Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thanksgiving 2016 in Austin and Dallas

Saturday, Nov. 19th

I had been thinking about visiting Austin ever since my in-laws moved to Texas, a few years ago. We enjoyed it very much, but I'd like to visit it again in another season when the bats are not hibernating and the temps are warmer for Barton Springs Pool.

Congress Avenue

Instagram Story - Walking to Frank

Our room wasn't ready, so we had the bellhop store our suitcases and walked to lunch. When my girlfriend Chrissy said she loved Frank and ate there TWICE on her last visit, I knew it was going to be good. (It was!)

Chicago Dog with a side of German Potato Salad - I loved mine. 

Scott Babe's Texalina with a side of the Corn Cup

South Congress Avenue strip

After lunch, we took "Ride Austin" (the city's equivalent to Uber) to South Congress for some shopping.

Allens Boots
Allens Boots was a great store. Price point for all budgets.


Yard Dog Art Gallery -- I took no photos of this gallery, but I do recommend it if you are on that block with Allens Boots and Tesoros!

Hilton Garden Inn

The Hilton Garden Inn downtown was priced so right that I didn't consider other hotels. My girlfriend, Marcia, recommends the Hotel San Jose on South Congress. I will definitely check that one out if we get another opportunity to see Austin again.

I chose Hopfields for dinner because of The New York Times' "36 Hours in Austin" article. I've had great luck with their suggestions, though I think this one could have been better.  Don't get me wrong, it was good, just not great. I wonder if that's because the restaurant was celebrating their 5th anniversary. The menu was limited for the celebration and service was off. The large round table next to us was cleared by the waiter by flinging the crumbs onto me. I was horrified. I did speak up. I don't think he'll fling crumbs again.

Sunday, Nov. 20th

Easy Tiger

I discovered Easy Tiger, an amazing bakery below our hotel on the 6th St. side. It's also a beer garden! Such a cool space. I would absolutely visit both again. Their iced coffee was too bitter for my taste buds, but their regular coffee hit the spot. And don't get me started with their pastries. Do they ship?!

Dirty 6th
I didn't know 6th Street (next to our hotel) was nicknamed Dirty 6th until one of our drivers said it!

I don't mind a dive bar and do visit them from time to time, but this particular street was a lot to tolerate because of the vocal beggars. The photos above were all taken when I was venturing early in the morning for coffee and getting familiar with my surroundings while Scott Babe slept in a bit.

Congress Avenue

Hip little Austin and Dallas chain grocery store.

Shop kitty Jeffrey
 Something for everyone at Wild About Music! No surprise, I was quickly drawn to the kitty cat stuff.

Scott Babe staying fit at the hotel!

Stiles Switch BBQ

(Recommended to us by my gf Wendy's friend Daniel)
Why not?
We LOVED our lunch and will go back to Stiles on our next visit to Austin.

The Blanton Museum of Art

Instagram Story

Back to our hotel and Easy Tiger
Such a great selection of everything!

Azul Rooftop Bar at the Westin hotel

Instagram story of the sunset


I'm glad we checked out the chain, Torchy's, because it has rave reviews on Yelp from both locals and tourists alike, but we didn't love it.  Maybe they were having an off night (or existence)? We will absolutely go back to Tyson's, which I write about shortly.

Rainey Street
Aside from our good eats at Frank, Stiles, and Tysons, Rainey Street was my favorite thing in Austin. These bungalow-style homes from the '30s were converted into bars! And a nice selection of food trucks to boot! So much fun! 
Parlor Room  
Check out their website -- Look what is happening in the backyard! LOVE! Also check out their events calendar. I would love to go back and do their Sunday "Big Band Brunch"!
Overall, Rainey Street was quiet because it was a Sunday night.  We stopped at Lucille's and had a couple of rounds of drinks. I thought the DJ was great. I would absolutely go back to this neighborhood if we get the opportunity to visit Austin again. 

Craft Pride - My food blogger friend, Linda, recommended their pizza.
We were too stuffed to try it. :( Next time!

Monday, Nov. 21st

I'm not usually the jealous type.  However, when I was in line at the Easy Tiger bakery, the women in front of me all had their fall clothes on. "I own cute booties! I own gorgeous sweaters!" I though to myself. Sadly, I packed for summer with 2 pairs of sandals and all light-weight clothes. I swear the weather said 70's when I checked a dozen times. As a hipster Austinite was waiting for his latte to the side, he eyed me from head to toe and approached me with a high five. We were dressed the same: white jeans and a jean jacket. I smiled at him and laughed. This was funny!
 He said, "You have a great smile...Let's spend the day together."

(Babe -- I think I need a bigger diamond!)

Tyson's Tacos

(Another fab recommendation from my girlfriend Wendy's friend Daniel.)

I loved ordering the "Robinsonian" because Robinson is the last name of our dear friends, Chrissy and Sean!
We absolutely LOVED our breakfast tacos. We will revisit Tyson's again!

After lunch, we took Ride Austin to Mount Bonnell.

JW Marriott 

Upon arrival at the front desk, I asked about the rooftop pool bar. The girl said there wasn't one. I'm looking at their website now and there is one, but for hotel guests only. Couldn't she have just said that?! Anyway, Scott Babe and I enjoyed refreshers at their Corner Bar. (Recommended by Kristina and Mrs. Robinson!) 
Small world -- our bartender was from Randolph, New Jersey (where I went to community college!). She recommended Second Street to me for shopping. So happy she did! See below :)

It was cool for me to find Brooklyn based, "Coral & Tusk" items in Austin. :)  
Mercury Design Studio
225 West Second St

"Hemline" is one more store I recommend. 
I bought a beautiful fall/winter vest here. I then stopped shopping because it was slightly pricey!
233 W. 2nd Street

After shopping, we took "Ride Austin" to Hoboken Pie, which happened to be just a few blocks from our hotel. I had been curious about it ever since my high school classmate, Erin, posted on FB eight years ago that her brother, Jason, opened up a pizza place in Austin! Well, it took me awhile and I finally made it! As it turned out, Jason sold his share of the business and moved to sunny California! I don't blame him! (Nonetheless, we still enjoyed a slice!)

Drinks at the legendary Driskill Hotel (Thank you, Wendy, for recommending!)

 This was a hoot! We also enjoyed the live music.
Driskill Signature Cupcake $5


 I LOVED our German dinner at FABI + ROSI located in West Austin. I had googled German food and Austin and chose this place on my own. So happy we went. Scott had the duck and I had the schnitzel. Both excellent. For dessert, we had the delicious Krack Pie. Highly recommend.

Tuesday, Nov. 21st (last morning in Austin)

I started once again at the bakery and dressed for summer. ♥ The young cashier guy with dreadlocks in a hip pony tail said to me, "You smell amazing."  Another compliment here! LOL. (My scent was Viktor & Rolf's BONBON.)

Flight to Dallas

For lunch, we ate at Salt Lick BBQ at the airport. Salt Lick was highly recommended by my girlfriend and colleague, Marcia, and my girlfriend Lisa L. We couldn't get to their main locations, but this hit the spot. I took no pictures! I must have been hungry! LOL

Charlie and Ginger

We had daily updates on our babies from my girlfriend, Chrissy! ♥

Day before Thanksgiving

My girlfriend Randi's two handmade (by her!) catnip toys at The Container store in my inlaws' town of Fairview! So cool to see this with my own eyes. So proud of her! Click here for her Etsy store.


Ziva, Marcia's champion Canaan!

Black Friday

Scott Babe and I borrowed Marcia's car to have lunch and shop in Dallas. Looking back, we probably should have skipped this because of the traffic on the way home! Yikes!


We had such tasty lunch here a year ago that I wanted to do it again, even though our waiter dropped our check off before offering us dessert. Also, for those who watch Top Chef on Bravo, Knife is owned by one of this season's contestants, John Tesar.

 My refreshing "John Collins" and Scott's margarita.
I got this last year. Had to order again: Leticia’s Roasted Tomato Soup with Vermont cheddar and avocado. Delicious.
 The Ozersky burger with American cheese and red onion. Good.

Guess what, reader? Even with me telling our waitress early on that we were in town visiting my in-laws (not on a lunch break from a local business), she gave us the check after we finished our sandwiches without offering dessert. Don't they want to up-sale??? Who does this? I was ticked.

"Do you have dessert", I asked? 

Heck yeah, they have dessert.
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Hazelnut Brown Butter Sponge, Cranberry Compote, Cranberry Sorbet, Sage Fluid Gel, Brown Butter Sage Crumble

Cat Connection

After lunch, we drove to the Cat Connection. It's the best cat store I've ever been to. We had gone last year, too. I was shopping for my Instagram secret Santa kitty. :)

It was cool to see my girlfriend Tamar's book! Click here to order!
If Ginger Baby liked to wear clothes, I would have bought her 2 or 3 dresses. 
 If Charlie Baby would let me put bow ties on him, I would have bought! 
Wonderful cartoon by the late Leo Cullum. 
Purrfect cartoon by Joe Dator.

Last dinner in Texas

 Animal Style at In-N-Out. AMAZING.

Saturday, Nov. 26th

DFW Airport

11:45 am - As Scott Babe and I were walking towards our gate, I saw a sign for my favorite seafood chain, Pappadeaux, down the escalator. My eyes lit up. Pappadeaux was on my itinerary if something else didn't work out. I was thrilled to see it before me. We had no time, though. Our flight was leaving in an hour. I made time. "We will sit at the bar" I said to Scott as I hurried down ahead of him. 

 Jameson & Ginger
“Maryland-style” Lump Crab Cakes and Shrimp Cocktail. Both to die for.

At 12:15, I say, "I'll meet you at the gate, Babe." At the gate, I say, "I'm waiting for my husband." The woman said, "If he doesn't get here now, we will be flying without him." Yikes. We were pushing it, but no regrets. Great cocktail and appetizers before flying. ♥