Texas is hot. I think that's well established. This morning it hit 85 before I even got to work. The heat can be unbearable at times. So that's why I've created my weekly Beat the Heat series. Because the heat isn't just in Texas. And everyone wants to have fun no matter what Mother Nature throws their way.
Today, I'm bringing you tips on how to beat the heat and a little tourist guide to one of my favorite cities...
This is what I've been loving this week....
1) Avoid the day, embrace the night.
Patio bars & cafes are probably my favorite place to be. There's just something magical about being under the stars while chatting with friends. After we move, our backyard is one of the first things C & I are going to try to set up (since we've been living without a backyard for 3 years!)
Clive is a patio bar that my friend Lauren worked out during SXSW as a stage manager. She couldn't wait to show us the place - and for good reason. It's in an old house with a gigantic back porch with lots of seating and open air. Plus it's off the main party street, so you don't have Top-40 Dance Music screaming at you.
2) Grab a spicy drink.
Jalapeno-infused drinks were everywhere we went this weekend. I had a few, just to see if I would like them or not. And while I'm not sure they're my favorite thing in the world, the extra spice really does work perfectly with a warm, summer night.
Above left is a Jalapeno Prickly Pear margarita from Opal Divines. They had great Sweet Potato Fries, an awesome patio, and one of the best waiters I've had in a long time. Above right is the special drink from Clive - a Pineapple Jalapeno Mezcal, which is served out of a special hut in the "backyard". Definitely a must-try if you come to town.
3) Eat Tacos, at the appropriate times & places.
Tacos are a must-have in Texas. As my Taco Adventure Day should show you. But the problem is, you have to do it right. A Taco Truck in 100 degree heat is unbearable. But if it's the perfect night, why would you stay inside while munching on that Picadillo? Here's my rule: inside in the AM, outside in the PM. Easy. And fool-proof.
We tried out Juan in a Million for breakfast - which just so happens to be the site of yet another Man vs. Food challenge. Their specialty is the Don Juan Taco ($4 for a GIANT heaping of eggs, potatoes, bacon & cheese for which there's even a Taco Hall of Fame wall for those who eat the most).
And Taco trucks at night are everywhere. We stumbled across The Art of Tacos while walking back to our hotel, but I've never found a bad Taco Truck in Austin. (We did pass up the G'Raj Mahal food truck, which I've been regretting ever since.)
4) Find a Dive to dine in.
Dives are usually dark. This one we found had wine and gourmet comfort food. Sitting in the dark, back corner, sipping on wine and eating an Arugula Peach salad was such a wonderful break from the heat.
I fell in love with Max's Wine Dive the second we walked in. It was industrial and hip, and the menu was absolutely to die for. We tried the Pan Borracho ("drunk bread") and the Grilled Peach Panzanella salad, and I was this close to getting the Bourbon Peach Bread Pudding before I realized I could barely eat anything else. This may be my new favorite place in town.
5) Find Water. (my personal favorite)
Austin - and really the Texas hill country in general - is blessed with a bunch of lakes & rivers (albeit, man made. but still counts!). I grew up floating and boating on various bodies of water throughout Texas, and will always feel most at home staring out of one of these watery landscapes.
We always find ourselves heading over to Hula Hut when the weekend is over, to sip on Mimosas and just relax before driving back home. And recently, we've discovered Ladybird Lake Walking Trail, which has proved to be a great way for C & I start our Austin evenings out (with a slow, meandering walk in the woods).
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Have a lovely day & stay cool!