This month, I had the pleasure of spending eight days with my sister at her home in Austin, TX. It was an ideal escape from the icy, February winds of DC. I always enjoy my trips to Austin. It’s such a funny little place. As soon as I step off the plane, I’m bombarded with representations of Texas- longhorns (on t-shirts, hats, and tattooed on people’s skin), cowboy boots on nearly everyone’s feet, and that big, wide-open blue sky. Someone once told me that Austin is the Texas of Texas. I had no clue what that meant. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
I typically make it down to Austin once per year. My sister (Allison) is always a gracious host, taking me to all the new, trendy spots and watching me gorge on Tex-Mex without judgment. But, because of my wedding last October, it had been over a year since I visited and I missed it sorely.
The first place Allison took me was Perla’s- an adorable, upscale seafood restaurant and oyster bar on South Congress Ave. She kept going on about their famous lobster roll and I could hardly wait to taste it.
We were in a very “ladies who lunch” mood, so we ordered a couple of glasses of light, bubbly Gruet Brut Rose (a New Mexico sparkling wine) to start. It was a terrific pick that I’d recommend to anyone looking for something refreshing and not too sweet.
After a few sips of bubbly, we ordered the Crab Louie with cornmeal fried green tomatoes to warm up our palates. We took our time, not wanting to rush into the lobster roll.
And after that, we opted to taste one more dish off the menu. Why not? Then we’d be ready for that lobster roll. So, we ordered the Sautéed Shrimp Caesar Salad which was immensely flavorful and rich with buttery pan drippings that had been poured over the lettuce. I ate every bite with abandon.
And then I was full. I had no room left for the pinnacle lobster roll. It was heartbreaking, but I simply could not force another bite.
So, we headed out to explore South Congress, a fun, touristy part of town. We strolled up and down the avenue, popping in a few shops.
Austin has an impressive food truck scene. We meandered over to an area where all the trucks were parked with picnic tables and benches for outside seating. DC has a growing food truck movement as well, but I like how Austin’s seems rooted, like it isn’t going to budge.
Then, it was time for happy hour! Hefeweizens on the patio at Doc’s.
After, we headed home to the pups for playtime.
Junebug is a pit bull, lab mix who is curious about everything and has a heart of gold.
Duke is a sweet mutt who is loving and patient with his hyper little sister.
On Saturday, we were invited out to a friend’s ranch for an engagement party. I’d never been to a Texas ranch before so I was keen to check it out.
The landscape was arid and brittle, but actually reminded me a lot of being at my in-law’s farm in NC. It had that distinctly peaceful quality of being out in the middle of nowhere. You could see all the stars at night and there was no one else around for miles.
The coolest part was that we got to sleep in these old Airstream trailers. Three Points Ranch is not only a family ranch, but a wedding venue and these trailers serve as mini suites for newlyweds and family to sleep in at the reception sight.
Stay tuned for part II next time. There’s much more to come!
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