Sometimes, you just need a good pretzel. Luckily, for moments like those, there’s Easy Tiger on 6th Street, comfortably perched over the edge of Waller Creek. The bake shop & beer garden offers the best fresh-baked pretzels in town, accompanied by your choice of cheeses, mustards and butters for dipping (pro tip: you can’t go wrong with classic yellow mustard). But wait, there’s more: with an exhaustive list of beers and sausages, the underground nook is teeming with the charm of an old-world Bavarian train station; the cozy, sturdy decor is calming and casual with a definitive sense of place, and you won’t leave hungry by any means. Upstairs at street level, don’t miss the grab-and-go coffee and bread counter, which offers a gracious peek at the bakery’s behind-the-scenes magic through a large set of interior windows. The next time you’re downtown, drop in — literally.
Easy Tiger, 709 East 6th Street
Bakery: 7 am – 2 am / Beer Garden: 11 am – 2 am
As much as we love a good square meal around here, and as much of a reputation as Austin is garnering as an up-and-coming foodie paradise with all its Tex-Mex, barbecue and farm-to-table inventiveness, Italian fare just isn’t something we’re known for. Although we’ve already shared one of the city’s best kept secrets in the realm of pizza (The Backspace at 5th and San Jacinto), we’ve since uncovered another respectable trattoria: Asti at Duval Street and 43rd. Its simple, straightforward menu of antipasti, pizza and pasta doesn’t disappoint. Try the daily risotto with a glass of Chianti; it’s a dinner fit for The Godfather indeed. That’s Italian!
Asti Trattoria, 408 East 43rd Street
Mon-Thurs 11a-10p, Fri 11a-11p, Sat 5-11p (happy hour M-F, 4-6p)
Amid all the talk on the Food Channel and in Bon Apetit about Austin’s legendary BBQ joints that seem to have popped up overnight, there still lies an age-old icon of Lone Star hospitality that’s been cooking its meats over a flame and serving them up on a paper plate for half a century. The Salt Lick first fired up its pit in 1967 and, these days, serves an average of 2,000 people on a weekend night. The usual hour-long wait on more popular evenings is tempered by twinkling tree lights, live music and comfortable picnic table seating. The Salt Lick’s laid-back BYOB atmosphere makes it a great spot for a laid-back evening al fresco deep in the heart of Texas — where, of course, the stars at night are big and bright, just like the song says.
Open seven days a week, 11 am – 10 pm
18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, Texas (20 minutes south of Austin)
With temperatures finally (finally!) dropping and October half-crossed off on the calendar, fall is officially upon us. Whole Foods celebrates the season this Sunday afternoon on the roof of its flagship store at Lamar and 5th Street downtown in a charity event that’s fun for the whole family. Featuring tasty fall treats, Pumpkin Bowling, live music, Veggie Walks, inspiration, prizes and fun, the event raises funds for Urban Roots, a youth development program focusing on sustainable agriculture. Bring the family or just yourself and indulge in some healthy autumn munchies for a good cause — with crisp, fresh air and a breathtaking view to boot.
Tickets $35 in advance; $40 at door; free for kids 12 and under
Whole Foods Market Rooftop Plaza
525 North Lamar Street
Sunday, October 21st 2012, 3-6 pm
Here in Austin, we take food pretty seriously. That’s why it’s literally a feeding frenzy every time Austin Restaurant Week rolls around. The twice-a-year citywide event is back again with a vengeance, teasing our palates for two extended weekends in a row. Stretching from September 23-26 and September 30-October 3, opportunities abound to try prix fixe menus at Austin’s finest restaurants at a reduced price, which in turn benefits local charities. Lunches generally run $11-16 while dinners range from $26-$36. Doing good while doing well? We’d love another helping of that.
Austin Restaurant Week, Sept 23-26 and Sept 30-Oct 3
Full listing of restaurants and reservation info here
Proceeds benefit local charities like Meals on Wheels and more.