I'm always fielding questions from my friends and family about the best things to do and see in Texas. (There's a lot.) So, I thought, why not share some of these exchanges with you? And if you have questions (or suggestions!) of your own, please post them in the comments below!
I'm coming to Austin for a week. Would you suggest some places in the nearby Hill Country to go to see interesting towns/go antiquing/eat great BBQ?
Exhausted New York editor
Hello, Exhausted editor!
Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head. . .
Fredericksburg is the obvious answer, since it has the most bustling Main Street. I suggest Vaudeville and Carol Hicks Bolton Antiquities. (See Texas Monthly style contributor Kristie Ramirez's photos of both here.) There are a ton of wineries/tasting rooms springing up all along Highway 290 too. One of the best known is Becker Vineyards, but you can consult TexasWineTrail.com for a full list. If you're looking for a quiet spot for lunch or dinner that's not on the main drag (and not German food), I suggest the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, which not only has a restaurant (check out their peach cobbler below), but also has an herb garden you can stroll through, a gift shop with handmade lotions and soaps, a spa, and 14 small cottages.
On the last night of Chicago’s 2012 Lollapalooza music festival, the sun set over a crowd of thousands who had stood for hours waiting to see Jack White, the headliner. A figure strode onto the stage, tipping off a cascade of cheers.
But it was not the alabaster-skinned guitarist; it was Barbie Parker, the festival’s lead sign language interpreter.
In August, Austin’s venerable SXSW Music and Media Conference lost one of its principal architects, Brent Grulke, who died of a heart attack following oral surgery. Perhaps more than any other individual, Grulke, the conference’s creative director, helped turn SXSW into a globally recognized event.
I was a Brent Grulke fan before I ever knew him.
Food trailer offering vegan tacos, hot dogs, and burgers
1500 E. 6th, 512-628-0608
Category: Trailers, Veggie Delight
Cozy vegetarian, vegan, and raw foods cafe
1221 W. 6th, 512-828-7404
Category: Veggie Delight
Blue Dog Pizza
S. 1st Food Court, 603 W. Live Oak, 512-800-9186
Location: Down South
Category: Cheap Eats, Trailers
Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse
Local fave for people-watching; breakfast and lunch
1501 S. 1st, 512-416-1601
Location: S. Congress
Category: Veggie Delight, Tried & True, Comfy Cafes
Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is embracing a much more prominent culinary element this year with SouthBites, a curated line-up of gourmet food trucks and trailers. Paul Qui, executive chef/owner of East Side King and the yet-to-be-opened Qui, is in charge of orchestrating the new event.
According to the SXSW website, “SouthBites is operating for all nine days of SXSW (March 8-16), open to the public and located right across the road from the Austin Convention Center. It will be an essential destination for thousands of hungry music, film, and interactive fans and industry players.”
When Thax Douglas walks into IHOP, they already know what he wants. He sidles into the booth in his uniform of a stained thermal shirt, puffy green coat, and a trucker hat covering the top of his wild grey mane. The young waiter says “Swedish Pancakes,” before Douglas can get a word out. The 52-year-old indie-rock poet is a regular here, because the art gallery he’s crashing at doesn’t have a kitchen. If he wants to eat, it’s IHOP or whatever dried food he can make in the microwave, since there’s no refrigerator either.