March 10, 2014
The 27th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals landed in Austin on March 7 for 10 days of non-stop performances, panels, parties and film screenings throughout the city. And while brisket and breakfast tacos should be eaten often and enthusiastically, opt for a memorable meal at one of the following restaurants, all of which are centrally located yet feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the citywide extravaganza. Swift’s Attic Chef Mat Clouser and his team serve delectably imaginative fare at Swift’s Attic, which, true to its name, is tucked away above the Congress Avenue jazz club, Elephant Room, (and is definitely worth a post-meal visit). Indulge in the steal of a “business lunch” special: only $8 for half a sandwich and soup, salad or fries with combos such as the “porkstrami” sandwich with fontina, Russian dressing and jalapeño kraut, and the Warm Brussels sprout salad with miso glaze, edamame- horseradish purée, watermelon radish and pickled grapes. A variety of small and large plates are served until late for dinner (11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and midnight on Thursday and Friday). Sunday brunch brings creative offerings such as forbidden rice bibimbap and a “Pragel & Trox” plate (handmade pretzel bagel, house- smoked trout and accouterments). The bar area is the perfect place to rest between sets with one of the well-crafted cocktails — try the New Fashioned with ginger- infused Forty Creek Whisky, muddled grapefruit zest, grapefruit bitters and tarragon syrup — and a playful plated dessert by pastry chef Callie Speer, such as her signature “Popcorn & a Movie” (butter popcorn gelato, housemade candy bar, caramel corn and root beer gel).