2015 ACL Austin Restaurant Guide

Austin Restaurant Guide / loveandlemons.com

Are you coming to Austin this weekend? Are you looking for a few good places to eat? Ok, good. Here’s a list of some of my personal favorite places, starting with my picks for which vendors you should check out at the ACL festival. Then scroll down to see my restaurant highlights that are located in the (generally South Austin) neighborhoods nearby.

AT THE ACL FESTIVAL (my picks from the long official list):

Amy’s Ice Cream – get the Mexican Vanilla
Burro Cheese Kitchen – delicious grilled cheese
East Side King – get the brussels sprouts
Freebirds – burritos! (with a vegan option)
Goodpop – all-natural popsicles
Juiceland – when a girl’s gotta get her green juice
Mmmpanadas – delicious empanadas, best named truck
P Terry’s – burgers (& a veggie burger)
Skull & Cakebones: Vegan Cupcakes (gluten free options)
Tamale Addiction – healthy delicious tamales
The Peached Tortilla – banh mi tacos, fish tacos
Hope Farmers Market – kombucha popsicles(!!)

Austin Restaurant Guide / loveandlemons.com

AROUND AUSTIN (outside the festival, but close-ish to Zilker):

South Lamar Area:

Juiceland – veggie juices & smoothies
Henri’s – tiny neighborhood spot – great food, cheese & wine
East Side King – Paul Qui’s food trucks (although this one’s not a truck)
Ramen Tatsu-ya – come hungry, vegan options
Chuy’s – very close to Zilker, if you are in need of tex-mex
P Terry’s – it’s like Austin’s In-N-Out Burger
Odd Duck – Texas farm-to-table, lunch, brunch or dinner
Uchi – yep, there’s good sushi in Texas
Casa De Luz – vegan, macrobiotic, very hippie
Lick Ice Cream – local ingredients, vegan options (try the vegan vanilla pear)
House Wine – hidden wine gem, half-price wines on Sundays

South 1st Area:

Bouldin Creek Cafe – vegetarian, vegan, fun, cheap
Thai Fresh – casual Thai, coffee, vegan & gf desserts
Elizabeth St. Cafe – vietnamese cute cafe that I frequent often
Sway – upscale Thai but so good, love their patio
Dolce Neve Gelato – best gelato in Austin, owned by two cute Italians
Seventh Flag Coffee – good coffee, cute space

Austin Restaurant Guide / loveandlemons.com

South Congress:

Hopdoddy – skip Shake Shack and go here
South Congress Cafe – get the migas or carrot cake french toast for brunch
Perla’s – mostly seafood, great vegetable sides, my favorite patio
San Jose Hotel – favorite patio for drinks
Joe’s Coffee – favorite spot to people watch

Other Favorites (Downtown / Central / East Austin):

Taco Deli - everyone has their pick for best tacos – this is mine
Launderette – farm to table, chic vibe, love having dinner here
La Condessa – my favorite mexican food & best guacamole
Olamaie – southern food but delicious vegetable dishes too
Josephine House – pretty spot, good wine, dinner, brunch
flagship Whole Foods – the Disneyland of Whole Foods-es
SFC Downtown Farmers Market – Saturdays 9am to 1pm
Whistlers – for cocktails, late night bite from Thai Khun

note: this list was made with proximity to Zilker Park in mind so there are definitely a few great ones that I skipped here – I’ll save those for another list, another day. 

All photos taken from my Instagram account. Follow along to see where we’re currently eating!

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili / @loveandlemons

Are you as excited as I am that it’s soup season? Soups, stews, chili – whatever you call it – I love making a big batch on Sunday and eating it for lunch all week. This one is hearty & healthy, warming and slightly spicy. It’s also one of those that gets a little better every day so unlike most leftovers, I loved repeating this one just about every afternoon last week.

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili / @loveandlemons

You don’t need 3 butternut squashes for this recipe. (I had these tiny ones – how cute are they!) Just cube up enough squash to equal about two cups.

Poblano peppers are usually mild, but just a heads up – if you are in Austin and using these little guys from JBG - they’re quite spicy. I used a little apple cider vinegar in this soup because I love the bright balanced flavor it adds, but also helps tone down the spice if you overdo it.

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili / @loveandlemonsButternut Squash Black Bean Chili / @loveandlemons

I topped my bowls with leftover cashew poblano cream, crispy tortilla strips and cilantro. Feel free to top yours with whatever you like – cheese or diced avocado would also be delicious.

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili / @loveandlemons

Easy Vegan Apple Crisp

Easy Vegan Apple Crisp / loveandlemons.com

Happy Saturday, friends! Fall is in the air, and although it’s not exactly crisp outside here, I’ve made crisp inside to make up for it.

Apple crisp is hands down my favorite fall dessert. I love apple pie too, but I love it more when other people make it for me. This crisp recipe is simple and straightforward – you can mix everything together and get these little guys into the oven in no time. (You can even mix the crumble part ahead of time).

Easy Vegan Apple Crisp / loveandlemons.com

To make these vegan, I used coconut oil instead of butter and scooped vegan ice cream on top. These can also be made gluten free if you use oat flour (see notes below). And if you don’t have mini copper cocottes (p.s. how cute are those?!) – no worries, you can bake them in small ramekins or an 8×8 baking dish.

Easy Vegan Apple Crisp / loveandlemons.com

The Mini Copper Cocottes were kindly provided by Williams Sonoma as part of their founder Chuck Williams’s 100th birthday celebration. Happy Birthday Chuck!

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash / loveandlemons.com

And just like that, it’s squash season again!

Admittedly, until last year, spaghetti squash was not my favorite. I think butternut gets all the fall glory and poor spaghetti squash, well, it’s just inaccurately named. The name implies that you can sauce it up and twirl it with a fork – and if that’s what you’re craving, maybe go check out one of these recipes.

If you’re up for roasted squash strands fluffed up with a fork and stuffed with delicious things, then keep reading!

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash / loveandlemons.com

I had this small-ish spaghetti squash that was the perfect size to serve as “bowls” for two individual servings. The filling here is what you might stuff into a burrito bowl: black beans, roasted tomatoes, corn, pepitas and avocado. Instead of sour cream, I served it with this delicious cashew cream that’s blended with cilantro and roasted poblano.

So to recap: this is vegan, gluten free, and still not pasta.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash / loveandlemons.com

This recipe is super easy but the longest part is waiting for everything to roast. Pour yourself a glass of wine (or two), check your instagram, talk to your husband – occupy yourself for about an hour (make the sauce) – and then stuff and serve!

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash / loveandlemons.com

Chipotle Apple Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Chipotle Apple Sweet Potato Salad / loveandlemons.com

This is my new favorite salad… and I don’t throw words like “favorite” or “best ever” around lightly. You may have noticed that I love roasted sweet potatoes in just about any salad (as evident herehere, and here) but this combination – with roasted tomatoes, roasted apples, corn, and a tangy/smoky chipotle dressing – was so good that I made it for dinner two nights in a row.

Roasted Chipotle Apple Sweet Potato Salad / loveandlemons.com

The first night, I made this as a lazy-girl dinner. Jack was out of town so for an easy “by myself” dinner I decided to roast the things (pictured above) that had just arrived in my Farmhouse Delivery box. I made a quick (yet super delicious!) dressing and tossed it all together with toasted pepitas for crunch.

The second night, I was so excited to recreate it for Jack because I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. Am I the only person who goes to bed dreaming of things like sweet potatoes and apples?

Roasted Chipotle Apple Sweet Potato Salad / loveandlemons.comRoasted Chipotle Apple Sweet Potato Salad / loveandlemons.com

In my humble opinion, this is late-summer-early-fall produce perfection. Be sure to make this while you can still find a few cherry tomatoes in season!