If you love food, or just want to explore a city behind-the-scenes, I encourage you to research the next city you plan to visit. If food tours are available, add that event to your travel plans.
I became a 'food tour aholic' during my visit to Seattle, WA. After experiencing three of the city's Seattle Food Tours, I now search for similar tours in all cities I visit.
In Austin, TX I found Austin Eats Food Tours. (follow them on facebook here; on occassion, you might find a discount code there) You can find the link to my food tour pictures at the end of this post.
Austin Eats Food Tours is a young business, owned and operated by a young couple excited about food. They have great visions of adding additional Austin food tours in the future. Austin offers such a variety of cuisine, the tour ideas are endless.
Don't let the 'young' business fool you. The Austin Eats tour was conducted on the same professional level as those of the Seattle food tour pros (we didn't need the headphones in Austin that were needed in the craziness of Pike Place Market Seattle). We parked for free, met at the corner of Republic Square Park, received our bright orange bags and a bottle of water, and we were off! Off to sample two treats from two Austin Downtown Farmer's Market vendors, and we had enough time to browse around the market for a few minutes.
Though not on the food tour, I found Tom Pedersen's Cocoa Puro chocolate within the market (I can always find the chocolate). I can highly recommend the caramelized cacao nibbs!
Dia Due served hot, local pork sausage and biscuits covered with cream gravy. Breakfast at the market!
Bola Pizza, (named after the owner's dog-Bola) working with their mobile wood fired oven covered in bright blue tiles, allowed us to watch the making of their specialties, then offered two pizza tastings. Their crust is their signature. They are a regular at the farmer's market.
We walked past Lance Armstrong's bicycle shop, Mellow Johnny's, and stopped at Hut's Hamburgers. I spotted this restaurant the day before while driving to Whole Foods-that's another blog post! I snapped a quick iPhone shot and emailed it to my brother (we had an uncle named Hut....ahh....), not knowing the restaurant was on the food tour. Hut's serves a delicious hamburger, and very unique onion rings. Huge onions, sliced and battered with a cornmeal and pepper mixture are a specialty at Hut's.
It's good that we walk between restaurants. We need to walk.
Haddingtons-An American Tavern (English gastropub style) served a banana bread slice topped with sweet bacon and whipped cream cheese, drizzled with maple syrup. Oh, this was so good!
A few steps away and we entered Walton's Fancy and Staple. I'm a "Confections of a Closet Master Baker" fan; after tasting the Golden Egg at Walton's, the pieces fell together. The book author and restaurant owner have strong family ties. The list of dainty dessert delicacies included Cream Cheese Brownies, Golden Egg nuggets, Dark Chocolate cupcakes with Strawberry Cream cheese frosting, Butter Croissant pieces, and tiny round Honey-Bee Cake. Honey-Bee cake is a honey almond cake layered with slated caramel butercream and topped with a ganache rosette and toasted almond. This flavor combination is awesome!
A walk up Congress to see the 'the lady who saved Austin,' and we redirected toward Franks, whose web site and building wall sports the tag, 'hotdogscoldbeer.' Jackalope sausage, shredded cheese, crackers, and a couple of sauces began the tasting. Jackalope is a combination of rabbit, antelope, and pork. It was very tasty. We sampled wine on tap, chocolate covered bacon, and a couple of additional items. The atmosphere was lively, even at noon. I'm sure it's lively+, 12 hours later in the day.
The last leg of the downtown tour took us to a dark cozy tavern, The Ginger Man, where we sampled a dark and a light locally brewed beer.
After eating, walking, talking, and touring all morning, the entire tour group seemed to meld together as one might think of old friends. We parted and wished each other happy future culinary adventures.
Here's the link to my PICTURES from the food tour and the farmer's market.
If you find yourself in Austin, TX, contact Andy and book an AUSTIN EATS FOOD TOUR! I'm giving them a 5+ star recommendation.
...San Diego, CA is next on my USA city adventure list...
Any food tour recommendations will be most appreciated