Everything is bigger in Texas. Including our appetites. We ate an obscene amount of barbecue during our three day trip to Austin. Which leads us to our next question... is there such a thing as too much BBQ? The answer is no! It's a carnivores dream. Truly. Of course, Texas offers a whole lot more than smoked meat. But that's what brings us back again and again. There's just nothing else like it.
It was almost a year to the day that we returned to Austin. Airfare was $39 each way on Frontier. We stayed with Alice again via Airbnb. Her place is comfortable and convenient so there was no question that we'd return. We booked a car rental last minute via Hotwire and it worked out beautifully. I love it when the stars align.
You might remember it was last year's trip where I busted my ankle walking down Rainy street. Needless to say, I was eager to conquer the city this time and return home without injury. I'm happy to report we had an amazing time without incident.
Our first stop was the newest Cooper's location right downtown. We still favor the one in Llano, but this one couldn't be more convenient. Our eyes were a little bigger than our appetite, but we still crushed a fair amount of pork and beef ribs, burnt ends, sausage and macaroni & cheese. The pork ribs remain my favorite. The mac was outstanding, better than I remembered it. The next morning, we drove out to the Salt Lick. Having been before, I knew I like the sausage and burnt ends best. In fact, they have the best burnt ends in all the land. It's what I call meat candy. It's so fantastic I bet it could convert vegetarians and vegans. I saved room for black berry cobbler this time around. A bit of sweetness after the saltiness from meats is simply a match made in heaven.
Later on, we grabbed a snack at Rudy's. We have never been before, I typically have an aversion to gas station food. After so many recommendations I made an exception, and I'm really glad I did. Turns out they have the best brisket. The trick is to order it moist. It's perfection. Juicy, but not overly fatty. They have irresistible creamed corn too. We returned the next day for more. Rudy's has locations outside of Texas too, they can be found in AZ, NM, CO and OK. We'll definitely be making a stop on our next trip to Phoenix.
No trip would be complete without a stop in Lockhart. We again completed the trifecta by dining at Kreuz, Smitty's and Black's. It never disappoints. We couldn't possibly eat another bite so we took a drive with no destination in mind. We found ourselves in Gonzalez, TX and I saw that Shiner Brewery was nearby. Yes! But my bubble burst when I saw they are closed weekends. Fortunately, our drive was made worthwhile when we came upon Buc-ee's. Have you heard of it? Oh my! It's the ultimate convenience store. The New Braunfels location is the world's largest with 120 fuel pumps. The Gonzalez store is smaller, but still impressive. Among many things, they have a jerky counter. Incredible. What's most surprising was we walked out with only a small single serving of Blue Bell ice cream. Which was no small feat since the treats are practically endless, the retail portion goes on for days. Oh, and the best part? The bathrooms were spotless. Do stop if you ever get the chance.
Every time we've visited Austin, we've made the drive to Lake Travis. We enjoy the area and a stop at the Oasis always seems to be a must. This time, though, was much different. It wasn't a ghost town. There were hoards of people. Why the difference? The lake is now at capacity. Record rainfall after years of drought sprung the area back to life. It gives me hope for Lake Mead (it was just reported that it's at all time low) and Lake Las Vegas. Check out these photos from our three trips:
Pretty wild, right? We enjoyed a couple afternoons at Oasis Texas Brewing Company. The view is amazing. They have some tasty beers - I was fond of the IPA and Frank preferred Joe Dirt. He was able to enjoy a cigar on the patio, and we kept ourselves occupied with a competitive game of drunken Jenga. Good times!
Lastly, we spent time downtown at Craft Pride and Halcyon. Craft brews are alive and well in Austin. I wish there was more time to try them all. We only had one meal that wasn't BBQ and that was a quick stop at P. Terry's Burgers. With a "Fresh is Best" perspective we figured it was worth giving it a whirl, but it made us miss In-N-Out. Sure they offer bacon, but there's just no topping a Double Double.
Needless to say, the trip was over much too fast. Keep on keeping it weird, Austin. See you soon.