Embolden Adventures was on the road for the first-ever destination Food Tour to Austin ✯ Texas !
Austin✯ Texas is known for its wide variety of barbecues, food trucks, tex-mex, breweries, and even the first-ever Whole Foods store. In addition, people flock to Austin for the music scene and its famous 6th Street, Austin, TX
The history of BBQ traces back to the Spanish word barbacoa, the practice of cooking meat 🥩 over hot coals while buried underground, sort of like how we had with the Bedouins in the Wadi Rum desert 🐪 in Jordan
Smoking the meat kept it from spoiling and so the 🤠 cowboys and other traveling nomads in the Wild West became fans of BBQ meat. Eventually BBQ found its way to Taylor Texas, located north of Austin. And this BBQ became the inspiration of the modern Austin BBQ scene.
Prior to the Food Tour, we had a catered BBQ affair from Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. Here we celebrated Nicholas and Lauren’s afternoon, outdoor Texas wedding that was just lovely. I tried my first true Texas brisket and served with sides of beans, pickles, and potato salad (begrudgely because I try not to eat red meat!). The brisket slices, as thick as a finger, were juicy and salty with flavors of the smoke and charred edges. They paired well with the sour-y pickles. We washed it down with local cold pilsner 🍺 beers. Two servings of brisket later, I was fuller than full but found room for the table of gorgeous buttercream 🍰 cakes for desert.
The Famous 6th Street Rock n Roll
Later in the evening, Rosie, Beth, and I headed down to the famous 6th Street, after first visiting the statue of the legendary Rock n Roll musician 🎸 Stevie Ray Vaughan located in the park and along the Colorado River’s edge. It was a short walk over the S 1st Bridge from W Cesar Chavez Street. Austin is still managing to keep its original western, rock ‘n roll charm despite all of its change around it. These changes include its recent skyscraper building boom and a flood of new companies and new people over this last decade. And electric scooters are everywhere! They are following a trend I must have set with the electric scooter 🛴 💨 I ride every day in NYC
For dinner we hit up the 🌵 Iron Cactus indulging in lime margaritas with salt; chips with queso, salsa, and guacamole; and fish tacos. In concluding the evening, we stumbled upon a rock ‘n roll joint off 6th Street, drank more margaritas and listened to the bluesy rock jams of the Southsiders and 🎸 Darius Jackson of FREEK FYRE.
Austin Food Tour
On the “official” tour the next day in the oppressive Texas heat, Rosie and I grabbed breakfast at the The Salt Lick in Round Rock. I liked the smoked turkey slices. The turkey was much juicer and smokier than typical Thanksgiving turkey. I thought the brisket was a bit drier than Stiles, although I liked the beans and potatoes. Just splitting a half a pound of meat, we were already full by breakfast. But we had more to go.
Next heading south to Austin, we first stopped at the famous local grocery chain H-E-B. Then we hit up la Barbecue. We avoided the well-known Franklin Barbecue because we were cautioned that the line is usually 4 hours long. This line at LA Barbecue was only 15 minutes but snaked around the joint. Luckily Nick and Lauren held our spot and Peggy and Myron, in town from NYC, joined up soon after. The founders of LA Barbecue are connected with Franklin BBQ and with the original Taylor TX scene. I ordered only a 1/4th pound of the juicy brisket and turkey to share. Really, just 4 slices was the order, and I couldn’t finish it. I was still that full from earlier.
Overall, I liked La Barbecue the best followed by Stiles.
Basically we were all that full so food tour was officially over after it just begun. We continued onto a quick visit to the 🐈 Blue Cat Cafe to hang with the cats in air conditioning away from the heat.
Only then we found room for🍦 ice cream – vegan ice cream I found at Sweet Ritual. They made the ice cream from coconut, cashew, almond, sunbutter, and/or peanut, and more.
Some unique flavors include Mermaid Tears, Unicorn Poop, and Dark Matter and ice cream cones of Blue Corn Chips, Birthday Cake, and Candied Banana. I wanted to try them all but settled on a sampling of 3 choices: Rocky Road, Dark Matter, and Mexican Vanilla and a coconut milk shake. The creamy Rocky Road had chunks of vegan marshmallows, chewy vegan brownie bits, and nuts and was sweetly delicious. Dark Matter, in the spirit of charred BBQ, had charred charcoal taste in more of a sorbet ice consistency. Mexican Vanilla tasted like flavor bursts of vanilla bean. The coconut milk shake was just sweet enough and very thick. However, we liked it so much, we saved it for later.
Feeling now beyond-full in the heat, the Austin Food Tour concluded. I collapsed in exhaustion for the rest of the day.
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