I just spent a few days in Austin (it had been far too long since I'd been back) visiting a friend. Pretty much all of our plans while I was there revolved around food. In particular, gluten-free food. Regan had been telling me about all the places that they had found that were gluten-free friendly, and we tried to eat at all of them.
But before I even made it to Texas, I found gluten free food at the Denver airport. I landed around lunch time, and right across from the gate was an Udi's Cafe. The cafe isn't all gluten-free, but I was able to make my meal GF for $2 extra. This meant GF bread on my sandwich and GF fries!
I was so happy. For airport food, it was a pretty decent. The fact that I could actually eat all of it made it even better. On my way to finding the gate for my connecting flight, I found one of those shops to get some snacks and found a wall of Go Picnic meals.
I had just found out about these at the Gluten-Free Expo a few weeks ago and was so excited to see them in the wild! I bought one to bring with me on my next flight.
After I landed in Austin, we gradually made our way over to 24 Diner for a late dinner. They're open 24 hours, serve breakfast all day, and have a gluten-free menu available. We ordered the deviled eggs to share, and I ordered a brussels sprout hash. Both were awesome.
The next morning, we went for brunch at Wild Wood Bakehouse - a dedicated gluten-free bakery and restaurant. It's amazing to go to a place and know you can order anything on the menu and be able to eat it. I had a hard time trying to decide what to order, but the Belgian waffles called to me.
They were good, especially for gluten free, but not spectacular. I'd love to be able to go back and try more on the menu to compare, though.
After brunch we wandered around on South Congress Avenue. We didn't eat anything, but I did notice a couple of food trucks that boasted gluten-free things. I was amazed at how gluten-friendly Austin is. Which brings us to dinner at MAX'S Wine Dive, where they serve gluten-free fried chicken. For reals. They had a few other GF options on the menu too, but I was there for the chicken, and it did not disappoint. It was crispy and delicious, and I would have questioned whether it was gluten-free or not if I hadn't known.
For dessert, we decided to head over to some food trucks near the university for ice cream at Cow Tipping Creamery. They don't have a gluten-free menu, but they have so many topping options, it was easy to create my own sundae (vanilla soft serve, peanut butter sauce, chocolate sauce, and toasted marshmallows).
The next morning we went to brunch at the Steeping Room. They're all about tea and super gluten-free friendly. I ordered chai spiced french toast, and I was so excited about it that I started eating before I remembered to take a photo. We also left with a gluten-free carrot cupcake for later (it was REALLY good).
Dinner that night was BBQ from Rudy's. When we got up to the counter, I was given the rookie treatment so I got to taste a little bit of various barbecued things, which included smoked turkey, moist brisket and lean brisket (it was all delicious). While Rudy's doesn't have a gluten-free menu, they were awesome about finding out if something had gluten or not. Regan had been there many times before and pretty much knew what was okay to eat, but we did have to ask about their cream corn (which was, sadly, not gluten-free). We headed home with bags full of turkey, sausage, moist brisket, cole slaw and beans. I don't have a lot to compare it to, but damn, that was good bbq.
That night, I also got to have my first Alamo Drafthouse experience! I had heard about this theater for years, but never experienced it, and I am now forever spoiled. If you don't know about the Alamo, let me tell you a little bit about it. There are assigned seats, and there's small tables in between the seats because you can order food while you're watching the movie. We're not just talking popcorn and candy, either. Real food, like pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. Oh, AND BOOZE. I had a Maker's Mark Milk Punch Shake while quoting along with Zoolander. It. Was. AWESOME. The menu has all the gluten-free items marked, and you can order the pizzas with a gluten-free crust for an additional cost. They also point out that they're not cooking in a dedicated gluten-free environment, so depending on the severity of your allergy, you may not want to take your chances. (Regan may want to chime in about the pizza, because I think jparks has eaten there without problems...)
How are we going to top the Alamo Drafthouse experience? By having lunch the next day at Frank. I was enamored with the place when we walked in the door (older building, brick, high ceilings, wood everywhere) and then I looked at the menu and was completely in love. They've got a section of the menu listing all the gluten-free items, and you can get a gluten-free bun on any of their hot dogs.
We started with a basket of Reuben fries (waffle fries loaded with melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, corned beef, and thousand island dressing) and both ordered the Carolina Pork It hot dog (100% Vienna Beef, stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried, dressed with grilled horseradish coleslaw, house-made pimento cheese) on a gluten-free bun. It was all SO very good. I enjoyed the whole experience so much that I couldn't leave without a t-shirt.
And then I headed to the airport, where my flights went pear-shaped due to a mechanical issue and then FREEZING RAIN and I ended up getting home 24 hours later than I thought I would.
BUT I DIGRESS.
I'm SO glad I decided to visit Austin again, even for a short time. I forgot how much I like it, and all the gluten-free food options make it that much more appealing. If the weather wasn't so humid and weird, I could see myself spending a lot more time there.
Also, if you're planning a trip to Austin, be sure to talk to Regan. She's an awesome tour guide, especially when it comes to the food.