Tagged / Austin


Austin Trek Part 2: The Food


There are breakfast tacos all over the city; Torchy’s is my favorite.

Austin has long been known for its food scene and it’s exploded with the food truck revolution and lots of good barbecue within Austin proper. I hadn’t been to Austin for almost three years, so there were lots of new places on the agenda.


After a swing through Torchy’s for the best breakfast tacos, we took our place in line to experience the Franklin phenomena. Lesson: if you’re bringing food to eat in line, people will look longingly at you. Bring an extra to share. The people behind us were grateful! Whether you’re at Shake Shack, Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis, or Franklin’s, the cult of the line remains the same. A nice touch at Franklin’s was Daniel, the wildly personable server, who roamed the line with a tin bucket of beer and soda for sale.


Ali Clem of La Barbecue ferrying wood for the pit; a photo of Bobby Mueller looms large.

Next up was La Barbecue, owned by LeAnn Mueller, daughter of the late, legendary Bobby Mueller and sister of Wayne Mueller who’s now at the helm of the famed Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. Solid barbecue; especially good brisket.


That beef rib was the best thing I ate that day.

Then onto John Mueller Meat Company. John, also progeny of Bobby Mueller, opened his own joint just a few months ago amid much controversy. Whatever his personal demons, the man can cook.

An aside: From personal family drama to poaching pitmasters and less-than-loyal employees to frenemies of all shades, the barbecue world is rife with its own share of drama and intrigue and I won’t go into all of that here. Just please try to not believe everything you read on the internet. Every story has many layers and much remains private; known only to family and friends. My personal experience has shown that those talking the loudest usually know the least.


Oh, those pies.

Pacing is key on a culinary mission. We ended the day with a pie tasting at Lucy’s. The fried chicken looked delicious, but we were on a quest for sweet tea chess pie … which led to trying four of the five pies on the menu. I can highly recommend all of these pies: the sweet tea chess pie — delicate flavor; rich custard; Mexican hot chocolate with a bite of espresso in the graham cracker crust; creamy sweet potato pie topped with a surprising white chocolate ganache might have been my favorite. I’m a crust connoisseur and this pie crust was some of the best I’ve had in a restaurant.

Special thanks to Four Seasons Austin — one of my favorite places to stay in Austin. Central location, comfortable rooms, and that famous Four Seasons hospitality. The best part is the lounge and restaurant. Every evening included late-night cocktails and catching up with local friends. The comfortable lounge with great food from its award-winning restaurant and outstanding cocktails is the perfect place for visiting and winding down. Highly recommend.

Read about the main reason for my visit here.

Next up: the shopping!


Foodways Texas Symposium Scoop


Custom meat diagram boots sported by Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue critic and author of Prophets of Smoked Meat. Contraband brisket from Snow’s; a gift from Daniel Delaney. Aaron Franklin and Daniel Delaney talk about the new business of barbecue.

In early April I traveled with my bestie Elizabeth Karmel to Austin for the Our Barbecue, Ourselves Foodways Texas Symposium. The outstanding programming featured intelligent discussion on various nuances of Texas barbecue. This highly detailed recap captures the details perfectly.


Ahh, the food.

From a rooftop oyster/crab roast and a two meat plate of Franklin Barbecue to a fresh, inventive lunch by uber-talented Top Chef alum Tiffany Derry, the meals were tops.


Wayne Mueller freelancing on the Southside Market mobile pit. Gaeton and Pat smokin’ it up.

I’m always encouraging my barbecue people to make friends with one another. Here’s a success story from the weekend: Bryan Bracewell was kind enough to pull a pit to Austin for Wayne Mueller to use while cooking the final feast. They met for the first time. Pat Martin was there, too, cooking delicious chicken dipped in his tangy take on Alabama white sauce.


New friends Diane and Justin Fourton from Pecan Lodge in Dallas. Peace out, Wayne! Twinkling lights, delicious food, hearty libations – the French Legation provided a magical setting for the final meal.

Takeaway tidbits:

• I want to go hunting with Georgia Pellegrini and Jesse Griffiths. Who’s in? {I promise not to pull a Dick Cheney.}

• Who knew onions could be so interesting? Common onions take a very long time to digest and give many people a sour stomach. Reach instead for a Vidalia or, if you’re fortunate enough to be in Texas, go for the Texas 1015, developed at Texas A&M.

• Time spent with Keith SchmidtBryan Bracewell, and Wayne Mueller is always a bonus. They are smart, kind, and navigating that third-generation barbecue/child of a legend path just like I am. Very blessed to have them in my inner circle.

• Meeting internet friends in real life is fun! CC: @SteffChilds @MarshallWright

• An opportunity to slow down, meet new food/barbecue people, and listen to new ideas and new perspectives is a gift. Must remember to make time for those events.

Check back for more of my adventures in Austin!