Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Texas Chili Parlor in Austin.

CROSSROAD CUISINE - My quest to find great local food when I'm on the road visiting my stores.

I love the amazing regional food in Texas. You can choose from barbecue, chili and Tex-Mex. After visiting the Round Rock Premium Outlets recently I went to get some great chili in Austin.

Texas Chili Parlor
1409 Lavaca St
Austin TX 78701
(512) 472-2828

By all standards, The Texas Chili Parlor looks like a dive bar. It is in the heart of downtown Austin on the UT campus and across the street from the Embassy Suites.

The customers range from a mix of tattooed college students to grey haired professors and local business people out for a drink and something to eat after work. There was even a family with three small children there for dinner. So go in, you will feel right at home no matter who you are.

I knew I was off to a great start when I heard "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" playing as I entered.

The menu has burgers, sandwiches, enchiladas, tamales, burritos and tacos. It even has salads for the wimps in your group. However we are here to eat the chili.

You know you are in a college town because they have drink specials like Jager Bombs and $2 Miller High Life.

I started out with the guacamole appetizer and a Shiner Bock. The chips were great, the guacamole was fresh and the home-made salsa was spicy.

Actually one of my favorite reasons to visit Texas is for Shiner Bock beer. It is awesome. Its brewed in Shiner Texas. I can't get it in NY so I always get it when I'm here.

But the real reason we are here is for the chili. It comes three ways.
  1. X - Mild - Best for beginners
  2. XX - Spicy -Their most popular, but beware.
  3. XXX - Hot, Hot, Hot
They all come with crackers, onions and jalapenos; cheese and sour cream are extra.

You can buy a "Taster", Small or Large. I ordered the large XX with cheese. I like spicy food and the XX Spicy is plenty hot for me. If you go and you try the XXX, let me know how it is.

Now this is real Texas chili so there are NO BEANS. It is excellent chili. Actually the best I have ever had (excluding my own home-made). If you insist on beans (why you are ordering chili in Texas I don't know) then they do offer a Black Bean and Elgin Sausage Chili or a 5 Bean Veggie Chili. SERIOUSLY A VEGGIE CHILI!!! Whats the point?

Now they do have another Texas specialty that I plan on trying on my next trip. Its called a Frito Pie. Traditionally you take a small bag of Fritos,  cut it open down the middle and pour the chili right into the bag. They are a little more refined here and they dump the Fritos on a plate first before topping them with the chili. The dad with the three kids had this and it looked great.

As I left another great song was playing. Billy Joel's "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" It was a great evening.

For other great places to eat when your on the road, check out these prior posts:

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q

Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Al's #1 Italian Beef

The 5-8 Club, Home of the Juicy Lucy

If you liked this post then you have to get this book:

500 Things to Eat Before Its Too Late

Mark Libell

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