Tag Archives: Texas

When Friends Move To Austin

A couple months back, two of my dearest friends relocated from Detroit to Austin.

Nathan Montgomery Jen Montgomery Detroit Austin Music Travel Relocation

Along the way, I’ve been sending them tips for weekending fun in the Austin area and I’ve collected them here for you.

Guero’s
1412 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
They have free music in their garden under the live oak tree on Thursdays and weekends. At home, I specialize cooking a runny “Charro-style” pinto bean. The recipe I wrote was inspired by that restaurant. (It also happens to be something I served at the Nate & Jen Learn to Say Howdy Ya’ll party I hosted for their going away.) I really like their enchiladas & margaritas. Guero’s is absolutely not the best place for Mexican food in Austin. But I love the vibe of the patio & the first inside room… so I cut their food some slack. Plus they always have fun friendly servers.

The Oasis on Lake Travis
6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732
One of the first times I ever went to Austin with Jake, he took me there on a date. It’s one of the only places I’ve found where you can enjoy some food and the waterfront of beautiful Lake Travis. (If I lived in Austin, I’d miss the Great Lakes here in Michigan.) I believe they also have music, cover bands like 7 Million Jigawatts used to be.

My idea of one sweet Sunday in Downtown Austin’s SoCo neighborhood. ❤️🎶😀

Jo’s Coffee
1300 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Joe’s is my favorite coffee shop in the entire world. The Sunday Morning Jo’s Coffee Brunch Band on South Congress is totally worth getting motivated in the morning and going to listen. After you have a coffee, tea or Lone Star beer there, walk South, away from the river to get some brunch.

South Congress Cafe
1600 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Plan on waiting (unless there are open seats at their tiny bar). If you have calories to burn, eat the carrot cake French toast. If not, there’s loads of other good Southwestern style options there.

Amy’s Ice Creams, they have multiple locations.
(my favorite is 1301 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)
I always have Mexican Vanilla and/or the Mexican Chocolate. It’s my favorite sweet treat there and one of the best flavors around.

Oh yeah, everyone must drink a Topo Chico for me at any restaurant on any night.

Then, I took a trip to Roma, so I focused on all things that are Italian in Austin…

Spaghetti warehouse- wait we’ve never been there! So, sorry not that one. 😂👎

Whole Foods Market on Lamar and 6th. In their take out section, they have great ethnic sections, including Italian favorites. I think they still have ice skating on the roof, but it’s been years since I’ve been in that place. (I had owned the stock at one point in my portfolio. I did sell it at a profit, but I believe in this company and their mission still today.)

Vespaio
1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 and their Enoteca next door offer rustic Italian. They have a great dinner and offer a nice weekend brunch too. Actually, good authentic inspired Italian food. Enjoyed it and the sister restaurant next door several times.

Botticelli’s
1321 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Once, I had the best most amazing ravioli’s in there. To die for. They have a garden behind the restaurant, so don’t let the tiny interior fool you.They also have live music sometimes on the weekend.

Here’s an Austin related activity you can do from the couch while you’re vegging out 😀.

Watch anyone of the following films with some of Texas’ favorite stars & locations:
✔️Dallas Buyers Club (Mathew Mconahey’s Mom lives in Jake’s Mom’s Dell Webb community 😂)
✔️Chef (Shot in a food truck in & around Austin. One scene is shot in one of my favorite restaurants, Trulucks)
✔️Bernie (Morbidly funny shot around Austin & Georgetown)
✔️Urban Cowboy (just in case you need lessons on how to fit in also shot in Austin)
✔️Dazed & Confused (just in case you miss your stoner friends from high school or home – also starring Matthew Mconahey)
✔️Whip it (Because when you want to make a movie about Roller Derby girls, you should shoot in Austin & Detroit. Makes sense to me.)

Then Hurricane Harvey came to town, so I needed to think of fun things for a rainy weekend in Austin. What’s there to do?

Well, I suppose you could go shopping at The Domain
11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX 78758. It’s a fancy name for a place to shop for things you might or might not need. Referred to on Google as a “sprawling upscale outdoor mall”. (Doesn’t sound that fun to me, especially in the rain 😂.)

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (They also have multiple locations & I don’t have a favorite for this one.) Watch a film, have a snack, dinner and a beer/soda. On Sept 6, they had a “Garlic Festival”. When David Bowie died they had a music video party commemorating his lifes work. If you wanted to get scared, go there and see Stephen King’s IT.

The bad thing about Harvey, the weather was so bad they couldn’t even leave their apartment. So, I suppose when it’s winter, they will check out the inside stuff.

I’ll have more installments as Nate & Jen aclimate to the temperature, lifestyle and location in Austin, Texas.

A Few Things To Do Austin Texas

Austin from South Congress
View into Downtown Austin from South Congress

The other day, my cousin messaged me and asked if I knew of anything to do in Austin… Of course, I have some great recommendations for thinks to do in Austin. I love it there. It’s been our second home for over ten years.

 

Austin Capitol at Night
Austin Capitol at Night

Visual treasure
For sights, I really enjoy the architeure of the Texas State Capitol Building on Congress. Also, the bridge on Congress Avenue over Lady Bird Lake at dusk with the bats flying out from their roost.

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Plus there are miles of fantastic walking, running and biking trails all along the river in downtown Austin. Loads of places to wander and get in touch with nature.

Melissa's Kung Fu Grip
Melissa’s Kung Fu Grip

 

Shop til you drop!
South Congress Avenue and 6th Street West of Lamar are great neighborhoods for browsing and window shopping. There are a several uniquely Austin businesses around there where I have found some funky finds. From homegoods to clothing, the shop owners are proud of being Texans and they support their local artists and designers.

Curiosities and randomness in Austin Texas
Curiosities and Randomness

Food & Tunes
On the South Congress side of town, The Continental Bar and Guero’s Taco bar are great places to socialize and also happen to have good live music. Just check what time the band starts online… It’s almost always a good representation of local Texas music.

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On Sunday’s the brunch time band at Joe’s Coffee is also awesome. I’ve been to Austin in January when it is freezing rain and there’s nothing happening outside. Rarely though does the cold keep Texans inside when they could be out playing music.

Here’s a little video that is 15 seconds of exactly “What I love about Austin”

Another place that’s got a great band most Saturday nights is called the White Horse & it’s east of I-35 a couple blocks and near 6th Street. Look it up, my friend Dave Insley has a band called the Careless Smokers that usually plays honky tonk swing in there. They also offer dance lessons on Saturday nights. Super good times, not fancy, but as a bonus they have a pool table.

Dave Insley at White Horse Austin
Dave Insley at White Horse Austin

Another great iconic Austin place is the Driskoll Hotel on the famous 6th Street. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s beautiful to have a drink inside in the bar. I’d recommend 6th Street, but only if your college age or into a crazy shot-shot-shot-shot scene. For me, “Dirty 6th” is not really my cup of tea. Generally, I prefer the places that are off the beaten path a bit. Even Antone’s, the icon for live blues music has moved to the East side of I-35. What’s the city coming to?

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Great trendy Vietnamese food at a place called Elisabeth Street on First Street (also on the South side)… and as always the Torchy’s Taco Truck would never steer you wrong. Those guys can make tacos out of the most amazing ingrediants. The guys at Torchy’s recently opened a retro dine in taco dive that has a huge bar area and outdoor seating to boot. For those of you familiar with the bygone Austin landmark, Fran’s, you’ll note that Torcy’s Taco is on that same plot of land.

Torchy's Taco
Torchy’s Taco

Another idea is the Whole Foods headquarters store. It’s downtown Austin on the corner of 6th and Lamar. It has an ice rink on the roof. Also enough prepared food to pick up anything your tastebuds fancy for a great lunch on their patio. While you’re there, across the street is one of the only record stores left in the world called Waterloo Records and they have our 7 Million Jigawatts cd on their shelf somewhere. 🙂

Check out Cedar Street in the Warehouse district at night when my pal, Rob Wagner and his band Suede or the Jukebox Junkies are playing.  The place is “inside-outside” and has a totally fab Austin vibe.

A great outdoor concert venue to see major label artists is Stubb’s BBQ.

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I would not recommend their bbq, but I do love their sauce. The outdoor stage with the wild west style lean-to beer and bbq stands surrounding the main hill. The stage sits on the edge of some valley would have been stream if the weather ever rained in Texas.

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That’s not all!
There’s Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, swimming in Barton Springs, tubing the Colorado River, drive through the Hill Country, take in a pickers circle in Lukenbach, shop till you drop at the San Marcos Outlet Mall… There’s so much to do in Austin. All you really have to do is put your feet on the ground and bring your appetite.

View from the Lamar Walking Bridge
View from the Lamar Walking Bridge
Gorillas in Austin
Gorillas in Austin