Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kettler Travel Journal: Keep Austin Weird

2012 was filled with amazing trips, including a weekend getaway to Austin, Texas in early November to see one of my best friends get married. Since this was our first time in Austin, Ryan and I decided to spend as much time as possible there to check out what all of the hype was about.

Keep Austin Weird

Ryan is a great travel partner. Even though he can be very impatient with airlines (but let's be honest, who isn't), he is great at navigating! This definitely comes in handy when we are in an unknown city, especially since I am HORRIBLE at finding my way around. I still use my GPS around my hometown (sad, I know). 

Back to Austin, the city that lives by "Keep Austin Wierd." Home of SXSW (South by Southwest) an annual music, film and interactive conference and festival.

Casino El Camino in Austin

Day 1

After some very unfortunate and frustrating flight delays, we finally arrived to our destination around 1am. Just enough time to grab a shot, drink and one of the best burgers in Austin at Casino El Camino. Ryan and I shared a burger with chili verde fries and threw back a few local beers (Rahr & Sons Blonde and a Fire Eagle IPA).

Casino El Camino in Austin              Casino El Camino in Austin

We were disappointed that the burger was a bit over cooked (but didn't mind since we were starving and we showed up about 5 minutes before the kitchen closed). I had a feeling the next day would start out better! 

Day 2

After a very warm run through a local park, we walked to Second Bar + Kitchen for an early lunch and cocktails. Ryan and I have a way of putting ourselves into the "vacation mentality" way too easily when traveling. This usually leads us to order something like Truffle Pommes Fritte with Foie Gras. Yes, that's right folks - truffle french fries with a slab of foie gras on top! Seriously the most indulgent and most expensive plate of fries we have ever ordered.

Truffle Pommes Fritte with Foie Gras in Austin

I could only manage a few bites with my sensitive tummy, but Ryan was in food heaven! He savored and enjoyed every bite!

Keep Austin WeirdKeep Austin WeirdKeep Austin Weird         

After that, does it even matter what else we ordered?!?! Just for kicks, I will share. We split an avocado and fried egg sandwich with an escarole, sweet onion relish and black pepper aoili. Yum! To wash it down, he ordered a Mimosa and I indulged in a Patriots Punch - tea infused rum, orange juice and tea syrup. All in all, day 2 was starting out great! 

We then walked over to another bar district to meet the Groom for a drink! After a few local beers and food truck tacos, the Groom was ready to meet his bride at the alter.

Wedding in Austin
Our dear friends Taylor and Katie getting hitched!

Day 3 - Franklin's Barbecue

After a lot of drinking and a VERY late night, we sluggishly woke ourselves up early for the last day. This was the big day - the day we would visit Franklin's BBQ. Drum roll please!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

There was a lot of hype for us to go to Franklin's BBQ while we were in Austin. Like North Carolina, Texas is also known for BBQ, but they focus on a different animal - the cow. We were about to experience the best beef brisket BBQ in all of Texas.

The morning started with a brisk walk from our hotel to Franklin's, with a quick coffee stop. We were told that if we expected to actually get some barbecue, we should be in line by 9am (for an 11am opening). Crazy right?!?! Who waits in line for 2 hours just to hopefully get barbecue. This place runs out of food every day it's open - good sign!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

We found our place in line, 7th and the countdown began. Luckily we brought our books and the neighboring, anxious patrons were all VERY nice! I anticipated Franklin's to be a tourist attraction, but was nicely surprised to find most of the patrons in line to be local.

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

I snuck into the restaurant to use the restroom and found myself meeting most of the staff!   They told me that the infamous fatty beef brisket cooks for 14 hours! Talk about a labor of love....literally. After a two hour consultation from the locals, we finalized our order and watched as the line kept getting longer and longer.

Franklin Barbecue in AustinFranklin Barbecue in AustinFranklin Barbecue in Austin

It was like Christmas morning when we finally made it through the door at 11am. We decided to go all out: 1 pound fatty brisket, 1 pound ribs, 1/2 pound turkey, side of coleslaw and espresso BBQ sauce, banana bourbon pie, pickles and (as if we would have room for it) the Smokey Franklin Porter, brewed just for Franklin's!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

We were treated to a few burnt ends while we were waiting for our order and went for it! I ordered the turkey for the sake of my tummy, but snuck a bite of the brisket and ribs - holy awesome Batman!

Franklin Barbecue in Austin

This meal was like a religious experience! I am usually not one for meat overindulgence, but this was SERIOUSLY good. We walked back towards our hotel, much slower and heavier than before and stopped in a few places for photo ops. After a short food coma, er, I mean nap, we packed up and headed out for a final drink before departing for the airport. Glad we did, because I found inspiration for my Clean Margarita at Chipacabra!

Keep Austin Weird

We did find Austin to be a bit weird, but loved it. We are already anxious to return, just not in the summer time!

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