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KIDDOCJJ
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Welcome to Austin, Texas, y'all!

Austin is the state capital of texas, and from the sounds of incredible music blaring from cafes and bars, is definitely a texas version of nashville.  Home to the University of texas, austin, the streets are teeming with young people, and many have graduated, stayed, and  called austin their permanent home.

it's an exciting place with a ton of history, beautiful architecture, a lively food scene, and one of the most beautiful public parks i have ever explored.  here are just a few of the wonderful sights (and tastes) of austin.

 The capitol building and grounds are a prominent part of Austin's skyline - the main entrance faces the Congress Avenue Historic District to the south, and UT Austin from the north.  The capitol has 360,000 square feet of floor space (not including the Capitol Extension), more than any other state capitol building, and rests on 2.25 acres of land.  What's pretty amazing is that the rotunda, pictured above is a whispering gallery. What is uttered in one location can be heard in all!

The capitol building and grounds are a prominent part of Austin's skyline - the main entrance faces the Congress Avenue Historic District to the south, and UT Austin from the north.  The capitol has 360,000 square feet of floor space (not including the Capitol Extension), more than any other state capitol building, and rests on 2.25 acres of land.

What's pretty amazing is that the rotunda, pictured above is a whispering gallery. What is uttered in one location can be heard in all!

 After touring the capitol building we headed over the UT Austin.  It's close to graduation, so all students were still in place. Almost every kid wore UT swag and you can feel the enthusiasm on the campus.  I loved the bookstore - I've never seen such a collection of Tailgate accoutrements in my life! Of course I had to pick up  a "hook 'em horns" T-shirt for my hubby.   

After touring the capitol building we headed over the UT Austin.  It's close to graduation, so all students were still in place. Almost every kid wore UT swag and you can feel the enthusiasm on the campus.  I loved the bookstore - I've never seen such a collection of Tailgate accoutrements in my life! Of course I had to pick up  a "hook 'em horns" T-shirt for my hubby.

 

 Public art on the campus grounds is plentiful. One of my favorites was this palm tree made from canoes and kayaks.  It's quite astounding and the "leaves" and their support system of wires really challenge your brain.      

Public art on the campus grounds is plentiful. One of my favorites was this palm tree made from canoes and kayaks.  It's quite astounding and the "leaves" and their support system of wires really challenge your brain.

 

 

 And then there's the football stadium - home of some of the most devoted college football fans in the country.  Memorials and statues abound on campus - this one, outside the Texas Memorial Stadium, honored ALL American veterans of all wars.       

And then there's the football stadium - home of some of the most devoted college football fans in the country.  Memorials and statues abound on campus - this one, outside the Texas Memorial Stadium, honored ALL American veterans of all wars. 

 

 

 You can't avoid the fact you are in Texas here. The iconic cowboy boot adorns bars, restaurants, and in this case, the large cowboy boot store I have ever seen. Thousands of boots - both vintage, and new, were available by color, height, bling, and brand. And most memorable is the intoxicating smell of leather that draws you in, even present on the street!      

You can't avoid the fact you are in Texas here. The iconic cowboy boot adorns bars, restaurants, and in this case, the large cowboy boot store I have ever seen. Thousands of boots - both vintage, and new, were available by color, height, bling, and brand. And most memorable is the intoxicating smell of leather that draws you in, even present on the street!

 

 

 This is the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, named after the long-standing and beloved Governor of Texas.   Every summer it is  home to the world's largest urban bat colony, which resides beneath the road deck in gaps between the concrete component structures.  These Mexican free-tailed bats spend winters in Mexico and summers in Austin - often numbering 750,000 - 1.5 million. 

This is the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, named after the long-standing and beloved Governor of Texas. 

Every summer it is  home to the world's largest urban bat colony, which resides beneath the road deck in gaps between the concrete component structures.  These Mexican free-tailed bats spend winters in Mexico and summers in Austin - often numbering 750,000 - 1.5 million. 

 I'll admit I took these pics in September of 2016; around dusk the local parks start filling with locals and tourists, and kayakers accumulate beneath the bridge. It's really quite eery to sit under the bridge and tune into the very high pitched sounds emitting from the bats.  Every night, like clockwork, the bats come out to feed at dusk - and it's a good thing, because those mosquitos in Austin are brutal enemies of mine - good riddance!

I'll admit I took these pics in September of 2016; around dusk the local parks start filling with locals and tourists, and kayakers accumulate beneath the bridge. It's really quite eery to sit under the bridge and tune into the very high pitched sounds emitting from the bats.

Every night, like clockwork, the bats come out to feed at dusk - and it's a good thing, because those mosquitos in Austin are brutal enemies of mine - good riddance!

 In the middle of Austin lies Zilker Park, over 350 acres of trees, grass, botanical garden, amazing hiking trails, and the famous Barton Springs - a natural spring that feeds a 3 acre swimming pool. The temps year round in the pool range from 68-74 degrees, so it's a popular spot for locals and visitors to cool down in the summer.  Outdoor recreation is a priority in Austin, and this park is certainly the pride of the city. 

In the middle of Austin lies Zilker Park, over 350 acres of trees, grass, botanical garden, amazing hiking trails, and the famous Barton Springs - a natural spring that feeds a 3 acre swimming pool. The temps year round in the pool range from 68-74 degrees, so it's a popular spot for locals and visitors to cool down in the summer.  Outdoor recreation is a priority in Austin, and this park is certainly the pride of the city. 

  DAI DUE BUTCHER SHOP & SUPPER CLUB  is one of Austin's hybrid experiences.  You enter the restaurant through an artisinal butcher counter, packed with some of the most beautiful cuts of meat, relishes and sauces I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to hit Fried Chicken Night -and  if I could marry a food, I would marry this very crispy chicken, laced with astringent pickled jalapeno peppers, cushioned by some lighter-than-air buttermilk biscuits. I was literally in hog heaven eating fried chicken!

DAI DUE BUTCHER SHOP & SUPPER CLUB is one of Austin's hybrid experiences.  You enter the restaurant through an artisinal butcher counter, packed with some of the most beautiful cuts of meat, relishes and sauces I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to hit Fried Chicken Night -and  if I could marry a food, I would marry this very crispy chicken, laced with astringent pickled jalapeno peppers, cushioned by some lighter-than-air buttermilk biscuits. I was literally in hog heaven eating fried chicken!

 I'm usually not a beet fan, but I went along for a ride with this inventive starter at  Geraldine's  Restaurant, housed in the  Hotel Van Zandt  in downtown Austin. The baby beets were roasted into caramelized bites, and dusted with a dreamy caraway rye crumble, pickled mustard seed and an egg yolk aioli - add the sweet potato chips and we were in business.

I'm usually not a beet fan, but I went along for a ride with this inventive starter at Geraldine's Restaurant, housed in the Hotel Van Zandt in downtown Austin. The baby beets were roasted into caramelized bites, and dusted with a dreamy caraway rye crumble, pickled mustard seed and an egg yolk aioli - add the sweet potato chips and we were in business.

 Translated from the Japanese word “house,” the original  U  CHI  is located in a refurbished South Austin bungalow. Chef Tyson Cole creates unusual interpretations of Japanese food - shown here some Tempura of Kabocha (Japanese squash). Not a hint of grease, you bite into a crunchy explosion of breading, followed by a mouthful of creamy, sweet, local squash.  Photo courtesy of UCHI   

Translated from the Japanese word “house,” the original UCHI is located in a refurbished South Austin bungalow. Chef Tyson Cole creates unusual interpretations of Japanese food - shown here some Tempura of Kabocha (Japanese squash). Not a hint of grease, you bite into a crunchy explosion of breading, followed by a mouthful of creamy, sweet, local squash.

Photo courtesy of UCHI

 

 Still at Geraldine's, because everything was memorable.  Beneath this lacy squid ink tuille (fancy French for lacy cracker) was the most delicious charred octopus served on a bed of bacon infused lentils, and topped with some microgreens and dollops of romesco verde (roasted green peppers, whirred with almonds, bread, garlic and olive oil). This was a visually stunning and inspired started, and enjoyed by all.

Still at Geraldine's, because everything was memorable.  Beneath this lacy squid ink tuille (fancy French for lacy cracker) was the most delicious charred octopus served on a bed of bacon infused lentils, and topped with some microgreens and dollops of romesco verde (roasted green peppers, whirred with almonds, bread, garlic and olive oil). This was a visually stunning and inspired started, and enjoyed by all.

 Out in Texas Hill Country sits the legendary  SALT LICK BBQ  in Driftwood. When in Texas, you can't leave without a plate of this classic BBQ. Salt Lick was a HUUUGE sprawl of picnic tables and out buildings. Ice cold beers are delivered before your can even utter you are thirsty, and a plate of heavenly BBQ is in front of you within, I kid you not, 5 minutes of placing your order.  Service is friendly, the price is right, and the food....well it's so good, I'd sacrifice dessert for more...and I did!   

Out in Texas Hill Country sits the legendary SALT LICK BBQ in Driftwood. When in Texas, you can't leave without a plate of this classic BBQ. Salt Lick was a HUUUGE sprawl of picnic tables and out buildings. Ice cold beers are delivered before your can even utter you are thirsty, and a plate of heavenly BBQ is in front of you within, I kid you not, 5 minutes of placing your order.

Service is friendly, the price is right, and the food....well it's so good, I'd sacrifice dessert for more...and I did!

 

 I couldn't bear to crop this photo into a perfect square as I wanted you to see this ENTIRE beef rib in all its glory.  This is a dish meant for 2 ravenous or 4 decently hungry people. It's a whole beef rib smoked for upwards of 18 hours, and topped with pickled fennel and jalapeno slaw with a generous topping of fresh cilantro.  I normally eat beef once or twice a month, but when in Austin.....!  Anyway, this bad boy is served at  Lambert's , and is served with tongs. The meat just falls off the bone and tastes of Texas. This was the last meal I ate there, and so glad I did.

I couldn't bear to crop this photo into a perfect square as I wanted you to see this ENTIRE beef rib in all its glory.  This is a dish meant for 2 ravenous or 4 decently hungry people. It's a whole beef rib smoked for upwards of 18 hours, and topped with pickled fennel and jalapeno slaw with a generous topping of fresh cilantro.  I normally eat beef once or twice a month, but when in Austin.....!  Anyway, this bad boy is served at Lambert's, and is served with tongs. The meat just falls off the bone and tastes of Texas. This was the last meal I ate there, and so glad I did.