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Austin Eats Food Tours – South Congress

I know I’ll never win the lottery because I don’t play. However, I did win an Austin Eats Food Tour — simply by following them on Facebook  and Twitter and of course being in the right place at the right time. Serendipity as I’d like to call it.

Austin Eats Food Tours is intended for Austin Locals and Out-of-Towners alike.  Locals get to visit incredible restaurants and sample dishes that they wouldn’t try normally. Visitors experience a variety of Austin’s offerings in a single afternoon.  As embarrassing as it is to admit this, before the tour, I had never been to any of the restaurants we visited–except Jo’s Coffee.

My father and I took in the South Congress walking tour on a recent Sunday afternoon.  We were greeted at Jo’s Coffee by Austin Eats Food Tours owners, Andy and Lindsey Potter. The rest of the group included both visitors and locals. We introduced ourselves over a hot cup of coffee and a delicious cinnamon pastry from La Patisserie.

After Jo’s Coffee, we stopped at Snack Bar, where we met its owner, Bethany Andree.  As Bethany gave a brief history of her building and explained how its true character was revealed through its remodel process, it was clear how much passion and pride she held. If the building itself wasn’t proof enough, we also learned that she lives out local sustainability by supporting several Central Texas Farms.

At Snack Bar we sampled the Tamago Yoko – a playful take on a Japanese classic.  This dish is traditionally not considered a breakfast dish, but in America, if it has eggs, it’s breakfast right?   It’s a cabbage, leek & shrimp pancake, topped with applewood bacon,fried farm eggs, wasabi aioli, sriracha, bonito, and nori.  I would never normally order this dish but I’m definitely glad I tried it, it was surprisingly delicious.

For a more traditional Tex-Mex taste, we stopped at Guero’s Taco Bar where we met Jeff.  Jeff told us stories about the restaurant and quirks that make Guero’s an Austin original.   We sampled the handmade margaritas, which have a slightly tart taste, and are best served with salt on the rim.  The traditional handmade tamales and queso were delicious.   Jeff explained (and attempted to show us) how the tortillas are made fresh in house throughout the day.  We had no idea there was such an art form to this process – best left to the professionals.  Our fresh tortilla hot off the grill proved to be a highlight worth experiencing.

Fun Fact: Did you know the el Presidente plate at Guero’s is named after former President Bill Clinton?  Yep.  He’s the only President to have visited the establishment.

With each place I think I found a little slice of heaven.

Burgers – Beer – and Shakes – oh my!   We headed over to Hopdoddy Burger Bar and straight to our reserved tables.   This place fills up quickly.   Rumor has it the line is often out the door with hungry patrons waiting for their delicious burgers.

Hopdoddy makes their patties from hormone and antibiotic free beef that is ground in-house daily.   Better yet, their buns are made from scratch and baked fresh every day.   They’re even picky about their fries; they hand-cut their fries from Kennebec potatoes.    To top it off, they make their own chipotle ketchup and horseradish honey mustard.   I’m pretty sure this is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, definitely the Best in Austin.

For dessert, we enjoyed a hand-dipped Salted Caramel Milkshake.  Sweet and Salty Goodness in a cup.  It doesn’t get much better than that folks.

A bit later, we found a piece of the South at The Woodland.  Their menu is specked with southern dishes and handcrafted specialty cocktails.  On our visit we sampled the ultimate southern dish – Shrimp and Grits.    Creamy grits topped with mouthwatering Shrimp topped with tomatoes and bacon, seasoned with herbs and creole spices.

More dessert you say? Why not?!?  Peanut Butter Chocolate pie!  This was absolutely divine.   A light, fluffy, and insanely creamy peanut butter cream pie topped with a dark chocolate ganache, incredibly rich, and outrageously delicious.

Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?

I have a love for all things Food Truck.  Great Food does not require pretension.  Eric Regan has a truck with a great name (Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?) and has his system figured out. Eric takes pride in his food.  He does all of his prep work on the truck, including making his handcrafted sauces.   The witty banter and funny conversation was an added bonus.

We enjoyed a perfectly fried, Shiner Bock beer-battered Monte Cristo with pit-smoked ham and Mesquite-smoked turkey, Cheddar and Provolone cheese, and a homemade cherry & fig jelly. Add to that, some witty banter and funny conversation and it doesn’t get much better.

Just as a good night of drinking is best rounded out with a slice of pizza, our last stop was Home Slice Pizza for Pizza and Beer.   Home Slice is known for its New York Style crust, with the perfect balance of cheese, toppings and crust while not too greasy. This IS pizza perfection.

Home Slice is the quintessential neighborhood pizza joint. We relaxed on the back patio enjoying our pizza and beer while neighboring kids played Ping-Pong on a nearby table.   Bonding over a pitcher of beer, we reminisced over the insane amount of food we just ate and shared new memories with new friends.

The hardest decision?  Trying to decide  my favorite dish.  Being a sucker for sweets, it a tossup between the Salted Caramel Milkshake at Hopdoddy and the Peanut Butter Pie at the Woodland.  Yum!

Austin Eats Food Tour Owners Andy and Lindsey are the Ultimate Foodies

The Food is Phenomenal
The Company was Hilarious
The Times were Good
We Laughed
We Ate
We Made New Friends

What more do you want to hear?

P.S.  Skip Breakfast.   Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

DiNa - January 25, 2012 - 8:36 pm

Wow! I am definitely going to try this! What a great concept… The food looks fabulous…..and the tour sound like a lot of fun! Thanks for the info..

Gueros Write-Up at Serendipity Kitchen | Guero's Taco Bar Blog - February 3, 2012 - 8:32 am

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