We've told you which beverages to try while you're in town next week for the Music Biz Spring Break 2008, but you've got to put something in your belly to help soak up the booze. If you are coming to the Lone Star State, you need two things: Tex Mex and BBQ! Here are our top recommendations.
Las Manitas (211 Congress Ave) - This one is a no brainer. For many, this is a yearly pilgrimage for what many consider the best breakfast tacos and migas on the planet. While we have found other places that are equally delicious, the best part about Las Manitas for SXSW attendees is that it is located downtown, making it within walking distance from most of the centrally located showcases and parties. We're still not sure how much longer ol' Las Manitas will be in its original location, so treat this year like it could be its last.
Kerbey Lane Cafe (3704 Kerbey Lane / 2700 South Lamar Blvd. / 2606 Guadalupe St.) - While we're on the topic of best places for breakfast, one spot that you should definitely hit is Kerbey Lane CafÃ©. We swear, their pancakes must have been touched by the hand of God, as they are quite possibly the beast flapjacks ever. Their migas are mighty amazing as well, but don't fuck around... if you're going there, get the pancakes. It's is 100% worth the cost of a cab ride. GO TO KERBEY LANE!
Maria's Taco Xpress (2529 South Lamar) - Just a quick shot from downtown on Lamar Blvd. is a great lunch spot with some damn tasty tacos. Actually, they are perfect for breakfast OR lunch. We suggest their breakfast tacos and migas tacos. They are sooooo good. The service is quick, the location is mighty cool and yes, they have booze.
Opal Divine's (700 West 6th Street) - If you're looking for a great spot for some pub grub within walking distance from all the SXSW madness, Opal Divine's is perfect. Their Freehouse location is actually on 6th Street, with lots of space out on their patio to enjoy the Texas weather while snacking on excellent fries. Make SURE that you sample their dill ranch sauce... it will rock your world. They have an outstanding selection of local beers as well.
Casino El Camino (517 East 6th Street) - Another spot on 6th Street that is a great spot to hit Casino El Camino. You come here for burgers and nothing else. They do have a veggie burger, but fuck that, as you're in TEXAS. Suck it up and rock the Buffalo Burger, as it will change your life. Well, maybe not, but it is pretty amazing. Three-quarters of a pound of beef with hot wing sauce... yeah you want that. Make sure you allow for a good hour for your food, as they're not known for speedy service.
BBQ - There is BBQ-a-plenty here in Austin, with several spots that you simply can't go wrong. Now, for those of you looking to leave the Austin city limits for what is simply the best BBQ around, hop in that rental car and head to Driftwood, TX for the famous Salt Lick (18001 FM 1826, Driftwood, TX). If you want to hit a spot near the convention center, Iron Works (100 Red River Street) is a perfect spot. Their brisket is mighty awesome. A bit further into South Austin (near Zilker park - the location for the Austin City Limits Festival), you can rock Green Mesquite Barbecue (1400 Barton Springs Road). We've sampled just about everything they have to offer, and it is all good. Plus, being close to the park is pretty rad as well.
Homeslice Pizza (1415 South Congress) - Some SXSW artists will be performing at this great pizza joint, so definitely add this to your list of spots to hit. This is on South Congress, across from Guero's Taco Bar, which is another SXSW location as well. Homeslice's style of pizza is NYC, so if any of our east coast friends find themselves getting a little homesick, this should sort you out.
Guero's Taco Bar (1412 South Congress) - Right across the street from Homeslice is the home of Guero's Taco Bar. If you happen to have a rental car, there is a free parking garage behind the restaurant, which makes it much easier than trying to find limited street parking. Their enchiladas are top-notch, especially with their outstanding Ranchero sauce. Get yourself a margarita, kick back and relax. That is what Austin is all about. Their salsa is quite tasty... and FREE.