Sunday, June 05, 2011

Snapshots of Austin, Texas

Visiting these places, in order, would comprise a perfect day in Austin. From top to bottom:
1. Breakfast tacos at Congress Ave. Grocery inside La Peña art gallery (corner of 3rd and N. Congress Ave.) are $1.00 each, and the real deal. The bean and cheese was really good, and I thought, kind of genius (how else would you want to eat beans for breakfast?). They're more like a little burrito than a taco, served warm wrapped in a small flour tortilla and foil, served with fresh salsa. And this one was better than the one I tried from Taco Deli.
2.Lunch at Franklin BBQ. See next post. Seriously worth the wait, but get in line before noon, otherwise you'll be out of luck. They sell out at about 1:00 p.m. If you don't live in the South, this will likely be the best BBQ of your life.
3. Ice cold beverage in the leafy courtyard at the Hotel San Jose.
4. Dinner at Uchiko. I was skeptical about sushi in the desert, but they really know what they're doing here, and then some. Ultra fresh hamachi to rival what I've had in Hawaii, and really creative (but not overdone) additions. I love how they serve sashimi on a mound of shaved ice, as pictured above (that was mackerel with tomato and shaved truffles - not my favorite, but beautiful). Standout dishes were the raw ones, especially the hamachi with Thai chili, the pork belly, and the desserts (big time talent at the pastry station). Great service and sexy dining room design, too.
5. A hot and breezy after dinner stroll on South Congress, under the neon lights of places like Fran's Hamburgers, feels so nice, with options to stop into one of the many bars for a margarita outside, or a craft cocktail inside. We found Woodland, which fell into the latter category, and I had an ultra-refreshing lavender gin rickey.
If you find yourself in Austin seeking live music, sophisticated cocktails, an amazing atmosphere (including silent Westerns projected in the background), a charming patio and speak-easy vibe (trust me - this is what you should be seeking), head across town to Eastside Showroom, one of the coolest bars I've been to, ever.

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