austin: night one.

We set the bar pretty high last night, Austin. We really did.

Everything from our flight (where I found a one travis bates), to our rental car (upgraded for free to a charger—my badass meter clicked up a notch), to finding our hotel (complete with couch swing) was a breeze. The people are friendly and the service everywhere has been off the charts (if you know me, you know this is huge).

Cheryl chose our dinner destination (and first eat of the trip). It may or may not surprise you to hear that the recommendation came from the fashion blog of a wealthy 15 year old girl (Cheryl’s been following her for years). I never got it — until tonight.

On 2nd & Guadalupe sits La Condesa. Every inch of this place is spectacular. The lights, the furniture, the matchbooks. You name it – they’ve nailed it. Our wait was close to 45 minutes. But really, who cares when there’s live music blaring from the ACL Theater (we later learned it was Blondie) to your left (and an Urban Outfitters directly below).

We didn’t hesitate to take the miniature time-out table next to the entrance. Not only were we famished, but it was actually kind of cute and quiet. Our waiter (gay, of course) was darling and friendly and loved to touch my shoulder after everything I ordered. He promptly supplied me with a classic margarita rimmed with cactus and lemongrass infused salt and C with a mexican coke.

To start: fried okra frites with chipotle mayo + chips and salsa (four green salsas, each more delicious than the next). We inhaled both wishing only for seconds. The best part? They came! As we finished chewing our final bites, our dear Manchego (how I will refer to our waiter from here on out) dropped batch two of the fried okra frites on our table. We looked at him, slightly confused, slightly giddy…”sometimes our kitchen sends us out with some love for a special table – tonight I choose you.” Well, Manchego, while I can’t say I’ve ever wished for fried okra, and I’m not entirely convinced that this was the best use of my wishing powers, but God damn I kiss you on both cheeks. This okra love was followed by another gift from the kitchen (I can’t personally rave about this one because I don’t eat raw fish, but even C enjoyed) — I can’t be sure what it was called but it looked delicious. And as all the plates before it, it could go straight back to the shelf it was so clean.

And the main:
Cheryl had the chicken tacos. Likely some of the best I’ve ever had. Juicy white meat in a light green sauce. I went with one of the specials and I am so very thankful that I did. No words can describe (really, I don’t know what it was called or what it was composed of) but holy hell it was mind blowing. Local green chiles stuffed with local cheese, a nutty Mexican pesto, cherry tomatoes and one of the best red sauces I’ve ever laid tongue on. It was topped with a bit of feta and fresh cilantro. Part soup, part goulash, ALL heaven. Needless to say, another round of polished plates.

Thanks Manchego and La Condesa – you were an incredible welcoming to this city!

Next stop: Continental Club in South Congress.

South Congress is everything you’d think it would be (we’re off to explore in the daylight shortly — stay tuned).

The tunes were okay: Gospel hillbilly music isn’t really our thing. But it was enjoyable nonetheless. Cheryl discovered mexican mineral water, I met Captain John (a homeless-by-choice-man who played better music than the bands we’d just paid to see and was really quite wonderful), and we made friends with a nice rich drunk gay named Dennis (I’ll leave it at that).

Conclusion: Austin is surely stealing my heart and we haven’t even been here 24 hours. Can’t wait to see what today has in store…

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