Cheap Eats in Austin

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So it’s well known that not only am I a picky eater, but I’m also a food snob – not in the “I only eat at 4-star restaurants” but in that I have high expectations when dining out.  I feel that if you own a restaurant there better be a darn good reason as to WHY you own a restaurant and that reason better be because you have insanely good food.

That being said, here’s a run down of my opinion two famous cheap eateries in Austin that I’ve had the pleasure of dining at thus far.

Let’s start backwards and with dessert first, since I’d rather be eating dessert than an actual meal anyways.

 

Hey Cupcake!

Austin’s very own cupcake trailer.  They have a bunch of  locations all over Austin and are pretty well known.  They have typical cupcake offerings – chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, red velvet, carrot, and sometimes a specialty flavor.

I’ve tried a few of their classic cupcakes – the Snowcap (Chocolate cake and vanilla frosting), Sweetberry (aka, strawberry with cream cheese frosting), and the Double Dose (better known as the Chocoholic).  I like that they spice up their cupcakes with cute names. It makes the more appealing.

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Sweetberry Cupcake & SnowCap: M<3 and I had these babies dolled up while celebrating our anniversary during my December visit to Austin.  As my Mom taught me, presentation is everything.

I like cupcakes a lot and every flavor combo I’ve had from Hey Cupcake has been exceptionally good.  Not the BEST cupcake I’ve ever had – because I’m partial to anything with peanut butter in it, but yes, the Best Classic flavored cupcakes I’ve ever had.  (I Love You Dollop – you totally win best Rochester cupcake, PB cupcake and crazy combo cupcake in my heart!)

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Scored this cupcake one afternoon by knowing the phrase of the day – Don’t be a lazy cupcake.  Also, they usually have a BOGO coupon on their website so you can always get a freebie!

The Sweetberry/Strawberry actually tasted like strawberry (as most strawberry cupcakes don’t), the chocolate rocked my world and even had chocolate chunks in it!  It actually tasted like  rich decadent chocolate that is usually lost in cakes.

As for the frostings……I don’t care for cream cheese frosting but when it came to Hey Cupcake!’s, I found it delish, maybe because it had the added strawberry element that hid the cream cheesiness I detest!  Lastly, their vanilla buttercream was fab as well – great, rich vanilla flavor and not at all like snackin’ on a stick of butter like some frostings.

In my opinion,  if you can’t do vanilla in a cupcake shop you shouldn’t be open.  It’s a standard flavor – a prerequisite for baking, comparable to knowing your ABC’s in order to graduate kindergarten. Get my drift? If you can’t make vanilla taste like vanilla, close shop.

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As for their cake – light, fluffy, and moist, exactly how a cake should be. So bravo Hey Cupcake! My food snobbish ways were satisfied. And I’ll stop by whenever a cupcake craving hits while driving.

 

Juan in a Million

You may have heard of the Juan in a Million restaurant from Man v. Food.  It was made famous by Adam Richman while attempting to eat the eight of the gigantic breakfast tacos.  It’s a hot spot for UT students to grab breakfast at and there is a lot of hype about the restaurant in general.

Since there was so much hype about the little Mexican restaurant, <3M and I had to try it out.  Our first Juan in a Million attempt was a massive fail.  We went on a Sunday morning and there was a line out the door.  Both of us were ready to chew our arm off so we kept on driving….which is what we should have done this second time around.

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Juan in a Million is situated in the ghetto part of Austin.  Driving through the area makes me a bit uneasy, and it even made me question the quality of food being served.  The place inside reminded me of college living.  Lawn furniture chairs, pictures hung haphazardly on the wall, and frames dangling off center. 

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Juan’s fencing to keep the rabid dogs out. Take note of the folding chairs and tables!

But hey,  even after risking my life while driving and sitting in the sketchy, ready to collapse chairs,I was still on board for eating at the Man v. Food legacy – plus, I thought M<3 would love it since he’s a fan of the show.

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Doesn’t he looked psyched? He could probably pass for Don Juan himself with his moo-stache growing and glowing tan.

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The menu was simple and I decided to just get a classic Mexican breakfast: two eggs, beans, potatoes, and tortillas.  How hard could that be to screw up?  M<3 went with the Migas – basically the same thing except some tortillas and cheese were thrown into the eggs.

The waitress came with coffee, chips (at 9am? Sure! Why not!) and salsa. 

Fresh salsa.  I love salsa so I was sold on the oversized dish of tomato goodness.

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Salsa – also known as poor-Lyssa’s Gazpacho!

We waited around a bit…a bit longer than I typically like to wait for breakfast. 

It’s the first meal of the day, and if you’re a restaurant, you better make it speedy because people are usually hungry and the hungrier I am and the longer I wait, the more HANGRY (that’s hungry & angry) I become.

Finally the grub showed.

Juan in a Million’s Breakfast Taco from Man v. Food

This is where it all went down hill.  I’m a sucker for refried beans so I had high hopes for beans at breakfast time, especially because these beans were made by an authentic Mexican restaurant and showcased on Man v. Food.

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M<3’s Migas – Mine looked the same minus the cheese and add some tortillas on the side.

With high hopes, I tasted the beans…Instantly I knew, they were made with meat, I could even seek the specks of fried meat bits in them as I dug through. <3M had high hopes for the beans as well.  Refried pinto beans are a fav of <3M’s and he left his untouched, so sadly, these beans must have been well under par for <3M to pass on a favorite.

After a quick chat with the waitress she confirmed what I already knew – the beans were cooked with LARD (that evil 4 letter word I absolutely hate).  But hey, I could sub another side of potatoes or rice for the beans since they didn’t have vegetarian beans.  After appraising the other items on my plate, I passed on both of those options as well. 

Don’t be fooled, it’s not cheese. Just pure fat!

I took a breath and put the beans behind me, setting my sites on the potatoes – which resembled little cubes of grease soaked (or more likely lard glazed) sponges.  These usually delicious carb-y wonders lacked flavor, their texture was mushy, and they were another breakfast fail.

On to the eggs! After careful examination I dove in.  And to my surprise, they were decent.  And by decent, I mean at least they weren’t lard covered.  But I could have made better at home.

Now for the tortillas. Probably the best part of the meal, besides the salsa, for those I enjoyed!  But my guess is Juan didn’t make the tortillas himself…….

So, thank you random-mass-produced-tortilla-maker for upholding your quality standards.

In the end my breakfast ended up being a makeshift breakfast taco – a few greasy potatoes (I convinced my self they weren’t cooked in lard), eggs, and a generic tortilla smothered in salsa for flavor!

Looked a bit like this but sissy sized.

I ate it.  I was no longer hungry but I wasn’t satisfied.  <3M even suggested paying, leaving, and going to another diner because he was so unhappy with his meal. 

Sadly, we Juan’t be going back.

All in all, Juan in a Million’s claim to fame is it’s TV appearance, not its food.  Like I said before, if you’re going to own a restaurant then reason you should be in business is because you serve great food.  Juan, did not have great foodHe had great advertising.

I have a few more restaurant reviews, a few other food trailers that I won’t mind ranting and raving about, and one restaurant which I absolutely love in Austin that I’ll share another time…..

 

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