I have been to Austin a few times before my most recent trip. During those trips I had a burger at Casino el Camino, stole a salsa recipe from Torchy's Tacos, and drank coffee at Easy Tiger. While Casino was a cool experience I would suggest that Torchy's and Easy Tiger are worth a second trip.
This time around I came to Austin with a very different palate with significantly different cravings. Once settled in I b-lined it to Ramen Tatsuya where I had my first ever bowl of ramen. Off the menu I chose the Mi-So-Hot which rightly delivered on it's names promise. I wish I could give you a good description of the flavor, ultra-foodies throw around the word umami which basically means kick ass savory broth.
I wish I could tell you that I finished this beast of a bowl, but sadly it defeated me well before I even had a chance. I will say this, while I won't be in Austin anytime soon I definitely found a new food to geek out on.
The following morning took me to Lance Armstrong's bike shop/coffee shop Mellow Johnny's. Say what you will about the man, but he and his team know how to put together a great bike shop that serves excellent coffee and dope breakfast burritos.
As I was working and touring Austin I was Facebooking my exploits, and a friend who knows how to eat well recommended the cutest Vietnamese place called Elizabeth Street Cafe (pictured below). Dining there turned out to be a near religious experience. The BBQ Pork Fresh Spring rolls were like a cool drink of water, and later that night I returned and had the Chili Oil Dumplings which had the perfect amount of kick.
Before my flight back home, where my beautiful wife and wonderfully silly kids waited for me, I made one final stop at Mellow Johnny's for a smoothie and another burrito. After finishing some work I packed up my things, told the staff thanks for the delightful treats, and I started my journey home.
While you may never make it to Austin I think one thing I learned was when you breakout of the norm when dining and look for something new you may find a new favorite. Here is a quick tip, Google the following - "Best place for ____________ in ____________ city." Or if you have a favorite place to eat ask for a recommendation, people in the biz know the best spots in town.