On our second day in Austin, Jocelyn and I focused on trying as many restaurants as possible. We tried brunch, ice cream, pizza, and barbecue, all in the span of about 5 hours.
Our first stop was Elizabeth Street Café for brunch. The small restaurant serves up food with an Asian influence, so in addition to Blueberry French Toast, they have items like Breakfast Pho and on the menu.
The space mixes quirky with sophisticated and waitresses all wear the same dress with a pattern of their choosing. A sunny porch has several tables, and the inside has fun details like chairs with zebra upholstery.
The Baked Brioche French toast was superb, not overly sweet and very fruity. It had a basil blueberry compote and was topped with a sweetened condensed milk ice cream and a brown butter syrup. It was my favorite of the three things we ordered.
The vermicelli with fried egg was an Asian take on a hash, and I liked how the runny egg yolk mixed with the crispy noodles.
The Breakfast Pho with pork belly and a poached egg would be just the thing to warm you up on a chilly day, it wasn’t exactly the most fitting thing to order on a 90 degree day, but it was excellent.
Jocelyn just wrapped filming for some episodes for the next season of Unique Sweets, and her colleagues had recommended that we stop at Cow Tipping Creamery, an ice cream shop that has been previously featured on the show. Cow Tipping specializes in ice cream sundaes with over the top presentations and endless combinations. I had the Southern Charm which was super sweet – I love caramel, but this even had colored sugar as a topping. Jocelyn chose the brownie and cookie dough sundae which I preferred. While we were there we picked the owners brain and she happily gave us a list of places and restaurants to explore – including South Congress Street which is where we headed next.
After some shopping… and walking off the large brunch and ice cream snack, we were ready for another restaurant. Our waitress at Elizabeth Street Café recommend that we stop by Home Slice, a pizza parlor, since Jocelyn happened to be wearing a tee shirt that said “True Love” with an image of pizza on it that day. You can smell the magical scent of dough and toasted cheese from down the street – a sign that the pizza is going to be good. Home Slice (no relation to the Chicago restaurant) sells big slices of New York Style pie in a fun space with a large patio and ping pong table in the back. These are thin slices so big and wide that they almost need to be folded, with a doughy crust. Home Slice would be a fun place for a late night meal, and I am sure the bar on the back patio is a happening place when it isn’t 2pm on a Thursday.
Our fourth and final stop on our food crawl was a roadside food trailer called Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. I know that everyone talks about Franklin’s Barbecue and we were lucky enough to try it at the James Beard Awards earlier this year. We briefly considered going to Franklin’s, but the line outside tends to be pretty epic, and we didn’t feel like camping out for several hours for brisket. This was a fine decision since the brisket at Valentina’s was exceptional – definitely the best brisket I have ever tasted. As the name Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ suggests, classic barbecue is paired with Tex Mex flavors and styles. You can order meat like brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and sausage by the quarter pound, and you can also get tacos. Brisket has a tendency to be dry, but this was moist and flavorful. We had brisket both by the pound and in tacos. The brisket by the pound was incredibly tender and I ate it just with a touch of the house BBQ sauce.
The brisket tacos had shredded brisket in a slightly spicy sauce with flour tortillas. Super simple and to the point, these tacos were amazing. The queso and smoked corn are not to be missed, and can be added to the tacos if you want to get creative.
Jocelyn had such a fun day of eating and I wholeheartedly recommend these restaurants, but I should let you know that they aren’t close together, we used a ridesharing service to get from place to place.