Wednesday, June 10th

Far From the Maddening Crowd: How to Move in Austin

Whether you’re moving into the heart of the action or, like us, a little off the beaten path in Austin, you’ll probably encounter the typical hassles of city moving. With Austin being as crowded as it is and tons of new people moving here everyday, there are plenty of businesses around just to help you with your stuff. Storing it, buying it, donating it, moving it, etc. Here are a few that I used and can happily recommend.

Buying a House

For Mr. Betty and I, the whole process started with buying our first house. We lived in the same South Lamar gated apartment community for seven years and were ready to shed the noise of apartment living for our own place. Austin is crazy right now, definitely a seller’s market. Our budget wasn’t huge and we were realistic about where we could live and how to make the most of our money. For us, the decision to move east was simple. It’s got charm of its own, and allowed us to get a bigger place, a yard, two-car garage, all that stuff. It was hard to say goodbye to our hot 78704 neighborhood, but as most homes were tiny and approaching a million bucks a pop, it wasn’t like we had a choice.

For those looking to buy a house in Austin right now, let me offer a few tips:

1. Don’t get overly attached to anything. It’s really competitive, so be prepared to make offers on multiple places. I experienced a few rounds of heartbreak, really letting myself get so excited about a few places. Next time, I’ll be tougher.

2. Keep a flexible schedule and a positive attitude. Because I work from home it was easy for me to take off at a moment’s notice and go see a house right when it hit the market. (And just like with BBQ, Austinites will wait in line to see a house. Be prepared for a dozen people to show up before a house officially hits, everyone trying to get a leg up and make offers immediately.) Any house that was a serious contender required a second visit with Mr. Betty.

3. Get yourself a really good Realtor. All things being equal, it’s your agent who will win you the deal with good relationships, clean contract writing, and basically advocating for you. I lucked out because one of my best friends happens to be a rock star at her job. Melissa Lombard worked tirelessly on our behalf, and it was through her persistence that we ended up with a great house. When we sell one day, we’ll be excited to work with her again.

Moving

We opted to pack and move ourselves, saving on moving expenses so that we could put more money towards home renovation. I’m a good packer and love to throw things out, so I started sorting through nonessentials like clothes, books, mementos, to box up or donate as soon as I could. Before we even found our house, I already had 40 or 50 boxes packed. Once we had a home, plan, and moving date secured, we were able to kick it into high gear.

We rented a large U-Haul truck for about $60 and made a plan to pack it ourselves with the help of a few generous friends. We also took advantage of a Living Social deal which gave us two strong experienced movers from Keep Austin Moving for two hours for $99. And…wow. These guys took charge and packed our entire apartment in that time by themselves. It made the day so much easier. We were able to conserve our energy for unpacking, which we did ahead of schedule. I should note that my protective friends and husband really wouldn’t let me carry much, even though I was in my second trimester and not a useless blob like I am now.

A real life saver was using Binstro, who reached out to me to see how they could help us move. The local startup is typically used for storage, which I didn’t think I needed. Unbeknownst to me, it would be the thing that saved my sanity. But more on that in a moment.

The process works like this:

1. Place an order for how many bins you need to hold your stuff and choose a delivery date and time. You’ll receive a nice clean stack of reusable bins, ready to go with blank labels and a Sharpie. Each bin holds 75 pounds, so they are really large and convenient. Rather than making them super heavy, we chose to mostly fill ours with clothes right on the hangers, layering in carefully wrapped breakables in between.

Binstro

Binstro

Binstro

2. Schedule a pick up. My original plan was to just have the bins immediately delivered to the new house, but as our renovations weren’t quite complete, we opted to store them for a few weeks. This gave us the flexibility—and space—to really focus on the renovations properly without having to constantly shuffle around tons of boxes during construction. We had peace of mind knowing that our belongings were safe and secure in climate controlled storage. Each bin was barcoded and double-fastened with zip ties.

Binstro

3. Schedule the delivery of your full bins. When you’re ready to be reunited with your belongings, Binstro will bring them to wherever you are. Then you unpack and schedule one last pick up of the empties. It’s so incredibly easy and I found each interaction to be friendly, pleasant, and smooth. (These people work hard, and my personal recommendation is to give a generous tip, but that’s completely up to you.)

Pricing and more explanation on how to use Binstro can be found on their website, along with additional bin sizes and add-on services. They are very accommodating with pickup and delivery times, and I’d recommend setting those up about a week in advance.

Binstro

Binstro

Organizing

Because our bins were mostly filled with clothes on hangers, it should have been easy to just unpack into a new closet. But our new closets, while more numerous, are considerably smaller than the enormous ones in our apartment. This was made worse by the fact that the previous owners didn’t optimize the space. Mr. Betty and I realized that if we were going to keep any kind of order in our bedroom, our smaller walk-in closet would need an overhaul before we put anything in there.

Mr. Bettty took a sledge hammer to the two puny bars and shelves, then patched and painted the walls, giving us a fresh slate. After reviewing our options for affordable closet systems, we opted to go with the Rubbermaid HomeFree Series of customizable wire shelving. Careful planning and a few rounds of measuring and sketching out ideas gave us a good list to bring to Lowe’s. We bought a couple big kits and extension packs, choosing to mix and match pieces for our own, completely customized system. Here are the before and after photos:

Walk-in Closet

Walk-in Closet

Big difference, right? It’s still a tight fit, but we were able to put a lot of stuff in there and I can’t imagine the mess we’d be in had we not made this crucial update. Adding a robe hook behind the door and a pull-out rack for ties and belts let us maximize the space even further. I believe we spent around $400-$500 on the closet altogether.

Rubbermaid Homefree Series

 

Rubbermaid Homefree Series

Part of what reaffirmed our need to organize properly on the front end was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. While I don’t quite have a clutter or hoarding problem, there are plenty of areas where I can improve and this book offers lots of great tips to living a tidier, more organized life. Moving into a new space was the perfect time for me to reevaluate all our belongings. I found myself letting go of things that I thought I loved, but haven’t touched in years.

Anyway, moving is stressful. But our experience was a good one largely in part to the fantastic local businesses available in Austin. I can wholeheartedly recommend Binstro, Melissa Lombard, and Keep Austin Moving. Thanks for everything, you guys! We never could have done it without you.

As we finish different areas of the new house, I’ll be updating the blog with renovation photos, successes, and mishaps!

Tuesday, June 2nd

Banger’s

Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden, Rainey Street Austin Texas

What can be said about Banger’s that hasn’t been said a million times before? Everyone loves this place. It boasts the largest draft beer selection in the city. The menu built around sausages is so popular that the massive location is always full of hungry dudes. (Indeed, it’s a veritable sausage fest. Take note, ladies.) It’s got a great atmosphere, tons of live music, and is so dog friendly that I think a couple canines actually help run the place.

Sausage at Banger's, Austin Texas

Actually, the place is run by owner Ben Siegel, beer manager Courtney Strange, and a whole slew of other dedicated staff. Craft Taste and I had the opportunity to chat with Ben and Courtney, and while we were already big fans of Banger’s, we walked away with an almost evangelical love for the place.

First, why sausages? Mostly because Ben was a huge fan of Best Wurst in college and thought Austin could benefit from a larger sausage offering. No argument there. The menu is huge and really well thought-out. Obviously it’s a carnivores paradise, but there are plenty of offerings for the more plant-minded as well. Pickles (also the name of one of Ben’s dogs) and krauts, potatoes, and what was a new discovery for me…boiled peanuts.

Boiled Peanuts, Banger's Austin Texas

If you haven’t tried boiled peanuts, put it on your list of must-eats in Austin. The Southern specialty is made from raw peanuts that are boiled in a salty, flavorful brine until soft. Best served with beer and good conversation, one squeezes the peanut shell, popping the soft peanuts and juice into ones mouth. It’s one of those active snacks that’s delicious, fun, a bit exotic (to a Yankee like me, at least) and just perfection in its simplicity. Note that I was enjoying the outside seating area when these were served and my dark photo doesn’t do the peanuts, or any of the food justice. But it was a lovely night to sit outside and I have no regrets!

Banger's, Austin Texas

Cajun Boudin is another menu highlight that’s a novelty to my northern palate. Split open the casing and spread onto a saltine, topping with red beans and rice and a healthy dash of hot sauce. This was another fun dish to share and I’ve thought about it more than a few times since.

Cajun Bouldin Plate, Banger's Austin Texas

As the menu and the tables are so large, Banger’s is the perfect spot for large groups. They are used to accomodating big parties and everyone can order different things to share. As I’ve mentioned, the outside seating area is huge and fabulous, but the inside is not to be overlooked. German-style or beer hall seating means lots of long tables in a big room. It’s loud, it’s festive, it’s efficient.

Beer taps at Banger's Austin Texas

Since I’m married to a craft beer nut, I’ve sat in front of this tap wall, many, many times. His tastes are much more diverse than my own and he’ll be writing his own post about Banger’s eventually. I’m always thrilled with the rotating wheats and anything on nitro, and now that I’ve got a little passenger on board, I’m grateful when I see root beer on tap. On Mondays the beer staff meets for their legendary beer meetings. Bottles are tasted, hops discussed and the second half of the meeting is open to the public. I hope to drop in myself one day and learn a few things.

Have you been to Banger’s? What are your favorite beers and brats you’ve had there? Leave me a comment and tell me what else I need to try.

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden

79 & 81 Rainey St

Sun 10 am-11 pm, M-W 4 pm-11 pm, Th-Sat 11 am-12 am

Thursday, May 21st

Weird Homes Tour

Some say Austin’s lost its weirdness forever, but that if we just look for it we’ll see bits of weirdness everywhere. The Weird Homes Tour makes the search easier with a curated list of Austin’s best and weirdest. Tickets ($25) for the self-driving tour are available on the website, along with a VIP option ($37) for those who want to party with fellow weird seekers.

10% of all ticket sales goes to Caritas in support of Austin’s affordable housing programs.

Do you have a favorite weird spot in Austin? I’ve always been partial to the Cathedral of Junk and have been many, many times. It’s a must-do for all my out of town guests and I love how it’s evolved so much over time. Every repeat visit brings new discoveries!

I’m very curious to see Aralyn Hughes‘ house. If you’ve seen a crazy decorated car driving around, chances are it’s one of hers. This iconic house? Hers, too.

Keep Austin Weird House

It takes time, dedication, and a bit of bravery to let your weird flag fly. I say we celebrate it and show appreciation for these great individuals who helped make Austin the city we’re so proud to show off. See you on the tour!

Saturday, May 23rd, 10 am-6 pm

Tickets and more information available at WeirdHomesTour.com.

Wednesday, May 13th

Life Changes

What’s happening to this poor blog? Ignored, barely updated, a ghost town of its former self. I did exactly what I swore I’d never do, which is become one of those bloggers who is just “too busy” right now.

But the truth is, I am too busy. For the last month (plus) Mr. Betty and I have been immersed in renovating our new house, taking baby classes, and just dealing with time-consuming nature of all these big life changes.

For those of you who don’t already know, we have a baby joining us around August 1st. To answer the most common questions:

1. It’s a girl

2. I feel pretty good

3. We’re still talking about names, but won’t announce it until she’s born

Baby ultrasound photo

This blog isn’t going to turn into a “mommy blog” which is another question I’ve been asked. Mad Betty will remain about pop culture and Austin. Even though blogs about parenting and coupons get thousands and thousands (millions, really) more hits than I do, I still plan on being the same old me. Just more tired and with more love. Anyway, I started a tiny blog to share news with friends and family back home, which you are welcome to look at if you want. Now I have another blog to fail at! Hooray!

Anyway, that’s the scoop. Right now we’re overwhelmed with house stuff and I spend my days painting, sanding, hiring and paying various helpers, looking at furniture, and yes, also working. I’m tired and haven’t had time to paint my nails or even watch one new episode of Mad Men yet. (I know!) I’ll do a separate post about the house and the vendors I used and recommend. Other posts coming up will include:

  • Features on Banger’s and St. Philip
  • Weird Homes Tour
  • Musings on late night TV
  • How to buy sunglasses
  • A recent Sephora haul

Anyway, sorry to be absent for so long. Thanks for sticking around. Please leave me a comment and tell me about your life these days.

Monday, April 13th

Advanced Screening: The Age of Adaline

The Age of Adaline movie poster featuring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford

The Age of Adaline comes out next Friday, April 24th, but you and a friend can get a free early preview. Have you ever gone to an advance screening of a movie or TV show? It’s exciting to be part of a small, select group of passionate pop culture aficionados who get early access. Once I got a taste of these early previews, I’m always going back for more. Those of us who live in Austin are so lucky because the Alamo Drafthouse does these cool things frequently.

For the first time ever, I’m able to share my early access credentials with my readers! On Wednesday, April 15th there will be a special advance screening of The Age of Adaline. Watch Blake Lively portray a beautiful ageless character who embarks on a romantic journey that changes her course forever. Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Michiel Huisman, and Kathy Baker round out the fantastic cast in this touching story.

To sign up for the screening visit the Lions Gate Screenings page and click Redeem. Your code is MADBETTY. I have 50 pairs of tickets to give away and they are first come, first serve. Make sure to reserve yours today!

Screening Details

Film: The Age of Adaline

Date: Wednesday, April 15th

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

Monday, March 30th

How to Reupholster a Chair

How to Upholster a Chair

In preparing for a move, I’m currently going through all my belongings and evaluating what deserves keeping and what goes in the donation pile. The opposite of a hoarder, I love throwing stuff out. It’s satisfying to declutter and keep possessions as lean and mean as possible, but maybe I’m too quick to pitch things.

Chair before reupholstering

For instance, this chair. I have a set of four and they aren’t too old, but my beloved monster cat, Chloe, scratched the seats to oblivion. We recently purchased some new chairs, but could really benefit from having some extra seating around for parties and things. I snooped around YouTube to see if upholstering the seats seemed like a project I could tackle in a day, and sure enough, it was easy.

Remove cushions from chair base

How to reupholster a chair

Most chair seats are simply held on by screws. Just flip the chair over and carefully unscrew. Set aside the base and screws, then get to work removing the staples. Depending on how old your chair is, the staples could be a simple or monumental task. The newer the chair, the more likely you’ll see aggressive stapling.

How to reupholster a chair, remove staples

How to reupholster a chair, remove staples

How to reupholster a chair, remove staples

My own situation was heinous, with hundreds of staples. The most tedious part of the job, I ended up cutting off the fabric and removing the worst of the staples, focusing on the corners using a small ice pick and needle nose pliers.

How to reupholster a chair

How to reupholster a chair

If the foam padding is in good shape, continue on to applying the new fabric. If not, you’ll need to get fresh foam cut to fit the size of the wood. Simply lay it on top or lightly glue it down if you like. Then center your base in the new fabric, leaving a few inches on each side.

How to reupholster a chair, staple the fabric

How to reupholster a chair, staple the fabric

How to reupholster a chair, staple the fabric

How to reupholster a chair, staple fabric

Using a staple gun, begin by affixing the fabric to the middle of each side. Continue your way around each side one at a time, working your way to the corners. Pull fabric tight before each staple, but don’t choke it. Smoothly fold the corners down in a few pieces, as if wrapping a gift box. Corners should look clean. Trim when you are done, making sure the holes are accessible for when you screw it back together. If your chair had a cover on the bottom, staple that on, too.

Then screw the seat back onto the chair and make sure it’s on there really well. And that’s it! An incredibly easy and affordable way to update your chairs that look outdated or a little rough.

How to reupholster a chair, chevron pattern

How to reupholster a chair, finished project

When I need to pull these out of my garage for extra seating, I won’t have to be embarrassed or glare at my cat. She has no interest in scratching these, by the way, as she prefers to sink her claws into leather or vinyl.

What DIY projects have you taken on lately? Have you ever restored furniture and given it another life? Share in the comments!

Monday, March 2nd

SXSW 2015: Fun Without a Badge

So you can’t shell out for a pricey badge, nor will your job pay for you to attend SXSW 2015. Does that mean you have to miss out on the fun? Hell no! Each year the unofficial events get as much, if not more, press than the official programming. There’s no reason why you can’t join in on the fun!

First, if you haven’t participated in South by Southwest before (or just need a refresher) you can check out my survival guide. Whether you are in it for the swag, the free noms and drinks, parties, networking, etc, you’ll want to be prepared for long days, crazy nights, and sensory overload.

Here are my picks for free events and parties at SXSW this year. This is not a comprehensive list, not even close. Don’t forget that you can tap RSVPster to do the legwork for you. Note that RSVPing does not guarantee you’ll get in to anything, so show up early to the events you really care about.

ATX Startup Crawl

Startup Crawl. Austin’s finest pre-conference (March 12) kickoff is a night of startup hopping downtown. It’s free and you can hit as many offices as you like, most of whom have free booze, casual eats, and kickass DJs. Those of us who live in Austin get to do this twice a year, but the excitement of the spring crawl can’t be beat.

BASHH

The BIG BASHH. Another regular local event, the Big Ass Social Happy Hour is how many of us network, blow off steam, and just enjoy Austin’s fun professional scene. The big BASHH, the one that leads into SXSW is the best of the year. It’s buzzing with energy and those who travel in for the conference know that’s the best place to get a real taste of Austin with the locals. (March 12)

Umbelmania. Local tech company Umbel will pack the Moody Theater with interactive attendees (and the general public) with live performance by Spoon and (my personal favorite DJ) DJ Chicken George. RSVP and do your best to get there early as badge-holders will get priority access. (March 13)

Gigya Grill. Those seeking refuge and some satiation can stop by El Sol y La Luna for complimentary breakfast, lunch, or happy hour, 10-6. More than just some free noms, Gigya offers networking opportunities and panels. (March 13-15)

Awesomest Journalism Party. Ever. Sponsored out the wazoo, this annual session is a merging of journalism and tech. 5-8 at the Palm Door. (March 14)

Awesomest Journalism Party Ever

Spotify House. Five days of music and fun, plan on waiting in line to get in. But waiting in line is part of SXSW, so embrace it and make friends with the people around you. (March 15-20)

Do512 Family Picnic. For family-friendly fun, head out of the crazy zone to Midway Park for music, food trucks, face painting, magic shows, and more. It’ll be crowded, so bring the kiddies closer to 2:00 and hope they can stay awake till 8. (March 17)

Hype Hotel. The tenth year of this event promises big names paid for by big sponsors like Mazda, Taco Bell, Miller Lite, and Tito’s Vodka. Crazy crowded, plan to be packed in like a sardine any day or time that you go. (March 17-21)

Music Tech Mashup. The fifth anniversary of this event brings a really good music lineup to Empire Control Room and Garage. RSVP on the Facebook page for a chance to win VIP entry. (March 17)

Waterloo Records. The line-up is always fantastic at our favorite little local music shop. This is always the first place I recommend for those who want free access to the biggest acts. It’s a classic Austin location that we’re all so proud of and they always bring some of the magic of SX to locals who may otherwise feel left out of the festival. (March 18-21)

Pandora Discovery Den. Four days of eclectic bands means there’s something for everyone: Electronic, Hip Hop, Americana, and Rock. Head to The Gatsby 1-6 when shows are open to the public. (March 18-21)

Ray Ban\Boiler Room Official Showcase. As hip hop becomes increasingly popular at SXSW the showcases get more and more impressive. You might have a shot at getting into this one to see Ghostface Killah and plenty more great acts by applying for a ticket on their site. (March 18)

KUTX Live at the Four Seasons. Early birds flock to the Four Seasons where $10 gets you entry to four hours of live music, breakfast tacos, coffee, and granola bars. First come first served, there’s no RSVP list. (March 18-21)

Austin Party Weekend. There’s not much info about the APW party yet, but you can show up at Empire Control Room and Garage for day parties March 18-21 and you’ll be sure to have a good time. Don’t forget to RSVP.

APW 2015

Culture Collide. Rainey Street is normally a perfect spot for more intimate—if packed—shows and surprise artists pop up there from time to time. More than 100 bands will be on three stages. RSVP and scroll through the website to handpick your music schedule. Bonus, SouthBites Trailer Park is close by so you can sample the yummiest trucks when you get hungry.

Party in My Pants. The Live Vibe day party will take place at Little Woodrow’s March 20-21st with new bands each hour. Should you hang out all day you’ll get to taste a nice chunk of the music offerings this year.

If you want to check out even more parties and events, Austin 360 has a handy, easy-to-search database of every side party. You can also see who applied for city permits this year, both official and non-official SXSW events.

Want to tell share another event? Leave a comment with the details.

Friday, February 27th

2015 Guide to Indian in Austin

As part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s City Guide, I give an annual update on all the Indian restaurants in Austin. While some complain about a lack of Indian options to be found in our fair city, I beg to differ. Each year I get to add more restaurants to this list, proving that our options continue to grow and thousands of Austinites get to satisfy their curry cravings. So let’s get to the list! 

Austin Food Blogger Alliance 2015 City Guide

Asiana

801 E. William Cannon Dr, Ste 205, Austin, TX 78745

T-Th 11-2, 5-9:30, F 11-2, 5-10, Sat 12-3, 5-10, Sun 12-3, 5-9:30

Don’t let the rundown strip mall or sparse decor fool you, Asiana makes some great food. Delicious dosas, fluffy naan and some of the spiciest vindaloo in the city. Ask for it spicy and you shall receive.

Naan

Biryani Pot

12407 N. Mopac Expy, Ste 200B, Austin, TX 78758

T-Th 11-2:30, 5:30-10 F 11-2:30, 5:30-10:30, S 11:30-3, 5:30-10:30, Sun 11:30-3, 5:30-10

This chain has high quality food, friendly service, and is a very popular lunch destination. Formerly Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine.

Bombay Bistro

10710 Research Blvd. #126, Austin, TX 78759

4200 South Lamar #300, Austin, TX 78704

M-Th 11-2, 5:30-10, F 11-2, 5:30-10:30, S 11:30-3, 5:30-10:30, Sun 11:30-3, 5:30-10

The elegant, romantic decor of the south location makes for a great date spot.

Bombay Dhaba

1207 S. First St, Austin, TX 78704

M-Sat 11-2, 5-10

This South Austin food truck puts out consistent food at a great value, making it a popular local stop for diners and lunch and dinner. Like all trucks that have good food, they’ll occasionally run out of things so head there early if you’ve got your heart set on a particular item.

Bombay Express

13000 North I35, Bldg 12, Unit 216, Austin, TX 78753

Tues-Sun 11-9

Vegetarian.

Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant

3201 Bee Caves Rd. #148, Austin, TX 78746

Sun-Th 11-2:30, 5:30-9:30, F-Sat 11-2:30, 5:30-10

Cheery service and wide range of options on the buffet.

Chaat Shop

Mobile at lunch, 1104 E. 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 in the evenings

M & W 11:30-1:30, 5-11, Th 11:30-1:30, 5-1, F-Sat 5-1, Sun 5-11

Check the website to see when the food truck will be in your area. With a menu that caters to vegetarians and vegans, but also offers meat options, there’s something for everyone. Food is high quality and a favorite among locals.

Chapli Kabobs n Curries

1200 W. Howard Lane, Austin, TX 78753

Sun, T-Th 11-2:30, 5-9, F-Sat 11-2:30, 5-10

Indian dishes are served alongside Pakistani and Afghani food in a traditional or banquet setting.

Chicken Lollypop

1005 E. Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78753

11-9 daily

The Mumbai-style Indian Chinese menu satisfies vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Chola

2601 S. I35, Ste. B-400, Round Rock, TX 78664

M-F 11-2, 5-10, Sat-Sun 12-3, 5-10

Leans on Southern cuisine although has some Northern offerings. Known for their lunch buffet.

Clay Pit

1601 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701

M-Th 11-2:30, 5-11, F 11-2:30, 5-11, Sat 12-3, 5-11, Sun 12-3, 5-10

downtown favorite, Clay Pit offers a modern setting and delicious Bombay-inspired cocktails. The curried mussels alone are worth the trip.

Curried Mussels

Curry in a Hurry

2121 W. Parmer Lane #114, Austin, TX 78727

Daily 10-9

This vegetarian spot features a daily curry. Bonus: free wi-fi!

Daawat Indian Cuisine

500 Canyon Ridge Drive, Austin, TX, 78753

M-F 11-2, 5-10, Sat-Sun 11:30-3, 5-10

Formerly Indian Spicy Kitchen, the extensive menu and online ordering system makes takeout a breeze.

G’Raj Mahal

73 Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701

Once a popular food truck this lovely Rainey Street restaurant has lots of outdoor dining in the front and chic backyard, as well as indoors. It’s a great date night spot or a place to fill up on carbs before or after hitting the bars.

Beautiful outside seating area @grajmahalaustin #afbahh #indian

A photo posted by Kristin Sheppard (@madbettyatx) on

Gandhi Bazar

3421 W. William Cannon Dr, #133, Austin, TX 78745

https://instagram.com/p/mBeO3DTGL8/?modal=true12809 N FM 620, #3, Austin, TX 78750

2121 W. Parmer Lane, #113, Austin, TX 78727

Daily 10-9

Prefer to cook your own Indian food? Stock up on spices and other essentials at one of Gandhi Bazar’s locations.

Hot Breads Bakery and Cafe

7318 McNeil Drive, Ste 102, Austin, TX 78729

Daily 10-10

So much more than a bakery, choices run from traditional Indian dishes to savory spiced puffed pastries. A unique concept in Austin.

Inchins Bamboo Garden

3107 S I35, Ste 760, Round Rock, TX 78664

M-Th 11:30-2, 5-10, F 11:30-2, 5-10:30, Sat 12-3:30, 5:30-10:30, Sun 12-3:30, 5:30-10

This Indo-Chinese chain features street food inspired dishes and a buffet.

Indian Palace

3616 Far West Blvd, Ste 113, Austin, TX 78731

Daily 11-8:45

North Indian cuisine; delivers to surround area.

Kabab Food Corner

9717 N. Lamar Blvd, Ste C2, Austin, TX 78753

M, W, Th 11:15-9:30, F-Su 11:30-9:30

Halal Pakistani and Indian cuisine.

Kababeque

Mobile

Th-Sat 8:30-3:30 am

Check the Facebook page to see where the Indian Mediterranean fusion will be on any given date. Most popular dish is the Chicken Tikka Masala Wrap.

KP Indian Grocery

1212 W. Parmer Lane, Unit F, Austin, TX 78727

Daily 10:30-9:30

Small Indian grocery store stocked with the essentials.

Lamba’s Royal Indian

414 Waller Street, Austin, TX 78702

Spicing up farmer’s markets, Lamba’s sells a wide range of frozen Indian dishes. They can be found at HOPE and other farmer’s markets in and around Austin.

Bollywood

Madras Pavillion

9025 Research Blvd, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78758

M-F 11-3, 5:30-9:30, S-S 11-10

The vegetarian favorite has cuisine from both North and South India.

Man Pasand Grocery

3601 W. William Cannon #750, Austin, TX 78749

Daily 10-9

A great place to stock up on spices, snacks, frozen meals, grains and more. The freshly made hot samosas for $1.00 at the counter are some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Masala Dhaba

75 Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701

T-Th 5 pm-12 am, F-Sat 5 pm-3 am, Sun 5 pm-10:30 pm

This food truck is a Rainey Street staple and reviews are extremely positive. Perfect for late night eats while bar-hopping.

Masala Wok

1100 Center Ridge Dr, Ste 300, Austin, TX 78753

10515 N. Mopac, Ste. A-155, Austin, TX 78759

Daily 11-10

This chain has classic Indian and Chinese options.

MTM Indian Foods

9225 W. Parmer Lane, Austin, TX 78717

Sun-Th 11-8:30, F-Sat 11-9

Grocery store with a range of Northern and Southern Indian items.

Naanful Indian Grill

11101 Burnet Rd, Ste A130, Austin, TX 78758

Sun-Th 11-3, 5-9:30, F-Sat 11-3, 5-10

2000 S. I35, Round Rock, TX 78681

Sun-Th 11-9, F-Sat 11-10

Quick, build-to-order dishes. Will deliver, but order early, as their site estimates 60-75 delivery time.

Nasha

1614 E. 7th St, Austin, TX 78702

Sun-Th 11 am-12 am, F-Sat 11 am-2 am

The sister restaurant of New India Cuisine has a full bar, moderate prices, and favorites such as Millionaires Curry and lots of seafood dishes. Their tagline Get High on Indian Food is perfect for its East Austin home.

New India Cuisine

2304 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

M-F 11-10, S-S 12-10

The South Austin Marathi-style restaurant offers lots of fish and yeast-free naan. While not my personal favorite, many love this place.

New India

Paradise Biryani Pointe

1779 Wells Branch Pkwy, Ste 102, Austin, TX 78728

M-Th 11:30-2:30, 5:30-10, F-Sun 11:30-3, 5:30-10

They specialize in biryani, but if that’s not your thing, there’s a large menu with lots of diverse options.

Royal India

4894 Hwy 290 West, Austin, TX 78735

M-Th 11-2, 5:30-9, F 11-2, 5:30-10, Sat 11:30-2:30, 5:30-10, Sun 11:30-2:30, 5:30-9:30

1150 Research Blvd, Austin, TX  78759

M-F 11-2:30, 5:30-10, S-S 11:30-3, 5:30-10

Favorites include a dosa bar and the Royal Feast, a $44 multi-course dinner for two people. In my opinion, Royal India has the best buffet in town.

Samosa Spot

12809 FM 620, Austin, TX 78750

Th-Sun 12-9

This truck parks in front of Ghandi Bazar and serves up classic fried Indian eats and chaat.

Sarovar

8440 Burnet Rd, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78757

M-Th 11-2:30, 5-10, F 11-2:30, 5-11, Sat 11-3:30, 5-11, Sun 11:30, 5-10

This old Austin favorite specializes in thali and surly waitstaff.

Ganesh

Shalimar

9310 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

Sun-Th 11:15-10:50, F-Sat 11:15-11:50

The biryani is a favorite.

Star of India

2900 W. Anderson Lane, Ste 12D, Austin, TX 78757

Sun-Th 11-2:30, 5:30-9:30, F-Sat 11-2:30, 5:30-10

Standard buffet of classic dishes in a comfortable setting.

Suprabhat

9225 W. Parmer Lane, Ste 108, Austin, TX 78717

M-Th 11-3, 5-10, F 11-3, 5-10:30, Sat 11-3:30, 5-10:30, Sun 11-3:30, 5-10

All vegetarian, specializing in thali options.

Suvai Indian Kitchen

12920 W. Parmer Lane #105, Cedar Park, TX 78613

M-Th 11-2:30, 5-9, F 11-2:30, 5-9:30, Sat 12-3, 5-9:30, Sun 12-3, 5-9

Formerly Kadai Indian Kitchen, Cedar Park residents are delighted by large portions, fresh spicy dishes, and fast service. A must do if you are in the area.

Swad

9515 N. Lamar Blvd #156, Austin, TX 78753

Daily 11:30-9

Vegetarian favorites and fun street food. The big-as-your-head dosas are a must try. You won’t even mind the lack of atmosphere. Prices are low and service is fast and efficient, if not personable. Not a place for a date, but still one of my favorite places in Austin.

Mysore Masala Dosa

Taj Palace Indian Restaurant and Bar

6700 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752

M-Th 11-2, 5:30-10 F 11-2, 5:30-10:30 S 11:30-2:30, 5:30-10:30, Sun 11:30-2:30, 5:30-10

For more than 20 years the extensive buffet has been delighting loyal customers. This was one of Austin’s first Indian restaurants.

Tarka Indian Kitchen

201 University Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665

2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757

5207 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745

Sun-Th 11-9, F-Sat 11-10

The little sister of Clay Pit offers many of the same classic curries and fantastic pakoras. The fast, casual counter service has proven to be so popular that they keep expanding, with three locations in the area and one in San Antonio.

Mirch Masala

Pakora

Taste From India

519 E. 7th Street, Austin, TX 78758

Th-Sat 7 pm-4 am

Indian kabobs for the late-night bar crowd.

Teji’s Foods

2100B Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

Sun-W 11 am-10 pm, Th-Sat 11 am-3 am

1205 Round Rock Ave #115, Round Rock, TX 78681

Sun-Th 10:30-9, F-Sat 10:30-10

Part grocery, part restaurant, the widely-respected Teji’s has the fluffiest naan.

Whip In

1950 I35 South, Austin, TX 78704

Daily 10 am-midnight

A funky South Austin staple, Whip In is a convenience store with indoor and outdoor live music, a massive selection of craft on draft, and a large menu of fusion Indian eats. Namaste, y’all.

Monday, February 16th

2015 Guide to Ramen in Austin

Austin Food Blogger Alliance 2015 City Guide

For the past few years I’ve written an annual guide to ramen in the city. What started as a small task has since become a more sizable undertaking, as the city’s demand for slurpable noodles grows at light speed. The more noodles we have, the more we want them! This list focuses on the restaurants that make ramen their main focus, but also includes restaurants that serve ramen alongside other items. As always, if I didn’t include your favorite place, leave me a comment and tell me what I missed!  

There’s no stopping the ramen trend in Austin! The city can’t get enough of the hearty steaming bowls of rich broth and bouncy alkaline noodles. Those initiated into the ramen scene (and it is very much a scene, baby) are addicted to the umami, the toppings and the slurping. The uninitiated just need to give it a try.

If you need more convincing, check out local filmmaker Christian Remde’s Culinary Equation fantastic video all about ramen.

Ramen Tatsu-ya

Ramen Tatsu-ya North 

8557 Research Blvd #126, Austin, TX 78758

Tues-Fri 11-2, 5-10, Sat-Sun 12-3, 5-10

Ramen Tatsu-ya South

1234 South Lamar, Austin, TX 78704

Mon-Sun 11-3, 5-10

Arguably the most famous ramen in Austin,  Ramen Tatsu-ya is a must do. Great for first timers, the menu provides a quirky guide on what to order, how to eat, and definitions for all the unfamiliar terms and ingredients. They offer classic toppings and fun flavors bombs, so you can customize every bowl.

With a following this strong, Ramen Tatsu-ya opened a second location this year. Their new South Lamar location serves a couple purposes: 1) It brought some much-needed ramen to South Austin and 2) The line is essentially split in half making it more accessible for all of us. The new location is larger than the first and has a gorgeous chic feel.

Mi-So-Hot

Check out their website for the full menu which includes highlights like katsu sliders and sweet and sour Brussel’s sprouts.

*Pro-tip: Get there before 5:00 or after 8:45 to avoid the long line. Or just show up whenever and stand in line chatting with fellow ramen-heads, letting the anticipation build. Also, don’t miss the art in the bathrooms of the north location.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya Restroom Art

Whole Foods at The Domain

11920 Domain Drive, Austin, TX 78758

8 am-10 pm daily

Of the fabulous amenities this store boasts, the ramen bar is one of the most best. The Texas ramen gives shoppers a taste of Japanese ramen with a twist. Barbecue! Casual and easy, it’s a treat to have this spot for a quick slurp while you do your shopping.

Michi Ramen

6519 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78752

Tues-Sun 11am-midnight

3005 S. Lamar, Austin, TX 78704

The ramen groundbreakers of Austin, Michi Ramen was here before anyone else, slinging noodles out of a truck. Eventually they moved to a brick and mortar and very soon, their second location on South Lamar will open. They offer traditional broth thickness options and lots of toppings so you can build your own bowl. Bonus, takeout is encouraged and you can order online.

Michi Ramen

*Pro-tip: Leave room for dessert! The mochi, 2 for $3 is shipped frozen from Hawaii and just heavenly.

Mochi

Drunk Fish

10000 Research Blvd #139, Austin, TX 78759

M-Th 11am-8pm, F 11am-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm

Offering a variety of broths and toppings, this Arboretum hole in the wall is popular with lunchers in a hurry.

Komé

4917 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

M-Th 11-2, 5-10, F 11-2, 5-11, Sat 11-3, 5-11, Sun 12-3, 5:30-10

Known for their wide array of fresh and delicious sushi, Komé also makes a kickass ramen available at lunch. Their ramen efforts were so popular that they opened a sister restaurant (see below, Daruma Ramen) dedicated to ramen.

Kome tonkatsu ramen

Daruma Ramen

612B E. 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

M-F 11:30-2, 5:30-10, Sat 11:30-10, Sun 12-9

Daruma is the only ramen available downtown and people happily line up on East 6th to wait for their steaming bowls of noodles. Most notable is the vegan ramen, whose complex broth is steeped with veggies and fruit. Very interesting, and different than what anyone else is doing.

Daruma Ramen vegan bowl

Soto

11066 Pecan Park Blvd, Ste 402, Cedar Park, TX 78613

M-Th 11-3, 5-10, F 11-3, 5-11, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11-9

The reputable sushi spot has an acceptable ramen offering, too, pleasing customers with a decadent seafood ramen as well as traditional tonkatsu and shoyu.

East Side King at Hole in the Wall

2538 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

M-F 11am-midnight, Sat 2pm-midnight

Paul Qui’s ramen offerings are inventive and fun. Especially delicious is the Chicken Tortilla Ramen, a perfect fusing of Japan and Austin.

Chicken Tortilla Ramen

More

Musashino Sushi Dokoro

3407 Greystone Drive, Austin, TX 78731

Tues-Fri 11am-2, 5:30-10

Should you stray from the sushi menu, there are a variety of ramen bowls available at lunch.

Xian Sushi and Noodle

1801 E 51st St, Ste C370, Austin, TX 78723

13201 Ranch Rd 620, Ste U208, Austin, TX 78717

M-Sat 11:30-3, 5-10, Sun 12-p

Known for their exceptional hand-pulled noodles, Xian (pronounced SHE-ann) offers one ramen in their roster, shoyu. The Ranch Road location is fairly new, proving that the demand for noodles in Austin cannot be stopped.

Yanagi

4404 W. William Canon Drive, Ste B, Austin, TX 78749

M-Th 11-2:30, 4-9:30, F 11-2:30, 4-10:30, Sat 12-10

The two ramen options—Ramen and Spicy Ramen—have a miso broth and are topped with pork, onion, green onion, zucchini, and boiled egg.

Ryu of Japan

11101 Burnet Rd, Ste B100, Austin, TX 78758

M-Th 11:30-3, 5:30-9:30, F-Sat 11:30-3, 5:30-10:30

Ramen items on the menu include miso, shoyu, and cold ramen, described as having pork, egg, vegetable and special sauce.

Shabu

2700 Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757

11am-9:30pm daily

Most people visit Shabu to get hotpot and plain ramen noodles are one of the many options to enjoy with hotpot along with meats, veggies, and various toppings. Non-hotpot ramen options include BBQ Pork Ramen, Ramen Shrimp and Shitake, and Street Ramen which has Spam, beef, and lots of veggies.

O’Daku

2501 W. Parmer Lane #500, Austin, TX 78727

M-F 11-10, Sat 11:30-10:30

Ramen comes in three sizes in chicken, beef, and seafood, and “regular” as choices.

Thursday, January 29th

Super Bowl XLIX: Ad Preview

Another year, another Super Bowl. Famous for my not-caring-at-all about football, I do care very much about the commercials. It seems like the last few years have been disappointing. Will this year be a repeat? Here’s a preview of some ads you’ll be seeing on and leading up to game night.