May 12, 2015

Austin City Guide

We went to good ol' Austin, Texas last week to visit my sister, Katie, and her boyfriend. It was the last weekend I could safely fly this pregnancy, so we took advantage of some fairly affordable plane tickets and the fact that our "lap child" can ride free for a few more months. We ate our way through the city in true ATX fashion, and I didn't even have room for some of my tried and true favorites because my stomach was stuffed the entire trip. More importantly than the food though, I got to spend quality time with my sister and I saw two of my best friends {one drove down from Fort Worth and other flew in from AFRICA and met me for lunch the very next day}. Micah and I also got to have a fun date night while Aunt Wanda  babysat {Wanda is my sister's nickname because Zianne has three aunts whose names start with K}.


La Mancha... Upon arriving at the airport, we headed directly into the city for a Tex-Mex dinner. Mexican food is better in Texas than anywhere else... maybe even Mexico. I wish I could have had a margarita, but the sour cream enchiladas at La Mancha were truly delish.

KC Donuts... On Saturday morning, we headed south of the city for Micah to try out a cable wake board park. Although I desperately wanted Walton's biscuits and gravy for breakfast, we tried a couple new places instead since were off the beaten path. The cinnamon donuts at KC's were great and they served breakfast tacos and kolaches as well.

Crema Bakery... This was where we stopped for coffee on our way out of town. I am super picky about my coffee and was pleasantly surprised by my iced latte here. I didn't partake of their baked goods, but they had awards hanging all over the walls with accolades such as "Best Wedding Desserts in Austin," so local brides-to-be might want to check this place out.

Lambert's... Lambert's is "fancy barbecue" downtown just north of the lake. My pulled pork was okay, but Micah's coffee-rubbed brisket was amazing. I don't love brisket usually, but I do at Lambert's I guess. We also enjoyed their mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. We wanted to try the waffle fries as well, but we were already overdoing it in the carb department.

Dolce Neve... This was an unexpected stop for dessert. I wanted something cold and sweet after our BBQ dinner and this place {with a zillion five star reviews on Yelp} popped up in my search. This little shop is on South 1st and is so very cute. They use all natural ingredients and make their gelato in the front of the store where all the customers can watch. Their signature Dolce Neve flavor is an egg custard with a hint of lemon. I was hesitant to try it, but I'm so glad I did because it was amazing. My sister and I each got one of their gelato sandwiches, where they layer gelato in between these dainty, delicious cookies. This is will definitely be a regular stop on future trips to Austin.

Sno-Beach... Here's the truth, you guys. We visited Sno-Beach for shaved ice 3.5 times during our three day trip. Sno-Beach is near Zilker Park, which is also conveniently close to my sister's apartment. We stopped by on Saturday after the wake board park and fell in love, despite the somewhat long line and the very annoying bees. I went again on Sunday with my friend Camille and Micah went later that night on our date and successfully begged them to make him a shaved ice five minutes after they had closed for the evening. And we couldn't resist stopping by one more time on our way to the airport on Monday. Some favorite flavors were Tiger's Blood, Pina Colada, Root Beer, Silver Fox, Wedding Cake, Pineapple, and Strawberry Daiquiri. And I definitely recommend adding cream!

Summermoon Coffee - This was my second coffee adventure of the trip. My sister drove me to Summermoon on South 1st for coffee before church on Sunday. Based on Yelp reviews, I ordered a half wintermoon, which is a sweetened iced latte. Order it "half" so it's not too sweet.

Moonshine Grill Brunch - We hit up Moonshine for brunch after church, and although the wait was horrendous, the staff made it bearable by bringing out drinks, muffins, and popcorn. The brunch was a buffet with a wide selection of savory and sweet food and all of it was really good. My favorite dish was the tiny pancakes with fresh strawberries and cinnamon whipped cream.

Jack Allen's - After perusing every downtown option for date night, I decided that Micah would like the menu at Jack Allen's the best. So instead of heading to East Austin as I had originally planned, we headed out of the city. Micah had their famous chicken fried ribs and I had their macaroni and cheese with chicken. Both meals were delicious. The service was quick and friendly, and our seats had a view of the creek that runs behind the restaurant.

Amy's Ice Cream - We walked around Lady Bird Lake after our date night dinner, which left me wanting dessert, obviously. After Micah persuaded the Sno-beach girls to sell him a shaved ice after closing time, we headed to Amy's. This is a favorite of mine since my college days, but I haven't had it for at least two years. I got coffee and white chocolate ice cream and it was amazing as always. Micah wasn't planning to order anything, but when he saw how they use a huge ball of fresh dough to make cookie dough ice cream, he ended up placing an order.

Strange Brew - My last coffee stop of the trip was Strange Brew, which is in South Austin. We were headed south anyway to meet friends for lunch in Gruene, so stopping here made sense. I ordered the signature "Strange Brew" on ice and added white chocolate. I'm pretty sure it was made with half and half and probably had 1,000 grams of fat and 2,000 grams of sugar in it, but I loved it and avoided thinking about its likely ingredients as I drank it.

Gristmill - We went down to historic Gruene, Texas to meet one of my college roommates for lunch on our last day in town. We ate at the famous Gristmill Restaurant, which sits among leafy green trees on the bank of the Guadalupe River. The food is decent and the ambiance is great, especially if you sit out on the back deck.

Sad I didn't eat - Kerbey Lane queso, Taco Cabana tortillas, a chocolate chip cookie from The Driskill bakery...


Quest ATX - This is the cable wake board park that Micah tried out and loved. I would only recommend this if you are a fairly experienced wake boarder, but it was a cool concept. Instead of being pulled by a boat, your line is strapped to an overhead cable system that pulls you in a circle around the lake and there are different jumps and rails along the route. Micah really enjoyed it, and the rest of us worked on our tans as we watched him from the shore.

Austin Stone - This is where my sister goes to church. I've visited twice. and I really like it. The preaching is solid and the worship in excellent.  She attends the downtown campus at Austin High School, which is a huge congregation, but she she joined a Missional Community right away and met tons of friends her age, despite the church's large size. If you are local and looking for a church, I recommend the Stone, and if you prefer a smaller congregation, the St. John's campus might be for you.

Zilker Park - This is Austin's huge and well-known park. We tried to take Zianne on the children's train there two days in a row with no success. On Sunday the park was too crowded and we couldn't get into the parking lot {back up plan... eat shaved ice, obviously} and on Monday, the train was only running once per hour and we didn't have time to catch the next one before our flight. Zianne enjoyed the playground though, and Micah will probably want to return someday to dive into Barton Springs and stand-up paddle board on the lake. 

Lady Bird Lake... After our dinner date, we walked around Lady Bird (formerly "Town") Lake. The moon was nearly full, the paths were calm because it was a Sunday night, and it was a perfect 70-something degrees outside.

Live music at Lambert's... During our walk, we ended up back at Lambert's for the second night in a row because this pregnant woman had to pee. When we were at dinner the night before, my sister was disappointed I couldn't see the cute upstairs lounge area because it was closed for a private party. When we stopped by again on Sunday night to use the restroom, there was live music going on upstairs, so we hung out there for a bit. I can't recall the name of the band, but they were a fun, jazzy brass and piano duo, and apparently they play at Lambert's regularly on Sunday nights. 

Gruene, Texas - One of my very best friends arrived in San Antonio all the way from Ethiopia the weekend of our trip, so Gruene was a convenient middle ground to meet up for lunch. Although I saw pictures and heard stories of Gruene all through college, I had never actually visited myself until this past week. After lunch, we stopped in the famous Gruene Hall and visited a few of the cute shops. The town is idyllic and I want someone I know to get married there, so I can attend what is sure to be the cutest country wedding ever.

Check out my past Austin travel posts here: unofficial city guide, SoCo neighborhood, biking downtown, 

1 comment:

  1. Nicole M. Hutchison5/12/15, 1:12 PM

    Oh my word, Kerbey Lane Café. It's pretty much manna from heaven. I'm so glad to hear you had a great trip to Austin and I feel like an even worse friend knowing that your friend from FW made the trek and I did not. But, in my defense, I was co-hosting a baby shower that weekend and could not have made it south anyway. NEXT TIME! I'm adding these spots to my to-do list though, I love Austin. It's my favorite city in Texas and reminds me most of Kentucky.

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