A veritable tidal wave of visitors will be descending on Austin this next weekend for SXSW.

Many sites are compiling their lists of the best panels, bands, events, parties and films of the festival. We feel that other outlets have that well covered. Instead, we put together our local's guide to Austin, Badass Digest's take on where you should eat, drink, shop, play and then eat some more in Austin. Breakfast Tacos Breakfast tacos are a Texas institution, and one of the best breakfast options you can choose: fast, filling, cheap and delicious. Some of the best breakfast tacos can be found at: Maria’s Taco Express (2529 S. Lamar Blvd, 512-444-0261). We are crazy for breakfast tacos in Austin and Maria’s is the best. After the addiction sets in, you can pick up her Argentinian-influenced Loco Maria Chimichuri sauce to take home with you. Curra’s Grill offers an Interior Mexican take on their cuisine (614 E Oltorf St, Austin - 512-444-0012) El Chilito (2225 Manor Rd, 512-382-3797) It’s trendy, not terribly authentic, but we can't deny that like their tacos! Michocana Meat Market (1917 E 7th St #1, Phone: 512-473-8487) This is a homegrown grocery/butcher shop with a great restaurant counter in the back. Polvo's (2004 South 1st Street, 512-441-5446) A south Austin dive with strong margaritas and great fajitas also does a nice breakfast taco with a great selfserve salsa bar. Taco Deli (multiple locations, 512-419-1900) You wouldn't know it by the name, but Taco Deli serves some of the tasties tacos in town. Tamale House (5003 Airport Blvd Austin, TX 78751-2708 Phone: 512-453-9842) is another great, simple, tasty low price breakfast institution.

Torchy's Tacos (multiple locations) not super-authentic, but they offer great fresh ingredients, gigantic tacos and unique flavors.
Cruise east of I-35 to explore for taco trucks and authentic Mexican restaurants. SXSW's Jarod Neece authors the definitive guide to taco culture at TacoJournalism Breakfast If you’re looking for a more traditional breakfast, try these places. Bouldin Creek Coffee House and Café (1900 S 1st St. 512-416-1601) is a South Austin institution in spite of it’s shiny new location and has lots of vegetarian and vegan options. The Counter Cafe (626 N Lamar Blvd 512-708-8800) A small revamped diner has eco-friendly though not meatless cuisine (great quail and eggs). Sugar Mamas (1905 South 1st Street, 512-448-3727) They open a bit late for breakfast, but we would be remiss in not recommending Sugar Mamas, our favorite sweets and incredibly rich cupcakes. For an upscale and expensive breakfast experience, try any of the fancy hotels

downtown: The Driskill, The Four Seasons, The W, The Austonian Lunch Whole Foods Flagship (525 N Lamar Blvd, 512-476-1206). Whole Foods started in Austin in 1980. Today, their flagship stands as perhaps the ultimate supermarket in the world. Not just a spot for groceries, Whole Foods features a dozen restaurants scattered throughout the store, and enormous specialty gourmet sections. Surprisingly, Whole Foods features some of the best in-town barbeque as well (though nothing comes CLOSE to Franklin's - see below). Quality Seafood Market (5621 Airport Blvd, 512-454-5827). Years ago, Quality Seafood was nothing more than a fine seafood shop, selling fish to restaurants and the public over their retail counter. Then the owner had the epiphany to build a bar in the center of the shop and start selling delectable fried and grilled seafood as finger food. Now it is one of our favorite hangout in Austin. The raw oysters are terrific, as are the catfish beignets. El Meson (2038 S. Lamar Blvd 512-442-4441) The selection of Mexican restaurants just near the theater alone is so vast as to make your head spin. The best is probably El Meson, about 3/4 of a mile South of the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar. El Pollo Feliz (6615 Berkman Drive, 512-933-9557, multiple locations, used to be called Pollo Regio). They start smoking the chickens at about 7 AM, and by 11, those in the know are lined up for what I consider to be one of the best birds that has ever passed my lips. There used to be only two things on the menu (it has since expanded a bit but I never venture from the chicken): half chicken ($6) or whole chicken ($11). It comes with a stack of fresh corn tortillas, a roasted onion, rice, and the tastiest, creamy green tomatillo salsa on the planet. There are several stands now in Austin, but my favorite location is the trailer at 6615 Berkman Drive. Burgers Our recommendations for the best burger joints in town are: Casino El Camino (517 E 6th St., 512-469-9330) Award winning gigantic thick juicy burgers. Be warned, for sheer size, these take about a half hour to cook, if there are no other orders in. Justine’s (4710 E 5th St.), an East Side French bistro (also recommended in the dining section) has a fabulous burger. Hopdoddy’s (1400 South Congress Ave 512 243 7505) This place is new and delivers some incredibly tasty burger options. Your Mom’s Burger Bar (1701 E Cesar Chavez, 512 474-6667) is recommended by everyone in town, though I haven’t yet been. Nau's Pharmacy (1115 W Lynn, 512-476-3663) This is a historical, hidden, traditional soda fountain lunch counter, with some of the best prices in the whole city.

Barbeque Some people have STRONG opinions about Texas barbecue. I am no exception. The best of the best barbeque joints close down shortly after lunch, so dinner recommendations for this traditional Texas fare are rare like fine prime rib. Texas Monthly produces the definitive Texas Barbecue Guide if you want to spend some time and explore the entire state looking for the unofficial Texas state food (the official food is actually chili). Smitty's Market (208 South Commerce Street, Lockhart, 512.398.9344) The undisputed king of the daytime BBQ run is Smitty’s in Lockhart, about 30 minutes south of town on 183 south. This is the oldest barbecue joint in Texas and the inspiration for Hill Country Barbecue in Manhattan. They don't offer sauce, so don't embarrass yourself and ask. Their mantra is barbecue sauce was invented to mask inferior meat. Request juicy porkchops, fatty brisket, sausage and rare prime rib and you will leave satisfied. Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, Texas (206 W Second St, 76574, 512-352-6206) , still in the family and truly authentic. City Market in Luling (633 Davis St, 77027, 830-875-9019). Franklin Barbecue (3421 N I-35, 512-653-1187) For in-town barbeque, the hands down best is newcomer Franklin's Barbecue,which rivals (and dare I say beats) any of the out-of-town options, and without the drive. They are just opened their brick-and-mortar store on the first Saturday of SXSW, so expect a wait. Franklin's has sent shock waves through the barbecue community and everyone is itching for a taste. Other in-town BBQ we can somewhat recommend, but it is all a notch down from the kings above: House Park (900 W. 12th, 472-9621). Uncle Billy’s Barbecue (530 Barton Springs, 512-476-0100) has decent ‘cue and is very close to the theater. It’s now a hangout spot for the Alamo South Lamar Staff. They also brew their own beers, which I can vouch for. Vic's (3502 Burleson Rd at E Ben White 512-445-4250) has some of the best sausage in Austin. The ribs, brisket and chicken there are all delicious too. Another BBQ spot that is getting good raves is Mann's Smokehouse Bar-BQue (8624 Research Blvd, 512-459-5077), and we already mentioned the surprisingly tasty barbecue inside Whole Foods, and the BBQ chain Rudy's is actually surprisingly tasty and consistent. That's it. We can at this time recommend no other spot. Deviate from this list and you take your barbecue future in your own hands. Trailer Food Trailer options have exploded over the last couple of years. Excellent food of all types come out of these unassuming little metal boxes, many of which have topnotch chefs moonlighting from the best restaurants in Austin at the helm. Check out all the trailer options online atwww.foodtrailersaustin.com or www.austinfoodcarts.com Some of our favorites are: The Odd Duck Farm to Trailer (1219 S. Lamar across from Alamo South Lamar) daily changing fresh, epicurean menu. These folks also run the new south Austin

fave Barley Swine (2024 S. Lamar, 512-394-8150) Gordoughs Donuts (1219 South Lamar, next to Odd Duck) Gigantic donus that come in a dizzying array of sweet and savory concoctions) East Side King (1618 1/2 E 6th, 512-422-5884) permanently parked in the rear of the Liberty Bar) De Flip Happy Crepes (400 Josephine) Crepes so good that they beat Bobby Flay in a head-to-head challenge on the food network. Lucky Puccia's (817 W 5th St, next to Tiniest Bar in Texas, 512 739-8785), wood fired Italian sandwiches Chilantro Barbecue (twitter: @chilantro) Austin's answer to LA's Korean taco sensation Kogi Tacos. They are constantly on the move, so follow them @chilantrobbq on twitter to locate them during SXSW. Some of these places keep odd hours, so check the website or follow them on twitter. Dinner Uchi (801 S Lamar Blvd, 512-916-4808): Within walking distance of the Alamo South Lamar, Uchi is hands down our favorite restaurant in Austin. Executive Chef and co-owner Tyson Cole was named one of the top ten chefs in America by Food and Wine Magazine and has competed on Iron Chef. Uchi features an ever-changing menu of Japanese and fusion dishes; the fish is flown in daily from the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Uchiko (4200 N. Lamar, ‪512-916-4808‬) Oddly our second favorite restaurant in Austin is the new North offering from Uchi's Tyson Cole - Uchiko. With a completely different menu than Uchi and a larger bar area, Uchiko offers a similar style of Japanese fusion and traditional Japanese dishes. Like Uchi, we recommend the Omakase tasting menu and allocating enough time to savor. Olivia (2043 S. Lamar, 512-804-2700) is your nearby destination for fine dining. Head chef James Holmes was nominated by Food and Wine Magazine as "people's best new chef" of 2011. James Holmes was also once behind the kitchen wizardry at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. Hoover’s (2002 Manor Rd, 512-479-5006): “Stick to the ribs” soul food and southern home cooking. The atmosphere is not so great, but the food overcompensates. We recommend the fried pork chops. A trio of great new spots have opened up on the East Side, all are great for dinner, small plates to share, cocktails or all three. They are all are open late too. Justine’s (4710 E 5th St.), a retro French bistro, the East Side Showroom (1100 E 6th St) and The Good Knight (1300 E 6th St). Late Night 24 Diner is open 24 hours, and is a good option for any meal of the day. Everything they serve is high quality. It’s probably the best of the all night places. Easy Tiger (709 East Sixth Street), I haven't been here yet as it is opening for SXSW, but Easy Tiger is the new concept by the creators of 24 Diner and I have high expectations. Wholesale bakery by day, beer and pretzel garden by night. I

will most definitely be trying out this spot during SXSW. The Highball (1142 South Lamar Blvd, 512-383-8309)We do own the place, so I am a bit biased, but The Highball offers bowling, private and public karaoke, a 60s style diner and cocktail lounge. Its located right next to the Alamo South Lamar where all the SX Fantastic films are screening and is open late. Parkside (301 East Sixth, 512-474-9898) Sean Cirkiel's downtown French bistro has great food and is open late right on Sixth Street. Backspace (507 San Jacinto, 512-474-9899) Right behind Parkside is his new wood-fired Pizza concept. Intimite dining or a quiet hideout for a glass of wine, Backspaceis also open late. Thai Passion (620 Congress Avenue, 512-472-1244)downtown is open late and is a godsend for post-midnight movies. Home Slice (1415 S Congress, 512-444-PIES) is open late on weekends and has incredible New York style pizza. Eastside Pies (1401 Rosewood off E 12th, 512-4524-0933) Another contender for best pizza in Austin. Order the Meatzza, and the homemade brownies will destroy you with pleasure.

Other Fun Daytime activites: The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 N. Congress Avenue, 866369-7108) in downtown Austin, Texas, tells the “Story of Texas” with three floors of interactive exhibits, the special effects show, The Star of Destiny, in the Texas Spirit Theater, and Austin's only IMAX Theatre, featuring the signature largeformat film, TEXAS: THE BIG PICTURE. Shopping on South Congress. The South Congress district has become the hippest retail district in the city. There are a multitude of boutiques, antique stores and galleries, but our favorite three are Blackmail (1202 S Congress Ave, 512326-7670) specializing in cool fashion, gifts and vintage cowboy boots; Yard Dog, (1510 S Congress Ave, 512-912-1613, http://www.yarddog.com) a gallery specializing in southern primitive and folk art; and Uncommon Objects (1512 S Congress Ave, 512-442-4000) which features just that, a vast array of cool antiques and collectible, uncommon objects. Some of our other favorite shops are Hog Wild, Toy Joy and Room Service. Toy Joy (2900 Guadalupe St, 512-320-0090) features a huge selection of wacky new toys and some of your childhood favorites. Hog Wild (100 E North Loop Blvd # A, 512-467-9453) hits the other side with a huge selection of vintage toys, games and clothing. Across the street from Hog Wild is a cool vintage clothing and furniture store Room Service (107 E North Loop Blvd, 512-451-1057), who also stock the Austin Vintage guide that is in the VIP bags. And check out their new location right by the Alamo South Lamar at 1701 S Lamar Blvd, 512-383-9898 The best comic book store in town is Austin Books & Comics (5002 North Lamar

Blvd, 512-454-4197). Domy Books (913 E Cesar Chavez, 512-476-3669) is a wildly eclectic and interesting book store with a good collection of zines, a nicely curated selection of novels and non-fiction, and excellent choices on the subject of contemporary art and culture. Swimming at McKinney Falls State Park (5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin TX 78744, 512-243-1643) McKinney Falls, just 15 minutes out of central Austin, is home to two natural secluded waterfall-fed swimming holes. You can also hike/swim at Hamilton Pool (512-264-2740). One of the most beautiful spots in the hill country, Hamilton Pool is a waterfall that flows into a collapsed grotto near the Perdenales River. Call ahead, as the trail is sometimes closed. This and McKinney Falls are both great spots for an afternoon picnic. And for downtown Austinites, the most popular sun n' water spot remains Barton Springs, fairly near the Alamo South Lamar at 2101 Barton Springs Road. You can also rent a canoe here for a jaunt on the Colorado River. If you want to return home looking a little more Texan, you can pick up boots, hats, western shirts and boot cut jeans at local favorite Allens Boots (1522 S Congress Ave - (512) 447-1413) or check out the warehouse alternative, Shepler's Western Wear (6001 Middle Fiskville Rd, (512) 454-3000). Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colonies in the United States. At Sunset every night, you can stand on the bridge and watch 500,000 bats emerge from under the bridge for their nightly feeding. Austin360.com has all the bat info you need. This is without a doubt an incomplete list, but it does represent some of the things that we here at Badass Digest believe make Austin a pretty special place. No matter what your course, we hope you enjoy your time here in Austin! Tim League director Fantastic Fest

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