The Turkey Lobbyist’s Travel Guide to Austin, TX (Alternative Title)
Okay, so this post is a LONG one. But if you want the short version, I’ll give it to you quick and dirty. Austin is AWESOME!
The food was superb– I am still dreaming about it. The music scene is alive–it pours on to 6th Street with rich abandon. The bar crowd is uproarious– apparently a flaming Dr. Pepper is the most famous Austin offering. The suburbs of those rolling green hills are well manicured– the wedding we attended was beautiful. The hipsters are myriad– outnumbered only by the food trucks. The State Capital is gorgeous– dwarfed only by Willie Nelson and he’s not an Austinite, just a Texan.
Did I mention the food?!?
As I’ve said before, I often have several working titles for each post. But this alternative is my favorite by far. And true.The alternative title is true! We got a kick-bottom tour of Austin from a friend who really is a lobbyist for turkeys. Or is it Turkey? Anyway, he’s a lobbyist.
Our reason for visiting Austin, other than hearing one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE musicians, Bob Schneider, was to attend the wedding of some dear friends. Bob, however, was not to be found. He happened to be playing in Greenville, or Corpus Christi, or Fort Worth, I don’t remember. Long story short, the King of Austin wasn’t in the Capital City. A bummer, not a deal breaker.
Now to suss out the connection to the turkey lobbyist. The wedding of this particular friend dates back to our days in Washington D.C. The city tour guide bloomed out of our long-ago ties to that rat pack. Virginia based DINKS on the cusp of political stardom, Windy-city freelance writers formerly of Entrepreneur, tech-startup geeks with computer screen gleams in their eye, and coruscating consultants with Price-Waterhouse in their resumes.
In all reality, we can only hold the turkey lobbyist responsible for the viewing of the Flaming Dr. Pepper. As well as the fantastic live music at The Continental. For bulk of this travel diary we toured on our own.
Let’s begin our tour with food, shall we? Because that’s where this tour truly began. And ended, for that matter. An Austin City sandwich.
That’s where it all started. But not just any sandwich. A VEGAN BARBECUE sandwich called the McFib (see above) at a local vegan hot-spot called Bouldin Creek Cafe. Where the beef was as absent as a shower on the locals.
Let’s not disparage others’ views of personal hygiene. This place was the BOMB. Where else in the world can you get BARBECUE that’s VEGAN, and walk away feeling that you have CHECKED the barbecue box off your Austin City Must-See List?
If you are a vegetarian looking for a mouth riot, or a simply a tourist looking for superb food fare, Bouldin is THE PLACE! If you order the McFib and a Wanna BLT, along with a Raspberry Sour, and pick up a vegan brownie on the way out and you’ll have recreated our meal at Bouldin.
If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you’ll know that my husband and I cycle. He’s a cyclist, and I’m a bike rider. Talk to any roadie to be instructed in the difference between these bicycling breeds. Regardless of your spin on bikes, Mellow Johnny’s is an Austin Must-See.
The shop is owned by Lance Armstrong. Now we’ve opened up another interesting discussion point, but here again, regardless of your views on Armstrong, the shop is the bees knees! Almost as good as our home town shop in Heber Valley 😉
With bikes as far as the eye can see. Enough swag to sink a small container ship, and internationally renowned pro-performace training at Pedal Hard Training in the basement. Plus you get to see all 7 Yellow Jersey’s on display. What’s the line, “they can’t take that away from me“? Wow! Just WOW!
If you thought I was finished with food, you’d be mistaken. We woke the next morning with time to kill before the wedding and wandered over to the local Whole Foods Market for one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. Here’s my plug for globalism. Isn’t it great to know that you can get that same breakfast sandwich ANYWHERE? I mean, soon, they’ll have one in Italy. #amiright ?
Not only did I pound that breakfast sandwich on ciabatta bread, I treated myself to a post-breakfast croissant. You might be wondering if the croissant constituted it’s own breakfast, and you would be absolutely right if I didn’t abide by the zero calorie vacation philosophy.
Oh, you didn’t know? Food on vacation contains zero calories. Thereby allowing you to consume as much as you’d like! Try it next time. I think you’ll see what I mean.
This experience was so very Gotham like I don’t know how Austin has managed to keep a Bat Light out of its skyline. Maybe in some bat cave recess of my brain I had heard about this nightly bat exodus from under Congress Avenue Bridge, but we really ended up there to meet up with friends to explore the city.
It was an incredible sight. Bat.con international boasts, “Every summer night, hundreds of people gather to see the world’s largest urban bat colony emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin, Texas. These 1.5 million bats are fun to watch, but they’re also making our world a better place to live.”
It’s all about bugs, people. Bats eat bugs. Bugs in the 10,000 to 20,000 pounds-per-night range. No wonder Austin’s skyline was so pristine. I don’t know what more to say about this quirky, off-beat, touristy sighting, but I’m glad we got to view the stream of bats exiting the bridge in a furry that looked more like a rushing plume of black cinders than an dusk to dawn feeding frenzy.
We went to Austin with the understanding that it is the Live Music Capital of the World, and the offerings did not disappoint. When you’re walking down 6th street and every pub, bar, and eatery has music rippling out onto the street, you know you’ve hit Live-band gold.
We wended our way down the entire length of 6th street and our turkey lobbyist gave us gems and tid-bits of history about some of the joints. Antone’s where Stevie Ray Vaughn was discovered. Frequented by the likes of Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles himself, and our personal fav Bob Schneider plays there, as well.
We took in the tunes of the 24th Street Wailers at The Continental Club. A rock n’ roll n’ group with a killer lead singer/drummer named Lindsay Beaver. Stage name? Perhaps. But their music was jumping it was jiving, it was causing crowds to get of their arses and dance! I loved every minute of the show.
This subject is out of my realm. If you need an in-person guide to bars in Austin, TX, my recommendation is to ask your local turkey lobbyist.
On our last day in Austin we went in search of our final sandwich, a breakfast sandwich. I’d heard-tell of Hillside Farmacy on the inter webs. I honestly don’t know if it was a friend, or Instagram, or another blog, but my husband was game so we packed our bags and headed out for our final Austin food fare.
He ordered the Fried Egg Sandwich. I ordered the Sunny Coast Croissant, add avocado and eggs, and we were yummming and ummmmmmming all the way through the meal. Somehow I finished my mountainous sandwich and wanted MORE. I really, really wanted one last chocolate croissant. So that is what we did. We ate MORE.
I want to begin this vignette with the statement “Easy Tiger is the best bakery in Austin, TX.” But with no more background than a two day quickie to back me up, I’m pretty sure I’m no authority.
Oh, whatever. Easy Tiger is the best bakery in Austin. After the delicious offering at Hillside Farmacy it was time to get my zero calorie second breakfast on! We actually asked the waiter at Hillside for his recommendation of the “Best Chocolate Croissant in Austin”. He sent us to Easy Tiger, so I’m going use his authority in this matter.
That recommendation and my tastebuds do not lie! That chocolate croissant was flaky-pasterie-perfection heaven. If my gut didn’t have such a low tolerance for breads these days, I’d have ordered seven to take home with me on the spot!
In lieu of the croissants I wanted to pack in my carry-on but thought better, we got a couple loaves of their artisan bread– sour dough and an Italian loaf. Gifts for family and friends who had cared for our kiddos and puppy while we were away. It was the perfect taste of Austin to pass on.
If you are looking for a city that delights, an city that excites, a city that has a lot to offer midst the rolling green of Texas hill country, Austin is IT! I left wanting more. We’d go back in a heartbeat, and maybe we’ll make this a stop on a winter getaway sometime. I hope your Friday is as flavorful as all of Austin. Have a fabulous day, and a savory weekend.