Friday, March 9, 2012

Austin, Tejas

Over President's Day weekend I visited Austin with my friend, Rob. Nothing like celebrating by going to where some of my least favorite presidents and presidential candidates served as governors... The last time I was in this fine state capital, I saw very little of the city since Christine and I were basically doing a drive-by on her mad dash out of Texas. I wanted to make sure I saw more than 6th street this time around, and we did! I still think several more trips are in order because I love this city, but that's for another day.

We started things off with an adult bev at the Jester King Brewery a little outside downtown. Things were really festive with a 2 washboard band:

Inside by the bar:

The creepy taps:

There was also a food truck for pre-drink coating, Chilantro BBQ and while I was skeptical of its self-described "Korean-Mexican fusion", I was beyond pleasantly surprised with the flavors in my pork quesadilla with "Caramelized kimchi, Bulgogi, cilantro, onion, Chi'Lantro salsa, magic sauce and sesame seeds"! If you are in Austin, you must hunt down this food truck!

That evening we went to Papi Tino's for some Mexican food. I don't have any pictures because it was so dark I could barely read my menu. Food was very good but the place was super tiny and crowded. We then ventured out on 6th street to see the shenanigans of the night. Cops were out in FULL force, I guess since it was so close to Mardi Gras.

The next day we went in search of food around lunchtime and came across a bar called Jackalope. I ordered a most interesting Pulled Pork Pizza. Definitely a wise decision. It was so big it took up most of the table and I definitely didn't finish it, but it was crazy good. The service was eh, but I think she had a lot of tables to cover and we weren't in any sort of hurry.
Yummy eats:
 In case you were wondering what a jackalope might look like:

Next, Rob agreed to go to the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary with me! I love zoos! This was a very small zoo with lots of random animals, but very cool in that you are super close to all the animals since it's so informal. And it had me experiencing flashbacks to St. Mary's College with all the peacocks that were running around.

They had a ton of wolves and husky/wolf mixes:
 They totally knew I was coming:
 Lioness napping (no zoom):
 Jaguar chilling in the sun (again no zoom):
 Mountain goats escaping the pigs in their pen:
 Crazy peacock on the move:
 Rob and I at the zoo:
 Tiger nap:

We wanted to scout Lady Bird Lake and the running trail situation and possibly check out the bats emerging from congress st bridge. Austin has the largest urban bat colony in America. In the summer you can see more than 1.5 million bats emerging to eat at dusk! We were there in February when most of the colony is still in Mexico, but we were still able to see a few bats emerging at dusk. At literally the exact time listed for sunset, streams of bats began emerging from under the bridge:

For dinner that evening we hit up Parkside. I had read that the chef was one of the youngest to ever create a 5 star restaurant and the pastry chef was winning awards left and right as well. Can't really beat that! I had the butternut squash soup and we ordered the apple cake for dessert. Everything was crazy good, and while we didn't actually get apple cake, I think what was served to us was even better: some sort of apple tartarin with creme fraiche and caramel sauce.

We then went in search of an off 6th street drinking hole and came across a Texas bar called Shiner's Saloon. There was a good country band playing when we walked in, but I think we were catching them at the end of their set. The decor in this place was pretty amazing. Lots of leather, hides, and wood. I was drinking cowgirl juice.

Skulls, hides, and leather arm chairs, very Texas:
 The huge mural along an entire wall:

The next day we were finally able to meet up with Mary (friend since elementary school) and she showed us some really awesome spots that she likes. I needed to get my cupcake fix, so we went to the Hey Cupcake! food trailer to sample their wares. The cupcakes were really good, but their menu variety was dismal. Simple the usual vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, and carrot. Not a lot of imagination there, which is surprising for Austin!

Mary took us to one of her fave places to eat, Trudy's, to get fried avocados! Normally I try to steer clear of fried anything, but this was an amazing decision. It's not something I've seen anywhere else and was really well done. No pic, I ate it too quickly, but you can check it out on their website. We then traveled to Rio Rita's, easily the least pretentious mixology bar I've ever been to. They make all their own infusions and had some seriously inventive drinks on their menu. 

 Barely noticeable from the street:      Note the vintage couch:

So, Austin is amazing and I already want to go back. Why did I move to Houston again??? One last view of the capital on my run around Lady Bird Lake:

1 comment:

  1. AHH! Ok, next trip- I'm coming with. It looks/sounds awesome.