To celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, Bryan and I decided to take a long weekend trip to Austin! It's a city that has been on Bryan's travel wish list for a while, and for good reason. We had an amazing time there and I didn't realize what a food city it is- we spent most of the trip eating and then walking off meals. People were also so kind and hospitable, it kind of blew us away. Here's our favorites list in case you Austin is on your travel wishlist, too:
Emmer & Rye: The pasta-centric menu is made with heirloom grains, milled in-house by the chef. Our favorites were the cacio e pepe and the acorn squash with bene seeds and smoked yogurt. The spiced zucchini cake was so good, Bryan drew a line in the middle of it to make sure I knew where my portion ended! After dinner, we grabbed beers on nearby Rainey street (a charming street of historic homes with bars in them), watched live music and made friends with some locals.
Fresa's: An adorable taco restaurant with a sprawling backyard full of rainbow-colored benches and string lights. Fresa's is a great lazy afternoon spot for margaritas and tacos.
Kemuri Ramen: Run by two first-generation Japanese-American friends, Austin natives, and hip hop DJ's, Tatsu Aikawa and Takuua Matsumoto, Kemuri ramen is an unlikely combination: Texas izakaya. And it works in a way that completely blew our minds- this was hands down our favorite meal in Austin. Highlights were the chili-cheese Tex-Mex style takoyaki, smoked hamachi cama, Texas ramen (with beef bone broth, perfectly jammy soy pickled egg and melt-in-your-mouth smokey brisket) and the surprise favorite of the evening: BBQ tsukemen.
June's All Day: June's is where we went for our anniversary meal. Originally, I searched for fancy white table cloth and steak types of restaurants, but they all felt a little boring to me. I'm so glad I settled on June's- the vibe was super chill and romantic, since the decor feels like you're sitting in a Paris cafe. Highlights: Salt cod croquettes, tomato & cantaloupe caprese, beef tartar & frites and bone marrow bolognaise.
*Kettle & Brine photo via
Take Heart Shop: This shop carries home decor items from local potters and jewelry designers, as well as beautiful textiles, ceramics and glassware sourced in Japan. Of course, I loved this shop and could have spent an entire day here.
Kettle & Brine: Kettle & Brine carries an expertly edited collection of the most soulful tabletop items from artisans in US, as well as from Austin artisans I hadn't heard of. They also carry some of the most beautiful cookware from artisans in Japan, Italy and France.
Parts & Labour: This shop on South Congress has the best Austin souvenirs. Bryan got a cool t-shirt with an abstract sketch of the state of Texas on it, and I picked up a tank with the Ball jar logo, except it says "Baller" :)
Barton Springs: One day, we rented city bikes and rode from our hotel along the Colorado river through Zilker Park. Barton springs is a public outdoor swimming pool that is filled entirely with water from nearby natural springs. As an anniversary gift, I gave Bryan a giant inflatable pretzel, which we floated on all afternoon. We also saw cherries and an avocado float by!
Murals/Street Art: There are fun murals all over Austin. We snapped photos in front of the cute "I love you so much" mural and the Austin postcard mural.
Alamo Drafthouse: Since we have an Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco, we wanted to check out the original in downtown Austin. Bryan arranged for us to have an early dinner and catch an old movie here- it was the perfect first anniversary date night.
Two things we wish we could have done were to catch a show at the Sahara Lounge and a movie on Laguna Gloria. The Sahara Lounge has great music and Laguna Gloria is a "drift-in" movie theater, where you can watch a movie while floating on a canoe in a secluded lagoon.