Whether you are an Austin native or planning on visiting soon, here are my ten guilty pleasures in my hometown. This will revolve around my favorite activity in this city: eating!
UPDATE: I went vegan in February 2012, so I've added my favorite vegan items to this list.
1) Amy's Ice Cream | You can't consider yourself a true Austinite or even get the full experience without making a trip to one of their eleven location around town.
My omnivore favorite: Mexican Vanilla with almonds and strawberries. We also buy this in quarts!
Amy's doesn't have a vegan version, but another local option that's vegan is Nada Moo.
2) Torchy's Tacos | With a taco to fit every political party and interesting names for each taco, this is luckily just a couple of miles from our apartment.
My vegan favorite: The Independent and Fried Avocado tacos with a side of guacamole, hold the cheese!
3) P. Terry's | Healthy fast food is their priority and there's a freshness that just can't be beat. We love it because even when money is tight, two can done for less than $10!
My omnivore favorite: Veggie Burger with fresh cut onions and a Vanilla Shake
The Veggie Burger has eggs in it, so we haven't visited again. I believe their fries are vegan friendly, and they are amazing, as well.
4) Kerbey Lane Cafe | Our first Austin apartment was conveniently located right behind one. Hungry for pancakes at 3 a.m.? No problem!
My omnivore favorite: Eggs Francisco and a short stack of Gingerbread Pancakes
My vegan favorite: Vegan Breakfast Platter with tofu scramble, soysauges, and a short stack of vegan pancakes
5) Trudy's | Their Mexican Maritini's drew us in, but their tasty Tex-Mex kept us satisfied and crawling back for more. Priced right and great portions made my happy hours more, well, HAPPY!
My omnivore favorite: Cheese enchiladas with Suiza Sauce and an order of their Queso Especial
My vegan favorite: Custom taco plate with vegan refried beans, guacamole, and fixings
6) Thundercloud Subs | Fast, fresh and healthy is their motto catch phrase. Although there are several tasty sandwiches, I can't help but stick to my faves.
My omnivore favorites: The Office Favorite and BLT
My vegan favorite: Veggie Sub on whole wheat with hummus, all the veggies, and double onions
7) Tino's Greek Cafe | I will admit that I had never tasted lamb, but once I had eaten at Tino's, this is the only place I'll ever go to satisfy my taste buds. This quaint little place keeps the meat cooking and spinning with a blast of amazing smells hitting your face upon walking in.
My omnivore favorite: Feta Salad with Lamb
No vegan options.
8) Phil's Ice House | When we lived up North, we found this little gem that serves burgers with sweet buns and tasty sweet potato fries. Once we moved down South, it was a year before they opened up their South Lamar location, much to my delight.
My omnivore favorite: Hot & Crunchy Fish Burger with a side of sweet potato fries
No vegan options.
9) Pluckers Wing Bar | Two words: TRIVIA NIGHT! Every Wednesday night, Plucker's hosts six rounds of trivia including movie lines, the nerd round and sports. I'm not great at all the rounds, so we team up with friends who have varied knowledge for a chance at gift certificates as prizes. PS - We never win, but that doesn't make it less fun.
My omnivore favorite(s): Boneless wings basket with Honey BBQ sauce, blue cheese dressing and a side of macaroni and cheese. Also amazing: fried pickles and sweet potato fries.
No vegan options.
10) Alamo Drafthouse | My preference for all of my movie viewing experiences. I love their restriction on age (18 and up only without parents) and their sense of humor. Oh, and did I mention they have amazing food?
My omnivore favorite: Greek salad (extra cup of dressing on the side, no peppers or olives) -- yes, I know I'm picky, but I feel terrible wasting those ingredients!
My vegan favorite: Veggie Burger (nearly all styles, hold the cheese and mayo) with chips and salsa