Blvd.) small space that serves small plates of great locally sourced food. The menu varies from month to month, which is something I appreciate. I'm always amazed at some of the flavor combinations and how they manage to make them work so well together.

El Naranjo (85 Rainey St.) traditional Mexican food from the state of Oaxaca. I've never been here, but overall I read good things about their food. It is on the pricier side, so if you want cheap Mexican this may not be the place for you. Head into East Austin for good and inexpensive Mexican food.

Whip-In (1950 IH 35 South) from their website...namaste and howdy y'all. And, that's exactly what you'll find at this gastropub serving up Indian comfort food and over 70 beers on tap.


Easy Tiger (709 E. Sixth St.) beer garden and bakehouse located on famous dirty 6th! Grab a pint, a giant pretzel and beer cheese.

Contigo (2027 Anchor Ln.) we come here for the outdoor patio and drinks. Ok, and maybe the crispy green beans.

Rainey Street (uh, Rainey St.) you'll find a stretch of old houses that have been converted into bars. Some offer food or house food trucks. It's a place that you can bar hop and grab a decent bite to eat.


Mango Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Hello my name is Claudia and I love ice cream. I mean it. I. Love. Ice. Cream.

It's the perfect sweet treat, only rivaled by the cookie. And, the chocolate croissant. And, maybe brownies. Ok, so my name is Claudia and I love sweets. 

But, it's true. I do love ice cream. It's cool, creamy, rich and the perfect vehicle for lots of flavors. Unfortunately ice cream, dairy ice cream to be exact, doesn't really love me. I'm not going to get into it right now, but I try to stay away from dairy as much as possible. Because of that, we've switched to buying dairy free ice cream. We've tried quite a few from those made with hemp milk to almond milk. We've settled on ice creams made with coconut milk as our favorites. 

Our quest to find the next best thing to dairy ice cream has led us to buy quite a few pints of not so cheap coconut milk ice cream. I finally broke down and bought an ice cream maker to make my own creamy creations and hopefully save us some money. While we doubt it will truly save us money, it sure has opened the door to more flavors! 

Enter this mango coconut milk ice cream. 

The idea actually came from my mom. She came over one night and tried my first batch of homemade ice cream. It was this tasty chai coconut ice cream from Cookie and Kate. She loved it and immediately started dreaming of other flavors. She imagined mango would be quite good and so I promised to make it next. Needless to say she was right. Mom really does know best!

I used this recipe and subbed all milk and cream for coconut milk, omitted the lemon juice and skipped the corn syrup. I also used fresh mangos. The result is a rich, lush mango ice cream with a hint of coconut. Definitely one that will be made again and again.

I'm so happy we finally got an ice cream maker. We're already dreaming of the next flavor. I'm imagining a lemongrass ginger. Nathan is pushing for coffee ice cream. Whatever it is, I hope it's as good as this one. 

Mango Coconut Milk Ice Cream

1 1/4 cup of fresh mango (I used 3 small Ataulfo mangoes)
2 1/4 cups coconut milk
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start by removing the pulp from the mango. You can find a good tutorial on how to cut a mango here.

Place fresh mango and one cup of coconut milk in a blender. Blend until smooth and set aside. 

Place remaining 1 1/4 cup of coconut milk in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Do not let it boil. 

While milk is heating up, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and pinch of salt. Whisk until yolks are just pale yellow. 

Once coconut milk is hot, whisk in half a cup of milk into egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and continuing cooking over a low flame for 8-10 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon when ready.* Again, do not let it boil. 

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla and mango puree until well combined.

Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. If the mixture is still warm let it come to room temperature. Otherwise, cover the bowl and place in the fridge to chill overnight. 

Once chilled you can place it in your ice cream maker and follow your models instructions for making ice cream.

*I always run my finger along the back of the spoon and if the mixture doesn't run and leaves a clear path on the spoon it's ready.