by Brad Pauly
on Friday, September 11th, 2015 at 5:06pm.
Secret menus are more than just a trendy way to show your friends that you are a true local. They often give you access to combinations of a restaurant's food that you can't normally put together. In some cases, they can even open up a world of foods that you didn't know your favorite restaurant serves.
Austin is a food paradise. Its residents are proud of the food diversity that makes the city thrive. It's no surprise that there's such a huge variety of multi-cultural cooking to be enjoyed everywhere from Austin's sleepiest neighborhoods to its busiest streets. Among these one-of-a-kind eateries there are countless secret menus, but we'd like to reveal some of the secrets of Austin's more popular and tasty places.
Most of Austin knows the story already; Torchy's Tacos started as a food truck on South Congress and quickly grew into a statewide phenomenon. They now boast several locations in Austin alone as well as countless Texas cities and have even moved out to Colorado. What makes Torchy's special is its extensive menu of creative tacos for almost any taste. They serve tacos with all kinds of vegetables, meats, sauces, and cheeses that are sure to please meat and vegetable eaters and alike.
But not everyone has learned about Torchy's secret menu yet. Though they announced it in 2013, it's been kept hushed enough that even Austin residents are surprised when they hear about it. There are even copies of the secret menu available behind the counter for those who ask!
The secret menu includes a slew of new items dreamed up for the adventurous. The Jack of Clubs and the Ace of Spades are, respectively, a vegetarian and meat-lovers' taco that pack some serious heat. The Hipster is a unique tuna taco that adds a bit of popular Tex-Mex flavors. And the Green Chile Pork (Missionary Style) is true to its namesake with Green Chile infused pork and tasty veggies.
For the curious, Roppongi is the district in Tokyo that is known for bright lights, exciting clubs, beautiful people, and some of the more provocative fare for which Japan is well known. It is in the Roppongi district that you'll find the Yakuza partying lavishly and the salary men stumbling through the alleys. It's also a favorite among tourists looking for something out of the ordinary in Japan.
To celebrate the cultural prowess of Roppongi, Peached Tortilla stacks an all-beef frank with pork belly, chile aioli, sesame seeds, wasabi, and Japan's staple flavor enhancer, daikon. The combination of Japan's more brilliant flavors with the down-home taste of beef and bacon is surely a nod to the whimsy of Roppongi. But be careful – the Roppongi Dog isn't always on the secret menu. It often won't even be served until the restaurant's signature Yume Burger is no longer available.
Home Slice Pizza grew in popularity so quickly that they had to split it into two buildings, one of which is now “More” Home Slice. The charm of the restaurant is not a fancy italian brick oven or imported truffle oil and rare cheeses, its the radiant flavors and quality ingredients that are baked into every slice.
Home Slice doesn't stop at pizza, though. Their sandwiches are made with the same care as their pies, and that's where you'll find a special entry that few know. The Vatican is Home Slice's Italian sub rife with cured meats stuffed inside a cheese calzone and is available only to those who have heard the name. Give it a try, but be prepared with an iron will or a to-go box.
The Alamo Drafthouse is well-known as a top-notch dinner theater with the soul of Austin. Since their inception, they have offered unparalleled service matched with imitable menu items and clever screening events. Though the Drafthouse started as a converted parking garage, they soon expanded to theaters in Austin and San Antonio. They developed a menu themed after classic movie titles that their audiences grew to love. However, as they continued to expand, they were forced to appeal to a broader audience and had to make changes to their menu that fit a larger range of tastes.
Luckily for those who fell in love with Alamo Drafthouse's original menu, many of the old favorites are still available – as long as you're kind, follow the rules, and tip well. Two well-known favorites missing in action are the Enter the Dragon pizza, a spicy blend of green bell peppers, jalapenos, italian sausage, black olives, and red pepper, and the Raging Bull, a meat-lover's combo of pepperoni, sausage, and ham, can still be ordered provided you know the ingredients or you are served by a veteran of the Alamo Drafthouse.
Adults can also order from the kids menu, and many of the kids items aren't available normally. If you have an appetite, be prepared to order a couple of helpings, as the kids menu is actually designed for the kids.
There's plenty of ways to enjoy Austin's vibrant culture, especially through its food. There are also plenty more secret menus out there just waiting to be discovered. Be brave and seek out the unknown at your own favorite restaurant! And if you're looking to join in on the awesome and unique city vibe, you might want to consider finding a home in Austin. After all, it's one of America's fastest growing cities--and now we're sure you've seen some of the tastiest reasons why! That's what we strive to provide you at Pauly Presley Realty - a full view of your new home.