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out and about: dallas.

23 Jan

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as i mentioned last week, i spent this past weekend visiting an old friend in the big d (that would be dallas, for those not up to speed with texas vernacular). it’s so refreshing to get out of your usual routine and see something new.

starting with a delicious meal friday night at the common table in dallas’ uptown neighborhood, the weekend was an array of sensory delights – sights, sounds and tastes. we grabbed a drink and an app as we waited for our table, and after finally being seated, i ordered the tasty crab cake blt. perhaps it was my unbelievable hunger that grew to near record proportions during our two-hour wait or my two glasses of pre-dinner wine, but that was probably the best crab cake dish i’d ever had.

saturday was spent discovering all the nooks and crannies of downtown mckinney, a quaint town just north of the city. i have to admit, i was skeptical upon first hearing my friend describe it as a  cute small town, but what a gem!

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not only did this small town destination have impressive eateries (we enjoyed a divine lunch at the impossibly adorable resto, gather), it had lovely shops perfectly curated with enviable home wares and accessories. definitely a spot worth checking out!

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after our leisurely afternoon, we headed back to dallas to rest our feet in preparation of another night out on the town. the evening kicked off with an absolutely delicious dinner at thai thai restaurant in the greenville neighborhood, followed by drinks out in the uptown area again.

i’d never had too much experience with the big city of dallas (save for a quick trip to the texas/ou football game weekend as a senior in college and a few visits when i was about seven years old), but my whirlwind 36 hours there this past weekend left me with a positive impression – can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

all photos my own.

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out and about: takoba.

3 Jan

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where do you turn when you have a hankering for mexican? for me, it’s definitely the tried-and-true offerings of takoba. this east side joint is not to be missed with its interior cuisine and modern yet rustic décor. the drinks are pretty spectacular too.

takoba’s great because it’ll meet any of your dining needs – lunch, dinner, appetizers and even just drinks (they have a small bar space around back that’s strictly dedicated to whipping up drinks that are sure to top any best-of-austin lists).

and the food? amazing. my personal favorite are the tacos al pastor on the lunch menu – fresh, pineapple-marinated pork dressed with queso fresco and guac (drooling yet?). basically, they’re to die for.

so next time you’re in austin and have a hankering for some spicy, authentic mexican, stop by takoba – you won’t be disappointed. (disclaimer: this is not your tired, run-of-the-mill tex-mex resto – takoba serves authentically inspired interior mexican dishes. no fake yellow cheese and pools of unnecessary grease here!) 

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photos from takoba.

out and about: salty sow.

21 Dec

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have a hankering for meat? or more specifically, pork? please welcome, salty sow, to the table. from this fairly new austin hang-out’s carnivore-geared menu to its dangerously delicious drinks, salty sow – from my one visit thus far – has skyrocketed to the top of my austin go-to list.

the first time i visited, it was a warm december evening –yes warm…december…don’t get me started – perfect for sipping cocktails on an outdoor patio. soft café lights cast a cozy glow over diners and drinkers while rustic high-top tables and bar stools reinforced the restaurant’s self-proclaimed modern farmhouse ambiance.

in short, everything was divine – from my absolutely delicious white sparkling sangria to our array of food orders that didn’t miss a beat, all topped off by a complimentary champagne toast for it being our group’s first time visiting. other restaurants should take a cue from this swine-inspired haunt. i repeat: complimentary champagne toast.

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photos 1 & 2 from salty sow on facebook.

photos 3 & 4 from salty sow.

photo 5 from tribeza.

out and about: tnt

30 Nov

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if there’s one thing texas is known for (ok, there are many, but let’s play along for the sake of this post), it’s the margarita. there are a number of takes on this lone star staple – sweet, tart, strong, extra strong and potent – all providing a different satisfaction to the bar go-er.

and if there’s one thing austin is known for (again, let’s play along), it’s places specializing in the margarita. the latest feature? tnt (that’s tacos and tequila for those not in the know). and specialize do they ever. this place runs the gamut. they have seasonal varieties – the pumpkin margarita – trendy varieties – the pink hibiscus margarita – and just plain adventurous varieties – the lingonberry-habanero margarita. and none of them disappoint.

oh, and did i mention they have food? the restaurant’s happy hour features $1.50 street tacos (i have yet to try them, being that 5pm is just a tad too early for my dinner – but they look delish), and their chips and salsa are not your run-of-the-mill corn tortilla chips – no, tnt serves up root vegetable chips with an array of delectable dippings.

and i haven’t even gotten to the ambiance yet. the establishment’s unassuming exterior is superseded by a warm, inviting interior complete with mood-setting café lights, wood floors complimented by brightly colored walls and an impressively large tequila rack that hangs above the bar.

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have i convinced you yet? good. ‘cause you should definitely venture over to this west 5th street (in the bottom of the gables pressler building, to be exact) locale. and buy a drink or two while you’re at it.

out and about: contigo

2 Nov

you know that dreamy place that offers the ideal atmosphere for any season? the one that lets guests enjoy warm wafting breezes in the summer and cool chills softened by cozy bonfires in the winter?

well in austin, that place is contigo. i visited this local favorite for the second time this week, and all the foodie satisfactions from the first time around came quickly flying back to me. the atmosphere was perfect, the appetizer menu mouthwatering and the wine selection – the most important part – exciting. i tried the villa jolanda prosecco, if you were wondering.

seems like austin’s cool set flocks to this spot on the regular, as evidenced by stylish girls sporting edgy boots and perfectly tousled top knots and dapper gents in hipster-appropriate plaid button-downs and brown wing tips.

if you haven’t tried contigo yet, do yourself a favor and get there asap. it won’t be too long before i’m back again.

photo 1 & 2 my own. all others from contigo.

out and about: olive & june

25 Oct

well, i finally did it. after months and months of olive & june being at the top of my gastro to-try list, i finally had the pleasure of visiting this local haunt.

and it did not disappoint. from the space’s charming atmosphere to its delicious wine selection to the café lights delicately floating above the outdoor patio, olive & june will undoubtedly remain at the top of my to-try-again list.

and since i was being silly, and failed to take any pictures of my own, photos from olive & june on flickr.

out and about: henri’s

28 Sep

anyone who enjoys cheese, raise your hand. yeah, i figured that’d be everyone. well, i enjoyed the most delightful array of cheeses the other day – right here in austin.

one thing i fell total head-over-heels in love with in san francisco was the unbelievably cute and trendy cheese bar, mission cheese. so when i heard about henri’s, an equally cute and trendy cheese, charcuterie and wine bar on south lamar,  i nearly squealed with delight. ok, who are we kidding? there was no “nearly” about it – there was definite squealing going on.

from the european countryside vibe of the interior to the especially helpful waitstaff, henri’s doesn’t skip a beat. my friend and i enjoyed a selection of soft and hard cheeses and a bounty of perfectly crisp white wine.

drooling yet?