“South American passion meets mid-century American cool.” That’s how El Arbol describes itself, but it doesn’t begin to do justice to the exact level of cool the restaurant exudes. Named in homage to the 150-year-old oak tree around which the tri-level, tree-covered patio is based, the eatery offers two plush interior dining spaces as well. Its inventive menu features both land (costillas de res/braised beef shortribs & poached egg) and sea (vieiras doradas/scallops with avocado, fried Brussels sprouts, yucca chips and saffron-cayenne aioli), and for the end of the meal, word has it the coconut dulce de leche is not to be missed.
3411 Glenview Austin (facing 34th Street, west of Lamar Blvd)
Heaven knows Austin loves a good footrace, and there’s none closer to its heart than the Keep Austin Weird fest and 5K, held each summer to nearly everyone’s delight. This year’s festival begins at 2 pm at the Long Center, with the 5K beginning at 7 pm – one of the town’s few (and possibly only) evening race… if you can even call it that. For most, it’s more about the spectacle than the sport. Be on the lookout for plenty of crazy costumes – one of the event’s proudest and most talked about hallmarks.
Saturday, June 25
Fest passes $12 in advance, $15 at gate
5K fees range from $35 to $55 depending on signup date
live_oak_logoBeer geeks: get excited. Two homebrewers-turned-successful-entrepreneurs offer behind-the-scenes tours of their hand-built Live Oak Brewery facilities every Saturday at noon in East Austin. According to proprieters Chip McElroy and Brian Peters, “Live Oak employs an old-world style of brewing rarely found in America today but practiced extensively throughout Germany and the Czech Republic. A decoction mash, open fermentation, and secondary lagering are essential to duplicate the rich maltiness and unique flavors of central European beers.” All of May’s remaining Saturdays are already booked, so make your June reservations now through the brewery’s website before it’s too late. Tours are free and typically last 1-2 hours. Valid photo IDs are required for beer tasting — be sure to try two local favorites: HefeWeisen and Liberation Ale.
3301 East 5th Street (between Pleasant Valley and Springdale)
With 24 beers on tap, 16 vintage arcade games (anyone care for a friendly round of Donkey Kong?), three free Skee-ball lanes, and giant (no, literally, giant) versions of Jenga and Connect Four, it’s physically impossible not to have fun at Kung Fu Saloon on Rio Grande Street between 5th and 6th. And if you somehow manage to defy that statement, any of the saloon’s nine sake bomb offerings (such as the “Rising Sun” and the “Finish Him” will take care of that right away. And if that’s not reason enough to spend a little time revisiting your youth, grown-up-style, every coin put into Kung Fu’s arcade games through Saturday night will go to aid the victims of Alabama’s recent tornadoes.
501 Rio Grande St.
Happy Hour: Mon-Sat 4-9 pm, Sun 11 am-last call
The concept of Contigo Austin is as simple as an eatery’s story can get: since we can’t all get down to Contigo Ranch in South Texas, Ben Edgerton and Andrew Wiseheart have decided to bring Contigo Ranch to us. Open only for dinner and late-night eats seven days a week, the restaurant spares no part — literally — on its menu, with inventive dishes ranging from ox tongue sliders and quail legs to fried potatoes & pig ears. Its dessert menu reflects the purity of ranch life with a simple trio of ice cream, strawberry shortcake and cookies & milk, while its hearty bar menu offers a strong selection of beer, wine and artisan cocktails. Opened just last week, Edgerton and Wiseheart are thankful for their customers, acknowledging via their blog: “Let’s make a deal… we’ll promise to keep working to provide the best outdoor dining experience in Austin, if you keep being so gracious to us.”
open 4 pm-midnight Sun-Fri, 4 pm-1 am Saturdays
2027 Anchor Lane (East Austin)