Friday, March 22, 2013

Austin - SXSW

I don't think I have ever gone to a city where people have been so passionate and responsive in terms of recommendations. I mean it. Seriously, who doesn't love Austin? Apparently nobody, because I was getting so much animated and enthusiastic feedback on my blog, instagram, and email over the best spots to see and places to eat. I was blown away with how many people have such an unrestrained passion for this city. And now I am one of them!

Going into this knowing Austin was a big foodie city, I didn't mess around. I followed all your suggestions religiously. After landing at the airport (an airport where conveyer belts are lined with massive guitar statues, and live music is played in the TSA lines) I headed straight to some good Texas BBQ, The Salt Lick. My first adventure to say the least, I had no idea where I was going out on these old country roads, a good 30 minutes outside the city. After a close call with a deer in the road, I found the huge compound in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere. And lets just say, you were all not kidding one bit, it was SO worth the drive. I went all out with the pork ribs, beef brisket and blackberry cobbler. How could I not love Texas already?

The next morning, I checked into SXSW and attended some different key note speakers and panels at the interactive portion of the festival. I managed to squeeze in a quick breakfast at 24 Diner, the restaurant was flooded with SXSW attendees so I am not sure I got the true feeling of the vibe there, but the food was incredible. I would almost call it "progressive-texan" country with a modern twist. Saturday night I attended an agency event at Franklin BBQ, which I am nervous to say this but I think I loved even more than Salt Lick (although I loved the SL experience outside the city). Don't worry that I managed to snag 2 BBQ sauce bottles from both stops to let my husband be the judge. 

Sunday was filled with marketing lectures and digital classes downtown. Although, I took an afternoon breather and wandered up to South Congress and fell in love. From the vintage airstreams on every corner to the gourmet food trucks, timeworn candy and ice-cream soda shops, antique markets, and charming restaurants with live music - I realized if I lived in Austin, that would be my place! (Whenever I am in a new city, I like to figure out where I would live and where would be my place). 

While in the neighborhood, I took my colleagues from the Netherlands to Hopdoddy Burger Bar. It was a 45 minute wait, and although my Dutch friends had never heard of the concept of waiting in line for food, I asked them "Do you want the American experience?" Ha! Well, turns out they did because they topped off their delicious burgers with queso-fries and creamy shake. That's America boys! There were no complaints.

Along with South Congress, I managed to do some driving around Tarry Town and Westlake hills and found beautiful tree line streets with old homes (another one of my favorite things to do). I stopped off at Lady Bird lake, and wished I had time for a bike ride but instead watch young families picnic and couples jog.

My last night of the trip, I attended a dinner party hosted by Paige Denim and Immaculate & Infatuation at Foreign & Domestic - about a 15 minute drive outside downtown Austin. Who could resist a tasty meal with denim lovers and foodies at SXSW! 

Don't think I skipped out on the legendary sixth street, I jumped right in the madness. It was bittersweet enjoying all the live music from bar to bar, because I know that Joel would have died to be there. Even if it is for a work trip, it's hard to entirely enjoy a place without him. Especially Austin, a city that is so Joel. He flips for live music, incredible food, the nicest of people, unique shopping and outdoorsy activities (biking and hiking that I didn't even get to tap into). 

So this just means, we will back! 


  1. My Fave blog post yet! So glad you experienced Austin! And yes you do need to go back. After living there a year I still feel like there is so much more to do and see!! Im happy you now know what all the hype is about! Love you!

  2. Looks like you hit all the right places! So glad you had fun. It really is such a great city!

  3. I love Austin SO much! I hope to go back with my husband some day because I know he will love it too...ESP all the food!

  4. You totally hit up all the right places, and gave my city the perfect words to go with it. I LoVe living in ATX and wouldn't ever want to move anywhere else. I'm so glad you waited the 45mins. for a Hopdoddy Burger! Aren't their milkshakes to die for? I'm not sure what they put in them but I sometimes find myself telling my husband, "Let's just stop by for some fries and a milkshake." If your husband loves live music than you must come back for ACL, it reminds me of what Woodstock would have been like if it was held in TX.


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