I’m back from Texas, having sweated off five pounds of water weight during the trip. Gotta love 99 degree heat. My co-worker Ed and I walked out of the air-conditioned Austin Airport on Tuesday and said “Hey, this is nice!” That changed to, “Ooh, it is kind of hot.” Then we stepped into the full sun— “Holy S*&#!!”
We didn’t spend enough time in Austin to get a really good feel for the town, but it definitely seemed quirkier and more artsy than what I imagine the rest of Texas to be. We had a great lunch at Guero’s Taco Bar on S. Congress Ave.
I loved the funky, laid-back atmosphere and fast, fresh food. My tacos al pastor hit the spot— marinated chunks of pork on corn tortillas with onion, cilantro, and the best part, fresh pieces of pineapple.
Here’s Ed looking pensive as he ponders the enormity of his meal. He may have over-ordered.
We drove down to San Antonio and our colleagues took us to the famed Riverwalk area. I was excited to see the Riverwalk, although I knew we were being typical tourists (kind of like people who think they’ve experienced Boston and New York because they visited Faneuil Hall and Times Square). But it’s such a unique place— a festive netherworld below the city streets with scores of restaurants and bars lining the San Antonio River, and riverboats filled with tourists floating by. There’s something surreal and Disney World-esque about it— if Disney World served alcohol.
By the way, the temperature had cooled down at this point to a downright nippy 87 degrees.
Side note: The Alamo is near the Riverwalk, and I’ve gotta say, it was much smaller than I thought it’d be. I’d envisioned a large, palatial building. Instead, it looked more like the exterior of Coco Rumba’s in Mt. Kisco.
Yesterday was a long day, and we didn’t hit the road back to Austin until late. People kept recommending The Salt Lick as the place for insane BBQ, and we still hadn’t had dinner, so Ed and I popped the address into our GPS and started driving. The Salt Lick’s on the Austin outskirts in the town of Driftwood— I’m sure it’s perfectly fine during the day, but at night, the back roads feel desolate and vaguely creepy (this is not a bad thing— Ed and I were both enjoying the adventure). We almost leveled a raccoon sitting on the road and joked that the drive felt like a scene from No Country for Old Men. Turns out Driftwood’s no country for late men, because The Salt Lick was closed by the time we arrived.
Thankfully, I had a second chance. This morning we stumbled around Austin Airport looking for a bite to eat (at Earl Campbell’s Sports Bar the server told us there were no tomatoes because they’d “found something” in them. Ooh, that sounds good, let’s eat here!). Eventually we came upon this…
Woohoo, The Salt Lick’s gone commercial! I ordered a chopped brisket sandwich.
It was tasty and tender, but completely lacking in any smoky flavor. Good, but slightly disappointing. Still, at least now I can say I’ve been to The Salt Lick. Sort of.
Now I’m back home. For dinner tonight? A big salad.