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6 things to know in Austin food right now: Famous kimchi fries spice up South Austin

6 things to know in Austin food: Kimchi fries spice up South Austin

A custom rice bowl and kimchi fries at Chi'Lantro BBQ in Austin.
The Korean BBQ-fusion joint that invented one of Austin’s proudest local eats is branching out again … and again. Photo courtesy of Chi'Lantro BBQ

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


Since there are never, under any circumstances, enough kimchi fries in this world, it’s great news that Chi’Lantro BBQ opened its ninth Austin location July 27. This time at 9911 Brodie Ln., they’ve got all the same good stuff. For the uninitiated, that means Korean fried chicken wings; customizable rice bowls, salads, and ssäms (Korean wraps); and aguas frescas. Another spicy development: Chi’lantro plans a 10th restaurant sometime in 2022.

A new food truck has joined the Meanwhile Brewing family. Side Eye Pie is offering up its mouthwatering pizzas, made with local whole wheat flour by Barton Springs Mills, at the ever-popular brewing company. Side Eye’s pizzas are wood fired, and you can add vegan cheese to any pie. Other fun surprises on the menu include a sweet, brunchy pie (whipped cream, blueberry compote, and maple syrup) and one adorned with seasonal veggies.

Other news and notes

A new afternoon tea service launching August 1 at Four Seasons Hotel Austin, called “A-Tea-X,” melds the refinement of the hotel with the youthful downtown clientele it hopes to attract. The setting along Lady Bird Lake, inside or on a wraparound deck with garden views, is a relaxing start. From there, old-fashioned tea snacks are replaced with more Texan bites, like miniature smoked brisket sandwiches and tiny chocolate tacos. Tea is served ($62 per person, by pot or cocktail) Monday through Friday from 2-4 pm. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance.

Swift’s Attic, the speakeasy-like farm-to-table nook above the Elephant Room downtown, is celebrating 10 years in business this August. Events are sprinkled throughout the whole month, starting August 1-3 with “the return of the Big Ass Burger,” moving through two cocktail specials and a seven-course meal ($100 plus gratuity), and ending August 31 with the Swifty Party ($20). The latter event benefits Good Work Austin, a local business supporter that also combats food insecurity.

Specials of the Month are coming back to Tacodeli with two hard hitters starting August 2: chile relleno and short rib birria. These are two traditions with a twist, the former handed down by Tacodeli founder Roberto Espinosa’s mother and served in taco form with refried black beans and cheese. The latter is a Tex-Mex substitution — very sorry to break it to y’all that birria is usually goat, and is not from Los Angeles — that still gets at the juicy heart of the dish, a fatty consommé for dipping.

Chef Margarita Kallas-Lee of Sushi by Scratch Restaurants and Pasta Bar has teamed up with Chef Sarah McIntosh of Épicerie to make a limited time, ultra-gourmet pastry: a croissant dipped in white chocolate and matcha, topped with a sesame shortbread square, and stuffed with lime leaf créme. McIntosh combined her pastry laminating skills with the flavors of the Michelin-starred pastry chef’s famous bonbons to make this unique treat. From every $8 croissant, $1 goes to Austin Mutual Aid. Purchase one of a limited daily quantity from August 3 to 17 at Épicerie.