So I was in Austin, TX for a couple of days last week helping the store staff prep one of my company's new stores, Follett Intellectual Property. Having only been to Texas once before (this past April, also on business) it was kind of nice to get a little extra time to get a better feel/vibe for the area.
Impressions of Austin:
1) On both trips it was extremely hot. Last April it was "unseasonably hot", and this time-- being August... well August in Texas is not a "cool" prospect by any stretch. That being said, I didn't mind the heat so much this time around. My pasty white ass is NOT used to 90-100 degree weather in April. But living in suburban Chicago, 90-100 degree weather is not at all unusual for August. And it actually was a little less humid there than it gets here when the temperatures get up there. So, if anything, the heat was more bearable there than it is here when it gets that hot. It was just those initial blasts of heat as I'd go outside after being inside a nice climate-controlled A/C blasting environment that would catch me a bit off guard.
2) The food was pretty damn good. We tried to stick with local owned and operated places-- avoiding chains restaurants as much as possible. My coworkers and I arrived just before noon on Wednesday. We found a small Tex-Mex joint a couple miles down the road from the UTA campus. Just when I thought I was done and had cleaned my plate the waiter showed up with a second plate and informed me that it was the rest of my meal. Needless to say it filled me up.
The first night we went to Texas Land & Cattle and I partook of a delicious rack of ribs. Day 2, one of my coworkers and I walked down the street to a Vietnamese joint where I partook of some delicious Pho and some interesting conversation about why and where people of different Asian backgrounds choose to live in the US.
For dinner we went to the Iron Cactus. The food was okay, but there was nothing about it that really set it apart from anything I could just as easily get in downtown Chicago or downtown Naperville-- although the Margaritas were pretty damn good.
Friday for lunch-- Whole Foods. Whole Foods is based in Austin so this was/is their flagship store. I felt like I'd died and gone to hippy heaven (and I'm not a hippy so I was wondering if maybe I'd taken a wrong turn somewhere in the afterlife). There was a faint patchouli odor permeating throughout the store, and the breadth of food selection was incomparable. I had sushi and a pepperoni roll (in hindsight mixing Japanese with Italian/American might not have been the best of decisions).
3) Overall Austin was rather liberal. It was kind of like Burlington, Vermont with a tan. Given that a) it's a college town b) Apple has a campus there c) Dell is HQ'd there (and techie/IT guys are generally of a more liberal political bent) The liberalness was not entirely surprising.
I had a good time and look forward to future trips.
Current Music: Far Corporation - Solitude