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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eating and Shopping Our Way thru Texas

My husband decided we hadn't gone on vacation in a looong time (Dec until February really isn't THAT long but whatever) so we decided to spend President's Day weekend in Texas. We dropped our 6 pound yorkie off at Chris's parents house in the Dallas area and continued onto Austin.
This was my first Austin experience. It totally reminded me of Portland, OR. It even rained the whole time we were there. We stayed at at resort right outside of town called the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines. It was not convenient for visiting the city of Austin but it was a really neat resort. When you turn off the main road onto Hyatt Road or something like that it takes about 10 minutes of driving down a tree lined road to get to the resort. They had a golf course and horse stables. The horses weren't out and about because of the rain but it looked really neat. They had trails all thru the woods.
We ate dinner at Sandra Bullock's restaurant, Bess Bistro. It was really good! I had a starter salad and the salmon. Chris went for the shrimp bisque and lamb shepherds pie. I am still anti-lamb since I grew up with neighbors who had sheep and we would play with the babies. It's like eating a cat but I can handle watching someone else do it. Anyway, the atmosphere is great. There were wine bottles everywhere and a big fish tank. You walk down stairs from street level and it's like you are in a cellar or basement. The ceiling wasn't finished and the brick showed thru on the walls. It all added to the ambiance.
After dinner we ventured down to Whole Foods which I guess is the first Whole Foods in the country. It was probably about 9pm and the place was packed. It guess this is the place to be on a Friday night. You park underneath and take a escalator up. It was huge! So many different food stations and a nice wine area where people were sitting around enjoying there in the store. Very impressive. Chris and I bought a bunch of mini desserts from the pastry bar and brought them back to the hotel. Since I was in my first trimester, I pretty much fell asleep when we got back to the hotel and didn't eat them but the next morning they were amazing!
The next day we went to San Marcos, TX and O.M.G. it has the biggest outlet mall I've ever seen (and I am an outlet connoisseur). There were 2 outlet malls right next to each other. The Premium outlets and the traditional outlets. We spent probably 3 hours there and I don't think we hit 10%. My primary goal for this outlet mall was to visit the Pottery Barn outlet which was huge and amazing. Chris said he was surprised I didn't tell him to go rent a U-Haul. I was good though since at this point I don't know exactly where we will be living so it's hard to buy big ticket items without having a spot for them.
We ate at this local restaurant called Garcia's which was rated online as the #1 Mexican restaurant in all of Texas. That's a pretty amazing recommendation. It was very hole in the wall. It was super busy and it was super good. I don't know if I would say "best in all of Texas" but it was really good and cheap! The most expensive thing on the menu (which of course Chris has to get, that's par for the course) was $7.50. I had a chicken fajita salad and the chicken had a really good flavor.
We spent the next 2 nights at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country in San Antonio. It was really similar to the Lost Pines (minus the horses) but you didn't have a 2 mile drive in from the main road. It was very Texas. Everything smelled like mesquite liquid smoke. They even added it to the food. I'm sorry but creamed corn doesn't need to take like mesquite. Gag me. They had a lazy river and a bunch of swimming pools. It would be a good place to come back in the summer.
We did lots of shopping (well more walking around shopping places, than buying things) while in San Antonio. We went down to the Riverwalk one night and ate at Boudro's. It was pricey but it was really good. They made guacamole table side with oranges in it. I've never had it with oranges so that was a yummy twist.
Anyway, all in all I really like Texas as a state but...since I live in Oklahoma, Texas still sucks :)

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