Tuesday, November 2nd, 2015
My Dad picked up me, Courtney, and Sophie up at 4:00AM for a 5:45 AM flight to Austin where we were spending five days visiting with Jack. We had an easy flight to Dallas but our connecting flight to Austin was delayed by two hours due to fog. Jack picked us up at the airport and we checked into our Airbnb we booked. It was a nice rehabbed cottage just a few blocks from Jack and Rachel’s apartment. We went to lunch at Tamale House East and had great tacos and tamales. I had a chicken mole taco, a pork tamale and a Lone Star 16 ouncer. Sat outside on a nice patio happy to be on vacation. We went back to Jack and Rachel’s apartment after lunch and met their new puppy Remy. A cute little Cavalier Spaniel just a few months old. Took the dog for a walk around their neighborhood – a gentrified neighborhood in process with some old homes mixed with new and newly rehabbed ones. Nice. Jack showed us around his apartment complex which is very nice- outside pool and lounge area, workout and party space. Jack took us to the grocery store. big like everything in Texas, to get a few things and then we went back to our house for a much needed siesta. Around 6:00 we went downtown and met Rachel after work and had dinner at Easy Tiger – an atypical combination of a bakery and a brewery. We sat outside in the beer garden enjoying the nice night. We had a platter of sausages, pretzels, cheese and other goodies and washed it down with some good Texas beer. We headed back to our house and played blackout and in bed by 9:30 after a very long day.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2015
After breakfasting chez nous we drove to U of Texas – just a mile away – parked and took a walk around the huge campus. The campus is actually very nice. Huge brown brick buildings with adobe roofs and lots of big southern trees with dripping leaves. Lots of students walking around – all who look so young and un-diverse. It was very odd as we noticed how quiet it was… nobody talking – everyone is plugged into their phones. Kind of weird but status quo. We decided to check out the LBJ library as it was on the campus. We ended up going in and greatly enjoyed the exhibits and films detailing LBJ’s presidency and the amazing things that happened in the late 1960’s during his tenure. They had a recreated oval office and also a Beatles exhibit going on which were both interesting. We visited the LBJ ranch when we were in Texas two years ago so we are becoming LBJophiles. He had a remarkable life during remarkable times. We hit the road to East Austin to get our BBQ on for lunch. We went to Micklethwaith Craft Meats – one of Jack and Rachel’s favorites. We had two big plates of brisket, sausages, ribs, barbacoa and sides of cheesy grits, baked beans, coleslaw, plain white bread and some more Mexican Coke. Everything was great. The brisket was especially noteworthy – fork tender melt in your mouth fattiness perfection. The grits were dreamy. We drove across the river to Barton Springs Park in South Austin to walk off some calories. Austin just got over some flooding and we walked past a bunch of canoes that were trashed from the flooding. Jack had to go to work for the afternoon and evening so he dropped us back off at our house where we relaxed for a couple of hours. We then drove down to South Congress Street to walk around and check out the funky stores. We got ice cream at Amy’s – I had mexican vanilla with hot fudge and Sophie had Texas Sheet cake flavor. It took forever driving back through the rush hour Austin traffic. Rachel came over after work and we ordered pizza from East Side Pies and hung out watching TV.
Thursday, November 4th, 2015
Jack came over bright and early and brought breakfast tacos from Vera Cruz All Natural. We drove downtown and walked in a park downtown called the Butler hike and bike trail. It was an extension of the trail we were on yesterday but we walked around four miles around vastly different areas. It was getting hot and muggy so we worked up a nice sweat. After the hike we checked out East Austin Succulents which is a nursery that specializes in succulents. Very cool. Hundreds of different kinds and sizes. Cool. We were craving some cool drinks so Jack brought us to Hoovers which was down the road from his place where we had margaritas and soul food. Jack had a beet margarita which was different but tasty. Food was excellent. I had chicken fried chicken, greens and beans. Austin is truly the foodie paradise. We dropped Sophie and Courtney off and went to the grocery store to get things for dinner as we were going to grill out at Jack and Rachel’s patio. After a quick rest we went back to Jack’s apartment and sat outside and their very very nice pool and patio where they have great grills and bars for people to grill out. We had burgers, kale salad and enjoyed the warm evening outside under the palm trees. After dinner we played a hand of knock out with Jack, Rachel and their roommate Ton and then headed back.
Friday, November 5th, 2015
Rachel was able to get the day off today so we all went on a road trip to San Antonio for the day. It was about an hour and a half drive. Everything was pretty built up between the two cities – all highways and strip malls. Nothing too Texas about it. We first went to two missions south of the city. Mission Espada and then Misson San Juan. We went to the other two missions a year and a half ago when we were here so this completed our Mission trail. They are actually fascinating and interesting to poke around. I like the little chapels that are actually working Catholic parishes. We then drove into downtown San Antonio and had lunch at Rosario’s. We ate there last time we were in San Antonio and it has the best Mexican food anywhere. Their smoked tomato salsa is outstanding. We then kept the car parked in that neighborhood and walked around the Saint William’s District looking at the old river mansions and then walked the river walk into the downtown touristy area, checked out the Alamo real quick, and then walked back. We drove back to Austin and got back around 5:00 PM. Took a quick rest and went to Jack and Rachel’s for cocktails. We went to dinner at Dai Due where we made a reservation weeks ago as it just landed on Bon Appetit’s top ten new restaurants in the country. And it was just two blocks up from where they lived. Dai Due is a nice small neighborhood joint that is also a butcher shop. Meat was the obvious choice so we had a nice board of meats and goodies for an app and then ordered a half of a roast chicken and a huge 3 lb. beef rib to split between all of us. Everything was excellent as well as the sides that came with it. The beef rib was especially good – very decadent. We walked next door to Sugar Mama’s bakeshop to have cupcakes for dessert. I don’t think we’ve eaten bette than these last few days ever.
Saturday, November 6th 2015
After threatening all week the rain finally arrived and it rained pretty much all morning. We checked out of house around 10:00 and then hung out at Jack’s for awhile. We had lunch at a great Japanese place (forgot the name). Shocker – another great meal. We then went downtown and browed their nice bookstore, REI and ended things with more ice cream at Amy’s. Jack and Rachel dropped us off at the airport and we had thankfully non eventful flights to Dallas and to Cleveland. We arrived in CLE at 11:45 where Claire picked us up. A great trip.