Monday, October 4, 2010

Quality Time in Austin

An almost last-minute trip to Texas to visit family had me completely distracted from the kitchen all last week. No cooking but certainly plenty of eating…

The Dallas and College Station contingents of the fam arranged a 24-hour meet-up in Austin. My only agenda was to rack up some quality time, so this time all of the destinations were chosen by my little brother.

Judging by the new tattoo of a pork primal chart on his inner forearm, he could be trusted to pick out some delectable destinations.

The franks at Frank were creative, to say the least. After indulging in a basket of waffle fries topped with chorizo, green chiles, and cheese, Little Brother and I split two different dogs. The Notorious P.I.G., a housemade pork, bacon, jalapeno, and sage dog topped with macaroni and cheese and tangy barbeque sauce, underwhelmed.

But the Chili Cheese Dog was as good as they get, with a generous amount of meaty, spicy chili.

Although ordering it "porked", which in Frank's vernacular means split, stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and fried, seemed slightly dirty and turned out to be superfluous—I couldn't even taste the bacon under all that chili. My only complaint about Frank is that if they remove items from the menu (like the much anticipated chocolate whoopie pie), it's time to do a reprint. Oh, and the wiener lady really ought to have worn baloney slices for a bra.

Between lunch and dinner, we stopped by Houndstooth Coffee, where we literally and figuratively took in the latte art, Austin Homebrew Supply for some shopping (turns out there really is such a thing as corn sugar and it's used for making beer, not sweetening all manner of processed foods, and my beer-brewing brother needed to stock up), and Breed & Co. to browse the cookware.

For dinner, Little Brother picked out the Odd Duck Farm to Trailer food cart, a place with a BYOB party atmosphere.

And local food worthy of a white-tablecloth restaurant.

Again, we made a food-sharing agreement which included the pork belly and marinated eggplant slider.

And the grilled quail with Texas rice, apple, and cheddar salad.

The plates were on the petite side, so I could've eaten it all myself, but then I wouldn't have had room for my third of a Son of a Peach donut, shared with my little brother and also his little wife, from the neighboring Gourdough's Big. Fat. Donuts. cart.

Then, just to make sure we didn't go to bed hungry, we went to some old-fashioned frozen custard place for second dessert. Little Brother and I got our cones without incident, but just as the clerk was about to hand over chocolate-dipped cones to Mom, Dad, and Sister-In-Law, some man popped out of a nearby truck and stole them! Can you believe a full-grown man with a straight face actually snatched their ice cream and sped off?! And then the clerk who unquestioningly served the thief denied my family their cones until they presented the receipt! The absurdity.

Anyway, Peter Pan Mini Golf turned out to be the perfect place to work off dinner and desserts. I'm proud to say I won second place even though I don't play golf.

The next morning, between breakfast tacos at the Counter Café and gyros at Milto's, we went for a stroll along Austin's eclectic South Congress and discovered Big Top Candy Shop.

The fun, quirky little store featured oodles of old-fashioned candy, fresh caramel corn, shakes and Italian sodas, and a soda jerk who looked like she could've used another helping of all that sugar.

All in all, more fun than going to the circus and no creepy clowns, either.

My purchase, by the way, was a pack of the flavorless Nihilist Mints, haha!

A fun and flavorful 24 hours it was. But definitely not satisfying. I can't get enough of Austin, and I never get enough quality time with the fam. Time to start planning my next visit…


Michelle said...

Wow, you guys sure packed in a lot of tastiness into 24 hours! How fun!

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