Austin

Austin. A wonderful city with plenty to do and so many delicious tacos, sauces and other things to eat.

Let’s start with a breakfast taco. Nothing crazy. Just eggs, migas, cheese, and avocado on a tortilla.

Loved the sugar skulls on the tables at Taco Deli.

We did a lot of exploring on this trip. The Whole Foods mothership was impressive and fun to explore with its spices and herbs you can buy in bulk. Toy Joy was a fun, bright novelty store to shop through. We visited The Brew Exchange, a new bar that sells you beer like it’s a stock exchange. We sipped local beers (512, yum!) on the patios of bars on Rainey Street and explored the thrift shops and boutiques on South Congress Avenue.

One day we headed south about 25 miles to Driftwood for lunch at The Salt Lick B.B.Q. Everyone said to try the lemonade while you wait. But we didn’t know until we arrived that they only serve the lemonade on the weekends. Next time! At least going on a Friday afternoon meant no waiting.

Ordering was easy and our food was served quickly. Kay and I both ordered the combo platter with three meats.

Here’s my plate of brisket, sausage, a pork rib, beans, potato salad and coleslaw. My fave was the rib. Or maybe the sausage. The potato salad was really good, too. It wasn’t packed with mayo and neither was the slaw. Cool. It was a good thing we went hiking that morning and worked up an appetite!

Tacos. There’s a taqueria on just about every corner here. Love it. You could live very well on tacos without spending too much.

This is a fried avocado taco with arugula, cojita cheese and chipotle sherry vinaigrette. So creamy, crunchy and tasty. Yum.

Next to Izzos Tacos was Gourdough’s! I don’t usually go for doughnuts, but these options seemed interesting and we hadn’t tried desserts yet on this trip. (Sorry for the glare. It was bright out there).

Kay and I shared a Dirty Berry. It’s a fluffy doughnut with a crispy crust covered in cinnamon sugar. Those toppings are grilled strawberries, fudge icing and chocolate chips. It reminded me a bit of a funnel cake. But more awesome.

This is bar food from East Sixth Street. Beet fries with kewpie mayo and a fried Brussels sprouts salad with cilantro, onions, cabbage and sweet croutons. DELICIOUS. It was worth the wait for East Side King, a food truck in the patio area of Liberty Bar. All around awesome. We ate inside the bar where it was warmer and the drinks were just a few bucks.

Forgive me for this weird picture, but this was one of my favorite things from the whole trip. This was part of the perfect night in Austin, which started with drinks at a new favorite bar, flavorful chiles relleno for dinner at Iron Cactus, and ended with a Lone Star at a dueling piano bar.

Ladies of the 80s was an event at the Alamo Drafthouse featuring two hours of music videos from kickass 80s women with lyrics on the screen for everyone to sing along to. That probably sounds odd, but this exceeded all my expectations. This represented all the weird and fun that is Austin.

Things started with a quick dance-off for tequila shots. Picture a theater full of women singing along to 80s classics, going from a “Joan Jett growl to a Whitney Houston high.” Throwing around 99 red balloons for Blondie. Getting on stage for the conga line with maracas. It started raining men with  blow-up men coming down on us. Throwing streamers to Cyndi’s True Colors. We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder. So much girl power.

With every song, I was afraid it would end. But at midnight it was time for all of us Cinderellas Cyndis to go.

This was the perfect follow-up, Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar. Two guys took requests from the crowd and faced off on pianos. The bar crowd sang along. Lots of fun.

Here we are hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a rocky trail that was perfect on a cool Texas morning.

It was so pretty out there! This hike goes by quickly because it stays interesting with elevation and plenty of rocks to get around.

Just some more of this city’s quirk seen on the trails down by Town Lake.

On Saturday after an incredibly intense kickboxing class (ow, I’m sore) we headed to the farmers market.

There were lots of interesting things to see and try here, including wild boar, rabbit, gizzards. I had a kolache, a Czech pastry with slightly sweet bread, pulled pork and jalapeños. Kay shared her delicious biscuits and gravy. Food sells out quickly here.

Picked up some edible souvenirs.

Toured the capitol.

Peché. Here’s that new favorite bar I was talking about. It’s an absinthe bar serving “pre-Prohibition” style cocktails.

A bartender set up Kay’s second drink with a contraption that lets the champagne drip, drip, drip into the absinthe and “open up” the flavors. Her first drink was a Fig Manhattan, sweet and totally cool. There was fig foam!

I had a Manhattan Henge, which mixes Rittenhouse bonded rye whiskey and Nomino Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur. The bartender said I’d like this because it wasn’t too sweet. Like? Love. I had two.

The deliciousness comes partly from this $100 can of cherries imported from Italy. Wah wah, fancy. But these dark cherries are soooooo good. Nothing like the bright red maraschino cherries you see on sundaes.

We were heartbroken when we tried to go back to Peché on Saturday only to find they were closed for a private party. I’ll have to come back.

One final meal of eggs, pancakes and $2 mimosas at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Goodbye for now, Austin. Kay, my dear friend, thank you for an amazing visit to Austin!

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