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Pack your bags (and your appetite): SXSW in Austin, TX

This past week a few of us here at House Party (Brian, Sarah and myself) traveled down to Austin, TX for the annual SXSW Interactive festival. This 5-day festival highlights the best of the best in social media, new technology and the entertainment industry. We had the opportunity to interact with some really smart and remarkable people, all while sharing ideas to best communicate with YOU - our wonderful community! Highlights from the conference included hearing keynote Baratunde Thurston, Director of Digital Content for The Onion, speak about how he learned how to take real world situations and add comedy to better understand them, to hearing more about how to use interest graphs, which is how you can share your favorite things virtually, like Pinterest, to listening to Andy Cohen from Top Chef speak about how transmedia (the idea of melding medias - like using hashtags to talk about TV shows) is changing entertainment. All this conferencing made us hungry, of course, and Austin has some of the best bites to offer up.

Casino El Camino

With the recommendation from a friend at the Food Network and Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Casino El Camino was definitely on our list for a good burger - and it didn't disappoint! This Buffalo Burger was my favorite along with the chile verde fries. Yum! Make sure if you visit you have some time, as all their food is made fresh and to order, and perfection takes time.


Barbeque food is a must while in the south and we found one of the best places in downtown Austin to indulge in it - Lamberts. A few recommendations: the Achiote Seared Chickpeas and Goat Cheese appetizer was delicious, a great starter to share, served with grilled pita. As for the main course, the pulled pork was the big winner along with sauteed lemon spinach. The sweet tooth in Brian could not resist Brown Butter Bread Pudding which was served with bourbon cherry ice cream and I was thankful the waiter brought an extra spoon!

Nuclear Tacos

This marked the 10th year for the Nuclear Tacos night at SXSW and we found out first-hand that that name doesn't lie. These tacos pack a mean punch, one that Brian opted to experience but after one bite, Sarah and I had to decline. Now don't get me wrong, I love hot peppers, but this was unbearable, even for the strong hearted. Believe us, Brian paid for it. A word of advice to anyone brave enough to try these bad boys, get a drink ready before you take a bite!

Iron Cactus

By far, my favorite meal came from Iron Cactus and I had the Chile Relleno Rustico - two fire roasted poblano peppers stuffed with fajita chicken, pepitas, toasted pecans, dried cranberries and pepperjack cheese. Definitely out of the ordinary for me, as I usually would go for fajitas or quesadillas, and it was a wonderful treat. The restaurant was also beautiful with friendly staff and even a rooftop for outdoor dining.

Our days there were unfortunately very limited, full of conference sessions and experiencing the wonderful tastes of Austin, but we didn't get to travel much outside of Austin.

Have you ever been to Austin or SXSW? What's your favorite spot to nosh?


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