Food Editor Melanie Haupt:
A few months back, I had the most exquisite agnolotti stuffed with caramelized sunflower seeds and roots at Pasta | Bar. It was so evocative of summer and very rooted in a sense of place and time. It was like Proust’s madeleine for anybody who grew up eating sunflower seeds at summer camp.
1017 E. Sixth, exploretock.com/pastabaraustin
Proofreader and Qmmunity Editor James Scott:
After artistically intensive visits to both grayDUCK and MASS Gallery, I suggested to my companions that we lunch at Komé. My motives were selfish: At the time I nursed a weeklong hunger for their vegetable tempura, which consists of shishito peppers, Japanese sweet potato, and onion. Substantial slices of these hearty veg kept their bite without overwhelming the airy crunch of a light batter. My tempura-less sickness, cured!
5301 Airport, kome-austin.com
Proofreader Jasmine Lane:
Wheatsville‘s African peanut soup is the unsung, luxuriously cozy queen of comfort food options: nutty, spicy, creamy but with the pleasantly gentle crunch of chopped peanuts, and best of all, deeply filling. I drove 20 minutes each way to pick some up at the nearest Wheatsville last week. We should name a day in its honor.
3101 Guadalupe, 4001 S. Lamar, wheatsville.coop
Music Editor Rachel Rascoe:
Baguettes handmade every morning by co-owner Nguyet Quach make strip mall stop NG Cafe my favorite bánh mì in town. I first stopped by after an ill-fated Craigslist sewing machine purchase in the nearby Target parking lot and still make the drive up north for the house-made tofu sandwich, with the perfect tofu crust and pickled carrots. The underpriced desserts are made with equal care, from a box of 15(!) lemon cookies to coconut cream milk bread.
13000 N. I-35 #200, ngcafeatx.com
Staff writer Lina Fisher:
Sometimes a mighty hankering takes you over and you don’t know why. Mine came to me a few Sundays ago, in the form of an insatiable desire for an Italian sandwich: the kind with several meats, peppers, and various and sundry acidic crunchies. I scoured the internet for consensus and drove many miles to Little Deli, located in an out-of-time strip mall in Crestview. The setting was idyllic with neighborhood boys sharing hefty slices of pizza, bikes and skateboards resting against the outdoor gazebo. The Gourmet Italian sandwich, which differs from the Classic Italian in its inclusion of hot coppa, prosciutto, and roasted red peppers, was undoubtedly the most delicious I’ve ever had. Alas, rather than quenching the hankering, it has only intensified it. Be sure to pair with an ice-cold Coke in a glass bottle.
7101-A Woodrow Ave., 1804 Briarcliff, littledeliandpizza.com
Editor-in-Chief Kimberley Jones:
I don’t know if the roast chicken and vegetable soup was on Julio’s menu when it opened in Hyde Park in 1983, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever ordered there. The pandemic kept me away for a few years, so a bowl ordered last fall … well, I won’t call it a revelation, just a reminder: This soup is perfection. Soulful broth, sliced avocado, essential add-on rice – it goes beyond nourishing. It’s restorative. It tastes even better when you’ve stood in line 10 minutes to order. Throw in sweater weather and a table outside? Heaven.
4230 Duval St., juliosaustin.com
Staff writer Brant Bingamon:
The barbecue at Micklethwait Craft Meats has not lost a step in 10 years. It remains some of the best protein consumable by any entity in any corner of the world, ever. This writer reencountered the smoked brisket during this year’s South by Southwest. Nothing new about it, but it reduced me and several friends first to profound humility and then to a complete abandonment of personal dignity.
1309 Rosewood, craftmeatsaustin.com
News Editor Maggie Thompson:
You don’t see khao soi, as it’s usually spelled, on menus enough. Super Thai‘s take on this northern Thai noodle soup is rich and comforting with a kick. Flat egg noodles are drenched in lavish yellow curry, then crowned with crispy noodles, green onions, and cilantro. You get some acid and crunch from pickled mustard, lime, and bean sprouts, and it all comes together in harmony.
2024 S. Lamar, superthaicuisine.com
Food Lieutenant Wayne Alan Brenner:
The newest restaurant from Tyson Cole and the crew at Hai Hospitality is Uchibā, an izakaya-inspired venue Downtown, and their rutabaga noodles with Gruyère and chicken furikake is one of the best things I’ve had all year. The noodles are wide and flat as tagliatelle and cooked perfectly to highlight their earthy flavor, the Gruyère a revelation in melted umami that drips from each noodle, abetted by the contrasting crunch of garlicky chicken.
601 W. Second, uchiba.uchirestaurants.com
Special Screenings & Community Listings Editor Kat McNevins:
We finally made it to Wink this year, and while everything on the five-course tasting menu was exquisite, a standout was the starter: seared tuna poke with wakame, sesame seed, cucumber, and orange, with a savory-sweet sauce that almost had us licking the bowl in an uncivilized fashion.
1014 N. Lamar, winkrestaurant.com
Culture Editor Richard Whittaker:
Austin’s paucity of gluten-free fare can be infuriating, especially when the dessert options peter out at à la mode sans pie. So the fact that we have a completely celiac dining experience – one that steers clear of seed oils, soy, refined sugar, and GMOs, too – seems like something to celebrate. So make sure to save space for the Well‘s signature avocado mousse – a silky cloud of cacao and cinnamon with a jubilant topping of coconut and pistachio.
440 W. Second, 6317 Bee Caves Rd. #200, eatwellatx.com
Music Editor Rachel Rascoe:
Surprise victory in a round of Go-Go’s-themed trivia landed me a gift card to farm-to-table Italian restaurant Intero. Entering unresearched with no expectations, my partner and I were delighted to find the presence of timballo on the menu – aka timpano, the turducken-like mountain famously assembled by Stanley Tucci in the 1996 film Big Night. Intero’s chic baby version is much simpler, featuring wagyu brisket wrapped in something like risotto, and I’m OK with that.
2612 E. Cesar Chavez, interorestaurant.com
News Editor Maggie Thompson:
Dai Due‘s regionally sourced menu changes with the season. Asparagus is only available for a few weeks, apples come in the late summer, and apricots only come some years – but the cold meat board never disappoints. Pickled fruit and veg bring sugar and acid to surprisingly tender game. Boar and antelope are standouts. Anything that ends in “mousse” melts gloriously. Your curiosity at Dai Due will demand a tapas-style approach, and the meat board satisfies.
2406 Manor Rd., daidue.com