14 August 2013

Austin: Day Two


- Although it's really hot here, I find myself cold more often then not because the AC in our training room hovers somewhere around 0 celsius.

- Everyone that has a thick accent isn't from Texas.

- The downtown core of Austin feels like a real city. They should consider renaming the outskirts :).

- Despite being one of the least masculine straight males around, and relatively non-competitive, I still wanted to crank up the treadmill when another guy got on the one next to me. I didn't need to. He couldn't keep up to my 8 mph pace anyway.

- It's too humid outside.

- The water here smells like wasabi tastes.

- My hotel room has 35 TV channels, 4 of which are ESPN. That's 11 percent of my TV viewing choices dedicated to sports. Why?

- The hotel keeps giving me free mini tubes of toothpaste. I'm hoarding them. Is that wrong?

- I thought I had more thoughts than this, but it seems I've forgotten the rest. Onto food.

I skipped breakfast again, there were muffins in the training room, but meh, muffins.

Lunch was sandwiches from Jason's Deli. There were a variety of sandwiches, I went for the turkey. I was surprised about how soft the bun was, it looked much sturdier than it was and the turkey was a bit salty for my taste. It was nice to have some fruit though, and I love me some pickles.

Oh before I forget, here's day one BBQ lunch (that was good coleslaw). I also forgot to mention the cupcakes for the mid-afternoon snack, I had chocolate. It wasn't bad. The morning snack, lunch time, afternoon snack schedule makes me feel like I'm in kindergarten. It's fantastic :). I just wish we could have a post lunch nap time.

For today's snack time we were provided mini bar cookies. One was raspberry filled with some type of crumble top, it tasted like a pop tart, meh. Second was some type of lighter lemony deal with some pecans, that was quite good. The best one was the one with the chocolate chips. Someone said it had the flavour profile of pecan pie, I didn't get that, but it was good nonetheless.

For dinner I headed out with another of my other "classmates" (we'll call her Lidia) and I was again tasked with figuring out where to eat. I knew she wanted to get barbecue so that's where I started. The only two agreed upon "best" places are Franklin's, which runs out of food apparently; and Smitty's, which is too far away. I went with another option, Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew, with some backup proposals just in case.

We ended up agreeing on Stiles, drove to the restaurant, walked in, and then Lidia became worried that it might have been the place that we had BBQ delivered from yesterday. We promptly walked out and ended up instead at barbecue option two: Lambert's Downtown Barbecue, self described as "Fancy Barbecue"

I'm going to call it pretentious.

It was also pricier than I wanted and had I paid attention to their online menu (I thought I had) I would not have suggested it. Granted, the brisket was reasonably priced and what I was going to order anyway, but didn't come with any sides, making it much more expensive than the average barbecue place. Then again, that was entirely my fault.

We both decided on the brisket and one side each, Mac and Cheese and Fried Okra; neither of us had ever tried it and it came recommended by the waiter. The sides were advertised as "Family Style" in order to justify the price (seven dollars), but really, it's family style only if there are two members to your family.

There was also cornbread, or "cornbread." Two mini cornbread muffins that seemed to have jalapeƱo in them, making them far too spicy. No where near as good as the cornbread from last night.

The brisket came with a side of pickled vegetables that were good, but scorchingly hot. Essentially ruining my palate for my first few bites of anything else. It really should have come with a warning. The brisket itself was a bit schizophrenic (but this might be normal for brisket), all slices were tender, but the first couple of pieces were leaner and a bit dry, whereas the final two pieces were much fattier, moist, and really good. The thing that made the brisket "fancy" was a brown sugar and coffee rub, which I could smell, but could not taste.

On the side of sides, the Mac and Cheese was described by our waiter as one to remember and despite being made with no processed cheese, had a flavour that reminded me very much of cheez whiz. I'm not claiming they lied, but I do think they consider changing their cheese combination. And this is coming from a person who loves cheez whiz. The mac and cheese was made worse as it was quite peppery. Overall it wasn't horrible, and was cooked perfectly, the noodles were super soft without being overdone, but I've had far better.

The fried okra tasted like fried. I guess okra is supposed to taste like zucchini? I was literally peeling off the cornmeal breading in order to taste something and I'm still confused. However, the dipping sauce it came with was quite good, but again, on the peppery side.

We had a fun time despite the food being not that great; it seems good company, can make bad meals good, and mediocre meals great.

Oh, on another side note, we tried to go see the bats. Apparently we just missed them. I saw two bats, they were jerks.

Day Two complete.



  1. Sorry your second day was characterized by several of my 'pet peeves'--over air-conditioning (which makes things feel hotter outside and makes my hands numb) and having someone run too close on a treadmill. Good job with the 8 minute mile, btw! The mac & cheese LOOKED pretty, at least...and I love how with the 'conference' food, all generic paper plates look the same, no matter where you go.

    1. I think I paid for that run yesterday today. I felt quite tired for most of the day (though it might be the food I've been eating :)). And to be fair, the only other treadmill was right next to me, and once I figured out he couldn't keep up, I felt better.. and a bit like a jerk.
      The AC thing is nuts. I always forget how hot it is any time I step into a building. Granted, I also forget how cold it is in that training room any time I step into the hall. Can't win for trying :).

      And come on, those are some classy paper plates :).