I avoid SxSW the way I imagine a native New Yorker avoids the Statue of Liberty on a weekend. All the SxSW fun has little to do with everyday life in Austin, that is not the point of the gathering. We host the shindig, we are not the shindig itself.
SxSW does shine something of a light on Austin however, and as somebody born here long ago, I always wish for that light to be a favorable one.
Which is why it is so frustrating to see potential visitors throwing out a question about "where to eat while I am in Austin?" in various interweb settings because the answers are so often more revelatory about where NOT to eat while you are in Austin.
"...don't miss out on all the awesome LOCAL foods in Austin! You really should visit the Whole Foods,..."Whole Foods? Really?!?!? Any of you offering the Austin Whole Foods store as an essentially Austin place to eat ever been in a Whole Foods store anywhere else? Or you not-so-secretly hate Austin and understand that by offering up that ginormous chain grocery store as the place to eat here you simultaneously completely dismiss the efforts of thousands of owners, chefs, cart vendors and line cooks who show up for work every day because they are all about the process of preparing good food for people to enjoy? Gack!!
To those of you holding out Whole Paycheck as a "great place to eat in Austin" I fear the gulf yawning between us is so large that we may have no recourse except to agree to disagree by way of which I am saying I mean you are a total moron generally and more specifically, with regards to choosing places to eat, may be so far off the low end of the intelligence scale that the very fact you are still considered human is an ongoing insult to dolphins and pigs.
Not that I really care. Ahem, caff!
I am not alone in my frustration. Featured yesterday on Eat me daily, is a post from their Paula Forbes (Austin transfer/author of Arscoquinaria) reflecting her own search for the answer to that question, Austin style. Forbes states that the good food to be found in proximity to the music and movies will fall into one of two categories. 'Cue or Tacos. Insisting that barbeque represents well covered ground, she hostessed a bash of her own devising to bring you the word on Austin Tacos.
Ladeez and Gentz, for your perusal, the Great Austin Taco Tasting (SxSW).
The rules were simple and the results may surprise you. Two semi-spoilers ahead: 1) Jack in the Box Tacos were not included and 2) Torchy's did not win. (I know, right!? I was shocked and I haven't ever eaten there yet because there isn't a Torchy's close to where I live and I have been assured so often that once you have had a Torchy's you can never, EVER go back to ordinary tacos again that I fear to do so.)
Soon enough the streets of downtown Austin will empty out and all the Sometime Austinites will have flown back to wherever they came from. I just hope they aren't taking back stories of how great the dining was in some grocery store food court with them.