Monday, July 17, 2017

Day Trips: San Antonio and Lockhart

This weekend, we decided to head back down to San Antonio so Kathryn could see some of the sights while she's still here. It's been so fun having an additional roommate this summer and she's only here for a couple more weeks before she is off to Israel in August before finally heading back to Minnesota for the school year.

On Friday night, we stopped by Home Slice Pizza, our favorite South Congress restaurant, to grab some dinner. We got a large specifically so we could take some home and reheat it the next day for lunch. Well, that didn't happen. The three of us somehow managed to eat this entire pizza, which is equally impressive and embarrassing. I wish this picture fully conveyed the sheer size of this thing, but you'll just have to trust me that it was embarrassingly large.
On Saturday afternoon we went down to San Antonio and stopped at the Alamo. I took zero pictures, probably because it was literally 104 degrees and I couldn't think about anything other than getting to the air conditioning asap. We also stopped by Mission San Jose, but there was a Saturday evening mass going on, so we couldn't actually go in to see the beautiful altar. I've been once before and it's truly impressive.
As you can tell, there was a storm rolling through late Saturday afternoon. On the drive home, it rained a bit and then the temperature dipped to 75! I don't think it's been that cool during the day since March.
We had a light snack/dinner and margaritas at a Mexican restaurant along the River Walk and then headed back to Austin. San Antonio is so pretty, so old and highly underrated if you ask me.


On Sunday, we had simultaneously one of the best and worst ideas of our lives. I kept hearing about this BBQ place in Lockhart, about a half hour south of Austin, so I suggested we go for lunch. Peter did a little more research and apparently, Lockhart is the BBQ capital of Texas, and there is a total of four somewhat famous places we just had to try. All in one day.

Our first stop was Black's, which I think is the most famous of the Lockhart BBQ joints. We were there nice and early and barely had to wait in a line, which I think is pretty lucky. People take their BBQ seriously here and we've waited for hours- not kidding- at some places. Plus, I was really happy this line didn't extend outside, because HOT.
We decided to try to pace ourselves, so we only ordered one cut of each brisket and a rib, plus a side of mac and cheese. Peter always rolls his eyes when I insist on ordering sides. He says he can't waste stomach space on non-meat items. Okay then! I think the sides make or break the meal.
 The inside...very Texas.
 Our plate.
 Our second stop was Smitty's Market, just down the road from Black's.
This place had a really cool setup with these huge smokers with open fires in the back of the building next to the counter. I can't imagine working in this back room- it was a million degrees.
The pitmaster saw us taking pictures and called over Kathryn and me so we could get a better view! YUM.
One of the funniest things about these BBQ places is that they don't give you actual plates. They just wrap up your food in a few paper placements that you use and hand you a knife and spoon.
 "No forks" was an actual policy in this place. I guess it's a tradition?
Our third stop was Krewz Market, which a nice local behind us in line told us is owned by the same family as Smitty's. Apparently a long time ago, the sister owned the building where Smitty's is located, and her two brothers ran the restaurant. She raised the rent on them at some point, they got angry and then started a competing place down the road. What a feud!
 Hilarious sign on the door.
This was the only place we had to wait in line and it took about a half hour to get into the room with the smokers. We planned to hit up the fourth spot, but we were all about ready to burst and ended up taking some of the below meal home with us. I suppose this is a good thing, as it gives us an excuse to head back to Lockhart!

We all went home, took a nap, and didn't eat dinner. Kathryn and I picked up Ali at the airport- she was at a wedding in Minnesota- and got ourselves ready for the week ahead. All in all, a great weekend!

Linking up with Biana
Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekend Recap

This weekend consisted, as usual, of a bunch of food and hot weather. Story of our summer down here! On Saturday night we were looking for somewhere to get dessert and among the ten million various ice cream places, we found this bite-sized cheesecake food truck. Because that sounded like a  lot more fun than ice cream, we headed over to check it out. THEY WERE SO GOOD. The truck is officially called "The Celia Jacobs Cheesecake Experience" and I think we got to talk to Celia herself. We ended up taking one of each flavor they had left, and they were all delicious. 

 It was a super cute truck in a kid-friendly food truck park/playground near us.
On Sunday Kathryn and I met a friend of mine from work for a gospel brunch at Threadgill's. If you have absolutely no idea what this means, you're not alone. I didn't either until a few months ago. Apparently, gospel brunches are a thing here and they're even gaining momentum as a sort of hipster experience. Who knew we were so cool? Basically, you eat brunch and listen to a gospel band.

Here's my plate of food picked up at the all-you-can-eat $12 breakfast buffet.
And the band. We were seated right in front, but I couldn't get a very good picture due to the light coming in through the windows. This actually reminds me of an issue I'm having with my iPhone. At night or if there's bright light, like in the picture below, it won't focus and the light always spreads out across the entire frame. Any iPhone experts out there?

Anyway, It was super fun and the band was good! They played mostly bluegrass type gospel music and we all really enjoyed it.

That about sums up the weekend. I'm still in search of a new blog name....help a girl out!


Linking  up with Biana


Thursday, July 6, 2017

4th Of July Weekend

I'm so slow on this blog revamp it's embarrassing. I'm trying to do 3 things while having approximately zero computer knowledge.

1) I want to transfer my blog to Wordpress, as it seems like the most intuitive platform for what I want to do. Blogger has been fine, but I'm ready for an upgrade.

2) I've spent countless hours trying to think of a catchy name for my blog now that we're not 'Down Under'. I come up pretty much blank every time. If you have any creative ideas, please let me know!

3) I've picked out a new layout on Etsy so I need to make that switch once steps 1 and 2 are done.

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My London and Paris posts are forthcoming, but those take a bit more time to put together, so I thought I'd catch you up on what we've been doing since we've been home.

We checked out a new winery near our apartment one night, with the hit of the night being the owner's dog. I forgot the name of the breed, but it was basically a short-haired German Shephard that is usually used for police work in Europe. He was SO smart, and it kind of made me want to get what Peter would refer to as a 'real dog' someday. Usually I go for the little white fluffy dogs, which Peter thinks are ridiculous and useless, but there's something to be said for a dog that knows what's going on.
I saw the below concoction on Instagram, so we had to go get one, especially because it was about a million degrees all weekend. I have absolutely no idea what was in it, but it was delicious. I had to have a bit of help finishing it, though, so I'm glad there were a few of us to pitch in!
We also hit up Jester King Brewery, which is a bit out in the middle of nowhere, but it was fun to get out of the city for a bit. 

On the actual 4th we started off the morning with a trip to Georgetown, a cute little suburb north of Austin. There was a festival going on in a park along the river, so we hung out there for a bit. 

Kathryn picked up this mini flag and didn't put it down for the rest of the day.


This particular gathering featured some AMAZING patriotic attire. I used to wonder if anyone still purchased those flag tees from Old Navy and the answer is YES. I've never seen so many in my life. This guy pretty much won the whole day with his flag and eagle shirt.
And another one. Where do I get one of these?! And the socks!!
We headed back home for the afternoon and stopped at Kelly's Baking Co. on the way for some 4th of July themed cookie dough cones. 

After resting up and eating dinner we headed out to see the fireworks. We couldn't tell which direction they were launching, so we chose a random spot that ended up being perfect.



 And to close, two of my favorite Independence Day themed memes seen on Instagram this weekend:






Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekends Lately

We've spent the last two weekends bopping around Austin, showing Kathryn some of our favorite places and discovering some new spots as well. Last weekend we headed over to South Congress to show her the cute shops and restaurants. We stumbled upon this adorable chalk wall on the side of someone's garage. It says 'before I die...' and you can fill in whatever you want. Some of the answers were serious, like 'donate a kidney', and then there were the ones that weren't so serious like 'smoke weed with Snoop Dog'. 
Peter wasted no time coming up with an event he'd like to witness in his lifetime...a Vikings Super Bowl win! You can see Kathryn next to him, trying to think up something to write. At one point she said "I have no goals!" which I thought was hilarious. Not true, of course, but it is pretty difficult to think of one thing that stands out when put on the spot.
We were happily surprised to spot a Melbourne reference on the wall. Richmond is the footy team Peter 'went for' (not 'rooted for'...never 'rooted' in Australia because it means something entirely different...). They were sort of a perfect fit as the somewhat tortured franchise...much like our Minnesota teams!
We walked around a bit, and when it got unbearably hot, about 30 minutes into our stroll, we stopped for a drink. It was super sunny and nice when we got there, but by the time we were ready to leave it was POURING. We hung around for awhile longer, had another drink, and then braved the rain and ran to the car. When we passed the chalk wall on the way back someone had already left a note for Peter:
It says 'not gonna happen' hahaha. I have to admit, I'd be surprised if it did! You can't tell in the picture, but it was written in green chalk, so Peter suspects a Packer fan was behind it. 



Peter was out of town this weekend, so it was just Ali, Kathryn and me. On Friday we decided to check out The Oasis, which is a big bar/restaurant and brewery (more like a compound) out on Lake Travis. Unfortunately, there was a two-hour wait for food and drinks so we just headed onto the balcony to take a few pictures while the sun was setting. There were some AMAZING houses to the right of the resturant. We definitely want to go back, but when it's a bit less crowded.
Since we still wanted to be by the lake, we headed over the Lucy's and had some dessert and drinks. We had a server who was quite entertaining. He told a few stories of his encounters with Farrah from Teen Mom at the restaurant (she lives close by) and hilariously left his Snapchat name on the bill. Is that a thing people do now? #youths.

On Saturday we headed to a food truck park for dinner, which was PACKED, and I took a risk and ordered fish tacos. I feel like ordering fish from a food truck is a universally bad idea, but they just sounded so good! Thankfully, they were delicious and I survived. Win-win.
On Sunday we went to church in the morning, followed by afternoon naps for Kathryn and me while Ali sat by the pool. I'm such a sun-phobe since living in Australia that I haven't spent much time down there yet this year. That, and there's usually at least 15 frat bros acting like they're filming a sequel to Animal House at any given time, so I avoid the pool area like the plague.

In the evening, we headed up to the Domain, shopped a bit, and then ate at Culinary Dropout, a semi-new restaurant with lots of yard games and activities. It was really good, especially these pretzel bites with cheese fondue. We all agreed we'd go back for those alone! I picked Peter up from the airport after dinner and he was pretty jealous of our weekend food adventures.
We're off to London and Paris on Wednesday, so it's a short work week for us and we're spending the next couple of days getting ready for our trip. I haven't been to London is years, and have never been to Paris, so if anyone has any must-do activities, please let me know!


{ Linking up with Biana }

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend was a fun one, but HOT. Peter was in Northern Minnesota visiting his grandparents, and Ali had some friends in town. After work on Friday, I met Ali and her friends and we headed out to the bars on Rainey Street. There's a new circus-themed bar that just opened up a few months ago that we stopped at first, and then we headed to our favorite- the Container Bar, made out of old shipping containers. It was super fun but I don't know if I've ever been so hot in my life. The outdoor bar thing is great until it's ten million degrees and all you want to do is take a shower.

On Saturday, we headed to Terry Black's for dinner so Ali's out-of-town guests could try some Texas BBQ. They loved it so much they went back on Sunday! Peter is a die-hard barbecue fan/critic so he will wait in line for hours to get the best. I'm not that dedicated, and it all tastes relatively the same to me, so I love Terry Black's because the line is never THAT long. Speaking of barbecue, we went to La Barbeque last weekend, which is a much-hyped food truck.

We only waited for about an hour, but by the time we got our food the line was probably 200 people long, and I can't imagine how long the people at the end waited. There was one lady in line eating a tide-over burrito if that tells you anything!


We all concluded that it was good, as is any barbecue in Texas, but we definitely wouldn't wait for hours. 

On Sunday, I picked up our youngest sister Kathryn at the airport. If you remember from my last post, she's spending the summer with us. She has an internship at a media company and we're super excited to have another roommate for a couple months! We immediately went to the mattress store to get her a bed (she's bunking in Ali's room) and then picked up some groceries. For dinner, I took her to P. Terry's, which is probably my favorite fast-food burger chain ever. There's one just down the road from us that we frequent a bit too often. 

Monday was Memorial Day, but I had to work a half day. I met some coworkers at Mozart's Coffee, a cute coffee shop on Lake Austin, to knock out a few hours of work. We had been there once before to see the big Christmas light show they put on every year, but I had kind of forgotten about it since then. We sat outside and for once it wasn't too hot, so that was fun! I met Ali and Kathryn at the mall when I was done working and then later I picked up Peter from the airport. 

Everyone is back to work today. I snapped this picture of Kathryn before she and Ali headed out the door for work and her first day of her internship: 

That about wraps up our weekend...I hope everyone else had a great Memorial Day! 





Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there! We had a great weekend celebrating with my mom, who was in San Antonio for a short vacation. We met up a few times for dinner during the week, and then spent Saturday on the River Walk for a few hours before their flight back home. It's starting to get really hot here, and I hear we're just getting started. I'm starting to think that if I survive my first Texas summer, it will be a miracle. Side note: I went to Old Navy today to try to get some shorts and MAN, that was a rude awakening. Time to hit the gym! Why are flattering shorts so hard to find?

Here we are at the River Walk, sweating almost to death:

Watching the boats go by. We took one of these river cruises last time my mom was in town, and it was really fun. I think it was November, though, so it was much cooler and therefore probably more enjoyable. Also, that water is quite the unique shade of...brownish green. Yuck.
We stayed in San Antonio until mid-afternoon, and then headed home for the rest of the evening. I haven't mentioned this yet on the blog, but we're getting ready to gain a new roommate for the summer! My youngest sister, Kathryn, has an summer internship in Austin so she will be moving into Ali's room in a couple of weeks. It will be a full house, and I'm sure Peter's dream come true ;), but I can hardly wait! After spending two years in Australia and missing quite a few family events, it will be fun to catch up a bit on some lost time with all of us girls in the same city.

On Sunday, Peter set out early to get a round of golf in with a coworker before it got unberably hot, which happened to be at about 10 am. Ali and I went for brunch at Hillside Farmacy, an adorable little place in East Austin.

After regrouping at home midday, we decided to trek up to Cedar Park, a suburb about 20 minutes north of Austin, to check out the first Whole Foods 365 store in the country. As you probably know, Whole Foods has a reputation for being ridiculouly expensive. While I can always justify splurging on quality meat and fish, I don't necessarily want to spend $10 on generic brown rice, nor do I care if it's organic, etc. so I usually skip Whole Foods altogether. I know they have been working on a lower-priced store for some time to lure in millenials, and the first one is now open! It mainly features their own 365 brand, and is definitely cheaper than the flagship store. It's a good start, and especially if you're into organic food, but we still feel like H-E-B wins out overall.
We got a few things, including steaks we (Peter) grilled last night for dinner that were really good. I also discovered this juice, and I can't tell yet if I like it enough to buy it again. Turmeric is everywhere right now and is suppsed to be really good for you. I read awhile back that you should mix a teaspoon with pepper in lemon juice and drink it once a day. I tried it, and then made Peter try it, and we both almost threw up. So, I gave up on it altogether until I saw this juice, which I can confirm isn't horrible.
That about sums up our weekend. This week is pretty quiet with mainly work and planning our trip to London in June on the agenda. Peter is going home to visit his grandparents in northern Minnesota for Memorial Day, and Kathryn will be coming down that weekend, so we are anticipating a busy start to the summer!
Monday, May 8, 2017

Day Trip: Fredericksburg

Blog Revival


I haven't posted in forever. Don't fret, though...I'm in the process of renaming/redesigning the blog, so it's not going away anytime soon! For awhile, I didn't post much because I thought my life wasn't interesting enough post-Australia. Which may be true. I work full time now, and my day-to-day life isn't nearly as novel as it used to be. But then I realized that I like having a place to look back on all our pictures and adventures, however mundane they may be. Plus, the blogs I like to read aren't necessarily about earth-shatteringly interesting topics all the time, it's just fun to see what people are doing. I suppose blogging in itself is a little bit self-indulgent, but whatever. If people find it boring or don't care, then they don't have to read it!

So, I've got a few new names for the blog I've been tossing around (since we haven't been 'Down Under' in over six months) but any ideas are welcome! Please send them my way :) 

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Day Trip To Fredericksburg


On to our latest day trip: Fredericksburg! If you have no idea what/where that is, you're not alone. I hadn't heard of Fredericksburg until a few girls from work mentioned that they attended recent bachelorette parties there. Basically, it's an adorable little old German town about an hour and a half straight west of Austin with TONS of vineyards and wineries. You could definitely make a weekend out of it, but it's also a pretty easy day trip from both Austin and San Antonio. We headed over on a Sunday morning, and since most of the wineries don't open until noon on Sunday, we didn't have to leave particularly early, which was an added bonus. 

Wildseed Farms


Our first stop was this adorable flower farm a few miles east of the main drag of Fredericksburg. Ali was googling around and found it somehow, but it's quite the attraction. In the late summer and fall, Wildseed Farms has amazing sunflower fields. According to Instagram, at least. We stopped into the cute garden store to look around and check out the spring flowers. It was the cutest little place, with tons of old people milling around. It was basically a grandparent mecca, and since we're old at heart, we fit right in.

 We mainly saw poppy fields this early in the season. They were so pretty!


We aren't gardeners by any means. Actually, we've never gardened anything. I'm currently on my longest streak of keeping a plant alive, and I think it's been six months. The point is, you don't have to be a flower fanatic to appreciate Wildseed Farms!

We drove straight into town and were pretty hungry, so we had lunch at a really good burger place and looked around a little bit. We must have been really focused on food because I took zero pictures. After checking out some shops, we headed to our first winery, Barons Creek. The weather on this particular day was perfect. It was chilly in the morning, and then warmed up nicely in the sun, but it wasn't hot and there was no humidity, which we cherished, knowing that we'll be dripping sweat in a matter of weeks here in Texas.

Barons Creek Vineyards


There were some cute villas in the back of this vineyard that you could rent out, and a really pretty patio area popular for weddings and events. The whole place was only a year or so old, but I foresee it being a popular weekend getaway!
We did a tasting inside, purchased a bottle of their white wine, and the headed out to the courtyard to enjoy the weather. It felt very Tuscan for Texas!



Grape Creek Vineyards


We headed over to Grape Creek Vineyards as we made our way back toward Austin, and it was hoppin' (that would have been a good brewery pun). There was even a private deck for wine club members, and we are all seriously thinking about joining. These people were LIVING. 

We grabbed a glass and sat near one of the fountains enjoying the weather, admiring the array of dogs people brought, and listening to the live music.

 We then headed over to look at the vineyard for a few minutes.



It was a great day, and we are already planning a trip back to hit up a few more wineries, see the wildflowers in bloom, and check out an alpaca farm in the area. More to come :)

About


Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!

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