Friday, August 06, 2010

Where I've Been - Austin, TX

Best summer ever started out in Austin, Texas. Over one of many breakfasts at my new fav neighborhood spot The Grey Dog (go for the breakfast quesadillas), James and I decided to have a Texas weekend. I wanted cowboy hats, great Mexican food, great barbecue, and a chance to go line-dancing. Done, done, done and done, sweetie.

Having never been to Texas, the general consensus from friends and a quick Web search was that Austin was the best bet for two confirmed bachelors who wanted to visit the Lone Star State. Besides, the city's unofficial motto "Keep Austin Weird" was inviting enough versus, say, Dallas', "Home to George W. Bush." While I didn't find Austin to be "weird," everyone was exceedingly polite and the city itself has a young energy about it that reminded me of Boston. This is, after all, a college town. It's also perfect for a long weekend if you want to get a little bit country without fearing for your life in some backwater shantytown. In two full days, you can tack off the bars of 6th Street, the city's main drag for restaurants and bars ( it's a little pedestrian if you ax me), the warehouse district (just a block over across South Congress Avenue) which is a bit more urbane and home to most of the city's gay bars and more upscale restaurants, along with some cultural landmarks. A car is a must around here, especially if you want to head out to Barton Springs, the LBJ Presidential Library and pretty much anything else that's not in the South Congress (SoCo) area.

In addition to gorging ourselves -- we drove to Driftwood in the Texas hills to have a proper BBQ experience at The Salt Lick, had terrific Mexican at Maria Maria (owned by Carlos Santana, not that that drew us there, we just found out when we read the menu) and I had my first-ever bacon-and-cheddar-infused Bloody Mary at Frank (proud purveyors of artisanal sausage and gourmet coffees) along with a pulled pork omelette. Sights worth checking out:

Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum

Barton Springs

Texas State House


The Basics

Getting there:
JetBlue has a non-stop out of JFK, we scored a deal via Twitter, where the airline pushes out discount fares on Tuesdays via @JetBlue

Stay here:
We stayed at the Intercontinental on South Congress; it was a five minute walk away from the State House, 6th Street and warehouse district.

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