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Austin knows how to do food well—from traditional to the weird. Whether you're looking to try something completely new like a rabbit-rattlesnake sausage or a sweet take on a taco, Austin has all the foodies covered on a flavor adventure you might've never heard of.
Here are 9 unique dishes worth trying around town.
Lonesome Dove Bistro, rabbit-rattlesnake sausage
Created by Chef Tim Love, Lonesome Dove Bistro offers Western-inspired meals with sophistication and dare we say, lots of creativity. The rabbit-rattlesnake sausage, with manchego rosti and crème fraîche, is one dish on the must-try category of unique foods in town. The menu also features other ingredients with influences from the Goodnight-Loving and Chisholm Trails, such as duck, Texas wild boar, bison, elk and many seafood options such as trout and oysters.
Comedor, bone marrow tacos
Chef Philip Speer created Comedor, the Mexican-inspired restaurant with an innovative menu. If you're up for trying something delicious and unique the bone marrow tacos, filled with quelites, smoked butter and pecan gremolata will change up any taco game you thought you had.
Aparaci's, Hot Cheeto machete
Machetes have taken Austin by storm, so it's no surprise to already see a quirky and oh-so-Austin way of spicing up the menu with Hot Cheetos machetes at Aparacio's. The Hot Cheeto machete is one of many creations by Aparacio's, but at over 18 inches, the gigantic dish is perfect to share with a group of friends. For $11, you can order a Hot Cheeto Machete and attempt to eat the whole thing at once.
Tellus Joe, broccoli reuben
This vegan restaurant has outdone itself in creativity by reinventing traditional recipes. The early-bird sister project of The Beer Plant offers a 100% plant-based menu and organic coffee. The broccoli reuben sandwich at Tellus Joe is a must-try. The sandwich, a remake of the corned beef classic, features provolone-style cheese, mustard, mayo and horseradish on a ciabatta bun for a perfectly light and delicious bite.
Oh K-Dog, squid ink korean dog
If you've never heard of Korean hotdogs, you can try one right here in town. The Korean street food craze has made its way to Austin and Oh K-Dog has you covered with delicious deep fried rice hotdogs. You can order from over 12 different types of hotdogs, but the squid-ink with mozzarella cheese one is definitely the most unique.
Sour Duck Market, kouign-amann
If you've never tried an outrageously buttery and deliciously sophisticated kouign-amann, it's time to change that for good. The delicate French pastry originated from Brittany and can be found at Sour Duck Market. With a rustic exterior and simple ingredients, the pastry is a sugary, caramelized croissant resembling what most of us know as a muffin.
Taco Sweets, ice cream tacos
You can easily find some of the best breakfast, lunch and dinner tacos around town, but have you ever tried a dessert taco? Taco Sweets is changing the street food game with deliciously sweet and crazy good lookin' ice cream tacos. The taco truck offers eight signature tacos ranging from the cookie monster to over the rainbow themes, but if you're in the mood for other flavors, you can build your own with eight different ice cream flavors, nine syrups and an unlimited number of toppings. Yum!
Licks Honest Ice Creams, goat cheese, thyme and honey ice cream
There's nothing quite as unique as pairing goat cheese, thyme and honey in ice cream, but Lick Honest Ice Creams manages to pull it off. The creaminess and quick flavor profile of goat cheese starts getting you hooked until you realize thyme and honey are playing a huge factor into making this delicious ice cream so crave-able and perfectly sweet. This is a must try if you're feeling adventurous for a good bite, especially as the warmer weather hits Austin. Plus, you can buy a pint at your local grocery store to enjoy from home.
Russian House, Texas BBQ infused vodka
Russian House of Austin is Austin's first Russian restaurant, and with a title that important, it's no surprise that you can find over 100 different infused vodkas to try. From spicy and unique, to herbal and floral, the Russian restaurant has so many different options you'll feel overwhelmed. One of the weirdest, if we do say, is the the Texas BBQ infused vodka. You can check out the whole list of infused vodkas here. If you have a hard time deciding, the restaurant also offers some signature cocktails that might be worth trying as well as traditional Eastern European dishes.
After Austin voters passed Proposition B, reinstating a ban on public camping, City Council directed staff to look into possible sanctioned campsites where homeless residents could live legally. Now two members are asking to shelve discussion on the controversial topic.
Staff presented dozens of possible sanctioned campsites across each fo the 10 council districts in late May, following the election. But members mostly pushed back on the proposed locations, citing cost, wildfire risk and lack of transparency as concerns.
With updated criteria, staff recommended two sites—one in District 1 and the other in District 8—for further review last week. After being briefed on the options during Tuesday's work session, Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison, who represents District 1, and Council Member Paige Ellis, who represents District 8, issued a joint statement proposing "a pause" on further discussion of temporary sanctioned encampments.
"We are not convinced that these sites would be a cost-effective solution, but rather a band-aid tactic when we need to be supporting the long-term strategy to get folks off the street permanent," they said. "It is our responsibility to look at the situation holistically and objectively, and to spend out city's limited resources on solutions we know can work."
Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey noted that the two locations were imperfect and would require a lot of time and money to outfit as sanctioned campsites during the briefing.
City staff and homeless experts have previously raised concerns about sanctioned encampments, saying they are expensive to maintain, challenging to manage and hard to close, even when intended to to be temporary.
In 2019, staff declined to make recommendations for such sites despite being directed by council to do so, citing 2018 guidance from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. "Neither authorized encampments nor parking areas provide housing for people experiencing homelessness," staff wrote in a memo. "Rather, each option detracts from the staff resources assigned to addressing this moral imperative."
But with Prop B being enforced and too few shelter beds and affordable units for the estimate unsheltered homeless population in Austin, the city is facing the same predicament that prompted District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo to pursue possible sanctioned campsites in the first place: "When individuals in encampments ask where they should go, we need to have places to suggest," she said at a May 6 council meeting.
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Don't lose your mask just yet—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it is now recommending masks in areas that are surging as cases rise nationwide and the Delta variant looms.
The CDC announced Tuesday that even fully vaccinated individuals should mask up indoors if their community is experiencing substantial transmission—defined as areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people. Travis County is sitting at an average of 94.59 cases per 100,000 over the past seven days, falling into the highest risk category, according to the CDC.
#DeltaVariant surging in U.S. New data show Delta much more contagious than previous versions of #COVID19. Unvaccinated people: get vaccinated & mask until you do. Everyone in areas of substantial/high transmission should wear a mask, even if vaccinated. https://t.co/tt49zOEC8N
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 27, 2021
After two COVID-19 recommendation stage jumps in the last two weeks, from Stage 2 to Stage 4, Austin-area cases are the highest they have been since February. The seven-day average for cases is on an upward trend, reaching 226 on Tuesday.
The CDC is also recommending that all students K-12 wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. A May executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott prohibits schools from requiring masks, regardless of vaccination status. Austin ISD is "strongly" encouraging students to wear masks.
Although vaccinated individuals are still protected against the most severe symptoms of the variant, infections are spreading rapidly and now make up 83% of confirmed cases in the U.S. At least a dozen cases of the delta variant have been confirmed in the Austin area, though there are likely more since testing for it is limited.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that hospital admissions are "almost exclusively" coming from people who are unvaccinated but those who are vaccinated can still catch and spread the virus.
"Unlike the alpha variant that we had back in May, where we didn't believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further, this is different now with the Delta variant," Walensky said. "That leads us to believe that the breakthrough infections, rare that they are, have the potential to pool and transmit at the same with the same capacity as an unvaccinated person."
Research suggests those who become infected carry 1,000 times more of the virus than other variants and could stay contagious for longer.The announcement comes on the heels of the Biden administration ramping up cautionary measures in the face of the Delta variant. Just last week, the CDC said it had no plans to change its May guidance of vaccinated not having to wear masks unless there was a significant change in the data. Officials met on Sunday night to review new evidence, according to reports.
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The Moody Center, a $338 million, 530,000-square-foot multipurpose arena at the University of Texas at Austin, celebrated its topping out on Tuesday.
With the final beam placed, the arena's steel-frame structural phase—which involved more than 5.3 million pounds of steel—is complete.
"This past year has been full of unprecedented events, not to mention weather challenges, and yet the women and men working on this project continue to deliver," Moody Center General Manager and Senior Vice President Jeff Nickler said in a press release.
To celebrate the topping out Oak View Group, the development and investment firm behind the Moody Center will affix a tree to the final beam in keeping with the time-honored tradition.
The practice dates back to ancient Scandinavian religious rites, which involved placing a tree atop new buildings to appease tree-dwelling spirits displaced during the construction process, according to the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Ironworkers in Washington D.C.
After the steel-frame structure phase, the development will move on to enclosing and finishing the interior of the Moody Center.
The arena is set to open next April and already has some major acts scheduled for its inaugural year, including The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, John Mayer and The Killers. It will replace the 43-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center and serve as the home of UT's men's and women's basketball games, among other sports and community events.
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