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 3 ($34.12)
Breakfast: 16 oz. Green Republic at Daily Juice ($10.25)
Sometimes you need to drink your breakfast. Especially if you drank your dinner. Electrolyte-filled coconut water serves as the base for this smoothie that packs potassium, iron and protein from bananas, kale, spinach and almond butter.
205. W. 3rd St.
Lunch: Capitol City Cobb at Leaf ($12.97)
Follow your healthy breakfast with another (relatively) healthy option at this salad bar. The Capitol City Cobb is Leaf’s take on the classic, with grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, crumbled blue cheese, Roma tomatoes, black olives, bacon and avocado, all tossed in bleu cheese dressing. Or make your own from a roster of a couple dozen ingredients, including a variety of nuts, proteins and chopped veggies.
419 W. 2nd St.
Dinner: Amarillo Burger at Casino El Camino ($10.90)
You’ve been pretty good all day; time to be bad at night. And what better place to do that than Dirty Sixth Street? Wandering into the back of Casino and ordering a massive 3/4-pound burger from the fiery window is a rite of passage for anyone new to Austin. The fat burgers at this den of a bar have a coarse grind and taste like something from a heavy metal roadie’s picnic. The Amarillo burger packs a spicy one-two punch of slippery roasted serrano chilies and jalapeno jack cheese, with cilantro mayonnaise providing a slight floral calming, so you don’t have to go run crying to mommy.
517 E. 6th St.