Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Keep Austin Weird / Pt. 2

Kate and I had our hearts set on shopping at Raven and Lily during our stay in Austin.  And imagine the celebration when we reached our destination only after riding bikes through downtown, across the interstate, around the ginormous Texas Longhorns stadium, and uphill for what seemed like a good portion of the ride.  But then, imagine our disappointment when we soon realized that the store was dark, the doors were locked, and the store hours said closed on Mondays.  We were bummed to say the least.  We decided to cure our disappointment with a refreshing cocktail, but before we left we asked the boys to take a picture of us by the store hours sign to document our letdown.  The boys thought we were silly, but this moment proved that sometimes timing is everything...

As this was unfolding, a sweet gal pulled up next to us on the side street and said, "Do you girls want to shop?"  And then she said she was the store manager. :)  Without hesitation, she unlocked the doors and let these two sweaty Iowa girls in to cool off for a private hour of shopping.  The store was so lovely and we were just so thankful for this girl who gave up an hour of her time in order to make our day.  

While we shopped, the boys played shuffle board next door at Haymaker's.  We soon joined them and cooled off with peppar pomegranate margaritas and a shuffleboard win for Nate and I.  After discovering our ride had burned off our taco and donut calories, we decided it was time to eat.  Again!  

We officially said goodbye to our Google bikes on Rainey Street, a historic district lined with bungalow style houses turned restaurants and bars.  We found ourselves some shade on the patio of Bangers, a rustic establishment with 105 beers on tap and about that many sausages.  Beau ordered boiled peanuts, reliving his discovered affection toward them from our trip down south to Georgia, and we each ordered a different kind of sausage.  And then Nate offered Beau $20 to drink the boiled peanut residue from the jar.  Disgusting and impressive at the very same time. 

After catching a cab back to South Congress, we of course tried on some cowboy boots at Allen Boots, Beau found a pearl-snap plaid shirt he then wore for the rest of our trip, and Kate and I meandered through some Austin staples such as Uncommon Objects

The night that followed was so much fun.  We walked to Fresa's, and found a table on their outdoor patio under big trees full of globe lights.  We dined until the stars came out and our heads got fuzzy, thanks to a few avocado margaritas that were smooth and just the right amount of sweet.  We shared the best guac of our trip, followed by the best skirt steak with chimichurri, and dug deep into conversations about just about everything.  And then, following the whisper in Beau's ear of a weird Austinite with a guitar (yes this happened), we hailed a cabbie and asked him to take us to White Horse for a little live music, Austin style.

And as weird as this encounter with this starving artist might have been, we were pleased with his recommendation.  At first, we weren't so sure about the duet of two 80ish year old men singing honky tonk, but the young Taylor Swift with a guitar who followed was pure Austin.  And so was all the two-stepping!  Elon, a German man with a cowboy hat and a pot belly got us started when he asked Kate to dance with him, and soon enough, we were swapping arms, learning the art of being led, and swaying our hips to the music of this rising star.  We followed the lead of a girl we affectionately referred to as "fairy nymph" for the way her feet didn't seem to touch the dance floor, and felt as though our lives may be missing something watching all these locals dance their hearts out on a Monday night in Austin.  

Our night in Austin ended in the upstairs of the legendary Continental Club.  While Beau went in search of tacos, Kate and I sat on the sidelines and watched what felt like a scene right out of Dirty Dancing.  There was salsa music, a scene of young people with amazing legs and rhythm, and a mixture of free spiritedness, passion, and probably something else in the air.  It was weird and wonderful, and totally Austin.  

It was a full, freeing, and unforgettable day in this charmingly eclectic place.  From the coriander in our lattes to the avocado in our margaritas, we ate and drank some of the best food there is in Austin, but I think it is the people that did it for me.  From the smile on the face of that taco truck owner, the generosity of that store manager at Raven and Lily, weird Elon and his two stepping skills, and even that awkward whisper from that young guy at the gas station with his guitar, Austin won my heart.  We'll be back for your tacos and two-stepping one day, I'm sure of it.   

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