Austin, TX, the capitol of the greatest state in the Union. If you have never experienced Austin, it’s definitely worth a trip. I will not get into my political views of the city or my opinion on some things that go on there, but I will tell you Austin is, in fact, weird (compared to the rest of Texas). I have always looked at Austin as the San Francisco of Texas. It is very liberal, the people in Austin love the outdoors, there is fabulous food everywhere you turn, you can always find something to do, and the city as a whole is very eco-friendly.
This weekend BSM and I took a quick trip to Austin to spend some quality time together before the new semester begins. I spent hours planning a perfect get away that was planned around both of our interests and food we can eat on our Whole 30 program. I packed in a weekend of outdoor adventure including kayaking through downtown, visiting a graffiti park, taking a dip in the 68 degree natural spring water at Barton Springs Pool, eating at some farm to table restaurants and experiencing some famous Austin BBQ (not Franklins). It was going to be EPIC.
We arrived in Austin Friday night after fighting through unnecessary traffic, checked into our hotel room and headed out to explore. We stayed in North Austin in an area called the Domain. Across the street from our hotel was the Domain Mall as well as an area that is new and coming for Austin. There are apartment complexes, shopping, and so many local restaurants. We were both so hungry by time we got over here that it took us forever to figure out what we actually wanted to eat. This is a real thing that happens to us all the time when we are really hungry, we don’t know what we are hungry for. We walked and walked and walked and decided on a place called “Culinary School Drop Out.” The food here was phenomenal and priced very fair. This is probably a good time to tell you guys,we did not stick to our Whole 30 diet, we broke at the sight of delicious food and I am not even sorry about it. I ordered meatloaf while he went way off the healthy eating with fried chicken. We savored the taste of breaking the rules to the very last bite, but while doing so we discussed our goals with healthy eating and what we have learned from the Whole 30 program. Whole 30 says if you break, you start all over with day 1. Yeah that isn’t happening. We decided clean eating is something that we are both committed to keeping in our lives. We will eat clean, be aware of what we ingest, but not feel bad if we want to have mac and cheese once a week. The program’s intention is to make you aware of what is in your food and make conscious decisions to eat pure ingredients. Check, got it. I will not torture myself any longer cleansing from things and having my mind not work properly. Rant over, back to Austin we go.
Saturday in Austin, the weather forecast called for high 70’s early morning shower and overcast. Not a bad day for outdoor activity. While we waited for the rain to subside in the morning, we headed downtown to the capitol building. As long as I have lived in Texas (my whole life), and as many times as I have been to Austin, I have never taken the time to visit the Capitol building. If you did not know this fun little fact, the Texas Capitol Building is an exact replica of the U.S. Capitol building, but scaled down. This building is absolutely beautiful, the architecture is outstanding with so many small details that come together to create elegance. Also, each door hinge in the capitol building has “Capitol Building” engraved in it. See photo below. It was a really great experience to walk through history in the making and see where so much action in our state takes place. The best part, free entry. They have free guided tours or you can walk around on your own. Whether you are in Austin on a budget or not, this is a must do.
Remember how the weather was suppose to cooperate with outdoor activities by not raining all day and getting up into the high 70’s? Well that never happened. This put a huge damper on all of our plans for the day. It was cold and wet all day never getting about 60. I didn’t think to have a plan B considering the weather forecast said the same thing all week long with no changes until 1:00 in the afternoon Saturday. Considering we did not have a back up plan and BSM hates shopping, we made the most of what we could find to do and that was what we do every weekend in San Antonio, drink. Before we got to the drinking part though, we did take advantage of the crap weather and hit up a famous BBQ place in downtown Austin, Coopers BBQ. Coopers is known for “Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que” and they pride themselves on having awesome BBQ “before it was cool.” This quote is extremely humorous to me considering we are in Austin, or as I call it “Hipsterville.” I have been craving good BBQ for about 5 years now. When I moved to San Antonio from a small town in West Texas, I realized not everywhere in Texas has good BBQ. If you ever visit San Antonio, stick with Mexican food. If someone tells you “so and so” has good BBQ, they are liars and don’t know what good BBQ is. I had very high hopes for Coopers. I can’t say they let me down, the meat was juicy, tender, smoked just right and did not need BBQ sauce to make up for anything. If you are a person who needs BBQ sauce, I do not recommend Coopers, their BBQ sauce was very thin and all I could taste was vinegar. Seriously though, everything else was great.
One last little thing we did to make the most of our trip, outside of sitting a bar and having a few adult beverages, we stopped by this very cool place called “Graffiti Park.” It is located about 5 minutes from downtown. Austin is full of art and music. Graffiti Park is a place local artists as well as non-artists go to express themselves freely via spray paint. This is a concrete structure that looks like it used to be a water reservoir of some sort is now the home of creativity. When we got to Graffiti Park, there were about 30 people there taking a look at the many spray paint creations, taking selfies and even adding their own art to the walls. This is another free thing to do in Austin that is worth the quick trip to see.
Even though our day of planned events was a bust, we still enjoyed the quick trip out of town to enjoy each others company.
“It’s not about what you do, its about who you do it with.”