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Entries in Austin (3)


that austin weekend

Months later, and Austin--and all of the amazing things we did there--are still on my mind.

The food truck scene really is something to talk about (even though they don't actually get driven anywhere, making them faux food trucks in my disgruntled opinion). Out of the six or so that we sampled, the clear victor among the very worthy contenders was Mmmpanadas. How good was it, you may wonder. Well, consider the fact that even though Michael and I are die-hard carnivores, we still talk about their soyrizo and brie empanadas with dreamy-voiced nostalgia. Yes. That good.

The bar scene is great. As I previously mentioned, the ambiance alone would make Whisler's a must-visit. The tasty drinks don't hurt either. Half Step stood out for me among all of the tempting options on Rainey Street. I had a really memorable dessert cocktail there that I still wish I'd gotten the recipe for. Weather Up takes their drinks seriously--if you're into "sippers" as I like to call them, this is the place for you. But I think if you only had time for one drink (the second stop should be Whisler's but just in case...) then it has to be Midnight Cowboy. Speakeasy-style craft cocktail bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days, and Michael and I have been to our fair share. This one really nails it. I almost felt like something illegal was going on in the backroom, and the drinks made me wish I'd had on a flapper dress and very red lips.

Food-wise, I just cannot shut up about Qui. I love it so much I almost wrote an entire blog post about it--and am still tempted to, in fact. I have very strong feelings about restaurants, and this is the first one I've ever actively wished existed in the city that I live in. What Paul Qui did to Filipino food was incredible. And to be able to enjoy dish after dish in such a beautifully designed restaurant with such perfect service... It was one of the best nights of my life.

Our follow-up dinner the night after, at Barley Swine, was nothing to sneeze at either. It's an excellent introduction to tasting menus--14-15 courses at a very reasonable price. Michael and I agree that we may like Catbird Seat a teensy bit more, but Barley Swine has a laidback, playful attitude with their dishes that sometimes leads to misses but overall makes for a memorable and very enjoyable meal.

I guess what really stands out for me about the trip is how I want to do the entire thing again. Michael struggles with me not wanting to order the same thing twice, much less eat at the same restaurant unless it is a true and serious love. But with Austin, I would do the entire trip over again, each one of those bars and those same dinners and ending it all with that wonderful Farmers Market that had a gorgeous lake view and adorable kids and beautiful wildflowers. I bet Michael would insist on Barlata for tapas again too.

But there are so many other places to eat and drink... I know a local would tell us that we've barely scratched the surface. What a dilemma. We'll just have to duke it out when we visit again. Which I hope will be soon.

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a reminder

Three days after our anniversary mini-getaway to Austin, and I'm still basking in the afterglow of shared adventure. The trip was, in a nutshell, amazing. There were the big parts--the fancy dinners and craft cocktails from unique bars (Whisler's, above, is the most hauntingly beautiful place I've ever had the fortune to have an egg white concotion)--but, just as memorably, there were the small delights too--stumbling across two farmer's markets, trying kombucha for the first time, getting lost and finding the most adorable spots, staying out past two am like college kids, strolling around a park and holding hands. Just enjoying being.

I get that the point of a vacation is to slow down, recharge, see new things to revitalize you, but of course I can't help but want to recapture vacation-y feelings in my everyday life. This weekend was not only a reminder of what a gift it is to both give and receive love, secure in a partnership where we continue to grow together (we are both indelibly still, and yet worlds away from, the lovestruck college kids that we once were) but also of how I, how we, want to live--eyes always wide open with appreciation and wonder of all of the little things: the light striking a lake just so, the sun warming the skin, the deliciousness of a food truck treat, the delight in sharing any and all experiences.

Every day is a gift. Thank you, Austin, for reminding me of that.


that tingly feeling...

After two back-to-back weekend trips in March (to Baltimore for a dear friend's wedding and Vegas for the husband's birthday), I was burned out. No trips for a while sounded like a good idea, particularly since the rest of the month was overwhelmed by my busiest work period. I was tired and couldn't muster the excitement to do anything other than have a good night's sleep in my own bed.

This week though, with its spring breeze and happy sunshine, the wanderlust is back. And now, rather than hoping, needing, a quiet weekend at home, all I can think of is where next? how soon?

The answer, dear friends, is Austin. After all of the good things I've heard (admittedly, for some odd reason, I thought the Riverwalk was there although my friend laughingly disabused me of that notion), I've decided, what better place to celebrate an anniversary weekend than the city that likes to keep it weird?

Thus has begun the extensive restaurant researching, the hunt for the best bars in town, the endless debate of car-versus-cab, the wonderful, maddening anticipation of it all. There's nothing better for a planner to do but figure out a vacation. Just thinking about it is half the fun.

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