Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Road Trip Diaries: Austin, TX

25 October 2012

Austin got me straight in the heart. Within minutes of walking down 6th, the quaint restaurants and busy bars had me smiling.

We ate dinner at Whole Foods - which is much like Woolworths back home, but if Woolworths took steroids, and worked out a lot. After walking around it for a good 25 minutes with my jaw on the floor, we finally opted for DIY tubs of salad and veggies, and a mini pack of sushi as a starter.

We'd planned to eat back at the hotel, but were fatigued and starving by the time we walked out of the food store, and ate right outside it, in the ambient table-and-chairs area set up just by the front door.

And that was our night (well, after returning to Whole Foods for a choc gelato). We went back to the hotel, completely shattered.

26 October 2012

The next morning was a slow start. That hot weather that I'd been so worried about had been completely blown out by a cold front, and instead of slipping on shorts and a tank, I wrapped up in boots, scarf, jersey and jacket. Brrr.

The tag-line round here is 'Keep Austin Wei
rd', and it seems to be something the city takes to heart - everyone seems to be a little bit offbeat, a little eccentric, and very much an individual. Which feeds into the area, and the businesses - quaint restaurants, tons of vintage stores and intriguing decor shops.

We start our day heading uptown - to Buffalo Exchange, and Cream Vintage. We're in search of cowboy boots, and hats, as one does in Texas.

Buffalo Exchange is a new and vintage store. It is huge, fresh and packed full of wonderful treasures. Unlike other vintage stores I've been to, the stuff is all very good quality, and mixed in with all the new clothes, it's very tempting. Husband finds an awesome grey coat, and some blue jeans. I find too many good things, but I'm waiting to find my cowgirl boots and hat, so I hold back.

Next up, Cream Vintage. A smaller vintage store, not quite as impressive as Buffalo, but somehow both Husband and I find a perfect pair of cowboy boots! How about that?

After a very small breakfast in our hotel room, and all this shopping we're starved! I've heard good things about Elizabeth Street Cafe, so we jump straight in the car. 

Elizabeth's does not disappoint. Escaping the sharp cold wind outside, the white walls, blue tables, and arches instantly have me hooked. We start with fresh giant lump crab and chilli spring rolls
After lunch there's one big spot on our list - Allens Boots. Because you can't go to Austin and not go to Allens Boots. The wooden floors and shelves create a warm, welcoming ambience. And the boots, well, the boots are exceedingly expensive, and exceedingly handsome. These are some good looking boots.

Luckily we'd already found our perfect pairs (and much more reasonably priced pairs) at Cream Vintage. But you can't argue with those boots - a great percentage of them are handmade, and very fetching. Each pair is unique. The smell of leather hangs in the air. These things feel like the real deal, and look like it too. I found myself walking aisle-by-aisle mesmerised.

The lowest priced boots came in at about $180 (about R1500), and went high over $1000 (about R8600)! They even have boots for kids (too cute!), a whole lot of cowboy-wear, and hats. Lots and lots of hats. Which we proceeded to try on. Until we each found our perfect hat - a long time later.
Right next door we couldn't help but pop into Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds - a packed costume store, only a few days before Halloween. I have never seen so many costumes, masks and accessories in one store, and such good ones too! We bought one more piece of Husband's costume. 

Next door to that, I had a quick walk-around Uncommon Objects. This store was bewitching, loaded with exquisite antiques, home decor and collectibles. I loved how each section had been colour-coded, creating tantalising pockets of objects.
We couldn't resist returning to Elizabeth's after that, for Vietnamese coffee (made with condensed milk), and Vietnamese desserts. Too yummy for words.

I'm kinda embarrassed to admit that we spent our second night also at the hotel, eating more Whole Foods for dinner. We had a huge list of restaurants and music spots that we wanted to visit, but Husband was feeling ill with flu, and I was just feeling, well, shattered. And everyone needs a good night in every once in a while.

We both agree we'll be back anyway - Austin needs more than two nights and one day! And our list for  our next visit is extensive.

Thank you Austin.
Stores in Review:

Buffalo Exchange
2904 Guadalupe Street  Austin, TX 78705
(512) 480-9922
Cream Vintage
2532 Guadalupe Street  Austin, TX 78705
(512) 474-8787

Allens Boots
1522 South Congress Avenue  Austin, TX 78704
(512) 447-1413
Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds
1506 South Congress Avenue  Austin, TX 78704
(512) 444-2002
Uncommon Objects
1512 South Congress Avenue  Austin, TX 78704
(512) 442-4000
Whole Foods
525 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin
(512) 476-1206

Restaurants in Review:

Elizabeth Street Cafe
1501 South 1st Street  Austin, TX 78704(512) 291-2881

[Map from Google Maps]


lucille said...

Amazing boots! (I have always secretly wanted a pair of cowboy boots, but don't tell anyone). send us a pic of yours and Theo's boots, Robyn? mom

Reaching Robyn said...

I will do! Though ours aren't nearly as exciting as the ones from Allens Boots. We both got plain black ones. Love them though!