Austin restaurant recs

I’ll have to pack our Hydroflask bag for the whole brisket and sausages. Does TSA allow ice packs to go through security?

I’ll probably transfer the warm & sliced meats into ziploc bags so we’re not lugging multiple takeout boxes. This will definitely be our lunch for the ride home.

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I would still sneak in a few slices of brisket before you bag. IMO once it’s sliced……

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Gonna try! The pick up window starts at 10:30 and we’ll need to drop off the rental before hitting the airport to make the flight back.

I will also need to repack the luggage for the sauces/rubs that I’ll be bringing home as gifts.

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I love it that’s the spirit!

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You can’t take them on the plane. Have to check baggage.

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Juniper. 3.3 / 10. As I watched them tweezer gold and flowers onto the unimpressive dishes, I thought: Rossoblu and Antico Nuovo seem like 2 Michelin star restaurants compared to this. I’m lucky to live in LA.

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Hestia: excellent. Shows that judging a restaurant by its wine list is pretty darn reliable. Would easily make our rotation in LA. Borderline Michelin star. Even better service. Really appreciated the staff!

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Terry Black’s Barbecue
One of the few barbecue places serving beef ribs and open on Mondays.

That protein looks so good! And you can get things in 1/3 of a lb…which is great when sharing between 2 people.

Our platter is ready!


  • Beef ribs - delicious, moist and just well-executed because it was seasoned and smoked with care
  • Pork ribs - likely the best pork ribs I have ever eaten…sturdy, but requires little chewing when you take a well-seasoned bite. I loved the lacquer on that rib.
  • Green beans - not frozen, not canned, not an afterthought. They have a nice tender-crisp crunch and are sautéed with alliums and seasonings

Honorable Mention:

  • Turkey breast - super moist and well-seasoned, it was really good but outshone by the beef and pork ribs

We enjoyed Terry blacks but unfortunately they were out of the beef ribs.

I thought the consistency was very high for such a high volume place.

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Veracruz All Natural

Located about 1.5 blocks from our hotel downtown, I strolled in after 9AM on a Monday morning thinking it would be an easy in and out. Boy, was I wrong.

It was about a 35 minute wait with a line out the door, but the breakfast tacos of Texas were so damn good! I love that they make their own corn tortillas.

I walked the order back to our room and we dug in. No photos since we were starving and I’m not sure they photograph well.

Breakfast Taco - just the tortilla and 2 ingredients of your choice…simple and easy. We had the chorizo and egg…this taco was soaked in chorizo oil. It tasted good, but was pretty rich. This is the ideal breakfast after a night out.

El Tradicionale - eggs, bacon, pinto beans, Monterey Jack cheese…solid. Great ingredients in a fresh and soft tortilla…our chowpups would have loved it.

Migas Poblanas - house corn chips, eggs, polbano peppers, back cleans, cotija cheese, cilantro, and avocado…hand down the best taco of the bunch. The crispy chips provided texture that brought that taco up in leagues. We both loved it.

So much that for our super late dinner, we opted for a few tacos to try the non-breakfast items. Still had the migas poblano, but tried the shrimp, chicken mole, or barbacoa. Migas still wins followed for the chicken mole.


Take home barbecue -
Terry Black’s & Franklin Barbecue

The SO loved the beef ribs so much that we had to pre-order to bring them home. Also picked up potato salad, green beans, creamed corn, and peach cobbler. Special shout out to the Terry Black’s team who heeded my note that I’d be taking their barbecue on the plane to travel home so they wrapped everything up in plastic wrap so there would be zero spillage.

Franklin Barbecue is no joke. We showed up during our pre-order pick up window before opening and the line was wrapped around the building. I love how Franklin offers chairs for folks to use while they wait and lots of water coolers.

I walked into the main building and found Sergio himself! Just chillin’ at the counter and ready for the day to start. I wish we had time to eat here, but we had had to make our way home.

The pre-order trailer is actually in the back with pre-order only parking spots. We just grabbed what street parking we could find.

Strolling up to the trailer, you give your name and then the team gets to work slicing and wrapping meats with labels. It takes about 10-15 minutes and everything is ready.

I packed all the hot stuff up in Ziploc bags and organized in the hydroflask bag I had brought just for this purpose. Everything was in bags to prevent leakage. There was easily 10 lbs of barbecue with sides because we wanted to be able to share with the chowpups.

Cold stuff, sauces, onions and pickles were in a separate bag. I hit my carry-on limit and airport security did not blink one eye. Franklin’s key lime pie made for an excellent plane snack. We opted to leave the barbecue in the bag and not open it for lunch on the plane.

This was just the meat haul. Things were still warm-ish, but a quick wrap in foil and a turn in the oven, and we were ready.

The beef ribs and the sides from Terry Black’s were pretty good. Their potato salad, while a little too salty from the pickle brine they add…is easily the best potato salad that we don’t make ourselves. The creamed corn is also better than the current house favorite obtained at the Summit House in Fullerton.

Franklin Barbecue knocks it out of the park. The proteins were moist and complex in flavor. The espresso sauce might have been my favorite followed by the spicy sauce.

We stood around our counter and used the loaf of bread to make barbecue “tacos” after tasting each of the meats by themselves.

We ordered chopped beef, pulled pork, pork ribs, brisket, and both the original and white cheddar jalapeño sausage. I think we were struck by the fact that the sausages were all so good! Every item was magnificent. By themselves, with sauce, with sauce and pickles, with sauce and pickles and onions…all winners. I need to figure out if I can do this at home.

My house smelled like Franklin for hours after. And we have enough leftover to repeat the meat fest tonight.

Best damn idea ever and no better souvenir to bring home.


Yesss so glad you did that!!!

We ordered franklins during the pandemic and could not come close to finishing our tray of food the day we were leaving, we were at a hotel and I was the first of my group to leave for the airport but I was so sad that we didn’t have some method to bring it home with us.

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I just put ZipLocs in boiling water.

Odd Duck: This restaurant is really good. A restaurant that Michelin inspectors and “Chowhounds” and pretty much everyone would agree on. Very talented chef.

Ezov. This Israeli restaurant, brought to you by the Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, reminds me of Saffy’s but one or two notches below, depending on the size of the notch. Maybe 1.5 belt buckle holes? But the chicken shawarma was memorable.

The restaurant reminds me of Canje, another borderline recommendable ethnic concept restaurant from the same group.

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Emmer & Rye. Good wine list. Food isn’t good enough to recommend. Overcooked pasta, oversalted mushrooms. Generally just doesn’t taste on point. I believe Hestia is in the same restaurant group; that restaurant was much better.

Bufalina is tops for wine in Austin. Food is great too. I think you’d like it.


Thanks, Helen. That’s on my list!

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Barley Swine. Tasting menu sister restaurant of Odd Duck, which I raved about above. I didn’t like it anywhere near as much. It was stupidly tiny plates of dishes that were worse than the dishes at Odd Duck in my estimation. One mid-course dish was a single piece of okra deep fried. Not even the whole okra, a piece of it. And there was nothing special about it. I said I was full and skipped the last two dessert dishes and went to…

Bufalina Due. Sister restaurant of the restaurant that Helen S recommended; and right next to Barley Swine. I got a whole pizza. It was great. I would totally eat this pizza in LA.

Barley Swine redux. So I wonder if I overrated Odd Duck? It’s supposed to be the same head chef. I’m not saying Barley Swine is terrible — it’s decent — but it’s not good enough for a tiny plates, tasting menu only place.


Ouch! Lol was there some kind of fancy garnish with your (at least half?) piece of okra!?!