It’s March, and with that comes a couple of my favorite things. March Madness and SXSW.
Since a lot of people will be coming to Austin for SXSW (Music, Interactive, or Film), I thought it would be cool to give you a guys a couple of recommendations for where to eat or drink. We are all about supporting local eats here in ATX, so no chains will be recommended.
There are enough options here that it can be overwhelming for anyone. It’s overwhelming for me and there are a few spots where the tourists go that aren’t necessarily the top spots.
I know what it’s like looking on Yelp when arriving in a new town – you’re just hoping and guessing the restaurant will be good and that reviews weren’t fake. Let me help you guys out. Noob it up—>
Don’t do P. Terrys – Do Hopdoddy
P. Terrys is okay for a fast food burger, but for a real burger, go to HopDoddy on South Congress (aka SoCo). They have an array of burgers to choose from, and make their buns fresh and in-house.
I like the Primetime burger. It comes with Texas Akaushi Beef, brie cheese, truffle aioli, arugula, caramelized onions, and steak sauce. I also love the Nutella and Chocholate Pretzel shake (maybe a little too much). Hopdoddy has a nice selection of local brews on tap, too. Major perk.
Austin has a ton of food trailers or “roach coach” options. There are food trailer parks on South Congress, South First Street, and on the rapidly growing East Side. Plus, you will find random food trailers all over the city.
You have to hit up the food trailers on South Congress because they are being closed after SXSW! For what? The group that owns ACL (the festival I dread every year in Austin) is going to build a hotel and other restaurants. There is a petition going around to try and stop it, though.
My favorite spot in the SoCo food trailer park is Hey Cupcake!
I know they are growing and expanding, but you have to stop at a Torchy’s location. I love their fried avocado taco, and the salsa is incredible.
My favorite queso in town is at Matt’s Famous El Rancho on South Lamar. The “Bob Armstrong” is worth the trip. Their chips are big – you know, the ones so gigantic that you have to break them into three pieces before you dip them into the queso. Stellar.
Currently, my favorite mexican restaurant is Papolote Taco House on South Lamar. It’s actually more like authentic mexican food, rather than “tex mex,” but it’s very fresh and the lunch prices are killer.
Don’t Eat at Stubbs or Salt Lick
Stubbs and Salt Lick are good, no doubt, but there are much better BBQ options in ATX. Those are just the places out-of-towners eat at, and we feel obligated to take people there who are visiting. Let’s stop that.
Instead, you need to try Franklin BBQ, which has received national attention as one of the better places to eat BBQ. The lines can be long and once they run out of food that they have prepared for the day, they are out.
If you don’t go for Franklin (or you get there too late), try Mueller BBQ. The guys who started Franklin were apprentices under Mueller and the Mueller family has a long history of producing great BBQ. The best ribs I have ever eaten. Period.
If you want to venture out of Austin, then you need to check out Blacks BBQ in Lockhart. It’s worth the trip!
East Side Eating
In the last few years, the East side of town has become a popular place to hang out, grab a beer, and eat some grub. Some of the SXSW shows are even on the East Side. It’s the new, hip Austin.
It’s a little out of the way from downtown, but Jack Allen’s kitchen has my favorite happy hour in town. The food is incredible and the appetizers are half-priced. The apps are big enough to be considered a meal, so Jordan and I usually get a couple of those, plus, homemade guacamole with pumpkin seeds. Yummy.
Our favorite apps are the BLT Sliders (grilled pork belly, micro greens, fried green tomatoes, house made pimento cheese and JAK’s slaw) and the Barbacoa Stackers (slow roasted barbacoa, layers of refried black beans, jack cheese, JAK’s slaw and cotija cheese).
Another happy hour hot spot for us is Red’s Porch on South Lamar. I like to get competitive with shuffle board, washers, and darts while having a local brew. Plus, they are dog friendly. They will bring our dog a bowl of water before us. I respect that.
For those beer drinkers out there, this is for you. Austin has a lot of local breweries to choose from and most local spots will have a few on tap. A few of my favorites are the Live Oak Hefeweizen, (512) Pecan Porter, Independence Bootlegger, and any beer from Adelberts.
These are just a few of my Austin favorites and by no means a full review of all eats in Austin. I’m no food critic, but I do love to eat good food. I hope this helps if you’re visiting Austin for SXSW (or anytime).
I’m hungry now.
— Noob MasterRead More
US Airways is at it again! Another 100% bonus when you buy or gift miles. It appears to be a targeted promotion for those who bought Dividend Miles last year.
I feel like US Airways is always blowing up my email about buying miles and blah blah blah. If you’re searching for a quick bounty of United Dividend Miles, check out the US Airways card options on my sick deals page.
If you’re a big spender and you pay for first class or business class flights regularly, then you can find some value in buying US Airways miles during a 100% bonus promotion. You can buy up to 50,000 miles, which will net you an additional 50,000 miles for a grand total of 100,000 miles. 100,000 miles will cost you $1,750.00. That’s a pretty penny, but that’s cheaper than a full-fare international ticket in business class. Keeping it real.
Personally, I would only take advantage of this offer to top off my current US Airways Dividend balance for an upcoming award ticket. If I was short a couple thousand miles from being able to book an award ticket, this promo would get me excited. I would not buy Dividend Miles just to stockpile them with all the merger talk happening with AA. And, you never know when an airline will devalue their chart.
You can buy 2,000 miles + 2,000 miles for $70. That’s not a bad price if you’re a couple thousand short for an award redemption. Not too shabby at all.
US Airways Dividend Miles can be very valuable and IMHO, best used to fly internationally on Star Alliance partners. You can check out my previous post on how to search for Star Alliance availability here. No, you can’t see Star Alliance availability on the US Airways website. If you would like to see how to book award flights with Dividend miles, read this gem of a post.
US Airways does have an incredible off-peak award chart as well.
You have until January 31, 2013 to take advantage of the 100% bonus. Here’s the link to the US Airways offer.
I hope this helps as you contemplate buying US Airways Dividend Miles.
— Noob MasterRead More
It happens all the time. I remember my love for Avios when I redeem them for a redic low fare. Then I forget about them again, and become pre-occupied with the pretty girl, a.k.a. Ultimate Rewards points, as I should.
But when it comes time again for me to pet my Avios balance, I’m always left happy. Check my latest series on maximizing Avios points if don’t know about the value they pack.
- Part 1: Intra-European: British Airways, Iberia, airberlin, Finnair
- Part 2: Intra-African: Comair
- Part 3: Intra-Australasian: Cathay Pacific and Qantas
This last weekend, I went on an award booking spree, and British Airways Avios played a key role in my bookings. These are the bookings I made in my tipsyness.
Boston – Dublin
Jordan wants to go to Ireland, so what kind of husband would I be if I didn’t make it happen? Plus, she’s dying to do the Guinness tour in Dublin. Yeah, she’s that cool.
We all know that British Airways has a distanced-based award chart and that they have hefty fuel & tax surcharges on longer flights. However, you can fly from Boston to Dublin for only 25,000 round-trip in coach, or 50,000 round-trip in business class! That’s a steal, and the taxes are low because it’s on Aer Lingus and a shorter flight. Sweet spot.
I ended up booking Bos-Dublin, one-way for 50,000 Avios and $61.14 for BOTH of us in business class on Aer Lingus. This is one of the best values around. I had to call into British Airways because I couldn’t make the booking on their website. Shocker. They did waive the phone booking fee without a problem.
This booking made me fall in love again with British Airways Avios.
We may even use Avios again for our positioning flight to Boston, or I’ll use our Southwest Companion Pass. We have time and options.
Dublin – LHR
We don’t want to spend more than a couple of days in Ireland, so we used some Avios to get over to London. We will be traveling with friends who have lived in London, so it’s going to be a good time getting escorted by people who know their way around. Can’t wait.
Here’s what our short flight cost us:
I’m more than happy to spend 9,000 Avios and $45 for the both of us. I checked out Ryanair and the fares were affordable, but they kill you with fees on bags and other silly things.
DFW – Miami
We’re taking a cruise out of Miami in April, so I went ahead and booked our flights there. We’re going out of DFW since we will be seeing family the week before, and it’s a better rate with Avios. We would have to connect through Dallas most likely anyway.
Here’s the damage:
That’s right. 15,000 Avios & $5 for both of us! I can live with that.
Ways to get British Airways Avios
There’s a 50,00 offer on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. You will get 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 in 3 months, though.
There’s a 30% bonus on American Express Membership Rewards transferred into British Airways until January 14th. I transferred over 50,000 Membership Rewards points to top off my British Avios balance for the previous bookings.
British Airways is also a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. The points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. I wish Chase would come out with transfer bonuses to their loyalty partners. The Chase Freedom® Visa , Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Ink Bold® Business Card, and Ink Plus® Business Card all earn Ultimate Rewards points.
As you can tell, there are many ways to earn or top off your British Airways Avios account. Always make sure you have a plan or upcoming travel before you go transferring points out.
I’ve always found value with Avios, and find them to come in handy often. I highly recommend earning Avios, and looking for ways to maximize their value.
[Disclaimer: I receive a referral credit for the cards mentioned in the post above. Thanks for the support if you decide to apply through the Noobtraveler]
— Noob MasterRead More