Howdy Austin!

The Capital Building

A few weeks ago, I visited Austin for the first time. I’ve heard so many good things from friends that have visited or lived there. The goal of the trip was to get a feel of the food scene and determine if it’s where I want to start my food truck. It certainly has most of the criteria I am looking for; warm weather (it was HOT), younger population, diversity, and a growing food scene. Having one of the largest college campuses in the country doesn’t hurt either.

UT – Austin

The food, in short, was amazing. There’s a taco truck on every corner dishing out some truly tasty tacos. Hit up Veracruz or Pueblo Viejo for some breakfast tacos. It wouldn’t be Texas without great BBQ. I went about the Franklin line all wrong and opted for Mickelthwait Craft Meats a few blocks down the road. There’s also great ramen and pho for the noodle fiends like me.

Ramen Tatsu-ya
Mickelthwait Craft Meats
East Side King
Odd Duck
Pueblo Viejo

I also want to share two unique experiences I had that really stuck with me now that I have had a chance to reflect. I didn’t have any friends that lived in Austin, so I likely would’ve booked an AirBnB or hotel. About a month before my trip, I met up with some friends to watch football at a local bar in Chicago. I met a friend of a friend of a friend that recently moved to Austin. Without hesitation, he offered his place for me to stay. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity. This led me to think about the people that I’ve decided to call my friends. I can’t imagine a single one refusing to host another friend. It’s hard to imagine declining a friend of a friend or in my case, 3 degrees of separation (not really sure how this Kevin Bacon thing works); basically a complete stranger. And now that I think about it, I would’ve done the same thing. I’m incredibly fortunate to have so many generous, trustworthy, and considerate friends in my life. I now have an infinite couchsurfing network. [I can’t say for sure that my friend/host was thinking this but it does make for a better blog post]

The 2nd experience came with a chance run-in with some old friends from Connecticut. There was an actuarial conference in Austin and a friend and old roommate reached out. A few of us grabbed beers and caught up on life (mostly fantasy sports). But I learned that the old roommate is having child #2 early next year. I can’t describe how amazing it is to hear that from the person and not my FB newsfeed.

Then I learned that another old colleague was staying a few extra days in Austin. I reached out and we eventually met up for lunch the next day (Lunch was great. East Side King. Go there). Over the next 24 hours, we went to a few breweries, ate pork buns, meat pie, and BBQ, saw some grungy bands play at a gay bar, get free drinks (her) and shirt compliments (me) at a hip hop bar/club, and eventually get harassed by a bunch of suits, visiting from Chicago no less. Throw in some sour porters, free shots, a great cover of Eleanor Ridby, and about 11 uber rides, and I’d say it was a very successful Wednesday in ATX. Throughout this time, I learned more about this person than I ever had during the 7-8 years I’ve known her. In the past, we’ve had multiple group gatherings (she even dated one of my best friends for a while), but I never took the time to really get to know her. We discussed our past, family, friends, relationships, travels, and plans for the future. She told me about her love of beer, bikes, and Frito pie (in no particular order and preferably all on the same day; which I think she accomplished in Austin). Cheers to you! Wear a helmet and watch out for that H!

All this has taught me to be truly grateful for the people in my life what they bring to our relationship. I will make it a point to scratch a bit below the surface to really understand someone. I hope y’all do the same. You might need a place to stay in Austin and too cheap to pay for it.

2 Replies to “Howdy Austin!”

  • 1 – Wear that shirt often. 2 – You write well. I appreciate that. 3 – You will find that people are infinitely interesting, passionate, and generous if you give them the chance. Just ask them (Especially if you’re wearing that shirt. You’re instantly likable in that shirt).

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