Best Queso in Austin

Best Queso in Austin


Living in Austin for the majority of my life, I’ve had the blessing and the curse of easy access to queso whenever I want. It's a blessing because it is quite possibly the best invention out of the state of Texas. On the flip side, it's a curse because if I could have my way, I’d dine on queso for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and end up the size of ten people. That being said, take a look at the top 10 queso spots in Austin from a native Austinite and a queso veteran.  For those less fortunate (out-of-staters), queso is not simply “melted cheese”. See, and taste, for yourself. 

1.     Torchy’s Tacos

Not only does Torchy’s make damn good tacos, but their queso is by far the best in Austin.  Or anywhere for that matter.  The Green Chile Queso has a dollop of guacamole, topped off with Diablo Sauce, Torchy’s famous hot sauce, queso fresco, and cilantro.  I would definitely go just for the queso.



2.     Magnolia Café

If you’ve found yourself at this 24/7 diner, then there’s no way you haven’t tried Mag Mud — queso with avocado and pico de gallo.  You can also get it with beans, which people love but personally I stick with Mag Queso (without beans).  You can satisfy your queso craving any hour of the day at Magnolia Café and it just so happens to be one of my favorites. 


3.     Matt’s El Rancho


Matt’s Famous El Rancho’s Bob Armstrong Dip is mouth-wateringly sinful.  Like really, really good.  Matt’s El Rancho is an Austin icon, and this dip is part of the reason why.  A savory queso with beef, pico, and guacamole will definitely leave you satisfied.  Maybe a little too satisfying, but it’s well worth it. 


4.     Abel’s on the Lake


Yet another Austin favorite restaurant.  (Hmm… maybe there’s a reason to this pattern.)  Abel’s on the Lake offers vegetarian style queso, with a generous addition of guacamole and, sour cream, Their Queso Especial comes with spicy taco meat, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Either way, you’re #winning.


5.     Chuy’s


Another Austin staple Tex-Mex restaurant, Chuy’s has one of the best tasting quesos in town.  With just the right amount of spiciness, kick things up a notch by mixing it  with their free, fresh salsa and you’ve got yourself some queso compuesto.  On weekdays, their happy hour includes free queso in their salsa bar!  So, what are you waiting for?


6.     Kerbey Lane


Those in West Campus are no stranger to Kerbey Lane, the 24 hour diner on The Drag that is always crowded, whether it's 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.  Besides being known for their pancakes, the Kerbey Queso is perhaps it's most popular menu item. This white cheesy goodness comes with pico de gallo, guacamole, and cilantro.  Of course, you can order it without, but why would you mess with a good thing?



7.     Maudie’s

Maudie’s is one my personal favorite Tex Mex restaurants in general, and their queso might just be one of the reasons.  With several Austin locations, Maudie’s offers regular queso and queso compuesto. This is the most classic queso, and I promise it won’t disappoint.



8.     El Mercado

El Mercado loves their college customers, so thank you El Mercado waiters and waitresses, you guys are far too kind.  If you have the chance to make it to El Mercado and satisfy your Tex Mex addiction, I suggest ordering their queso. Bet you didn’t see that coming! It’s got enough kick without being too overpowering and frankly I could just have that for dinner if only spring break wasn't looming so near. 


9.     Cantina Laredo

For a fun GNO or BroNO (is that a thing?), head to Cantina Laredo in downtown Austin. But don’t leave the establishment without ordering their queso. Top Ten in Austin, people, top ten. 


10.Tacos & Tequila: TNT

Tacos & Tequila: God’s gift to this world.  But truly, their queso is to die for.  Yeah, I know, cliché but seriously try it.  They have the options of classic, beef chorizo, spicy mushroom, and spinach artichoke.  So many options you might just have to share with their Queso Flight.  You can also dip skewers of spicy Sriracha chicken, steak, rojo shrimp, or veggies.  YUM.


Bon appétit! Sorry for making you gain the Freshman 15 – maybe the Queso Quince? – all over again. Actually, I’m not sorry.






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3 Popular Instant Coffee Brands That You Will Probably End Up Settling For When Starbucks Is Just Too Expensive

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Coffee is energizing, aromatic (structurally, as well), and pairs nicely with a book at the end of the day. Or in the morning. Or during the post-exam-dash-back-home-to-drink-more-coffee in that one hour break, I have between classes. Anytime is a good time to drink coffee. At least it is for me.

But being a caffeine addict, on top of having a small food budget and busy schedule, means I normally "settle" for the instant, just-add-water variety. I tried several brands until I finally encountered one that was acceptable to me.

Yes, I know I am a spoiled coffee snob.

Here are my thoughts on three popular and low-cost brands of instant coffee on the market.

1. Folgers

Leaves a slimy texture reminiscent of hair conditioner. The scent coming off a cup of Folgers conjures up images of old batteries. My opinion is especially significant, considering the fact that I have fewer-than-average taste buds on my tongue- meaning that I should theoretically be less sensitive to bitter, strong flavors than the average person.

The oily black residue this solution leaves behind makes me feel uncomfortable. However, this brand is usually the cheapest in my grocery store, and I'm sure adding tons of cream and sugar will cover up any of the flavors.

2. Maxwell House

Has an unoffensive yet unremarkable flavor, doesn't have much body in the flavor. Smells like cardboard pieces that have been boiled in water, with a hint of a coffee taste. Pairs nicely with a bagel though.

3. Nescafe Taster's Choice

I've stuck with this one because the flavor just falls short of richness. Also, adding triple the amount of the suggested coffee-to-water ratio makes for a hearty coffee with the proper bitterness that I'm accustomed to. This instant coffee brand is generally more expensive than the other two, though.

Despite my words, which partially come from a grumpiness induced by sleep deprivation- without instant coffee, I would be half as competent as I am now (for what that's worth).

Also, everyone obviously has different flavor perceptions. So take my criticism with a grain of instant coffee.

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The Official Ranking Of Villanova's Dining Halls

The Exchange was my biggest discovery of first semester.

One of the biggest adjustments for most college freshman is eating at dining halls and learning to eat what is offered. I’ve come to appreciate Villanova’s dining options, because there is no denying that there is an option for everyone. So whether you are a prospective Villanovan or an alumnus, I’m sure you’ll find this list to speak the truth.

1. The Exchange

This place was without a doubt my biggest discovery of first semester. Since I am not a business student, this incredible eatery in Bartley was foreign to me at first. The Exchange offers made-to-order fresh sandwiches and hot dinners of delicious dishes. You can always find this spot crowded at lunchtime and the tables around it packed. The downside of the Exchange is that they only accept food points or the Exchange upgrade meal plan. So if you enjoy this spot, make sure to save up your points!

2. Café Nova

A popular lunch option for most students, Café Nova offers different stations to cater to many different tastes. From burrito bowls, to sandwiches, to pizzas, this dining option is among my favorites, as it’s usually quick to get your meal and consistently delicious. The outdoor seating at Cova is also a plus during the spring and fall. As for meal plans, Cova accept MPEs only, but doesn’t require a specific upgrade like The Exchange.

3. The Spit

Located on the freshman South Campus, the Spit is one of Nova’s all-you-can-eat dining halls. The Spit offers the same daily hot meals as The Pit, but what sets it apart is the pasta, deli, and stir-fry stations each night for those who aren’t interested in the hot meal. The quesadillas and made-to-order pasta are just some of the reasons why sophomores find themselves missing The Spit immediately. There is also a ton of study space that makes it a popular spot late at night for students to socialize and get work done as well as hold events.

4. The Pit

The main all-you-can-eat dining option on main campus is The Pit, located in the basement of Dougherty Hall. The Pit often offers better desserts than The Spit, but other than that it cannot compare to the immense food stations at its counterpart. While definitely a good option for someone on main campus all day, The Pit’s selections are limited to the hot meal of the day and maybe one food station like a stir-fry bar. A plus is that The Pit’s salad bar is often stocked and full of choices!

5. Belle Air Terrace

Ranking as my least favorite option, Belle Air Terrace is more of a fast food location. They offer an all day breakfast line as well as a deli line and a hot food line with burgers, fries, and chicken. This is not my go-to spot mostly because I find the options to be more limited than the other dining halls. Students do enjoy this spot, however, because it has giant TV screens showing sports games and is housed in our student center.

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