I've been working in North Austin since April. Before that, my knowledge of dining options up there was limited to what was around the Super Target and Kohl's (i.e., the usual subjects of gross fast food). Not exactly places that made me want to travel up there for dining.
Little did I know that there's some mighty fine eating to be had around the Dell Parmer campus -- Interstate 35 and Parmer Lane. My coworkers and I all have a penchant for cuisines from the asian continent - Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Japanese. We are all fed up with the Dell cafeteria, and have been venturing out more and more to discover the world beyond our corporate fare.
I feel like I have to give my credentials to discuss ethnic cuisine, so here goes. I've never traveled to Asia, and I probably won't for another 17 years (when the last of my kids goes to college), so my baseline for consideration is this: If there are people of Vietnamese descent dining at a Vietnamese restaurant, it's worthy of my time to try their menu. If there is a kids menu that comes with crayons, I order the item the least likely to be dripping with "asian sauce" and vow never to come back.
So, here are our favorites. Try them for yourself.
El Ducko and Mamie (aka my parents): When you get back into town, guess where we're headed for lunch? Want a dosa?
- Bombay Express - Vegetarian Indian food. We went there last Friday and I had a dosa that was so fantastic. I had major envy of my coworkers' dishes too, and wanted to try everything. Our table of 9 was unanimously happy with our meals.
- @Thai - It was called Pad Thai, and I think they just changed their name. We were all wary of this place because it's next door to a Walmart (and Pad Thai has got to be the lamest name ever), but we were so happy we gave it a shot. First, they have an appetizer bar with every lunch special - with soups like Tom Ka Gai and egg rolls and salad with PEANUT SAUCE (as my family is fond of saying, you could put that stuff on cardboard and it would still taste good). And the meals were fantastic. One coworker loves spicy food and he ordered the Pad Kee Mao "Thai spicy." He claims this is the hottest thing he has ever eaten in his life. He was bright red with sweat dripping down his face, which was quite hilarious. It's my favorite Thai place now, even over Titaya's, although Titaya's is more in my 'hood.
- Pho Saigon - I've gotta be honest here, I've always been more into Vietnamese noodle bowls than pho - a bowl of soup just never is what I crave. I'm glad I gave it a shot, because it's so tasty here, especially with a shot of Sriracha and hoisin sauce mixed in. I imagine that when it quits being 120 degrees we will start going back here more.
- Baguette House - Vietnamese sandwiches, or Banh Mi. So super cheap and good.