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 4 ($32.54)
Breakfast: Tomato and goat cheese quiche and coffee at Alta’s Café ($10.11)
If you can tune out the adjacent river construction, the dock at Alta’s provides a peaceful lakeside respite from the city streets. Baked goods are supplied by locals Cake and Spoon. I’m not usually a quiche lover, but this flaky and buttery pastry full of roasted cherry tomatoes and the slight citrus song of creamy goat cheese won me over. Coffee comes from local caffeine stars Cuvée Coffee and Handsome Roasters.
74 Trinity St.
Lunch: Buffet at Clay Pit ($10.75)
The daily lunch buffet at this capital-area favorite offers a rotating selection of entrees such as lamb roganjosh, tandoori chicken, seafood biryani, aloo choley and vegetable korma. Vegetarians get out for $1 cheaper. And you can even get the buffet to go. But you should probably sit down and take a breath.
1601 Guadalupe St.
Dinner: Saltado de Pollo Sanguche at Llama’s Peruvian Trailer ($11.68)
One of many food trailers scattered around the downtown area, this trailer combines flavors inspired by the gastronomic capital of South America. Mayonnaise made with ají amarillo pepper enhances the mild smoky sweetness of juicy chicken on my favorite sandwich from this trailer. The sandwich delivers bell pepper crunch and the cool of cilantro wrapped in the rich umami flavor of oyster sauce.
611 Trinity St.