Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Birthday trip to Austin!

Sometime over the last year when I saw Carol, we talked about how neither of us had been to Austin, and it was time to change that. We discussed going for Austin City Limits festival, but decided to go see Austin for Austin, and not sit around watching bands that we could see anytime in LA or DC. JetBlue had a sale, and we booked for the weekend after my birthday.

I was nervous about flying out of Long Beach on a Thursday morning (LA traffic is not to be underestimated), but I flew through with ease, parked at a nearby hotel, and made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. This airport is a breeze.  I tweeted this photo to JetBlue and they wished me happy birthday.  Nice, right?

I'd hardly had any time to plan what to do in Austin, but Carol had scoped the food scene and made reservations, and I was in great hands. First up, dinner at Barley Swine, but we peeked into the ice cream shop next door first.

I think we ordered a bit of everything, and it was all great. That bacon mousse? Yeah.  We sat at the bar, which I love.

We popped back over to Lick for dessert, and I still think about that goat cheese ice cream!

Then we drove downtown to meet Carol's friends on the bridge and check out the famous bats of Austin.


Friday lunch it was pouring rain, but we braved the weather for La Barbeque. We'd heard it was one of the best, but turns out there are lots of connections around the Austin BBQ scene.

Verdict: excellent.

Stuffed full of meat, we headed to Gourdoughs for crazy donuts. Their stand was across the street from La Barbecue, I think, but since it was pouring we headed to another location.

I mean, does it get more ridiculous? I could barely take two bites of each.

Next stop, University of Texas for the LBJ Library, only the 2nd Presidential Library I've visited.

Listening to recording of phone calls and reading his letters was the best part. 

Still rainy.

Shopping time! I really didn't get cowboy boots until I went into Allen's Boots.

Of course all the pairs I wanted were the really expensive ones. I almost pulled the trigger, but I didn't.

More shopping on South Congress.

Carol made reservations that night at Lenoir.  It's a small place with a prix fixe menu that lets you mix and match courses, which I loved. I think we ordered nearly everything on the menu between the two of us and it was wonderful.

Desserts were excellent. This place is dark and cozy and wonderful.

Passed out in a food coma. Ready for more the next day!

Started Saturday morning with Torchy's. I got my tacos Trailer Park style - make it trashy with some extra cheese.

Then we went on a tour of Friday Night Lights locations. Bless that show - still one of the best that's been on TV.

The Taylor house.

Matt Saracen's house. QB1.

Practice field locations.  The Dairy Freeze was a Dairy Queen under construction, not too exciting to see.

Dinner that night - reservations at Qui.

I ate a bird brain.

Once again, at the bar.

This dessert rocked my world. Cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich. Way rad.

We didn't have exact plans that night and decided to do as the Texans - go to a UT football game. It's like gospel. The tailgating was insane.

Sunday morning - we had brunch reservations at Stubbs, but we still stopped at Contigo for pre-brunch. I love how most places in Austin feel like backyard friendly gatherings. It's really nice.

They cure their own meat. And we had cactus. 

Time for a quick Capitol tour. 

Time for more food and gospel music. The kids in this band were impressive.

I could hardly make it through the buffet line - I was stuffed.

Back to UT for the afternoon for the Blanton Museum of Art.

Drafthouse for dinner and a movie. Short Term 12 was a great film, and the milkshake was awesome.

Strange previews.

Last breakfast at Texas French Bread.

I dropped Carol off at the airport and I had a few hours to kill. Went for a walk.

Arcade Fire!

I met up with college friend Rob for lunch, which was great. I checked out a couple more shops in the area and bought this cancel. Note the name.

Then it was time to head home, 10 lbs heavier. Someone on my flight got arrested as he got off the plane. Kinda funny to watch. Stop smoking in the bathroom, kids.

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