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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

don't mess with texas

a last minute call to a vrbo (vacation rentals by owner) proved to fruitful and we secured an apartment in austin for a discounted rate, and because of the affordability we stayed an extra night.  once we crossed over into texas, austin was still about 2 and 1/2 hours away.  we drove through houston around 11:00 p.m. with huge pickups passing left and right.  finding a rest stop at rest about an hour south of austin, we pulled off to hit the hay.

up and at'em early after a really good night's sleep in the car (we now have it down to a science), we were ready to take the city on!  using the localscope app, we were able to find this tasty, on tx 71, breakfast burrito and bbq joint, fitties.  


 a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit,



breakfast burrito with bacon, egg, 
and cheese, 


and the marty (spicy shredded beef with potatoes, beans, and cheese's texas, why wouldn't ya?!?) made for a most fantastic way to get the morning started.

a place for the whole family!

needing to stock up on provisions, tofu tollbooth led us to wheatsville food coop.  the market was big enough without being overwhelming and offered an array of local and organic choices.  here we found kosmic kombucha growlers, (most interesting flavor:  cherry nugent-organic kombucha, organic black cherry juice, organic maple & chocolate) buddha’s brew, local gruyere and sharp cheddar, farm fresh eggs, yogurt, and all the fixings for dinner in.

the apartment is southwest of downtown just a short walk to zilcker park, home to barton springs and the disc golf course.  sunday funday began after getting settled.  went on a long walk in the park to get our bearings, escher was taking it in and enjoying all the sights, smells, and trees.

even a little tree climbing!

it was awesome getting to take advntage of the kitchen and we made dinner.  a nice clean piece of meat, with local sautéed mushrooms and onions,  organic artichokes (gorgeous shape and color) with a homemade mayonnaise, gruyere, sunflower sprouts and lemon juice dipping sauce, and a local sunflower sprout salad with a spicy carrot and radish slaw.  the living room was so comfy with big windows with great view, it's called "the treehouse".  everyone was glad to have the space to spread out and get a good night’s rest and watch the football playoffs.

game time beverages:  local brew and a becker malbec (with a splash of cherry nugent kombucha and rhubarb bitters...yum!)
next morning marked a first bikram yoga experience for emily.   there was a bit of hesitation at first, however, by the end, it was easy to gain an understanding and appreciation for the instruction and flow of the class.  after that, we checked out the disc golf course.  it was easy to navigate with short fareways and the dog enjoyed the walk.  

an under the tree shot by pete...

emily jumped in for the first 9 holes.

barton springs is an underground, spring-fed pool about three acres big.  the water is an average of 68 degrees year round and is very refreshing.

free this time of year, we took advantage of the beautiful day and went for a dip.  on both sides grassy hills slow toward the water and offer a perfect place to sit back and dry off.

ready to celebrate the day, we headed northwest of downtown to contigo, a modernly rustic restaurant with yummy happy hour deals.  it's totally worth the crunchy green beans, discounted craft beers and refreshing cocktails.

an assortment of olive marinated in citrus fennel seed oil, meatballs (made from contigo ranch meat) with homemade pasta and arugala, and the crunchy green beans with a chipotle aioli.

these little purplish-green ones were super tasty!

in the mood for tasting a lot of what austin had to offer, we went next to barley swine for some small plates.  first up, the gulf shrimp, hominy, chorizo, citrus marinated cabbage, 

next the pork belly with carrots, lavender, pumpkin seeds,

rounding out the savories with braised beef, coffee, barbequed beans, potato, radish.  desert was so inviting that we couldn't even stop to get a picture!  it was a pumpkin cheese cake with wattle seed, pistachio, and rum caramel.  boom.  done.

after dinner it was all about walking down sixth street to wonder and take in the sounds.  it was so cool to walk into a bar, no cover, listen to the music and decide to stay or go.

goodnight austin.  (view from apartment balacony)

lots of dog walks, thrift shopping, and regrouping took place over the rest of our time in austin.

the morning we left, we started the day off with fresh squeezed juice, stopped at boggy creek farm where, the husband and wife, farmers are at the stand there to answer questions, talk about what is available, and how to cook with it.  grabbed some more produce, eggs and homemade english muffs for the road.

just south of austin is lockhart, texas bbq capital.  there are four restaurants to choose from, all boasting the best.  we decided on going to the oldest joint, black's bbq.  both of us downed two huge plates of meat.  pete had brisket and short ribs and emily had spare ribs and jalepino cheddar sausage, each one coming with a plethora of sides to choose from.  thank goodness for the juice that morning!  made a quick stop at kreuz market to see what it was all about, bought some breakfast sausage and will definitely try this bbq joint next. 

driving 290 w out of austin is stop-and-go, however, quite pleasant visually.  it takes you past farms of sheep and cattle grazing, through texas wine country, and two small towns, johnson city and fredericksburg, worth some further exploration in the future.  fourteen miles outside of johnson city is the lbj state park, offering everything from trails and wildlife to education and history.  this was a great last stop on our lone star state adventure!