It's so much fun to explore new cities, especially with some fabulous girls. And that's just what we did last weekend in Austin, Texas. Good shopping, fun people watching, and great food and drinks (as you'll definitely see below!)
We lucked out the first night and found a great little bar called Max's Wine Dive. Gourmet comfort food and an extensive wine list in a great space with exposed brick walls and not-too-much, but just enough seating to feel like you're lucky to be there, but not on top of everyone else who's just as lucky. We liked it so much that we stopped in two out of the three days we were in Austin. The first night for apps and wine and the next day for a post mani / pedi happy hour. Hey, I told you it was a girls trip. The hummus was terrific, as was the Max & Cheese. We also had the Tres Fritos, a trio of fried green tomatoes, fried okra and fried dill pickles, and the Cheese Course. Random? Yes. Would I do it again? No doubt about it. Did I mention we had dessert, too? The Half & Half is an embarrassingly huge serving of (half) decadent, rich brownie and (half) bread putting, both topped with gelato. Thank goodness Austin is a walking city.
You know how after you eat a big meal you can't possibly think you'll ever eat again, yet when you wake up the next morning you're starving? If that happens to you when you're in Austin, you should head over to 1886 Cafe & Bakery at The Driskill Hotel and you won't be hungry for long. (Clockwise below... just in case you're able to get there) Mimosas, clearly. Chocolate Croissant, (massive) Cinnamon Roll, both made in house. Ginger Snap Pancakes: crushed ginger snaps, blueberries inside and out, vanilla glaze... how quickly do you think I can get back to Austin? Driskell Granola and yogurt, and the Paris Benedict: ham, croissant, brie, hollandaise... wow. And, yes, we ate here twice, too.
Really, we did do more than just eat while we were in Austin... I just somehow didn't manage to get pictures of any of it and, hey, this is a food blog, right? Right. Let's get back to it. Guero's Taco Bar... we saw this the first day on South Congress and didn't make it back over there for a couple of days, but boy am I glad we did. There are several tacos you can choose from (among many other things), but I ended up with an Al Pastor which had marinated pork, cilantro, onions and pineapple - really fresh - and a Fish taco with grilled fish, shredded cabbage and corn, and this really tasty creamy chipotle tequila mayo. Delish!
We didn't get a chance to eat there (big surprise), but we did stop for mid-afternoon drinks at Perla's. What can I say, their big, tree covered outdoor patio and cute red and white striped chairs just called to us.
The last night, we were able to snag a table at Bess Bistro on Pecan. Have you heard of it? No worries, it's just owned by the Best Actress winner of the 2010 Academy Awards... no big deal. Apparently they're booked for weeks out, so if you're planning a trip do yourself a favor and make a reservation. We just happened to get to the restaurant at the right time and the hostess was so nice to let us keep the table warm for it's upcoming reservation.
My sister and I split the Chopped Cobb Salad with lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, avocado, and Stilton blue cheese dressing topped with a soft cooked egg. She had the Shepherd's Pie - made with lamb that night - and I couldn't resist the Chicken Pot Pie with it's flaky crust all folded over the hot cast iron skillet it was served in. One of our friends had the Croque Monsieur and the other had a special that night - grilled salmon over white and green asparagus over a grit cake with a balsamic reduction. As if that wasn't enough (we're on vacation, remember?), we had the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. (Sorry Sandra, but Max's wins that award.) It was a delicious dinner for our last night in Austin.
And now, back to reality... and my treadmill.