My Mad Food Diary

After 3 long weeks in Texas, itโ€™s time to go back home and lose the weight from all the food I ate! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Here are some of the highlights though one thing I wonโ€™t miss is the heat! ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

5th Aug- Starting off my summer in Texas with a citrusy rosรฉ slush ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿน
5th Aug- Dinner at Chili Parlor: their signature chili and gumbo. This is one of my favourite spots from my last trip.
5th Aug- Ice Cream at Lick. Yep thatโ€™s the name! Had it like 5 times when I was staying at Mueller. ๐Ÿ‘… ๐Ÿ‘… The Texas sheet cake and lime-coconut-tequila flavours were addictive!
6th Aug- Brunch at Colleenโ€™s Kitchen. Finally I have tried fried green tomatoes! ๐Ÿ˜‹
Biscuits and gravy with fried egg ๐Ÿณ The biscuits were the best I ever had- fluffy and light. โค๏ธ Got to say I have not been converted to the creamy American white gravy (just a bit too heavy for me), still preferred the traditional brown gravy.
6th Aug: After a hearty brunch, something light for change with a poke bowl.
6th Aug- Dinner at Asterโ€™s Ethiopian Restaurant. Absolutely bringing the heat here! ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ
7th Aug- Sunday farmersโ€™ market. Bubble tea is conquering the world now!
Pierogies ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
7th Aug- Baoโ€™d Up Asian comfort food
Not food ๐Ÿ˜‚ but loved this cute mural
8th Aug- Back at Colleenโ€™s Kitchen. Absolutely delicious shrimp and grits (with collard greens) ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค
8th Aug- Never seen these kind of aubergines before (or eggplants as they say in America ๐Ÿ˜›)
8th Aug- Late night treat at Amyโ€™s Ice Cream
9th Aug- First time BBQing in the heat. Delicious lamb riblets from the farmersโ€™ market with a coffee rub. Stuffed the eggplants yesterday with garlic.
10th Aug- A light breakfast with Chobani lime yoghurt. Getting ready for a feast later.
10th Aug- Pre-ordered Franklin BBQ feast. The most famous brisket in Austin and it was so tender it melts in your mouth. ๐Ÿคค We did the pre ordering to avoid the massive long queue in the heat, but you must order at least 5 lbs of meat (complimentary bread and pickles). For 2 persons, this lasted us a good few days eating leftovers. ๐Ÿ˜‚
10th Aug- Ice cream is the best cure for the heat!
11th Aug- The Baked Bear. The signature Cookie Monster ice cream sandwich. ๐Ÿช๐Ÿช
13th Aug- Saturday farmersโ€™ market. This chicken mole tamale is so good – I need to come back again! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‚
13th Aug- Happy Birthday Austin! This is a free birthday cupcake. Amazing colours ๐ŸŒˆ but the frosting was very bitter from all the colourings they addedโ€ฆ
13th Aug- BBQ again. Lamb shoulder steak with garlic stuffed green peppers.
13th Aug- Relaxing evening in Mozart Cafรฉ by Lake Austin. ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ
14th Aug- Brunch at Snooze. Perfect combo of crab cake egg Benedict with their signature Bloody Mary. ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿฆ€๐Ÿ…
14th Aug- Dinner at 1618 Asian Fusion. Loved these duck skewers! Wish they were more!
Salmon curry and steak stir fry! โค๏ธ
14th Aug- Someone was drunk in the Calum Scottโ€™s concert and needed to grab a kimchi hot dog to soak up the alcohol. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿฅด๐ŸŒญ
14th Aug- I blame the person who made drunk me grab a bakersโ€™ dozen of these gigantic Voodoo Doughnut! They are bigger than my hands!! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Oh the traumaโ€ฆ
15th Aug- Sip Pho. Very much needed something light after the doughnuts last night! ๐Ÿ˜‚
15th Aug- Kimbap dinner before boarding the late bus to San Marcos.
15th Aug- Arrived at San Marcos at 10pm after an-hour delayed bus. ๐ŸšŒ Grabbed a Sonic limonade slush.
16th Aug- First meal at San Marcos. Egg white frittata.
16th Aug- Dinner at Garciaโ€™s. One of the best Mexican food I ever had! The brisket Noteรฑa plate was absolutely! ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ Simple but high quality.
17th Aug- Back at Austin with the grill. ๐Ÿ”ฅ Grilled salmon with garlic spaghetti for dinner.
17th Aug- Doing what I know best! ๐Ÿ˜‚
18th Aug- Drinking bubble tea and sheltering from the sudden heavy rain. โ˜”๏ธ (Didnโ€™t know they rain in Texas! ๐Ÿ˜‚)
18th Aug- Dirty Martinโ€™s Place. Austinโ€™s oldest burger since 1926!
19th Aug- Foodheads. Sirloin steak salad for lunch! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ‘
19th Aug- Vic and Alโ€™s. Blackened catfish salad, Cochon de Lait poโ€™boy and liver Boudin – the delicious Cajun flavours ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ
20th Aug- Brunch at Arturoโ€™s. Look at that Hollandaise sauce! ๐Ÿคค
20th Aug- Told ya I will come back for the tamales! ๐Ÿ˜‚ They ran out of chicken mole ones, but this spring vegetables (recommended by the still vendor) tasted even better! Itโ€™s light and fresh with the colourful vegetables inside!
20th Aug- Ciscoโ€™s. President LBJโ€™s favourite dining place.
The chicken fried steak is so delicious with the lightly fried courgettes! (Even minus the creamy gravy) My friend ordered their signature migas and I kept wanting to steal it because it was so good (perfectly silky scrambled eggs)! Maybe I do have the taste buds of a president! ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‚
21st Aug- Really wanted to eat migas after yesterday night but this one was nowhere near as good! โ˜น๏ธ
21st Aug- One final BBQ! Lamb leg steak, grilled garlic peppers and aubergines and my friendโ€™s tomatillo salsa. I am going to miss the โ€œlamb ladyโ€ (so I called) from the farmersโ€™ market.
22nd Aug- Was worried I have eaten too much lately. ๐Ÿ˜‚ So ordered a vegan breakfast plate- and I really enjoyed the scrambled tofu.
22nd Aug- Clay Pit Indian Restaurant. Exploring their cellar area. (This place is busy so always book in advance!) Just so happened there was a flash flood warning from the storm earlier, you could smell the dampness in there. ๐Ÿ’ฆ
Yummy calamari as our starter.
Chicken medallions korma curry and tandoori salmon. It was a bit of a long wait, but the waiter was so nice taking the drinks off the bill as a compensation. ๐Ÿ˜Š
23rd Aug- Venezuelan arepas in the UT campus. Blending in well with the UT students! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŽ“
23rd Aug- Dinner spot of the lone Ceviche7 food truck. Canโ€™t wait to try the Peruvian food.
Was a long wait (probably like half an hour?) but it was worth it! Delicious ceviche with corns and sweet potatoes! ๐Ÿคค My friendโ€™s steak and fries was also very good! I love food truck!
24th Aug- Junk good day at Whataburger. Still taking time to process the creamy gravy and the giant soft drink cup. ๐Ÿ˜
24th Aug- Feeling creative. Tomato-less Spaghetti Bolognese with sweet curried mince and Granny Smith apple. ๐Ÿ You got to try it to believe it! ๐Ÿ˜œ
25th Aug- Vietnamese lunch before heading to the airport. โœˆ๏ธ

First Landing in America! (Part 3) ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž

Morning, Austin! โ˜€๏ธ
Taterscape brunch in Arturoโ€™s Underground Cafรฉ – fried potatoes, eggs and avocado (for the third time this week!!)

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! ๐Ÿ˜›

Inside Central Library
The rabbit and the Mad Hatter
Depiction of all the famous murals in Austin
View from the library rooftop

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. โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ

Crossing the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
The cutest bridge I have ever seen! ๐Ÿ˜
Look itโ€™s Pac-man!
The Picnic Food Truck Park in Barton Springs
A funky display of caravans next to the food truck park

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 โ€œsecret ingredientsโ€โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿน)and OMG that drink was so so strong (literally tasted like pure alcohol)! ๐Ÿ˜ต But I was adamant to finish it since I paid over $10โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ’ต 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 hahaโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅด

This Earth Rita drink literally killed meโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿ˜ต
A Louisiana fried fish and oyster platter – can barely remembered how it tasted haha. I assume it was good cause I finished the whole plate! ๐Ÿ˜‚
Gelato truck
Lemon pie, coconut and hazelnut gelato (the latter saved for my friend)

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!๐Ÿ˜€) And it was free entry on Thursday (with free lockers provided)! Here are some snapshots of the artworks inside. ๐Ÿ–ผ ๐ŸŽจ

The Blanton Museum of Art also has a special chapel-like exhibition piece (called โ€œAustinโ€) by Ellsworth Kelly.

Beautiful! โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ
Dinner was Tex-Mex grilled chicken with beans and rice. Tasted much better than it looks hehe!

After a brief rest in the evening, we then decided to make full advantage of Austinโ€™s busy night life and headed to clubbing in the downtown! ๐ŸŒƒ Havenโ€™t been out in ages, and it was definitely hot and sweaty on the dance floor there haha! (So unprepared for it! ๐Ÿ˜‚) But it surely was nice to feel like I am back in uni again! ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿ•บ

Clubbing at rainbow crosswalk ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿ•บ

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.

Bullock Texas State History Museum
Inside the museum
The shipwreck remains of La Belle
The diary of the captain
Bison ๐Ÿฆฌ
The history of USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
Movie time inside haha! ๐ŸŽฅ
Felt like I was in a western movie ๐Ÿค 
Moon landing! ๐ŸŒ•

We then continued our sightseeing tour, visiting the campus of St Edwardโ€™s University and Lake Austin.

Grabbed a fried chicken and burger whilst waiting for the bus ๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿฅค๐Ÿฅค
St Edwardโ€™s University
View of Austin from St Edwardโ€™s
Beautiful sunset ๐ŸŒ… at Lake Austin
Tea break at Mozartโ€™s Coffee Roasters by the lake

And on my penultimate night, after making a quick pass through Waterloo Park, I finally get to sample some Texan BBQ brisket. ๐Ÿ”ฅ I went to Stubbโ€™s which was very close to my hotel. It wasnโ€™t highly recommended by a lot of people I spoke to (Franklin which was quite well known was pretty much fully took up ๐Ÿ˜•). However, I actually did enjoy my brisket which was tender and also the sides of mac and cheese and collard greens. ๐Ÿ˜‹ (Though the cheese and jalapeรฑo sausage were slightly on the dry side for me).

Waterloo Park
Inside Stubbโ€™s
Finally a Texas BBQ! ๐Ÿ–

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! ๐Ÿ˜™

All you can eat in 1 hour!

And finally after saying a proper farewell (also slightly ready) to my friend, it was also time to say bye bye to the city. ๐Ÿ˜ข Until the next time, Austin! I hope I can come back soon!

Bye bye Austin! ๐Ÿ‘‹

First Landing in America! (Part 2) ๐ŸŒƒ๐ŸŒƒ

Four days into Austin, and I still need to get over my jet lag problems! ๐Ÿฅฑ๐Ÿ˜ด Hence I started my morning with a very Tex-Mex brunch of tacos! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ (Weather was as glorious as ever! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ Though I still canโ€™t get over the extra tax charges at the end of bills! ๐Ÿ’ต)

Spicy chicken taco and Mexican egg taco ๐Ÿ˜‹โ˜€๏ธ

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 โ€˜Julie & Juliaโ€™, so it did give me a sense of nostalgia and coming back full circle to see snapshots of her journey again. ๐Ÿ˜ (And also at last grabbed a copy of her famous cookbook for myself!)

Harry Ransom Center
Julia Child Exhibition including some original letters and photos that reminded me scenes from the movie
I do love a French onion soup! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿง…๐Ÿง…
There is also a exhibit of the Gutenberg Bible – one of the earliest bibles made using printing press
Have to be done! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ
A lunch break back in the Taiwanese eatery near the UT campus – ordered a lychee slushie and a satay beef lo mein

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! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Some of our personal favourites were the soft shell crab makimono rolls (absolutely love their unusual use of apple in them! ๐ŸŽ), foie gras sushi, unagi sushi and the jasmine cream dessert.

Inside Uchiko
Beautiful lights on the ceiling
A complimentary yellowtail appetiser ๐Ÿ‘Œ
Sake toro (Scottish salmon belly) and Masu (Tasmanian ocean trout) sushi
Our favourite dish of the night- soft shell crab makimono with honeycrisp apple! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค
Tiger Cry rolls with Wagyu beef, vegetables and rice paper
Hot rock Wagyu beef grill
Unagi (eel) sushi
Foie Gras sushi – my personal favourite! ๐Ÿ˜
Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) tempura with a delicious shishito pepper aioli
An incredible dessert! ๐Ÿ˜ Jasmine cream with cilantro granita ๐Ÿ’š and pineapples ๐Ÿ

After having such a satisfying meal, it was even more of a treat to use the outdoor hot tub in my friendโ€™s apartment to round off a perfect night! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ› ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Crab crepe in a classically French brunch

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The railway tracks
99 Ranch Market
Inside 99 Ranch
My favourite daikon! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
Never seen white onions before!
Giving these Anaheim peppers a try!

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 – havenโ€™t done that in years since my last visit back to my home city of Hong Kong! ๐Ÿ˜‚) It was also quite challenging as my friend didnโ€™t have stoves installed in his kitchen (beside one self heating electric pot), so I kept things quite simple for the night.

Japanese fish cakes and daikon stew
Salted egg shrimps and squid stir fry with peppers and beans

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. ๐ŸŒƒ๐ŸŒ™๐Ÿ’ซ

Also grabbed a nice fro yo before heading back! ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฅค

First Landing In America! (Part 1) โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿงญ๐Ÿ˜!) Resting in the heart of Texas, Austin is a city with a very diverse culture and artistry. ๐ŸŒƒ A perfect place for someone like me!

Austin at night ๐ŸŒƒ
Downtown Austin
Capitol of Texas
UT Tower
Rainbow Cowboy ๐Ÿค ๐ŸŒˆ
Rainbow crosswalk ๐ŸŒˆ ๐ŸŒˆ
Frost Bank Tower from the distance
My friend calls it the โ€œchubbyโ€ pigeon ๐Ÿคญ
Beautiful pavement โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ
Love these!
A beautiful building that turns out to be just a car park! ๐Ÿ˜‚
Love the look of this neighbourhood!
Quite empty traffic (surprisingly!) ๐Ÿš— ๐Ÿš™
More colours of Austin! ๐ŸŽจ ๐ŸŽจ
Vietnamese dinner at Pho Thaison on the first night (my friendโ€™s recommendation haha!) That lime soda was huge lol!!

Despite being firmly in winter, my first few days in Austin were blessed by glorious sunshine and heat! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ 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.

Never ate hotelโ€™s breakfast on a sofa with paper plates before! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The sausage was dry but the patties arenโ€™t actually that bad (went back for seconds haha!)
AOC at the political rally
Lunch at Chili Parlour
Top: Queso (Mexican Cheese Dip) with Chips; Bottom: Pork Tamales and their signature chili

We then headed over to lunch at the Chili Parlour (cause I was dying to try some local Texan/American food! ๐Ÿ˜‚) 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! ๐Ÿฅต Loved their chili especially the fact they are chucks of meat rather than mince which I was used to. ๐Ÿ˜‹ 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.

Inside the Capitol of Texas
The incredible ceiling of the Capitol
The rotunda floor
Courtroom inside the Capitol
UT campus (blending in quite well with all the college students!)
UT Tower and the two โ€œballsโ€
UT Tower up close
The famous cat of the campus- Domino ๐Ÿˆโ€โฌ›
Eating zongzi again after so many years remind me of my late grandmother ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿ˜ข (Also ended up missing pretty much the whole of Super Bowl during this haha!)

After a rather early night back in the hotel (fell asleep ๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ’ค with the Winter Olympics playing at the background ๐Ÿ“บ lol), I then visited the Austin city hall on the next day as well as the LBJ Library.

Austin City Hall
Inside the city hall
LBJ library
As a child, I loved Sesame Street! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
More inside the exhibition – love the old TV ads ๐Ÿ“บ
A replica of the White House
One of Ladybirdโ€™s dresses
Olmec Statue outside the library (reminded of something I saw in a childhood anime movie! ๐Ÿ˜‚)
So sunny in Austin today! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ (Quite hot too ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ! Is it really February!?)
Brunch at a sidewalk ๐Ÿ‘ Really enjoyed this sandwich made with Jalapeรฑo & Cheese bread.

When the night falls again, I met up with my friend for a Italian dinner in Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค (Also Happy Valentineโ€™s Day, everyone lol! โค๏ธ) FYI everything tasted amazing! ๐Ÿ˜‚

What a treat! ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ‹
A classic Italian dinner: Meatballs and rosemary focaccia; lobster ravioli with vodka sauce; truffle sausage rigatoni; and finally chocolate and Strawberry with a cookie that tasted the cannoli shells! Yum! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค