and it was hot... Austin, TX
We drove South on a July Friday afternoon and stopped in Austin. Parking isn’t easy to come by, so we valeted the car at the hotel. It was 106°F and we had the bright idea to walk. Don’t be a hero, rent the bikes.
On Saturday, we stopped in a ton of places. We took a taxi from the hotel to Biscuits + Groovy for breakfast at a food truck with picnic tables. (Uber and Lyft are not available in Austin: you can read more about that here and here.) After filling our bellies, we walked over to South Congress. (Remember: rent a bike. There are some just east of Biscuits + Groovy)
...We did use a regular taxi one more time, but for the most part we walked…. well over 5 miles. I know you’re saying, “Pish… what’s 5 miles?” (Revisit the first paragraph… IT WAS 106°F.) Not that good sweat after an intense workout… that lingering, I can’t cool off, mosquitoes might start thinking I'm in a swamp or marsh….sweat. Obviously, we ate a lot of frozen treats. After we talked about everything we did, we realized all that we did was walk, eat, and sweat...
We stopped at South Congress Café, just to enjoy the air conditioning and use the washrooms. (It was the first place we came to after our trek from Biscuits + Groovy.) We aren’t “those people” so we sat at the bar and enjoyed some great frozen lemonade. (Trey ordered his adult-style.) Their brunch looked so good that we regretted our earlier biscuits. After hydrating and cooling down, we continued on our way.
We visited Uncommon Objects, Big Top Candy Shop, and a few other spots on South Congress. We tried going to the famous boot store, but they wanted the hubs to leave his camera gear at the front of the store…If you know what a good set of gear costs, you know we just laughed at them and said, “Guess we won’t be buying boots today.” (This occasionally happens to us, so we’re used to it.) We decided to head back to the hotel for a minute to enjoy some more arctic air and an unplanned nap. After deciding on ice cream, we walked (No, we didn’t learn our own lesson.) to Gelateria Gemelli. This is probably by far one of the neatest places. The coffees and cocktails are fantastic and the gelato and pizzelles are delicious. There is something about waffle cones in a humid climate; they're not crunchy and hard, but they are just crisp enough to be delectable.
As we began making our way back to our hotel, we popped into Easy Tiger. This bakery/biergarten hybrid is really neat. The pretzel that I ate was fresh, salty, and chewy. They also frequent the Texas Farmer’s Market at Mueller (that we visited on Sunday) which is neat! We headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
We went to Max's Wine Dive for pre-dinner drinks on Saturday evening… Our waiter was wearing a shirt that said, “I got 99 problems, but brunch ain’t one.” At that moment, we decided to go to brunch there on Sunday. After our libations, we hailed a cab to drive us to dinner, because no one wants to eat when they are hot and sweaty.
Salt & Time. I feel like the name says it all. This is the way food should be: real and flavorful. I ordered the pickle board which consisted of pickled mustard seeds, picked daikon radishes, pickled onions, pickled carrots, and pickled cucumbers. Being the pickle connoisseur I am, I was in heaven. Both of our dinners were fantastic; I had a flat iron steak and well, I can't remember what he had. Make reservations unless you only want to shop in the butcher market. The market has some very cool items like my cousin's SRSLY Chocolate which is made with Salt & Time Bacon; they also have local coffee, small batch pickles, etc.
... And then we ventured next door for ice cream at Spun. The ice cream is frozen with liquid nitrogen right in front of you! It’s so fresh and tasty. I still dream about this ice cream in one of those perfect waffle cones. Thinking about it, my mouth is watering. I believe this ice cream is worth the drive. After the heat and all of the walking, and with full bellies, we headed in for the night. The next morning, we headed over to Max's Wine Dive to see what the brunch hype. Get the mimosas. Oh, and the food is good too. There are a few of these around Texas, so you can still check one out if can’t make it to Austin.
On Sunday after brunch, we drove over to the Pennybacker bridge (also known as Austin 360 bridge). There is a very short hike up to a nice overlook. (You’ll see cars parked along the west side of the road.) I recommend sneakers, but I was able to make it up wearing my Birkenstocks. You could very easily take a picnic lunch. We did not though.
After that, we were pretty hungry and I needed to pick up my SRSLY Chocolate preorder. We headed over to the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller . My cousin is a vendor there, so I made plans to pick up my chocolate order there. SRSLY Chocolate is one of a handful of bean to bar chocolatiers in Texas. It’s a really neat process and VERY tasty chocolate. (You can also order it online.) After enjoying some treats, we headed North to Dallas. Austin definitely embodies the creative, entrepreneurial spirit. It’s quirky, weird and has something for everyone. We can’t wait to go back.