The day we traveled from New Orleans to Austin, we set an unfortunate precedent: eat breakfast, drive all day then eat dinner. I get grumpy, Whitney gets grumpy and it all just doesn't end in a nice relaxed evening over a cocktail, ya know?
Before I go on any further, here it is:
Anyway, it did lead to us rolling into Austin with an angry hunger. Miscue followed miscue and we were solving a problem when we went to our first food truck, Luke's Inside Out on Lamar Avenue and grabbed a drink before heading to bed to sleep off our misgivings for each other.
The next day (April 24th, for any of you keeping score at home) was going to be Whitney and Sam's food truck day. The sole goal of the day was eating and I was soooo game.
So let's get started: we parked the car on South Congress and hoofed it over to Mellizoz for breakfast. Fried avocado is something that ought to be mandatory to graduate high school, mmkay?
We picked up our breakfast dessert next door at Gourdough. We shared a flying pig, and thought it was pretty good. A bit too much glaze and the bacon should have been crispier. God, I sound like such a snob.
Booth of those places were on South 1st Street which is in the very trendy Bouldin Creek/South Congress neighborhoods. There are loads of boutique stores, cute little restaurants, a couple of expensive hotels, and a very cool art store called Parts & Labour (we almost bought a screen print by Mr. Doyle — watch your eyes now, this is a visual workout!). Most of the people we saw on the street were, by my standards anyhow, *very* well put together. Not in a stuck up way, in a very hip and trendy way. You'll see that fashion at American Apparel in the fall I'm guessing.
Well sated, we set out on foot due North to cross the Colorado. Only I had been to Austin before on a certain Kostya A.'s bachelor party a couple of months ago and my experience then was only of a pretty bro-ish part of town. So walking back into downtown I had to warn my compatriot: "now listen, this is a pretty bro-ish part of town."
Aside from being the UT campus, Austin is also the Texas state capitol. Hence it's not altogether surprising that there are lots of chain hotels and tall buildings in that wonderfully engaging government style architecture. The character of this part of town isn't all to different from a blank legal size piece of white paper.
We ventured down East 6th, past all my glorious memories of late January and passed under I-35. Compared to our last home town of Brooklyn, this most resembled the Bushwick area, I'd say. Part industrial, part residences with small local businesses sprinkled in between it was the place I'd feel the most at home in.
We zeroed in on La Barbecue and got ourselves some brisket and potato salad. They even did that whole "beers for a donation" thing! Great spot, no doubt.
I screamed for ice cream, so we set out to find Cow Tipping Creamery, only to realize they weren't at the location we had expected them (more tomorrow!). So instead we crossed back across the river and up South Congress for a frozen and an iced margarita at Guero's. Delicious by all accounts (was the heat distorting our judgment?) we then grabbed ice cream at Amy's. Whitney got some local brewery's beer infused concoction, while I went with something a little more traditional.
At this time we really wanted to do that nap thing we'd started in New Orleans all over again, but man, people were loud in the dorms at the hostel. Have they no decency?
We had no choice. Our hands were tied and so we headed back to South Congress to grab fried chicken at Ms. P's Electric Cock. Yes, I took a picture of the sign.
While in Austin, we didn't want to miss the opportunity to go to one of their Alamo Drafthouse theaters. We'd been going this way and that weighing the different options and locations. In the end we got tickets to "Noah", a movie I had worked on way back when I used to work in New York.
For two days. I worked on "Noah" for two days.
If you haven't been to a Alama Drafthouse theater, you really ought to go. I'd been to the Nighthawk in Williamsburg and it's just a nice experience all around. You can order food (popcorn!) and drinks from your seat. The audience is pretty small and people are really there to watch the movie and nothing else.
We didn't get food though so the our last geil rating is for the popcorn and the popcorn only and I cede it to judge Whitney to make the call, she is the expert on such matters:
Fat and happy we headed back to our Hostel*. I couldn't wait to get the sleeping thing over with, cuz tomorrow we're gonna go swimming!
P.S.: I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, but out of all the hostel's we'd stayed at thus far the Hostelling International Austin was our least favorite. They're nice people and the staff works hard to stay on top of things. Our main complaints are ill equipped sleeping quarters (not enough outlets, not enough storage for each guest) and a complete lack of rules for the dorms. Most other hostels wouldn't allow food in the dorm area nor that guests hang out in them, unless they were resting with clearly outlined quiet hours. We really didn't spend any more time there than we had to, because of the unpleasant atmosphere. Anyway, 'nuff said. (Note from Whitney: on our last night we came very late, only to discover someone else sleeping in Sam's bed, so there's that too.)
P.P.S.: In trying to catch up, there are tons of new pictures up on the flickr photostream!
Random facts and statistics from Austin:
Whitney kept a running and highly sophisticated scientific tally of the cars we saw en route to Austin in order to establish the Ford truck dominance on Texas' roads. This sample was collected on Interstate 10, while heading west between 5:30pm and 6:33pm. The results are in:
- (10) F-150 trucks
- (12) Other trucks
- (43) All other vehicles