Reunited with college friends to party and relax in Austin, TX!
by CurlyGirl on November 23, 2007
DEEElicious Texas barbecue - a feast of meats & sides! Bring your own beer, and fun for everyone! While you wait, enjoy live music in the outside area. Though it is about a 30 min drive from Austin, the food is delectable and SO worth it!Bring your own drinks and enjoy the music while you wait, on a Sunday evening we had about a 25 minute wait but didn't even mind. A nice September breeze blew through, and several families were sitting and singing along to the live tunes. Our buzzer went off, and we headed across the parking lot entrance to the main restaurant - we were whisked into a BbQ heaven, seeing all the meat cooking on the way in made our mouths water even more. The four of us sat at an oversized wooden picnic table, and were given tall waters immediately. The only downside of the meal was the water, which tasted like bleach to all of us. Since we had our bring your own beer, we made do but would have liked to have normal tasting water.The menu isn't large, but the portions are. One of us who had visited before gave advice; plates and sandwiches are less than $10, and the family style is about $16. We knew the plates were large enough so chose not to go with the family style option. Three of us got the combo meats plate:pork ribs, beef and sausage. I had been warned I couldn't eat it all, but oh I did! The ribs were messy, coated in sweet sauce, and soft flavorful meat. The sausage had a unique salty flavor and the beef was tender.Before the food came out though, the waitress brought some amazing bread, pickles and onions and asked if we wanted any additional items we opted for the jalapenos. They brought full jalapenos, and they were delicious but HOT! Not your average jalapeno slice out of a jar! Great addition to the meal, but you must have water (or cold beer) to wash it down!The sides with the combo plate were good but not fabulous. The potato salad was sweet but nothing to write home about, and the beans were fairly bland. However mixing in the bread, pickles and onions made for flavorful sides.Between the four of us we chose two desserts, one of them being for the sole BBQ sandwich plate eater (as he hadn't had as much meat!) - They were out of the raved about pecan pie which was his first choice, so he went with the blueberry cobbler which was large and tasty and of course we got the ice cream on top! The other three of us split the peach cobbler with ice cream, fruity & breaded goodness!A fun, lively atmosphere, we were surrounded by families and friendly waitstaff. The down home, country feel was just right for a BBQ restaurant; see the meat as you enter and get ready to grub!
We went to la Madeleine for Sunday brunch and waited about 10 min in line, then a few more for our food to be brought to the table. The French bakery offers a range of pastries to salads to full breakfast options - suitable for a large group or a few friends with differing tastes & hunger levels!la Madeleine gives the air of a French bakery, though the long line when we entered was very American. Each person gets a spoon when they order, and you first come to the coffee/capuccino station. You can choose one of these later, also. A friendly hostess took the brunch orders in line if you wanted a full meal and no a la carte, so our wait mainly consisted of waiting to get to the register. We saw the yummy pastries and options along our way there, but were excited to eat a real breakfast. They had a nice outdoor patio, full of trees and plants to create a natural mood despite its location near a busy street, and the trees provided shade in the hot Texas sun. I chose the egg crepe champignon, containing scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms and parsley, in an herb crêpe topped with creamy mushroom sauce. Outcome - delicious! It was just enough to not feel heavy, but full of tasty ingredients for a satisfying breakfast. The creamy mushroom sauce gave it a sweet taste and the eggs didn't overpower as they sometimes can in these type dishes.One friend chose the breakfast croissant, filled with scrambled eggs on a fresh-baked croissant with ripe tomato slices, cheddar cheese and two bacon strips. She got a cup of fruit on the side, which was a waste of money as it contained about 4 bites of fruit and was about $4. However, she enjoyed her croissant. My other friend chose the French Country Breakfast, with scrambled eggs, a Potato Galette and a fresh-baked croissant with bacon. She loved the flaky croissant and the potato galette was big enough for all of us to share. We were surrounded by groups of girls - young and old, obviously friends coming together over great French fare to munch and chat. There were a few couples, and there was a nice back room that looked a bit more romantic than our outdoor patio.Overall, a lovely brunch experience with good tasting food. I've been to the la Madeleine in DC, and this was more spacious and a more relaxed feel. Would go back if it was close by and convenient, but wouldn't return all the time with all the other great restaurants in Austin to try! Our meals were just under $10 by themselves, a reasonable price for the setting.
by CurlyGirl on December 5, 2007
Sooo good is how I describe this place. I live in NY, and its no greasy diner. Its a classy (for a diner), flavorful happenin' casual dining spot - a great place to meet friends and focus on them but enjoy some great food along the way.After much ado my first evening in Austin, two of my best friends decided they would take me to Kerbey Lane. They had reservations because 1) I'm from Manhattan and they think I live a much fancier life than I do, and 2) they take everyone who visits there. I told them that if it is the local flavor, that is what I want, and we headed off to the Kerbey Lane.Located close to UT-Austin, its super convenient but not on top of campus. There was a mixture of college students and early to late 20 somethings enjoying a solid Friday dinner to last them through a likely long night of partying. The menu is extensive - true to a diner in this regard. We debated over what to eat and had to turn the waiter away several times, perplexed at what to get amongst so many choices. I opted for the club sandwich after much ado, at first thinking it too boring and typical of a choice - but was delighted to have gotten it. Not too heavy and thick, but just right for a dinner sandwich, along with tasty thick fries.My friends were lured by the breakfast all day options, and one went with the Sticky Muffin (a cross between a sticky bun and a muffin). He wished he hadn't. The sticky muffin did not taste terrible, but it was rather large and super sweet and not finger lickin' good sweet - more like going to be comatose soon sweet. However, since he did choose this as his dinner option, he might have had a different opinion if it had actually been breakfast time!An open faced chicken salad sandwich arrived for my other friend, who stared at it for a while to determine how to actually eat it. She finally just picked it up with her hands, completely appropriate for the atmosphere, and dug in to the sandwich goodness. She also opted for the fries, and like me completely cleared her plate!The seasonal items sounded delicious - harvest plate, pumpkin pesto linguini - if not a bit too concocted to fit the season. In the laid back environment, we felt more comfortable going with the diner food and got what we asked for.A friendly, young waitstaff created a relaxed ambiance, and the colorful insides was a perfect lively start to a Friday evening in Austin! If you want a quick meal, a local hangout, or just the campus vibe - definitely check out the Kerbey Lane near UT!
Though it was one day before the start of October, the weather was warm and sunny! We decided to venture out to sunbathe and splash around, and chose to go to Barton Springs in Zilker Park.After finding the last parking spot left in the lot and paying our $3 entry fee, we were in the springs! Its a huge "pool" with a constant temperature from the springs of 68 degrees. That may sound not so cold, but trust me - frigid. icey. hard to tolerate. That is, of course, until you've been in a for a while and let your body adjust!We headed across the springs (you can get to the other side at the very end of the springs - you can also observe all the people & animals playing in the "free" part to the left of the fence) to find a sunny spot so we could do some tanning. On a Sunday afternoon in late September, the springs weren't crowded but we certainly weren't alone. The vast amount of space gave everyone some privacy. After a while of resting and sweating, we decided it was time to jump in to the water!Our friend who went first was a brave soul; she jumped right in from the side! The water was quite cold but she was the bravest of us all. I hopped in next, immediately emerging and chattering with my teeth. Then I saw a fish swim by and proceeded to yell out to my friends about that. Surrounded by concrete, it is easy to think this is just a regular pool - but it is not. Finally, our other less brave friend jumped in and was out about 5 minutes later. We spent much of our time while in the water observing those jumping off the diving board. Partially because their outfits were interesting (jeans?), but also beacuse they looked like regulars and pros at diving in to the chilly water. Back flips, side flips, a mom teaching her daughter to dive - the Barton Springs is a great accessible body of water to do lots of learning about swimming and diving!Not to be outdone, two of us ventured over to the diving board and took the plunge. Opting to be old-school and have rating contests on our jumps as we did in our younger years, the third friend was our judge. There's no chance of touching the bottom, so we didn't have that contest.As we dried out before we left, we did some more people watching! There was a great mix of families, alternative rockers, college students, and seemingly out of place hardcore swimmers. At the end a girls soccer team showed up and jumped in with their uniforms on. Barton Springs is enjoyed by all, and for $3 its not a bad way to spend a day.Read more about the history of Barton Springs at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/bartonsprings.htm
Our first stop on the 6th St tour, Maggie Mae's didn't disappoint. Well except for their strange "drink specials" - the advertisers outside, the bartenders downstairs, and the bartenders upstairs all had different opinions. By the end of our stay there we had found some nice new friends who bought us drinks, so it became a moot point. But still, we would have liked to know what price things were actually supposed to be!Live music downstairs was a treat, though there weren't many fans. On a warm almost fall night, people wanted to relish in the cooler temps transitioning from the summer. The line to get to the roof was long, but moved quickly. We headed up the stairs and saw a crowd about five times that of the main floor. After winding our way around to the back bars, we heard another band playing and went to check them out. One of the most entertaining pieces were the dancers in front - that is bar patrons who'd already thrown back a few. We had some good laughs.A spacious roof deck allows for easy hanging out among friends, and a convenient way to "bump" into and meet new people. We ran into bachelor parties, reunions of friends, and singles just looking to mingle. Drinks were good, though served in the classy plastic cup (due to being on the roof). Even with big crowds, there were two bars on the roof and service was quick. Bathrooms on the main floor were clean and convenient due to the small crowd, and the bathrooms on the roof were hidden in at the back and thus also not crowded, though it did take a few minutes to find them.A slightly older than college crowd chatted, yelled, danced, partied on the roof - nothing out of control, but certainly far from boring. We were then from about 10 pm to midnight, at the height of the party in a city where bars have to close at 2 am.Ultimately we were looking for more dance music and were lured by the sounds we heard coming from the roof deck next door (though we ended up heading the other way down the street). Maggie Mae's was a great start to our 6th St night, and I'd definitely go back for more live music.
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