You bought the wristband, took time off work, and scoured Twitter for free drinks and swag. But guess what, stalwart SX’er? By Thursday afternoon, you’re asleep under the convention center awning covered with showcase posters and HBO totes. Do you know why? You forgot to eat.
But never fear, fan of the festival! Here at The Austinot, we’re providing an easy-to-follow meal plan to keep you nourished, noshing, and knocking out meals like a culinary ninja.
Friday, March 8, 2019
Breakfast: Stella San Jac – SXSW has begun, and you have a spring in your step and a wristband slapped to your arm. The first day of school calls for a celebratory meal. Stella San Jac on East 5th provides exactly the sort of pinkies-up decadence you need to get the festival moving right. Come for the Grapefruit Curd Parfait, and surrender your diet to the decadent Pecan Praline French Toast. You’ll walk off the carbs, anyway.
Lunch: Four Brothers Venezuelan – With the long-standing SouthBites Food Trailer Park going the way of the dinosaur, a new court is moving in. World Food Court will be occupying the space at 718 E. 6th St. with nine eateries on offer. From on-point arepas to plantain patacones, Four Brothers Venezuelan has all your bases covered. And the rest of the court? Don’t worry. We’ll be coming back.
Friday: Chi’lantro BBQ – If you’re going to stand in line for “Us,” SXSW Film’s opening movie, then you need something quick and filling. In the early evening, Chi’lantro won’t take forever and the storied kimchi fries will keep you fueled throughout the screening.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Breakfast: Veracruz – Unless you’re attending panels, the first few days of SXSW are all about exploring. Start your wanderings with the best breakfast taco in town (my opinion). The La Reyna (egg, tortilla chips, poblano peppers, red onion, queso fresco, black beans, avocado) is my favorite, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Lunch: Hi Hat – As you wander the east side hunting swag, corporate installations, and free libations, swing by Hi Hat for one of the best Reubens in town. The eatery also has a top-five pretzel and impressive craft beer list. And don’t be surprised if an awesome band is on stage. Randomly saw Foot Patrol a few years back and it was a SXSW highlight.
Dinner: Casino El Camino – Home to my favorite burger in Austin, this deliciously off-the-wall rock and roll bar is another one of my safe spots during SXSW. The Amarillo burger’s blend of roasted serranos, jalapeño jack cheese, and cilantro mayo is sheer perfection. Pair it with an order of verde chili fries and you’re set for the evening.
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Brunch: Le Politique – It’s okay. You overdid it on day two. Sleep in and recharge with a delightful brunch at Le Politique. Standards like eggs Benedict and croque madame get the royal treatment, but I highly recommend the salad nicoise. A masterful blend of tuna, black olives, tomato, and haricot verts all tossed in an anchovy vinaigrette ticks all the boxes: savory, sweet, rich, crisp, and delicious.
Dinner: Eberly – If you’re not dining at Eberly at some point before a film screening at the ZACH, then you’re doing something wrong. Contemporary American cuisine served with style and flair, this South Lamar restaurant is exquisite. Locals rave about the smoke duck ragu and cornmeal hush puppies app, but the entire menu is worth celebrating. Pricey, but worth every dime.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Breakfast: Biderman’s Deli Downtown – Home of my favorite bagel in town, Biderman’s new downtown location should be your breakfast haven at least once during SXSW. Do yourself a favor and do the deluxe: lox, cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers on an everything. It hangs with the best in my home state of New Jersey where we knife fight over bagel supremacy.
Lunch: Kreyol Korner – With all three conference tracks humming along, staying centrally located is key. Swing by the World Food Court and grab a taste of the Caribbean. From fried pork shoulder to a spicy legume designed to impress, this unique food truck is easy to get to and easy to love.
Dinner: Red Ash – Decadent Italian in the heart of the action makes Red Ash an easy pick. While on the pricey side of life, dishes like the capelletti “Bishop’s Hats” (spinach, ricotta, brown butter, sage, roasted walnuts) and osso buco Milanese are out of this planet.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Breakfast: 24 Diner – With all the highfalutin breakfast options in town, you’ll forget about the warmth and glow of an old school diner. A quick jaunt westward on 6th brings you to 24 Diner. Assuage four days of partying with a hefty order of chicken and waffles, or a goat cheese frittata. Best yet, 24 Diner is open 24/7, so you can get your breakfast at 4 a.m. if you like.
Lunch: Waller Creek Pub House – One of my go-to ports in the SXSW storm, Waller Creek is close enough to be convenient and generally laid-back enough to be a haven. During SX, the eatery reduces to a set menu. But as long as the T.A.B.L.E. sandwich is on offer, you’re good to go. Add to the mix a wonderful beer selection and you have a little-known diamond in the rough.
Dinner: Emmer & Rye – Rainey will be rocking on day two of SX Music, so this wonderful small-plate palace is required visiting. While entrees like the dry aged beef crudo and white sonora ravioli are to die for, don’t forget the wandering dim sum plates. Emmer & Rye is truly an experience of discovery, just like SXSW itself.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Breakfast: Jo’s Coffee – When I worked downtown, Jo’s Coffee was a weekly excursion. Incredible brew aside, the 2nd Street location makes giant breakfast tacos, authentic huevos rancheros, and–for those with daintier sensibilities–delicious avocado toast. #notoastshaming All at an incredibly reasonable price
Lunch: Dai Due Fareground – As you were dashing from convention center to showcase and back, you may have missed the lovely Fareground on 2nd and Congress. Within lies the food court version of the infamous Dai Due. At this stripped-down location, world-class tacos await. For my money, the wild boar al pastor is the cream of the crop, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Dinner: Easy Tiger – No visit to Dirty Sixth is complete without a pit stop at Easy Tiger. More than a legendary bakeshop, this spot offers wonderful sausage, banging pastrami, and a world-class craft beer selection.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Breakfast: 1886 Cafe & Bakery – If you needed a reason to visit the world famous Driskill Hotel, then a calm, delicious breakfast should do the trick. You’re not going to escape without dropping $20, but the charm and class of ordering the Hippie Hollow entree or Lady Bird omelet in a hotel dating back to 1886 is worth extra cash.
Lunch: P. Terry’s Downtown – I’ll admit, many of my suggestions have multiple dollar signs attached to them. By this time, your wallet may be feeling the burn, along with your calves from six days of walking. In a word, P. Terry’s rules. Tasty flat top burgers, crispy fries, and dynamite milkshakes make this an affordable lunch spot.
Dinner: Karē Ban Ban @ Domo Alley-Gato Tatsu-Ya – While most swing by this hidden East Sixth gem for authentic Japanese cocktails, the accompanying food truck has delectable bites. Outstanding curry is the hallmark of this mobile eatery, but the coo coo wings are worth fist-fighting over. In the heart of SX Music and Film, this is an easy Wednesday pick.
Friday, March 15, 2019
Breakfast: KUTX Live at the Four Seasons – Little-known pro tip: Your $15 ticket into KUTX’s storied unofficial showcase at the Four Seasons comes with a breakfast taco, KIND granola bar, and bottomless coffee. While the show runs Wednesday to Saturday, I recommend March 15. With SMiiLE, Moving Panoramas, Steve Earle, and Grammy award winner Patty Griffin on the bill, your eats come with amazing music. Just get there early. Like 4 a.m. early.
Lunch: La Barbecue – Hang on a second. You’ve been here all week and haven’t had legit Austin barbecue? With respect to the almighty Franklin, La Barbecue serves my favorite smoked meat in town. A quarter pound of brisket, quarter pound of pulled pork, and two ribs are all I need, but the eatery does incredible sandwiches, as well. Well worth the eastward walk from the center of SXSW.
Dinner: Hillside Farmacy – It’s Friday; SXSW is at full tilt; and you need a sweet reprieve from the gut punch chaos. Hop a scooter and escape to Hillside Farmacy. It’s not close; it’s not downtown. But it’s exactly the calm in the storm you need to recharge and attack the night with full force. Oysters are the name of the game at Hillside, but the restaurant allegedly has one of the finest burgers in Austin. A bold statement I’ve yet to confirm, but an awesome spot regardless.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Brunch: Second Bar + Kitchen – You’re in the home stretch, so sleep in and hit brunch like a boss. One of my favorite spots downtown is Second Bar + Kitchen. Recharge with an hibiscus paloma as you dine on the SBK Benedict and get ready for SX’s final main day of madness.
Dinner: Kemuri Tatsu-Ya – By this time, you’ll be fed up with free noshes and need a comfortable yet high brow dining experience. One of Austin’s shining star restaurants, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya delivers legit Japanese cuisine with a hometown vibe that’s impossible to resist. Come for the Tokyo street corn and chili cheese takoyaki, stay for the BBQ eel.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Brunch: Swift’s Attic – It’s the final day of SXSW, so it’s time to relax and reflect on nine days of media madness. Celebrate the festival that was with a Swift’s Bloody Mary (extra spicy) and Shakshuka (poached eggs, crispy eggplant, piquillo pepper sauce, harissa, feta, sourdough toast), and consider your life complete.
Dinner: Vince Young’s Steakhouse – With a handful of music showcases on the docket and one last day of SXSW Gaming to enjoy, you made it. Survived, no, thrived in the swirling cauldron of Austin’s biggest festival. Before heading back to Buda or hopping your flight, indulge at Vince Young’s Steakhouse. While it may not be the trendiest spot on the planet, the service, food, and ambiance of a classic Texas steakhouse are something to be experienced. Call me basic, but a perfectly cooked steak served with a stunning bourbon has a special place in my heart. Worth every penny.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Where will you be eating during SXSW 2019?