2/4/13

The McCalebs Go To Austin

Oh, Austin.  You are wonderful.  

For quite sometime I've wanted an Austin adventure.  Since Brandon wanted the same adventure we packed up the family car and headed west.  Like reeeeeally west.  Like west for what felt like 36 days.  But I didn't come here to whine.  No m'am/sir.  I came here to tell you about our trip!  

After scouring the www for some time, we decided to hotwire it for a hotel.  Turned out to be a smooth move as our hotel met all our needs just fine.  The ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center  turned out to be close to all the action, comfortable, a touch fancy and home to a valet crew that was very helpful and a touch snarky at the same time.  It was also walking distance to a Torchy's Tacos but I'll get to all of that business later. 

We arrived, checked in, freshened up, met friends, started our night.  After a few cocktails at the hotel we headed to The Driskell Hotel aka the place that wins the award for the most genius use of animal hides as decor ever.  Check out this cool dude....     
While at the Driskell we enjoyed wine, Asian street tacos and sliders.  Yes, please.  

With full bellies and happy hearts, we headed up (down?) the street to Antones for a show by the Heartless Bastards who, by the way, are freaking awesome.  In my next life I'm going to be the female lead singer of of a rock 'n roll / kinda-country / bad ass band.   
Interesting fact:  I got someone to take mine and Brandon's picture but it would up looking like a Christmas Dance pic.  Maybe I'll get wallet sizes made and pass them out.  Stay tuned.  
 
The Heartless Bastards rocked on well into the evening.  What better way to end a long night by enjoying a burger at a UT Landmark?  We told about this burger joint and how they would be closing it down soon. Something about building some parking or some nonsense.  Well, since it was a landmark that was about to be gone, of course we had to go.  I had a cheeseburger, Brandon had a chicken fried steak sandwich.  My order was classic Laura Merrill late night, his confused me a bit.  But mannnn, was it good.  

The next morning, I woke up, dressed, caught the bus (how city!) and made my way the Black Swan Yoga Studio.  I arrived a good, solid, awkward 30 minutes early...time I spent working to figure out where to place my mat in reference to the studio norms.  The kicker was when one of the instructors asked me what kind of yoga I practiced and I just stared at her and made odd hand motions.  
It was a hot yoga class and boy, was it.  I haven't sweated like that in a looooong time which is saying a lot, considering our summers here in the Delta.  But worth it, it was, as I was cleansed from those pesky toxins I'd ingested the night before.  

Since I couldn't quite figure out taking the bus back to our hotel, I just walked.  Nice walk, hilly walk.  Worked up quite the appetite.  

I scooped Brandon up from the hotel and we made our way to Torchy's for lunch.  There are several of them in the Austin area, we chose the one that was close to the campus.  The walk was cool as we were all mixed in with the students.  I can not even wrap my brain around being 18 years old and going to UT as a freshman. Not only is the freshman class enormous but you are smack in the middle of downtown Austin.  What?  Crazed.  Maybe my children will be more adventurous.  
Or maybe my kiddos will be fine, just fine, with simply eating tacos.  I would be.  Especially these tacos from Torchys.  I got a baja shrimp and a Mr. Pink and, obvously, we shared some queso.  Good stuff.  

After lunch, we headed downtown on foot.  After a quick shopping adventure to secure Brandon a nice new pair of yeans, we explored the stores, bought bedding, ate ice cream (Amy's!) and walked (wide eyed!) around the flag ship Whole Foods.  
Here's Brandon up in the beer cooler of the Whole Foods, trying to mix himself a six pack.  I had to exit the beer cooler and loiter around the legumes because it was just way to cold in there.  

Whole Foods led to cocktail time, we stopped by La Condesa for a margarita.  But really, not just a margarita but the margarita.  Like the best margarita I've ever had....  
Not a clue what made it so amazing but even Brandon was really impressed.  This is saying a lot coming from the mix master bartender himself. 

Another round of drinks was enjoyed at Pesche, a hip speakeasy type place where the bartenders wore vests and ignore you.  I had a Pimms Cup and a French 77, the mister probably had an Old Fashion.  I don't know, I didn't write it down.  I was too consumed with my own cocktails to pay attention to what he was doing. I did, however, perk up when the fries were ordered.  
Another bar we visited that night was the Shangri La on East 6th Street, it had a good vibe and a great out door patio.  We probably should have grabbed a bite at the East Side Kings truck situated on their patio but instead we went rogue at another food trailer park.  This led to me being very disappointed in my meal.  To know me is to know that food related disappointment ranks pretty high up on my disappointment list.  Oh well. Nothing a good night's sleep can't fix.  

We awoke bright and early with adventure on the mind.  But first, we needed breakfast.  We traveled to South Congress at grabbed a table at Magnolia.     
I had a crazy good omelet (with lemon sour cream and avocados, what?) and Brandon had pancakes and migas.  The perfect power food for a morning of kayaking.  

We headed towards Lady Bird Lake, got what appeared to be lost, then found (out of no where) a lovely like kayak rental place.   
We paddled and chilled and visited and spotted lots of ducks and worked on our communication skills.  It was lovely and I'm still waiting for my very on kayak with which I will explore the Yazoo River. 
 
After kayaking, we spent lunch with long time friends of my Grandparents. Great opportunity to see the hills of Austin and, again, eat queso.  

The afternoon brought more adventure as we spent a few hours playing disc gold.  By we, I mean Brandon.  My role was more of a caddy.  It's a new course, at the Guerrero River Park, and was quite lovely.  I don't know anything about disc golf other than I'm horrible at it BUT it was a wonderful opportunity to be outside.  

After DG we headed to Rainey Street.  This was possibly one of my favorite spots.  Old houses turned into cute little bars and restaurants.  We visited the Lustre Pearl and Bangar's.    

I'd heard that no visit to Austin was complete without a visit to Hotel San Jose for a drink. We went and enjoyed hummus and cocktails, perhaps the best combination of things on the planet.  It was here that I had myself a Champassion (champagne and passion fruit with 3 raspberries) and pledged my loyalty forever.  After drinks I set out to find a food truck called the Mighty Cone.  Found it!  It was closed.  Drats! We headed next to a place called Star Bar on 6th street. Friends were there, as was a food truck called the Peached Tortilla where I scored a pad thai burrito so all was good.    

Sunday was our last full day in Austin.  I kicked it off by taking a run around Lady Bird Lake.  The scenery was lovely to look at and I'm pretty sure I got lapped by the UT cross country team.  Hounds were everyone, my Browne hound would have loved it!  
 After my run I picked up some breakfast from the Howdy Donut.  Found it on Yelp and lurved every bite.  So did the Brandon. 
 Up next on the agenda was a return to South Congress.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, after a few slices from Home Slice we spent a bit walking up and down and looking.   
 Sunday afternoon turned out to be a big afternoon of football.  We joined friends at a hip little spot called The Local that wasn't to far from our hotel.  Brandon, of course, made a new buddy at the corn hole pit.  
We spent our last night in Austin enjoying seared tuna, veggies and wine with friends.  They packed us up and took us to Central Market, which is a less intense but equally as enjoyable version of Whole Foods, so that we could pick out exactly what we wanted to dine on.  Oh, good grocery stores.  You make me so happy.  

Sooo that's our trip!  We had a wonderful time, ate wonderful food, heard wonderful music, enjoyed wonderful cocktails.  Can't wait to go back!

Until our next adventure....            
  
  

1 comment:

  1. Be still my heart. Oh, where do I even being. You had me at Torchy's Queso & Baja Shrimp tacos (my fave, btw). So glad you experienced Home Slice, as I am convinced it is the best pizza on the planet. We have a friend that bartends at the Local so he could have very well been the one serving up your beverages. And Whole Foods. What I would give to fork out some dough for an extremely overpriced meal there. Their Capri sandwich is da bomb. We will be there for a wedding in March & are so pumped! Oh, and you know we still have our house there? I think it's because Jeremy is hoping our kids decide to go to UT & that way, housing will not be an issue. :) To be a college student in Austin. Wowers. So glad y'all had fun & thanks for the recap- I have been waiting! :)

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