Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 13, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

NETROOTS NATION....Remember how last year I promised I was finally going to attend YearlyKos in 2008? Well, they changed the name to Netroots Nation, but I'm going anyway. Me and my new MacBook, that is, which will be helping me blog the festivities in real time.

The convention is being held July 17-20 in Austin this year, and you can see the good news on the right: by the time the convention opens on Thursday the south central Texas temps will have plummeted into the low hundreds. However, we'll all be inside the air-conditioned convention center anyway, where you can attend the many fine panels on offer — including two that I'm on:

  • Friday, July 18th, 9:00 am, Ballroom F: "Different Tones and Wider Nets." Or, as I prefer to think of it, "The Fuck Panel." The subject is blogo-shrillness, and my fellow foul-mouthed panelists will be Jesse Taylor, Amanda Marcotte, Lee Papa, Duncan Black (Atrios), and Digby. I plan to argue that, whatever you think of the blogosphere, the MSM isn't foul enough.

  • Saturday, July 19th 10:30 am, Ballroom E: "Hot Topic Panel." I'm not entirely sure what this one is about, but I think it's mainly an excuse to chat about whatever news pops up late enough that there wasn't time to set up a formal session dedicated to it. My fellow hot panelists will be Jeffrey Feldman, Baratunde Thurston, Michael Lazzaro ("Hunter" of Daily Kos), and Pam Spaulding.

Also, Texas heat notwithstanding, I still plan to eat at least a couple of meals in Lockhart, the barbecue capital of the world. (Or so they claim.) There are several places there worth trying, and anyone who wants to make the trek down with me is welcome to join. It's about a 30-minute drive from Austin.

If big slabs of barbecued meat aren't your thing, I understand. But if you're coming to Austin, be sure to look me up regardless. I'll be there for the entire convention and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of people in the flesh for the first time. The convention home page is here if you need more info.

Kevin Drum 1:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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I'm pretty sure the topic of the Hot Topic Panel is Hot Topic, and whether snap bracelets and jelly shoes are due for a comeback, or if they're still a little too "Spencer's Gifts" for the modern tween.

Posted by: Matt on July 13, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

In Lockhart, go first to Smitty's -- in the authentic old location -- rather than Kruez' -- in a large modern barn. The fatty brisket and prime rib (if available) at Smitty's are unbeatable. Skip Blackie's and whatever else is in town.

For the very best ribs, go another 15 minutes to City Market in Luling.

Posted by: David Siegel on July 13, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, check out Sixth Street (a few blocks down Congress Ave. from the Capitol) for some great music -- just about any kind you'd like to hear. Maybe you'll be lucky and Eric Johnson will be in town.

Posted by: DevilDog on July 13, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Look out! When McAncient finally figures out computers and the Internet, he'll mow you liberal Net pussies down!

Posted by: Neil B. on July 13, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Fatty brisket at Smitty's! Try Black's and Kreuz's, sure, but Smitty's is in one of the coolest bbq buildings on the planet and has the best fatty brisket. Did I mention you should specify you want the brisket fatty at Smitty's?

Posted by: m fenster on July 13, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Query for the Austen dwellers out there -- does the Hole in the Wall still exist? Every now & again I get a hankerin' for one of those Alfagators & an ice cold Shiner, and I grow wistful.

Posted by: junebug on July 13, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the Hole in the Wall still exists. It closed down a few years ago when rents on the drag skyrocketed but it's open again and still retains a good amount of it's old charm even with the recent expansion.

Posted by: bassque on July 13, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

There are reviews of Lockhart BBQ restaurants in webcomic form for those of you who are interested.

Posted by: Kevin Brennan on July 13, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, bassque -- and sorry for being retarded & calling you an Austen (sic) dweller. The keyboard isn't my friend today.

Posted by: junebug on July 13, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to go a little further afield -- outside of the burbs that Lockhart has become -- try Cooper's BBQ up in Llano. Best brisket around.
And you get a pretty drive up in the hill country away from the McMansions which have sprung up around Austin.

The Hole in the Wall used to be our fav bar to hang out and play pool in during the 80's. Miss those pitchers of ice cold Shiner.

Posted by: Teresa on July 13, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Skip Lockheart, and just go across the creek behind the Convention Center and there's a great old barbeque place, traditional texas style.

You still have to go outside of the convention center if you plan to eat, so it'll be toasty.

Austin touts lots of live music, often in the airport itself, so stop by and be friendly to them.

Good luck! I'll be in Austin for the Game Developer's Conference in September.

Posted by: Crissa on July 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

The netroots should boycott red states.

Posted by: on July 13, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the Luling City Market comment above. Great ribs. However, if all you want is beef then I would say that Lockhart is a perfectly fine choice. Smitty's before Kreuz's.

Avoid Iron Works (the place next to the Convention Center) unless you want dry, bland bbq. Actually, avoid just about any bbq place in town. The options outside of town are better.

Posted by: bassque on July 13, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

junebug - The Hole in the Wall is still there but under different ownership. It may be that I have gotten older but it just doesn't feel the same to me. I suggest The Continental on S. Congress or the Saxon Pub. Both true Austin with true Austin music. For those who want to avoid the frat boy scene on 6th Street try the slightly more sophisticated Fourth Street or the very typical Austin scene on South Congress. For a movie go to Alamo Draft House and have a good meal served by waitstaff, cold beer or wine and plenty of kitchy fun between shows. For typical old Austin food Threadgill's is the place.

Posted by: ohcomeon on July 13, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

VOTE DIGBY FOR PRESIDENT---VOTE THE INTERNET a chance to create real change.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on July 13, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Actually, avoid just about any bbq place in town. The options outside of town are better."

I'm not a barbeque person, but I liked Ruby's bbq on 29th street, just off Guadalupe. Good black-bean tacos for hung-over Sunday mornings. Great bbq sauce! (Note, for Austinites, that's Ruby's, not Rudy's on 5th).

And though I've never tried it, everyone always mentions the Salt Lick in Driftwood. About the same drive from town as Lockhart - southwest instead of southeast.

Posted by: flubber on July 13, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

The netroots should boycott red states.

Texas may be a Red state but Austin is one of the Bluest cities in the country. It ranks with NYC, Portland and Boston for consistantly voting for Dems. It has a large gay community, a strong environmental movement and is a leader in politically active netroots.

Posted by: ohcomeon on July 13, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

If you can't go to Austin, visit Netroots Nation in Second Life without leaving your house.

Posted by: DB on July 13, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

While you're in Austin, check out Sam's BBQ on E. 12th, east of downtown. The brisket is perfect, and the mutton is usually pretty close to it. And get an espresso at Caffe Medici on the other side of downtown; I always end up there when I'm in Austin for research.

Posted by: tWB on July 13, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Being a native Austinite...I feel compelled to correct Kevin's geographical description of Austin....It's Central Texas...not South Texas!! Ok..carryon..and enjoy!!

Posted by: YAP on July 13, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Any panel discussions on Obama's recent decline in the polls? THAT would be interesting.

Otherwise it sounds like a lot of fun. Just stay cool.

Posted by: mikeel on July 13, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Get with the program Kevin.

Lexington is now the BBQ capital of the world. According to Texas Monthly no less.


Luckily, it's a short drive from Austin. Snow's BBQ rules the world these days with corporate jets flying in from LA on the hope of getting some on saturday.

Posted by: Davebo on July 13, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Any panel discussions on Obama's recent decline in the polls? THAT would be interesting.

Likely due to the usual Wurlitzer-SCLM complex grinding away at him, and admittedly some clumsy footwork of his own. Remember how slanted the first Tim-less MTP was, with relentless slamming at Obama about the campaign finance flap?

Posted by: Neil B. ♪♪♪ on July 13, 2008 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, you don't have to leave town to find good bar-b-que. Some people like Rudy's; some people like The Salt Lick; some people like The County Line. My personal preference is for Green Mesquite, just over the river from downtown on Barton Springs Rd.; it's got that "we almost burned to the ground" smoky ambiance.

I would also recommend Trudy's (the one on 30th street, which is the original), Kerbey Lane Cafe (on Kerbey Lane), and the Magnolia Cafe (motto: "Sorry, we're open").

Just because it's Texas doesn't mean you have to get bar-b-que. But it's Central Texas in the summer, so beer is a good idea. (By the way, the temperature has been above 90 basically every day since late May, so it's not like that 6 day forecast you posted is unique in any way.)

Posted by: Douglas Moran on July 13, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'll second Sam's on E. 12th street. It looks pretty seedy from the outside, but the folks are friendly & the food delish!

I miss Texas BBQ living in SC with their nasty pork BBQ and vinegar sauce. Oh to sink my teeth in some brisket... They don't even know what that is in South Carolina...

Threadgills is good. And the Broken Spoke used to have the best dance floor and the best chicken fried steak in Austin if you like country music. Antone's is good for the blues.

Posted by: Teresa on July 13, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, if you want the real feel of Austin go to Barton Springs . . . beautiful swimming hole in the heart of Austin and cool all year-round.

Posted by: hedgie on July 13, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

don't you think you're taking this whole "Meat World" concept a little too far ???

Austin ???

I never understood why the Sex Pistols decided to tour the South when they came to the US

an I got no idea how you lefties are gonna survive Austin

the vegan contingent might get eaten in Texas

Posted by: freepatriot on July 13, 2008 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

I just happened to eat at Green Mesquite yesterday for the first time in years. The quick report is that it was not good. The brisket, ribs, and chicken were all very bland. It's a great space and a local institution but it's really resting on those laurels now.

Sam's is great. Haven't been in a long time, though, but I always did like to get the mutton. Quality used to be inconsistent, maybe it's more consistent now.

Ruby's deserves mention for the fact that they use organic meats which is probably something that no other bbq in Texas can boast.

Rudy's makes decent bbq but I just never make an effort to go there. Could be that it's in a gas station.

My favorite place in town is Lewis' BBQ on MLK out near Airport Blvd. It's a take-out joint so don't expect to sit and eat. It's pretty good and no one seems to know about it. Definitely one of the best options in town.

The Salt Lick is an excellent choice if you're looking to go out of town and don't make it to Lockhart. I personally like it better than the Lockhart restaurants but some people chafe at the sheer enormity of the place. From beef to sausage to ribs, though, they do the consistently best bbq within 30 miles of Austin.

That's the thing about bbq around here...you tend to go to places for specialties. Lockhart is best for beef, Elgin is best for sausage, while Luling City Market and Salt Lick do great ribs (pork). Whichever one you really want, go for the specialty and focus on that more than anything. Since Texas is obviously a beef state, Lockhart gets most of the attention for bbq.

In my opinion, the Salt Lick is the only place that turns out very good ribs, brisket, and sausage. None of the other places do that trio near as well.

Those are just my opinions, of course, and you can see from the comments above that we take this kind of seriously here. Since my personal preference is for pork (the pig is a magical animal), my favorites seem to skew a bit from others.

Hopefully, this all helps in some way. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by: bassque on July 13, 2008 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

How about (John?) Mueller BBQ in Taylor (still within 30 miles)? Used to have a Austin offshoot that was a couple of notches above anything else in town. Re: Saltlick: a pretty reliable criterion in BBQ restaurants is that a nice location (see: "Hill country") guarantees mediocrity. The best seem to be lodged amidst the anomic TX wasteland (Kreuz and Smitty's fer sure).

My favorite lesser known in town: House Park BBQ, on W 12th a block E of Lamar. Lunch only. About as cheap as can be.

May I also mention 2 other old timey cholesterol purveyors still accessible to real Americans: Hoffbrau Steaks and Hut's burger, both on W 6th. Not recommended as part of a steady dietary regime, but a surefire way to shore up a progressive's national security cred.

Posted by: pierlu on July 13, 2008 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Not that I'm wishing harm on a minor female, but if you're lucky, maybe by Friday there'll be a missing pretty white girl, so your panel will have something to discuss.

Posted by: Angela on July 13, 2008 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not a BBQ expert but my favorite BBQ is pulled pork--and it seems not to be really popular in Austin, or even Texas for that matter. Texas strikes me as a beef brisket or ribs kinda state. That being said I liked Ruby's, County Line and Salt Lick. And Sam's is good.

Other faves: since it's going to be 100+ (ah, yes, high summer in Austin) you must get you some mojitos. And Dona Emilia's, just down the street from the Convention Center, directly across from the Four Seasons Hotel, has great mojitos.

And though it's not in downtown Hyde Park Grill has The Best Dessert in Austin: their peach pudding dish (I forget the actual name) is deeevune. So are the fries, by the way.

If you're a Whole Foods Market kinda guy the flagship store/corporate HQ building takes up an entire city block on Lamar between 5th and 6th. That store has EVERYTHING Whole Foods.

And since it's going to be 100+ you must do a quintessentially Austin thing and go to Barton Springs: spring-fed, 68 degrees year around, mighty refreshing on gawdawful hot afternoons.

Course, if you have the time, you could also go to Hippie Hollow ::wink::



Posted by: Catcher on July 13, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

I second Hoffbrau, damn I miss working downtown.
I've never stopped in Luling because the place smells of sulfur with all the oil wells there, but I guess I'll have to try City Market now...

Posted by: elmo on July 13, 2008 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Lockhart is a must. Make sure you smuggle in plastic utensils because they serve it on butcher paper. Just a suggestion as a Cali(?) boy may not know what to do with all that beef and just his hands.
And skip 6th St. It's a wasteland of puking fratboys and girls looking for fratboys. Slide down 4th St. for the best selection of environment and music.
Wherever you go make sure you ask the waitress/bartender what local brews they have on hand - not just Shiner. Good suggestions abound in pretty much every location down 4th.

Posted by: Corner Stone on July 13, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and if you manage to attract a crowd then hit the Salt Lick as suggested above. They serve it family style and it's always really good and sometimes memory-makingly good. Not sure why that is. You won't regret it.

Posted by: Corner Stone on July 13, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: mhr on July 13, 2008 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

I got no idea how you lefties are gonna survive Austin

While you almost certainly have no idea about a great deal of things, if you're even remotely familiar with Austin you should know that lefties survive there quite comfortably.

Posted by: sweaty guy on July 13, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK


I've been reading you for years. I can't wait to say hello. Was planning on going to the "Hot Topic Panel" before I saw that you'd be there, but I won't miss it now.

Posted by: Mike Kruger on July 13, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Antone's and the Continental Club. And after a long night of drinking, head over to Tacqueria #3 for breakfast tacos.

Posted by: The Fool on July 13, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

do not go to stubb's. it isn't awful, but it's not worth the money or the potential wait.

the breakfast tacos on east 6th are good, though.

Posted by: smoker maker on July 13, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

The reviews and the comments make no mention of it, but the meat that you must absolutely sample at Kreuz is the barbecued pork chop. They cook whole, bone-in pork loins, then chop them up at the counter (you usually order by the pound). The only other Central Texas joint I know that cooks them this way is Cooper's in Llano, but although the "Big Chop" seems to be Cooper's signature dish, Kreuz's pork chops are much, much better, probably the best 'cue I've ever had. (However, the brisket at Cooper's is probably the best around, so make the drive up there for that.) And the best time to go by Sam's over on East 12th is late at night, like 2 a.m. It's in a rough neighborhood, but anybody who messes with the customers at Sam's will be cut off from the 'cue, and that's a far bigger penalty than the legal system provides. And yes, get the mutton ribs.

Posted by: Tokyokie on July 13, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

What Sweaty Guy said. If anyone knows anything about Austin, they know it's like West Berlin.

I've stayed at that hotel, Kevin. It's great.

Posted by: Randy Paul on July 13, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a blast, Kevin. Never been to Austin, but I hear the blues bars are the best. Maybe you can catch Lucinda Williams or one of the other local music acts, as well. Party on!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 13, 2008 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Good lord Kevin, why eat BBQ here in Texas when you can stuff your face with the best Mexican food on the planet? Besides, all the BBQ joints here are all World Famous and they all love to destroy the natural flavor of meat by pouring gobs of BBQ sauce all over the fat they call brisket that's nothing but sugar sweetened slop.

Posted by: Paul on July 13, 2008 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Texas likes its sausage and ribs, but it wasn't hogs that were driven up the old Chisholm Trail, so it's not pigs that get eaten in those locations today.

Salt Lick and County Line are both wildly popular and deservedly so. In town, there is Rudy's, mentioned in passing by someone. Converted gas station (like Threadgill's for the best of Austin country cooking) with really wonderful barbecue.
You can also get Dr. Pepper there that is made with sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup.
That said, I don't understand what resistance anyone can possibly have to Black's in Lockhart. Kreutze may have the name and some atmosphere, but their brisket always seemed dry to me.

Black's you can cut with a fork and it's about as good as it gets, period. If you can only eat in one Lockhart establishment, waste no time anywhere else.

Posted by: Tomm on July 13, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a question for Asshole Nation.

Why don't you whiny jagbags run a candidate for President that can get more then 1% of the vote.

You can't because you are useless.

So you will just help to elect McCain like you did Bush instead of Gore. And yeah, you didn't have your blogs then, but you were still whiny asholes that couldn't support Gore.

So have fun at the convention of losers. Tell them I hope they are happy when their kids are drafted by President McCain for war in Iran.

Posted by: Ken on July 13, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Lockhart still is the barbecue capital.

Kevin, if you want the REAL Austin, then go skinny-dipping at Hippie Hollow. Pics of that would beat hell out of catblogging.

I am tempted to drive down from Dallas, even though I know skeptical non-Democratic left liberals probably won't be that welcome.

Ohcomeon... Austin's reputation is overblown. West Austin in VERY GOP.

On a county level, Dallas County is as liberal, by presidential vote in 2004, as Travis County. Of course, we also have Collin County, etc. here.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on July 13, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Louie Mueller's (Taylor, TX) is one of the best BBQ joints in the United States and has one several national awards. For beef brisquet, it's un-beatable (ask for it wet). And the atmosphere is priceless. I-35 N to US 79 E into downtown Taylor - its on the left-hand side.

(Don't go if you're looking for a good sauce, though. Mueller's considers sauce an insult to the meat.)

Posted by: omonubi on July 13, 2008 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Being from Austin, I would recommend going to Artz Rib House on South Lamar instead of Lockhart. Artz has live music, an early show every night. And the bbq is just as good if not better. Lockhart is a tourist trap. Remember to ask for jalepenos and beans as well.
And banana pudding.

Posted by: siditious on July 13, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Being from Austin, I would recommend going to Artz Rib House on South Lamar instead of Lockhart. Artz has live music, an early show every night. And the bbq is just as good if not better. Lockhart is a tourist trap. Remember to ask for jalepenos and beans as well.
And banana pudding.

Posted by: siditious on July 13, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Luling city Market for the best pork or beef ribs around. Skip the Salt Lick; the food is inconsistent in my opinion and the sauce is vinegary. They don't make their own sausage to my knowlege. It is in a bucolic location but you have to bring your own beer...large coolers full of iced brew are frequently seen.

Yeah, Luling smells like high fraction hydrocarbons but what do you want?
Just get to CM early as they close at 6:00 PM and usually run out of the good stuff well before then. If asked, always ask for the fatty end of the brisket.
If you take the drive up to Llano for Coopers Q you may even get cabrito or lamb. I agree with the other commenters who suggest avoiding Q in Austin...go to the hinterlands where the necks are redder. The rule is go early, go hungry, be prepared to pay by the pound and eat off of butcher paper...it is also helpful to bring your own knife.

Have fun and enjoy Central Texas.

Posted by: therealhellkitty on July 13, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Try the spicy chopped beef at Ruby's on 29th -- you will not be sorry.

Posted by: BDK on July 14, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

If you want smoker 'Q, Smitty's in Lockhart! For pit 'Q, The Salt Lick in Driftwood!

Posted by: TommyE on July 14, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

One thing I try to do when going to CenTex BBQ joints is if the place offers a meat that's hard to find elsewhere, get it. It's usually the best item on the menu. Doing so gets you the mutton ribs at Sam's, pork chops at Kreuz, turkey at Mueller's in Taylor and the beef ribs (not baby back, but the full rib) at the Iron Works just around the corner from the convention center. I mean sample the other meats as well, but make sure you get the oddball selection. Although you might want to just stick with the beef ribs at the Iron Works.

This is making me hungry, dagnabbit.

Posted by: on July 14, 2008 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, if you have a free day, you could drive up to Green's Sausage House in Zabcikville and load up and sausage, drive over to Llano and have lunch at Cooper's, drive down to Fredericksburg and load up on jerky at Oma's Smoked Meats, then drive over to Lockhart for dinner at Kreuz. Made that trip with my nephew a few weeks ago, except we farted around and didn't get to the last two stops before they closed, and I'm eager to give the journey, which the nephew dubbed "the barbecue hajj," another go. (The key is not stopping by the Nimitz Museum. Oh well.)

Posted by: on July 14, 2008 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm reading these menus like porn.

Do you think I have a problem? Hell, just the name "fatty brisket" makes my heart race.

Posted by: Pope Ratzo on July 14, 2008 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

"an I got no idea how you lefties are gonna survive Austin"

There's not much here BUT us lefties, and it's been that way since we were pro-Union in the Civil War and settled the Hill Country with freethinkers. (They even built a monument in Comfort, TX.)

And the Sex Pistols toured the South because they wanted confrontation (which is also why they skipped Austin in favor of San Antonio, where they found plenty of confrontation by yelling "cowboys are faggots").

Posted by: JB on July 14, 2008 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Pork ribs = Smitty's
Brisket = Black's
Mexican = Polvo's/Azteca
Italian = Enoteca (biased)
Record Store = End of an Ear (South First)
Bar = Lovejoy's/Draught House

Posted by: roo roo on July 14, 2008 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Salt Lick family style. There's on south of Austin in Buddha, but there's one in Austin too on 360 at West Lake. BEST BBQ EVAR.

Posted by: austin on July 14, 2008 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

It's gonna be hotter than bejesus. You want water/a swim, hence, the Barton Springs suggestion above. You want beer: go to Scholtz's Garten. Forget the convention.

Posted by: hollywood on July 14, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

I must agree on the Alamo. It's probably the best movie theater I've ever been to.

Posted by: Steve on July 14, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

For brisket in Lockhart we definitely recommend Black's. Ultra-tender, juicy, tasty as can be. Kreuz is almost as good, but not quite as tasty or fall-apart tender. Smitty's in our experience has been rather dried out, not nearly as tasty...apparently cooked too fast and a poor third choice. Best of all, we recommend that you go to Louis Mueller's in Taylor TX, just northeast of Austin. Brisket to die for and a sauce that is from beyond heaven. I don't usually use sauces, but Mueller's is the exception. Texas Monthly recently has raved and raved about a place in Lexington TX called Snow's, open only on Saturday MORNINGS. Haven't been there yet, but if you have Saturday mornings free.......

Posted by: texasbob on July 14, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I was in Austin for the Green Screen film festival a couple of years ago and had a great time. The Salt Lick was great; we had Mexican food downtown near 6th Street at a local place that was also great; it was something like Mamas or similar. The festival put me up in the Austin Motel, which has wonderful rooms at a good price and a marvelous swimming pool that still has a deep end. Of course we went to Barton Springs to swim, raising money to save the springs was the theme of the festival. If you have time and are interested in these kinds of things, go to the Ransom Center at UT/Austin; the LBJ Presidential Library; and the Austin History Center in the public library. All excellent collections.

Posted by: rdale on July 14, 2008 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

fuckin' aye: the ffcc should issue new rules allowing cfbs, nfbc (a subsidiary of gfe) and afbc to use whatever language between 8-9 pm (7-8 pm cft)thus replacing "the family hour" with the "anything fucking goes hour."

Posted by: sal the barber on July 14, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

For my money, you really can't beat Kreuz's. Black's, Luling, etc will be better than what you get at home, but Kreuz's beats them all.

Posted by: Jeff on July 14, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Before eating BBQ in TX, make sure the owners of the restaurants are not W. Bush Republicans.

Posted by: Brojo on July 14, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Good lord Kevin, why eat BBQ here in Texas when you can stuff your face with the best Mexican food on the planet? Besides, all the BBQ joints here are all World Famous and they all love to destroy the natural flavor of meat by pouring gobs of BBQ sauce all over the fat they call brisket that's nothing but sugar sweetened slop."

First, the only Mexican food that's worth eating in Texas is actual Mexican food, not Tex-Mex, which is the most bland, tasteless "Mexican" food you can find in the US.

Second, the most notable thing about Texas BBQ for those outside Texas is that it doesn't use "BBQ sauce", like people expect from Kansas City style BBQ. Texas BBQ is pretty much nothing more than very slow, pit roasted beef brisket piled on a plate. It's not spicy, or tangy, or anything else but extremely tender beef brisket. It's very good if you like beef. But it's certainly not saucy.

As mentioned above, it's often served on nothing more than butcher paper with no utensils.

I'm a native New Mexican who lived in Austin for eight years. It's the only city in Texas I'm willing to live in. It is very lefty in most areas (though heavily GOP in the suburbs), and extremely trendy with a lot of entertainment options and a high-tech culture.

On the other hand, it's highly segregated (but then, many northern cities, notably Chicago, also are) and the summer heat and humidity is oppressive. When I was there, I missed the mountains, milder temps and snow of home and am very happy to be back in my native state. Though I get nostalgic for Austin from time to time.

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on July 14, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Brisket-City Market
Pork Chop-Smitty's
Fatty Brisket-Smitty's
Prime Rib-Smitty's-They time the Prime Rib to be ready around 11:00 DO NOT MISS IT!!!

Posted by: Deano on July 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK
First, the only Mexican food that's worth eating in Texas is actual Mexican food, not Tex-Mex, which is the most bland, tasteless "Mexican" food you can find in the US.
How dare you sir!?!? Tex-Mex only truly exists in TX and all other imitators are poor fare indeed. Compared to "traditional" Mexican food, Tex-Mex clearly outdistances traditional Mex cuisine in flavor, satisfaction, flavor, variety, flavor, etc. Posted by: Corner Stone on July 14, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

The bbq brisket sandwich at the salt lick is maybe one of the best things i've ever eaten in my entire life. If you can't get out there, the austin airport has a salt lick and it's just as damn good. It really really is.

Posted by: miles on July 14, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

it's highly segregated

A chef I once worked for told me the best BBQ in Texas is found in a place called N-word town. Apparently every Texas municipality has one.

Posted by: Brojo on July 14, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Central Texas BBQ Quicklist

Taylor (Taylor Cafe, Louis Mueller's, Mikeska's)
Elgin (Meyers, Southside Market)
Lockhart (Black's, Smitty's, Kreuz Market, Chisholm Trail)
Luling (City Market, Luling Bar-B-Q)
Llano (Cooper's, Laird's)
Driftwood (Salt Lick)

If you want a short crash course in Texas BBQ-eating etiquette, look me up at the conference.

Posted by: Fearguth on July 14, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

I have been in and around Austin since 1961, OK?
Barbecue perfection (like Beauty) is truly in the eye of the beholder. To each his own.
You don't have to leave Austin to get great BBQ.
*****Sam's on E. 12th St. is superb (and open til 3 AM)
*****Artz Rib House on S. Lamar has live music and Great Country Style Pork Ribs.
***Ironworks (right next to the Convention Center) is perfectly good (no A/C last I checked)
**********Luling City Market has sausage that will simply spoil you for any other sausage anywhere.
It's 43.7 miles away, takes 56 minutes.**********
Tex-Mex is the state food. Any of the Trudy's, the Elvis-themed Chuy's on Barton Springs Road (a visual trip of it's own), Las Manitas on Congress Ave. (walking distance to Conv. Ctr) are all what I call Nuvo-Mex, but good in their own right.
For real Tex-Mex go to El Azteca on E. 6th St., or El Gallo on S. Congress.
For Mexican food go to Polvo's or El Sol y La Luna or Guero's (the "flat" enchiladas with a fried egg on top at either Guero's or Chuy's is magnificent)
If you want to completely pig out, get the Elvis special at Chuy's. It is enormous, but I have eaten the whole damn thang.
Do try to get to an Amy's Ice Cream. Sweetness and showbiz.
Texas Chili Parlor is where all the law-making is done. Walking distance from the Capitol.
Whole Foods are union-busters. Overpriced salmonella.
P.S. Tip the cabbies, they are hurtin'.
For the vegans and vegetarians, the Threadgills across the river has exceptional veggie plates with no animal products whatever.

Posted by: flywheel on July 16, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Manuel's is the Nuvo-Mex downtown.
Las Manitas is real Mexican food.
And Bar-B-Que? You can get in an argument about how to spell it down here.;-)

Posted by: flywheel on July 16, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK



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