Friday, November 16, 2012


We had a crazy and wonderful and busy and exciting and INDULGENT trip to Austin. I had looked forward to it for weeks - I was a bit burnt out, as evidenced by some grouchy posts on here - and I wondered if I was going to turn into a stressy mess instead of enjoying my vacation. But no, my friends - we wrung out maximum enjoyment.

The excitement started two days before we left, when my brother wrote to me from the Hong Kong airport to say that his flight home from Perth to New York had been cancelled because of Hurricane (er, Superstorm?) Sandy, and Cathay Pacific could really only send him to San Francisco. He offered up his services as a catsitter while Mike and I were in Austin with my parents, which was sweet but misguided. Because thanks to a Gchat that lasted most of a day and on into the evening, we not only got him onto our flight to Austin two days later (this is why I hoard my miles), but we realized we could surprise the hell out of our parents AND got him a free VIP pass to the music festival going on while we were there. Like buttah.

So Ian landed in San Francisco the next day without a single shred of knowledge about what timezone his body was in, the day after that we got on the plane to Austin, and a few hours after THAT we had a huge tub of queso and a giant stack of tortillas with us when we showed up at the rental house to surprise our parents with Ian's presence. My mom told us she had guessed he was with us when he suspiciously hadn't called her back after "dropping us at the airport", but my dad sat up in bed and said, "What the hell are you doing here?", which was immensely satisfying.
The first chips and queso are always the best.

We settled into our little rental for the week and ate our way through Austin. Our first two days were picture perfect perfection. We went to Trudy's for brunch that first Friday, and introduced my parents to frozen margaritas (seriously), queso, and mexican martinis. We trolled the craft beer section at Central Market, dipped and sunned at Barton Springs, and had a luxurious early dinner at Uchiko. Divine. They even brought us a free dessert because I had tipped off the restaurant that this was my parents' anniversary dinner (though a few months late). After two of the best desserts I've ever had (the sweet corn sorbet and the fried milk) my parents headed home to crash, and Ian and I caught up with Mike at Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Steak cooking on a hot rock at Uchiko

For those not aware (maybe most of you), Fun Fun Fun Fest is a big music festival that friends of ours put on each year in Austin. Each year it grows, and each year it gets more awesome. There are four stages of musical acts, plus food trucks and skate ramps and a taco cannon and a big backstage area where we get to go with our Homie passes and where I can pretty much guarantee I will see all of my Austin loved ones. It's magical. There's a video here if you want to feel like you were there.
The scene at FFFF

Aside from catching up with all our Austin friends, the highlights of FFFF for me included Bun B, Danny Brown, Run DMC, Explosions in the Sky, Girl Talk, and the Kebabalicious food truck. Oh, also all the damn Red Bull and vodka that I drank, which made me crazy but very awake.  That was a good thing, though, because we went to the Mohawk to see someone (young? whiny? I'd say Surfer Blood but I feel like Mike would have booed if it had been them) and were out muy muy late.
These guys

After the first night of festing, we slept in as much as my parents would allow us, and then headed to Curra's for lunch. Curra's is Mike's favorite restaurant in Austin, and so this was a time-honored ritual. My parents approved. Then we drove to the Jester King Brewery in Hill Country for a tour and some tastings.
Ma and E at Jester King

Their grounds are absolutely lovely, and while I thought the tour was a bit high-handed (you can explain why you use the methods you do without sounding like you have a grievance against every other brewery out there), the beers were interesting and I fell in love with the old barn on the property, where the perfect rustic-chic wedding was about to happen. Yes, I am a girl.

Saturday night was again full of festing (and a Guy Clark concert at the Cactus Cafe for my parents, which was hella local of them) and another late night, but Sunday brought some nice downtime. We brought dozens of breakfast tacos (oh, to live in a city with breakfast tacos) to our friends' house for brunch and baby-hanging. This also involved sitting in the front yard shooting the shit, which is perhaps my favorite Austin activity. Halloween had just ended, but not for Elliot, who still dresses up on a daily basis. He's allowed to, he's 3. He'd been telling everyone he was going to be a black penis for Halloween, because penises are hilarious and black is the spoooookiest (that's how Elliot says it) color. Kids say the darndest things.
Spidey time

Later my parents went to a Celtic festival to see large women flip wooden logs while wearing cowboy boots (or something), and we finished up the fest with a heartwrenching/warming set by Explosions in the Sky against the lit-up Austin skyline.
Girl Talk-fetti

And then we died. By which I mean, we passed out from exhaustion. The rest of the week called for meals at Banger's (for pre-noon-on-Monday microbrews), Guero's (for corn tortillas and queso and margaritas), Elizabeth St. Cafe (amazing French-Vietnamese), an India trip reunion dinner, Homeslice Pizza (Mom to server: I'm from New York and I actually like this pizza!), Second Bar & Kitchen (fried pickles in buffalo sauce, y'all), East Side Showroom, and a lovely night at Contigo with old friends. Oh, and 1.5 million bats, most of whom peed on me as they looped out from under the South Congress bridge on their nightly pilgrimage to eat all of the bugs in Central Texas. To be fair, I also evacuate my bladder first thing when I wake up, but I don't let loose on unsuspecting open-mouthed tourists in a boat below me.
So many bats. So much pee.

I was so grateful for this trip: for a week off after an intense few months at work, for getting to show my parent and brother why I love Austin, and to get to spend time with Mike and all our friends. There's never enough time to do all we want to do, but we did talk to a real estate agent friend while we were there...

You never know.

Ok, that wasn't really fair. Right now, we do know. But I guess what I mean is, in the FUTURE, you never know.

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