Keep Austin Weird

Keep Austin Weird

Photo of Nic Brown
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Austin always feels like home to me. Here's why.

14 Places
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    There is nothing quite like sitting on the patio on a beautiful Austin morning soaking in the sunshine, enjoying some drinks and good food with friends. This hip hideout on the east side is always a fave. Their juicy Pork Belly Benedict is one of the best things you'll ever eat, and the bucket of mimosas are a must.
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    Near the university, so you can stroll around campus after lounging here. Best patio in a city famous for patios! Plus killer queso and great, cheap sangria.
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    Customers start lining up at this vintage taco truck at 8 a.m. each day for the migas breakfast taco — one of the city's most popular dishes. A combination of eggs, broken tortilla chips, avocado, cheese and pico de gallo, a migas plate with two tacos sells for $3. Veracruz All Natural never hits the road; it's permanently planted in a tiny fenced-in yard in a mixed commercial-residential area of east Austin. Breakfast tacos from $2.25.
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    This low-key setting is an easy place to make a friend or 2, and once those crunchy fish tacos meet your taste buds, you will be very glad you sought out this little East Austin hole-in-the-wall.
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    This new leader on the taco frontier has concocted little taco masterpieces wrapped up in tortillas so fresh that they melt in your mouth. Who thought that a crunchy cauliflower vegetarian taco could be so good? But this casual little spot in central-north Austin is for meat lovers, too — the beer-braised brisket with horseradish crema rules.
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    Located in central-east Austin, not far from downtown, the Hightower is an unassuming spot to eat extravagantly (braised short ribs, Arctic char, buttermilk pie) without the hoopla and price of a fancy setting.
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    Locally sourced ingredients go into traditional dishes such as beet hush puppies, country sausage gravy and airy, melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk biscuits with sorghum butter, making a meal in this charming downtown cottage a fresh taste of the old South.
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    Unpretentious bistro housed in a revamped Laundromat on one of the quieter corners of the East Side. With wood-grilled hangar steak and fried oysters that bring you to your knees this proves to be a most delicious treasure.
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    Feels like an apothecary’s wonderland. Drinks such as the Fairfax (bourbon, yellow chartreuse, ginger and lime), prepared with fresh-squeezed juice, make this Austin offshoot of a popular Brooklyn club an easy place to linger. And don’t let the cocktails totally steal the show — plates including crepes with duck confit and lamb chorizo will make you happy you came hungry.
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    At this laid-back but elegant bar where happy drinkers sip craft cocktails around outdoor picnic tables, check out the Mezcalería Tobalá upstairs. The tiny, candle-filled mescal bar lets you taste smoky mescals that are hard to find outside Mexico. The dedicated bartender will take you on a tour of the under-practiced art of mescal drinking, after which you can grab a bite at the East Side King Thai food truck downstairs on the Whisler’s patio.
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    Slip upstairs to the red-hued lounge. Presided over by a mirror painting of a sultry, nude, reclining woman, this is the place to belly up to the bar with a friend and sip a cold local beer.
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    Inspired by a Texas ranch, the streamlined, outdoor-centric Contigo serves creative interpretations of dishes, such as panzanella and pork liver pate, and cocktails, including the Pepino — a refreshing blend of tequila, cucumber, lime and mint. On cooler nights, grab one of the Mexican blankets and savor your tequila while sitting around the inviting fire pits.
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