South by Southwest 2016- Austin

I’ve been dying to go to South by Southwest since moving to Texas and I’m glad to have now experienced and survived my first ACL and SXSW in one year! I think this may bring me one step closer to being a Texan? That along with wearing my cowboy boots to the rodeo last week. This is truly the best time of year to live in and visit Texas with so many events going on, and our small window of perfect patio weather. So if you’re reading this and intrigued, get your booty and boots on a plane and I’ll be waiting for you with queso…you’re welcome.

My weekend in Austin started off with a delicious dinner at North Italia at the Domain. I’ve been to their Houston location once and loved it, so I was excited to try their Austin location and sample more dishes. We started off with this epic chef’s plate filled with 3 artisan cheeses, olives, macrona almonds, grilled asparagus, marinated eggplant, roasted peppers, an apricot jam, and grilled bread. Holy yum it delicious! One of the best chef’s plates in terms of quality, variety, and generous portions. Also a nice balance between sweet and savory. It was just what we needed to recharge after a 3 hour drive from Houston and went perfectly with my delightful vanilla ginger vodka cocktail.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted meatballs or salad for dinner (normal I know), so I decided to get two appetizers, a win-win.

This Kale salad is no ordinary kale salad. It even will make kale haters reconsider their feelings for this often overly chewy leafy green. Once it’s marinated in a Parmesan vinaigrette it’s topped with apples, pistachios, charred grapes, and breadcrumbs. The kale is just a vehicle to get to all the other deliciousness while also getting your dose of greens.

Next up were the marinara meatballs served with crunchy grilled cheesy bread.

They were seasoned perfectly and a great portion for an appetizer. We even ended up with some leftovers. The service was on point and the atmosphere was lively. I’m glad we have a location in Houston and will definitely be back for that chef’s board and cocktail. After dinner we enjoyed some live music and the fire pits at the retro  Lone Star Court right near the Domain.

The next morning we were ready to take on SXSW! We had registered for the Rachael Ray Stubb’s BBQ event and were grateful to get in as press.

It is open to the public but the lines can be quite long so I would recommend getting there early.It’s so worth it though with two stages of live music all day, multiple open bars, and amazing Southern comfort food.

This was the main lunch. Grits with a fried chicken wing, slider and slaw, corn salad, and upside down Frito pie. My first Frito pie experience and all I can say is oh my…

This was the Blue Moon Stage. Favorite performers of the day were Jenny Lewis and Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals. Rachael was dancing on the stage during the last show and she’s got some moves! Was hoping for a selfie with her but she was on the move. Here’s hoping for next year.

The cold pressed juices were a refreshing necessity between Frito pie and trying to gear up for the night ahead.

We stopped by Fukumoto Sushi and Yakitiri Izakaya for  happy hour.

These tempura green beans were light and crispy with a zesty dipping sauce.

I also highly recommend their tofu. I’m not one to order tofu often, but this melted in your mouth and was the best tofu I’ve ever had, hands down. The sake cocktail was delicious and just the right amount of sweet and boozy.

Next we wandered around 6th street which was packed with people walking around and free giveaways.

Afterwards we stopped by Hole in the Wall near UT’s campus which has a great divey feel, live music, and dirt cheap drinks. We were fooled by this band that they were Third Eye Blind doing a secret show…le sigh.

Our night ended at Weather Up with this amazing burrata and strawberry mint rum slush drink. Apparently they have a NYC location too which I hope to check out!

The next morning we had brunch at Salt and Time, a rustic cafe in a butcher shop.

The Miga’s were tasty with crisp tortillas, veggies, and savory n’duja. A round of beer was sent to our table on this clever carousel, but none of us could really stomach much  beer at that hour. Afterwards we checked  out their impressive butcher shop on the other side of the restaurant. I love their farm to table approach.

Before hitting the road, we walked around UT’s campus which was a perfect way to end the weekend. Until next time, Austin…

 

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