We went to Austin because of a crazy Southwest deal a few months ago. At this point in our summer, taking a vacation seems like the greatest extravagance, and my penny-pinching heart would have canceled but for the fact that our flights and AirBNB accommodations were already paid for – great birthday gift we unintentionally gave to me.
And while most people go to Austin for the creativity, the food, the music, the shock value (“Keep Austin Weird”), we went to get away to someplace new where it would also, conveniently, be ridiculously easy to eat well.
Austin is where Whole Foods started, so there are five of them in town, despite the city’s being smaller than Nashville.
I’m not too cool to tell you we went there a lot. But because there’s organic and locally sourced and farm-to-table EVERYWHERE, you can literally walk into a 24/7 retro diner and get a farmer’s special bruschetta on toasted sourdough (and we did).
We liked the dry heat, the Southwestern style, the modern architecture and the commonality of whole foods and farmer’s markets and kombucha and low-temp-pasteurized ice cream.
Does the fact that we didn’t think Austin was that weird give you a better idea of what we’re like? Thankful for this little chance to work from a new city and spend concentrated time with Tim and see more of how the world is bigger than me.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM A WEEK IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
We used AirBNB for the first time. Great experience.
TacoDeli: Casual, affordable place with plenty of taco options, several locations in the city and non-GMO corn tortillas. For real. We liked it so much, we went twice.
Lick: Super seasonal flavors. Super high-quality ingredients. Super salted caramel lick ice cream that literally tasted like you were eating a caramel. Went there twice, too.
The Leaning Pear: It’s a ways outside Austin proper but The Leaning Pear is worth visiting because it is architecturally interesting, surrounded by desert landscapes and gave me the mushroom soup that tasted like Thanksgiving stuffing.
Fabi + Rosi: European café that blends French and German cuisine.
24 Diner: Like it’s name suggests, this place is open all day (except Wednesday 1 to 6 a.m.). We split an excellent maple milkshake I wouldn’t mind slurping down again right now and a daily special that was roasted vegetables on toasted sourdough. It tasted like ratatouille.
Mount Bonnell: It was so hot in Austin, I was nervous about hiking the steps to what is the highest point in the city, but it was surprisingly easy and the views were amazing.
Barton Springs Pool: It only costs $4 per nonresident to go swim and sun at the local mineral springs pool.
Bouldin neighborhood: Just south of downtown, this little neighborhood is packed with renovations and new construction, including tons of modern architecture.
SO MANY MORE RECOMMENDATIONS
Everybody says to go to Uchi and we realllly wanted to but our budget said maybe next time. We also wanted to grab lunch at La Condesa but missed the window by three minutes.
for more recommendations, here are recommendations from bloggers and writers who live in or visited Austin!
- Love & Lemons
- Espresso & Cream
- Two Peas & Their Pod
- New York Times
- Literary City Guide | Austin | Eat This Poem
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.