What is the best way to get to Austin?

Alex Skjong

A great way to travel to Austin is to reserve your own private jet from NetJets, a service that lets you buy a fractional ownership of an aircraft, giving you access to a worldwide fleet of planes ready at your beck and call. No sense waiting in line at the airport, baggage in tow, wondering if you’ll make it through security on time, only to find out your flight’s been delayed. Instead, fly to the Live Music Capital of the World in speedy style. NetJets offers three sizes of aircraft, light, mid-size and large cabin, which can accommodate seven to 14 passengers. Feast on gourmet platters of artisan cheese and seafood and sip some bubbly while you wait to touch down in Hill Country. By using NetJets you can cut your travel time in half — which leaves more time to see a music festival, catch a football game at UT-Austin or explore the renowned Austin food truck scene.

  • On July 2, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are the best restaurants in Austin?

    In the past five years, it is safe to say Austin has risen to culinary mecca status.  While we unfortunately don’t have all the thriving ethnic neighborhoods of some larger cities (think Thai Town, Little India, Japantown, Little Korea, etc), our cuisine is diversifying with each new establishment that opens its doors. These days, dining experiences are more fun, educational, and interactive than ever, and we’re seeing a lot of international inspiration brought to the table by young, creative chefs.

    Here, I’ve rounded up twenty wonderful places around town for fine dining. There are certainly many more where these came from, and many more on the way. One thing’s for sure: it’s a great time to be hungry in Austin, Texas.

    Uchi put Austin on the culinary map when it opened in 2003, thanks to the imaginative Japanese culinary stylings of Chef Tyson Cole. To say they make “sushi” is an understatement-- Uchi and its sister restaurant Uchiko (below) are pretty much in a category of their own.

    Uchiko opened in the summer of 2010 and Cole won a James Beard for Best Chef in the Southwest later that year. This location has more of a focus on small cold and warm tasting plates, each one just as artfully brilliant as the next.

    Choose from a three-course prix fixe or seven-course tasting menu in the elegant-yet-inviting dining room of Congress, where Chef David Bull elevates local ingredients by using global influence, culinary intuition, and unpretentious precision. There is no doubt he deserves every accolade he has earned.

    Experience Chef Rene Ortiz’s take on Mexican street food in the equally vivid, playful dining room of La Condesa. Save room for dessert, because pastry chef Laura Sawicki conjures up some of the most imaginative sweets in town.

    Sway is Ortiz's sophomore venture: boldly flavored modern Thai served at mostly communal tables in a hip, rustic-industrial setting. Don’t miss the housemade kombucha and drinking vinegars, sorbets, ice creams and Sawick's other inventive dessert creations.

    Barleyswine, Chef Bryce Gilmore’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, opened in 2010 with a focus on small plates, craft beer, and farm-to-table ethos. Seating is communal inside this cozy gastropub, which exudes farmhouse chic (and will provide a tiny spatula, if requested, to scrap your plate bone dry).

    Jeffrey’s is an Austin institution that was recently taken over by restauranteur Larry McGuire, who renovated both the timeless menu and the interior. Guests can sip classic cocktails on blue velvet cushions, dine on dry-aged steaks, and make selections from a pastry cart at brunch and decadent cheese and martini carts for dinner.

    qui, the latest and most highly anticipated culinary venture from Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui, recently opened on Austin’s eastside. The sun-soaked wooden interior features a spacious open kitchen, tasting room, and subtle splashes of brightness from colored glass and customized aprons. Qui’s cuisine, served on handmade pottery and reclaimed wood platters, is every bit as inspired, thoughtful, and beautiful as expected.

    Olivia’s chef-owner James Holmes takes pride in sourcing from local farmers, foragers and ranchers, hosting nose-to-tail dinners, and keeping chickens in the backyard of his modern-rustic establishment. On Sundays, they serve a brunch fit for (farm-to-table) kings.

    Perla’s nautical interior and spacious patio overlook a bustling section of South Congress, yet it feels like the classiest of oceanside boardwalks when you’re ordering off their extensive menu of sea treasures, both local and sourced from afar.

    Trace is the only W Hotel restaurant with a forager on staff to ensure the best local, seasonal ingredients are sourced.  Their patio is the ideal setting for their decadent brunch, while the candlelit ambiance of the sleek dining room fits their dinner menu, which is heavy on housemade charcuterie, steaks, and wild game.

    Lenoir’s chef Todd Duplechan uses French technique to prepare fresh and flavorful cuisine, drawing on inspiration from “warm weather” areas of the world, and using mostly locally sourced ingredients. The interior’s intimate, artful atmosphere comes from heirloom lace drapes and reclaimed wood accents.

    Hidden within UT’s AT&T Conference Center is The Carillon, a white tableclothed gem serving reimagined American classics in a refined setting. Service is impeccably attentive, the wine program is strong, and dishes are available a la cart, prixe fixe, or as a part of a chef’s tasting menu.

    True to its name, a set of stairs leads to the ethereal interior of Swift’s Attic, where Chef Mat Clouser and his team clearly know how to have a good time. The dinner menu is split into “snack-ums,” “vegemables,” “snort, soar, and scratch,” and “sweet toofs,” and includes surprises like charred edameme with chili oil and pop rocks, and “popcorn and a movie” interpreted as dessert.

    Chef Shawn Cirkiel serves upscale regional Italian cuisine on the rustic farmhouse tables inside and under the shade of a majestic live oak outside Olive and June. Highlights include handrolled pasta, entrees grilled on Texas oak, and an extensive list of aperitifs and digestifs, such as housemade limoncello.

    Run by veterans from Uchi and Uchiko, SPIN Thai delivers a fresh take on Thai-inspired dishes in quite an unexpected environment. A bit off the beaten downtown path, SPIN’s creations are modern, piquant, and beautifully plated.

    Recently opened Mettle is the “Rainey Street Queen” Bridget Dunlap’s first eastside restaurant venture. Chef Andrew Francisco's very original dishes take inspiration from around the globe, while glass and metal sculptures give the dining room a haute industrial feel that is at once spacious and inviting.

    For 64 years, Green Pastures has been serving elegant regional cuisine on a Victorian estate, surrounded by live oaks and strolling peacocks. Though the menu is largely elevated surf and turf, they have several vegetarian options as well- -and one of the most lavish brunches in town.

    Fino consistently delivers upscale, modern Mediterranean cuisine in the form of tapas, larger entrees, shareable pans of paella, and inspired desserts and cocktails. The service is just as notable as the food and, if the weather is right, the covered patio and lounge is the place to be.

    Chef Ned Elliot takes farmhouse fare to a new level with nose-to-tail, garden-fresh creations at Foreign & Domestic. While all the seats in the small, bustling dining room are coveted, the best in the house are at the bar facing the open kitchen. Pastry chef Jody Elliot sells some of the best baked goods in town at her Saturday Bake Sale pop-ups.

  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are the best restaurants in Austin?

    In the past five years, it is safe to say Austin has risen to culinary mecca status.  While we unfortunately don’t have all the thriving ethnic neighborhoods of some larger cities (think Thai Town, Little India, Japantown, Little Korea, etc), our cuisine is diversifying with each new establishment that opens its doors. These days, dining experiences are more fun, educational, and interactive than ever, and we’re seeing a lot of international inspiration brought to the table by young, creative chefs.

    Here, I’ve rounded up twenty wonderful places around town for fine dining. There are certainly many more where these came from, and many more on the way. One thing’s for sure: it’s a great time to be hungry in Austin, Texas.

    Uchi put Austin on the culinary map when it opened in 2003, thanks to the imaginative Japanese culinary stylings of Chef Tyson Cole. To say they make “sushi” is an understatement-- Uchi and its sister restaurant Uchiko (below) are pretty much in a category of their own.

    Uchiko opened in the summer of 2010 and Cole won a James Beard for Best Chef in the Southwest later that year. This location has more of a focus on small cold and warm tasting plates, each one just as artfully brilliant as the next.

    Choose from a three-course prix fixe or seven-course tasting menu in the elegant-yet-inviting dining room of Congress, where Chef David Bull elevates local ingredients by using global influence, culinary intuition, and unpretentious precision. There is no doubt he deserves every accolade he has earned.

    Experience Chef Rene Ortiz’s take on Mexican street food in the equally vivid, playful dining room of La Condesa. Save room for dessert, because pastry chef Laura Sawicki conjures up some of the most imaginative sweets in town.

    Sway is Ortiz's sophomore venture: boldly flavored modern Thai served at mostly communal tables in a hip, rustic-industrial setting. Don’t miss the housemade kombucha and drinking vinegars, sorbets, ice creams and Sawick's other inventive dessert creations.

    Barleyswine, Chef Bryce Gilmore’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, opened in 2010 with a focus on small plates, craft beer, and farm-to-table ethos. Seating is communal inside this cozy gastropub, which exudes farmhouse chic (and will provide a tiny spatula, if requested, to scrap your plate bone dry).

    Jeffrey’s is an Austin institution that was recently taken over by restauranteur Larry McGuire, who renovated both the timeless menu and the interior. Guests can sip classic cocktails on blue velvet cushions, dine on dry-aged steaks, and make selections from a pastry cart at brunch and decadent cheese and martini carts for dinner.

    qui, the latest and most highly anticipated culinary venture from Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui, recently opened on Austin’s eastside. The sun-soaked wooden interior features a spacious open kitchen, tasting room, and subtle splashes of brightness from colored glass and customized aprons. Qui’s cuisine, served on handmade pottery and reclaimed wood platters, is every bit as inspired, thoughtful, and beautiful as expected.

    Olivia’s chef-owner James Holmes takes pride in sourcing from local farmers, foragers and ranchers, hosting nose-to-tail dinners, and keeping chickens in the backyard of his modern-rustic establishment. On Sundays, they serve a brunch fit for (farm-to-table) kings.

    Perla’s nautical interior and spacious patio overlook a bustling section of South Congress, yet it feels like the classiest of oceanside boardwalks when you’re ordering off their extensive menu of sea treasures, both local and sourced from afar.

    Trace is the only W Hotel restaurant with a forager on staff to ensure the best local, seasonal ingredients are sourced.  Their patio is the ideal setting for their decadent brunch, while the candlelit ambiance of the sleek dining room fits their dinner menu, which is heavy on housemade charcuterie, steaks, and wild game.

    Lenoir’s chef Todd Duplechan uses French technique to prepare fresh and flavorful cuisine, drawing on inspiration from “warm weather” areas of the world, and using mostly locally sourced ingredients. The interior’s intimate, artful atmosphere comes from heirloom lace drapes and reclaimed wood accents.

    Hidden within UT’s AT&T Conference Center is The Carillon, a white tableclothed gem serving reimagined American classics in a refined setting. Service is impeccably attentive, the wine program is strong, and dishes are available a la cart, prixe fixe, or as a part of a chef’s tasting menu.

    True to its name, a set of stairs leads to the ethereal interior of Swift’s Attic, where the Chef Mat Clouser and his team clearly know how to have a good time. The dinner menu is split into “snack-ums,” “vegemables,” “snort, soar, and scratch,” and “sweet toofs,” and includes surprises like charred edameme with chili oil and pop rocks, and “popcorn and a movie” interpreted as dessert.

    Chef Shawn Cirkiel serves upscale regional Italian cuisine on the rustic farmhouse tables inside and under the shade of a majestic live oak outside Olive and June. Highlights include handrolled pasta, entrees grilled on Texas oak, and an extensive list of aperitifs and digestifs, such as housemade limoncello.

    Run by veterans from Uchi and Uchiko, SPIN Thai delivers a fresh take on Thai-inspired dishes in quite an unexpected environment. A bit off the beaten downtown path, SPIN’s creations are modern, piquant, and beautifully plated.

    Recently opened Mettle is the “Rainey Street Queen” Bridget Dunlap’s first eastside restaurant venture. Chef Andrew Francisco's very original dishes take inspiration from around the globe, while glass and metal sculptures give the dining room a haute industrial feel that is at once spacious and inviting.

    For 64 years, Green Pastures has been serving elegant regional cuisine on a Victorian estate, surrounded by live oaks and strolling peacocks. Though the menu is largely elevated surf and turf, they have several vegetarian options as well- -and one of the most lavish brunches in town.

    Fino consistently delivers upscale, modern Mediterranean cuisine in the form of tapas, larger entrees, shareable pans of paella, and inspired desserts and cocktails. The service is just as notable as the food and, if the weather is right, the covered patio and lounge is the place to be.

    Chef Ned Elliot takes farmhouse fare to a new level with nose-to-tail, garden-fresh creations at Foreign & Domestic. While all the seats in the small, bustling dining room are coveted, the best in the house are at the bar facing the open kitchen. Pastry chef Jody Elliot sells some of the best baked goods in town at her Saturday Bake Sale pop-ups.

  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are the best restaurants in Austin?

    In the past five years, it is safe to say Austin has risen to culinary mecca status.  While we unfortunately don’t have all the thriving ethnic neighborhoods of some larger cities (think Thai Town, Little India, Japantown, Little Korea, etc), our cuisine is diversifying with each new establishment that opens its doors. These days, dining experiences are more fun, educational, and interactive than ever, and we’re seeing a lot of international inspiration brought to the table by young, creative chefs.

    Here, I’ve rounded up twenty wonderful places around town for fine dining. There are certainly many more where these came from, and many more on the way. One thing’s for sure: it’s a great time to be hungry in Austin, Texas.

    Uchi put Austin on the culinary map when it opened in 2003, thanks to the imaginative Japanese culinary stylings of Chef Tyson Cole. To say they make “sushi” is an understatement-- Uchi and its sister restaurant Uchiko (below) are pretty much in a category of their own.

    Uchiko opened in the summer of 2010 and Cole won a James Beard for Best Chef in the Southwest later that year. This location has more of a focus on small cold and warm tasting plates, each one just as artfully brilliant as the next.

    Choose from a three-course prix fixe or seven-course tasting menu in the elegant-yet-inviting dining room of Congress, where Chef David Bull elevates local ingredients by using global influence, culinary intuition, and unpretentious precision. There is no doubt he deserves every accolade he has earned.

    Experience Chef Rene Ortiz’s take on Mexican street food in the equally vivid, playful dining room of La Condesa. Save room for dessert, because pastry chef Laura Sawicki conjures up some of the most imaginative sweets in town.

    Sway is Ortiz's sophomore venture: boldly flavored modern Thai served at mostly communal tables in a hip, rustic-industrial setting. Don’t miss the housemade kombucha and drinking vinegars, sorbets, ice creams and Sawick's other inventive dessert creations.

    Barleyswine, Chef Bryce Gilmore’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, opened in 2010 with a focus on small plates, craft beer, and farm-to-table ethos. Seating is communal inside this cozy gastropub, which exudes farmhouse chic (and will provide a tiny spatula, if requested, to scrap your plate bone dry).

    Jeffrey’s is an Austin institution that was recently taken over by restauranteur Larry McGuire, who renovated both the timeless menu and the interior. Guests can sip classic cocktails on blue velvet cushions, dine on dry-aged steaks, and make selections from a pastry cart at brunch and decadent cheese and martini carts for dinner.

    qui, the latest and most highly anticipated culinary venture from Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui, recently opened on Austin’s eastside. The sun-soaked wooden interior features a spacious open kitchen, tasting room, and subtle splashes of brightness from colored glass and customized aprons. Qui’s cuisine, served on handmade pottery and reclaimed wood platters, is every bit as inspired, thoughtful, and beautiful as expected.

    Olivia’s chef-owner James Holmes takes pride in sourcing from local farmers, foragers and ranchers, hosting nose-to-tail dinners, and keeping chickens in the backyard of his modern-rustic establishment. On Sundays, they serve a brunch fit for (farm-to-table) kings.

    Perla’s nautical interior and spacious patio overlook a bustling section of South Congress, yet it feels like the classiest of oceanside boardwalks when you’re ordering off their extensive menu of sea treasures, both local and sourced from afar.

    Trace is the only W Hotel restaurant with a forager on staff to ensure the best local, seasonal ingredients are sourced.  Their patio is the ideal setting for their decadent, while the candlelit ambiance of the sleek dining room fits their dinner menu, which is heavy on housemade charcuterie, steaks, and wild game.

    Lenoir’s chef Todd Duplechan uses French technique to prepare fresh and flavorful cuisine, drawing on inspiration from “warm weather” areas of the world, and using mostly locally sourced ingredients. The interior’s intimate, artful atmosphere comes from heirloom lace drapes and reclaimed wood accents.

    Hidden within UT’s AT&T Conference Center is The Carillon, a white tableclothed gem serving reimagined American classics in a refined setting. Service is impeccably attentive, the wine program is strong, and dishes are available a la cart, prixe fixe, or as a part of a chef’s tasting menu.

    True to its name, a set of stairs leads to the ethereal interior of Swift’s Attic, where the Chef Mat Clouser and his team clearly know how to have a good time. The dinner menu is split into “snack-ums,” “vegemables,” “snort, soar, and scratch,” and “sweet toofs,” and includes surprises like charred edameme with chili oil and pop rocks, and “popcorn and a movie” interpreted as dessert.

    Chef Shawn Cirkiel serves upscale regional Italian cuisine on the rustic farmhouse tables inside and under the shade of a majestic live oak outside Olive and June. Highlights include handrolled pasta, entrees grilled on Texas oak, and an extensive list of aperitifs and digestifs, such as housemade limoncello.

    Run by veterans from Uchi and Uchiko, SPIN Thai delivers a fresh take on Thai-inspired dishes in quite an unexpected environment. A bit off the beaten downtown path, SPIN’s creations are modern, piquant, and beautifully plated.

    Recently opened Mettle is the “Rainey Street Queen” Bridget Dunlap’s first eastside restaurant venture. Chef Andrew Francisco's very original dishes take inspiration from around the globe, while glass and metal sculptures give the dining room a haute industrial feel that is at once spacious and inviting.

    For 64 years, Green Pastures has been serving elegant regional cuisine on a Victorian estate, surrounded by live oaks and strolling peacocks. Though the menu is largely elevated surf and turf, they have several vegetarian options as well- -and one of the most lavish brunches in town.

    Fino consistently delivers upscale, modern Mediterranean cuisine in the form of tapas, larger entrees, shareable pans of paella, and inspired desserts and cocktails. The service is just as notable as the food and, if the weather is right, the covered patio and lounge is the place to be.

    Chef Ned Elliot takes farmhouse fare to a new level with nose-to-tail, garden-fresh creations at Foreign & Domestic. While all the seats in the small, bustling dining room are coveted, the best in the house are at the bar facing the open kitchen. Pastry chef Jody Elliot sells some of the best baked goods in town at her Saturday Bake Sale pop-ups.

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  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are the best restaurants in Austin?

    In the past five years, it is safe to say Austin has risen to culinary mecca status.  While we unfortunately don’t have all the thriving ethnic neighborhoods of some larger cities (think Thai Town, Little India, Japantown, Little Korea, etc), our cuisine is diversifying with each new establishment that opens its doors. These days, dining experiences are more fun, educational, and interactive than ever, and we’re seeing a lot of international inspiration brought to the table by young, creative chefs.

    Here, I’ve rounded up some wonderful places around town for fine dining. There are certainly many more where these came from, and many more on the way. One thing’s for sure: it’s a great time to be hungry in Austin, Texas.

    Uchi put Austin on the culinary map when it opened in 2003, thanks to the imaginative Japanese culinary stylings of Chef Tyson Cole. To say they make “sushi” is an understatement-- Uchi and its sister restaurant Uchiko (below) are pretty much in a category of their own.

    Uchiko opened in the summer of 2010 and Cole won a James Beard for Best Chef in the Southwest later that year. This location has more of a focus on small cold and warm tasting plates, each one just as artfully brilliant as the next.

    Choose from a three-course prix fixe or seven-course tasting menu in the elegant-yet-inviting dining room of Congress, where Chef David Bull elevates local ingredients by using global influence, culinary intuition, and unpretentious precision. There is no doubt he deserves every accolade he has earned.

    Experience Chef Rene Ortiz’s take on Mexican street food in the equally vivid, playful dining room of La Condesa. Save room for dessert, because pastry chef Laura Sawicki conjures up some of the most imaginative sweets in town.

    Sway is Ortiz's sophomore venture: boldly flavored modern Thai served at mostly communal tables in a hip, rustic-industrial setting. Don’t miss the housemade kombucha and drinking vinegars, sorbets, ice creams and Sawick's other inventive dessert creations.

    Barleyswine, Chef Bryce Gilmore’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, opened in 2010 with a focus on small plates, craft beer, and farm-to-table ethos. Seating is communal inside this cozy gastropub, which exudes farmhouse chic (and will provide a tiny spatula, if requested, to scrap your plate bone dry).

    Jeffrey’s is an Austin institution that was recently taken over by restauranteur Larry McGuire, who renovated both the timeless menu and the interior. Guests can sip classic cocktails on blue velvet cushions, dine on dry-aged steaks, and make selections from a pastry cart at brunch and decadent cheese and martini carts for dinner.

    qui, the latest and most highly anticipated culinary venture from Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui, recently opened on Austin’s eastside. The sun-soaked wooden interior features a spacious open kitchen, tasting room, and subtle splashes of brightness from colored glass and customized aprons. Qui’s cuisine, served on handmade pottery and reclaimed wood platters, is every bit as inspired, thoughtful, and beautiful as expected.

    Olivia’s chef-owner James Holmes takes pride in sourcing from local farmers, foragers and ranchers, hosting nose-to-tail dinners, and keeping chickens in the backyard of his modern-rustic establishment. On Sundays, they serve a brunch fit for (farm-to-table) kings.

    Perla’s nautical interior and spacious patio overlook a bustling section of South Congress, yet it feels like the classiest of oceanside boardwalks when you’re ordering off their extensive menu of sea treasures, both local and sourced from afar.

    Trace is the only W Hotel restaurant with a forager on staff to ensure the best local, seasonal ingredients are sourced.  Their patio is the ideal setting for their decadent, while the candlelit ambiance of the sleek dining room fits their dinner menu, which is heavy on housemade charcuterie, steaks, and wild game.

    Lenoir’s chef Todd Duplechan uses French technique to prepare fresh and flavorful cuisine, drawing on inspiration from “warm weather” areas of the world, and using mostly locally sourced ingredients. The interior’s intimate, artful atmosphere comes from heirloom lace drapes and reclaimed wood accents.

    Hidden within UT’s AT&T Conference Center is The Carillon, a white tableclothed gem serving reimagined American classics in a refined setting. Service is impeccably attentive, the wine program is strong, and dishes are available a la cart, prixe fixe, or as a part of a chef’s tasting menu.

    Run by veterans from Uchi and Uchiko, SPIN Thai delivers a fresh take on Thai-inspired dishes in quite an unexpected environment. A bit off the beaten downtown path, SPIN’s creations are modern, piquant, and beautifully plated.

    Recently opened Mettle is the “Rainey Street Queen” Bridget Dunlap’s first eastside restaurant venture. Chef Andrew Francisco's very original dishes take inspiration from around the globe, while glass and metal sculptures give the dining room a haute industrial feel that is at once spacious and inviting.

    For 64 years, Green Pastures has been serving elegant regional cuisine on a Victorian estate, surrounded by live oaks and strolling peacocks. Though the menu is largely elevated surf and turf, they have several vegetarian options as well- -and one of the most lavish brunches in town.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are quirky local customs in Austin?

    Austin has several quirky customs that continue year after year.

    The first that comes to mind occurs every Sunday at Ginny’s Little Longhorn on Burnet Road. Folks line up for a raffle ticket with a number so that they can drink Lone Star, two step to country music, and snack on chili dogs until a chicken relieves itself on the lucky winner’s number.  Ah, Texas!

    Every spring, throngs of people gather in Pease Park to celebrate Euyore’s birthday with body paint, bongo drums, and beads. In case you were wondering, this is in fact a family-friendly event.. and proceeds do go to charity!

    Around Easter every year, there is a pet costume parade down South Congress to benefit Austin Pets Alive, an animal rescue group. One recent theme was drag in honor of Leslie Cochran, a local legacy known for baring it all around town.

    Despite its status as an unofficial city landmark, the Cathedral of Junk owners have gone through somewhat of a struggle with city permits in recent years. Now that the issue has been resolved, they’ve opened back up to to public and are just as junky as ever!

    In late March, the Honk!TX Festival celebrates street bands with various performances and parades all throughout the city.

    On any given night, you might encounter a sea of blinkie lights as a massive group of bikers whiz by. In addition to large group rides organized by Critical Mass and the Thursday Night Social Riders, smaller groups are constantly congregating for spontaneous social rides which usually end at eastside bars.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are quirky local customs in Austin?

    Austin has several quirky customs that continue year after year.

    The first that comes to mind occurs every Sunday at Ginny’s Little Longhorn on Burnet Road. Folks line up for a raffle ticket with a number so that they can drink Lone Star, two step to country music, and snack on chili dogs until a chicken relieves itself on the lucky winner’s number.  Ah, Texas!

    Every spring, throngs of people gather in Pease Park to celebrate Euyore’s birthday with body paint, bongo drums, and beads. In case you were wondering, this is in fact a family-friendly event.. and proceeds do go to charity!

    Around Easter every year, there is a pet costume parade down South Congress to benefit Austin Pets Alive, an animal rescue group. One recent theme was drag in honor of Leslie Cochran, a local legacy known for baring it all around town.

    Despite its status as an unofficial city landmark, the Cathedral of Junk owners have gone through somewhat of a struggle with city permits in recent years. Now that the issue has been resolved, they’ve opened back up to to public and are just as junky as ever!

    In late March, the Honk!TX Festival celebrates street bands with various performances and parades all throughout the city.

    On any given night, you might encounter a sea of blinkie lights as a massive group of bikers whiz by. In addition to large group rides organized by Critical Mass and the Thursday Night Social Riders, smaller groups are constantly congregating for spontaneous social rides which usually end at eastside bars.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are quirky local customs in Austin?

    Austin has several quirky customs that continue year after year.

    The first that comes to mind occurs every Sunday at Ginny’s Little Longhorn on Burnet Road. Folks line up for a raffle ticket with a number so that they can drink Lone Star, two step to country music, and snack on chili dogs until a chicken relieves itself on the lucky winner’s number.  Ah, Texas!

    Every spring, throngs of people gather in Pease Park to celebrate Euyore’s birthday with body paint, bongo drums, and beads. In case you were wondering, this is in fact a family-friendly event.. and proceeds do go to charity!

    Around Easter every year, there is a pet costume parade down South Congress to benefit Austin Pets Alive, an animal rescue group. One recent theme was drag in honor of Leslie Cochran, a local legacy known for baring it all around town.

    Despite its status as an unofficial city landmark, the Cathedral of Junk owners have gone through somewhat of a struggle with city permits in recent years. Now that the issue has been resolved, they’ve opened back up to to public and are just as junky as ever!

    In late March, the Honk!TX Festival celebrates street bands with various performances and parades all throughout the city.

    On any given night, you might encounter a sea of blinkie lights as a massive group of bikers whiz by. Besides large group rides organized by Critical Mass and the Thursday Night Social Riders, smaller groups are constantly congregating for spontaneous social rides which usually end at eastside bars.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are the best neighborhoods in Austin?

    Austin has a lot of great neighborhoods, but deciding on the best ones depends what you are looking for.

    The Zilker area is where you will find the expansive Zilker Park, as well as Barton Springs, Auditorium Shores, the Ladybird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge. Also in this area is the Zach Scott Theatre, Long Center for the Performing Arts, and Palmer Events Center.

    The University of Texas campus falls between MLK and Dean Keeton and Guadalupe and IH-35. Of course, the Darrell K Royal Stadium is found on campus, as well as the famous clock tower. Many large events tour through the nearby Frank Erwin Center as well. Outside of that, this section of Guadalupe is known as “the Drag” and home to college-student fare, bookstores, and various shops.

    Hyde Park is a neighborhood just north of campus, filled with a mix of beautiful, historic houses and student apartment housing. It’s almost entirely residential, but great to drive, stroll, or bike through just to admire the homes.

    North Loop is just north of Hyde Park and, while it’s also mostly residential, it circles around North Loop Boulevard. Once a funky, colorful strip of retro shops, several great bars, restaurants, and food trailers have now made North Loop a destination for food and drink as well.

    Cherrywood is adjacent to Hyde Park but east of IH-35. This is another adorable residential neighborhood, consisting almost entirely of houses built in the 1940’s through 1960’s. The tree-lined streets make for a nice bike ride and nearby Cherrywood Coffeehouse is always welcoming.

    “The Eastside” vaguel refers to the central east area of Austin from the river up to about Manor (north of Manor becomes Cherrywood). The eastside has become rather “hip” in the last several years and, while affordable housing does still exist, prices continue to rise as bungalows are torn down to build modern, renovated houses. You will find bars and restaurants a-plenty on Manor and East 5th and 6th Streets (and their cross streets). Art studios are also rampant throughout the eastside and open their doors annually for the East Austin Studio Tour.

    Though most of downtown really lights up when the sun goes down, the Museum of the Weird and the Austin Museum of Art are centrally located, as well as the Warehouse district, which is a great area for shopping.

    Follow Congress Avenue from the Capitol, south of the river, and you will land in the South Congress district, which is always bustling with shoppers, diners, and people-watchers. Soco is surrounded by Travis Heights, which is a beautiful and exclusive neighborhood.

    Bouldin Creek is an eclectic neighborhood that still has a lot of Austin flavor, though housing prices have skyrocketed phenomenally in the past several years. South 1st, once home to 24 hour Mexican bakeries and hippie coffeeshops, is now peppered with high end restaurants and boutiques.

    Clarksville and Tarrytown are also very exclusive neighborhoods, though they maintain some old school Austin charm. Oyster Landing Marina on Lake Austin Boulevard, you will find several places to dine overlooking Lake Austin.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What is the best way to see Austin in one day?

    If you had only one day to see Austin, this is how I would suggest you spend it:

    Wake early and treat yourself to breakfast tacos at either Torchy’s Tacos, TacoDeli, or Tacos Veracruz on Cesar Chavez. Not only are breakfast tacos something you can’t leave Austin without having, but these will give you sustenance to power through the rest of your jam-packed day (well, until lunch).

    From here, it’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure. There are always plenty of Segway tour groups zipping around town and the Land and Lake Duck Adventures tour takes you on an amphibious tour of downtown and Lake Austin .  If this is your cup of tea, it could be a great way to see more of the city and learn about the history from someone whose job it is to tell you about it.  (But be warned: the latter does, in fact, hand out duck beak noise makers for all participants to use at will. Just sayin’!)

    If you are not so much the touring type, you might opt to walk off those tacos with a self-guided tour of the Capitol, followed by a stroll down South Congress, where there are shops aplenty and great people watching. If you’re there until lunch, Hopdoddy is a great burger bar, and Perla’s has fantastic seafood. (But since you do only have one day in this scenarios, you might want to opt for Texas barbecue or Mexican food by hitting up any of the recommendations listed in this post.)

    By the afternoon, you’re going to most likely need a swim (assuming it’s warm weather season).  Barton Springs is another must-see for out-of-towners. The spring-fed canal remains a cool, constant 68 degrees and the tree-shaded hills are perfect for lounging and reading to the tune of bongos, guitars, and sometimes even a didjeridoo if you’re lucky.

    After a shower (and potentially a quick nap if you need one), it’s time to change for dinner and a glimpse of Austin nightlife. But first-- watching the world’s largest urban bat colony take flight for food is an activity that’s not to be missed! This mass bat exodus happens around sundown-- usually between 8 and 8:30pm. They can be viewed from the Congress Bridge, from an adjacent viewing area, or from a bat tour boat.

    For dinner, you can’t go wrong choosing from any of the restaurants on this list.  However, Congress and Trace are closest to the bat bridge, and both would be impeccable choices which focus on local ingredients. Do be sure to make reservations ahead of time for any of the fine dining establishments I’ve listed.  (And several do not take reservations, in which case you can anticipate a 1-2 hour wait).

    Afterward, choose an area to get drinks (West 6th Street is preppy, “Dirty Sixth” between Congress and I-35 is wild coed-central, the Warehouse District is gay and clubby, Red River/Seventh is a grungy crossroads for live music, hipsters reign on Sixth Street east of I-35, and Rainey Street is a newer district that attracts mostly yuppie psuedo-hipsters). But since they all honestly run into each other, why not take a stroll through through downtown for the full scenic tour? (On weekends, Dirty Sixth is a sight to behold on par with the likes of Bourbon Street...definitely worth taking a gander, if only for novelty purposes!)
  • On July 1, 2013
    Veronica Meewes answered the question: Veronica Meewes

    What are the best restaurants in Austin?

    In the past five years, it is safe to say Austin has risen to culinary mecca status.  While we unfortunately don’t have all the thriving ethnic neighborhoods of some larger cities (think Thai Town, Little India, Japantown, Little Korea, etc), our cuisine is diversifying with each new establishment that opens its doors. These days, dining experiences are more fun, educational, and interactive than ever, and we’re seeing a lot of international inspiration brought to the table by young, creative chefs.

    Here, I’ve rounded up some wonderful places around town for fine dining. There are certainly many more where these came from, and many more on the way. One thing’s for sure: it’s a great time to be hungry in Austin, Texas.

    Uchi put Austin on the culinary map when it opened in 2003, thanks to the imaginative Japanese culinary stylings of Chef Tyson Cole. To say they make “sushi” is an understatement-- Uchi and its sister restaurant Uchiko (below) are pretty much in a category of their own.

    Uchiko opened in the summer of 2010 and Cole won a James Beard for Best Chef in the Southwest later that year. This location has more of a focus on small cold and warm tasting plates, each one just as artfully brilliant as the next.

    Choose from a three-course prix fixe or seven-course tasting menu in the elegant-yet-inviting dining room of Congress, where Chef David Bull elevates local ingredients by using global influence, culinary intuition, and unpretentious precision. There is no doubt he deserves every accolade he has earned.

    Olivia’s chef-owner James Holmes takes pride in sourcing from local farmers, foragers and ranchers, hosting nose-to-tail dinners, and keeping chickens in the backyard of his modern-rustic establishment. On Sundays, they serve a brunch fit for (farm-to-table) kings.

    Perla’s nautical interior and spacious patio overlook a bustling section of South Congress, yet it feels like the classiest of oceanside boardwalks when you’re ordering off their extensive menu of sea treasures, both local and sourced from afar.

    Experience Chef Rene Ortiz’s take on Mexican street food in the equally vivid, playful dining room of La Condesa. Save room for dessert, because pastry chef Laura Sawicki conjures up some of the most imaginative sweets in town.

    Sway is Ortiz's sophomore venture: boldly flavored modern Thai served at mostly communal tables in a hip, rustic-industrial setting. Don’t miss the housemade kombucha and drinking vinegars, sorbets, ice creams and Sawick's other inventive dessert creations.

    For 64 years, Green Pastures has been serving elegant regional cuisine on a Victorian estate, surrounded by live oaks and strolling peacocks. Though the menu is largely elevated surf and turf, they have several vegetarian options as well- -and one of the most lavish brunches in town.

    Barleyswine, Chef Bryce Gilmore’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant, opened in 2010 with a focus on small plates, craft beer, and farm-to-table ethos. Seating is communal inside this cozy gastropub, which exudes farmhouse chic (and will provide a tiny spatula, if requested, to scrap your plate bone dry).

    qui, the latest and most highly anticipated culinary venture from Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui, recently opened on Austin’s eastside. The sun-soaked wooden interior features a spacious open kitchen, tasting room, and subtle splashes of brightness from colored glass and customized aprons. Qui’s cuisine, served on handmade pottery and reclaimed wood platters, is every bit as inspired, thoughtful, and beautiful as expected.

    Jeffrey’s is an Austin institution that was recently taken over by restauranteur Larry McGuire, who renovated both the timeless menu and the interior. Guests can sip classic cocktails on blue velvet cushions, dine on dry-aged steaks, and make selections from a pastry cart at brunch and decadent cheese and martini carts for dinner.

    Run by veterans from Uchi and Uchiko, SPIN Thai delivers a fresh take on Thai-inspired dishes in quite an unexpected environment. A bit off the beaten downtown path, SPIN’s creations are modern, piquant, and beautifully plated.

    Recently opened Mettle is the “Rainey Street Queen” Bridget Dunlap’s first eastside restaurant venture. Chef Andrew Francisco's very original dishes take inspiration from around the globe, while glass and metal sculptures give the dining room a haute industrial feel that is at once spacious and inviting.
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