The Oasis on Lake Travis

Some of my college friends came down to Austin this weekend to visit me, and I knew there was a lot of pressure to come up with the perfect itinerary. They only had a little less than 48 hours here, so making good use of our time was crucial. Our dinner stop, the first item on the itinerary, had to be super great to set the tone for the rest of the trip.

After some deliberation, I decided we would go to The Oasis on Lake Travis. This multi-tiered restaurant is nestled high in the hills of Austin, overlooking Lake Travis. The altitude and western-facing disposition lends itself perfectly to beautiful sunset photos as you eat dinner on one of its many outdoor patios. My friends hadn’t looked up our destination before we headed out, so they were pretty shocked by the grandeur of it all as we pulled up.

We were seated immediately, since we were willing to sit outside despite the heat. I got a classic frozen margarita, perfect for keeping me cool on the hot summer evening!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a notorious picky eater. When menus are somewhat limited, sometimes I have to get creative with my ordering. I chose fajitas, with just the fillings. My waitress was nice enough to put all the ingredients in separately to save me some money! (They ended up being less like fajitas and more like DIY soft tacos. No complaints, though. Everything was super good, especially the cheese!)

By the time we finished eating, we were able to wander around the different levels and take in the breathtaking sunset. Golden hour came in clutch for our mandatory “horns down” photo. Boomer!

As we left the Oasis, we drove back down the mountain just as the sunset was hitting its peak. Since it is pretty secluded, we were able to put our hazards on and slow down for a second to soak in the view one last time. Just as we were about to round the corner and put Lake Travis out of sight, the sun sank down behind the horizon entirely and the sky went dark. We truly timed our drive perfectly!

Overall, this is a perfect tourist destination for people visiting Austin! It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. Being able to spend time with my friends with the bonus of an incredible view made it the perfect start to our girls’ weekend!

-K

The Aussie Grind

I’ve never had the chance to go to Australia, but I got to taste a little bit of it this weekend at The Aussie Grind in Frisco! My dad and I are always looking for new quirky breakfast spots to try, so when we found out about a new Australian-style brunch place that had just opened near our house, we knew we needed to check it out.

My dad and I both like coffee, so we decided to try a flat white– a style of coffee that originated in Australia. Since The Aussie Grind is authentically Australian (the owners moved to Texas from Australia in 2018), we knew that this was the perfect place to put flat white coffee to the test.

Verdict: it was so tasty! The presentation was beautiful and it tasted good, too. Since I’m used to sweet coffee, I made it about halfway through before adding sugar packets in. (Oops!)

I soon found out that Australian food is similar to American food, but with a twist. Being who I am, I decided to get the Avo Smash– a proclaimed “staple” on their menu. I thought it was super interesting that they served the avocado toast on sourdough bread. I’m used to eating my avocado toast on plain white bread, so the sourdough definitely elevated it a bit. I might have to get some sourdough at Trader Joe’s once I get back to Austin and try to make Avo Smash at home! Also, I’m not sure what they did to those scrambled eggs, but they were amazing– seriously some of the best eggs I’ve ever had.

By the time we left, I was riding a super strong caffeine/sugar high from that flat white coffee. The Aussie Grind has tons of other interesting options on their menu, so I want to come back next time I’m in town and see what else they have to offer! I tried my dad’s Breakfast Gnocchi, and that was top-tier as well. The Hotcakes intrigue me, but might be best saved for a day when dessert-for-breakfast sounds appealing (it’s pancakes served with cotton candy and vanilla ice cream!)

If you’re in the Frisco area looking for a fresh take on American brunch food, I highly recommend The Aussie Grind. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, though, so plan to go early!

-K

JuiceLand

I’ve never really been much of a smoothie person. Other people in my life have loved them and sworn by them- my sister is a big fan of classic strawberry-banana smoothies and my dad can’t live without his green veggie mix. But I never really had the urge to buy one or try a new one- until I started seeing JuiceLands all over town during my summer in Austin.

Their Barton Springs location piqued my interest first. (Coincidentally, this is also their flagship store.) I see it when I drive home from work that way, and it always looked busy. I was intrigued, and looked them up. Turns out, there was a JuiceLand location only 2 minutes away from my barre and pilates studio. Score!

After class on Thursday, I decided to stop in. For what it’s worth, smoothies are supposed to be pretty healthy (at least compared to something like a milkshake,) so I didn’t feel guilty treating myself after an especially grueling pilates class.

As some of you know, I’m a creature of habit and very rarely branch out and try different foods. I decided to challenge that, and order something I wouldn’t usually try (but still looked tasty.) Enter: the Raspberry Hooray! Made with pineapple, banana, and raspberry, it wasn’t too far from the norm for my conservative palate, but was still different enough for me to be proud of my adventurous spirit.

Spoiler alert: It was so good. I slurped it down in under 5 minutes, and felt completely refreshed. With the small clocking in at only 293 calories, it made me feel good, too.

JuiceLand has around 25 locations in Austin, and 3 each in the Dallas and Houston areas. Can they come to Norman next, please? I’m feeling like I might get addicted to these this summer.

-K

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

This past weekend, my dad came to visit me in Austin and we spent all day Saturday eating good food and doing the quintessential Austin activities. (If you missed the Father’s Day recap, click here to read all about it!) One of our outings (and quite frankly, one of my favorite parts of the day) was dinner on South Congress at Hopdoddy Burger Bar. I enjoyed my experience there so much that I didn’t think it deserved to be thrown in with the rest of the Father’s Day roundup, and instead deserved its own review. So, let’s get right into it!

Hopdoddy came as a recommendation from my aunt. Beyond knowing that it was a gourmet burger place, I didn’t have many more expectations other than what she told me. She gave me two pieces advice before we went:

  1. The ordering system is a little different, but you’ll figure it out quick.
  2. Go before 5:30, or make sure you don’t come hungry, because after 5:30 the line will be out the door and wrapped around the building.

This was a lot of hype for a burger joint, but we listened to her advice and went around 5:00. When we arrived, the line was (luckily) inside, and we got to peruse the menu in the comfort of their AC. I also found out what she meant about the ordering system being different than an average restaurant: they don’t take your order until there is a table available for you. My guess is that this is to ensure that everyone has a place to sit when their food comes out shortly after ordering. All their tables are numbered and marked with signs that say “Reserved for Customers Waiting in Line.” When a table is available, they take your order, assign you a table number, and then you can go sit down. I can see how this system ends with a line stretching around the building, as they probably could take orders much faster than people could eat their food.

Speaking of the food, I got garlic parmesan truffle fries! Anything truffle is my weakness, so when I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to have it. It’s meant to be shared as an appetizer, but I decided to forego a burger and eat the fries as a main course.

My dad and I also decided to split a shake! I almost never get shakes when I go out to eat (I just don’t think the calories are worth it,) but I decided to #treatmyself that day. I’m glad I did, because the s’mores shake my dad and I had was incredible. It could be that I just hadn’t had a milkshake in a hot second that made it taste so dang good, but my dad is somewhat of a milkshake connoisseur and even he said it was awesome. It mostly tasted like chocolate, but the marshmallow was just the extra flavor it needed to send it over the edge. 10/10, would definitely recommend to a friend.

Overall, Hopdoddy is definitely a fun South Congress destination! There’s a parking garage right next door, so that’s very useful since downtown is notorious for a lack of parking. Just make sure you go early, because otherwise you’ll be stuck out in the elements as you wait for the early birds to finish their meals!

-K

How I Celebrated Father’s Day 2019

My dad came to Austin yesterday to visit me. I was so excited, because that meant that I would actually get to (basically) spend Father’s Day with my dad. (The day before still counts, right?) I wasn’t going to visit home for two more weeks, so this was nice because I got to spend time with him earlier than anticipated!

My dad left Frisco super early in the morning, and ended up getting to Austin around 11. I hadn’t eaten yet, so brunch was super appealing. Per the recommendations of my coworkers and aunt, we decided on Kerbey Lane. My cinnamon-swirl pancakes were excellent (can you believe that they consider those half-sized?) and my dad let me share some of his breakfast potatoes. I left very full and very satisfied.

Once I had a substantial food baby from our great brunch, clearly only logical next step was to put a bathing suit and go paddle boarding. We took our stand-up paddle boards out on Lady Bird Lake for an hour, and that was more than enough time. We had a great time, but it was hot, we both got a little sunburnt, and were more than ready for the next stop on our list.

Up next: Barton Springs Pool! The water is a constant 68-70 degrees, so we were both ready to dive in after our toasty paddle board session. But be warned: while 68-70 degrees isn’t that bad in air temperature, it’s pretty dang chilly in water. I definitely got some swim team flashbacks after my jump into the frosty water.

After our (somewhat brief) swim, we laid out in the shade for a while! I liked people watching because Austin has so many interesting characters, especially at a landmark like Barton Springs. My dad, worn out from paddle boarding, took a short snooze.

When we were done at Barton Springs, we headed back home to shower and get ready to go out to dinner. We went to Hopdoddy, per the recommendation of my aunt, and it was really good! I’m going to post a full restaurant review soon (stay tuned!), so for now I’ll leave you with this picture of my truffle fries and shake.

Since we were back on SoCo, we decided to wander around and visit some more places I hadn’t seen when I was out with my friends last weekend. My favorite was the costume store Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, while my dad liked the various cowboy hat and boots stores.

It was only a day trip for him, so he headed back home after we explored South Congress for a little while. I’m so glad I got to spend time with him, and hope he’ll come back again before the summer ends!

(I know he reads my blog, even though he never says anything, so if you’re reading this Dad, happy Father’s Day and I love you! )

-K

Las Palomas Restaurant

I’m a huge fan of Mexican food, so I knew being in Austin for the summer would allow me to eat a lot of it. Although I didn’t eat any for the first few weeks of my stay, I recently ventured out to Las Palomas Restaurant on Bee Cave, conveniently located only a few miles from my house.

I chose to sit outside because the evening had cooled down significantly, and I’m so glad I did! The outdoor patio is beautiful, and paired with a gentle breeze and a frozen margarita, I wasn’t hot at all.

It was just past 6 when I arrived, so I ordered a happy hour $5 frozen margarita. I usually prefer my margaritas to have a fruity flavoring (like strawberry,) but the classic one was great, too! The food came out super fast, they had barely set the chips and salsa out before the food came out, as well. I had high hopes for Austin Mexican cuisine, and Las Palomas exceeded them. My tacos were so good (the had queso INSIDE of them!)

To finish up, I indulged in a sopaipilla. I haven’t had one in so long, and it was so tasty. The ice cream and cinnamon on top made it absolutely to die for! I should definitely splurge and get dessert at Mexican restaurants more often.

Overall, Las Palomas was a really nice and authentic Mexican restaurant, perfect for a nice dinner out! Also, I found out that las palomas is Spanish for “the pigeons,” which I love. If I wasn’t planning on coming back before, I definitely will now that I know it’s named after one of my favorite birds!

I’m having so much fun trying new places in Austin. Stay tuned for more restaurant visits as the summer continues!

-K

Tacodeli Grand Opening

If you followed along with my Instagram story on Monday, then you saw that downtown Austin recently had a Tacodeli grand opening! Since Tacodeli is one of bread & Butter‘s clients, I got to join in on the fun and finally experience these supposedly magnificent tacos for the first time.

I’ve always been a Torchy’s fan, so the bar was set pretty high. Would Tacodeli be able to measure up?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Oh. My. God. These were seriously the best breakfast tacos I’ve ever had. I’m seriously in love with breakfast food and like to eat it whenever I get the chance, so that’s pretty high praise coming from me. I seriously can’t recommend these enough! The only downer is that they only serve their breakfast tacos until 11 a.m. on weekdays, and I would probably rather have them for lunch. Well, that and that the closest Tacodeli to Norman is in Plano!

The fun didn’t end with free tacos! As part of the PR team, I was recruited to be a model for Tacodeli’s social media. They gave me a Tacodeli shirt (which I was allowed to keep) and guided me through posing with a plate of delicious tacos. The smile on my face is genuine, I kept giggling because they had me hold and alter this pose so long!

Click here to see Tacodeli’s Instagram post, AKA what was basically my modeling debut.

Overall, it was such a fun morning! I’m craving some more breakfast tacos just writing this, so I know I’ll be back soon. If you missed my Instagram story on Monday, you can catch up with the highlight in my bio called “b&b life”!

-K

A Night Out on SoCo

I had some friends come in town this weekend, so I decided that we should spend the evening exploring the South Congress district! I had heard a lot about SoCo but never actually been, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity.

We started out the night at Home Slice Pizza. The NY style pizza was just what I needed to get the evening started, it was quick, and really good, too!

After dinner, we decided to start wandering around and explore a little bit. SoCo is a super funky district with a lot of interesting stores, so I really liked seeing all of what the boutiques had to offer. My favorite part was probably this sign I found outside one of the stores we went into. (Sorry, Hannah B!)

As we continued exploring and window shopping, we found the flagship Kendra Scott store! I didn’t want to submit my two guy friends to the torture of watching me browse an expensive jewelry store, so I didn’t go inside. But now that I know where it is, I’ll definitely be coming back!

Despite being around 8 p.m., it was still sweltering hot. When I found a little food truck that sold ice cream pops, I bought one ASAP. I had to eat it real quick before it melted, but luckily the hot weather put me in the mood and I didn’t mind the brain freeze. (Side note: I think that was my first time trying strawberry ice cream, and it was really good!)

We finished up the night at Güero’s Taco Bar. Since I paid for parking, I got each of the boys to buy me a drink (I definitely profited, I think.) I’m a sucker for a frozen margarita (or really, frozen alcoholic beverages in general) so I really enjoyed these! There was fun live music for us to listen to as we sat out on the back patio.

Such a fun night! I’ll definitely be coming back to browse more stores and do a little more than just window shopping. Can’t wait to keep exploring more fun neighborhoods in Austin this summer!

-K

P.S. Like my #OOTD? You can find the details here!

A Surprise Visitor

This weekend, my mom and sister came down to Austin to visit me for the long weekend! It had only been a week since I had seen them (and I’ll be seeing them next weekend, too,) but they wanted to come see me, and who am I to say no? I was expecting just my mom and Macy, but when I came down to the kitchen I was delighted to find out they brought my dog Chloe, too!

With a puppy in tow, we had to go to lunch somewhere that was dog-friendly. After some light research, we decided on Abel’s on the Lake, a restaurant on the banks of Lake Austin. The view and the food was great, and we had a great time (even Chloe, who is notoriously scared of new places and new people.)

We still had some free time in Austin before Macy and my mom had to head back to Frisco, so we decided to do some exploring and see some of the more iconic Austin photography sites! I’m hoping to do a compilation post of Austin’s most recognizable murals during my time here, so I’m really glad we were able to find this one while we were out.

It was scorching hot outside, so we didn’t stay out long. Macy, my mom, and Chloe all came up to my room with me to come see my new space. Chloe loved running around all the extra space and didn’t chew anything up (we were so proud!) To cool off, we played a few rounds of card games and BINGO before they had to hit the road.

I’m so glad they were able to come see me this weekend! I’ll be back in Frisco for a visit soon, but I appreciate the 8 hours of driving they did to come see me just for an afternoon. I anticipate more visitors over the course of the summer, and I’m looking forward to showing them more Austin sights as I make this city my own!

-K

Neighborhood JAM

Today, I’m reviewing Neighborhood JAM, a breakfast and lunch restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma! My freshman year roommate Lexi was in town this weekend, so we decided to go to brunch and catch up. Unfortunately, it was also Mom’s Weekend at OU, which means we had to fight through crowds of mother/daughter duos to get a table. Luckily, Neighborhood JAM has a feature where you can get on their waiting list through the Yelp app. I got us in their virtual waiting list at 9 a.m. and went on my way, getting ready for our brunch date.

Despite getting in line early (and planning to arrive at 11 a.m.), it was 11:40 before we got seated. Since Lexi recently turned 21 (!!!!) I bought us mimosas to celebrate, and they were so good.

Despite being incredibly crowded, the service was pretty fast. I ordered “The Good Ol’ Boy,” which comes with eggs, a biscuit, hashbrowns, and your choice of meat. It was so good (especially since it was past noon when it arrived and I hadn’t eaten anything this morning.)

I loved getting to spend the afternoon with my old roomie and catch up, and this was such a great atmosphere for it! But if you’re craving their breakfast food, I highly recommend getting in line on the Yelp app first. Despite the delay, we would’ve been waiting for an additional three hours if we hadn’t gotten on the wait list at 9 a.m.

Keep checking back to see what restaurant I review next!

-K