Where we took a lot of photos with goofy faces and even more photos with a lot of food.
If people asked us why we decided to go to Austin, our honest answer would be that it was the cheapest flight we could get. If people asked us why they should go to Austin now, we'd one hundred percent say to go for the food. And the warm weather and the pretty green spaces and the live music but gosh, the food. I feel like with only five days we barely scratched the surface, and more than ever I wished I had a second stomach.
We stayed in a little air bnb in South Austin just down the street from the taco truck trailer park which you bet was our first stop after a long early morning flight. Our first few days in the city were a lot like our past adventures, lots of walking, lots of eating, lots of doing. And then on the third full day we awoke to rain, the worst of weathers. So we ended up doing a little less that day, a slow morning and a trip to the movies. It's very not me, but it's perhaps the me I wish to become - a little more laid back and less frantic, trying to do too many things. And it was quite nice to be that person, a little more fluid and less concerned about checking off the boxes. Is this a new me emerging for a new year?! I like it. At the bottom will be the full list of things we did in Austin. I hope you had a merry holiday season and stay warm!
- Highlight: Taco crawling all over the city in the warm sunshine - more on this next!
- Lowlight: Waiting four hours for Franklin barbecue. Don't get me wrong, the barbecue was insane and I don't think I've ever eaten better. But hangry Erica definitely emerged in those four hours.
- Insight: Trips don't have to be all go go go, the slow moments can be just as special.
- Highlight: Franklin's barbecue. It was amazing. I didn't realize how much I liked brisket. And smoky beef.
- Lowlight: Star Wars could have been a lot better.
- Insight: I love pasta and cacio e pepe.
- A barbacoa taco (aka the Democrat) and a migas taco from Torchy's: because Austin may be the barbecue capitol of America but by god, the tacos were something else
- A bahn mi happy hour snack from Elizabeth Street Cafe: refreshing, crisp, perfect for post-tacos, perfect for pre-donut
- The most simple but most incredible cinnamon sugar donut with salty melted butter for dipping from Gourdough's: you didn't think I would forget #tinyasiansgetdonuts, did you? Big ass donuts, enough said
- A stroll up to the Capitol building just when the afternoon sun started to poke out and everything looked golden and lovely
- Our first of many walks down South Congress, with the quirkiest window shopping and tempting restaurants - we opted out of any foods this round but don't worry we came back pretty much every day after
- Our first barbecue meal at Terry Black's: conveniently around the corner from our cute air bnb. It was here that I ate my first beef rib, which was as big as my face and as fatty and delicious as you would expect a smoky beef rib to be
- A strong, necessary cup of joe from Houndstooth: our morning fuel for below
- The country's (perhaps the world's) best barbecue from Franklin Barbecue: prior to arriving we continued to debate - do we go for it and its rumored hours-long line? He was all about it, and eventually I went with it, and we waited and waited from 9 am to 1 pm for this famous tray of meats. We were not disappointed. I would say (and he would agree) that it was worth going once, but I'm not sure if my hangry self would want to go through that wait ever again. To their merit, the service was incredible and the kind man slicing our brisket even gifted us two free pork ribs... even though we had already ordered a half pound of brisket, three sausage links, and a quarter pound of turkey. Go big or go home
- A scoop of chocolate orange and a scoop of eggnog ice cream: from a pretty adorable ice cream shop called Lick in South Austin, creamy and smooth and perfect for post-barbecue. To be honest at this point, the ice cream and the barbecue completely wiped me out and I could stuff no more food in my belly for the day
- A walk through Zilker Park and the Lady Bird Trail: sooo much green space in Austin! This trail goes right along the river and it felt like autumn with the orange leaves and chilly nights
- Lights! Lots of them thanks to the Trail of Lights, Austin's celebration of the holidays and absolutely sparkly and magical. It's a marathon of light shows and I think all of Austin goes to this event because it was packed with adults and couples and tiny humans. Highly recommend if you're here during Christmas season!
- A magical taco crawl: more on this in the next couple days!
- Ping pong and a spilled beer and a kajillion laughs: at an adorable beer hall called Easy Tiger, a great break in between lunch tacos and dinner tacos. We played ping pong and poor Andrew's beer came toppling down after a heated rally which was kinda sad for him but kinda hilarious at the same time, we laughed hard after the moment and it truly will be one of those memories I will cherish forever
- Our first trip to Amy's for a not-so-small scoop of mexican vanilla: the highlight of this little shop was our ice cream scooper attempting to throw the scoop of ice cream behind his back and catching it onto the cake cone... which he did with great success. Hip hip!
- Our magical taco tour wasn't finished yet! We woke up ready for more and headed over to El Primo, a spot that had closed before we could get to it the day before. Paired with a small cuppa from the local coffee shop next door, it was the best little street breakfast we could ask for
- Tiny pies! Oh my god. I wrote a little blurb on my instagram stories the other day about this sweet shop: we came into the shop and ordered a veggie pot pie that she actually warmed for us, along with a pear cranberry tiny pie for dessert. And in the midst of gobbling down the veggie pie the sweet lady at the counter asked if we wanted a pumpkin cheesecake tiny pie on the house, since the little guy got "side swiped" on the display counter and was deemed not pretty enough for display. We bashfully took the free pie and found it to be incredible. I cannot rave enough about the kind hospitality we experienced at this little shop, and the tastiness of the pies. Which inspires me to step up my pie game - is 2018 the year of pies?! 🤔
- A rainy day Star Wars movie date at the coolest theater: we laughed because we were sitting so close up (plenty of people clearly had the same rainy day plans that we did) but it ended up being a great break away from the cold rain. Next time, I'm going to skip lunch beforehand and just eat there!
- Date night at the beautiful Emmer & Rye: which was actually recommended by my blogger friend Madeline! It was refined, beautiful food with a very captivating concept of "dim sum" carts in between courses. Andrew's mind is still reeling over the cacio e pepe and I couldn't get enough of my little dim sum amuse bouche with leeks and buttery, homemade bread. This is your spot to woo your man or woman.
- Hot mini honey and ginger donuts at Little Lucy's: which we ate in our puffy coats on the porch of a house bar listening to groovy jams and laughing at the idea of our old souls trapped inside our twenty something year old bodies
- A couple scoops at The Tasty Spoon gelateria: one of pistachio and one of honey lavender - not too sweet but sweet enough to end the night. No one hates having two desserts, right?
- Our last day! And we couldn't shake off our love for breakfast tacos so we snuck in a couple more at Taco Joint: old school, perfectly warming for our bellies in the chilly morning
- Another strong cup at Apanas down South Congress: because coffee gives us the lift we need
- Brunching hard at South Congress Cafe: where I had perfect migas (new favorite food, for certain) and he had perfect short rib hash - it's a bright airy cafe with a strong brunch game. Even he (not a huge brunch fan), loved it
- Window shopping along South Congress, a little deja vu from our first day! We loved giggling at the inappropriate jokes and funny odds and ends
- One last scoop of strawberry brandy back at Amy's, because it's right at the bottom of South Congress and a sweet end to an amazing five days of food
Austin, you are weird and quirky but I like you that way. I think you do, too. Your tacos were unreal and your barbecue was insanity. I've had some notable firsts on this trip (my first migas, my first tiny pie, my first four hour wait in line for food) that I will never forget. Thank you for my perfect pre-Christmas vacation.