With SXSW getting bigger and badder every year, we wanted to arm you for the upcoming craziness that is the ultimate media, film, and music extravaganza. We asked our fave Austin boutique owner, Wendi Koletar of Kick Pleat to give us her ultimate must-see hit-list of shopping, eating, and fun in between all the fabulousness. Read on to get schooled Austin-style.
Where to Shop.
Feathers—"The owners do a great job of editing and finding pieces that are cool to wear right now. The prices are affordable and the experience is like shopping in a high-end boutique, which is really nice in Austin where everything is so relaxed."
Spartan—"This one-stop shop has everything from amazing housewares to unique jewelry to funky postcards. Without fail, I always come here when I need to find the perfect gift for someone really special. Every little item is hand-picked and beautiful. Get ready to do some damage!"
Kick Pleat—"Okay, pardon the shameless promotion, but I always hope that Kick Pleat offers just the right little fashion fix when people come to Austin. I try to consistently stock clothing that's wearable but interesting, and known for its details. Some of my favorite designers that we carry include Rachel Comey, Acne, Humanoid, VPL, Jasmin Shokrian, Jesse Kamm, and Jerome Dreyfuss."
Where to Eat
Lambert’s—"The combination of an fantastic experience combined with great food is probably my favorite in Austin. Lambert’s is known for its meat, but my vegetarian friends love eating there as well. I recommend the flank steak with avocado and sides of mashed potatoes and lemon spinach. Divine."
Thai Fresh—"They prepare new dishes everyday and they cook everything right behind the counter so diners can really get a sense of what they're in for. The restaurant is inexpensive, but they use the freshest ingredients and no msg. I like drinking the thai coconut along with an order of the green curry tofu, but I’ve tried everything and it’s all truly delicious. And all for under $15!"
Parkside—"Parkside is the trailblazer in opening a great restaurant on “Dirty 6th Street." Get anything in their raw bar such as oysters or the fluke with lemon and almonds. Whatever you choose as a main, definitely try the fried okra on the side. And the basic comfort food like burgers and fries are just beyond. Sit on the patio if it’s available and comfortably watch the madness down below."
Taco Deli—"People are super passionate and opinionated about their tacos in Austin, and I never met a person that didn’t love Taco Deli. They're known for their sirloin tacos, but they have the most perfect vegetarian options, too, like the Popeye or the Poblano."
Where to Stay
Hotel St. Cecilia—"Though this newish hotel will most definitely be booked up during SXSW, keep it on your list for exemplary places to crash in Austin. The experience is more exclusive but still preserves Austin’s down-home values as each room has a record player and the hotel provides albums you can check out of library. Nice touch."
Hotel San Jose—"Hands down, the coolest little spot in Austin for a stellar cocktail and bowl of roasted nuts. The people-watching is the best in town, and the rooms—spare, clean, and mid-century-inspired—are comfy to boot."
B&B 607 Soco Heaven—"A friend of mine owns this B&B, and she makes the entire experience extra artful. The design is an inspiration and the space feels like a mix between architectural Japanese and cozy Austin."