What I did at TXLA – the food version


I went back to Austin for TXLA and was pleased to get to eat at a ton of places that were terrific without the usual lines that sort of plague everything during SXSW. My write-up of the actual conference is over on Since most of what I did in Austin this time was eating, sleeping, or attending TXLA, I’ll cover all bases.

The sleeping part is simple. I stayed here, a very nice AirBnB place that was everything I could have wanted, except possibly not being a treehouse. Nice price, great location, well furnished, terrific. Having my own little apartment made it easier to manage my own schedule without having to put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door or get dressed to go have coffee. And the food, wow. We lost our only “Mexican” place here in town; it’s been replaced by a decent coffee shop so I can’t say I’m too disappointed, but I do hanker for guacamole and beans and rice, pretty much constantly.

I think the preponderance of food photos and food talk and food twittering online is often a way of letting people know both 1) I like food, I am a person of decent appetites and also 2) I am taking care of myself. See? Food! I feel self-conscious talking about food much since it’s always the cliche “I don’t care what you had for breakfast” response to people who like twitter/facebook/social media. But whatever. You might care what I had for breakfast. And if not, we are still internet-friends, or real ones.

  • Sunday I drove/bused down to MA. I think I had cereal for dinner, maybe an apple.
  • Monday was travel day. I had a bagel with cream cheese at Dunkin Donuts (my experience mirrors Jason’s, I don’t know what I was thinking except “cheap airport food”), airport crackers, and some cup o’ soup at my destination, maybe a powerbar.
  • Tuesday was talk day. I hit the Korean BBQ taco truck for lunch and ran into Aaron who was having kimchee fries. Gave the talk and decided to head back to the nieghborhood I was staying in–mainly to see if I’d left my powercord at home, yes I had–and then went out walking down Cesar Chavez until I got to Las Cazuelas and got some take-out tostadas. I’m sure there are better Mexican places, but it was walking distance and tasty.
  • Wednesday I met a local friend for BBQ at Green Mesquite which was an old timey place off South Congress. I got a pulled pork sandwich and some green beans but somehow neglecrted to photograph it. In the evening I took my friend Paul out for dinner to thank him for the airport pickup and we went to the Blue Dahlia Bistro a place I’d initially discounted because of a fruity website. The food was good though it was maybe a bit too upscale for my tastes (to be fair, I have very lowbrow tastes). I had some sort of black bean and corn salad with, yes, more avocado. We skipped out on that place for dessert and wound up at BANANARCHY which was hands-down the best thing I ate in Austin. Frozen banana, dipped in peanut butter topping, rolled in coconut. Joy. Pure joy.
  • Thursday I miscalculated and wound up walking around hungry trying to figure out what I wanted to eat. I wound up in some place on 6th Street where I had tempura which was perfectly fine. Thursday evening, however was the Small Community Libraries Dessert Social which was at 7 so I stopped in, ate several desserts (example dessert) and then went to dinner at Guero’s which is some sort of massive tex-Mexican food place. I had tamales which I can never get out here, and was super duper happy.
  • Friday I was up with coffee and met MetaFilter’s new mod Jeremy for some lunch before heading to the airport. She suggested Whip-In which is this crazy Indian restaurant in the side of a beer store. Oh and sometimes they play music. I had some Zambian seasoned rice and corn and peppers thing and Jeremy got a bowl of goat meat. It was a terrific send off to what had been a great week of eating. I had another power bar and some cereal before I went to bed in MA that night.
  • Saturday my friends Andrea and Corey and I ate at the Great Taste Diner [formerly Danny’s Diner] which is a Peruvian-type place but that didn’t mean the BLT there wasn’t terrific. I got home and had a cheeseburger.

This week I’m back on Jessamyn Chow which is mostly Kashi-type cereal, english muffins and a lot of brown rice and coffee. So far okay. If you’re wondering how I managed to maintain a list of all these places, I’ll point you to Foursquare where you are more than welcome to be my friend. It’s got limited utility, especially in a place like Vermont, but as a “Hey where did I eat last week?” listing machine, it can’t be beat.

What do you think?


  1. The fries came recommended from everyone, including the truck’s chef. But for the record the tacos and burrito at Chi’lantro were so much better than the fries. Recommended!

  2. I was just asked about speaking at TXLA next year, and I can’t wait to try one of those banana things. :) And talk to a bunch of cool librarians, too, of course.

  3. I care what you had for breakfast (especially if it’s good and I can visit the same place, or make the same thing, or at least get some ideas on new things to make or have).