A Photographic Tour: Austin, Texas

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Austin, the state capital of Texas, is an incredible city.  A college town, it’s simultaneously historic, eclectic, and progressive.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Austin several times in the past five years.  My brother and his wife moved there in 2006, and I’ve come to love their new hometown.  From “standard” trips, to walking a half marathon there in 2008, I’ve enjoyed each and every visit.

My most recent trip to the Lone Star state was in January of this year.  The arrival of my newest niece, a baby girl named Bryn, set me to packing my bags and flying east.  I had a great time meeting the new baby, playing with my nephew, and visiting with my brother and sister-in-law.  I also took a day to do a driving tour to some of my favorite spots in Austin so I could take pictures and share these places with you, dear readers.

These are just a sampling of some of the things to do and see – I could only visit so many places in one day, and there are still many places and things I have yet to experience in the Austin area.  That said, I hope this post will whet your appetite for a trip to Austin, and for some of the local food!

Starting the day off right…

I started my tour out in the Dripping Springs area, which is about 45 minutes away from downtown Austin.  My first stop?  The Salt Lick!

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que is a local institution – and with good reason. Their distinctive barbeque pit turns out delicious barbequed meat, and their sides are absolutely fabulous!  For example I never eat coleslaw – except at The Salt Lick. Rather than turning out soggy slaw dripping in a milky liquid, their slaw is made from crisp, fresh cabbage with a light coating of flavorful dressing and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Yum!

I ordered the combo plate for lunch, which included sliced turkey breast, sausage, beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and bread.  The waitress brought a pile of napkins without being asked, the sure sign of a good barbeque place.  I knew what to expect, having eaten there at least four times before, and dug right in.  In the interest of showing you a multi-course meal I also got dessert and I assure you it was a sacrifice.  (wink!)

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The side porch seating area – you’ll probably never see it this empty unless you arrive right when they open, like I did.

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My scrumptious lunch.  The beans have a rich, smoky flavor.

 

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Best slaw EVER.  Yum!

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Blackberry Cobbler á la mode – a wonderful way to finish off a delicious lunch.

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The folks at The Salt Lick were nice enough to let me behind the counter to take a picture of their incredible barbeque pit!

On the road again…

Back on the road, I pointed my car towards Austin proper. Along the way I saw these lovely red berries and had to pull over on the side of the road (not far from some grazing cows) to snap this photo.

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My next stop was Navidad Farms.  Texas is known for their pecans, and Navidad Farms serves up a plethora of pecan-related specialties.  From candied pecans to Texas Pecan Pepper Jelly, they have a little bit of everything.  My favorites are the Chocolate Toffee Pecans – yum!  They only offer this particular item in the cooler months though, so if you think you’d like to try some you’ll want to order now.

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The Navidad Farms storefront.

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Some of their goodies that I have here at home.

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My favorites – the Chocolate Toffee Pecans.

Shopping, anyone?

If you enjoy shopping you’ll want to stop on Congress Avenue, as I did.  There are wonderful businesses to be found – both stores and eateries.  I stopped at Crofts, Tesoros (love their international wares!), and Uncommon Objects.  I was thrilled to discover Uncommon Objects, a cross between a boutique and an antique store.  I drooled over $60 bundles of vintage sari trim and other fabulous finds.  They had so many things I would’ve loved to take home!  I grudgingly limited my purchase to three radio tubes that demanded I adopt them for use in my art.  Who was I to refuse?

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Crofts Original is just one of the darling boutiques work a peek on Congress Avenue.

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Tesoros has a incredible array of products from around the world.

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Uncommon Objects – could’ve spent hours and thousands of dollars in this store if I’d had more time and bigger budget!

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These vintage glass radio tubes were carefully wrapped in paper for my trip back to California.

Downtown Austin

The Austin Museum of Art – AMOA – was closed when I did my driving tour, but I really enjoyed my time there on an earlier visit to Austin.  It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re into art or are looking to expand your horizons and get in some cultural enrichment.

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The capitol building is quite a sight, and I stopped to take some photos before continuing my tour.  The gray winter weather in the photos doesn’t do the building justice – it’s a stunner when accented with sunny, blue skies, and is also beautiful lit up at night.

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By this time I was parched, and stopped into Walton’s Fancy and Staple for some refreshments.  One of two 6th Street eateries owned by Sandra Bullock (who I think is a class act), Walton’s is a deli and florist shop all in one.  I bought myself a bottle of sweet tea and a Golden Egg (nutmeg cake rolled in cinnamon sugar), as well as another Golden Egg and a loaf of Pumpkin Bread to take to my sister-in-law.  It was a nice place, and it seemed oh-so-southern to sit outside and drink sweet tea!

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Walton’s – exterior shot.

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A lovely afternoon snack.

Though Austin is the (self-proclaimed) live music capital of the world, I haven’t partaken of that particular pleasure while visiting Austin – yet.  However, since I was downtown and the downtown area is home to multiple music clubs, I stopped by the Ghost Room and took a picture for your viewing pleasure.

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Worth the wait…

My final stop of the day was at Fonda San Miguel. I really love this restaurant – such delicious food and a beautiful setting, both inside and out!  The only thing that tops the lush decor and the rotating art collection is the incredible food.  I ordered my favorite meal – the Ancho Relleno San Miguel.  I’m a wimp when it comes to spice, and this chile relleno dish isn’t spicy at all – just amazingly flavorful.

The chile ancho is filled with chicken, olives, capers, and almonds and is served in a light cilantro cream sauce.  Served with refried black beans, rice, and tortillas, this meal is incredibly good.  Olives and capers are usually a bit strong for me, but mixed in with the other ingredients they were mild and contributed to the overall yum factor of the dish.

Once again, in the interest of showing you more than one course, I ordered dessert.  The Crepas de Cajeta were so good!  The crepes were sauced with caramel and toasted almonds were served with caramel ice cream.  I ate them with pleasure, and it was around this time that I fell into a food coma.

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Fonda San Miguel’s exterior

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My fabulous dinner. The rice, beans and tortillas weren’t photographed…

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Crepas de Cajeta – caramel crepes!

As I said before, this is just a miniscule sampling of some of the things to do and see in Austin.  I hope I have the opportunity to do and see more on future visits!  Please let me know if you have any question, y’all.  I’d be happy to answer them if I can…

Warm regards,
Melody

*The photo at the very top was taken at Fonda San Miguel.  The carved face is on their front door…

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2 Comments

  1. Posted March 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm by Donna Baker | Permalink

    hi! I was just blurfing around *(blog surfing) and came to your blog – fabulous tour of Austin!! I ADORE the Salt Lick, my favorite is to put their yummy BBQ sauce on the potatoes – delish! I have yet to try Fonda San Miguel – it’s on my TO DO list! I am outside of Austin about 25 mins east of the airport. Moved to Austin in ’97 from the East Bay in CA and this is ‘home’

  2. Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:32 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Donna,
    Welcome! Thank you for stopping by, and for commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ll have to try the BBQ sauce on the potatoes the next time I’m at the Salt Lick. I just know you’ll love Fonda San Miguel!
    Melody

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