Where to eat in Austin

Where to eat in Austin

I love Texas. I had the pleasure of visiting Austin in the end of July. As a lover of Barbeque, I strategically planned each meal around my meetings. I had to eat and savor as much barbeque as humanly possible since I was only in Austin for 3 days. Below are the restaurants I chose to eat at.

Tacodeli 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is an Austin-based taco and salad chain. Similar to chipotle but better. They have 6 locations in Austin. I had the Ensalada Aguacate with chicken. I could eat Mexican salad everyday. If I stayed longer (and was not so focused on barbeque) I would have come back. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients. For what it is, five stars.

Summer Moon

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I visited the Anderson Lane location. Another local Austin chain. Their specialty is wood fired roasted coffee. The only thing I usually buy on my work travels is coffee beans. You can learn so much about a city or town by hanging out at the local coffee shops. I purchased the En Feugo beans. They “have a full body, a sweet trace of honey and very smooth delivery”. 

Blacks Barbecue

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My first barbeque! I honestly was so excited that I was nervous haha. Nervous in that I did not want to make a poor decision.  I am very passionate about my food. Everything is done by weight so you can customize your meal. I ordered the pork spare ribs, beef brisket, extra cheddar mac n’ cheese and creamed corn. This was the best barbeque sauce I had out of all the restaurants. The brisket was a little too fatty for my taste, but the ribs were great.

Magnolia Silos

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After viewing 20 annoying billboard signs announcing the Instagram famous silos, I decided to make a stop and see what the fuss was about. Waco was under a lot of infrastructure construction so I had to reroute a few times. The silos are about 5 minutes away from the highway. I purchased my two cupcakes, valued at a whopping $20. The lemon lavender was very good. A little too sweet. I also bought the Strawberries n’ Cream after asking the security guard what his favourite was… It was meh. I ate them in bed. If you planned a trip just based on visiting the silos you would be extremely disappointed.  

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had wanted to go to the world-famous Franklin’s barbeque, however, since it was a work trip I do not have time to sit in line for 6 hours. Also, during my meeting, my account informed me that this place was MUCH better. I went at closing (2pm) so their selection was low. This spot had the best jalepeno cheese grits I had ever had. I had a jalepeno sausage, pork ribs and some cole slaw. You have to eat outside in 100-degree weather, so the free beer was very welcomed. 

Austin Beer Works

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had the Estel Dale Smoked Pale Ale which was made with Fredricksberg peaches smoked by Lewroy & Lewis BBQ. I loved this beer. I also had a sample of the lotion in a basket beer. It was ok.  I was chatting with the head brewer and coincidently he has worked with Beau’s brewery in Ottawa. It was so hot in the tasting room that I could not stay for long.

Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sixth Street is the party street in Austin. Tons of live bands and restaurants. Almost felt like Nashville.  I had intended to eat in the Rainey Street district, which had really cute restaurants, however nothing I was in the mood for. The restaurants décor was tired but the Tequila Adobo-Marinated Shrimp & Chicken fajitas were unreal!

La Barbeque

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Best spot and it came heavily recommended by everyone I spoke with. Lineup was almost out the door but I only had to wait about 20 minutes. I actually purchased $150 worth of meat and transported it home for my husband in a cooler. The beans sucked, they used a gritty seasoning that I was not fond of. The brisket was mouth-watering and had perfect smoke ring. I did not like their barbeque sauce but the meat was so good you did not need it! 

Where to eat in Atlanta

Where to eat in Atlanta

While I was only in Atlanta for 2 days, I managed to eat at some pretty amazing restaurants. There are a lot of options in Buckhead, Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods. Below are the restaurants I chose to eat at.

Where I ate

High Velocity

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I arrived at the hotel around 9pm and noticed that most restaurants near close their kitchens at 10pm. I found this very bizarre since it is a large city. I later found a quote from Drake (talking about his favourite Atlanta restaurants) where he stated that Atlanta restaurants all close early. Very weird. I usually avoid hotel restaurants however Marriott usually has decent restaurants! This one was not good. It is a casual sportsbar with lots of tvs and a large circular bar. I ordered the Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale which is a local beer. Very delicious. I then ordered the lobster mac and cheese based on a recommendation from a person sitting near me. It was not very good. The bartender did inform me that Atlanta is known for having very fresh seafood since the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta airport (Delta’s hub) brings in fresh seafood every morning from the nearest port, Florida?

The Southern Gentleman Gastropub

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Located in the trendy Buckhead area I enjoyed the smoked trout deviled eggs and a Sam Adams Seasonal. I sat at the bar and enjoyed the restaurant’s chic, masculine interior design. The restaurant’s design has the perfect balance as being a great hangover brunch spot but would transition into a nice spot for after work drinks with friends. The waiter was a little rude which is why it gets a lower rating 

Le Bilboquet

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Also located in the Buckhead neighbourhood. I am a fan of the simplicity of French cuisine. The décor inside was stunning but the patio at this establishment is where you want to be on a beautiful day. I received the perfect seat to people watch and admire the luxury cars pulling up to valet. I enjoyed the beet and goat cheese salad and a glass of sparkling wine. Perfect spot to grab brunch with friends or a romantic date night.  

Hal’s The Steakhouse

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After I received four recommendations for this restaurant, I decided to treat myself to an evening at Hal’s steakhouse. This is your classic, old school steakhouse. You can still smoke cigars on the first level. The entire restaurant was packed (including their main floor bar) so I was offered a seat at their upstairs bar. To start, I enjoyed a dirty gin martini with regular olives (which someone informed me I should have got the blue cheese olives). For my entrée I had caesar salad as well as a perfectly cooked filet mignon with mashed potatoes. 

An old cigarette dispenser at Hal’s

Where I want to eat next time

Beetlecat 

Apparently, the best lobster roll in the world. A few people recommended this place to me. An uber driver informed me it was the same owners as the Southern Gentleman 

Kevin Rathburn Steak

I almost went here instead of Hal’s. The reviews online said this was the best steakhouse in Atlanta however the people I spoke with insisted Hal’s was better. Have to go with what the people say!

The Optimist

Upscale seafood restaurant with Instagram worthy décor. It looked a little further from the downtown core which is why I did not go. 

Cafe Intermezzo 

Drake’s favourite restaurant in Atlanta.


Where I stayed

Rating: 3 out of 5.

At the hotel’s completion in 1985, it hosted the world’s largest hotel atrium. It is very dark and dreary in the atrium and main entrance. The architect was known for his neo-futurism design. To me, it reminded me of the Place de portage government buildings in Hull, Quebec. Too much concrete and depressing. The room was renovated and large. A few of the elevators were broken so it was a blessing that I was on a low floor. The location was good however next time I would stay in the Buckhead region where I spent most of my time eating.

The Vegetable Garden

The Vegetable Garden

With building our home this year, we have opted to keep our 2019 vegetable garden simple. This post will show you our favourite gardening tools/products and briefly explain how we currently do things.

Seed Starting

I save my seeds from the previous year and start them in peat moss pellets early March. As soon as I thin, I remove the gauze and replant them in plastic pots from flowers I have purchased in the past. I allow the little seedlings to grow on my window sill until it is warm enough to transplant.

Peat pellets, here

Terracotta pots, here

Potting soil, here

Source: interiorhomedecor.com

Planting

I am pretty basic when it comes to tools for planting. I have my father till the land every year with his rototiller. I create neatly raised rows with a bow rake. I plant the seedlings in the ground using a narrow trowel, wearing latex dish washing gloves haha. I place the cages around the tomato seedlings immediately.

Wood bow rake, here

Wood trowel, here

Honda rototiller, here

Source: remodolista.com
Our 2018 garden

Care

Once the seedlings are planted, all that is left is to feed, water and weed.

Feed: I like to use natural/organic fertilizers on my food. Tomatoes, spinach and squash love nitrogen rich fertilizers like blood meal. I feed my plants every 6-8 weeks.

Compost: I am new to kitchen composting however I plan to continuously add compost to my crops as it develops. I add all kitchen scraps to my compost pail except animal bones. At the end of the day, I take it out to the larger plastic composter next to my garden.

Water: I like to hand water my plants when they small. As they grow and become stronger I will switch to spraying them with the hose in either the morning or evening.

Weed: This year I plan to keep the weeds down by using straw in the rows and around my plants. I think this will help with watering as well since the soil will not dry out as quickly.

Watering can, here

Compost pail, here

Blood meal, here

Source: 88trenddecor.com
Source: jokoshome.com

Harvest

The best part about gardening is the harvest. We harvested a lot more than these two pictures. This year my goal is to can enough tomatoes to last us the year in pizza sauce and crushed tomatoes. I am giving up on making salsa haha It always sucks. We also want to pickle beets again. Last year they turned out amazing. I also want to dehydrate enough basil to last us for the year.

Harvest
Harvest