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Eating Through SXSW

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PART 1 OF 2, EATING LIKE A MEDIAN-AGED AUSTINITE

Photo by Hayley Phillips
Photo by Hayley Phillips

Did you know the median age of residents in Austin, Texas, hovers around 31? After heading down to the funky Texas town for the tail end of the South by Southwest (SXSW) just two weeks ago, I can’t say this statistic even remotely surprises me.

Stumbling through the late night crowd—a sea of sweatbands, beards, leather jackets and optically-impaired (or not), tattooed twenty-somethings—I found myself in a scenario out of the twilight zone. Nearly everyone was my age. There were hardly any young kids. No old people. And quite frankly, everyone looked cool to me, since I’m a person who Google-mapped my way from one taco truck to the next, carrying a binder and wearing (very necessary) glasses.

I was there to eat, and boy did I, along the way encountering some dirty, greasy, artsy concoctions—both food and otherwise. And when, chatting up someone new, they inevitably asked “Who are you seeing next?” I would break into a sly grin and make my sacrilegious SXSW reply: “You mean where am I eating?”

So without further ado, my foodie hipster tour de Austin:

The Buzz Mill—If you feel at home sipping lattes besides taxidermy animals sporting sunglasses, then the Buzz Mill is the spot for you. All jokes aside, the cute coffee spot has an outdoor corral frequented by tasty trucks Blue Ox BBQ and The Vegan Nom.

Elizabeth Street Café—I could live inside Elizabeth Street Café, and I suspect TLP’s art department might say the same. I could also eat their sandwiches forever. Rich electric colors like turquoise and pink accent clean, white spaces, while the menu is just as deliciously balanced, offering perfectly Parisian pastries alongside Banh Mi.

The Whip In— Don’t let its outdated appearance fool you. Yes, it was once a gas station, but The Whip In is very much a one-of-a-kind spot. With a small grocery, a fantastic selection of local and regional brews, knowledgeable bartenders, Gujarati-inspired Indian cuisine, and a catch-phrase like “Namaste… ya’ll,” there’s really no place quite like it.

Bouldin Creek Café—Bouldin Creek Café is the kind of locals joint where you see café squatters (you know the type: there either to sip fair trade coffee and study all day, or else woke up with a hangover and are looking for a restorative meal and perhaps are in need of the hair of the dog.) Incidentally, dogs are allowed. It’s all vegetarian, but digging into delicacies like the Inner Sun Omelet [pictured], you won’t even notice.

Sugar Mama’s Bakery—When you are finished at Bouldin, head across the street to the retro building with the neon sign. No, it’s not a tattoo parlor, its Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop! These ladies have serious baking chops: they won Cupcake Wars. Try the Texican Wedding Cookie, or go scandalously sugary with The Pinup cupcake.

Up Next
Part 2: Food Trucks Aren’t Just for After-Hours