Monday, March 14, 2011

Austin, TX (part 2)

What a week so far! I seriously haven't had this much fun on a work trip in ages. I feel like I could go on and on about how great the conference went, or how hilarious our team's conversations have been in our rental car (squished in with merch and all sorts of madness), but instead, I wanted to highlight a few of the incredible spots Austin has to offer, though I'm sure there are literally hundreds more in this great little southern city. 

The evening our conference wrapped up, the team wanted to celebrate with dinner and country dancing, so we asked around and received some pretty killer recomendations. For dinner, we decided to check out The Highball, a classic yet modern 1960s Vegas-themed diner, complete with bowling alleys, a dance floor, karaoke, and private lounge rooms for parties (each with a different music theme). I'm not kidding when I say we kept turning to each other and saying, "This is the coolest place I've ever been to in my life." Drinks are creative and zesty – I had a pretty rockin' spin on a gin and tonic (with gingerale, mint and lime added to the mix) – and the food's great too. Nichole and I each got their yummy arugula salad, which comes with oranges, pickled beets, candied nuts, and a hunk of goat cheese on top. (Ughhh, so heavenly.)

Oh, and did I mention they play a mash-up of old 1960s film clips on silent on the back wall of the bowling alley? From classic horror flicks to creepy retro TV commercials. Such a unique and perfect touch to the overall ambience.

The background music ranges from Death Cab and The National, to The Smiths and Simon & Garfunkel. I can't wait to come back to this place on my next visit to Austin. It's going to be a priority on my agenda, for sure.

And, speaking of music...

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. We went to The Broken Spoke for some good ol' fashioned country music, honky tonk, boot stompin' action. And holy cow, this place couldn't be more legit. I could try and describe this gem of a spot, but I'll let The Austin Chronicle do it for me: "When you need your Lone Star cold, your chicken-fried steak hot, and the ghost of Ernest Tubb on your shoulder, the Spoke is it."

Alvin Crow & the Pleasant Valley Boys beckoned the young and old out onto the dance floor. Those sweet Texas gentlemen seemed to be very pleased that our group included three single ladies who had no clue what we were doing out there. But, I had only been seated for a matter of minutes before a guy walked up and very politely asked me to dance with that drawl of his. I ended up dancing with some really kind, southern (old) men who taught me how to Texas two-step and waltz all over that wooden floor.

My friend Nichole was the most popular girl in that bar.

The best part about this spot is that you leave smelling like the old cowboys you've danced with – leathery, earthy and sort of sweet. Oh, and like cheap beer. haha

Today we explored East Congress before some of our team had to fly back home. We had heard that Allen's Boots was a must-see spot, so we started there. 

I haven't ever owned a pair of cowboy boots, and I never really thought I'd ever been attracted to the idea, but the trip today may have changed my mind. Allen's has aisles and aisles of boots in every color, shape and size. The entire store smells like old leather (obviously) and there are so many details to observe. 

I fell in love with those rose boots. I think they're the cutest things ever. And, for a mere $500, I could have taken them home with me. (Let's be honest, I'm dreamin' folks.)

And, the last spot that I think is pretty rad is a little antique store called uncommon OBJECTS. I'm usually pretty into antique shops, but this one manages to have something extra special and endearing about it. 

I bought those small keys to add to my collection, and that old photo for someone special (but I won't name who because they might end up reading this post!). The little pomade tin made me think of Harbor, so I had to snap a photo. :)

Anyway, it was a really fun afternoon shopping with my coworkers/friends. We wrapped up the day running errands and finishing up some work-related stuff before grabbing a bubble tea and heading back to our condo to unwind before the new week. 

Have you been to any Austin hot spots? Please feel free to share any cool restaurants, bars, or kitschy spots downtown I need to check out in the coming week. I want to make sure I experience it all. 

Goodnight, y'all. (haha)

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