A Little Trip to the Lone Star State

This past week I got a chance to travel for work. It’ll be last non-local travel until I’m back from maternity leave so I had to take advantage of it. I’m not often given the opportunity to travel outside the state (but when I do it’s dangerously close to my due date and I have to refuse- er!) so making the most of each trip has been key.

This time I was being sent to Fort Hood (Killeen) Texas for a career fair. In case you don’t know that’s delightfully close to Austin. To make the most of a trip to Austin you must do two things. 1. You must eat very well. 2. You must go swimming. Otherwise you may not survive. And you just don’t know what you’re doing.

Austin Eating:

Snooze-

Snooze is a relatively new “A.M.” eatery which basically means it’s a breakfast/brunch place. I thought it was delicious and adorable but my eating companions did order various types of eggs Benedict and they were all- tiny. So just don’t get that.

Black’s BBQ-

Eating BBQ was a priority for me this trip. After an afternoon of swimming we weren’t interested in driving all over the countryside. Luckily since I’ve left Austin some of the best hill country restaurants have opened up locations in town, including Black’s! We all ordered way too much food and ate until our eyes bulged. It was totally worth it. This is the BBQ way.

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Juiceland-

So many delicious smoothie and juice options in Austin! Why don’t we have this in Wilmington?

Kebabilicious-

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Sa-ten-

I worked here one afternoon and really enjoyed it. By chance, my brother-in-law was also working remotely there. I sampled his lunch and it was insanely delicious. I have to figure out how to recreate it.

Vera Cruz-

We ate from the Vera Cruz food truck at Radio during bluegrass night which was delicious but didn’t rock my world or anything. The music and beautiful outdoor area there is awesome though.

Via 313-

So glad I didn’t leave Austin without a ladies night out dinner with Via 313. I would have certainly regretted it. That is a pizza with balsamic reduction and PROSCUITTO. Get overwhelmed.

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Swimming:

McKinney Falls is a nice, although more expensive alternative, to Barton Springs. We weren’t prepared for the line or the crowds so we headed east instead of into town for this swim time. I’ve gotten a little spoiled now that my swimming life is almost entirely in the Intracoastal Waterway or the ocean but this dip saved me from insanity. Texas, you are too damn hot.

Baby Love:

The best part of my trip? I experienced my very first baby shower as a mama-to-be! It was incredible. I can’t express how loved I felt.

There were peanut butter chocolate cupcakes, baby rubber ducks floating in mocktails, only ONE game and it wasn’t embarrassing in the least AND it was co-ed. Perfection.

I wish Tyler could have been there and that I could have spent more time with everyone who came. It was incredibly special.

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Texas Beer: A Connoisseur’s Dilemma

As previously stated I’m at the prime of 24 which means I’ve recently entered the age where I drink beers based on their quality rather than price. This is a new thing and not necessarily a regular thing as I am also still poor.

Coming from the land of North Carolina we don’t have an overwhelming number of great local microbrews but every year it gets better and if you’re in the area of Asheville, then you’re definitely in luck. Asheville Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing, and Highland are only the first ones that pop to mind. My mouth starts to water as I think about a Pisgah Solstice. If you really are in the area then stop by Barley’s Taproom where they have 55 beers on tap, many of them local.

But as a young person the important thing is to know our inexpensive beer of choice. In NC we proudly stand behind:

But not say as much as this guy:

Yes, that is a man with his PBR coffin

And usually not as much as this guy:

Classy people usually run rampant with PBR. Obviously.

In Texas I’ve tasted only a few “nice” beers. I’ve sampled (translation: gotten drunk off of) the Thirsty Goat Amber and the Buckethead IPA made by Thirsty Planet. The Amber is pretty strong, two got me feeling pretty good. And the Buckethead IPA was almost too hoppy for me, but I’m a light weight. Overall I would definitely order both again. I’ve been to Uncle Billy’s BBQ and Brew where they make a good Blonde and have excellent rotating beers on tap.

But obviously my texas beer training has been focused in the under $4 arena. The Shiner Bock proved to be the easy drinking beer of people not quite willing to purchase a Lone Star. But Lone Star you are truly the beer for me.  Your tallboy cans (convenient indeed), your watery taste has  just enough flavor and kick to keep me coming back for more. I’ll two-step the night away drinking your fine elixir cause I’m in Texas now, and a Texas girl I’d better be.

Any beer that calls itself the “national” beer of texas is pretty sassy and should be drunk by the case. Go out and by yourself one.

For a good source of information about Texas beers check out tipsytexan.com

Bring It On, Texas

It’s almost a new year and it’s a time for setting goals into motion. Ideas and intentions need to be revived and re-energized.  The last blog I wrote was all about exploring Australia and discovering the ins and outs of being a solo traveler. We laughed, we cried, we asked for more pictures.

Now, I am taking on a task that may seem small time after the big Oz but it’s just as daunting.

I moved to Texas.

Growing up, I learned to dislike Texas. My dear old dad fled the state over 25 years ago looking for four individual seasons (not scorching hot and sort of mild), people who won’t cry over football games and a fresh start. I heard all about the arrogance of Texans (Sorry Dad, you’re not exempt), the love for guns, the terrible heat. When I got older and found myself in love with the finer things in life: art, music, travel, wine, and new possibilities, I knew I would never move to Texas. It would be suffocating both physically and emotionally.

But then I heard about Austin.

Soon after graduating college, I decided that my ultimate goal was to scare myself. Every life choice should be a challenge, an obstacle to make me stronger and more self-aware. And through these choices, I hope to become better equipped to find out what it is in life I’m truly after.

What’s scarier than a liberal moving to Texas? Kidding. Austin is obviously a haven for such people but of course, I don’t know any of these other people. I know a total of 4 people in Austin (two of whom are out of town). I don’t have a job and my financial safety net dwindles by the minute but it’s a recession and people everywhere are getting by. I can too.

I’ve started this blog to keep me motivated in the face of economic and social depression to explore Austin, explore Texas, and conquer the fear of going out into this so-called “real world”.

In the meantime I have a lovely lady to keep me company, Frank Two (didn’t name her, not my cat):