Austin: Frank, Mekong River & 24 Diner
When I first got to Austin, I saw Frank on my way to my hotel. I promised myself I would investigate the alluring shop with its sign “proud purveyors of PORK and its tasty friends” at another time. After doing the Congress Walking Tour, I popped my head in for breakfast but at 11 a.m., they had just turned over to lunch. Ah well, sign me up for a sausage then.
I got a small house salad to start.The spinach salad came with tomatoes, pecans, crumbled goat cheese and the fried grit croutons caught my eye. The warm cherry bacon vinaigrette wasn’t actually warm but that’s okay. It was a great salad.
I thought about getting some coffee, especially since I noticed they served Handsome Roasters and I love supporting my LA peeps but I don’t actually drink coffee. An iced tea will do me.
The Texalina sausage is a custom-made beef and pork sausage and is topped by grilled cole slaw, Carolina mustard BBQ sauce and white cheddar. I contemplated getting some waffle fries but decided I had enough food. I also was tempted to get a cocktail though. The Red Eye (Bulleit rye, organic beet juice, apple cider, star anise simple syrup) sounded light enough for lunch.
I was desperate for noodles. A quick search revealed Mekong River Restaurant was near my hotel. Actually, I had spotted it walking around the Dirty 6. General reviews categorized it as being generous with the portions. A big bowl of pho sounded good (the restaurant serves both Thai and Vietnamese dishes) but when I got there, I decided to get the seafood noodles instead.
Service like everywhere I’ve been to Austin was very good. They came often to check on me, teasing me I was on my phone. “You must be tired of Facebooking.” I don’t usually tweet or FB during meals but since I was by myself with only the news of Whitney Houston’s death keeping me company, I needed something to do. The restaurant was relatively empty and I sat facing the street. It was still a bit too early to see the rowdy denizens of the Dirty 6.
I got the Vietnamese style egg rolls to start. They were perfectly fried and I found it interesting the sauce leaned more on the Thai sauces. My seafood noodles was indeed a huge bowl and there was plenty of seafood.
If you want more than a hot dog from the street along 6th Street, venture on in for Thai and Vietnamese food.
On my last day in Austin, I headed over to 24 Diner for breakfast. They call themselves chef-driven comfort food. It was very busy but I managed to snag a seat at the counter after a few minutes of hovering (as suggested by the hostess). I really thought about the massive fried chicken and waffles I saw coming out but knew I would get BBQ later at the airport. I stuck to a somewhat lighter frittata.
Topped with arugula and a lemon vinaigrette, the frittata was massive. I couldn’t finish it and it made me sad I couldn’t take the leftovers home (I didn’t want to fight with TSA). I don’t know how many eggs are used to make this but I would haphazard a wild guess of 2 dozen. Okay, not really but man was it was eggy goodness. I wanted to place it on top of a bowl of ramen. That would be the ultimate comfort food for me.
I loved the sign above the pass “FarmtoTableTX” showcasing which farms the ingredients came from.
Since they’re open 24 hours, this would be a great late night destination as well, especially after all the parties of SXSW.