• Stella-Loo

Can you be too old for Austin, TX?

Keep Austin Wierd

That's the catch phrase for the city. I found the lack of popular fast food chains a bit weird so that's one thing. Austin is succeeding in its quest to promote local businesses. The city is called "the blueberry in the tomato soup" - it's a liberal dollop in a sea of Republicans.


Austin is an older city that Millenials (Gen Y) and Centennials (Gen Z or iGen) are staking a new claim on. The city draws the artsy and techy types. I'm from the early years of Generation X and felt out of place in SoCo (South Congress area).


Accommodations

This trip was in 2019, and I stayed in the South Congress Hotel (a River City room). The target demographic of this hotel is Millenials. I'm a young 50-something, but I wasn't as comfortable as I would have been in a Marriot or Westin hotel. If there's ever a "next time", I will opt for a different hotel.


This is what my room looked like. There is no fridge or coffee maker. The window on the right looks into the shower. If you're traveling with someone, you better be comfortable with them seeing you naked and washing your bits because there is no shade on that window. So that's another weird thing!


The Apple TV had Chromecast, which I used half the time to choose shows from apps on my phone (HBO GO, Hulu, and Netflix).


I experienced a waterfall shower head for the first time, which was underwhelming. I also experienced a shower knob with stripped threads! My shower was stuck on the last two days. Maintenance replaced the knob but must not have tested to make sure that fixed the problem. I couldn't adjust the temperature to something below scalding the second time.


No shower for me that morning. I had to get ready in a steamy bathroom. The entire hotel room started to get steamy. I packed fast and left the room frustrated.


My fury grew the closer I got to the front desk to check out. All that emotion came out in tears that would not stop. I was mad about the shower, sad to be leaving coworkers, and missing home all at once. When I explained what happened, they removed the charge for a glass of wine I had the night before. That couldn't have been more than 6 ounces if even that much.


On the upside, there was free coffee in the lobby! I took a cup into the lounge area and decompressed while waiting for my coworker.


Restaurants

The first evening, we ate at Boticcelli's. I ordered the PANSOTTI DI FUNGI (house-made ravioli filled with portabella and crimini mushrooms with ricotta and herbs tossed in a Marsala cream sauce with sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, and green onions). OH. MY. GOD. That was amazing! The Italian Pinot Noir I had was also delicious.

Terry Clark's BBQ with management the next evening after happy hour drinks at nearby El Alma. Texans call anything cooked on a grill BBQ because they don't put sauce on anything. It's all about the rub, which is heavy on the pepper. You pick your own sauce from three at the table (mild, medium, and hot). I do prefer St. Louis BBQ.

On the third night we tried Torchy's Tacos. This is now one of my favorite places, and a new one opened not to far from where I live!

Dinner with management again on the last evening there. Elizabeth Street Cafe sounds like a sweet little American restaurant. Nope! They serve Vietnamese food. I tried Phở for the first (and last) time. It's very bland first of all. No matter how many extra herbs and sauces I added to it, it was not to my taste at all. I should have ordered the Bún.

We ate dessert several blocks up at Dolce Neve Gelato. I had a small half Crema Dolce Neve (Custard with Lemon Zest) and half Chocolate 70%. They were good. I'm a simple gal, who is fine with vanilla soft-serve ice cream or frozen custard.

Getting Around

I had never used Uber or Lyft before and used them several times during the five days I was in Austin. I used them both and found no difference in the service.


Have you been to Austin? Where did you stay? Specify your age range to give more context.

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