I didn’t think I would make it out of Texas alive. My trip was a comedy of errors filled with fever, flu, violent stomach viruses, pink-eye, twisted ankles and delayed flights which culminated in its being dubbed the “Vacation From Hell” by everyone involved. I’ll spare you all the pathetic details, and concentrate instead on the fun we had when not groaning miserably in bed or in the lost-luggage line at the airport. So with no further ado, here are my top moments from this trip, in no particular order.
1. Barbecue expedition to Lockhart
Lockhart is referred to as the “BBQ capital of Texas,” and for good reason. This quiet country town is home to four major barbecue restaurants famous the world over. I visited historic Smitty’s Market that stole my heart from the moment I walked through the squeaky screen door into the dark, smokey hallway leading to the open fires and big, meat-filled BBQ pits in the back room. My jacket still smells like BBQ, and I still don’t want to wash it.
2. Watching these guys ride down the street in downtown Austin
3. Being enchanted by Enchanted rock
This enormous pink granite dome protrudes from the countryside near Fredericksburg, Texas, and never ceases to blow my mind.
4. Live music and country dancing at the White Horse in Austin
Austin is the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world,” and for good reason. On any given night you will find numerous concerts of any genre in countless venues across the city. The White Horse is a funky dive in East Austin where cowboys and hipsters unite for drinkin’, dancin’, and great music.
5. Going to the Spurs game (let’s just forget that I had a 102 fever at the time)
A live NBA game is like a rock-concert, dance-contest, game-show and sporting event all rolled into an unforgettable, multi-sensorial explosion of entertainment. Oh, and there’s amazing basketball being played by some living-legends too.
6. Hopdoddy Burgers, Austin
As always, we ate a lot of burgers on this trip, but the most memorable were from Hopdoddy in Austin. The key to their success is using the freshest possible, all-natural ingredients to compose beautifully crafted burgers. They bake their own perfect buns, hand-cut their own fries, and grind their own black angus beef. I also sampled their veggie-burger and Ahi-tuna-wasabi burger and was thoroughly impressed by everything.
7. The sunlight, the ranch, the silence, the dogs