Monday, June 28, 2010

Field Trip: Austin, TX

The traditional stag party has given way to opulent jet-setting. In an effort to maintain this new status quo (and to avoid a weekend of unsuccessfully pretending to be the dudes from the Hangover), Las Vegas lost the destination race to Austin, Texas, where opulence is offered at a steep discount.  I showed up with a hundred bucks in my wallet and went home with more than half of it (that's a bit of a lie, but not much).  Here's a list of what we shoved in our face when we weren't too busy knocking back cold ones:

Happy Hour at Hickory Street Bar & Grill: Chili cheese fries and onion rings. My hands were too greasy and cheesy to snap a picture of either, but both provided an excellent Tecate pairing.  The fries looked like they came from a potatoes the size of footballs, while the onion rings were probably the size of basketballs before being sliced.  Among six of us, these two apps plus fifteen beers was a jaw-dropping $40.  Turns out everything's bigger in Texas save for the check.

Dinner at Parkside: Thanks to a heads up from Tasting Table, we ordered nearly everything on this classic yet inventive menu. My personal favorite was the blond pate with strawberry relish (can anyone tell me what makes it blond?).  It tasted like cheetos (a great thing). Once again, food took priority over pictures, so you'll have to check out their website for the food porn.

Breakfast on the go from the Hideout: Waking up with an uncharacteristic burst of energy, I went for a jog (who goes jogging on a bachelor party?), which ended with me scooping up iced coffees and a dozen breakfast tacos.  This is a thing down here that I wish would be a thing everywhere.  Packed with chorizo, eggs, cheese, and refried beans, your hangover will thank you.

Lunch at the Salt Lick: Finally, some footage.  This place is as touristy as it gets, but the giant smoker piled high with assorted meats is truly a sight to behold.  Another example of how cheap things are down here, the all-you-can-eat offering is $18.95, and includes a heart attack's worth of baked beans, potato salad, pork ribs, brisket, and sausage. When you get full (which usually happens after one plate), the leftovers are shoved into a container for you to enjoy over the next few days.  Above is a video sampling of their beef rib, on special for $4.95 each.  It was a toothsome and greasy homage to Flinstonian times.  Something to try, at least for the photo opportunity.

Dinner at Manuel's: The afternoon-to-evening went thusly: I got the shit kicked out of me by a wave runner, the bats decided to stay under the bridge (supposedly thousands of them fly out at dusk to eat people bugs), and I got iced (yes, I am a not-so-secret fan of this douchebaggery). When we could no longer ignore hunger, the group consensus was good Tex-Mex.  Unfortunately, the concierge gave us a bum tip, and the trend of cheap and delicious eats was brought to a screeching halt.  My cousin Orlando has a theory about Mexican food's deliciousness being inversely proportional to price.  This meal further verified the negative correlation. The last thing we wanted was contrived Mexican food, but that's exactly what we got.  It was all brittle tortillas and watered down sauces, and the service was tortuga-slow, even though we were one of only three groups in the dining room.

It was a great trip from start to finish (except for the stupid bats and the stupid Manuel's).  I could have used more time and a bigger stomach, but that would mean me being jobless and fatter than I already am, so I'll just have to plan another trip down there.  Buen provecho.

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