It should not come as a surprise that food in Austin is unique; the city has a way of taking trends and giving them an Austin twang. Over the past decade there have been several notable national movements in food, and a couple of those have been adopted by the Texan capital. I am thinking of course about the "farm to table" trend and also the proliferation of food trucks. However, what has happened in Austin is not an exact appropriation of California's local, seasonal restaurant style or Portland's food cart culture. Instead it has developed its own distinct style.
Of course if I was coming to Austin, I was going to find good Texan barbecue and we definitely did (Franklin's as an example). But beyond that, the intrigue was with places that were using high-quality ingredients managing to elevate barbecue to another level. A kind of high-low style that I think is pretty unique. Barbecue made with sustainably raised animals, seasonal variations on classic dishes and an increased connection with local farms have given food in Austin an edge. Two other major factors contribute to the way people eat as well: its population and the weather.
(See also: Austin Art with Joe Swec)
Being a major university town and a creative hub, the city has a young population that can't always dine out in restaurants. This has given rise to more affordable, accessible options like the lineup of creative food trucks around the city. It is also warm most of the year so Austinites naturally eat outside, usually accompanied by a few beers. It is for those reasons that I wanted to do exactly that with Andrea Grimes the editor of Eater Austin. She knows the city, loves its food scene and can talk barbecue and beyond.
Andrea's picks for Austin eats are Barley Swine, Sway, Elizabeth Street Cafe, La Barbecue, Amaya's Taco Village, Hi Hat Public House, East Side King at Hole in the Wall, Eastside Showroom and Violet Crown Social Club.