Hook ‘Em!: Austin Day 2

The second night in Austin we each slept about an hour. The heat was so oppressive, and there was nothing we could do. Unfortunately the sun setting didn’t help to cool the RV, so it was a sleepless night. We bought a fan the next day hoping it would help (it didn’t.) Even without sleep, we woke up excited for our next adventure. Other than the music, we knew we needed to see the food trucks when we went to Austin, so we signed up for an Austin Eats food truck tour. This may have been the best decision of our roadtrip and will be something we sign up for again on our next visit!

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Helping to Keep Austin Weird: Day 1

Sorry for yet another long delay in posting, but I did a big overhaul of organizing photos recently and also haven’t been in town over a weekend in almost a month. It’s good to be back, though, and I’m hoping I can get some time to cook again soon. In the meantime, I’m going to keep going with some honeymoon posts. Next up, Austin!

I’m really excited about this post since Akil and I just booked tickets to go back to Austin for another visit. We really fell in love with this city when we visited. It has a really relaxed vibe, an unbeatable music scene, a healthy and energized population, and some pretty amazing restaurants.

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Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy that brussels sprouts have been making the rounds in restaurants lately, even if the fad is almost over. Luckily, they are a pretty resilient vegetable so you can get pretty good sprouts at most grocery stores and make them at home. When I make brussels sprouts for dinner, I like to cut them in half and pan roast / steam them. I made a bunch of them earlier in the week for dinner, and realized I had the making of an epic grilled cheese on my hands.

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Pistachio Ice Cream with Salty Honey Swirl

Whenever I go to a new gelato place or see a new flavor, I try to branch out. I do. But I always end up with pistachio and/or hazelnut. I just can’t help it. When I was on vacation recently I went to an ice cream parlor and tried new flavors, and still ended up with pistachio. I hadn’t had pistachio in ice cream form, and it was crazy good. I knew I had to make it when I got home. To kick it up a notch I added a salty honey swirl from this post on The Merry Thought. Continue reading

Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Spicy Tomato Jam on Puff Pastry

I’m filing this as another post under “Travel for Food” since this recipe is inspired by a dish I recently had while traveling with my husband and friends to St. Martin. If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend going. It has unbelievable beaches and is a food lover’s paradise. Half of the island is Dutch, and the other half is French. They both have fantastic food options, but the French side boasts some seriously legit French restaurants. We all went out for a big dinner one night, which is where I ran into this dish. Each layer is so superb, and tastes delicious all together.

If the food isn’t enough and you need some convincing to go to St. Martin, btw, this might help:

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Big Easy, Big Belly: Part 2 + Houston

Let’s go see some ‘gators! For our second day in New Orleans we ate some breakfast in the RV and headed about twenty minutes out of NoLa towards Airboat Adventures. We did the group airboat gator tour, where we saw about 10 gators and even got to hold a baby one! It was surprisingly soft, although we don’t recommend trying it out as a pet.

After the afternoon tour, we drove back to the RV park. We didn’t head straight there, though. First we had to make a stop at one quintessential New Orleans place: the drive-through daquiri. I couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of our giant RV going through the drive-through, although the server seemed less than amused. We asked her to describe one of the flavors and she said she didn’t know how to describe it, so we stuck with orange.

daquiri

Later that evening we headed back downtown. We took the local trolley and local bus towards Magazine street and stopped at a happy hour at Bouligny Tavern. This was a hipsters paradise, complete with a dark bar, chic cocktails, and a music played with actual old school records. We didn’t want to spoil our appetite for dinner, but we did get the gougeres, which were out of the world amazing. Whenever we go back to New Orleans we are stopping here for a full meal!

For dinner we landed at Croquette, which was another friend recommendation. We decided to do it up this night, and ordered the full chef’s tasting menu with the wine pairing. It was a very creative menu, with solid ingredients and fun flavor combinations. They also worked around our limitations (no shellfish for Akil, no meat for me), and the service couldn’t have been better. My only complaint is that there were fried eggs on at least 2-3 dishes, which isn’t my favorite thing, but Akil loved it. Also, when the dessert came out and it was a little underwhelming, they gave us a different one, with homemade ice cream! This is definitely a place to stop for a splurge or a simple happy hour,

Coquette

For the night we headed towards, where else, Bourbon Street. We’d both been there enough, but decided to try the famous drink at a bar that had been on Bar Rescue: Spirits on Bourbon. It was surprisingly delicious, and not as sweet as the color suggests. After that, we went to Frenchmen street and popped in whenever we heard some music we liked. We finished off New Orleans with a late night po’ boy, which came with gravy that I’m pretty sure was sent from heaven. (Don’t forget this a no-judgement zone)

Our next big drive was from New Orleans to Pecan Grove RV Park in Austin, TX. We had a few stops I knew we had to make on the way, so we got going pretty early. Luckily we were still full from those po’ boys, so no need to stop for breakfast.

The first stop was the San Jacinto Monument in Houston, which is even taller than the Washington Monument, so it was a bit of a novelty for us. The area also boasts one of the largest shipping areas in the US, so there were a lot of interesting things to see and learn about.

After the monument it was time for a late lunch at Goode’s Armadillo Palace.  Akil couldn’t wait to get his teeth into some authentic Texas BBQ, and it didn’t disappoint. We over ordered though, not realizing that the saying is true. You know, about things being big in Texas.

armadillo

Next up was my favorite roadside stop of the whole trip. It was giant statues of The Beatles and busts of presidents, all 44 of them. The busts were taller than Akil, and The Beatles statues were several stories high. It was just so cool.

beatlesThe last pit stop was to pull off the side of the road to see Ms. Pearl, the giant squirrel. It’s exactly how it sounds. My friend Brittany is obsessed with squirrels, so we knew we had to do it. She’s also obsessed with her cat, who is the most photogenic cat I’ve ever seen. FACT!

squirrel

Side story, in the RV park we came across the following van. Unfortunately we never bumped into the actual owners, but I at least creepily took some pictures:

Big Easy, Big Belly

Before I start this post I’d like to ask that we declare it an official “judgement free” zone. I realize that the amount of food and drinks that are about to be described could feed a family of four for probably a week, and we did it in two days with just two of us. I’m not proud of it. Well, maybe I am. Anyway, everyone have their beads ready? Let’s head to New Orleans.

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