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Where to Eat in Austin

I was talking to my friend/new hair gal Adrian (she’s awesome, super sweet and very patient, and she does weddings, btw) and she was asking me the go tos for Austin. She finally moved here from California a couple months ago and wants to know the low down on where to eat. Knowing that I am a woman who loves to eat, she came to the right place.

So here’s my top 5 restaurants:

1. Whole Foods. This also falls under things to do. Austin is the Whole Foods headquarters and there are over 1500 employees in the building. It’s pretty amazing. The store is huge and there are tons of things to see from makeup to ugli fruits and you can buy TOMS and grass fed only beef.

The best thing about WF is that they have food for every flavor. Pizza, Asian, BBQ (really good), burgers and the gamut. Obviously they have an outstanding salad bar. And dessert? Don’t get me started.

Want some wine? Check out their bajillion bottle selection. And you can stop off and have some beers on tap at their in house bar. It’s awesome.

Don’t forget to pick yourself up a bunch of flowers. They’re absolutely amazing and vibrant. You can grab some for someone else too. There’s enough flowers to make everybody smile.

2. Home Slice. I’ve talked about this place before. I’m not from the East Coast but I have to think they’d think this pizza is pretty decent, and the owners are legit NYC. It’s the only place I order from and call a pizza a pie. Every other place it’d be lame. Also, best Greek salad ever.

But wait! There’s more! This is a two-fer. Right next door is a trailer called Hey Cupcake. Biggest and best cupcakes EVERRRRRRRR. I love the tried and true vanilla on vanilla. But try one of their vegan cupcakes because they use in season ingredients.

3. Shady Grove. The most delicious hamburgers and use of green chiles. The atmosphere is so awesome and if you can go when it isn’t too hot, sitting outside is fun and you’ll probably catch live music in the evening.

4. Salt Lick (Driftwood). This is a Food Network go to. It’s an amazing BBQ joint that’s cash only (because they can) where there’s usually a couple hour wait in the summer–waiting anywhere for something when it’s 100 degrees out means it’s gotta be good.

Cool thing about Salt Lick? It’s BYOB so lots of people come prepped with ice chests and don’t mind the wait. Really great selection and it’s awesome just watching them bbq the meats. Oh and get the cobbler. Seriously. DO IT.

5. Chuy’s. Gotta have a Mexican joint on the list. In our case though, it’s Tex Mex. Legit Mexican food is hard to find and if you don’t already have one of these franchises in your town, go. And buy a cool shirt (you’ll see when you get there).

The atmosphere is bustling, there are pictures of dogs or random people you don’t know on the walls, and there’s enough color to make Dorothy happy. The tortillas are made from scratch and the chile rellenos are my favorite–that’s a toughie to accomplish. They’ve even got a dish called Elvis chicken (or something) and the chicken breast is coated with potato chips. Heck yeah.

This is a great place even just for happy hour. The bar has the back end of a car sticking out of a wall, with all the fixins for nachos. FREE. Just drink and eat free nachos. Sounds like a win to me!

6. (OK OK ONE MORE).  Mandola’s. How could I leave off my favorite Italian restaurant ever in life?  It’s good. Order anything or everything–I love the fettucini alfredo with peas, prosciutto and mushrooms. But also spaghetti and meatballs with fresh mozzarrella. Don’t fill up on the awesome bread or you’ll be sorry.  But otherwise eat it all. Then have gelato and be happy.

The place is SUPER kid friendly and the people there are really nice. The Hill County Galleria location is my favorite and there’s even a playground outside for the kids and one heck of a view for everyone else.  There’s not much more to say because the awesome speaks for itself. That and the fact that I’d probably eat there daily if I could.

So there’s that. Places to visit coming soon!

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