The Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide (#atxfoodguide) was created by AFBA in 2010 as a resource for visitors in town for sxsw. Each year, it's updated and expanded upon. (You might remember my epic eastside taco post from last year, or my all-inclusive guide to eastside food trailers) This year, AFBA partnered with Citygram (woot! woooot!) to create an interactive version (link coming soon!) Since the format is a bit different, we all picked one or two establishments to feature...I chose one of my favorite taco trailers on the eastside, Tacos Veracruz, and a super fun Russian restaurant just west of I-35 called Russian House. Read on for the deets and do be sure to call establishments during sxsw to make sure they are operating under normal hours! Many downtown bars and restaurants become venues during the music madness!
Veracruz All Natural
1704 E Cesar Chavez, 78702
Takes Reservations: No
Note: calling in orders recommended, especially on the weekend!
The first of two taco trailer locations on the eastside, Veracruz All Natural delivers something besides delicious tacos on fresh, homemade tortillas... they offer some healthier options as well! The vegetarian tacos are my favorite-- the Reyna reigns, full of egg whites, spinach, carrots, avocado, pico de gallo, and cheese, and the migas taco is one of my favorite in town (and also comes with avocado!) Veggie quesadillas and tortas are also an option, in addition to classic steak, chicken fajita, barbacoa, and al pastor. They also offer a variety of fresh squeezed juices, agua frescas, and smoothies, all set at very affordable prices. On Sunday, they serve their breakfast club menu in lieu of tacos, which features empanadas and plantains with cream, followed by traditional dishes like chilaquiles rojo or verdes, enchiladas de mole, and picadas de bistec or huevos. Be sure to try all three salsa options: creamy green sauce, spicy orange, and the pico de gallo with generous chunks of avocado.
What to order:
The veggie-packed Reyna taco is a must (egg whites, spinach, carrots, avocado, pico de gallo, cheese)) and the migas taco is delicious. For lunch, try an al pastor or barbacoa torta. make sure to fresh one of thei fresh agua frescos or fresh-squeezed juice blends, and fill cups of all three of their delicious homemade salsas.
Step into Russian House and you will immediately feel far from downtown Austin. The spacious bar area has a decidedly European feel to it, with over 75 kinds of infused vodkas, and an arsenal of fur hats and jackets for customers to don while they drink and dance. In the adjacent dining area, which is filled with family heirlooms, servers in traditional clothing begin your meal with a complimentary shot of vodka served with bread and sauerkraut before serving classic Russian cuisine on lace-covered tables. Their weekday happy hour is a must and Sunday means an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring blinis, smoked fish, and caviar to the tune of live Russian music.
What to order:
Begin with a bowl of their classic Ukrainian borscht and a plate of creamy olivier salad, both staples of the cuisine. Their housemade pelmini dumplings and the larger vareniki come in steaming clay pots and multiple different options for fillings: beef, pork, veal, turkey, lamb, elk, deer, wild boar...Go with a group and try several kinds!