We just spent the weekend in Austin and had to cover a lot of culinary ground in 36 hours. Our friends we met made us a chart of the best restaurants to go to. As you can see, there 14 possibilities! A quick recap: James had a late night meal at a surprisingly great taco stand on Lavaca and 4th St., we went to brunch at Magnolia Cafe (on Saturday), dinner at El Chile and brunch (on Sunday) at South Congress Cafe.
The hardest decision we had to make while in Austin, and in our history of picking a place to eat, was which TexMex restaurant to go to. El Chile? Chuy’s? Guero’s? Vivo? Little did we know that the folks in Austin are connoisseurs of TexMex cuisine (we didn’t even have time or the appetite to tackle barbeque). They offer suggestions based on the nuances of which region the food is influenced by — Mexico, San Antontio, Austin, etc. Here’s a pretty good imitation of how our conversations would go with the locals:
E&J: We were going to go to Chuy’s, what do you think?
Person 1: Well, that place is good and has some authentic Austin flare. But! You should really try Vivo.
Person 2: Well, Vivo is good and has those trademark San Antonio puffy tacos. But! You should really try El Chile they have the best (insert food here).
Person 3: Well, El Chile is good. But! You should really try….
…you get the point.
How do you make a decision when there’s no clear winner?! It was both mind-blowing and maddening. Even research on yelp.com didn’t help. We finally narrowed it down and ate at El Chile. We enjoyed some of the best nacho’s, fajita’s and prickly pear margarita’s we’ve ever had. The folks in Austin are clearly proud of their food. Just don’t ask for a TexMex suggestion unless you’re ready for a heated debate.