Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Best thing about Texas...Food!

When people ask us what we miss most living in Ireland the answer is always food, cheap food, Mexican food, Southern food, but always food. We got it all this trip, but the two favorites were Franklin's BBQ and Ranch 616. They are two very different restaurants, but both very Texan.

Franklin's BBQ was all the rage in the Trailer Food trend that hit Austin a little over a year ago. And when we were last visiting, Richard got to sample it. Back in October, Richard had to arrive at the trailer at 10:45 am, waiting in line 15 minutes before it opened and he was still at risk of them running out before his turn. I never got to try it, but was looking forward to it after hearing Richard's rave reviews. As fate would have it, Franklin's opened up a brick and mortar location in the old Ben's Longbranch BBQ on East 9th the day we arrived in town. Ben's had been a favorite of ours so it was nice to see the location back in BBQ-action. They've spruced the place up and have plans to build a new pit that would allow them to be open for dinner as well as lunch. But for now, Austinites patiently wait in line for what is certainly the best BBQ outside of Lockhart.

Our friends Ashley and Andy joined us at Franklins.After waiting nearly half an hour in line we were one of the last people to get served. I'm so glad I got to try it. It is definitely my go-to place for BBQ in Austin now. The brisket is melt-in-your-mouth, but everything was delicious. Something unique: the espresso barbecue sauce. It was surprisingly yummy.

We were one of the last people to get brisket that day. And thank goodness, it's delicious!

Ranch 616 always amazes me with how delicious everything on their menu is. I would describe the style as Southern gourmet with a Cajun kick. To me it's completely Austin. I tried something new this time and got the "chicken" fried beef tenderloin. On one hand, it offends me to fry such a delcious cut of beef. On the other hand, what isn't improved by frying it? It was delicious and Ranch 616 did it just right. The batter was perfectly cripsy with tender beef cooked just right. I got it served over goat cheese mashed potatoes instead of the buttermilk mash it's offered with. I'm sure the buttermilk mash is delish, but the goat cheese was divine! Richard and I also had the silver coin margaritas on the rocks. Amazing, amazing! I do miss margaritas!


Without a doubt this is my favorite time of year in Texas. October comes a close second. But March brings warm weather and blooming wildflowers. As we boarded the plane I hoped we would see bluebonnets even though mid-March is a bit early for them, especially with the very cold winter Texas had. However, as we drove Highway 71 toward Austin, there were plenty of early blooms. In some patches there was the beautiful blue blankets that make families pull over on the side of the highway, risking limb and life, for the annual "kids in the bluebonnets" photo. Luckily for us, my dad carefully cultivated a few bluebonnets in his front garden a few years ago and they now faithfully pop up spring after spring. So having already subjected Harris to his bluebonnet photo, we simply enjoyed the pop of color all the way to Austin.

We later joined Lindsey and Caroline at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin for some bluebonnet time. We had so much fun!

Location:Austin, Texas

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2 months!

Harris has been growing and growing. At 2 months, he weighed in at 12.5 pounds. He's been working on his tummy time and he's been laughing at everything, especially his mom. He's still a great sleeper. We are having so much fun.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Meeting Lola & Lolo

One of Harris's first Texas visitors...Lola & Lolo! We are so glad you got to meet Harris.

At home in Austin

We got to stay at a friend's place on Lake Travis since SXSW was in town and the hipsters had taken up all the available lodging in town. The condo has been newly renovated and it looks fantastic. It was great that it was available last minute and that we were able to enjoy the gorgeous lake. Other than enjoying the views, we crammed in as many visits as time would allow and really made the rounds. I think we almost stayed in Austin too long though since it started to feel like home again. I will miss Dublin when we are back for good, but Austin will always be home.

First campus visit

at DKR-Memorial Stadium

Game watching, too bad the Horns lost

Location:Austin, texas