According to Cajun Boils, no party is complete without crawfish. Its staff, led by a New Orleanian specializing in crawfish boils, boil hundreds of pounds of the delectable crustaceans for all sorts of events, from weddings to weekend nights out.
Its Austin-based boils complement the crawfish with potatoes, corn, and garlic, emulating classic New Orleans?style meals right down to painting a fleur-de-lis on each crawfish shell. The cooks also host the occasional crab boil, and cook up seasonal specialties such as jambalaya, roast pig, and frog legs.
“Stepping into the restaurant is like visiting the home of an Ethiopian friend,” writes the Austin Chronicle about Habesha Restaurant & Bar. Woven straw mesobs—hourglass-shaped tables designed for communal eating—are central to the restaurant’s traditional decor, along with Ethiopian artwork. The friendly staff is always happy to welcome newcomers, explain the menu, show them how to properly stretch before a meal, and make dish suggestions.
However, it's the authentic eats that form the backbone of Habesha Restaurant & Bar. To start, head chef Selam Abebe uses grains from Idaho to prepare injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread used to scoop up bites of food in place of utensils or your neighbor’s hand. She then prepares vegetarian and meat wot, tibs, and fitfit using recipes and techniques from her homeland. As the child of Ethiopian restaurateurs, Selam has had plenty of experience preparing the traditional dishes—she’s been cooking professionally since age 20.
Meals at Habesha Restaurant & Bar often end with a coffee ceremony, a sign of friendship and respect in Ethiopian culture. Servers carefully roast green coffee beans, grind them, sing them a lullaby, and then steep the grounds in hot water to create a rich, black coffee that they serve with hot popcorn.
“We hold the record for world’s smallest food truck,” Verts Kebap owner Michael declares in a prominent German accent. “They are Smart cars, all three of them. They took a year to develop.” German engineers spent those 12 months retrofitting sinks, refrigeration units, and food warmers into the backs of cars each roughly the size of two stacked bathtubs. But the record-setting vehicles—which each hold 50 sandwiches or one competitive eater who just ate 50 sandwiches—have a greater function. “They are for learning about the city, and teaching the city about our food. That’s how we hope to bring our food to the U.S.”
Verts is a casual-dining concept built around the döner kebap sandwich, which over the last 40 years has became the most popular fast food in Germany. “It doesn’t exist in the U.S.,” Michael explains. “We are wanting to share that.” While pursuing their MBAs, Verts founders Michael and Dominik craved the street food from their native country, inspiring their business concept. Their tasty pita-stuffed sandwiches employ Texas-raised meat, locally made bread, and house-made sauces––all the same composition as those found in Germany. That’s not to mention Turkish-style seasonings of pepper spices, basil, cayenne, and paprika.
The mobile food trucks, while conceptually innovative, are meant to bring people into their stubbornly immobile restaurants. They believe this is their true calling. “We get many people coming from Germany. People who have been in the military or traveled across Europe. Students. They are all happy to have those tastes again. And we are pleased to bring them."
A family-run business coated in a warm and cozy atmosphere, Cinnamons Bakery slings delectable baked goods, coffee, and lunchtime eats. With 35 years of experience tucked beneath his hat, Chef Loïc expertly crafts a wide variety of tasty treats that fill kitchens and spacious car trunks with fragrant smells. Stop in and pick up sticky-sweet cinnamon rolls, delectable chocolate truffles, or a flavorful pumpkin pie while ensuring the sweet tooth of each child and child at heart is sufficiently sated.
The aromas of seafood morsels, succulent grilled meats, and noodle-laden soups suffuse the air at Sushi Japon's teppanyaki grill and sushi bar. Japanese journeys can begin by confronting a mouthwatering monolith of green apple, smoked salmon, and cream cheese teetering above a mound of crispy rice in the green-apple smoked-salmon tower ($11.95). Spicy shrimp and crab bond as long-lost crustacean siblings in the chef's special Two Sister roll, topped with tuna, salmon, and flying fish roe ($12.95), and the Louisiana roll lets crawfish, cucumber, and masago roulez as the roll is drizzled in special sauce (hand roll, $5.00; maki roll, $7.95). In a dining event more entertaining than full-length finger-puppet reenactments of King Lear, talented teppanyaki chefs toss and twirl tempting grill selections, which sizzle before diners' eager eyes with lunch ($1.95–$12.95) and dinner ($13.95–$35.95) delights chosen from an array of fresh meats and arriving alongside soup, salad, vegetables, and rice. In addition to rolled and roasted choices, Sushi Japon also offers udon noodle soups and rice bowls, ideal for eating with a suddenly prognathic jaw during werewolf transformations.