Eating and smoozing in Austin in summer
Posted on Jun 27, 2013 by
My husband and I have spent the last two winters in Austin, escaping the Wisconsin cold. We have thought of moving there but first we needed to experience summer in Austin. We have been told that Austin is horrible in the summer and this was a good summer to test it, with over a month of temperatures in the double digits. We think that we experienced it at its worst this past July!
Last winter some friends who retired to Austin were asking how we got our rental because they said they wanted something like that for Appleton in July. They did not want to stay with friends or relatives. We asked them if they would like to swap houses for a week. The dates worked out so we got reservations to fly out. The house is in Round Rock, about a 20-25 minute drive to downtown Austin, if the traffic is flowing well. We used the new tollway a lot which was pretty empty whenever we took it.
Yes, 104 degrees F is hot, but it is not like the midwest at 87 with humidity that hits you like a wall when you walk outside. No, the weather would not be a deal breaker should we decide to move to Texas. Yes, air conditioning was needed. In the morning, it was in the upper 70s and did not get hot until mid afternoon. Even then, we did not find it intolerable. It was quite comfortable to go for a walk or be outside in the morning.
We spent most of our time visiting with friends and eating out. We had a great dinner at our Travelzine friends, Carolyn and Ron Kostelecky. We were able to catch up and hear about all of their travel adventures, most recently in China.
We did see the bats at sundown on the Anne Richards Congress Street Bridge. Over a million bats live under the bridge, and they fly out in a very organized way, filling the Austin sky with a cloud. We inadvertently came across another bridge that we were driving over near Round Rock that also had bats flying out in the early evening. It is quite an amazing site. We also saw one movie and a concert of Johnny Mercer songs which we enjoyed. Austin has a lot to do but this trip was mostly devoted to visiting and eating.
We ate at some wonderful restaurants for the first time:
Uchi (801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704-1509 (512) 916-4808. very wonderful, innovative Japanese food. My husband and I shared a taster`s menu with 5 small dishes and dessert. There were three raw fish items, and two cooked. All were a wonder of tastes, textures, presentation. Dessert was outstanding--a small scoop each of pistachio and chocolate wasabi ice cream with something crunchy on the side. It was outstanding. Uchi is on the expensive side, and popular. We made reservations online through Open Table at least a week in advance.
NXNW (512-467-6969 10010 Capital of TX Hwy N, Austin, TX 78759) : a brew pub with good beer, salads, sandwiches.
Whole Foods (525 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78703 Phone: 512.542.2340: The Whole Foods Market flagship store has several counters with made from scratch food. We chose the fish counter. I had great seafood gaspacho and my husband had a tilapia poe boy sandwich. This store is amazing and a must see and experience while in Austin. It is a great place for breakfast with a huge buffet of breakfast food of all kinds. And there are $1.50 breakfast tacos of all kinds and the bakery! There is another Whole Foods off of Reseach Blvd., but it is a small store. Austin also has two Central Markets which are upscale grocery stores
Louisiana Longhorn café (200 E Main Ave, Round Rock, TX 78664-5234 (512) 248-2900). Cousins were coming from Houston for lunch and we did not want to travel far. We liked the name of the restaurant which was just fine, with Cajun style food.
Corizan At Castlehill (1101 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703, (512) 476-0728) :Very good Mexican inspired food with a different twist.
Annies, 319 Congress Ave): Salads, sandwiches, soup. Good downtown location if you are going to the museums, etc.
The major museum in Austin is the Blanton on the University of Texas campus. We did make one visit there to see the current exhibit.
We have no immediate plans to move, but we know that it is a possibility. In the meantime, we look forward to another winter in Austin in 2010.