Not too long ago, I was in Texas for four days, and managed to eat beef fajitas from Lupe Tortillas seven times. And that is from a Texan-turned-New Yorker who is edging closer and closer to vegetarianism—they are just that good.
I love Tex-Mex restaurants in the Lone Star State, first and foremost because chips and salsa are always free (except at Chili's—but they don't count), and you can have as much as you want. But Lupe Tortillas adds in a bowl of charro beans as a kicker. Absolute perfection.
I don't care if you don't eat red meat: get the beef fajitas. You won't regret it. The tortillas are made on site and come hot off the press—so good that you'll want to save enough room to just enjoy a tortilla by itself. Fixin's aren't additional either—you get the whole gamut: pico de gallo, peppers and onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and mouth-watering guacamole. There are...
All Things Texas
I love Texas. First off, I'm a Texas girl born and raised. But beyond that, I adore the people in Texas and how everyone somehow believes deep down that it's its own country. I love the fact that we have homecoming mums sometimes bigger than our chests and that football really is life. I dream of Tex Mex when I'm away and haven't found a replacement anywhere in the world. Here's to the Lone Star State.
Held around end of October/first week of November. Even if not of German descent, add to the experience and bring your lederhosen and dirndl's. Prepare to drink a lot of beer, eat good festival food and dance with friends and strangers alike to polka music. Everybody is happy here!
The massive display of Christmas light pageantry on 37th Street draws thousands of spectators to this north campus neighborhood on an annual basis in December, but you won't find any nativity scenes here!
The theme of this display every year is more like "trippy" or "weird" and the more far out the display the better. Almost every house along a 5 block radius of 37th Street and Guadalupe participates in this annual display where the more shocking the light exhibit the better.
It's best to park a few blocks away and walk the streets with some coffee or wine in hand. This is one of my favorite holiday activities in Austin!
The Bouldin Creek Coffee House has become a South Austin staple. The entirely vegetarian menu is still diverse and the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Bouldin Creek is a big hangout for the "Keep Austin Weird" community and the restaurant recently expanded to be able to accommodate its growing popularity.
The coffee is excellent, they have great beer, and the grill cheese sandwich is famous! Add jalapeños and tomatoes and order a side salad with miso dressing—just trust me! The tacos are also awesome!
We stayed in a queen size bedroom at Hotel Havana for four days while visiting San Antonio. The boutique hotel offers the charm of staying at a grand inn. Built in 1914, the renovated Mediterranean Revival style building is situated on the river in a quiet part of downtown that is convenient to all the sites and a 10-minute stroll to the River Walk loop. I appreciated the room's New World antique decor, walls lined with tall plantation-shuttered windows, and quirky finishing touches like a pink 50s style fridge, art deco radio and plus terry-cloth robes. The lower level houses Ocho Lounge, a swanky restaurant and bar that serves Pan-Latin influenced fare.
When you think of Dallas, Texas (also known as "The Big D"—yes, Dallas residents really do call it that), your first thoughts are most likely those of big hair, big jewelry, and big homes—after all, everything is bigger in Texas. You most likely don't think of nature, but, in the center of Dallas, there is a haven called Whiterock lake. With a perimeter of 9.23 miles, Dallas locals come often for relaxation by the water, a walk with a friend, or a session with a training group for an Ironman. Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake, so sailboats drift by lazily in the hot summer sun. The lake borders the Dallas Arboretum, a gorgeous botanical garden perfect for a picnic and a summer concert venue. If you're in town and need a little R&R, Whiterock Lake is your place.
There is nothing like chilling on a great patio with friends on a nice afternoon. When the weather is perfect I usually rally the troupes and head to Perla's to lounge under the huge oak trees, play shuffle board, snack on great appetizers, and drink great beer and cocktails!
This a very nice restaurant so the service is impeccable, but the drinks are affordable and the bar menu has a nice selection of eats. Dining here can get quite expensive, so if Perla's is not in your budget for dinner your surrounded by great values and food trailers on South Congress Ave.
Texas summers are hot to say the least! And when the heat hits, the people of Austin flock to the Barton Springs Pool to cool off and chill out.
You can spend an entire day at Barton Springs pool. The entrance fee is $3, and you can stamp your hand for re-entry if you need to head out to hit one of the many restaurants located on Barton Springs road (you can't bring food or drinks into the springs).
The pool is popular year-round because the temperature of the springs stays a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).
The people watching at the pool is spectacular as this is definitely a "be seen scene," and there is always some acoustic music and drumming on the lawn surrounding the springs. Tops for the ladies are optional.
Named after the patron saint of music and poetry, the Hotel Saint Cecilia mixes Southern comfort with rock ’n’ roll style. Ringed by old oak trees, the estate includes five suites in the original Victorian-era clapboard house, six poolside bungalows, and three studios. The main building has an extensive vinyl record library, and each room comes equipped with a turntable.
From $295,112 Academy Dr., (512) 852-2400, hotelsaintcecilia.com. Photo by Allison V. Smith. This appeared in the March/April 2011 issue.
As someone born and raised in Austin, Texas I was shocked that West Texas had so much to offer and that I had not visited sooner. The small, but cowboy chic, Terlingua Ghost Town just outside the National Park made a great place for brunch before heading into the park. Eat huevos rancheros or migas at the Starlight Cafe and listen to yodeling on a Sunday afternoon. The National Park offers lovely vistas and at the end of the road is a great short hike to view the Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande which divides Texas and Mexico. I wish we had booked a kayak trip ahead of time; the canyon looked so peaceful and mysterious. Also check out trendy Marfa and attend a Star Party at the University of Texas Observatory while you are in the area. (Schedule the visit close to a new moon so you see more in the telescopes!)
Whether you roll out of bed at 6 a.m. or 2 p.m., start your day with Austin’s favorite Tex-Mex invention: the breakfast taco. A hometown institution, the Tamale House (5003 Airport Blvd.) serves eggs and bacon wrapped in a flour tortilla. At Maria’s Taco Xpress (2529 S. Lamar Blvd., pictured), try the migas tacos, which include scrambled eggs and crushed tortilla chips. Or jump-start your taste buds with a jalapeño sausage taco at Torchy’s truck (1311 S. First St.).
Photo by Ediblearia.com. This appeared in the March/April 2011 issue.
I fell in love. I fell in love with the town of Marfa. Safari tents. Stand alone bathtubs. Vintage trailers. Twinkle lights. Hammocks.
An off the beaten path campground takes you to another world. You can choose to stay in one of their hip vintage trailers, eco-friendly safari tents, or in one of two teepees. The place fills up so all that was left was the safari tent. I felt like I was in a part of Moonrise Kingdom.
It takes up 18 acres in Marfa, Texas and it has a place where they host live music, a communal kitchen, a shaded nook full of swinging hammocks, a community lounge and a small little shop filled with unique finds.
It's a place that just steals your heart and makes you wonder when you can come back.
Arriving well after dark, the first thing my wife and I saw was a lighted maze of walking paths illuminated by solar lights, which evoked the brilliant constellations and Milky Way overhead and the famous Marfa Lights. Pulling an oversized version of a Radio Flyer wagon full of our luggage, supplies, and food, we made our way across the uneven paths until finding our home for the next two nights: a bright-green-and-white, 1951 Royal Mansion travel trailer. Inside, we found the 35-foot refurbished trailer to be quite spacious and loaded with charm—from the warm-toned vintage, birch-veneer paneling to the porthole-style windows on the doors to the recycled-tire chair.
We were in El Cosmico, ground zero for the eclectic, artsy, bizarre, tiny, desert community of Marfa, Texas. And what a place to stay. With its quirky DIY combo of Burning Man, Mad Max, and electro-hippie styles, mixed with...
So bizarre to stumble across a Prada store in the middle of the desert. This art installation by Ballroom Marfa depicts a life-size Prada store. Look closely and you'll find that only one shoe of each pair is displayed and that the store is actually very shallow. This was not an actual store since the door was fixed shut.
I have to say I had my doubts when in search for a lunch spot during our final day in Marfa a local shop owner sent us over to Fat Lyle's. I didn't know what to take of the unique name of the food stand. But I would my pre-thoughts aside and decided to give it a try.
I am so glad I did. The food was delicious. If I wasn't stuffed from my order I would have ordered more and more and more. We sampled the Korean Chicken which was so tasty. Whatever the chicken was tossed in makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
I got the brussel sprouts with carmelized onions, blue cheese and french fries. Sounds like a weird concoction but for some reason it works.
Make sure you stop here for a bite to eat. I need to go back to Marfa for more.