After 3 long weeks in Texas, it’s time to go back home and lose the weight from all the food I ate! 😂 Here are some of the highlights though one thing I won’t miss is the heat! 🔥🔥
My final post on my week-long trip to Austin as I count down my final few days in my first trip to America! Just like the rest of the week, the sun shined brightly across the river on Thursday with my first stop being the central library by the river. Not only is the library well facilitated, but it also has a rooftop garden overlooking the scenery nearby. And I managed to squeeze some work in there for an hour or so haha (as the reality of being back at work soon was starting to hit me)- such an amazing working environment! 😛
I then walked across the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, enjoying every bit of the scenery nearby as I headed to my next place of interest, which is the the Picnic Food Truck Park in Barton Springs in the south of the city. ☀️☀️
I was dying for the toilet when I arrived at the food truck park but unluckily the toilet there was locked, so I decided to sneak to the bar/restaurant next door. Out of embarrassment (and I doubted they will lend me the toilet for free), I ordered a drink to sit in. I unwittingly ordered the cool-looking Earth Rita (not realising it was probably short for margarita, partly blaming the unclear menu who only said “secret ingredients”… 😂🍹)and OMG that drink was so so strong (literally tasted like pure alcohol)! 😵 But I was adamant to finish it since I paid over $10… 💵 Ended up stumbling my way back to the food trucks and hazily ordered a Louisiana fish and oyster platter that I can just about remember what it tasted like haha… 🥴
In a bit of a drunken stumble, I headed back to the central library, meeting my friend there before we headed north to the Blanton Museum of Art together (and I managed not to have the gelato melted all the way haha!😀) And it was free entry on Thursday (with free lockers provided)! Here are some snapshots of the artworks inside. 🖼 🎨
The Blanton Museum of Art also has a special chapel-like exhibition piece (called “Austin”) by Ellsworth Kelly.
After a brief rest in the evening, we then decided to make full advantage of Austin’s busy night life and headed to clubbing in the downtown! 🌃 Haven’t been out in ages, and it was definitely hot and sweaty on the dance floor there haha! (So unprepared for it! 😂) But it surely was nice to feel like I am back in uni again! 🕺🕺
Not being too hungover from the night before, we then headed to the Bullock Texas State History Museum the next day (with my history buff friend acted as the tour guide!) Truth be told I know very little about American history, let alone the history of Texas so it is nice to be able to get glimpses of their culture and all the stories behind its making.
We then continued our sightseeing tour, visiting the campus of St Edward’s University and Lake Austin.
And on my penultimate night, after making a quick pass through Waterloo Park, I finally get to sample some Texan BBQ brisket. 🔥 I went to Stubb’s which was very close to my hotel. It wasn’t highly recommended by a lot of people I spoke to (Franklin which was quite well known was pretty much fully took up 😕). However, I actually did enjoy my brisket which was tender and also the sides of mac and cheese and collard greens. 😋 (Though the cheese and jalapeño sausage were slightly on the dry side for me).
On the last day, before heading to the airport, my friend and I managed to squeeze in an All-you-can-eat meal in a Japanese restaurant near to him. The food was average but I thought $27.95 was quite reasonable for the quantities you get! 😙
And finally after saying a proper farewell (also slightly ready) to my friend, it was also time to say bye bye to the city. 😢 Until the next time, Austin! I hope I can come back soon!
Four days into Austin, and I still need to get over my jet lag problems! 🥱😴 Hence I started my morning with a very Tex-Mex brunch of tacos! 😂🌮🌮 (Weather was as glorious as ever! ☀️☀️ Though I still can’t get over the extra tax charges at the end of bills! 💵)
After a filling breakfast, I then visited Harry Ransom Center within the UT campus to see the Julia Child exhibition inside (recommended by my friend living here). I started this blog back in 2019 after watching the movie ‘Julie & Julia’, so it did give me a sense of nostalgia and coming back full circle to see snapshots of her journey again. 😁 (And also at last grabbed a copy of her famous cookbook for myself!)
Following some more wanders around the city centre, I headed back to the hotel for a change of clothes before meeting up with my friend again to head to the upscale Japanese restaurant Uchiko. And what a feast that was! 😍😍 Some of our personal favourites were the soft shell crab makimono rolls (absolutely love their unusual use of apple in them! 🍎), foie gras sushi, unagi sushi and the jasmine cream dessert.
After having such a satisfying meal, it was even more of a treat to use the outdoor hot tub in my friend’s apartment to round off a perfect night! 😂 🛁 👌 👌
After a good night of sleep, I woke up for a crepe brunch before visiting 99 Ranch Market, a Chinese supermarket in the northern area of Austin by Crestview Station. I thought it was a perfect day for some home cooking for a change after days of eating out! 😉
I try to go a bit more budget as some of the items (particularly meat) are actually quite expensive, but they sold quite cheap seafood, hence I went with some peeled shrimps and squids (dissected and cleaned the squids all by myself – haven’t done that in years since my last visit back to my home city of Hong Kong! 😂) It was also quite challenging as my friend didn’t have stoves installed in his kitchen (beside one self heating electric pot), so I kept things quite simple for the night.
Austin is a vibrant city with a busy night life, so after dinner, we both went for a walk along Congress Avenue Bridge and explored the beautiful Downtown Austin and its amazing skyline. 🌃🌙💫
For the first time in my 28 years, I have finally leapt across the pond of the Atlantic Ocean to visit our neighbouring country of the USA! 😂😂 This was a long trip coming but was delayed due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, and I used my half term break to grab this opportunity! 😉
For my first ever trip into the State, I decided on Austin (since I have a friend there who can help me with the navigation if needed 🧭😝!) Resting in the heart of Texas, Austin is a city with a very diverse culture and artistry. 🌃 A perfect place for someone like me!
Despite being firmly in winter, my first few days in Austin were blessed by glorious sunshine and heat! ☀️☀️ After finishing the hotel breakfast, my friend (being a political student) took me to a political rally featuring the amazing AOC that was reported in local news.
We then headed over to lunch at the Chili Parlour (cause I was dying to try some local Texan/American food! 😂) Really enjoyed the homemade nachos chips which were nice for a change. The cheese dip and salsa were nice too but the heat was getting to me haha! 🥵 Loved their chili especially the fact they are chucks of meat rather than mince which I was used to. 😋 The tamales were slightly on the dry side, but I did enjoy the flavourful rice and beans they came with. Following this, we paid a visit to the Capitol of Texas and UT campus at the heart of the city.
After a rather early night back in the hotel (fell asleep 😴 💤 with the Winter Olympics playing at the background 📺 lol), I then visited the Austin city hall on the next day as well as the LBJ Library.
When the night falls again, I met up with my friend for a Italian dinner in Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria! 🤤🤤 (Also Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone lol! ❤️) FYI everything tasted amazing! 😂