Aside from the atrocious heat and the cluster you know what of the TV festival, the time we spent actually exploring a bit of Austin was pretty sublime. We ended up getting up close an personal with the South Congress neighborhood. My friend booked our hotel just off of South Congress, which was the ideal neighborhood, aside from the fact that our first few days in Austin were spent trekking across the river for all of the TV festival hoopla.
THE HIGHLIGHT REEL
Gourdoughs Our second night in Austin happened to coincide with national donut day, so we strolled over to Gordough's for literally THE best donut I have ever had in my life. Picture this: a maple glazed donut toped with bacon. Yes, bacon. They have multiple locations, but we hit up their airstream off South Congress. Apparently at their downtown location they serve fried chicken and creamed corn atop your donut along with variety of other INSANE (in the very best of ways) flavor combinations.
Casey's Snowballs The sweltering Austin heat necessitated a snow cone break while strolling on South Congress. I obviously had to go with the Cotton Candy flavored snow cone. But I kept intending to venture back to try something more novel from their vast array of options.
Jo's Coffee Their iced turbo coffee is TDF. Plus they have an Instagram worthy mural and live music on the regular. Oh and you can smoke there. They actually sell cigarettes there. Does anyone else not find that odd? I forgot to mention that Austin is apparently a smokers paradise. Jo's Coffee, I love you so much!
The Driskill Hotel Multiple sources said this was the place to hit up for a nightcap. Do not listen to these sources as the hotel bar was no where I'd want to be for a drink anytime of day or night. But the café was quite charming for brunch, what with it's old school southern décor and ambience. Plus their omelet was quite palatable.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar Along with my donut from Gordough's, my burger from Hopdoddy's was one of my culinary highlights while in Austin. I really dug this place.
South Congress Café Multiple sources assured me this was the place to brunch on South Congress. I was just not impressed. Perhaps I ordered wrong. I went the omelet route, as I tend to do. Their carrot cake French toast was probably beyond amazing.
Guero's Taco Bar Y'all, I was really disappointed in this place. I wanted authentic "Tex Mex" while in Austin. So I asked around and many sources seemed to concur that this was available everywhere. Guero's was conveniently located on South Congress, was packed every time we walked by, so it seemed like an obvious choice. To be honest I think we might have fared better at a food truck. The tacos (their specialty) were lackluster and the margaritas were ho-hum at best. I mentioned this to a friend who had also visited Austin for the first time earlier in the year and apparently she had a similar experience. I'm just so perplexed as to what Tex Mex actually entails. Because the straight up Mexican food we have here in Washington is superb, and we're about as far away from the Mexican border as possible.
Aside from not having write home worthy Tex Mex, I was also rather disappointed to leave Austin without having their BBQ. Franklin's was the place apparently. But it requires a lengthy wait and a car. As we didn't have our own ride or an abundance of time, Franklin's not to be had. Oh and then there was the fact that my friend is a vegetarian, so obviously BBQ was of zero importance to her. Upon my return to Washington, lo and behold I found out there was a Franklin's outpost at the airport. I suppose all this means I still have reasons to venture back to Austin. Hopefully this return trip will occur sooner rather than later.