Austin: Cinema Paradiso

How cool is Austin?

When I told my old graduate school friend, Michael Pittard, of the Austin based online clothing company Supermaggie, I was coming to visit, he replied, “get ready to look at real estate, everyone who visits from the Big Apple wants to buy a place.”

A four day three night jaunt through Richard Linklater territory left me wanting to probe deeper into this stew of youth, politics, culture and cowboy coolness………It was a genius move by my nephew to choose the best college and food town in America and hitch his laptop at St. Edward’s University for the next four years. The trip was fast and furious and I’m looking forward to my next visit already.  Had a great time with my sis and brother-in-law and we packed all the food adventures possible in 3 days…

Here are a few highlights…….

Clarke’s oyster bar, is the little brother to Perla’s seafood on Congress street.  The small intimate space has a New England retro feel with sherbert colors and tables lining the outside with misters.  We ordered a mix of oysters from the east and west coast washed down with a bottle of muscadet,.  The menu focuses on seafood, simply prepared with some riffs on classic dishes along with all the latest food trends: steak tartare, shells and cheese crab gratin, grilled kale etc.  If I did invest in that little Austin bungalow, this would be the perfect after work hangout for cocktails and oysters.  The creative wine list ping pongs around the globe and hits some classic and esoteric seafood friendly bottles. Service was A plus and the wait staff well versed on the oyster selections and wines.  Love this place, see ya’all at Clarke’s on my next trip!

Jo’s coffee is the perfect outdoor coffee kiosk, right next to the super cool mid-century designed, Hotel San Jose.  Get the $3.00 breakfast burrito with hot sauce, a cup of joe and watch the world go by…..

Joe's Coffee, Austin

While in the neighborhood, stop at Allens Boots, a dark, low ceiling temple to cowboy wear.  The cavernous, New York city dollar store interior, is penetrated with piercing sunlight from the small windows in front,  just another Austin cinematic moment!  The boot selection is gigantic, just walk down the aisles and smell that leather!

Snack Bar, San Jose Motel

Hopdoddy burger bar is part of the “new breed” of fast food joints following in the footsteps of Shake Shack,  and Chipotle, local natural ingredients,  choices, service and booze.   This burger palace has outdone the competition with a wider selection of food items from appetizers to burger to salads.  The assembly line is impressive, from the burger bouncer at the door to the obvious bar stop on the way to the food counter.  My sis got a beergrita, a frozen margarita with an upside down mini IMG_3149corona inside that slowly marries with the margarita…only in Texas!   When we finally reached the food counter, a hostess took our info to find us a table, no food orders are taken until a table is open. Once your order is in, the hostess gives you a table number and a waiter brings the food and solicits more drink orders.  A fine-tuned machine that turns tables quickly and has your credit card swiping at every stop.  Hopdoddy are certainly doing their part to bolster employment and hopefully the workers are making above average wages.  Definitely my nephew’s new date spot!

Hopdaddys

Amy’s ice crèams has some inventive flavors with chop-ins.  I opted for the stout ice cream which had some wonderful sweet caramel and bitter notes…………Ok, beer and ice cream really can play together! Time to try that Shiner Bock ice creme recipe on Homesick Texan!

Amy's Ice Cream

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Our last night dinner was at Eddie V’s steakhouse.  Décor is contemporary and rustic, dark and comfy.  Service was stellar, the waiter even compted my halibut with morel and fava bean sauce when he eyed the tiny bones on my plate.  This is a great special occasion place and perfect for graduation dinner.

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Driskill Hotel, Austin, TX

The Driskill Hotel is the jewel in the crown of downtown Austin.  The elegant old world façade is a timely contrast to the newer steel and glass skyline of the city.   The cocktail lounge is a scene out of the John Dahl movie Red Rock West, stately with dark wood, leather couches, cowboy art and live music.  Maybe that was Richard Linklater in the corner couch with those LA types…….ok, too dark to tell but I’m sure this is the site of many movie deals…..

haven't seen one of these in a long time!

Next trip:

Anywhere my nephew takes me..

Table shuffleboard

The bats!

Live music!

Jefferey’s and Josephine House, Bon Appetites top new restaurant…

Food trucks!

More live music!

BBQ!

The Lakes!

St Edward's Campus

St Edward’s Campus

I hope you find this foodtruck Koray..

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