Category Archives: Food & Travel

Picky eater food guide

Austin has many unique restaurants to choose from, but for a picky eater like me, it’s often hard to find food I love. Instead of always just eating fast food, here are some restaurants near campus to try out if you’re a picky eater, too. 

Roppolo’s Pizzeria 

Roppolo’s pizza was one of the first restaurants I ever tried when I came to Austin, and I instantly fell in love. The giant pepperoni pizza or cheese pizza slices are perfect for anyone who is not too adventurous with adding toppings to their pizza. The pizza sauce is also not filled with weird tomato chunks so it doesn’t have a gross texture that most picky eaters hate. 

Moody’s Kitchen and Bar

American food is always a good go-to. Moody’s has a good selection of American food from pizza and burgers, to mozzarella sticks and, of course, chicken tenders. When I visited, the chicken tenders tasted way better than what you get at fast food restaurants. Plus, they have tons of sauces to choose from to dip your fries and tenders in. 

Pizza Press

I know Pizza Press is another pizza location, but this pizzeria is a great choice for those picky eaters who want to choose specific cheese, sauce and toppings on their pizza. 

Taco Joint

Probably not the most friendly picky eater restaurant, but if I eat at the Taco Joint almost every week, then you definitely can too. I always get street tacos, which have sirloin, avocado, cilantro, queso fresco and onion. 

A lot of those toppings on the tacos may not be picky-eater friendly, but you can always take them off. I make sure to order my tacos without the onions. There are also other authentic Mexican options that are more plain, like the cheese quesadilla. 

Kerbey Lane 

When people think of Kerbey Lane, they automatically think of the queso. But, if you’re like me, then you don’t like anything besides besides the actual cheese. 

When I first opened the menu, the only thing I thought I would like would be the pancakes. However, the chicken fried chicken and mashed potatoes was a nice savoury dish that tasted just like normal chicken strips. 

Snarf’s Sandwiches

A sandwich is a great meal for picky eaters. While there’s no subway around campus, Snarf’s has the same concept. You can choose the type of bread, meat, cheese and other toppings you may want. 

Look Noodles and More

Ramen is a hit or miss for a lot of picky eaters because many ingredients included can be intimidating. However, Look Noodles chicken ramen is a good ramen spot because you can easily take out the few toppings included that you may not like. 

Trying new foods can be fun, but also intimidating for picky eaters. Go out and try some of these restaurants and dishes that even a picky eater like myself enjoyed!

Featured Image by Bettina Mateo

Best Coffee roasters in austin

Austin is home to a plethora of great coffee shops, but only a select few roast their own coffee beans. Whether you like to brew your own at home or let the baristas do what they do best, using the best quality beans can make a world of difference. That said, let’s break down some of the best coffee roasters in Austin.

Trippy Buck

Trippy Buck is a little food truck located on the UT campus. It may seem unsuspecting but there is more to their service than meets the eye. They market themselves as a ‘farm-to-cup’ experience, sourcing their own coffee beans from their farm in Ecuador. They offer a variety of different roasts including green coffee, light, and dark roasts, but our personal favorite is the classic ‘Hacienda Roast.’

Summermoon Coffee Co.

Summermoon Coffee is a chain of coffee shops based in Texas. They have multiple locations near and in Austin where you can pick up a bag of their coffee beans. They offer multiple roasts but the ‘Velvet Blaze’ roast is what they use for their drinks in-house.

Wild Gift

As a five-person run coffee roaster, Wild Gift pumps out an impressive array of nine different roasts. You can find hints of honey, chocolate, lime, and jasmine in their selection. Their bags are adorned with a quaint drawing of a budding coffee plant. They can be picked up at Epoch Coffee and at Austin-area Central Market locations.

Austin Java

Austin Java has been brewing coffee since 1995. They follow the tenet of “people over product” and this can very easily be seen at their Manchaca location. They have numerous signature blends like ‘Fog Cutter’ which is a darker roast, along with ‘Morning Glory’ which is more of a sweet, light roast. Their coffee beans can be picked up at Austin Central Market locations as well as at Austin Java’s own locations.

This listicle is only a sip of what Austin has to offer but thankfully it is very easy to pick up local roasts. The best option would be to buy directly from local roasters through their roast houses, coffee shops, or online stores. This option is better than grocery stores because they are often closer to their roast date at the point of sale. 

Featured image by Ren Breach

6 Desserts to bake your day at kins dining

Whether you’re looking for comfort after a particularly hard math test, or want to celebrate turning in an essay on time, the dining halls are a great place to satiate your sweet tooth. For students living on-campus, unlimited swipes mean unlimited access to all the dining halls have to offer. However, the desserts at Kinsolving can be hit or miss. So, here are some ratings of Kins’ finest.

Oreo Cupcake: 5/10

Photo by Matilda Herrera Ramirez

The oreo cupcake was unusual for Kinsolving, which doesn’t typically feature cupcakes in their line-up. As such, I was interested to see how it would compare with the other desserts. I’m not a huge frosting lover, so I was pleasantly surprised that the icing was, in fact, whipped cream. The texture of the whipped cream  was great, and it had a faint oreo flavor, as promised by the description. However, the actual cake part was disappointing. It was a regular chocolate cake, and a not-very-flavorful one at that. However, the texture was pretty good.

Vegan Sugar Bars / Snickerdoodle Bars: 9/10

Photo by Joelle DiPaolo

My favorite dessert at Kinsolving, these sugar bars are a classic and a staple of the vegan dessert options. With a texture in between a cookie and a brownie, these bars are thicker and on the softer side. They are pretty sweet, so those with a sweet tooth could easily go through four or five of them at a time. They’re also great to take on the go! 

Kinsolving has a few variations of this dessert, chocolate chip bars and rainbow sprinkle bars. The cookie base of the chocolate chip bars is less sweet than the other variations, but the chocolate chips make up for it. 

Brookie: 4/10

Photo by Joelle DiPaolo

As someone who is a proponent of brookies (the combination of a brownie and a cookie) as a concept, I was a little bit confused by Kins’ presentation. The dessert resembled less of a cookie or a brownie, and more of a  thick chocolate cake. The texture was hard to get past because it ended up being glue-y and coating the inside of my mouth. I do like dark chocolate, so I appreciated that the “brookie” was less sweet than some of the other desserts here. In addition, the chocolate chips inside the brookie enhanced the flavor of the dessert itself.

Cereal Bars: 6/10

Photo by Joelle DiPaolo

As someone who will eat dry cereal by the handful, it’s really hard to go wrong with cereal-themed desserts. However, the sugar coating that is holding the cereal together makes this dessert less enjoyable. You don’t really get the taste of the cereal itself— only the sugar concentration. Texture-wise, the crunchiness of the cereal is also obscured by the chewy coating. Depending on how you look at it, this could be a pro or a con. While crunching on cereal can be satisfying, it’s also probably easier on your teeth to consume cereal in this form. Kins will use different types of cereal for these cereal bars, something that changes the experience vastly. While the Lucky Charms version was decent, the Fruity Pebbles one was off-putting. The strength of the Fruity Pebbles flavor combined with the syrupy coating was overly sweet. 

Tres Leches Cake: 6/10

Photo by Joelle DiPaolo

As one should expect from tres leches, the cake itself was creamy. Most of the kinsolving desserts are presented at room temperature, but this cake was still cold, which was a nice touch.The frosting tasted generic, though, and didn’t add much to my eating experience. In addition, the frosting had a slight pineapple flavor, which detracted from the cake itself. I would eat the cake again in a heartbeat, but remove the frosting first. 

Cheesecake: 7.5/10

Photo by Joelle DiPaolo

This  dessert is great for those who want to satisfy their sweet tooth without too much of a commitment. The crust was sugary and crumbly and tasted homemade. The flavor of the cake was mild, which was perfect to offset the sweetness of the crust. 

Although some of the desserts are better than others, the “best” desserts at Kinsolving will likely be the desserts you typically enjoy the most. I would recommend trying out the desserts yourself to get a good idea of what you like and don’t. And while you’re at it, stock up on the vegan sugar bars whenever they’re available. 

5 easy and cheap recipes to sustain broke college kids

As UT classes returned to in-person this fall, students have struggled readjusting to living by themselves. One of the difficulties of living alone is cooking for yourself. Between classes and organizations, many students do not have the means to cook meals everyday. 

Here are five easy and cheap recipes to sustain college kids living alone:

FRIED RICE

Ingredients:

  1. Rice – 2 cups
  2. Mixed vegetables – 1 pre-frozen grocery store packet
  3. Eggs – 2 whole
  4. Garlic – 5 cloves minced
  5. Lemon – ½ squeezed
  6. Salt, pepper, butter – to taste
  7. Choice of protein – 2 cups shredded
  8. Soy sauce – to taste

How to make it:

  1. Boil your rice in water or use a rice cooker and prepare rice until cooked but not soft – about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and toss in minced garlic, lemon, pepper, salt, vegetables and protein (if you want), and toss until protein is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are soft (poke fork through protein and vegetables to see if it’s cooked) – about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk two eggs and scramble over vegetables and protein.
  4. Add rice, add some more salt and let it cook for five minutes before adding in soy sauce.
  5. Enjoy!

ALFREDO PASTA

Ingredients:

  1. Choice of pasta – 2 cups
  2. Heavy cream – 2 cups
  3. Grated parmesan cheese – 3 cups
  4. Garlic – 6 cloves minced
  5. Basil – a handful chopped
  6. Butter – 1 cup
  7. Salt & pepper – to taste
  8. Choice of protein (optional)

How to make it:

  1. Boil pasta with salt, water and a spoonful of olive oil for 15 minutes.
  2. When the pasta is almost done boiling, heat a pan with butter until it melts. Add in garlic until fragrant.
  3. Put in all the heavy cream and stir for five minutes..
  4. Put in parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  5. Add in pasta and protein if you choose and cook for five more minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients: 

  1. Tomatoes – 6, split in half
  2. Garlic – 1 whole knob, cut in half
  3. Onion – 1 whole, cut into cubes
  4. Salt & pepper – to taste
  5. Olive oil – to taste
  6. Chilli peppers – 2 whole
  7. Heavy cream – ½ cup

How to make it:

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and put in a big pot or baking pan. Add garlic and onion in the pan and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. 
  2. Cook for 40 minutes.
  3. When tomatoes and garlic are fragrant, put in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add cream and blend again.
  5. Heat it up in the microwave and serve fresh with bread.

STIR FRY

Ingredients:

  1. Mixed vegetables – 1 pre-frozen grocery store packet
  2. Garlic – 5 cloves minced
  3. Lime – ½ squeezed
  4. Soy sauce – ½ cup
  5. Honey – 3 tablespoons
  6. Salt & pepper – to taste
  7. Protein of choice – optional
  8. White rice – optional

How to make it:

  1. Heat a pan with olive oil and butter if you have it. Add garlic and saute until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add in vegetables and protein if you want and cook until almost crispy (about 10 minutes).
  3. Mix together lime, honey and soy sauce. Add to the vegetables and let it cook for five more minutes until the sauce coats the vegetables. 
  4. Serve with white rice or leftover rice and enjoy!

LOADED OMELETTE & SKILLET ROASTED POTATOES

Ingredients;

Loaded Omelette – 

  1. Eggs – 3 whole
  2. Vegetables of choice – eyeball it
  3. Protein of choice – 1 cup
  4. Salt & pepper – to taste
  5. Cheese – optional

Roasted Potatoes – 

  1. Red potatoes – 5 whole
  2. Garlic – 1 whole, minced
  3. Onion – ½ diced
  4. Lime – ½ squeezed
  5. Honey – 1 teaspoon
  6. Salt & pepper – to taste

How to make it:

Omelette – 

  1. Whisk egg with salt and pepper. Heat a pan with minimal oil and pour in the egg mixture. Let it cook until almost crispy.
  2. Add in vegetables, protein and cheese on one half of the omelette and fold the other half over. Let everything cook for 10 more minutes.

Roasted Potatoes – 

  1. Cut potatoes into medium sized pieces. Put pieces in a bowl with water and salt. Microwave the potatoes for seven to eight minutes until soft. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic. Add in potatoes, seasoned with lime, honey, salt and pepper. Stir for 10 more minutes until dark brown. 
  3. Serve with omelette and enjoy! 

All of the recipes above require minimal cooking skills and can be made in less than an hour. Most of the ingredients overlap as well, so one trip to H-E-B can sustain a college student for at least three weeks, or at least until they discover another easy recipe. 

5 Best Bus Routes from UT Campus

Looking for a fun, free adventure? Need to get somewhere but don’t have a car? Take the bus to one of these five locations and soak up everything public transportation has to offer. To board, just swipe your UT ID card and you can ride the bus for free! 

801 Northbound

Stop: Brentwood Station 

The northbound 801 bus has numerous great stops, but especially Brentwood Station, home to the Goodwill/Half-Price Books complex. Just five stops north of campus, this is the area to get first-rate finds on a budget. The Goodwill is still partially under renovation, 

so be ready to try on items over your clothes as the dressing rooms are closed. The massive Half-Price Books next door is a staple for bargain books, along with CDs and records. Head a few blocks south to indie bookstore BookWoman for more reading material.  After loading up on quality finds, head across the street to Dan’s Hamburgers, a local Austin chain selling American classics and cheap eats. Their website also has great sound effects, so check it out.

10 Northbound

Stop: 4121 Red River/Park

If you need to get to H-E-B, this is the bus for you. It stops less than a block away from the H-E-B Complex, which also includes Footlocker and various pet supply stores. After getting your groceries, follow the sweet scents next door into Bath and Body Works, whose fall collection has hit the shelves with a bang. Don’t overdo it, though— lots of masked sniffing is a recipe for sickly sweet sensory overload. To beat the nausea, head a few doors down to Jason’s Deli and get some bottomless soft serve. Ice cream cures everything!  

801 Southbound

Stop: SoCo Station

Southbound 801 is one of the most direct bus routes to cross the river— it runs straight down Guadalupe and across the First Street Bridge before running along South Congress Avenue.  South Congress is an area known for its quirky shops, great food and festive atmosphere. It has a distinct California-beach vibe, complete with stores actually founded in the Golden State (see Aviator Nation and TOMS Roasting Co.). There’s something for everyone here, but stores not to miss include vintage-inspired candy store Big Top Candy Shop and toy store Monkey See Monkey Do. Keep your energy up at Hopdoddy Burger Bar with reasonably priced specialty burgers, then dive into the many thrift and vintage stores along the street. Added bonus— stop by the SoCo Farmers Market from Friday to Sunday for some vintage finds, light bites and good music. 

803 Southbound

Stop: Lamar Square

Walk two blocks south of the Lamar Square bus stop and you will arrive on a festive, courtyard-like street complete with murals, ice cream and fairy lights. At the end of the street is an outpost of the Alamo Drafthouse Theater, featuring new and classic movies with retro decor. Catch one of their 11:00 a.m. screenings and be served from a special brunch menu, complete with themed fare tailored to your show.  For the best seats, be sure to buy tickets in advance on the Alamo Drafthouse website.

20 Southbound

Stop: Austin Bergstrom International Airport

Going out of state? Picking up family? Take the bus to the airport! The 20 heads to Austin-Bergstrom via Riverside.  Get on at 116 University/Dean Keeton and ride until the end of the line at the airport. Why spend money on an Uber when you could take the bus for free? Be sure to leave lots of extra time, however, as the bus stops frequently and may contribute to pre-trip stress.

Regardless of where you go, the bus is an awesome way to experience Austin, and it’s always a trip to remember. If you need help figuring out what bus to take, use Cap Metro’s trip planner . For updated times and route information, visit Cap Metro’s website.  Safe travels!

Featured Image by Ren Breach