My sister and brother-in-law live in Austin, Texas. Just about every time I talk to her (which is basically everyday) I tell her to move home already. I mean, I get it, Austin is a cool town and all but this long distance relationship just isn’t my style. So Chase and I constantly tell her and Cody (brother-in-law) to move home. They probably talk about how annoying we are, but whatever works, right?
Last weekend we took a trip to Austin for my sister’s graduation. She’s a badass and graduated nursing school last Saturday. We have been to Austin once before, for my little brother’s 21st birthday. To say the trip was a blur and one giant hangover wrapped in one would be an understatement. We had a great time then, but I was really looking forward to exploring the city and remembering it. By explore I mean eat, because my sister is always talking about the food in Austin.
So I want you to look at this blog post as a type of Austin food and drink tour guide.
Our flight landed on Thursday afternoon. Months ago, my sister had arranged for us to stay at her friends Airbnb. She has a girlfriend who owns a house in Austin but decided to move home to Houston, so they went to Ikea and outfitted the place to be the cutest Airbnb in town. Seriously, take a look:
There’s just something so relaxing and homey about staying in an actual house instead of a hotel. This place had so many awesome decorative touches. There was bright and colorful wallpaper everywhere and fun birds painted on hiddens parts of the walls. So many fun details we noticed throughout the weekend. AND my sister stocked the kitchen with wine and cheese, which is really all you need for a successful weekend.
After we got settled in we headed to South Congress for the “First Thursday” of the month. The South Congress Hotel opens up its lobby, a bar, and a photo booth and everyone hangs out. The Tito’s Vodka Bus is also there and they offer free drinks while there is a live band playing. I feel like that is a theme in Austin: free drinks and live music.
After we all had a drink and successfully hogged the photo booth, we needed food. Chase and I have had one thing on the mind since this trip was planned: Hopdoddy. We visited this amazing burger bar the last time we were in Austin and it is amazing. The best burger we have ever had. EVER. We seriously have a problem and I can’t talk about Hopdoddy enough. It’s 8am and I would kill for a Hopdoddy burger right now. We don’t have one near us in Northern California, but they are supposed to be coming to San Francisco. When they do, I guarantee Chase and I will make a trip to San Fran just for that burger.
It’s a really fun atmosphere, when you walk in you hit the bar first for your drinks. You continue through the line with your drink in hand until you get to the food counter.
My favorite burger is the Primetime. It has brie, arugula, and caramelized onions. They also have an Ahi tuna burger, as well as veggie options. Also, they have parmesan truffle fries that are to die for.
Once we stuffed our faces we went to a few bars on South Congress and listened to some live music before heading back to the house. We planned to have an early night because we knew that Friday and Saturday night were probably going to be late ones. On our way home was Lucy’s Fried Chicken where my father demanded we stop for a “Fried Chicken Night Cap.” Are you noticing a theme here? It’s food, and drinks. All. Weekend. Long.
Friday morning we all got a late start due to the time change, 8am felt like 6am. My dad was demanding breakfast tacos and my sister knew just the place, so we headed to a taco truck called Veracruz.
Jillian recommended the Migas tacos, which were voted one of the Top 5 Tacos in America by Food Network. They had eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, and monterey jack cheese. I swapped out the eggs for black beans and it was the best taco of my life. I do not say that lightly….I consider myself taco connoisseur. I also got a mango smoothie.
After our tacos we visited Cody at work. Cody is a project manager at a fabrication shop called Ion Art. They build a lot of bad ass signs and artwork all around Austin. His work is everywhere: in parks, on the side of the road, and on giant buildings. They were finishing up a sign for the new Bumble headquarters when we arrived.
After we delivered him and his coworkers some breakfast tacos they took us to their shop where we got to take a tour. They do all kinds of cool things at Ion Art like welding and neon glass blowing.
We also got to see the vinyl room, where they basically make giant stickers and signs. Being someone who works with vinyl…I had major vinyl envy.
After touring Cody’s shop we all decided on Top Golf for the afternoon. I am not much of a golfer, at all, but I love top golf. You hang out with your group, eat and drink, and then hit a ball into a field. It’s just fun. I even got a lesson from the master himself (my dad).
After an afternoon of drinking and eating, we decided we were hungry! So we headed to Rainey Street, which is arguably the coolest spot in Austin. It’s a street of old houses that were converted into bars. So you feel like you are walking through a neighborhood. They keep the original front porches and some even keep the same floorplans. We hit the food truck section and everyone grabbed what looked good. For my dad, sister, and I it was lamb gyros. My stepmom got a torta from a Venezuelan truck, and Chase and Cody got noodles from a Thai truck. All of it was so good. Why is the food so much better in Austin?
We roamed Rainey Street a bit longer after dinner and then hit Chase’s favorite bar, the Container Bar. It’s a bar made out of shipping containers. We sat and enjoyed a drink while listening to the rumbles of thunder and lighting as a storm passed us by.
Our next stop on Rainey Street was Icenhauers, Jillian said their sangria was a must, and Chase is a huge sangria fan. It did not disappoint.
Our last stop of the night was a circus themed bar called Unbarlievable. There was a live band (surprise) and lots of crazy decor. It sounds creepy, but it was pretty cool.
We headed home for semi-early night since Jillian graduated the next day.
The next morning we went to one of those IV bag places….ya know, the ones that get rid your hangovers? We weren’t hung over, but we were told it can help prevent a hangover. A new place had opened up and they had a deal where you get your first bag free, so we figured, why not? I am not a needle fan….so I was not a huge fan. Chase thinks it’s great, and my dad thought it was a gimmick. I definitely wouldn’t pay for one because they aren’t cheap.
Once we were all hydrated we headed to Jillian’s graduation! It was in a small church, and it was a small group of graduates because they were in an accelerated program. A lot of the students were moms with full time jobs, it was an emotional ceremony and really cool to see. My sister won the Academic Achievement Award, which is a nice way of saying she was at the TOP of her class! She’s a serious bad ass.
Of course, I made her hold up the award for a photo.
If you look closely, the girl at the top of her class is holding her Academic Acheivement Award UPSIDE DOWN. We were crying with laughter in the audience. Only Jill.
After pictures and hugs we headed to Jill and Cody’s favorite bar to celebrate with their friends: The Mean Eyed Cat. It’s a Johnny Cash themed bar with so much character. We hung out for hours and had the best brisket nachos. They were so good that we ordered them twice.
From there we headed to Sixth Street, also known as Dirty Sixth Street, or the Dirty Sixth. It’s a street that is lined with bars on both sides. On the weekends they close down the road to traffic at 9pm and people just roam around. It’s like a farmers market but without produce and with lots of alcohol. We hit numerous bars throughout the night, my favorite being a speakeasy style bar that you had to open a secret bookcase to get into. Did I mention how cool Austin is?
The next day, Sunday, was spent in full recovery mode. We didn’t fly out until 4:30 so we took full advantage of the comfy couches and ate tacos.
I know this was a long post with a ton of photos…but Austin is hard to put into one blog post. Just being a foodie is reason enough to head to there. We had the best time and I already want to head back.
Have you ever been to Austin? If so, what are some of your favorite spots?
Until Next Time,