If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being swanky on a budget. Here’s a list of some of my favorite happy hours that last well after the usual 7 o’clock cut-off:
Hillside Farmacy: Enjoy half price east coast oysters, and $5 cava.
East Side Show Room: Fancy cocktails for $5, and discounted snacks (such as pork ribs).
Olive + June: Half off piccoli piatti and wines by the glass.
The W: $6 wines and local spirits, $5 bites, and $4 beers.
Jeffrey’s: Half price bar food, and $2 off drinks.
Peche: $5 cocktails, and half off select menu items.
Eddie V’s: $1 Louisiana oysters, $6 wine and cocktails, and a lot of delicious, discounted food.
Winebelly: Select bottles are half off.
Olivia: 30% off appetizers and bottles. $1 off drinks.
|Mazu at Kyoten
|Austin doesn’t just “do” food trucks; Austin does food trucks. A couple of chefs with Nobu, Ramen Tatsu-ya (I still haven’t been there!), and Uchi on their resumes have opened an upscale sushi food truck called Kyoten.
During the drunken stupor that out-of-towners refer to as SXSW, I passed by this place and convinced my harem of equally inebriated friends to try it with me. Having lived on free Kind bars, Tito’s vodka, and somehow cheese, I was ready for some real food. I wanted something nice, fresh, unpackaged, and containing vegetables (if you’ve been to SXSW you know what I mean). My hopes for Kyoten were so high that I was afraid they might not meet expectations. Spoiler alert: They did.
The food isn’t cheap, and I’d avoid the painfully salty miso soup, but everything else is diviiiiiine. It was clear to me upon asking a few questions about the menu that the staff was truly passionate about the product, and I love that they chimed in with which fish dish was going to be the best. I completely ignored their advice because I had salmon on the brain, but I still appreciated the knowledge.
I’m a known sushi enthusiast, but not everyone in the group was. The beef tongue braised in red wine (not shown) did the trick for them.
If you’re jonesing for an Uchi excursion, but don’t want the hassle, or maybe even want to dine in the soon-to-be-boiling-hot outdoors, then this is for you. They have a ton of Japanese lanterns, a fenced in zen garden, and more than enough picnic tables. Grab a bottle of wine, or sake, and prepare to be amazed.
|Moist Brisket, Sausage, and Peppers
I’d be hard pressed to find someone that has never heard of Franklin Barbecue, the place that Anthony Bourdain claims has the best barbecue in America. If you live in Austin, chances are that you’ve been before, or at least seen the lines of hungry would-be patrons wrapped around the block in hopes of getting in before Franklin runs out.
I don’t eat red meat, but my partner and his friends are pretty much anti-vegetarians. I think cookies are the only non-meat thing they’ll consume. We woke up early, stocked up on booze, and set up camp in line hours before Franklin opened. I recommend getting there as early as 9 a.m. and bringing a chair. Bringing your own alcohol helps make the time pass rather quickly.
Once inside, the seating gets competitive. Expect to have to sit outside for the most part, and to see Aaron Franklin himself serving you from behind the counter. He complimented my partner’s glasses and I’ve never heard the end of it. “Aaron Franklin likes my glasses!”
Out of the ribs, sausage, and brisket that was had, it appears that brisket was the star (and most photogenic). I admit to taking a tiny piece of the meat just to say I did, and despite what everyone on Twitter said, which was mostly, “You’re going to be a carnivore after trying Franklin!” I must confess that I am still not into meat, but could see how people who enjoyed meat would especially enjoy Franklin’s creations.
Was it the best barbecue my partner and his friends ever had? Yes.
Will they wait in line for it again any time soon? Probably not. The hassle of getting in makes it more of a special occasion sort of thing, and not a weekly excursion.
Papi Tino’s has got to be the cutest place I’ve ever been. I see no reason to eat inside, so I recommend making sure the weather is good (it’s Austin, what are the odds that it won’t be?) and enjoying the patio.
It’s a little ka-ching, but not ka-ching-ka-ching. I guess that’s how I describe something that’s on the upper end of affordable Mexican food. The guacamole is great, ceviche is good, but the chilaquiles were disappointing. Mellie described them as, “Nachos?”
I tried the $7 bloody mary, and though it wasn’t bad I think the mimosas are the real way to go here. I really love this place, and can’t wait to go back. I’ve been one other time, and the margaritas are truly to die for.
There’s a certain charm to the Austin east side, and I think Rio’s Brazilian Cafe truly captures it. The place is small, colorful, “a little run down” on the surface, but loaded with said charm.
Prices are insanely cheap. Our hearty pastries were around $4 a piece, and it was about the same to add soup, salad, or their world famous cheese breads to the order.
I don’t think that the food is out of this world, but if you fancy South American fare, it’s great for the price. On Sundays they have tropical mimosa specials, but any other day of the week it’s about $6-8 for a glass of wine. The big secret to pay attention to is the ridiculously cheap caipirinha set-ups ($2.50) for those who bring their own bottle of Cachaca.