Happy November everyone!
Well, it’s been quite a while writing on this blog and it’s going to take me some time to get back into the pattern of writing I did before, but there is food news along the Drag I can’t help but want to share. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures as I didn’t have a real camera on my walk today, but here are some places to check out this coming month:
1) Co-op Market – The Co-op Outlet site has gone through many changes. Almost as many changes as where Arpeggio Grill stands today. It used to be a sort of outlet store for inventory from the University Co-op, but was slowly transitioned into a store with themed goodies to bring home to family, friends, and strangers. Now, it has been renovated once again, but this is a change I like. It is now a sort of grocery store for all your student needs. Forgot to buy sliced mushrooms for a dish you’re making? Come here. Feel like a glass of wine or a beer for tailgate? Come here. Need some milk or a craving for Bluebell ice cream bars on the Drag? Come here. Admittedly, there are places on campus to buy these kinds of things as well as Wheatsville Co-op or CVS. The prices also are similar in being much higher (about $0.60-1.00) than what you would get away from campus. However, it’s in a nice location right in the middle and just has an extra range of items you may not find at the other stores, especially if you’re off-campus. Whether this place still stays next year remains to be seen, but definitely a place to check out if you’re a little low on some groceries.
2) Fricano’s Deli – Yay! Finally! The sandwich place I like that was in North campus has now moved near Juicytart. I may never leave that area. I have yet to post a review on Fricano’s, but it is a sandwich place I like to go to now that Katz’s Delicatessen no longer hangs out in Austin. Fricano’s has a similar style with a staggering amount of meats, cheeses, and toppings for sandwiches that are combined together into a delicious sandwich. I am especially a fan of the hot sandwiches they have like their prize-winning Paul’s Reuben. So good, a good size, with some real sauerkraut and crunchy bread. If you don’t feel like making your own sandwich or trying your luck with the Ainsworth (put your sandwich into their hands), there are also hot dogs, pasta salads, and soups to fill you up. Definitely try this place out, especially now that it’s close to campus. It is open now from 11-7 on M-F and 12-5 on Saturday.
3) Verts – Filling the sad gap left behind by Hot Slice is a new restaurant called Verts. It is an interesting place that is trying to popularize Germany’s Döner kebap to UT students. I’m not exactly sure how to explain it, but I will try my best. It is kind of like sliced meat at Arpeggio’s put into a pita pocket with lots of vegetables and their delicious house sauce. It was a huge serving just to receive half a pita pocket, but it was yummy and I’m glad to have tried it. Definitely, if I was hungry for something different near campus, Verts is a fun place to go. The people are friendly and they do their best with the narrow space, creating lots of sitting room with the benches on the walls.
4) Qdoba – Though I have a review to write up on this restaurant too, I wanted to make sure you all know that Qdoba has now opened up where Intellectual Properties bookstore used to be. The building has seen quite a few changes too, but the most recent one has divided up the large, two-story building into multiple food venues that include Qdoba, Noodles & Company (a real pasta restaurant the Drag was needing), and the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. All these places are ones I will be writing reviews on, but want to make sure you all know about the multiple new places to eat near campus. Qdoba, specifically, is like another Chipotle with the choose-your-stuff burrito line. However, Qdoba tries to mix it up by emphasizing their other options like nachos, quesadillas, and taco salads. The most interesting aspect of Qdoba, though, is the option of two small portions of the dishes they provide. A popular choice in our group was half a quesadilla and a smaller portion of 3-cheese nachos. Their 3-cheese queso was, by the way, delicious, but definitely salty.
5) Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – A new coffee shop trying to compete for attention with places like Starbucks and Caffe Medici. It definitely tries to appeal to tea lovers as well, giving more tea options than I’ve seen at the other coffee shops near campus. However, if you’re a non-coffee, non-tea drinker like me, I feel like the options they provide are more simple. It may not taste as great as the other branches around Austin, but it is definitely a nice place to stop for a drink right in the middle of the Drag with lots of windows to look out and stare at strangers as they do the same (kind of like Chipotle).
6) Noodles & Company – Finally, the last new place I want to talk about near the Drag is Noodles & Company. Though it has not opened yet, I am eager to try it as I have always felt like restaurants were missing a prime niche on the Drag: pasta. This place looks interesting as it tries to cover all the types of noodles at once. It has Asian style, Italian style, and just plain ol’ American style meaning any other pasta that doesn’t fit those other two categories. Noodles & Company has been opening up around Austin and now it is time to find out if this pasta company can make it or break it here on the ever-revolving restaurant merry-go-round of the Drag. Come try it out with me on November 15!
Well, there you go. There have been a lot of changes in terms of food on the Drag and it’ll be exciting to tell you all about it in the coming year. Hope you had a good Halloween and looking forward to a Happy Thanksgiving!