This trip was unintentional and unplanned but I did enjoy it nonetheless. I’ve only been to Texas once back in 2008 and it wasn’t the best experience mostly because it was super hot, I didn’t own a car back then and had to take bus everywhere. On top of it I came to Texas for work but upon my arrival it turned out that my contract was canceled and I had to figure out something else which didn’t add a lot of cheer to the trip. But I am not kind of person who backs down because of one bad experience and I’m glad I didn’t. So here I’ve listed the places I think are worth visiting if you’re ever in Austin.
I guess I’ve never really tried really good Mexican food until I went to Austin. I’ve never been to Mexico and ate REAL Mexican food but if it is even better then this… Then Mexican cuisine might be my favorite in the world. Every place we’ve been to I LOVED it! There’s probably more locally owned cafes/restaurants here than we have in Midwest but don’t quote me on that though. And God is it yummy! That said I’ve also noticed it is very simple as well with just few ingredients. The more foods I try the more I realize that the best dish has just few ingredients but all the best ones you can find and it is so true for Austin’s food. If you are ever in Austin try those restaurants and you won’t be disappointed.
BOULDIN CREEK CAFE | It is one of the most famous and best places in Austin for breakfast. You will not find any meat on the menu which is totally fine with me. The prices are not bad either starting at $6 for breakfast. Plus they serve breakfast ALL DAY. Any place that serves breakfast all day is automatically my best friend. I’ve ordered El Tipico which is 2 eggs with hash browns, locally grown tomatoes on the side, salsa and warm tortillas. It is simple but it was SO GOOD! I even forgot to check my phone for like 10 minutes while I was enjoying every bite of it. Nowadays if you don’t check your phone while eating it is a sure sign that the cook did something right. The salsa was out of this world. The only thing that I did not enjoy was the coffee but everything else was A+
LUPE TORTILLA | Their fajitas are famous throughout Austin which they serve still sizzling on an iron cast skillet but what I’ve enjoyed the most was chips with salsa, guacamole and beans. I’ve even gotten it next day to-go just to go crazy and finish half of the bag of chips but if I could I would do it again because you cannot feel guilty for eating such good food (sorry tummy!). I can always workout later anyways.
Another thing that definitely deserves its own paragraph is Lupe’s margaritas. Smooth, refreshing, sweet just enough and with no taste of alcohol whatsoever. The best kind of drink there is!
ROARING FORK (on Stonelake Blvd) | You have to come here for the view and stay for delicious dinner. This restaurant’s location is right by the lake. You can enjoy the sunset and the breeze while you are sipping your margarita which is pretty good as well. The atmosphere is just as wonderful. Right by the entrance on the left there is a kitchen so the smell of all the yumminess going on in there welcomes you right away and puts you in a great mood. The lights are dim, patio is big with few couches where you can relax while waiting for your table. Thankfully we did not have to though I probably wouldn’t mind. The food is just as good. I’ve ordered grilled fish tacos. Unfortunately I was too full with chips to finish the whole meals but I definitely appreciated the dish full of flavors. Again it was simply delicious. So do not make my mistake – don’t even try their chips and guacamole because you won’t be able to stop eating it and definitely will be too full to enjoy the main meal. This place is most famous for it’s THE ROARING FORK “BIG ASS” burger which is really good I’ve heard. So if you unlike me eat red meat you definitely will enjoy this one.
MOZART CAFE | Though I loved the view and the coziness of Roaring Fork I was totally blown away by the view and atmosphere of this place. Mostly wood interior with several levels and tables right by the lake. We stopped by that place around 12 am and it still was pretty full with some people peacefully reading their books or just hanging out. Totally my kind of Friday night chilling. I couldn’t really see the other side of the lake except for some dark lines against dark blue sky but even that was enough to fall in love with that place forever. There’s also yacht parking on one side and beautiful restaurant on the other which was closed by the time we stopped by. So lots of eye candies. I could spend here the whole day just reading, writing my blog and sipping coffee. Simply writer’s paradise! The dessert was pretty good as well. I went classic and ordered cherry pie which was pretty good. Although they have lots of options of cheesecakes and bakery items but it is definitely the location an atmosphere that I would come back for.
FOR SUGAR RUSH
TEAPIOCA LOUNGE | This was another unintentional stop. We were aiming for near by Starbucks for coffee but ended up in Teapioca lounge. My all time favorite is Taro but this time I’ve tried Pina Colada. They have so many different options (healthier and not so much) that it is really hard to choose from. I am not really a bubble tea drinker per se since it is not a very healthy option but since I was on business/vacation trip anyways I let myself have this little treat and enjoyed every sip of it.
THE DOMAIN | The best place in town for shopping is definitely The Domain with lots of nice shops expensive and not, lots of coffee shops to boost your shopping mood, lunching/dining cafes and restaurants to fuel your shopping passion (lots of shopping reference but that’s what this place is for, right?). Ironically I only came here to have lunch though but if we had some time that day and it wasn’t raining I probably would spend a good half of my day here.
SAN MARCOS PREMIUM OUTLETS | This place is not exactly in Austin but it was only about 45 minutes away from where we stayed. It is the biggest outlet I’ve seen so far in US with shops like Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Escada, Furla, Michael Kors and many many more. Fashionista’s paradise in two words! If the purpose of your trip is to shop shop and shop and save some money on designer items this is the right place for you!
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER | I saved this bit for the last though I would say I’ve enjoyed it the most in Austin. I am a nature lover and as much as I love shopping for entertainment I prefer walking in gardens or parks and exploring nature to shopping (gasp!). After enjoying my breakfast at Bouldin Creek Cafe I went to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and stayed there for the rest of the day taking pictures, walking and thinking. Truly an amazing place. Maybe because it was Wednesday or maybe it was due to the way the park itself is designed but it felt so peaceful and at some places even isolated from the whole world even though park was full of people with a company of around 20 people with a bunch of screaming children taking engagement/family pictures near by. Unfortunately I cannot transfer the aromas and smell of fresh grass but just believe me when I say that it was absolutely wonderful. One of the features that I loved the most were the wind chimes all over the garden hang on the trees. I could stand and listen to it forever. I guess that was the whole idea of whoever designed the place that people would stop, listen to wind chimes and find peace inside because it’s the only way it is. The most therapeutic sound I’ve heard in my life. Once I buy my own house I promise you here this will be the first thing I buy – the wind chime! It was definitely very spiritual experience and the best one so far this year. More to come!