Restaurants across the state have slowly started to reopen, and close, and reopen again over the past few months. It can be a lot to keep up with, and there’s still a large degree of uncertainty around the safety of dining out. Want to know what’s safe? Eating at home. And if you’re as bored of canned tuna as we are by now, here are a few great meals we’ve had recently that you can get for takeout or delivery.
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Best Takeout & Delivery We Got This Week is presented by Uber Eats. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, supporting our local restaurant community has never been more important. Uber Eats customers can now give directly to the restaurants they love at checkout. 100% will go to the restaurant. Order now to support. See app for details.
Week Of August 3
Carpenters Hall at the Carpenter Hotel has switched to takeout only, and they’re selling a cold fried chicken picnic for two or four. For $28, the picnic is not an insignificant amount of food, consisting of a half chicken (with a ranch dressing and spicy honey), potato salad, roasted green beans, and a cabbage slaw. Plus two very good chocolate chip cookies. You will have leftovers.
The Slab Slider Trio at Slab BBQ is exactly what it claims to be: three barbecue sliders. They’re mini versions of their much larger sandwiches: the Notorious P.I.G. (pulled pork, mustard coleslaw), the Texas O.G. (brisket, pickles, onions), and the Chicken W.A. (smoked chicken, coleslaw). But just because they’re smaller doesn’t mean they don’t pack the same flavor punch. And at $12, it’s a perfect lunch for those of us afraid of a singular sandwich commitment. Why have just one sandwich when you can have three, each one better than the next?
Lechonera El Pachango specializes in roast pork - something they’ve proven to do exceptionally well in the short month that they’ve been operating out of a seemingly-abandoned gas station on East MLK. We weren’t sure what we wanted to try when we pulled up, so we decided to just go with our nose (and a little guidance from the owner). We ended up walking out with a plate of slow-roasted pork, rice with peas, and yuca with pickled red onions. The pork was juicy and topped with a sauce made from a bit of the marinade and lime that we couldn’t get enough of. The yuca con mojo comes out in a stewed-consistency, making it fork-tender and bursting with tangy flavor. And the rice was the perfect intake-vehicle for all of it.
Week Of July 27
We’re working on a guide to takeout Happy Hours, and the Windsor Park neighborhood restaurant Hank’s has a very solid offering. Every day from 3-6:30pm, you can get very good and very inexpensive frozen palomas, frose, and frozen margaritas - they’re $5 each. Order online, and pick up at their convenient drive thru takeout window. Instead of racing home with your frozen cocktails - drive safe - it’s perhaps better to bring a cooler.
Bodhi Viet is a small food truck in North Austin with a 100% vegan Vietnamese menu, offering everything from banh mi and pho, to Vietnamese coffee and boba tea. We really liked the banh mi we had here, stuffed with a spicy lemongrass seitan, and filled with fresh vegetables that they grow themselves. And the best part is that they’re only $3, so you can throw in an order of their pineapple curry that we also really enjoyed and still get away for under $10.
Vic & Al’s is the new Cajun restaurant from the people that brought you the ever-popular Italian food trailer, Patrizi’s. We really like the po-boys, especially the super-tender blackened catfish and the Cochon De Lait, which has a sauce that’s almost like tonkotsu broth. The vacuum-packed, pre-made cocktails are also fun, including the very good made-for-summer Orange Drink (it’s very orange, but it also has tequila). Vic & Al’s is open for both takeout and delivery.
Week Of July 20
Bufalina Deli isn’t technically a new restaurant - instead it’s a simple lunch-and-dinner concept operating out of Wright Bros. Brew & Brew with a variety of salads and Italian sandwiches. On a recent takeout order, we really liked the summer tomato salad and the meatball parm hoagie. And since you’re ordering from The Brew & Brew, you can also get coffee, beer, and wine. Place your order online and pick it up at The Brew & Brew.
You might have heard about Ramen 512 and their often sold out popups - yes, the ramen was that good. But now they’ve found a permanent home, inside the new “cloud kitchen” concept Kitchen United Mix. This place currently has three options: Hakata Classic (a pork tonkotsu), the BGO (the Hakata Classic with black garlic oil), and the Sunset Red (a spicy version of the Hakata Classic). We recently tried the BGO and the Sunset Red - the broth for each was super creamy and rich, as a pork tonkotsu should be, and the spice level on the Sunset Red was in fact actually spicy. You can order the ramen ready-to-eat, or you can cook the noodles at home, with very precise instructions. Takeout and delivery are available.
Despite the small space - Lula Mae’s is located in a small gas station off Airport and 38 ½ St. - this place manages to put out some really great barbecue, with side dishes that are tasty enough to order on their own. We really like the brisket and the pork chop - the latter of which is served as a giant, whole chop with a smoky exterior and a juicy center. You can get all of the meats by the pound, in combo-plates, or as a sandwich.
The dining room at DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, the Japanese shabu-shabu place from the Ramen Tatsu-ya team, has been closed since the pandemic hit. But they did what people do these days, and pivoted. They transformed the restaurant into a takeout-only pop-up serving sandwiches that mash up the French dip and shabu-shabu, with excellent results. Our favorite is the beef sandwich with a wasabi ranch and the pork sandwich with kimchi and a curry cabbage slaw. For dipping, you can choose between an umami jus and a spicy miso (they recommend which dipping sauce to get for each sandwich). Make sure to get an order of the aptly named “Pow!tato” - a side dish with some of the most impossibly crispy smashed potato chunks we’ve ever had.
Week of July 13
The Haitian food truck Kreyol Korner - off of North Lamar near Koenig - is usually open only on Saturdays, but it’s worth waiting for the weekend to roll around to try this place. Check their Facebook for the current menu and opening days and hours. Standouts from a recent meal include stuffed plantain cups and the super-tender stewed chicken combo. Also, make sure to ask for extra pikliz, the Haitian pickled vegetable relish.
Otherside Deli makes some of our favorite sandwiches in Austin, from cheesesteaks and meatball parm subs, to Italian subs and patty melts. But if you’re a first-timer at Otherside, chances are you’re here for the reuben - loaded up with their housemade pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and russian dressing, between two slices of grilled rye bread. Keep an eye on their Instagram for some fun specials, like the Outer Limit Fries that come loaded up with all of the typical reuben fillings, but on a bed of waffle fries. They’re currently accepting takeout orders from their shop near 34th and Lamar.
Ever since they originally opened, Ramen Tatsu-Ya has been vehemently anti-takeout. But then the pandemic hit, and they pivoted to takeout-only (and have stayed that way ever since). We recently picked up some of their ramen and it tasted just like how we remembered it at the restaurant. The toppings and noodles come in their own container (that way the noodles don’t get soggy), and the broth is packed in a deli pint container that’s thoroughly wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent in-car disasters. The instructions are clear: heat the broth, do not boil, then add the broth to the noodles and toppings. And with three locations in Austin - north, east, and south - ramen is never too far away.
Week Of July 6
Island Fork in Pflugerville specializes in Caribbean food, like jerk chicken, curry goat, and escovitch fish (fried fish topped with pickled vegetables). They also have jerk-seasoned burgers and chicken sandwiches, as well as a menu of “rasta pastas” that feature creamy, Caribbean-inspired pasta sauces served over noodles and a variety of meats, like oxtail and jerk salmon. We usually get the jerk chicken here, served with coconut rice and grilled sweet plantains. Make sure to get a Caribbean soda as well - we like the Irish Moss and Ting.
Blink and you might miss this little food trailer on East 12th street, which has some of the best Mexico City-style street tacos in Austin right now. Cuantos Tacos has a tight menu of classics like suadero and beef cheeks, as well as a few less-common options, like buche and longaniza. Everything can be made as tacos or quesadillas, and at $2 and $5, respectively, the prices are affordable enough that you can probably try a few items off the menu. We like just about everything they carry, but our favorites are probably the champiñones quesadillas and the suadero tacos.