Folks attending South by Southwest often approach eating with a guerilla mentality, stuffing their pockets with complimentary snack bars and bottled water, scavenging parties for free food, and sometimes forgetting to eat altogether.
Slow down, people.
You can find time to eat a good meal and still see all the movies, panels and bands you’ve had marked on your mental calendars for weeks. You can even sit down and eat. A meal with friends (or by yourself) offers a chance to recharge your batteries (and your phone) and get a taste of what Austin has to offer.
Below I give a blueprint for eating on less than $40 a day in the parts of town populated with SXSW events. I included tax and 20 percent tip.
As for drinks, that’s on you. Fill up on coffee wherever you’re staying. Carry a water bottle. And scour the parties for free alcohol.
And, for you non-SXSW folks, this piece can serve as a reminder of places you need to try or revisit without breaking the bank.
DAY 2 ($38.83)
Breakfast: Vegetarian breakfast pocket and coffee at Rio’s Brazilian ($6.43)
This divey little café looks like a beachside hostel. A hostel with a drive-thru window. The flaky breakfast pocket breaks open to reveal a medley of spinach, green pepper, tomato, onion and carrot all wrapped in gooey melted mozzarella. The coffee is included in the deal.
408 N. Pleasant Valley Rd.
Lunch: Jackalope at Frank ($11.68)
Sit at the bar at this big space full of brick and light and enjoy the gamey concoction made of antelope, rabbit and pork sausage, topped with sweet cranberry compote, spicy Sriracha aioli and salty strands of melted cheddar cheese. Feeling less adventurous? Dress up a regular dog for $3 and stay classic with a Chicago dog for $5. SXSW showcases take place nightly at Frank, so don’t dally.
407 Colorado St.
Dinner: Beef fried rice at Sway ($20.72)
Eat like a local during SXSW by going a bit off the beaten path to one of the city’s hottest restaurants. Ideally you should go here with a few friends and share a bunch of plates without breaking the price barrier, but if you go alone, try the abundant bowl of fried rice full of tangy tamarind-glazed meat and the snap and crackle of asparagus and crispy garlic. It also makes for perfect leftovers the next morning.
1417 S. 1st St.