03 October 2013

Dreams Happen: Austin

I've been wanting to travel to Austin for years.  At first, it was a desire to attend SXSW and that almost happened a few years ago.  I then found a perfect travel companion in Lauren who also wanted to visit.  We toyed with the idea of visiting during Austin City Limits in October but then decided that if we really wanted to explore the city, we needed to go sans music event.  I found cheap tickets on Jet Blue back in March and it finally happened a few weeks ago.

I was so excited that I couldn't sleep the night before I left.  That doesn't happen all that often but I was also scared that I was building up expectations that could not be met.  They were met.  I landed in an airport that already had better food selections than most major airports.  Lauren picked me up, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and went straight into downtown Austin.

I had done that thing where I spent close to $12 in the Orlando airport for a sandwich that I tossed after a few bites.  It was inedible which is so depressing.  I was so excited to arrive in a parking lot with these two signs.

You can see the ominous clouds that followed us into the next day.  I love eating with Lauren because it's very easy to decide what food to share.

Green chile bacon mousse, tomato, fried pork skin, potato.  The essence of bacon was the perfect salad dressing.

Shaved country ham, roasted watermelon, cucamelon, chevre.  This was one of my favorites with the sweet melon and savory ham.

Eggplant fritters, grilled okra, feta tofu, sesame, peanut salsa.

Gulf shrimp, andouille, stewed okra, hushpuppy, hollandaise.  Another favorite.

Pinto beans, smoked lamb, soured cream, raw summer squash.

Pulled pig face, fermented creamer peas, peach, hot sauce.

I laughed at our receipt since it didn't specify what kind of face we ate.

We saved dessert to eat at Lick.  I recommend clicking on the above photo to get a better look at some of the flavors.  We tested most of them but I stuck with the Caramel Salt Lick and Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil and Salt.  I wish we had ice cream like this in DC.

We drove to the Congress St Bridge to see the bats which we did see.  But I was far more excited to see Amber and Johnny who I hadn't seen since their wedding in LA last November.  I cannot believe I didn't take any photos of them.  It was such happiness to talk to Amber because I miss her like crazy.  And I loved getting to know Johnny better who can keep up with Amber's sense of humor.  I was able to see them again later that weekend and meet Johnny's kids who were adorable and fun.  It's wonderful to have friends living in cities you want to visit.  Not for the spare bedroom but it just makes visiting them all that more fun.

The Texas State Capitol.  It's not really white but more on that later.

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