Thursday, March 18, 2010

Austin, Texas

Ryan and I love this town. We made our third trip to the great state of Texas, and spent a lovely weekend with two of our favorite people- Lori & Brendan. As always, there was a fair amount of eating and drinking, and good times to be had! If you haven’t been, put it on the list. SO great! Beautiful weather this time of year, warm sunny days (enough for me to get a sunburn) cool nights, and for the music lovers, the SXSW festival. Here are a few highlights from this trip, and a shout out or two for places that are just must-visits:

Gueros- This place is awesome goodness. Now on our third trip, I can confirm that this is a time & again classic. I highly recommend the chicken enchiladas with verde sauce. The salsa is spicy and fresh, the chips are great, but the margaritas really steal the limelight! I seem to remember from prior visits that the queso here is pretty damn amazing too. Don’t miss it!

Doc’s- Cute little lunch spot with ample outdoor seating. Nothing special bar food, good ice tea, and a convenient location.

Uncle Billy’s- barbecue joint offering items like “brisket” “moist brisket” and the like. Try the beer sampler of their house-made brews and receive 6 different tastes.

Steiner ranch steakhouse- We had cocktails at the outdoor bar and watched the setting sun over the lake. Live music added to the vibe, and the place definitely can boast an amazing view. I was a little disappointed that the wine list was fairly limited by the glass, but did have a tasty pour of a blanc de blanc. We didn’t try the food, though rumor has it the steak is quite good. Worth a drive on a pretty day!

Carlos & Charlies- Right on the marina, somewhere outside of Austin, this place is more or less a bucket of fun. The restaurant has a kitschy vibe, with outdoor bars and seating, and lots of neon. We snacked on some wings, which my husband declared both very spicy and really good. Ry & Brendan sampled the oysters and peel & eat shrimp, and Lori & I had Caesar salads. I have to admit that the wings smelled pretty amazing and tempted me to eat some meat, but I managed to get a hold of myself! There was a plethora of fruity drinks and margaritas to be had to wash down our tasty food.

Buenos Aires Café- Another South Austin restaurant we tried on this trip was the BA Café. I have to preface this by saying Ry & I are totally snobby about Argentinean cuisine, having found most of the restaurants to be somewhat inauthentic in flavors and quality. That being said, this place had charm and very good dessert, though maybe not all we dreamed of for our entrees. We started with empanadas, not really the first food that pops to mind when I think of the Tango nation, and they were a bit disappointing. The shells seemed heavy and as though they had sat a while after hitting the fryer. The spinach and cheese filling was a bit bland, and Ryan suspected that the tuna empanada was not the freshest. I had a spinach salad for my entrée, that was fresh and tasty, but perhaps a little overdressed. Ryan ordered a steak special that he really enjoyed. The steak was well seasoned and cooked, and served with asparagus and mashed potatoes. Brendan had the beef Milanese, but after seeing Ryan’s, wished he’d gone with the steak special too.

Hiball- One of Austin's "hot spots" of the moment, this new bar features an old-fashioned bowling alley and private karaoke rooms!! The wait for bowling was quite long, but the rooms were open ASAP, so we went for the karaoke! Ryan was a beast unleashed- singing all sorts of songs, and really rocking out to "Rapper's Delight". Fun times!! I of course had to sing a song by my all-time fav- Madonna.

Mighty Fine Burger- The burger, Ry tells me, was indeed fine- and for a fast food joint, high quality. It has a large, real beef patty- and tasty fixins. But what really knocked my socks off was the chocolate milkshake! They use vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup- and it tastes like a chocolate milk- milkshake! SO good. Thank god this is in Austin or I would be here about once a week, no joke!!

Baby Alcapulco’s

Last but not least, we visited "Baby A's" for Queso and slushy margaritas- complete with secret ingredients: everclear. There were a ton of flavors to pick from- including prickly pear- and all packed a punch! Two seems to be the limit- though I abstained, Ry and Brendan were feeling quite good!!

Oh yes, and a shout out for the best BBQ EVER, though we did not return on this trip, but have loved in trips past-


Don't ask questions, just take my word for it. Best BBQ EVER.

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