INFORMS comes to Austin, the city of Live Music and Great Food!
To me, there are three very exciting things to look forward to for the rest of the year: starting my new job as an Assistant Professor in Marketing at City University of Hong Kong in July; having another baby boy in August; and returning to Austin for INFORMS Annual Meeting in October! I have been in Austin for almost eight years since I came to the U.S. It is difficult to even think of leaving Austin after so many years of happy times.
You may have already obtained a lot of information about Austin from the conference website. Now I am going to provide you some secret information about food in Austin from a student’s point of view.
The must-try food in Austin is, of course, the Texas BBQ. Every time people ask for recommendations for food, Texas BBQ comes to my mind at once. Salt Lick is on the top of my favorites list. However, it’s a bit far away from town. You need to drive about 40 minutes all the way to middle of nowhere. The best thing about Salt Lick is that you can bring your own beer and enjoy live music while you are waiting for your seats. Usually May is the peak time. Families coming for graduation celebrate there. If you don’t have time to try the original Salt Lick BBQ, you may try a mini version at the Austin airport. County Line is also a good place to go. Their homemade bread is most people’s favorite. But again, it’s not that close to town. So the best choice for INFORMers will be Iron Works at 100 Red River. It’s pretty close to the Convention Center. It is famous for its delicious beef ribs. Rudy’s “Country Store” is another very popular place for Texas BBQ. I have a question for people who will visit it: you will see some plastic bags full of water hanging on the roof there. What’s the purpose of those bags?
Now, Chinese food. People who know me know my answer for this category. My favorite is Asian Market. It was a very small place months ago, located inside a small Chinese grocery store. But now it has moved to next door and there are more seats available. But still, it’s very popular all the time since it is the only authentic Sichuan cuisine in town. If you are a fan of Sichuan cuisine, it is a must-go in Austin.
For Tex-Mex, I know a place called Abby’s which is famous for its average 40 minutes waiting time. I believe there is a lot of space for improvement from an operations researcher’s point of view. Try it and talk to the manager; there may be a consulting project waiting for you.