I write a column for our neighborhood newsletter on food in the hood. Here's an upcoming review:
Allandale Eating: Quick Bites!
There’s always something good cookin’ in Allandale for foodies these days! Three recent (and exciting) announcements concern (1) the good folks of Ramen/Kemuri Tatsu-Ya leasing space next to Tacodeli, (2) a new Home Slice going in on North Loop, and (3) the mysterious Sumptuary.
Time Out listed Ramen Tatsu-Ya as the best ramen slinger in the country, and the owners are currently (well-deservedly) up for a James Beard Award for the best new restaurant in America for Kemuri Tatsu-Ya. No announcements yet on precisely what they plan to put in the space they leased on Burnet, but I’m deliciously excited to see what they mix up. Home Slice, considered by many to be the best pizza in town, is reworking a space at 501 East 53rd Street for a new outlet. It’s a wee bit out of the ‘hood, but it’s a lot closer than South Congress. Sumptuary, a concept kitchen by Dr. Foo Swasdee (of Satay), Jack Gilmore (of Jack Allen’s Kitchen), and others to create a shared (and rentable) restaurant space near the old Satay for pop-up meals by local, regional, and international chefs. If you want to get in early as a Supporter and to see what’s cooking, check out www.sumptuaryaustin.com.
In national news, Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine received yet another James Beard nomination for Best Chef Southwest (come on, Bearders, give the man his award!). In state news, Texas Monthly listed Bonhomie as an Honorable Mention in its “The Ten Best New Restaurants in Texas” article. Texas Monthly also listed Barley Swine and Fonda San Miguel among the “Best in Town in Austin.”
In local news, several stalwarts and newcomers are getting their accolades. Eater Austin listed Eldorado Cafe as its #1 hottest brunch spot. Eater also included Chi’lantro (#2) and Lucy’s Fried Chicken (#12) among its "21 Outstanding Chicken Wing Bets in Austin.” Eater (who tops the list of listmakers) listed Lala’s Little Nugget (#6) and Little Longhorn Saloon (#12) among its “Austin’s Iconic Dive Bars.” The prolific Eater included Be More Pacific (#2) on its list of the “17 Hottest Restaurants in Austin, March 2018” list. Eater (whew!) also recognized Cover 3 for sporting “resolution friendly” salads.
CultureMap gave a shout-out to Chez Nous and Fonda San Miguel as “classic restaurants worth another shot.” CultureMap also included Yard Bar as one of its seven places to “chase away the winter blues,” and the ‘Map just listed Pinthouse Pizza as one of Austin’s nine best breweries. Be More Pacific and Eldorado Cafe also appeared as nominees for CultureMap’s Tastemaker Awards.
Austin Monthly listed Veracruz Al Natural (#1 and a short distance up the road to 183 and Burnet) and Tacodeli (#11) as Austin’s “Best Breakfast Tacos.”
In other news, Flyrite Chicken’s Burnet location celebrated its one-year anniversary, and Allandale alumnus The Omelettry, now on Airport, celebrated its 40th anniversary (hopefully with an omelet bedazzled with an age-appropriate number of candles). And word on the street is that Be More Pacific started brunch service on Easter Sunday.
Here are a couple of quick reviews of two new fast-casual restaurants in the hood:
OneTaco. An Urban Taqueria (2900 Austin Lane, Suite K)
As one of Austin’s basic food groups, there’s always room for one (or four) more taco joints in the neighborhood. OneTaco, an Austin-based tortilla topper, brings homemade flour and corn tortillas, a variety of fillings, and a snappy 50s-south-of-the-border vibe to Anderson Lane, its second location in town. I’ve tried their chicken taco (yum!) and el pastor (OK, but I've been spoiled by the richer-than-Bill-Gates al pastors at El Mercado). Perhaps the stars of the show at OneTaco are the tortas: messy layers of taco fillings splayed between two puffy sammich buns. Plus, mega bonus points for spinning my favorite Royksopp track during my second visit: Silicon Soul’s Hypno House Dub of Royksopp’s Poor Leno/There is a Light That Never Goes Out (A Capella). Yummy to the tummy and the ears!
Chicken taco (left) and al pastor taco (right) at OneTaco
A torta at OneTaco
Cabo Bob’s (7849 Shoal Creek Boulevard))
The simplest way to describe Cabo Bob’s is Chipotle’s-Run-by-Beach-Bums, and I mean that in the most loving way. Being Austin-based and unshackled from distant corporate soul-sucking suits, Cabo Bob’s provides made-to-order foil-wrapped burritos and taco trios but with fresher and funner ingredients. Tortillas are made in front of you with a tilla-presser (unless you order plain corn; don’t order plain corn) with four choices: buttermilk flour, ancho chili, cilantro tomatillo, and smokey cheddar. Bob’s sports multiple choices for proteins (sizzled on Big Green Eggs), beans, and veggies (including vegan options). If you don’t like to choose, there are pre-arranged options (“I’d like a Number 4 all the way.”) as well as several specialty options. While not the healthiest item on the menu, the ground hamburger riddled with fresh bacon-bits is memorably savory. And the place is hopping with high-schoolers, families, and folks simply looking for a great burrito.
A taco trio from Cabo Bob’s
Grilling fresh tortillas at Cabo Bob’s
Before the wrap...