June 28-July 1, 2013
A long awaited trip to see the bestie. It's nice to have someone in my life who I can pick up right where I left off... even it that was months ago. Kristi Hildebrand- you keep me sane. :)
But I digress- let's talk about how awesome it was to see Austin!
It took me a little bit to get there (thank you DC thunderstorms) but I finally arrived at 10pm (central time). Kristi and Jimmy of course were starving too since Southwest was a little slow about updating their flight status so we hit up Sonic on the way back to their apartment. A pretzal dog, some tots and a milkshake later we were all happier. :) I got to meet their cute (giant) puppy Jack - who had been sick. We hung out a bit longer then hit the hay as it had been a long evening.
Day 1! Kristi and I headed out for a tour of the Austin Capitol building and a little downtown exploration. It was beyond hot but cooled off inside the building and got to learn about some Texas history. We had a brief interruption dealing with Jack's sickness. We found out he has Addison's disease which is super rare and super costly. Kristi needed to administer his injection, so we popped back to their apartment for a bit. After he got his medicine, we all headed to Mighty Fine for a classic burger experience. They have a really neat hand washer machine. :) After lunch, Kristi and I went back downtown to explore South Congress. I got to experience a little country-ness at Allen Boots; took in the smell of leather and tried on a few cowboy hats. We wandered through antiques and other random objects at Uncommon Goods. And of course I had a cupcake at Hey Cupcake! You can get it "whipper-snapper"-ed where they add fresh whip cream to the center. Awesome. After that Kristi and I went over to Lady Bird Lake to take a few pics because the view was gorgeous.
And that was just during the day! That evening we went to dinner at Bess Bistro (one of Sandra Bullock's) Austin restaurants. I had some local Austin beer, bacon shrimp and grits, and caramelized brussel sprouts. Delish. We headed to the other end of 6th Street to take in Esther's Follies. Now, they had never been so none us had any idea what we were walking into. It was hilarious!!! A political satire, with magic, comedy, music, dance, and everything else under the sun. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like that ever and we had a great time. Once the show was over we wandered 6th Street taking in all of the craziness. All in all, it was a fantastic day.
Day 2! Started really early and was almost a comedy of errors. We had big plans to go river tubing in New Braunfels. Well, at first the weather was not cooperating - the storms would not move out of the area so we could go out on the river. Then we found out that alcohol could not be purchased for our cooler until noon. So- we wandered around town, questioning the mindset of many of the locals. (Twenty minutes spent a gas station, the most ridiculous Mexican driveup menu I've ever seen, the stoners at the tube rental place to name a few.) I had a small taste of Tex-Mex while we waited- chicken taco and refried beans. Was tasty. Once we finally were able to get out on the river it was quite enjoyable, but a little chilly to start. The river had tube shoots that shot us down the river, and trying to hold onto each other and the cooler tube was hilarious. We definitely enjoyed ourselves though and if we hadn't had other plans for that evening we probably would have floated it again!
We drove north along the back country roads, which was cool for me to see real Texas hill country. We finally ended up in Driftwood where we ate dinner at Salt Lick. Basically the best Texas barbecue I've ever had. Brisket and turkey with beans and potato salad- all out in a rustic setting. Loved it. Was beautiful. And of course we had dessert: Blackberry Cobbler! So good. We wandered around the grounds for a bit before heading back to Austin. I was so stuffed I almost drifted off in the car on the ride. Once we got home, Jack was almost back to normal which was a huge relief since he'd been sick. Kristi and I headed out to their pool for a bit to relax.
Day 3ish. Only a partial day but I had to talk about breakfast tacos. After an attempt to go to Amaya's we headed to Taco Deli. I had The Otto (refried beans, bacon, avocado) and El Popeye (scrambled, eggs, queso fundido). So freaking good. Also chips and salsa. Now this was a Tex Mex experience I'm glad I got to take in. loved it. We headed to the airport after that where of course my flight was delayed, blah blah blah. But while I was there, I got Jon a Texas tshirt to go with his tshirt collection of state names. Then some reading and finally plane boarding back to DC.
Austin, you were fantastic. Kristi and Jimmy, thanks for as always spending lots of time taking care of me- you're my favorites. :) Texas- until next time. Maybe Houston or Dallas?!