Photo: Longtime readers know how much I cherish a good sunrise. Sunrises are a universal inevitability, yet they are each so very different, each breathtaking in their own right and precious. I’ve yet to be disappointed by a sunrise.
I woke up at 3:30am on Thursday morning, got dressed up and went to the airport to board a 7am four-hour flight to Austin, Texas. My sister and her boyfriend have made themselves a little home down there and have been there for a little over 5 years now. Babies made it difficult for me to visit before, but this year I had the opportunity and means to get out there.
There is something strange and wonderful about walking into an adult sibling’s household and staying for a few days. That cozy, sun-filled apartment overflowing with plants, art, and nerdy trinkets reflects the adult life she is living, manifests what she and her boyfriend think of as sanctuary, and reveals the places where the girl I grew up with meets the woman who I now love and respect. There are deviations from childhood, culminations of decisions, blossoming of potential, empty spaces of missed opportunity. And then there is the boyfriend, who has been a member of the family for some 6 years or so… Not a stranger, not a brother, an adult to regard with respect… but let him in on all the inside jokes? The family secrets? How to contend with his idiosyncrasies, while being a good guest, while duly recognizing him as my sister’s loving partner?
High drama in the hill country of Texas, I guess. I didn’t really go down there for that, but that’s what I got. Adulthood is strange that way.
It was a lovely visit. Unfortunately, my sister got a cold during my stay, so a lot of it was spent in that cozy apartment. While I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted to (we didn’t go downtown at all), I did check off a few things on my to-do list while I was down there. I visited two cute yarn stores; Me & Ewe, and Gauge, which I especially loved and highly recommend, picking up hanks of locally dyed Texas yarn. I heard that Hill Country Weavers is quite the institution, but we never made it to that part of town.
I did a lot of eating. I wanted to eat at a food truck, drink at a brewery, eat a taco and have some barbecue while I was in town. The first thing I ate when I landed is still probably the best thing I ate while I was there: a PBLT on bacon bread from Noble Sandwich Company. I don’t always love pork belly, but I loved this pork belly sandwich. It was incredible. And bacon bread… oh my God, I’m so grateful that someone came up with bacon bread. Fries with truffle aoli rounded out a most excellent first Austin meal. The second day, I enjoyed the best bowl of ramen I’ve ever eaten.
Brewery and food truck happened at the same time as I enjoyed a flight of 6 (half) beers at Adelbert’s Brewery and accompanied it with bulgogi steam buns from Dragon Bowl. We sat outside at some set up picnic tables, playing dominoes with two of my sister’s friends, enjoying beer, talking books and anime. The people at Adelbert’s are friendly and the beer is excellent. I highly recommend the Black Rhino, the Naked Nun, and the Flyin’ Monks.
Tacos from Torchy’s was as good as advertised. I wish we had been able to get into a small, real, family-owned Mexican restaurant, but I’m glad I got to visit Torchy’s. It was delicious. Skip the Matador and the Trailerpark. Get the Democrat, the Brush Fire and the Crossroads instead. The queso and chips are divine and that diablo sauce really is outstanding.
Finally, BBQ. So, I count my sandwich from Nobel as bbq, but my snobby sister told me that I shouldn’t. We were going to get up and go stand in line for ‘cue somewhere, but my sister was feeling under the weather. We ended up at Rudy’s, which I guess is a chain of Texas bbq stands/gas stations. It was quite the show in there, with a lot to choose from and a lot going on. But, the brisket and ribs I ate were delicious, so who am I to question?
There is such thing as bad brisket, and I’ve had my share of it since moving here to Massachusetts. That brisket was moist, tender and smokey. That’s all a girl can ask for.
Silly spelling not withstanding, that sauce really was excellent. I almost bought myself a bottle to take home, but I didn’t want to risk it breaking in my bag.
I had a lovely time. Austin is an interesting place. It’s not the prettiest place I’ve ever been to, but it was friendly and welcoming. I’ll have to go back and see it again… if I’m brave enough to get on a plane again. I’ll write more about that on Friday, I think. For now, I’m exhausted and need to go shut my eyes for a bit before the boys get home. I didn’t get home until 1:30am and then was up at 6:30 to get this house started for the day.
Sorry for the funky posts last week. I don’t like announcing my travels here on the blog. The internet came sometimes be a dark and scary place. Thank you for your patience with me, Dear Reader!
Until Wednesday, take care.