Yes, I live in Austin– but I am still a transplant learning their way around, what’s what, and I feel like every few weeks I get to encounter the wow that comes with being a tourist in a new place. Ben and I have just begun to peel back the layers of our new city.
There’s always something new to experience, and this weekend only proved that we have barely scratched the surface.
I had a few friends out for a delayed birthday celebration which kicked off Friday with a trip to Umi Sushi, a funky Austin-style sushi joint with a wrap around bar and casual dining seating–oh, and a DJ with strobe lights (at least on Friday). They offer a generous selection of rolls and fish, along with freshly grated wasabi instead of the powdered stuff served in most sushi restaurants. I ordered the Lady Bug roll, which is a fruity-and savory mix accompanied with a basil lemon pesto sauce, and some tuna nigiri.
The next day started the real adventure– we headed out to a coffee joint none of us had tried yet called The Factory Cafe.
This place had a very eclectic, urban-chic style to it with unique lighting, swing seats, a large chess board and splashes of french-inspired style. I ordered a Match Latte (less sweet) and it was phenomenal; as was the cute little message on the bottom of my cup. They also serve hearty brunch style fair– chicken and waffles, or waffles with fruit. I ordered the Nuts for You (waffle, almond butter, banana and strawberry) and it was delicious. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip– I will be back!
Afterward we made our way down to New Braunfels to explore the Natural Bridge Caverns. They offer a slew of tour options depending on your bravery and time. We did the Discovery Tour which is a walking one, but they offer Adventure tours which take you rappelling 160 feet down, crawling through 22 inch wide shafts and other such things that mess with my fear of enclosed spaces.
I have done cavern tours before, but this one was probably the most interesting. The pure size of the forms in these living caverns is astounding; you can almost imagine them to be ruins of ancient cities, worn down over time to the remaining husks you see. The tour took about 75 minutes, and each room and anteroom we entered brought on new reasons to be in awe.
Of course, hiking through caverns for the better part of our afternoon meant that we were met with a raging hunger. We satisfied it at Ramen Tatsu-Ya.
There is nothing in the world quite like real ramen, full of egg and vegetables and meat– nor the awesome seating (crates with a space beneath for your bag) or the community-style tables with the chopsticks ready and food coming out piping hot.
Yum. I had the Mi-So-Not and an order of Sweet and Sour Yodas (brussel sprouts). You can add bombs for flavor or spiciness, and add any extra ingredients you like such as more ajitama (egg), naruto maki or brussl sprouts. I love brussel sprouts because I am a strange woman, so I added those. The marinated egg was the star of the show though; soft boiled to perfect. Mmmm. We were stuffed.
Well, I was, at least.
My friends left the next day, but now Ben and I have experienced a few new places in our city and have places to bring our friends when they come to town– and suggestions for you readers, should you find your way to Austin someday!