We drove from Dallas to Austin for a weekend getaway in January to meet up with some of Geoff's dear friends from his college days and celebrate his friend, Rich's golden birthday. It's only a 3 hour drive and a pretty one when it's not raining. We lucked on leaving after noon on a partly cloudy day. Once in Austin, we checked in to Omni Austin Hotel and settled in.
After unpacking, we immediately headed out on the town to meet up with all our friends, both old and new, as well as wish Rich an official Happy Birthday!
We met up a few blocks from the hotel at Academia on 4th Street. They are an open bar concept with lots of long tables great for larger groups like ours. The fact that the cocktails were on point added to it's charm. Once our we toasted to the birthday boy, we headed to dinner. And yes, those are 'floating' heads of Rich. His nickname is The Silver Fox for obvious reasons.
The group met up at Intero off Caesar Chavez. It's incredible! Intero is owned by a husband chef and wife chocolatier. Right as we walked in, we were immediately greeted with a choice of chocolate truffles. There's a show case in the front. The chocolates are sinful, rich and full of flavor with fillings of coconut, peanut butter, hazelnut and earl grey.
Intero was so chic and yet, felt like home. The tables and decor were open and airy with a modern touch.
Dinner was fun and delicious. All their pastas are handmade. I had risotto with duck and Geoff had spaghettini but not before all the appetizers including sourdough foccacia with house made ricotta, barrata, grilled romaine, and butternut squash bruschetta. Needless to say, we were stuffed!
Our friend Nancy did such a wonderful job bringing us all together in Austin. She brought the cut outs of Rich and even came with gifts in tow for all the guests that included trinkets from all the places Rich had lived and met his dear friends, as well as where he lives now. Nancy had written a poem about Rich and read it to us all. It was comical and genuinely sweet.
After some more reminiscing over coffee and a plate of truffles, we took off for some serious bar hopping. We went to the Rainey Street area. Geoff was telling me how much had changed since he was in grad school at UT. The entire street was alive and full of people. It was a very different vibe from the 6th street area. All the bars had music, either live or a DJ. There were murals everywhere and so much color. We were stuffed but if we weren't, we could have eaten at pizza stands, donut trailers and burger joints.
The next morning, I got exactly what I needed - Select Guest coffee, a bagel and a view of Austin. I may be a little biased but I love Omni's mattresses. They are just the right amount of soft, yet firm and I always get a great nights sleep when I'm staying at an Omni Hotel.
The day was young and Geoff couldn't wait to show me around and see how things have changed. Even though I've been to Austin a handful of times, I always enjoy seeing it through someone else's eyes.
We ventured down Congress and into a hotel called The Line, formally The Radisson. Geoff used to do work for them and we wanted to check out how it had changed since it was sold. Very modern and chic, The Line was the perfect spot to have some lunch. After stuffing our faces, we were ready for an afternoon cocktail. It was a beautiful, sunny January day. We passed a few murals in search of a patio or balcony to quench our thirst. We heard music and saw a fun crowd above coming from the Aloft hotel. We climbed the steps to Upstairs at Caroline. The cocktails were on tap, the vibe was laid back and people were playing games and enjoying the rare winter sun. I highly recommend for a chill afternoon hangout.
It was nap time! We headed back to the Omni for a nap and to get ready for another night of fun with the group but not before I found another mural for a photo op with my man.
We took off for South Congress to meet up with the group at Sway. This was a hidden gem. All the best restaurants are those that you can't find the front door. We sat down at a large square 'communal' table with a coursed our meal. Little did we know how many courses we'd have!
Seriously, we had nine, NINE courses... So stuffed with all the good things though. It was fabulous. Each bite had the right amount of spice, tart and sweetness. Sway is pricey but worth the pennies if you have the chance to go. Just look at this amazing food we feasted on. Great job selecting the restaurants Nancy!
Afterwards, we bar hopped a little, saw some live music then headed back to the hotel for a good nights rest. The next morning we had one more meal with a select bunch that were still in town. Geoff and I walked off some of the meal we had at Sway to meet everyone at La Condesa off Second and Guadalupe.
La Condesa was the perfect brunchie spot for our small group of 7. It was the last hoorah with Rich, his amazing girlfriend, Julie, our lovely planner, Nancy, Rich's sweet parents, Geoff and myself. The restaurant is beautiful and after seeing photos on Google, I was really looking forward to it. To my surprise, the hostess led us to a room called the Flour House which took us down some steep steps and into a solid concrete and stone room. It was their cellar that they probably kept ice in back in the old days of new Austin, Texas. The ambiance was super cool, chill and they had these amazing pieces of artwork surrounding our table and the adjacent room.
The salsa was on point, the choriqueso had just the right amount of spice and cheesiness with it's delicious blue corn tortillas, our short rib with scrambled egg and house made tortillas was just what we needed before starting our road trip home.
Austin was so fun and meeting all of Geoff's college friends was such a treat. Celebrating Rich and meeting his parents and girlfriend were a highlight of our trip. All the amazing food didn't hurt either.
Needless to say, I was wanting our weekend to never end. I could use a weekend like this every weekend. Beautiful weather, great food, and exceptional company. Till next time Austin!