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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Awesome Austin - Part One

This blog didn't exist back during Memorial Day Weekend so we're going to go back a few months so I can tell you all about my trip to Austin, Texas. Eventually will have domestic information but for now you can read about it here.

I was in Austin for about three days so I will be telling my in two parts.

Today's blog is Part One:

Friday, May 22nd

We arrived relatively late at night in Austin and took a taxi to the Hilton Austin at the corner of 4th Street and Neches. It is the perfect location with Sixth Street two blocks away! The rooms were really nice with a tasteful southern charm to the decor and plenty of space to sprawl out.

It was pretty late so we strolled Sixth Street looking for something late night to eat. We came across Daddy's Bar & Grill.

The inside of the Bar is a pretty standard bar when you first look in. There are a few flat screens, a couple arcade games, and tall picnic-like tables to sit at. But, then you walk up to the bar and see an array of amazing local brews to choose from and you realize you have just walked into BEER HEAVEN.

Then they serve up a menu chalk full of the fattiest, drippiest, sauciest dishes from jalapeno poppers to chicken wings to "The Coronary," a 1/3 lb. burger covered in cheddar, monterey jack, fried pickles, double bacon and ranch dressing. Heartattack is definitely an appropriate name for it. I personally went with the "Tex Mex" which was a burger with guacamole, cheddar, chopped tomatoes and onions. It was finger-lickin' good.

To see the full menu click here.

After clogging our arteries, we ventured outside into the craziness of Friday night on Sixth Street. If I went based solely off outfit choices I'd say the streets were filled with cowboys, frat boys, and hookers. I felt sorrily underdressed in flipflops and a sundress and wished I'd brought my Boobs-Ass-Legs outfit so that I could fit in with the other girls.

We were waaaay too sober to join in the fun at 12am in the morning so we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday, May 23rd

We woke up this morning to crowds of people headed for brunch and hoped desperately that we would beat them out for a table at the Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill a couple blocks down the street from the hotel.

Moonshine is a really beautifully decorated building that is definitely what you would expect of a bar in Texas. It literally oozes rich mahogany and sunshine and smells incredible even from the patio. The brunch menu ranged from Grilled Jalapeno Breakfast Sausage to Cornflake Fried Chicken Tenders. It was clearly going to be another artery-clogging day.

Having eaten the "California Diet" of greens, soup, and fat free [insert food item here], I tried to find something on the menu that wouldn't make me feel ten pounds heavier. I opted for the Stone-Baked Pizza with goat cheese, artichokes, and roasted garlic which was soooooo good. Goat cheese, artichokes and garlic are literally three of my favorite foods so there was no way I was passing it up.

You can see all their menus on the website at

After brunch we headed down Cesar Chavez St to South Congress, which is well-known for its shopping and of course....more food. The shopping was relatively pricey and not really to my taste so we didn't spend much time in the stores. We did pictures of all the strange food options that line the street in little trailers and stopped by a puppy adoption fair.

From there we backtracked to Barton Springs Road and walked towards the famous Zilker Park. Along the way we passed Sno-Beach, a trailer on the side of the road selling snow cones. The Texan heat and humidity was reaching an all-time high for the day so we gave in and decided to order one.

The menu featured almost 50 different flavor options but I went for a half-in-half lemon/raspberry. They handed me the biggest snow cone I've ever seen. And it was like no snow cone I have ever tasted. Unlike the kind you get at Dodger games or the county fair (rock hard pieces of ice with flavoring dripped over it), these snow cones were made of the softest shaved ice. It was like eating flavored snowflakes and was strangely filling. It also took our internal temperature down a few degrees so that we could continue our walk.

We continued on our way to Zilker and in doing so passed some of the more famous restaurants in Austin including Shady Grove which was my mom's favorite restaurant back when she went to college at University of Texas. I desperately wanted to eat there but we were still digesting our brunch.

On the last stretch to the park we crossed a bridge over a small stream that leads from the Colorado River to Barton Springs Pool. This is a popular area for kayakers to enjoy a sunny day drifting down the stream. It's also super fun to bring a floating cooler of beer. We decided we would definitely be doing this tomorrow.

Finally, we made it to Zilker Park just as the sky opened up and the rain started to come down. The one feature the park seems to be missing is something to stand under when it rains, so we sprinted back towards the row of restaurants for some cover. After calling a taxi to take us back to the hotel, we passed out for a much needed nap after so much walking.

We woke up and perused the internet looking for a good restaurant for dinner. Lately, I've been really into Spanish Tapas so we went with that genre and convienently just such as restaurant was located about eight blocks down the street.

On our way to the restaurant we passed Congress Bridge to see the infamous flying bats. Literally, as the sun disappears below the horizon, thousands of bats emerge from under the bridge and take flight in massive clouds. If you've ever watched the T.V. show, LOST, they make a mass that looks JUST like the Smoke Monster. Apparently, the clouds they create are so dense that they get picked up by radar as rain clouds. I have to say that I was pretty skeptical when I heard this was a major passtime of tourists in Austin but after seeing the spectacle I, too, am now a believer. Note that they are only around mid-March through November. You can even join the Segway tour that spots here along the route.

Watching the bats had made us late for dinner but they honored our reservation anyway. We arrived at Malaga Tapas Bar and were seated near the front windows which gave me an excellent view of the restaurant. The restaurant glowed from the soft lighting creating a very romantic atmosphere.

The menu was amazing and we ordered everything from meat to tuna to chicken. My favorite by far was the
Queso de Cabra Frito con Miel - four goat cheese cakes that are breaded and fried and then served with sweet red onion marmalade and honey. All the dishes come on these little stacks so they don't clutter the table. The wine list is also incredible. We chose to go all out and ordered two of the wine flights: The Spanish Flight and the Blanco Flight.

To learn more about this restaurant or see their menu visit

After dinner we decided to party on the infamous Sixth Street. We started off at the Library Bar near Trinity and 6th, then barhopped around there until we couldn't see straight anymore. The second bar we went to I think was called Cheer's Shot Bar and was my favorite by far. There was an upstairs roof area with a dance floor. My boyfriend even serenaded a lucky Bachelorette with the old BSB favorite, "You Are My Fire." He grossly misrepresented the lyrics but she was too drunk to care. We finally ended up at the Blind Pig Pub (can you tell why we choose this place?) which sadly was dirty than the USC 9-0 even to two drunks so around 3am, we stumbled home and passed out.

The Library

Cheer's Shot Bar

Blind Pig Pub

To see all the bars on Sixth Street visit this site and click on the maps in the left-hand column of links:

For Part Two of this awesome weekend, check back tomorrow!

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