This past weekend I ventured into the territory
formally currently known by the locals as “The Republic of Texas.” My esteemed tour guide, Ilana, gave me the complete historical, cultural, and culinary Texas experience filled with tacos, hot sauce, tequila, guns, and of course, lots of Texas spirit.
Texas State History Museum
We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to head over to the Texas State History Museum. I learned a lot about the Republic of Texas and about how much charming Texas spirit its inhabitants have. We even ended our tour with an inspirational video urging us to reach our full potential as the “Lone Star leaders of tomorrow.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema/Esther’s Follies/6th Street
Friday night we went to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to see the “Bangerz and Sass” Sing-along. What’s Bangerz and Sass you might ask? Well, I was wondering the same thing, so here’s a snippet of the show’s description straight from their website: “Well for starters, after going to Miley’s Bangerz tour this year we immediately knew we wanted to have a special night of Miley Cyrus amazing at the Alamo. But as great as she is, we knew that we wouldn’t be satisfied if we only played her hits and didn’t hear from any of the other leading pop princesses of today. So we went through all of our Katy Perry collection and fell in love with everything there. Then we wanted to hear some Taylor Swift, because we were starting to feel 22 and we felt like she belonged with us…Our DJs are taking all of that and mixing it together into the hottest party of July, featuring plenty of Katy Perry’s “Fireworks,” a total “Party in the USA,” and soooo much more.” It was a great prelude to a night out on 6th Street, which was essentially one big street party until 3am. And this happens EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Everything really is bigger in Texas.
Esther’s Follies is a musical comedy show downtown. A lot of the jokes centered around making fun of Texas and politics. Most of them were hilarious even with my limited knowledge of the state, and any others were easily explained by my friend and just as entertaining! There was also a magician who performed several acts, and I was honestly so impressed because I have absolutely no idea how he was able to do all of his tricks. He even used an adorable little white puppy as part of his act so that certainly didn’t hurt 🙂 Esther’s Follies is right on 6th street, which made for easy access to downtown after the show. One of the show’s jokes was about the people you’d meet on 6th, and I have to say it was HIGHLY accurate. According to the comedians, 6th street has “hicks, ganstas, UT frat stars, and cougars.” We certainly encountered many of those real life characters, which made for some very interesting stories… Finally, the award for the world’s greatest brother goes to Ilana’s brother, Ben, for driving out to come get us downtown and for stopping me from consuming too much ice cream under the influence. Thanks, bud 🙂
Red’s Indoor Shooting Range
Now for the most Texas/terrifying thing I’ve ever done… shooting. Definitely nothing like I was expecting, but I’m really glad that I could check this one off the bucket list! And I actually hit the target a lot!
Austin Food Tour
Ok so now time for easily my favorite part of the trip – the food. Friday night we dined at Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. We were given hush puppies instead of your typical bread basket to start and as an appetizer shared a gazpacho with crab meat as well as an order of the wood grilled brussels sprouts. For my entrée, I enjoyed the fish and shrimp ceviche and sipped on an amazing cocktail with coconut rum with puréed strawberries and mint.
Saturday brunch was at Kerby Lane. I ordered an omelet with mushrooms and pesto and Ilana and I split a cinnamon roll and lemon poppy seed pancake. The cinnamon roll pancake was easily the most delicious pancake I have ever eaten in my entire life! Saturday afternoon we stopped at Juiceland for a midday snack, and if you know me at all my order will not surprise you in the least (it’s a variation of the Ninja Bachelor Party juice): pineapple, spinach, kale, mint, and jalapeño. Ugh, Nashville really needs an elaborate juice bar like Juiceland. Dinner on Saturday was at Torchy’s, which had extremely unique and tasty tacos. I had one with fried avocado and the other with ahi tuna. We also split guacamole as an appetizer…obviously. Amy’s ice cream was our late night snack. It is seriously the smoothest, creamiest ice cream. And like Jeni’s, they carry some pretty interesting flavors. For example, Cop Stop was coffee ice cream with donut pieces – YUM!
On Sunday morning I was finally able to try the long anticipated “breakfast taco.” After 3 years of having Ilana talk about the wonders of this glorious yet mysterious food, it was my turn to have a taste. Did it live up to the expectations you ask? Absolutely!! Last, but certainly not least, we were able to squeeze in a visit to Hopdoddy before my flight Sunday evening. The place was very reminiscent of Burger Up, but certainly more elaborate. I had the ahi tuna burger which was topped with wasabi and teriyaki sauces, fried seaweed, pickled ginger, cucumber, and avocado. Extremely messy and difficult to eat, a fairly long wait given the time of day we went, pretty pricey, and probably a full day’s calories, but sooooo worth it. Now excuse me while I recover from the weekend’s food coma…