Surviving Austin: Day Three

Hello there! Matthew here, to report on all the third day in Austin brought us.
The logical first part of this entry is going to be breakfast, so I’ll start there.

Did you know that heaven actually exists inside a food truck?
I can honestly say I had absolutely no idea until this morning.
I’m about to share an opinion I know is very unpopular, but please refrain from throwing your stones until I finish my story — then you can lob away.
Are you ready for it? Here it goes: I’m just not a fan of breakfast foods.
I know, I know …
All of that being said, this morning my tastebuds were graced with one of the most amazing culinary creations in existence: the Breakfast Taco.
There is a little food truck neatly situated in East Austin at the intersection of Webberville Road and Northwestern Avenue … and it is now among my favorite vacation restaurants.
I’m not picky when it comes to food — I’ll eat anything — but I am fairly critical of the food itself, so if you respect the Pearon Stamp of Approval (PSoA), you can safely add this to the list.
I was feeling pretty edgy, so I even tacked on a smoothie.

I’ll pause here for a moment while you pick your preferred response. No rush — take your time.
“Hold up — a smoothie? … for breakfast?”
“This man is insane! Mixing breakfast foods with smoothies.”
“A culinary monster, that Matthew!”

Is that out of your system now? Good, because I want to talk about my BREAKFAST smoothie now.
It was the bomb diggity. It consisted of perfect proportions of orange juice, strawberry, banana and mango, blended with ice and what must have been magic. They called it The Pink Panther. As you can guess, the strawberries lent the color that inspired the name. I still haven’t quite sorted where the “panther” bit came from. Maybe they forgot to include something in the ingredient list?
I joke, I joke … I did watch a few cartoons as a child.

After breakfast, we stayed in East Austin, headed to Sa-Ten (pronounced “sah-ten”), which was part of a small complex of shops and restaurants. We were met here by our partners in crime, Ricky and Ely. The fare at Sa-Ten was pretty standard, but the shop had the slightest of Japanese flairs — evident in the music, food and decor. The coffee was great, but it was outshone by the suprise clientele.
In as relaxed a manner as possible, the most chill dog in the entire world walked through one entrance, proceeded to walk through the middle of the café like he owned the place, then walked right out the entrance on the opposite side of the building. Everyone was understandably curious, so we all (including the barista) made our way out the front door to make sure the dog was alright.
We learned that it was a dog named Horse. Why not?

Anyway, Horse was in good spirits and appeared to just be on a casual stroll, so the barista quickly and expertly fashioned a makeshift tether from short sections of nylon rope she happened to have in the cafe for some reason or another (we didn’t ask why — mitigating bad customers, maybe?) and secured him to a nearby railing while Ely called the number on his name tag.
When the dog-loving, knot-tying barista returned to her proper place behind the beautiul LaMarzocco to finish our drinks, we went outside to keep Horse (remember: canine, not equine) company and sipped our drinks.
If you have ever spent any amount of time around me and Ricky, you’ll be very familiar with the way our conversations start: normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill chit chat. You’ll also be aware somewhere in the middle, the conversation veers toward technical discussions, and before you know it one or both of us has produced a laptop and have begun troubleshooting an issue or showing off a newly refactored codebase. Whatever it is we’re doing, you can be sure of one thing: Valeri is rolling her eyes. This time, Valeri and Ely took a bit of time to play a game of chess while waiting for me and Ricky to stop babbling.
At one point in the conversation, Ely made mention of Ricky pausing work to take a break and hang out with friends, only to end up working again. Ely was amused enough with my response to her teasing that it now adorns the wall directly above Ricky’s at-home workspace.

“It’s not work, it’s fun.”
When you enjoy what you do, that is the truest of statements.

Next on our list was Blanton Museum of Art.
I surround myself with artists, but I just don’t have that gift. I do appreciate art, but I generally (with a few exceptions) only have a real appreciation when I have a connection with the artist or subject. When we visit art museums, I’m always well-behaved — I know not to touch things (even if they look soft), and not to lick things (even though technically, there aren’t any signs saying I shouldn’t lick the art) … but at some point during the visit I’ll say something really stupid like, “This is dumb” or “That’s not art.”
My very patient wife quickly reminds me that art is subjective, and I’m the dumb one for saying something like that. She’s absolutely right. I’m working on it.
I’m going to include a few images of some of the items on display in the various exhibits. There is one that prompted me to say “That’s not art”. Let’s see if you can figure out which one.

Now we eat! As I’ve mentioned before, food is one of the highlights of vacation for me. I love all things about food. The smells, the tastes, the people who make the food, the people who eat the food, etc., etc., so on and so forth.
One thing I don’t like about food: when the restaurant is unexpectedly closed. Not a fan.
This has happened to us twice today. Once at the lunch stop — which was meant to be Luke’s Inside Out — and once at dinner — which I’ll get to later.
To whoever runs Luke’s Inside Out: I’m mad at you.
Anyway, after discovering we couldn’t enjoy the offerings of our planned eatery, we started searching and decided on a lunch spot we were planning on stopping at yesterday (when we weren’t hungry enough). Enter Kababalicious.

We needed to work off all of the calories we had just injested, so Valeri decided to torture us keep us healthy and made us suggested we take a walk on The Boardwalk at Ladybird Lake. Aside from the exercise and sweating we did, it was actually pretty nice. We saw a TON of dogs and ran across some interesting people, too. We rounded it off by relaxing on a couple of patio chairs positioned on a small dock along the shore.

Guess what? It’s time for more food!
Ricky and Ely wanted to join us for our dinner stop: Monk’s Momos.
Momos are one of my absolute favorite things to eat in the entire world. They are a Nepalese dumpling filled with amazing mixtures of meat and sauce. The rest of my day was really just to fill time until I got eat some Momos. I love them.
Well … remember when I mentioned there was a second time when the restaurant was closed when they weren’t supposed to be? This was that time.
Instead, we wandered around the downtown area until we found a suitable replacement. A trendy little restaturant called Anthem fit the bill nicely, but we don’t have any pictures to show you, unfortunately. Dessert consisted of made-to-order miniature donuts and coffee from Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts.

The day was filled with good friends, good food and good dogs. All things considered, I think we’ll call day three a success. Now, I’m going to turn this blog post over to my personal copy editor for proofing and give my vacation-weary body a bit of rest.
Check in again tomorrow for Day Four’s adventures!

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“There’s a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.”
Willie Nelson

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