Sunday, April 17, 2011

Go Texan

I took my last flight before I'm grounded.  JG and I went back to Texas, visited my parents, my brother out on the ranch, and lots of friends in Austin.  I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to handle the heat, but then I found myself dragging a reclining lawn chair into the grass to a nap in the 100F shade of a tree at my parents' place because it felt so good outside.
These pastures should be green right now.
West Texas is in serious drought mode right now... Dust Bowl serious.  There's nothing green out there except the mesquite trees and only because they have very deep tap roots -- which, FYI, also makes them very hard to clear from fields.  If it keeps going, they may even have to sell off the cattle, and that's pretty bad.
 I love this heifer; it looks like she got a bowl cut.
Austin was much greener, not quite as hot, and lovely to visit.  We didn't make any plans [except a single dinner reservation] because I think the key to a great Austin experience is to just hang out and see what happens.  We ended up spending a lot of time around Lady Bird Lake [JG ran, I'm not quite so spry], eating dinner at our old haunts and catching up with old friends [who frequently chided me about my recent lack of blog posting], and doing a bit of work in coffee shops.
The public arts program scattered pianos all over town. This one was on the running trail.
The first night in town, I saw a display of the urban bat colony that surpassed any I'd ever seen the entire time I live here, and it was only because we happened to be walking back from dinner at sunset and crossed the bat bridge at the just the right time. [No pics though, I don't believe in hauling my camera to restaurants and photographing my dinner... I limit that behavior to my own kitchen.]   

A stand at a year-round farmer's market -- most markets in Bean Town don't start 'til late May.
I've eaten quite well this week and I'm including a list of my destinations in case you find yourself in my favorite town.  When I step on the scales at my next checkup, the nurse will probably assume the little hybrid had a growth spurt... but we'll know better.

Where I ate in Austin:
All taco places on the list make their own corn tortillas from scratch, fyi.

Polvos for breakfast tacos and killer salsa bar
Mulberry for cheese & charcuterie and meatballs in lemon broth
Uncle Billy's Brew & 'Que for smoked brisket and the best smoked chicken
Fonda San Miguel for spicy chicken enchiladas with salsa verde
Monument Cafe (in Georgetown) for chicken-fried steak with cream gravy
Uchiko for raw seafood wonders [and pork cheek & beef tongue]
Alamo Drafthouse for dinner and a movie [and beer for JG]
Guerro's Taco Bar for fish tacos and fajitas
Uchi for more fabulous raw seafood, plus some grilled cuttlefish and a great sunchoke dish
Whole Foods' salad bar -- 'cause I was feeling a little heavy after all of the former [and the flagship store is a sight to behold]
Sazon for my final breakfast taco and a nice cactus salad

Where I drank or simply hung out in Austin:
House Wine -- an adorable wine bar with lovely staff, cozy little rooms, and a big patio under the oaks... I stayed here way past my bedtime.
The Ginger Man -- many, many beers, foreign and domestic
JP's Java -- coffee shop with good coffee drinks and lots of outlets for laptops

Places on my list that didn't manage to fit into my non-schedule:
Lambert's -- fancy BBQ
La Condessa  -- fancy Mexican
City Market [in Luling] -- old fashioned pit BBQ

and The Green Muse would have been my coffee shop of choice but they're still rebuilding after an arson fire in January.


  1. Hi! Just discovered you through David Lebovitz's site. As a fellow Texan who grew up in Houston, went to college in Georgetown and now lives overseas, I always enjoy finding other Texan blogs :-) I don't often make chili in Austria where I live now, but I'm tempted to try your recipe. Will definitely be back to check out your blog!

  2. Welcome! I've managed to woo a number of New Englanders with my chili recipe, so if you can find the ingredients in Austria, you might make yourself rather popular.