Top 10 Trendiest Restaurants in Austin, TX

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Over the past decade, the culinary scene in Austin Texas has exploded with amazing new food trucks, restaurants and popups.  New restaurants and bars fill the city and offer locals and visitors endless options for a great meal. Austin of course is known for insane BBQ, but that’s not the only good food that you can find. Tex-Mex, Seafood and Asian fusion are also some of the great choices that can be found across the city. As the food scene continues to grow it can be hard to make a decision on where the best place to eat is. I have created a list of my 15 favorite, trendy restaurants in the city.

1.) Red Ash Italia

 

This industrial Italian place is located in the center of downtown Austin and has some of the best Italian food you will ever have. In the mood for juicy meat or warm gnocchi… this is your place. Although it is on the expensive side, Red Ash also offers unbeatable happy hours from 4:30 to 6:30, Monday-Thursday with great prices on pasta and wine. This place is always packed (you will understand why after trying it) so make sure to make a reservation. Don’t leave without trying the crispy bread drenched in garlic butter.

Recommended Dishes: Hot & Crispy Country Italian Bread, Wood Roasted Meatballs, Thick Cut Bone-In Filet, Small Potato Gnocchi “Gratinata”, Rigatoni Alla Campagnola, Papparadelle alla Bolognese.

Website: http://www.redashgrill.com

Address: 303 COLORADO STREET
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701

2.) Sway

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Trendy. Thai. Sway is located across the river in the south side of Austin, and serves up amazing Thai Cuisine. I recently visited Sway with a few friends and the meal blew us away. Cripsy chicken wings, spicy curry and mouthwatering bowls. The idea is to order a bunch of things, family style, and try a bit of everything. The outdoor patio offers great vibes so I highly suggest calling for a table out there.

Recommended Dishes: Tom khan gai, Peanut Curry, Pork Fried Rice, Son in Law, Brussel Sprouts.

Website: https://swaythai.com/

Address: Multiple Locations*

3.) Grizzeldas

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One word… Margaritas. Grizzeldas is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, TX. Walking in feels like your walking into a  real-life dream because the decor is fabulous. The food is spectacular and the drinks are even better. Get there before 6:30 on weekdays and they have great deals on all their best drinks. Be prepared to spend a little because the meal can get pricy, but it is worth it. For sure worth trying if you are visting or live in Austin. (The chips and guacamole is to die for)

Recommended Dishes: Guacamole, Fajitas, Ceviche.

Website: https://grizzeldas.com

Address: 105 Tillery St, Austin, TX 78702

4.) She’s Not Here

 

She’s not here is located in downtown Austin and has a great selection of cocktails as well as sushi rolls. They just added on a super trendy front patio which is great for outdoor cocktails with friends. Monday through Thursday, Sway also has a pretty good happy menu with 7 dollar cocktails and deals on food. Recently this has been one of my go-to spots and should not be overlooked in the Austin food scene.

Recommended Dishes: Crab Butter Hand roll (pictured), Wagyu Rib Eye, Crab Salad

Website: https://www.snhaustin.com

Address: 440 West. 2nd St. Austin, TX 78701

5.) Carolines / Upstairs at Carolines

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Upstairs at Caroline’s not only offers food and drinks but an experience. This is one of the trendiest spots in town and is great for day drinking. Upstairs there is a fun outdoor bar, filled with spots to hangout and play games while downstairs you can get quality food. Great on a sunny day aswell as a rainy day since they have covering over the rooftop patio. Don’t miss this great location.

Recommended Dishes: Margaritas

Website: https://www.carolinerestaurant.com/upstairs-at-caroline

Address: 621 Congress Ave Suite 201, Austin, TX 78701

6.) Emmer and Rye

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This Rainey street gem is possibly one of my favorite restraunts of all time. Yes, it is that good.  From the brunch time pastry cart, to savory dim sum, you simply cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. AND, not only is the food remarkable, but the interior is straight out of a catalog. The chef focuses on healthy food and tastes from around the world and brings them back to us in Austin. The food is served dim sum style, meaning carts come around and you can see and chose what you want (its like a real life yelp) If you are visiting austin and are in the mood for a tasteful meal, I would 100% recommend this spot.

Recommended Dishes: Blue Crab, Pork Belly, Blue Beard Durhum Spaghetti ‘Cacio E Pepe’

Website: https://emmerandrye.com

Address: SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110, Austin, TX 78701

7.) Loro

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If you’re looking for a cool outdoor patio to have drinks with friends, I 100% recommend Loro. This restaurant is located down congress and has the best outdoor seating of any place in Austin. This “Asian smokehouse” offers great drinks and even better food. Although they are known for great meat, everything on the menu will impress. The atmosphere is fun and exciting, and is perfect to go grab drinks and hangout for a while.

Recommended Dishes: Crunchy sweet corn fritters, Garlic Rice noodles, Pork Belly Rice bowl, and the margaritas!

Website: https://loroaustin.com

Address: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

8.) Joanns Austin

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I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a classic diner meal? Down on south congress you will find a new poppin restaraunt that is designed as a local, neighborhood diner. Joanns Austin offers classic Tex-Mex food as well as healthy California style healthy plates. (I mean was this place desgined for me??) Have an afternoon drink at their poolside bar, and even catch great deals during happy hour (weekdays 4-6). Also, make sure to check out their instagram to find out about fun events they have going on.

Recommended Dishes: TBD

Website: https://joannsaustin.com

Address: 1224 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

9.) P6

 

LA meets New York meets Austin. This luxury rooftop lounge is the hottest new place in Austin, and is the definition of trendy. They offer great cocktails and Mediterain style small plates. Due to its prime location and river view, you are going to be paying a bit on the upper end. The place can get pretty busy so call and make a reservation before. (See if they will save you a spot outside)

Recommended Dishes: Tuna Crudo, Warm Gougères, Toasted Almond Mai Tai

Website: https://www.thelinehotel.com/austin/food-drink/#p6

Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

10.) Arlo Gray

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If you’re in the mood for a upscale, more intimate meal, Arlo Gray is all the rave in downtown Austin. The luxury menu offers a diverse drinks menu, with a huge wine selection. They are known to have a wonderful brunch set up, beautiful settings and a damn good burger. Along with the great food, the restaurant has some of the best lake views and is a perfect location for sunset.

Recommended Dishes: Burger, Bloody Mary, Prawn Agnolotti

Website: https://www.thelinehotel.com/austin/food-drink/

Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

8 Foods You Must Try in Barcelona

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Traveling to Spain anytime soon? Not only will the sites and the great weather amaze you, but you are in for an even bigger treat when it comes to food. Whether you are looking for a Michelin star restaurant or some cheap tapas, Barcelona has it all. Each region of Spain is known for its specialty of food, so don’t leave without trying it all. Here is a list of the top 8 foods that you must try in Spain.

 


Paella

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No Spain vacation is complete without trying a fresh plate of paella. This rice and seafood dish is the number one food that Barcelona is known for and can be found at most major restaurants. They also offer chicken paella or strictly vegetables if you are a vegetarian! If you want to taste the best, here is a guide to the best Paella in Barcelona.

 

 

Tapas

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When arriving in Spain, tapas and sangria should be the first meal you sit down to. If you don’t know what they are, tapas are small dishes of food that are typically served with drinks. They are the most common Spanish meal and can be found in every city across the country. The best way to get a real feel for Spain is to come hungry and order a lot! The plates are small and super cheap so make sure you order a few!

 

Patatas Bravas

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This dish is very common in tapas bars and goes very well with a cold beer. Patatas bravas are cut up cubed potatoes that are baked in oil to give them the perfect crunch. They are then topped off with spicy tomato sauce. These are one of the most commonly ordered tapas, and you can taste why.

 

 

Jamón

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Jamón is a classic piece of the Spanish diet. If you are unsure what this is, think prosciutto but half the price and just as good. This dish is served in every tapas bar and can be paired with bread, cheese or a piece of melon (my fav). Restaurants and stands also offer to-go cups of Jamón and cheese, so make sure to grab one as you explore the city.

 

Pa amb Tomaquet

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Pa amb Tomaquet, a staple part of the Spanish diet. If you’re a fan of bruschetta, this is a good choice for you. You will find this in every restaurant as it is hands down one of the most popular foods in Spain. This dish varies a bit between restaurants but it consists of baked bread, tomatoes and olive oil. So yummy.

 

Tortilla De Patatas

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These Spanish omelets are found all throughout Spain and are made from egg, potato, onion, garlic, and olive oil. They are many times served cold as an appetizer, but are even better when they are hot. It’s super delicious and is a must try.  These can be found at most tapas restaurants!

 

 

Olive Oil

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You have never really tasted olive oil until you come to Spain. This is pretty much used in every form of cooking but tastes even better with just a piece of bread. All throughout the city you can find stores that offer premium olive oil. This is personally one of my favorite foods in Barcelona and you absolutely cannot look it over.

Sangria

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Your Spanish vacation doesn’t really begin until you order a pitcher or two of sangria. This sweet alcoholic beverage is filled with red wine and fruit and brandy… what could be better? Pretty much every restaurant will offer this drink, in many different forms too! Although it is not super common among locals, is it essential for people coming through.

 

Study Abroad: Spring vs. Fall Semester

Study Abroad: Spring vs. Fall Semester

If there’s one thing I wish I knew prior to coming abroad, it’s that spring in Europe is not anything like spring in California. This shit is cold. As my study abroad experience is coming to an end, I thought I would give some suggestions for those of you who are deciding between coming in the spring vs the fall.

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When I started planning to go abroad, it seemed as though it was decided for me which semester I would attend. Majority of people studying abroad decide to go during second semester of junior year. This being said, if your school holds big events, that is also a factor to consider. Michigan kids don’t want to miss football games. Tulane kids don’t want to miss mardi gras. Every school has something. But as I’m here I have started to wonder if I came for the right semester. Lets break it down.

Fall Semester

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Fall Pros

  • Easier to find a subletter – I would say the majority of kids study abroad second-semester junior year. This makes it super difficult, if not impossible, to find someone to sublease your apartment. And trust me when I say, it sucks going abroad and paying for two rents. Going in the fall gives you a ton of leeway to find someone, or to sublease someone else’s apartment while they are abroad in the spring. This is a HUGE thing to consider.
  • Internships – Because the internship process takes place in the spring, this gives you an advantage over other kids. You are home and have more time to spend focusing on getting the job. Trust me, this is a pretty major.
  • Airline Tickets are cheaper – This is one thing that most people don’t realize, but flying within Europe during the fall is much cheaper than during the spring.
  • Oktoberfest – One of the wildest weekends of your life. Endless beer, schnitzel and Dirndl.
  • Warm Weather – I feel like fall in Europe is the perfect temperature. It’s not unbearably hot but you can also get away with wearing shorts and a tank top. It’s easy to pack light when traveling, which means you don’t have to pay for extra luggage.

Fall Cons 

  • Missing Thanksgiving – I don’t know about you, but going home for Thanksgiving is one of my favorite parts of the year. All your friends are home for break, so much good food and moms cooking. It would definitely be a bummer missing out on this.
  • The semester is shorter – Studying abroad is truly a once in a lifetime experience so even losing out on a few extra weeks is a huge bummer.
  • Limited time to travel after – After the fall program comes to an end, the weather has dropped and it’s not as convenient to spend time traveling. At this point, it is also getting close to the holidays which people generally want to spend at home.

Spring Semester

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Spring Pros

  • Time to travel after – One of the biggest pros of studying abroad in the spring is that you have the chance to stay and travel after your program ends. At this point, you have made so many new friends and you will get the chance to roam around Europe for a bit before getting back home. Most programs end in April so you have time before internships really start.
  • The people – Because spring is the more common semester to study abroad, you will be surrounded by so many students/ friends from home. Having good company is one of the best things about studying abroad, so this is definitely a plus.
  • Getting to attend Football Season – Obviously, fall is football season, so if you attend a school that has a good football team you will still be able to attend game days.
  • St. Patricks day in Dublin – I don’t know how to describe this weekend other than pubs, pubs and more pubs.

Spring Cons 

Depending on where you decide to study abroad, the weather at the beginning is pretty cold. This not only means some days will be miserable, but your skin almost forgets what sunlight feels like. Also, packing for winter takes up way more space than dresses and sandals.

  • Packing for the cold – Try to squeeze 6 pairs of jeans, and 8 jackets into a suitcase (plus all the other shit you need.) Packing for a semester in the spring is much harder than the fall. Most places you will visit are in the peak of their winter, so it is essential to bring warm clothes.
  • Most places are freezing – You don’t think much about this before, but try exploring all these new cities wearing leggings under your jeans and three jackets. It gets really cold and can really affect your experience in most places.
  • Internships – For internships, the job applications don’t start opening up until around January. This means that you will not only be spending significant time applying to jobs, but you will also have to find the time & good internet service for interviews. The time difference doesn’t help either. It can be a huge pain in the ass so try and plan early or just get ready for some stress.
  • Seniors are gone when you return – One of the downsides of studying abroad in the spring is that when you return to school in the fall, all of the seniors are gone and the overall atmosphere is much different.
  • Weight gain before Summer –  Trust me, “Abroad10” is a thing. It’s no surprise that you will gain a little weight in the four months you travel across Europe, so it’s a bit of a bummer when you return home for summer and your pants don’t fit.

No matter when you go, your study abroad experience will be amazing. However before you let your emotions dictate your decision, make sure you consider all of the factors. If you don’t like the cold, I don’t suggest the spring. If you want to be surrounded with 91873819828 other study abroad students, then Spring is for you!

Guide to Mallorca, Spain

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Now that the weather has started to warm up, I packed up some bathing suits and made my way to the islands of Spain. My first stop: Mallorca. I flew out of Barcelona, so it was a quick 40-minute flight and cost me about 40 euro… roundtrip. Yes, you read that right. Because I decided to travel here in March, a lot of the island was still closed for winter. This also meant not a lot of tourists. We were still able to find amazing restaurants, great beaches and a ton of good outdoor terraces for cocktails. What I didn’t know before my trip was that the island is pretty spread out, so I recommend renting a car! We spent way too much money on taxis.

This being said, do not consolidate yourself to one city. Here is a list of places in Mallorca that are worth seeing.

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Towns 

1. Palma – The heart of Mallorca and the biggest city on the island. Here you will find a bunch of hotels, shopping spots and places to eat. From experience, this area does not have the most beautiful beaches but it is a convenient area to be close to.

2. Port de Sóller – Hands down, my favorite part of Mallorca. Talk about a cute little town filled with amazing stores, great vibes and really yummy food. It is picturesque and totally worth the trip. Make sure you give yourself a few hours in this little town because it is definitely worth it.

3. Soller – This area is about 40 minutes outside of Palma, but they offer cheap trains that will take you across the island for really cheap.

4. Cala Figuera – Tiny little town with the most amazing beaches. Not much to do other than explore and layout but it’s so beautiful.

Restaurants

We spent most of the trip laying out and eating snacks, so we did not attend that many sit down meals. Two of these restaurants we went to and were awesome, and the rest I was highly recommended.

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  • Max Garden
  • Il Paradiso
  • Ola Del Mar
  • Sakana Sushi
  • Nola
  •  Temple Natura

Beaches

All across the island, there are beautiful beaches. Some offer crystal clear water, while others are better for tanning and relaxing. Although I obviously could not get to them all, these are a few that you should definitely see.

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  1. Playa de Cala Pi
  2. Illetas
  3. Cala d’Or Cala Llamp
  4. Port de Pollença
  5. Cala Mondragó

Activities

To be totally honest, we came into the weekend strictly wanting to relax. It was still a bit cold so many of these things weren’t available yet. But here is a list of activities that are offered on the island, for those of you seeking adventure.

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  1. Hiking
  2. Rock Climbing
  3. Stand-up paddleboarding
  4. Exploring Cuevas del Drach ( caves )
  5. ATV
  6. Boat Tour

Shopping

I was honestly a bit unimpressed with the shopping in Mallorca. If you want big chain stores they have a strip of them in downtown Palma, but there were not as many cute boutiques as I had imagined. However, if you do make it down to Port Soller, then are a ton of great stores with woven bags, hats, and other beach necessities. Here is a list of the few stores I was able to find that have really cute stuff!

 

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Beach Boutiques 

  • Kidama, Puerto Portals
  • Vell Marí
  • Pink Flamingo Urban Spa & Boutique, Palma
  • KOS Beach Boutique, Illetas
  • Mimbreria Vidal* – really cute bag store!

 

If there is one thing I can emphasize it is to really try to see as much of the island as you can. Rent a car and go explore because each town is so different.

Hope you enjoy!

European Budget Airline Review

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As a college student, I find myself frequently using cheap, budget airlines while traveling abroad in Europe. Studying abroad is filled with constant weekend getaways, exploring new cities and really embracing the culture you are immersed in. However, these cheap flights do tend to cause a lot of stress. Now that I have studied abroad twice, I have spent a good amount of time and energy dealing with these companies. Here is a breakdown of the positive and negatives that come with Budget airlines.

 

Ryanair

This is one of the most popular airlines to use while in Europe. It generally has the cheapest flights, but it comes with a lot of traps. If you book in advance, you can get a flight for as low as 14 euros. This airline, although it is not the best, does have a wide range of flights for a very good cost. However, they are very strict on bag policy and will frequently stop you at the gate and charge you a 25-40 euro fee. Flights are almost always delayed, and I have had multiple flights canceled. Be prepared for some issues.

Bag Policy 

Free: One Personal Item: 40cm x 20cm x 25cm – 10kg  (strict)

Available for Purchase:

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Vueling

Hands down my favorite budget airline. Their hub is located in Barcelona, so they have a wide variety of flights offered in and out of Spain. An airline ticket comes with a free personal bag, as well as one carry on. The planes are generally in good, clean condition and they are not typically delayed as much as other airlines. If you are flying in Europe, I would recommend this airline over others.

Bag Policy

Free:

  • One Personal Item: 35x20x20 cm
  • One Carry-on: 10 kg and no larger than 55x40x20 cm

Available for Purchase:

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Norwegian

Norwegian offers very cheap airline tickets to and from the US. They also offer cheapish flights between the EU, but they are generally a bit more expensive than other airlines. Norwegian provides the option for one free carry on bag and one small personal item. If you are traveling a bit further, with multiple checked bags, I would recommend buying their economy plus ticket. It comes with two free checked bags, super comfortable seats and two meals (depending on the flight time).

Bag Policy

Free:

  • One Personal Item: 25 x 33 x 20 cm
  • One Carry-on: 55 x 40 x 23 cm

Available for Purchase:

  • Checked bags: 1st bag from $12 – $47, 2nd bag from $20 – $86
Norwegian airlines bag policy differs from other airlines regarding the weight of bags, so make sure you check before your trip!

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EasyJet

Easyjet is another very inexpensive airline that is popular for study abroad students and backpackers. This airline flys to over 30 countries and offers trips all over Europe. It is very convenient if you want to get somewhere for cheap. This airline, much like Ryanair, does come with a lot of extra hidden charges. Bag policy is taken very seriously and will cost you. Expect frequent delays and bad customer service. I have had multiple flights canceled, and have had to deal with the inconvenience of airport/airline employee strikes. Not my favorite airline, but for the cost, it is okay.

Bag Policy

Free:

  • One Personal Item: 56 x 45 x 25 cm (including handles and wheels)

Available for Purchase:

  • 15kg bag
  • 23kg bag
  • 32kg bag

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Wizz Air

This Hungarian airline is quite possibly the worst budget airline you could fly. I tried this airline while studying in Prague, since most of the flights are within eastern Europe, and it was a disaster. The bag policy is insanely strict, so be prepared to pay up to 40 euro for a cabin bag. The airline is low budget, so the seats are not very comfortable. Flights are frequently delayed and the customer service is poor. I wouldn’t recommend.

Bag Policy

Free:

  • One Personal Item: 40 x 30 x 20 cm

Available for Purchase:

  • Checked bags: 20 kg bag from €14-€60, 32 kg from €19 – €120

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There are pros and cons with every airline you chose to fly. Make sure you give yourself enough time and try to pay close attention to their guidelines, to avoid getting charged extra fees.