The 1st visitor!

Another awesome thing about Austin is that now that it’s become such a tourist hot-spot all my friends are eager to visit. The only problem is scheduling them all! Over my time in Austin, I’m going to catalog what I do with each guest to give you all ideas of what to do and where to take out-of-towners!

Besides a brief visit from my friend Rachel who was in town for work (happy hour at Licha’s Cantina), one of my very best friends from home was the first to visit. Her name is Kristen and we have gone to school together from kindergarten through high school and still remain extremely close.

Kristen arrived late Thursday night and we hit Dirty 6th Street like college kids. We started however at Firehouse Lounge, a classy hidden (behind a bookshelf!) cocktail bar in the Firehouse Hostel. The bartenders there are awesome and the music was total throwback which was perfect for us because it brought back all kinds of middle and high school memories. Then we ended up at Nook to dance and drink.

On Friday, we explored the South Congress area. But first- breakfast tacos (and queso!) from Torchy’s. Then we fueled up with delicious coffee at Jo’s (home of the “I love you so much” wall). For a great weekend splurge, you have to try their Iced Turbo or Belgian Bomber coffee (but only if you like sweet)! We worked our way down South Congress hitting up all the good stores- even if it was just to browse. Maya and The Impeccable Pig are two of my favorite boutiques in the area but Uncommon Objects is a fun place to get lost in.

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Torchy’s breakfast tacos

After being fully exhausted from shopping, we stopped for a quick drink at South Congress Cafe and then got lunch and margs at Hopdoddy’s (one of the best burgers in the area). Then we relaxed for a little at home. Unfortunately the weather was a little iffy the entire weekend so it rained on and off, blunting some of our outdoor plans. It cleared up by Friday night, and I introduced Kristen to the East Side, starting at Whisler’s and barhopping west until we hit home. We ended at Violet Crown Social which meant we HAD to get Via313  (genuine Detroit style pizza out of a truck, which if you don’t know what Detroit style is- it’s like Chicago deep dish but with a thin, buttery, and flaky crust). The Cadillac is the way to go hands down. Hey, we hadn’t had a proper dinner!

Cocktails at Whisler's
Cocktails at Whisler’s

On Saturday, we fueled up with Mexican coffees (the best thing ever) at Tamale House East (also has very good breakfast!). But we had other things to consider than migas and breakfast tacos that day. We were tackling BBQ! The rain was back but that was not going to dissuade us- we stood in line for the famous La Barbecue (thankfully under tents). Brisket, pulled pork, potato salad, coleslaw- it was all so good. And the guy cutting our meat gave us a taste of the brisket RIGHT out of the smoker- simply melts in your mouth. We brought it all home and devoured the spread at home. I don’t even normally like sides (unless it’s mac and cheese) but the potato salad was more like smashed potatoes and the coleslaw was super spicy. I would give it an A rating.

The La Barbecue truck
The La Barbecue truck

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After that gluttonous display, we pretty much lazed on the couch and watched television all day. Nothing wrong with that! Got to have time to re-energize so you’re ready for the next activity. Which was more food-clearly the main focus of this weekend’s agenda. We finished the Texas food trifecta and got Tex-Mex (BBQ and breakfast tacos are the others in case you were wondering). Fajitas and flautas and margaritas at Polvos- filling, yummy, and fairly inexpensive. Then a night out on Rainey Street, which because of the rain was restricted to just Bungalow (probably my most visited bar here).

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Finally to cap off the weekend, we had brunch at Hightower. We originally wanted to go to Josephine House but because of the rain, their seating was cut by 2/3 so without a reservation we were SOL. If you don’t get the chicken and waffles at Hightower, you’re just doing life wrong.

Plus a side of Build Your Own Bloody Mary
Plus a side of Build Your Own Bloody Mary

And then off she went to the airport! It was bittersweet but I can’t wait to be home for Christmas to see all my friends. My next visitor is in a week so stay tuned to see what we do then. Now, I’m off to Charlotte for the weekend, so will come back with a full report. I love exploring new (to me) cities!

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