Last week I mentioned how I had two Austin weekend trips (in a row!) during the month of May. I recapped the first of my trips there, and today I'm sharing with you the second trip!
The reason we went back to Austin last weekend was to cheer on my sister Emily, her boyfriend Danny, Danny's siblings Katie and Scott, and their friend Marc during a sprint triathalon.
Jon, my parents, and I drove up Saturday morning (after making a pit-stop at the ever-charming Hruska's near Schulenburg, pictured above) just in time to meet Emily and Danny for lunch at the much raved about Thai restaurant Sway.
Sway was nominated by Bon Appetit as one of the Top 50 New Restaurants of 2013. This annual restaurant list has seen the likes of Coltivare, Underbelly, and The Pass + Provisions, so needless to say my expectations were high. The rustic interior with communal tables was sleek and welcoming. My mother and I ordered their bloody mary, which I was delighted to learn contained vegan Worcestershire sauce and saké. However I'm sad to report that while I generally love bloody mary's, I the opposite of loved this one. It was pungent, overly tomato-y, and watery, and I could only drink half of it. Fortunately, the food was much better. I ordered the pad thai jay (pad thai with tofu), which was hearty and bursting with nutty Thai flavors; the po-pea jay (vegetable spring roll), which on its own was simply light and crispy with not much flavor, but heightened when paired with a sweet, tasty jelly; and a side of Chinese broccoli, which was super salty and garlicky and delicious. My food was good, my drink was borderline inedible, and the service was mediocre (they forgot Danny's meal altogether, so he had to eat 20 minutes after we had started). Not a bad restaurant, but I wasn't blown away by any means.
After lunch, we ran some errands then met back up at a little outdoor spot off of UT's main drag that houses an East Side King food truck, a pizza place, and a bar. It was super cool!
We split a pitcher of beer, then went to check into the apartment we rented off of VRBO (I still don't know how, but we somehow managed to get an insane 50%+ off deal on it), which had incredible views!
Then we were off to dinner at the Mexican restaurant Matt's El Rancho.
Again, I wasn't overly wow'ed by any of the food I ate there. The complimentary chips were hard and incredibly difficult to bite into. The queso was fine. I ordered veggie fajitas, and while they were also fine, on a scale of 1 to El Tiempo, there was no comparison. The vegetables were kind of bland. But for what it's worth, Jon absolutely adored the salmon he ordered, and the service was very friendly. It's also worth noting that their wine list was more impressive than your usual run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurants. We had a great time, but once again I wasn't blown away by the food.
Then we all went back to our apartment to drink, play games, eat more food (help?) and watch people congregate on the bat bridge, because, #austin.
The next morning, the tri-athletes had to do packet pickup stuff, so Jon, my parents, and I were on our own. We started off by walking a few blocks to the coffee shop/restaurant Austin Java for breakfast.
For my food, I ordered The Greek omelette with a side of cut up banana. The omelette itself was a bit egg blanket-like, with the vegetables just sort of sitting in between the firm layers. There wasn't a whole lot of mixing of cheese/ingredients, which I tend to like (yes, I prefer a mushier omelette). But it was still certainly enjoyable. The restaurant was a cozy spot, and the food was hearty and healthy!
After that, we walked around Austin for a bit, then headed back to our apartment to chill/read/watch TV. Then it was off to Dripping Springs to spend the afternoon at Treaty Oak Distilling.
Treaty Oak has a handful of liquors you've probably heard of, such as Graham's Texas Tea, Starlite vodka, and Waterloo gin, to name a few. The only reason I'd heard of the distillery is because we follow each other on Instagram (the power of social media, people). And I have to say, this is my favorite place we went to while in Austin last weekend! The grounds of the distillery are absolutely STUNNING, the cocktails (served on tap!) are stiff and DELICIOUS, and the bar food is fun, light, and tasty. Besides food and drinks, there are also fire pits and fun games (giant chess board, giant dice, bean bags, etc.) all around. I ordered their Southpaw cocktail (Waterloo gin, lemon juice, basil), and simply adored the tart, light, refreshing drink! The cheese we ordered was wonderful, the trio of salsas were unique and exciting, and the pickled veggies were fantastic. If you are in Austin and have time to make your way out to Treaty Oak, run-don't-walk there immediately!
Afterwards, we hung out at the apartment complex's pool for a bit, and then everyone (including Danny's parents who also came into town) came over for a delicious pasta dinner prepared by Emily! <~~(who needs a restaurant when you've got her??)
We'd had beautiful weather in Austin all weekend, and on Monday morning (aka, the morning of the race), we woke up to pouring rain and lightning. The race kept getting pushed back until they eventually had to cancel everything (the swim had been canceled already due to previous flooding issues) but the 5K. Needless to say, the athletes were pretty bummed. But they still got hats!
They actually handled it really well, disappointed though they were. So we all ended up going to brunch in lieu of the race at the restaurant Annie's Cafe & Bar.
I ordered the garden omelet <~~(different spelling from how Austin Java listed it, WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY?!) with a side of sliced tomatoes instead of potatoes. This omelet/te was decent, but once again it was more an egg blanket than anything (Maybe this is an Austin thing? Maybe it's a Kim thing? "Keep Kim Weird," y'all). The real draw of this place though wasn't necessarily the food but the actual restaurant itself. Located in a historic building, the restaurant's interior has original touches, exposed structural elements, and it's apparent that real care has gone into its maintenance. The atmosphere was exceptionally cool.
Once we had all finished our food at the restaurant and said our goodbyes to everyone, we set out on the road to come back home! Even though the race was canceled - which was definitely a disappointment - it was a wonderful weekend spent with family and friends in a beautiful city!
Next trip up: NAPA. (omgomgomgomgomg)