AustinEater: Exploring Food in a New City

After leaving the Midwest and moving to a new city, Taylor Elliot found himself looking for ways to connect with new people and try new things — so he started visiting food trucks and reviewing dishes on social media. He now runs an Instagram page — @austineater — where he shares and reviews all the delicious food he enjoys in the city.

“When you get down to it, there’s a lot of great food,” he says. “I think some of the difference is the people behind it. There’s some really nice people in town, and it seems like there are never really any jerks behind good food.”

Video Transcript

Meet Taylor Elliot: food enthusiast

(Taylor stands in an outdoor area with food trucks and food stands. He holds up a cut of meat.)

Taylor Elliot: Some of the best Italian I’ve had in town. There’s one other place I can think of in town that has that level of, to me, fresh— In like eighth grade I had all the middle schools down that had good nachos and good walking tacos. So I’ve been an avid food lover for a long time. I run a little Instagram page called austineater. I like to show off small businesses that either don’t have the staffing, or social media attention, marketing attention, or the know-how, or the budget to work with other folks. That’s kind of my passion for what I’m currently doing.

(Taylor takes pictures of food.)

Born and raised in Indiana. I moved here four and a half years ago. My life sort of halted in Indianapolis. Downsized at work, which is different than being fired, my mom says. Not a lot going on in Indianapolis for me, and very low risk to try to make a move. I wanted to meet new people and try new things and drove down in my Honda Civic with some t-shirts and a TV, and four years later here I am.

I’ve always been interested in food, I think more than the average person. With Instagram, it’s really easy to sort of use it as a daily journal. I want to continue to try new places, it’s going to hold me accountable. If I have this page going, I’m going to want to keep contributing to it. By far and away the most consistent thing I’ve done in my life, and it brings a lot of joy to me, selfishly, and it does end up helping some small businesses, which is fantastic.

Food vendor: Trim off a couple [inaudible] to make them nice and square. There’s that kind of

Taylor: When you get down to it there’s a lot of great food. I think some of the difference is the people behind it. There’s some really nice people in town, and it seems like there are never really any jerks behind good food. There’s always nice people. So, I don’t know, you find the nice people and you’ll probably find good food. There’s been a handful of spots that were smaller, or just starting out, when I posted about them and they gave me some maybe undue or undeserved credit for helping keep them afloat and growing to where they are now. Like I said, I just went and took a picture of the food. They made it. They put it together. They took the risk. But it’s kind of fun and selfishly makes me feel good that they give me a little bit of credit for what they’re doing on a daily basis.

You know, there are awesome places to find on Instagram to go eat and go try, but I think the most fun is when you kind of hide your phone and just go explore the city. Take a chance. There’s plenty of places here in town that you may have never heard of them, they may not have Instagram, but those places could have just as good of food, if not better than anywhere else. And just be your own sort of place of discovery and have a little sense of adventure, and don’t rely solely on Instagram. Go ahead and explore a city. See what’s out there.

Food vendor: If you like burnt ends, if you like the crusty char bit, it’s ribs, but with the crusty char bit everywhere. So I have a passion for those and I’m a vegetarian. I have a hard time not eating them. (Laughter)

Taylor: Thank you very much. They look fantastic.

Food vendor: You are welcome.

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