Dec 4, 2013

Airport food in Austin, Texas

Every once in a while this commoner will get lucky and his work will send him to faraway places on a business trip … OK, maybe not that far away, but I did get to travel to Austin, Texas earlier this fall.  Sounds great, right?  Work by day, great food, drink and live music by night. 

The logistics proved to be were a little challenging, however, when I discovered my work booked my hotel room near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.  Nice, new airport.  It just happens to be near the middle of nothing.  Urban sprawl is still a couple of years from catching up to it.  A commoner should never trust his travel booking to his work. 

Oh, well, during the time I was in and around the airport, I made the best of what I could find, and that’s what the first two installments of my recent Austin trip is about.  (Don’t worry, faithful followers.  I’ll cover my brief sampling of the Austin food and music scene, too.)  

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is actually a very nice mid-sized airport that gives anyone travelling through a sanitized yet satisfying taste of the Austin scene.  One way they do this is ensuring every eating establishment at the airport has a local tie to the area.  No overpriced McDonald’s or Burger King to be found.  The only chains you’ll find here are homegrown – like Salt Lick Bar-B-Que and Maudie's Tex-Mex

This actually made both of my meal decisions (my arrival and departure date) more difficult.   I chose Maudie's for lunch when I arrived.  It afforded me the perfect opportunity to wait for my luggage and get my first taste of what I hoped to be true Tex-Mex in more than 10 years.

Don't let the styrofoam container fool you ... the sides may have been somewhat ordinary, but the enchiladas were excellent!
Two chicken enchiladas smothered with sauce, rice and beans.  Beats the heck out of your average airport food.  And they didn't go easy on the heat, either. 

The other factor that made Maudie's an easy decision was knowing that I could always hit the Salt Lick before my flight out of town – even if it meant just for breakfast.  As you might expect, the airport was hopping on a weekday morning, and the lines had already gathered at the Salt Lick’s Gate 12 location. 

They certainly look like they know what they're doing. 
Fortunately, the Salt Lick Taco Bar “inside” Ray Benson’s Roadhouse at Gate 10 (OK, it’s really an "open-air" bar area in the concourse) was serving as well. Salt Lick was featured in the Huffington Post’s list of 10 Great Airport Restaurants.  I now know why. 

This picture does not do this food justice.  It may have been because I was in a hurry to eat.
Two breakfast tacos:  one beef brisket and egg; one pulled pork and egg.  Add barbecue sauce to taste.  Amazing.  I remember thinking I may have saved the best tasting food in Austin for last.  That’s probably an exaggeration due to an early start to the day and my general appreciation for good barbecue, but they really were excellent in every sense.   

I have several more Austin-related blog posts to come, so I hope my six faithful followers enjoy reminiscing about this fall’s business trip as I will.  There are plenty of good food, drink, music and new-found friendships to describe.    

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