We're back from a fabulous time in Austin! I don't have any photos yet, but I will post them as soon as I do.
I'll try to give a small summary of what we did: look and eat. Done.
Friday we got in to Austin just in time for dinner. Qas made us Pakistani home-cookin, which was amazing. That's even an understatement. It was like no other food I've eaten in restaurants, and so much more flavorful. I'm hoping to get the recipes to try them in my kitchen at home. We spent the rest of the night catching up and talking each other's ears off.
Saturday morning we woke up and went to Mozart's for coffee and a biscotti (http://www.mozartscoffee.com), on Lake Austin. That lake has HUGE fish in it! I wish I would have taken a picture of these fish - and not to mention the size of the turtles! It was like an aquarium! Then we took a car tour, with the windows down, of Westlake Hills. Located off of Red Bud Trail, this is one of the nicest areas in the city. It had some great modern homes, adjacent to older split-levels with tons of charm. We lunched at Blue Dahlia in the up-and-coming part of East Austin. We sat on the back patio, that was shaded by overhead reed mats and palms. GREAT weather. I had the fig, honey and ricotta tartine, and Michael had a chicken salad and dried cranberry tartine. Very nice. Later, we traveled over to Pedernales State Park for some hiking and relaxing beside nature. Dinner was at Ranch 616, where the nightly specials is where it's at! I had the mixed grill special, which involved barbecued quail, venison, sausage, smoked poblano mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables. Michael and Jamie had the same special: filet mignon, pork tenderloin, asparagus, and lobster. Qas had another mixed plate of lobster, crab, duck and amazing sides. It was such a great meal! One of the hosts was a jerk, but every other person on the waitstaff was excellent. Then, in efforts to have a stupidly good time, we went to the bowling alley down the street for a little Buck Sisters versus the Men bowling action. Needless to say, The Buck Sisters were somewhat all bark and no bite, but didn't lose by much. A rematch is in order. Then we got changed and went downtown for some drinks and dancing. Dancing on Qas, Jamie and Michael's parts. I don't dance...well. We ended up seeing a few of my friends from college at the club, and got to have some fun with that.
Sunday we had brunch, home made by Jamie. I contributed a Challah, and she made eggs, sausage, Provencal tomatoes, and chai. Then we made a final tour of The Oasis and Lake Travis. It was misty, but still beautiful. Sometimes I forget those cliffs aren't in the Mediterranean, and are in the middle of Texas. Then we had an early dinner at El Borrego de Oro, and got on the road. We made a quick stop by Amy's Ice Cream (http://www.amysicecreams.com) before heading out of town for good so Michael could savor the flavor of Mexican Vanilla.
It was an excellent and tasty trip!