I work on the Eastside now and I like to eat, so I figured I should keep a quick list of my conquests. Have anything to add?
Salt and Time – A neighboorhood butcher shop with out-of-this-world lunch and dinner service. They’ve got a full bar, real coffee, and realer meats. The lunch menu is short, but changes daily, and every single item is worth having in your belly. Stop what you are doing and go to Salt and Time.
Cafe Mueller (in HEB) – This may seem like sort of a weird one, the HEB up on E 51st just opened a new concept store, including an on-site restaraunt. Cafe Mueller serves BBQ, pizza, Asian bowls, salads- you name it. It’s mad cheap (check out the full menu) and the building is beautiful.
Qui – This place only does dinner service, but it’s so damn tasty that I had to include it in my list. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s the same Paul Qui that owns East Side King and that recently won on Top Chef. Aside from the ridiculous food, they have a killer bar, which means even if you’re not eating, there’s reason to stop (right after work at 5PM or right after dinner somewhere else).
Gourmand’s Neighborhood Pub – Artisan sandwiches served out of an old tejano dance hall. Fat sandwiches (almost 1lb of food) and killer daily specials. They also serve (and sell) Yellowbird Sauce, a kickass habanero condiment made right here in Austin. It’s got carrots and tangerines and lime and makes an already awesome sandwich even awesomer.
John Mueller Meat Co – Ridiculous brisket, sliced extra thick, bark like I’ve never seen before. Really peppery sauce. All sorts of meats, sold by the pound. Trailer and tents. Opens at 10:30, sells out frequently.
Tamale House East – Simple, authentic tacos and tamales, served from an old house. Tasty cochinita pibil (pork cooked in orange juice). Mexican Coke in a bottle.
Takoba – Simple but semi-upscale Mexican food, served on one of the best patios on the eastside. Amazing cocktails & desserts, just remember they won’t split a check for you.
Yoko Ono Miyaki – Japanese pancake. Not breakfasty, more like a salmon cake, made from thrashed meat (pork belly) and veggies (onions, etc). Topped with bonito flakes (dried, cured tuna). One of the weirdest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.