I may be a Louisiana girl at heart, but I’ve been living in Texas for nearly four years and Austin is throwing some major competition at New Orleans as one of my favorite weekend cities (NOLA, I can’t wait to see you next month!) and Johnny and I just returned from another wonderful, though not restful, weekend in Texas’ capital city.
As always, Johnny’s brother, Joey, showed us a good time and we collaborated to seek restaurants new to us. Friday night we tried Swift’s Attic with Joey, their dad and Shana, and enjoyed small plates and bites in the swanky downtown loft. Not just your typical handcrafted cocktail, each drink on the menu features an ice sphere infused with herbs and other flavors that intensify as the ice melts. Everything was excellent, from the Squid Fries, to the Cous Cous and the Meatballs on special that evening (pictured). After dinner, we headed downstairs to the Elephant Room to start the evening with some local jazz and were pleasantly surprised when a tap dancer joined the musicians.
Saturday called for brunch and we went to The Winflo Osteria, a neon house on West Sixth with quaint interiors and a killer Bloody Mary. An Italian joint serving up locally sourced ingredients, we had a nice sampling of brunch items, including Tiramisu French Toast and the Polenta Benedict, and one of the pizza pies, all of which sounded as amazing as the one we tried.
After brunch Johnny and I did some tourist-y things, visiting the original Whole Foods (seriously, it’s massive – just stop in, maybe even for lunch at one of the many “restaurants” within the store) and then later strolling down South Congress. It’s been a while since I had been down that way and I forgot how funky and eclectic the shops and sights could be. Johnny’s dad came and met us at Hotel San Jose, a retro-cool ranch hotel with greenery and a peaceful setting right in the middle of the city. We sat in the courtyard patio and I definitely recommend escaping here next time you visit.
Dinner was at East Side Show Room, another spot with assorted décor and a fantastic menu. Just east of 35, this area is apparently on the move and this spot is one to add to your list, but I especially recommend the Pickled Deviled Eggs, Mussels (you’ll want extra bread for the sauce!) and Pork Ribs that were perfectly seasoned and falling off the bone.
Finally, Sunday came down to brunch and goodbyes, along with visiting with Luke, Elizabeth and Ellie, Johnny’s brother, sister-in-law and niece. Unfortunately I’m without pictures to show, but we had a filling Mexican brunch buffet at Tacos & Tequila. A step above the normal offerings, you can pick from chicken and waffles, carved meat, traditional Mexican and brunch fare. I’ve been told it’s a great spot for other meals as well, and it’s a sister restaurant to Blue Mesa. As a side note, a second location is opening in Dallas in short order, so I’ll need to return to try out some tequila…
Austin, until next time… (and you can find me on the trail for a few extra laps this week!)