After hearing about what an amazing city Austin is for years, we decided it was high time to go check it out for ourselves. That’s exactly what we did this past weekend–it was Annie’s first trip and Hope’s first in several years. We started the weekend off right, we were met at the airport by friend of a friend, Rusty Irons, who rents out a home (shown below) through HomeAway.com to guests like REM and the cast of Mamma Mia (the musical, not the movie). Rusty was a bundle of positive energy who shared her favorite spots around Austin and who was a shining example of Reason #1 everyone loves the city: its residents are friendly, interesting and passionate about their city.
Reason #2, Austin has some amazing shopping. We’re cutting back with the rest of you, and so far have been able to withstand the 40% off temptation sale at Neiman’s over the course of back to back weekends. But once we set foot in the stores on South Congress, there was no holding back. We bought a drop-dead sexy, backless dress by Rag & Bone at By George. Our other favorite store was Maya Star (shown below) a combo jewelry store, home accents and clothing, not unlike Anthropologie, but with more carefully selected offerings. We picked up some little knick-knacky things for our new apartment and a gift for our SO. The vintage shopping was pretty key, too, though JSG was a wee bit too hungover to spend time scouring through racks.
Reason #3, The live music scene. We made it to the venerable Antone’s on Saturday night, where we saw local band Nelo play. (As Hope pointed out, they should be called “Eye Candy”. See below.). The boys were hot, but more importantly, excited to be on stage and sang tunes with a country-ish twang that we could definitely grove, to. Antone’s is an intimate space where you can really get a feel for the band, unlike a MSG or Capital Center.
Reason #4, The food. On Rusty’s recommendation, we went to El Sol y La Luna, an amazing authentic Mexican place with dirt cheap prices. We practically drank the chili con queso appetizer and seriously considered going back the next day. On the other end of the spectrum, the service at Jeffrey’s was lovely and the waitress even dished about seeing Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly the week before (Minka’s nearby filming Friday Night Lights.). If you go to Jeffrey’s, be sure to try the Rosemary Martini. Rosemary grows all over Texas and even walking the streets of downtown, the boxes are filled with it. We couldn’t help but rub our hands through it constantly. We also appreciated that the III Forks Steakhouse cooked our steaks perfectly (black and blue).