Tuesday, September 20, 2011

austin, tx (part 2)

So here's Day 2 of our Austin trip.  Our first stop of the day was going to be the Hamilton Pool Preserve.  We drove about 30 - 45 minutes away from downtown Austin to Dripping Springs, only to find out that they were full and it would be a two hour wait.  The security guy at the entrance wasn't too nice about it either.  Labor Day weekend was basically THE WORST time to go there.  So we'll have to come back the next time we're in Austin or Fredericksburg.  But no worries...on to the next one... SALT LICK BBQ

Almost every person who has ever browsed the Food Network Channel has probably heard of Salt Lick BBQ.  They're known for their mouth-watering barbeques, and it definitely lived up to all the hype!  We got there and of course, there was a 1 hour wait.  But for food, I will wait!  To kill some time, we went next door to their winery called Salt Lick BBQ Cellars and did their wine tasting...$5 for 5 tastings...what a deal!  They had their own wines, as well as other wines from local wineries. 

I had to wait for this couple to leave so I could take a picture of this gorgeous outdoor dining area.  I can just see lights out here, and having the family over for dinner drinking wine...pretty much like a Brothers & Sisters episode (miss it already).

When we were being escorted to our seats, we were greeted by THIS:

Come to Mama!  I ordered the three meat combo plate and Paul ordered the Family Style all you can eat.  It was so worth it!  This visit is a must when you're in the Hill Country.

Another item on the to-do list was Barton Springs.  I had high expections for this place, just based on the things I've read.  Again, it was packed, and you have to pay for parking and admission.  The three acre pool stays at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 20 degrees Celsius for my Canadian folks) year round.  I weighed the pros and cons of getting in the water (having to change, get dry, etc) and I made up my mind that it was too much effort to get wet.  This is a great place for kids though, and they actually had an area where dogs could go for a dip!  Since we had neither of the two, we grabbed some snow cones and did some people watching instead. 

We continued our tour of the UT Campus. 

Similar to the grizzly bear statues in Vancouver, Austin had a lot of these in random areas. 

Walking around this campus made me want to relive my college years again!  My experience would have been completely different, but I guess I was exactly where I was supposed to be =)

Thousands of people travel from all over the world every year for the Austin City Limits and South By Southwest music festivals.  I have yet to go to one of these.  I'm sure it's quite an experience!

One of my goals for the trip was to try the different food trucks.  I printed out maps, and reviews on several different food trucks, only to conveniently forget them in the car on our first day.  The heat only brought on more frustration in trying to figure out where these food trucks were.  So on our last night, we HAD to try at least one, and I  chose the G'Raj Mahal Cafe.  After seeing it on the Food Network (can you tell I love food?), I wanted to find it.  It seemed like forever to get to this place.  Finally, it appeared, out of nowhere, in a very secluded, hidden area between buildings and houses, there was light! 

The wait was again, long. The food though was great!  I had the Saag and Paul had the Tikka Masala with Naan, which makes everything taste so much better!  The place had a very nice ambiance, very laid back and I loved the linen and the lights draped over poles, giving it a tent-like feel.  It's the go-to place to eat before and/or after a late night out.
Austin is such a lively and active city.  It sort of reminds me of Vancouver, only they have hills and not mountains.  I'm sure we'll be back numerous times!

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