Austin

By Dorothy

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We met up with Sameer and Amanda for dinner at Fabi + Rosi. Though Jon has spoken to Sameer many times on the phone, this is the first time we are meeting him and his girlfriend in person. We had a fun time getting to know them both. The food was delicious -- the fried oysters, cheese board and my lobster linguine were all well done. The night ended with sparklers, which unfortunately went out just as I snapped the photo. Happy 2015! We are excited for what the new year will bring.

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@missankle and Daniel are coincidentally in Austin, so we made plans to go out to the original outpost of The Salt Lick on New Year’s Day. My first impression: the restaurant is a lot bigger than I imagined. After a short wait (15 min?), during which we thoughtfully planned our order (go for meat by-the-pound and not the plates!), we were seated at a cozy long table. Our final tally after two rounds of ordering: 2.5lbs of pork ribs (the best of the night), roughly 1.5lbs of double cut beef ribs, 0.5lbs of sausage (also delicious), 0.5lbs of brisket (dry), a pint of baked beans, and a healthy slice of pecan pie a la mode. Tired and full, we painfully made our way back to the city. We had a lot of fun catching up with old friends Texas-style!

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We arrived early to avoid the lines, though they seem to move pretty quickly. The ramen is solid (was a chicken shoyu broth) -- I would have liked the noodles slightly chewier, and could have done without the raw, chopped onions that were included as garnish. But coming from West Palm, which is completely void of a ramen place, these bowls of soupy noodles made us very happy.

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It’s too bad that it’s so cold and rainy, as this small food park area seems like a nice place to sit and relax. The weather, however, did not put a damper on our enjoyment of this very delicious donut. We got the Miss Shortcake: a donut topped with cream cheese icing and sliced strawberries. The donut had a nice texture -- delicate and slightly crispy on the outside, and fluffy and doughy on the inside.

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I was only able to get a 5:15pm reservation at qui, a popular restaurant by Top Chef winner Paul Qui. There are two prix fixe menus -- the regular and vegetarian menus -- both offering up modern Japanese fare with European and Filipino influences. We obviously both went for the regular menus, and Jon got the beverage pairing. Every course was creative, super delicious, and a delight to eat. My favorite dishes were the almond gazpacho (marcona almond, pedro ximenez gelee, pea tendril, and foie gras), and the yellowtail seared on white charcoal, then dipped in a midorizu sauce. At $65pp for the prix fixe, this meal was well worth the price!

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During the first week of January, music venues all over the city offer free shows featuring local bands. We settled on The Mohawk, which is supposed to be a good place for live music.

As we wait for the first band to start, the group next to us is having an in depth discussion about mustaches and beards. One of the guys, who has a mustache, is wearing a t-shirt with a handlebar mustache on it. Come on now.

It was a lot of fun discovering Austin’s local bands (Good Field, The Deer, Little Brave and Molly Burch), but we had to call it a relatively early night after a long day of being on our feet.

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It was nice to wake up to the sun after two cold and drizzly days. We headed down a few blocks for brunch at South Congress Cafe, where I had a kale and avocado salad and shared the migas with Jon, while he had shrimp and grits. The kale salad was cooked, which I was not expecting, but the migas were tasty. Jon’s Bloody Mary was also delicious with the right amount of kick.

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Our final cafe stop was just one that we saw along the road, across from the Gourdough truck. This cafe is just five months old, which would explain why I didn’t come across it during my trip research. I really like the bright and open interior, and appreciate the black flag logo with a bit of typeplay. The staff was super nice... the barista made me a delicious cup of hot cocoa after informing me that they were out of decaf. It was milky, chocolate-y goodness without being overly sweet or heavy. We hung out for a bit before we had to head over to the airport.

Though the weather was less than ideal, we had a great time eating our way through this quaint city, and enjoying some of its cultural offerings. Thank you ATX, for treating us so well!

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